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since 02/06/2011


Make Up Academy MUA Extreme Volume Mascara 25/09/2016

Look into my eyes

Make Up Academy MUA Extreme Volume Mascara Every mascara I truly love seems to end up being discontinued or replaced with a new improved version that doesn't work as well. So I am not product loyal anymore. I have just cleared out some mascara tubes from my make up collection comprising 8 different brands, so I thought it was time to review the one that was far the cheapest of the lot and definitely not the worst quality. The Make Up Academy (MUA) Extreme volume mascara cost me a tiny £2.00 for 7ml, in Superdrug. I have it in Extreme black. You can buy it from MUA direct on their website, otherwise it is exclusive to Superdrug in store and online. PRODUCT PROMISES Magnifies lashes for a "spectacular" false lash effect. . MAKE UP ACADEMY MUA are a budget beauty brand but low prices definitely do not mean low quality in their case. I prefer some of their products to more premium brands although like with almost every range, some products are better than others. This mascara is part of the Pro range which usually means a higher price for a more specialist product but as this still costs just £2, there is not much of a premium to pay. In general I would try products from the MUA core/basic range which start at £1, before trying a similar item in the Pro collection as I think the former is usually better. THE BRUSH I was a bit worried when I spied the hefty brush that comes with this mascara as I don't have the steadiest hands and I thought it may be a bit unwieldy for me. Actually I love it as it is good ...

Lifemax 965.1 Talking Clock 12/06/2016

There's an American stuck in our clock

Lifemax 965.1 Talking Clock The Lifemax talking clock is an alarm clock that can be set to announce the time out loud on the hour, or whenever you press a large button on the top. Aimed at the visually impaired and those who have trouble telling the time for other reasons, I bought the clock for my mum who has developed spatial awareness problems due to long standing health issues. This means she has periodic difficulty reading a normal clock face, as well as trouble gauging the passing of time, not to mention hearing and vision problems. We had already purchased a talking watch for her from the same brand but unfortunately the talking clock is less successful. I paid £9.99 in Argos but Amazon are among other stockists. QUICK FEATURES * Quartz analogue and digital displays * Announces time on hour (optional) or when top button pressed * Three alarm sounds - cockerel, beeping, owl * Snooze Function (10 mins) * Takes 2 AA batteries, not included * Display is not lit at night although hands technically have glow in dark tips * Plastic casing with silver finish and white face IS IT EASY TO SET UP? I found it easy to set the time and I didn't actually need to refer to the instructions for this. The print size is not as small as that used in the operating "manual" of the last Lifemax product I got going but it is closely printed and I think could be better spaced out to accommodate the needs of the visually impaired for whom this product is chiefly aimed. Those who have severe vision loss should ...

Jumbo PortaPuzzle Deluxe 1000 07/06/2016

The final piece of the puzzle

Jumbo PortaPuzzle Deluxe 1000 As part of my mum's ongoing recuperation from illness, she is required to do some brain exercises and one of the suggestions was to have a go at jigsaw puzzles. So I bought the family a Portapuzzle Deluxe 1000 for £25.00 in WH Smith, a reduction of £5. Shortly afterwards I discovered she still had a Portapuzzle standard in her attic that we were all convinced had been shed in a previous house move. So I will quickly compare the two in case you are wondering whether to pay more for this deluxe model. WHY THE PORTAPUZZLES ARE USEFUL It seems that whenever someone sets up a jigsaw on a table, someone else needs to use the surface for something else straight away. So a Portapuzzle provides an alternative surface for you to "puzzle" on, and when you have had enough for one day or been kicked off the area, you can fold place a protective pair of panels over your incomple jigsaw, fold down the top flap, and zip the puzzle away. Then lift the Portapuzzle up and carrying it out of the way, and when you next unfold the thing, your half done jigsaw should be waiting for you exactly as you left it, thanks to the non slip surface. You can get roll up jigsaw mats that do the same thing but we have had those before and they were not all successful at keeping the puzzle bits together. DIMENSIONS Suitable for puzzles of up to 1000 pieces and a max size of 68x 49cm. Size when open -114cm x82cm Size when closed - 114x 63cm IS IT WORTH PAYING £5-10 MORE FOR THE DELUXE V STANDARD ...

Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch 31/05/2016

The watch that talks

Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch My mum has suffered many health problems over the last few years leaving her with vision, hearing and neurological issues. The last affects spatial awareness and gives her periodic difficulties with understanding an analogue clock face and confusion about the time of day. For this reason, I purchased her a talking digital watch so she could check the time without having to read a clock face. These kind of watches are often used by the visually impaired of course, and also by those with conditions such as Alzhiemers who can also find it hard to interpret a traditional clock display. Mum was not used to wearing a watch in the past and I was not sure she would adapt to wearing one now so I looked for a cheap but reasonable quality product. I came up with the Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch on Amazon for just under £10, with the rrp quoted as £12.99. It is a unisex sporty style, rather than anything elegant but the face seemed easier to read than others so I ordered that one but bear in mind Lifemax offer many variations of talking watches if this style does not appeal. QUICK FEATURE LIST * Talking function - gives time aloud on the hour if desired, or when special button is pressed at any time * Large LCD display features hour, minute, and seconds plus day of week * Date can also be announced * Has 4 independent alarm settings NOT 5 as mentioned in Amazon product listing *Stopwatch function * NOT waterproof * Plastic strap/casing, with stainless steel back, buckle ...

Rolson 60381 Double Sided Carpet Tape, 50 mm 12/05/2016

A sticky experience

Rolson 60381 Double Sided Carpet Tape, 50 mm Before my boyfriend and I got the flooring in our then new home sorted we had a lino floored passage and kitchen - the previous owners really had a thing for 70s style orange/ brown lino in fact and some had even got in the bedrooms. My boyfriend knows how I like retro things so he was probably worried I would decide to keep it. Hence his keeness to cover the thing up with some small carpet offcuts from his parents home, before the lot was replaced. That was great but the carpet pieces slip on smooth floors so I bought some Rolson double sided carpet tape to fix them in place. I paid £3.80 on Amazon who said it was reduced from £6. It is one of those brands available from a lot of stockists so it is worth shopping around - I saw the same size roll for as much as £9.00 on one site! Each roll is 5cm wide and 25m long although I missed that last bit of info on Amazon so I ordered three when two would have been enough. The is made of "guaze fibre" should you wish to know. WHAT THE TAPE IS FOR The tape is double sided like all carpet tape so it can bind the the carpet to the floor below. Some are meant to give a temporary hold but having used an ineffective one of those before, I decided we needed something intended to provide longer lasting hold as I hoped they would be stronger. Rolson do not say this tape fixes permanently but I suppose many carpets are down for a long time so maybe they don't want to drawn on whether this could last for a decade. Our floor underneath ...

Silverline Switched Extension Lead 17/04/2016

A powerful tale of disappointment

Silverline Switched Extension Lead Whenever I stay with my parents in their new home, I feel the lack of power sockets they have, in the bedrooms in particular. This doesn't bother them in the slightest as they rarely use the limited number they have, but with just the one in my guest room, things can get tricky if I want to have a lamp on and a phone power bank charging. So I bought an extension lead to use when I stay. I never thought I would end up reviewing the b@*! thing but after just rejecting my third, I vowed to help others steer clear of a time wasting purchase. I thought it would be simple, I would just pick the length of extension lead I needed - 2m would be ample, how many sockets it would give me and whether I wanted to pay for surge protection or not. I decided against the latter as I was only going to plug in low value devices and not my laptop. So I bought the Silverline brand 2m 4 socket 13amp extension lead ( product code 341156) for £6.99 in a local hardware store. Amazon sell it for £6.53. What attracted me to this one was every socket had it's own power switch and neon on indicator light, which I thought was safer as well as useful as it would be obvious if I had left any socket on. I had heard of Silverline and the lead was stamped with the relevant BS safety marks so I felt confident. Silly me. THE GOOD POINT Yes, the good features number just the one. It is as slender as I can imagine it is practical to be and so takes up little room. There are no screw holes on the back for ...

Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation 12/04/2016

Mauve + yellow + green = perfect skin?!

Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation I have often received a recommendation to try Bourjois foundation, so a little while ago, I did just that. I bought the 123 Perfect foundation when it was on offer in Boots because out of all the Bourjois products, this one seemed the most interesting. It is supposed to contain yellow, mauve and green pigments which act as colour correctors to give you an even complexion. Don't worry, you can't see any of these pigments when the foundation is on, they are there only in small concentrations. Phew! I chose what appears to be the lightest shade, Vanilla Clair or light vanilla. The full price is £10.99 for 30ml and you can buy it in all the usual places such as Superdrug and Boots. PRODUCT CLAIMS The yellow pigments are supposed to deal with dark circles, the mauve ones are for "anti dullness" and the green disguises rednesss. Bourjois says their foundation has a "second skin" texture and that it provides hydrating, flawless coverage for up to 16 hours. It is described as medium coverage and dermatologically tested, and lastly it has an SPF of 10. IS IT EASY TO APPLY/BLEND? The foundation comes in a glass pump top bottle that works well. The amount of foundation coming out is a lot better controlled than my last product which shot out at the slightest press! The foundation seemed a little thick when I first pumped it but when I apply it, it actually feels quite thin. Odd but that is actually a good combination as it is not too drippy before you get it on your face, but ...

Kit Universal Premium Emergency Battery Charger 05/04/2016

Charge me more please

Kit Universal Premium Emergency Battery Charger The Kit Universal Premium Battery Charger has saved my bacon more than once. It seems I do more and more on my smartphone, and so inevitably I always seem to need to charge it. That is fine most of the time but you can bet your life that I will run out of battery power at just the time I don't have a power socket to hand. I saw someone using an emergency charger/ power bank when I was stuck waiting for a long overdue train on a cold and snowy January day and I thought how useful it would be if I could also charge my phone whenever and wherever I needed. So I got the device name down, and ordered it from Amazon, at the cost of £12.99, a two pound reduction on the usual selling price. I have also seen them on sale in W.H Smith and Carphone Warehouse. SPECIFICATIONS 2000mAh capacity USB output Comes with three tips to make it compatible with "most devices" - micro USB, Mini USB, Apple 30 pin tip. States suitable for use with Apple lightning iPhones when connected to their charge cable. Up to 60 days standby time - in theory HOW IT WORKS The emergency charger is a power bank containing a Li-on rechargeable battery. You connect it to a usb charger or charging port using the supplied cable and adapters, and charge it up. (Some phones would need you to use your phones existing USB charge cable) Then when you need to charge your phone you connect that device to the power bank and the power transfers from the power bank to your phone. PERFECTLY PORTABLE The charger ...

Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial Wipes 23/03/2016

Yes to Cucumbers

Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Facial Wipes I used to use face wipes if I was really tired or travelling and I wanted a quick and easy way to remove make up. But I never felt they did a really great job so when I discovered how much these disposable products add to land fill and marine pollution, I decided I could definitely give them a rest. But a friend recommended the Yes To Cucumber facial wipes to me and mentioned that they were 95% natural and made of compostable biodegradable materials. Add to that she said they worked well and were not tested on animals, and I thought they sounded my kind of product. I paid £1.99 for a pack of 10 wipes in Holland and Barrett, but they are widely available in places such as Superdrug, Boots, Amazon, and Waitrose. The 30 pack is better value at around £3.99 but I was happy to get a travel size pack as I would not be using the wipes on a regular basis. I thought if the pack didn't fasten well, and dried out between uses, I wouldn't have wasted too many wipes. Actually the pack seals perfectly so I need not have worried. WHY YOU WANT TO CHOOSE YES TO Yes To are a natural inspired beauty range free of what they call harsh chemicals, and parabens, and many of their products contain organic ingredients, although my wipes don't carry any official organic scheme accreditation mark. I have used a few products from Yes To and most have been good, as well as cheaper than many other "natural" lines. You also have the satisfaction of knowing a percentage of their profits goes to ...

Lloytron E5602SS 20/03/2016

The Daily Grind

Lloytron E5602SS The Lloytron E5602SS is a spice and coffee mill, and currently one of the kitchen gadgets most in use in my kitchen. We had a shaky start and the mill spent it's first few months stuffed in a kitchen cupboard. I received it as a gift from a relative who had seen me pounding spices in a pestle and mortar and so they thought having an electric spice grinder would make my life easier. The truth is I only used the pestle when I was dealing with a few spices that were not hard to work with - very therapeutic! - as I have a spice mill attachment on my Kenwood kitchen machine for harder spices/seeds. But now I split my time between two homes and I can't lug the Kenwood between one and the other. So the Lloytron mill has come into its own. It takes up very little room in my parents new smaller kitchen and setting it going is any case easier than getting out the larger appliance. My mill was a gift. Looking online I can see several stockists including Amazon and Tesco Direct. It costs between £14 -£16. SPECIFICATIONS 150w max power 50g capacity Stainless steel blades and "stainless steel finish" exterior Non slip base with integrated cord tidy. Safety lock. One year guarantee, extending to 2 years if you register product using coupon inside the box. Cord length 93cm approx (yes, 93!) PRESENTATION The mill is a compact little thing, and so I tend to leave it out on the work surface. But it can also tuck neatly into a small cupboard. It has a stainless steel finish on ...

Barry M Flawless Finish Foundation 18/03/2016

Barry is my matte mate

Barry M Flawless Finish Foundation I wanted to try Barry M Flawless finish matte foundation because it was advertised as both mattifying and moisturising which is something of a holy grail if you have combination skin such as myself. I have found many products that claim to mattify my oilier t zone either don't work at all, or only for short periods and I am only thankful my skin doesn't develop shine as much as it used to. I then find that products that do mattify can make your skin look too unnatural or even dull and they tend not to look at all good on my dry cheeks. So it is great to write this review and to be able to report that the Barry M Flawless Finish foundation actually works! It cost me £5.99 for 30g in Superdrug and it is also available from Boots at the same price. WHAT IT PROMISES TO DO Barry M say their foundation has a super blendable and oil free formula that combines to give a flawless natural looking matte finish. It is supposed to be hydrating too. This is one of Barry M's vegan formula products - which means that as well as not having been tested on animals, it contains no ingredients of animal origin. (If you ever need to check which other Barry M products are animal free, the easiest way is to go to their website and click the ingredients listing for whichever product you are interested in and look for a green vegan logo at the bottom.) PRESENTATION A plastic pump top bottle holds the foundation. I had some issues with this when I first used it as I found I had to make a ...

Russell Hobbs 20070 07/03/2016

Noisy but nice

Russell Hobbs 20070 I bought the Russell Hobbs 20070 Cambridge cordless kettle when my boyfriend and I were setting up our holiday caravan. We wanted a metal bodied kettle to avoid the unpleasant "new kettle" smell or taste that some plastic ones have. As we had a lot of things to buy, the fact the kettle only cost £16.00 was a big attraction plus the easy pour spout which looked perfect for filling hot water bottles! We bought our kettle from a local hardware shop but Argos sell it for the same price. I have also seen it in Tesco for a few pounds more. SPECIFICATIONS 1.7 litre capacity Concealed heating element 3000w Brushed stainless steel Integrated cord storage. Removable washable filter Easy pour non drip spout Boils one cup of water in 45 seconds Boil dry protection Cord length approx 56cm long GETTING STARTED Setting up is just a case of plugging in and filling up. There is only one switch to operate so I doubt you will need to consult the user guide but a pamphlet is there should you need to be reminded not to submerge the kettle in water while it is on.. The kettle made a " normal" tasting cup of tea and coffee straight away. There was no new kettle kind of smell or taste. HEY GOOD LOOKING The kettle has a brushed stainless steel finish which I thought looked smart and something that would be easy to fit in with any other kitchen purchases we still had to make. It needs wiping quite often to keep marks off, but it is a quick task. The element inside is concealed ...

Artdeco Pure Moisture Lipstick 04/03/2016

A German gives me lip and that's just fine

Artdeco Pure Moisture Lipstick Artdeco make up is a completely new cosmetic brand to me, but it is one I have quickly fallen in love with. I first came across a few of their lip products when Amazon threw them up on a search for something completely different. I liked the colours offered, and a 50% reduction in price for some sealed the deal. PRICE I paid £5.00 for the pure moisture lipstick colour Sanguine Red (4g) , which usually sells at around £10.00. That seems about the average price for Artdeco lip products although some push up to nearer £15.00. I have two more of their lipsticks on order, for which I paid £7.29 and 5.96 respectively by waiting for the right colours to be reduced. You could find a few colour options for even less, so don't be put off having a browse if you don't want to pay the max £15.00 for a lipstick you don't have a tester for. Unfortunately my favourite Sanguine red is back to costing £9.15 but I would still feel I was getting a good deal if I paid that much as the quality is very good. ARTDECO? There isn't anything especially vintage about Artdeco products - the colours range isn't dated and the packaging is sometimes very modern looking. My lipstick comes from the Pure Moisture range, which is packaged in a classic looking gold coloured metal look tube, but others come in a more basic black plastic package. The lettering used is Deco era style but it doesn't make the tube look too retro if that is not your thing, as it it quite small and subtle. Art Deco are a ...

Cuprinol Ducksback 19/02/2016

What all the best dressed sheds are wearing

Cuprinol Ducksback When I took on a second allotment I inherited a shed that did not seem to have ever been painted or treated, bar perhaps any basic wood preservative it may have been sold with. After clearing the jungle surrounding it, I made it my priority to give it some weather protection and colour, thanks to Cuprinol Ducksback. It is available in a few colours, but I choose the dark Forest Green to match the fruit supports I had. I paid £12.99 in a local hardware shop for a 5l can, and I can see that Amazon and Argos sell it for around the same price. WHY I CHOSE THIS PRODUCT I have used Cuprinol wood treatments before and have always been happy with the result. The Ducksback is a wax enriched treatment that is supposed to repel water and protect wood from that and frost for up to 5 years. I liked the colour options as I wanted to smarten up the shed as well as protect it. The promise of a quick drying and non drip formula made this product seem hassle free too. HOW MUCH I USED Cuprinol say that the 5 litre can will cover up to 24 square metres or about 8 fence panels, although this information is not so helpful when you realise this is an estimate based on a single coat, and Cuprinol say you will need to apply at least 2-3 coats, and more if a strong colour change is needed. All I can say is that I used most of the can up after thickly applying two coats to the outside of my 6ft x 6ft shed, plus the interior side of the double doors. One coat gave a pale green colour, and I ...

W7 Fashion Lipstick 17/02/2016

Hi Barbie, I have your lipstick..

W7 Fashion Lipstick I bought a W7 Fashion lipstick because I like their eyeshadow palettes and I have heard high recommensations of some of their other products, from those who don't normally use such cheap and cheerful brand. It cost me only £1.99 from Amazon, although certain shades cost a pound more. (I did not have to pay for delivery as it was part of an order with more than £20 worth of eligible items in.) You can also find their products at discount stores like B&M and independent chemists in my experience. I choose the colour Lollipop which looked a soft pink, and in the absence of any reviews I didn't quite realise what I had let myself in for.. W7 W7 are an inexpensive British brand of make up that isn't that well known. I think they offer a big range of colourful cosmetics but the quality is a bit variable in my experience. They do seem to keep up with the trends though, and if you are a teenager with a limited budget but unlimited imagination, they do offer a lot of choice. The so called fashion lipsticks come in a big range of colours and I can see they offer both matte and gloss finishes. But I had no idea my colour would actually turn out to be a sort of pearlised baby pink with a certain shimmer to it. Not the sort of look that has probably appealled to me since I was about 8 in other words! I am sure some websites/ stockists will describe or show the effect better to potential buyers so I can't blame W7 themselves if the colour I chose turned out to not really be me. I ...
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