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1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats - Parragon Book Service 19/11/2012

1001 tempations to increase your waistline!

1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats - Parragon Book Service I bought this cookbook after reading a rave review of it. After reading the review I kept seeing it everywhere but resisted the temptation, until one day I came across it in a garden centre that was having a closing down sale and managed to get it for the princely sum of just £5.99 (it's rrp is £20, but I've seen it in many places on offer at £7.99 so don't be tempted into paying full price for it). I love cooking and baking and am pretty much addicted to cookbooks but I realised a while ago that most of them are exactly that...cookbooks rather than baking books, so I was excited to get this and try some new ideas in the baking department rather than sticking with my tried and tested 6 or 7 reliable recipes. The books has been updated since the photo shown above, but I'm including a photo to show the newer version, which I think is much nicer and more eyecatching anyway. It's a bright, attractive blue colour with the title of the book in bold cream and bright pink contrasting colours. The front cover is divided into 6 sections each showing beautifully arranged examples of the cupcakes and cookies recipes you'll find inside. The back cover is all about information and gives a tempting description of the kinds of recipes inside and what they can be used for (mid-morning coffee, afternoon tea, children's part etc). It tells us that it includes recipes for cupcakes, cakes and buns, cookies and biscuits, brownies, blondies and bars, muffins and pastries, tarts and other treats ...

Dolce & Gabbana Feminine Eau de Toilette 15/11/2012

D&G do it again!

Dolce & Gabbana Feminine Eau de Toilette After trying the red D&G perfume (see previous review) many years ago I decided that as I loved it so much there was a good chance I might like other perfumes of theirs too so set about finding one that I could wear on a more day to day basis as the red one is really an evening/special occasion kind of fragrance. I found this Feminine perfume in duty free on the to Spain and fell in love with it straight away. It used to be widely available but recently I've been having more trouble finding it, although you can still pick it up online for around the £30 mark and comes in both 50ml and 100ml bottles. I've had both over the years as the 100ml one is really quite big and if I'm only carrying a small bag it takes up half the space inside so I decided to invest in a smaller sized one too. The bottles for both sizes are identical only one is taller than the other. I really like the packaging for this perfume as it is simple yet quite funky at the same time. First of all it comes packages in a nice, shiny, silver carboard box but to be honest, this gets thrown into the recycling bin as soon as I open it. The bottle is cylindrical in shape and of clear glass, making it easy to see how much perfume you have left and is topped by a simple silver lid which continues the shape of the bottle. The lid on the larger one I've never had any problems with (although this may be becuse it just sits on my bedroom shelf not doing anything) but the one on the smaller bottle frequently falls off ...

Yankee Candle Mandarin Cranberry Scented Jar 13/11/2012

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Yankee Candle Mandarin Cranberry Scented Jar Although during most of the year I'm pretty loyal to just 3 or 4 Yankee Candle fragrances and only tend to try out odd new ones every now and again, when it comes to this time of the year I do like to branch out a bit to make our home smell more festive, giving it a warm, cosy and seasonal atmosphere. Previously, my favourite one for this was called Frankincense and Myrhh but unfortunately Yankee, in their wisdom, discontinued that one several years ago so I had to find a new festive favourite. I tried a few in tart form before settling on this Mandarin Cranberry fragrance. Although it is not part of YC's official "festive" range it is still a great one to burn at this time of year and despite not really liking the fruity fragrances so much, I find that this one is absolutely perfect in giving our home a more autumnal atmosphere without being too sweet or sickly. I normally use tarts to fragrance my home and only invest in the jar style candles of fragrances that I know I really love as they are expensive and a big investment to make if you end up not really liking the smell. At Christmas though I always invest in a medium jar sized candle. I decided on the medium sized after buying a large one one Christmas and only using half of it. A small one would be too small as these only last between 25 and 40 hours so a medium one, lasting between 60 and 90 hours is just about right for us. I don't light it every day, but from now until Christmas it will be the main one I burn so ...

Lindam Bounce About 12/11/2012

Bounce bounce baby

Lindam Bounce About As I work from home now I have been looking after my little nephew quite a lot over the last 8 months or so and he is just a little bundle of joy (if he wasn't, I probably wouldn't offer to look after him so much!). Although I've done a lot of babysitting in the past and was actually a primary teacher for a while too I didn't have much experience of looking after a baby in my own home whilst trying to carry out my daily chores at the same time and hadn't really appreciated what a task it would be! Enter the Lindam door bouncer - or Jump About, as they call it. There's only so long you can hold a baby for and keep him occupied yourself, especially if you're trying to wash up or do some ironing or get dinner started at the same time and I remembered my brother being in one of these when he was little (or remember seeing photos of it anyway) and decided to hunt one down. Lindam is a fairly well known brand in the baby market so they seem to be quite widely available (and you can pick yourself up a bargain on eBay, although I didn't think of that at the time) and I actually got mine through my Next directory for £20. Ordering this way can also incur delivery charges but I always get mine delivered to store for free then get my husband to pick it up on his way home from work as he has to pass it anyway. The bouncer comes in a box about nine inches wide, seventeen high and four deep and has a picture alomost identical to the one shown above except it's a different baby. The box ...

Nescafe Latte Macchiato Mug Size Serving 08/11/2012

Not quite Starbucks but it'll do!

Nescafe Latte Macchiato Mug Size Serving Living in deepest, darkest Cumbria we are somewhat lacking in a lot of mainstream shops in close proximity to us. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, it's not as if we moved here for the shopping! But having a slight penchant for the odd Starbucks coffee and muffin I do miss these occasional treats as the nearest outlet to us is nearly an hours drive away. Whenever we venture anywhere that has a Starbucks I make a beeline there to get my fix but it does seem to be only a twice or thrice yearly treat. Enter the Nescafe Latte Macchiato sachets. Normally I'm pretty straight laced when it comes to coffee. I like mine instant, averagely strong and with a dash of milk. I'm not one for all these fancy fresh coffees - except one particular Starbucks one - and so we usually just have various forms of instant coffee in our cupboard. When I saw these in Tesco I was ever so slightly tempted as I saw the magic 'macchiato' word on the front of the box (my absolute all time favourite Starbucks is caramel macchiato) but couldn't really bring myself to spend £2.99 on what is effectively 8 cups of coffee. Slightly hypocritical really when you take into account that I think nothing of spending more than that on just one cup of coffee in SB! A few weeks later, however I was browsing around Asda whilst waiting for my husband and saw that a box of these were just £1.50 in there. BARGAIN! Now, if I hadn't already seen the price of them in Tesco's then they probably wouldn't even have caught ...

Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips 07/11/2012

Even this Yorkshire lass doesn't mind this particular red rose!

Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips I don't wear much colour on my lips, only when going out or for special occasions etc. On a day to day basis I tend to stick with just using lip balm and, at this time of year in particular, I can never resisit buying them almost every time I go in a shop that sells them. For some reason I had never actually tried any of the Vaseline lip products and, after reading several good reviews of them, I decided to give one a try. PRICE AND AVAILABILITY These little tins of Vaseline Lip Therapy seem to be widely available from supermarkets and chemists although the price does vary wildly. I got mine from my local Bodycare shop where it was priced at just £1.19, but a quick look on both Tesco and Boots websites have them priced at £1.99. That's quite a big diference so I'm glad I was in Bodycare when temptation struck! They are available in quite a few different varieties; regular, cocoa butter, aloe vera, rosy lips and at the moment a limited edition pink bubble which, although priced extortionately at £3.49, I might have to treat myself to! Alternatively, Tesco also have a very good offer on at the moment where you can geta Vaseline "retro tin" which contains one each of the regular, aloe vera and rosy lips (and the tin too obviously!) for only £3, down from £6, so that would make a great stocking filler idea. THE PRODUCT For the price you pay you get a little round tin about an inch and a half in diameter which contains 20g of product. That doesn't sound a lot but I've ...

Avon Care Glycerine Hand And Nail Cream With Calcium 06/11/2012

A favourite hand cream

Avon Care Glycerine Hand And Nail Cream With Calcium I have tried dozens of different hand creams and of all of them, Avon Care Rich Moisture Hand and Nail Cream, has been one of the few that makes my hands feel how I think they should feel. To me, the point of using a hand cream is to soften, smooth, sooth and moisturise your skin and not leave any greasy feelings and, as far as I'm concerned, this Avon cream does exactly that. My mum bought this for me from Avon for £3 for a 125ml tube, and it is currently listed on their website at half price so as it's currently only £1.25 I think I'll be stocking up on a few tubes! They have updated the packagin since I was bought my tube and it now much more simple with just a white tube and blue accent colours. Although it looks like it still has a screw top lid, which is one of my major bug bears with products like this. The tube I have is quite a bit fussier in appearance, being a pale blue colour with darker blue and green accents. It states that it is formulated with glycerine and calcium to help restore moisture to hands and help protect against drying. At first I was baffled as to why they'd put calcium in a hand cream as it's something I always associate with stronger bones and then the light slowly dawned that it's there to help strengthen nails too. I keep a tube of this under the coffee table to that I can massage some into my hands when I'm watching tv. I find it takes quite a while to absorb into my skin properly as it is quite a thick cream so I only use little at a ...

D&G Eau de Toilette 05/11/2012

Dolce and Gabbana Eau de Toilette

D&G Eau de Toilette Many years ago I used to babysit for an adorable little baby whose mother had an absolutely amazing sense of style and who I longed to emulate "when I grew up"! One of the most striking things about her was how fabulous she always smelt so on day I plicked up the courage to ask what perfume she wore and it turned out to be this Dolce and Gabbana EDT (which I call red but which I think goes simply by the name of Dolce and Gabbana). Obviously as soon as I could I rushed out to by myself a bottle so I could smell just like her...sad I know! But that was over 15 years ago now and I still wear this perfume on a regular basis so it was obviously a good choice! It used to be widely available but rumour has it that it has now been discontinued and so I can currently only find it online. You can get it from the trusty Amazon for £33 for 50ml or £64.99 for the 100ml. As I am currently halfway down a 50ml bottle that I was bought four years ago I don't think I'd ever invest in the larger bottle, but if you go through a lot of perfume then it would probably be worth doing. This perfume comes beautifully packaged in a vivid red box with has an almost suedette feel to it. It looks and feels very stylish and luxurious without being too ott about it. The bottle inside is a tall, thin, elegant looking thing which is mainly clear and topped by a gold band and again, a red lid. I don't normally like the brighter colours but I do really like this bottle. It looks timeless, stylish and classic ...

Boots 17 Trio Eyue Shadow Set 02/11/2012

A bargain beyond a shadow of a doubt

Boots 17 Trio Eyue Shadow Set I have always been a fan of the "smokey eyes" look when it comes to eye shadow and have spent the last 15 years or so trying to perfect it using various eyeshadows and brushes, but still that elusive perfect effect is lost to me! No matter how much effort I put in to getting my eye makeup looking good, it never seems to quite get there and NEVER looks like the people in magazines (oh for a little airbrushing in real life!). I do find, however, that the trios of eyeshadows you can get from various brands (and to suit a variety of budgets) do tend to work quite well in building up the look that I want using different but complementing colours. I had always used browns on my eyes until a makeup artist friend of mine recommended I should think about using greens and gold to complement my red hair and blue eyes. So when I saw these Number 17 trios in Boots and was looking for something to spend my hard-earned advantage points on I decided to take her advice and treat myself to the "Green With Envy" trio, which no longer seems to be available, but included a gold, pale green and darker green. The first time I used it I was very impressed. Many eyeshadows can be very powdery and on more than one occasion I've ended up with more shadow on my cheeks than on my eyelids. This one, however, whilst not a cream shadow, is a slightly creamy powder, which means it is easy to apply without spilling it everywhere and it is also very easy to blend the colours together (which you would ...

Pantene Pro V Smooth & Sleek Shampoo 31/10/2012

Frizz free? Not me :(

Pantene Pro V Smooth & Sleek Shampoo As my hair is both curly and quite prone to dryness I usually suffer from lots of frizziness and so seem to spend my life not only trying to tame my curls but also attempting to smooth my hair as well in the hopes of leaving it looking sleek, defined and stylish. Pah! This usually only happens just after I step out of the salon door! Over the years I've tried many many shampoos and have no loyalty to a specific one, I just tend to buy either whatever's on offer when I'm shopping for some or one that catches my eye. Pantene is a brand I recognise and somewhat trust so I had no qualms about trying this smooth and sleek version of their shampoo when I saw it on offer in Tesco for only £2.50 for the 500ml bottle. As it usually retails around the £4.50 mark for a bottle this size I thought it was quite a good deal. This shampoo is widely available in supermarkets and chemists but can often be found on some kind offer somewhere or other so it is worth shopping around or stocking up when you see a deal. One thing I don't really like about the Pantene range is that their packaging is all very similar so it is easy to get mixed up with what you're buying...whether it be that you pick up the shampoo for curly hair when you wanted the smooth and sleek one or whether you pick up a conditioner instead of a shampoo. It is very easily done with this range...believe me! The bottle itself stands about 8 inches high and is an opaque white with black and green accent colours. The product ...

Kenco Millicano 30/10/2012

Millicano can

Kenco Millicano Our household is a coffee drinking household. Neither my husband or I ever drink tea (I'm pretty sure my mother feeding me tea laced with whiskey when I was a baby to help me sleep is the reason I now like neither tea nor whiskey!) and so we usually have 3 or 4 different jars of coffee lurking around in our cupboard. Whilst I do love coffee I'm what I like to call a "coffee commoner" and just like the straight forward instant type - the "proper coffee" is way too strong for me and, as I do the shopping in our house, I always buy a general instant coffee - usually whichever happens to be on offer at the time. Hubby on the other hand, whilst he's happy enough with normal coffee on a day to day basis, if we're ever at someone elses and he gets offered the proper, stronger stuff, will always accept. But as there's no point brewing a caffetiere full just for him (and he would never get up in time to do the whole process properly anyway!) we tend to just have whatever's in the cupboard as our daily brew. Until, that is, we stayed with my parents one weekend and my mum had a tin of this Kenco Millicano. I get my taste in coffee from my parents so they usually just have the normal instant coffee too but my brother has lives in the States for 10 years now and has got used to their stronger brews and mum had bought a tin of this for when he came home. WHAT IS IT AND WHERE CAN I BUY IT? If you haven't heard of Millicano - or seen the advert on know, the one where the ...

Yankee Candle Island Spa Wax Potpourri Tart 29/10/2012

Strange colour for the ingredients!

Yankee Candle Island Spa Wax Potpourri Tart Unfortunately, Yankee Candle seem to be in the habit of waiting until I find a fragrance that I absolutely adore and then discontinuing it! It has happened with most of my favourites now and the latest casualty was Island Spa. Luckily for me, however, my local garden centre was having a big sale and a couple of weekends ago I managed to stock up with several tarts for the bargain price of just 50p each, including 4 Island Spa. I rummaged and rummaged in their sale basket but alas, only four were in there. My fellow reviewers by now probably know all about Yankee Candle so I won't bore you with more information about the company (I've done a couple of other reviews if you want to read more about them). Suffice it to say they're an American candle company based in Deerfield Massachusetts and you'll struggle to find a better quality candle in the same price range. They were the first company to start making their now signature jar candles (exactly what they sound like) and also do their fragrances in tealights, samplers and tarts (as well as car fragrances, reed diffusers and many other products). If you're new to YC's I would highly recommend using either their tarts (if you have an oil burner) or their samplers in the first instance to decide whether you actually like the fragrance when it's burning as they jars can be quite an investment and a large one will set you back between £18 and £20 - a lot of money to spend if it turns out you don't really like the scent! A tart ...

Boots Essentials Curling Cream 26/10/2012

Curly wurly

Boots Essentials Curling Cream Regular readers of my reviews will no doubt be aware by now that I have long, curly, unruly hair that is prone to dryness, coarseness and frizz. It takes a lot of time, energy and products to tame it in any way and I have tried dozens over the years in attempt to transform my locks from big ball of frizz to sleek, defined and smooth curls. One product that I come back to time and time again is this Boots Curling Cream (now called Curl Creme). As part of the Essentials range, it is one of their 'value' products and I was first attracted to it by the price. Nowadays, with all the celebrity hair dressers it is all too easy to get tempted by their own products and to end up paying a fortune for something that doesn't give the results you hope for so it was quite refreshing to find something like this in a lower price bracket. As it is a Boots own brand product it is obviously only available from Boots shops or their online store (although it is currently out of stock due to supply issues but Boots reassures me they're working to correct that and it should be available again soon). Priced at only £1.32 for a 250ml tub it is excellent value and definitely won't break the bank if you fancy giving it a try yourself. The Curl Creme comes in a clear plastic tub with a screw top lid which I really like. Not only is it easy to see how much of the cream you have left but it is also really easy to control how much of the product you use at a time and to get every last bit out of the ...

Christian Dior Dior Addict Ultra Shine 25/10/2012

Do I adore Dior?

Christian Dior Dior Addict Ultra Shine I don't wear much lipstick. In fact I don't wear lipstick at all really apart from at weddings and very special nights out. I usually prefer to just wear a nice simple gloss on my lips because years of watching my mum applying her lipstick carefully every day with a brush, after first outlining her lips and then covering it with a coat of that really stingy stuff that is supposed to make it last longer had made me think that the application of lipstick is a long and time consuming process and one that I just couldn't be bothered with. Give me a quick sweep of a lip gloss wand any day! A few years ago, however, one of my best friends was working for a make up company in Paris and when i went to visit insisted on me having a full makeover - why thank you very much, don't mind if I do! When the make up artist asked what colour lipstick I normally wear the look of shock on her face when I told her I didn't wear it was rather quite amusing. These chic Parisienne stick insects just don't understand us Northern lasses it seems! She insisted on settling down with me and choosing just the right shade that would compliment my skin tones and the rest of the make up she had applied whilst still looking as natural as possible. There were many many shades and makes to choose from and, to be honest, I quickly lost interest and boredom set in. But eventually between my friend and Christelle they decided on a shade in the Dior Addict range called Rose Radiant (shade number 414 if you're ...

Hugo Boss for Women Eau de Parfum 23/10/2012

This Woman is the boss in my perfume collection!

Hugo Boss for Women Eau de Parfum Like a lot of women I know I seem to acquire perfumes without even realising I'm doing it. A gift here, a duty free treat there and the shelf in my bedroom just seems to get more and more crowded. Obviously a girl can't like every perfume out there so I find my favourites and then stick to them with everything else relegated to the category of "dust collector". One that remains steadily at the front of my shelf and in constant use, however, is Hugo Boss Woman. PRICE AND AVAILABILITY As it is made my a big name in the world of perfume and aftershave you can find Hugo Boss Woman very easily. It is usually available anywhere that sells perfumes and often in the cheaper shops as well so with this one it's more a case of shopping around rather than struggling to find it. For example, it is available from Boots in the 30ml size for £30. Obviously you would also get advantage points when buying there but you wouldn't get enough to compensate for the fact that the same bottle can be bought online from for only £22.45 and the larger 50ml bottle can be bought for £25.80, so still less than you'd pay for the smaller bottle in Boots. As you also receive free delivery from this website it is a much better value purchase. As I already said, the perfume is available in both a 30 and 50ml sized bottle but can also sometimes be found in a huge 90ml bottle (£37.95) so if you like it, it obviously works out cheaper in the long run to buy the biggest bottle you can ...
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