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An entire year has gone by and I only managed 1 review. I promise to be back on top for in January 2015 x

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since 16/03/2011


Brita Aluna Jug 13/01/2014

Betta With A Brita

Brita Aluna Jug Apart from a daily caffeine fix two to three times a day it's rare I drink anything other than plain old water. Problem is, in Wiltshire the water is anything but plain. I live in a notorious hard water area that quickly scums and scales anything it comes in contact with. Chalky deposits and slightly cloudy water are a familiar sight that neither look or smell appealing. The water isn't particularly pleasant to drink either often having a slight chlorine aftertaste. After just two years, despite religiously descaling my kettle on a monthly basis it finally succumbed to the detrimental effects of lime scale and hard water deposits. When I brought my Morphy Richards Accent kettle as a replacement I was determined not to let it suffer the same misery as its predecessor and decided to invest in a water filter, not just to prolong the lie of my kettle but also provide purer tasting water. ~~~ Price And Availability ~~~ There are dozens of filter systems available, Brita, being a brand I am most familiar with. I opted for the Brita Aluna 2.4 litre which requires Maxtra filter cartridges, one of which is supplied with the system when purchased. I purchased my Aluna at the beginning of 2012 from Tesco for £12.80, apparently a saving of £3.20 from its usual selling price of £16.00 although it's currently retailing for £10.50 (50p more expensive than the slightly larger Aluna XL). It's widely available in most stores (high street and online). Clear, frosted and slightly ...

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet 17/08/2013

Leap Into Learning

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet At age five and seven respectively, my two youngest children are beginning to show an interest in technology and electronic gadgets. I had been reluctantly allowing them to play with some of the gaming apps on both my iPod and iPad under supervision but these devises are not designed to be used by children and are far too expensive to replace if broken. I don't believe children should spend their spare time playing electronic games but I do appreciate technology has a greater role in their lives than mine when I was their age and if they must use electronic toys then they should at least have an education value. After much research, Hubby and I decided to buy the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer, an electronic child friendly tablet suitable for children aged between four and nine years old. We brought ours from Argos for £79.99 which doesn't include any accessories such as a carry case or headphones. ~~~ What Is The LeapPad ~~~ The LeapPad is a multi functional, portable device and much more than just a handheld gamer. It offers 2GB memory and combines a stills camera, video recorder, microphone, digital reading library, art studio, diary, interactive dictionary and progress chart all roiled into one. It's also a progress chart that records your childs learning achievements within the various apps although this is an element of the device that I have yet to fully explore. The LeapPad looks like a cross between between an iPad and iPod. The design of which is basic ...

Marks & Spencer Per Una Kalidoscope Print Maxi Jersey Dress 08/09/2012

A Dress To Impress

Marks & Spencer Per Una Kalidoscope Print Maxi Jersey Dress My hubby always teases me for being vertically challenged. At a meager 5'1 and edging more and more towards the cuddlier size of life I often struggle to find dresses that don't trail on the floor or completely swamp my frame. Maxi dresses are usually a no no because I find them far too long and if the waist area is excessively gathered it draws more attention to my middle, making me look far bigger than I am. Many stores offer a selection of dresses in varying lengths however, sometimes even the shorter options are too long. One store that always caters for my height and size perfectly is good old Marks and Sparks. The Per Una Kalidoscope Print Maxi Jersey dress is available online from (product code: T625130G) and in selected stores. I found mine wasn't available in my high street branch but was in a larger store at my nearest retail park. The dress is available in eight sizes (eight to twenty two), each in either a long or standard length. This dress retails at £39.50, which is a universal price, regardless of the size you opt for. One thing I do love about Marks and Sparks is they don't penalsie the customer by increasing the price when buying larger sizes like other stores often do. ~~~ The Dress ~~~ I opted for a standard length size sixteen which, although long on myself doesn't trail on the floor, grazing just above my toes (a couple of cm's from the floor). To offer an idea of the expected length, the model on the ...

Bare Escentuals i.d. bareMinerals Mineral Veil 19/06/2012

Veil Of Versatility

Bare Escentuals i.d. bareMinerals Mineral Veil If I told you there was a cosmetic so versatile it could single handedly reduce shine, minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines and act as a makeup base and finishing powder you'd probably not believe me. Yet Bare Minerals, Mineral Veil can do all the mentioned with relative ease. ~~~ What Is Mineral Veil ~~~ Mineral Veil is quite different from any other makeup products I've used. It's a stand alone cosmetic that doesn't truly fit in any one particular cosmetic category. The only product I can think of to compare it to would be a traditional finishing powder although strictly speaking it isn't one. Mineral Veil, like all Bare Minerals products is made using a blend of organic extracts, finely ground to a delicate, ultra fine powder. This makes the product incredibly light weight and very easy to apply. Predominantly it's used over mineral foundation and/or concealer to finish the makeup, just like a finishing powder. What I've found different about Mineral Veil however, is unlike finishing powder it still allows that dewy, natural glow of my foundation to show without creating a powdery, matt finish. It sets my makeup, preventing the minerals from smudging, softening the overall look by providing a natural, sheer finish that minimises the appearance of my open pores. One thing I really like about this product is it's not skin type, tone or age bias. Mineral Veil glides across the skin, setting on top of my mineral foundation and providing I ...

Iwantit iPod1010 2.0 14/06/2012

Music On The Move

Iwantit iPod1010 2.0 Last Christmas I was treated to several lovely gifts by the other half and my children, one of which was an iPod Touch and with it came a docking station, or to be more precise the iwantit iPod 1010 docking station. I wasn't fully convinced that a docking station would serve me any purpose seeing how I can listen to music via my iPod with the volume set to maximum but surprisingly it has been well used over the last few months. The 1010 is a portable docking station that requires 4 x AA batteries (2 for each speaker) if you opt to use without mains power although battery life is compromised if using for long periods of time and heavy usage. My batteries were drained after approximately 4 to 5 hours of play so continual replacement can become costly and so more often than not I opt for mains power. A welcome relief is the 1010 comes complete with a mains adapter which connects to the "DC in" port (nestled behind the stand panel) with a good length cable just under 145cms in length, unlike other small gadgets these days that require mains cables to be purchased separately. First impressions and the 1010 looks compact, slimline and stylish and incredibly light weight at just 250 grams. The glossy black front panel, back and trimming set against the light grey speakers look sleek and modern although it doesn't offer any particular design statement but then I guess it was never brought with intention to double as a center piece for discussion. The dock and stand open ...

Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush 14/05/2012

Brush Strokes

Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush An artist is only as good as the tools they use, or so I've heard. Despite wearing makeup since my teens (I'm now in my thirties) it's only been in the last five or so years I've bothered to invest in quality makeup brushes. It seemed logical if I was prepared to pay a premium for the cosmetics I apply to my skin, I should be prepared to invest in superior tools to apply it. Quantity made way for quality and so began the cull of the brushes in my kit as I paid closer attention to the brushes I use and need, discarding and replacing only the essentials with a like for like of higher quality. Three years or so ago, when I made the transition to mineral makeup however, some of my brushes weren't conducive to applying this type of cosmetic and so several replacements were required. The BareMinerals Full Coverage Kabuki, as it's now known (formerly BareEscentuals) is. for me, an absolute essential and the brush I consider to be most important in my collection. Partly because it's the most used but also because it's just a fantastic all rounder. ~~~ What Is The Kabuki Brush ~~~ Kabuki's are designed to be used with dry, powder based cosmetics which is why this style of brush is ideal for use with mineral makeup. This Kabuki is incredibly versatile and although is excellent for applying blusher I use mine solely for applying my mineral foundation and mineral veil because the two products can be used together or on their own so it doesn't matter that I use ...

Olay Regenerist Thermal Skin Polisher 02/05/2012

Scratching The Surface

Olay Regenerist Thermal Skin Polisher Throughout my late teens and early twenties I took the youthful complexion of my skin for granted. When it comes to our complexions we are not all created equal and during my life my skin has endured all manor of ailments including spots, blemishes and enlarged pores on the apples of my cheeks, possibly the worst of all skin conditions not to mention a battering from the elements. Now in my mid thirties, those tell tale signs of ageing are beginning to appear and as prevention is better than cure I decided rather than just conceal with cosmetics I would attempt to tackle my skin problems head on. Let the battle commence..... For ten years I had remained loyal to my usual face scrub until I tried a tester of Olay's Thermal Skin Polisher, part of the Regenerist range of anti ageing products that include serums, creams, cleansers and a dermabrasion kit, amongst others Priced at the higher end of high street skin care, Olay products are not cheap with this skin polisher easily relieving the strain of burgeoning purse. One 125ml tube costs around the £7.50 mark which I feel is pricey for what's essentially just a facial scrub although thankfully one tube lasts me a little over five weeks (used daily), thus working out to around 22pence per day which is fairly reasonable. I have checked numerous online retailers and the price seems to be standard. To date, the most competitive deal I have found has been in Boots where Olay products can often be found in a buy three for the ...

Argos BB00939A Deluxe Steel Party BBQ 21/04/2012

A Right Good Grill-ing

Argos BB00939A Deluxe Steel Party BBQ It usually happens somewhere between the months of June to August when my hubby finally surrenders to his urge to pay homage to his primitive ancestry. His desire to cook chunks of flesh over open flames becomes over whelming and with the slightest hint of sun, out of the shed the barbecue is dragged ready for another summer of al fresco dinning. Indulging hubby in his yearly ritual, last year I was sent on a mission to buy a new barbecue in replacement to the one that had spent most of it's life exposed to the elements thus becoming dilapidated and rusted and quite frankly unsafe to use. ~~~ Price And Availability ~~~ After viewing several versions on-line and in various stores I opted for the Argos Deluxe Charcoal Trolley BBQ. I paid £39.99 which, at the time was half price. Today, the barbecue is still available at Argos but now retails slightly higher with a standard price of £79.99 although if you act quickly, Argos are offering one third off making it only £53.29 (current April 2012), which I think is far more price appropriate as nearer the £80 mark there are certainly alternatives that offer a better build quality although perhaps not size. ~~~ In General ~~~ The barbecue is fully constructed from steel with the exception of the two wheels which are made from a durable plastic. The barbecue comes completely flat packed for home assembly and fully boxed, is fairly light weight at approximately 20kg or there abouts. Fully packaged it can ... 17/04/2012

Seeking Surveys I've been completing online surveys for around eighteen months and am currently an active member of twenty or so panels. Survey sites provide me with a simple means of increasing my household income easily around my home life, allowing me to earn some pocket money at hours that suit and with the minimum amount of effort on my part. On average, I earn anywhere between £50 to £100 each month (spread over several sites) depending on frequency of surveys and my availability to participate. By far the most financially rewarding and consistent site I am a member of is Vivatic. Not as well known as other sites, but for me anyway, certainly the most profitable. ~~~~ About Vivatic ~~~~ Company information is held quite close to the chest although I can tell you they are based in London and are a division of MarketingVF Ltd, Reading, Berkshire. Vicatic is a purely work based site with no community aspect, which personally I don;t have an issue with as I rarely get involved with the community forums on other simular sites. Vivatic offer other freelance work as well as surveys which includes market research, data entry, proof reading and writing but to gain access to this additional work, members must pass a writing test. The test is rarely available (announcements the writing test is live is only available on Vivatic's Twitter page) and when it does become available members must act fast as it could be live for anything from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. ...

VO5 Treat Me Right Intensive Conditioning Treatment 15/02/2012

Hydration Elation!

VO5 Treat Me Right Intensive Conditioning Treatment I inflict a fair amount of stress to my hair including daily washing and heat styling. Regular blow drying and straightening leaves my hair worse for wears as the ends become coarse and dry and prone to breakage and without care my hair simply looks lifeless and dull. Although I do my utmost to compensate mistreating my locks by means of regular trips to my hairdresser, conditioning after every wash and heat defence to protect whilst straightening, my hair still needs an intensive treatment in order to maintain a good condition. I rarely remain loyal to any one haircare range and yet I've been so impressed with Gloss Me Smoothly shampoo and conditioner by VO5, a haircare brand that has seen a massive overhaul in both the packaging and contents of it's products that I decided to try Treat Me Right, an intensive twice weekly conditioner that's rich formula provides my hair with that extra nourishment a daily conditioner can't. ~~~ Hair Therapy ~~~ Treat Me Right is an intensive, deeply moisturising, rinse out conditioner designed to revive dry, damaged, coloured and heat styled hair by revitalising, strengthening and replenishing moisture, thus leaving hair feeling soft, conditioned and manageable whilst appearing healthy and shiny. Treat Me Right's key ingredients includes an infusion of pure essential oils all of which have proven benefits for both the skin and hair so naturally I assumed this product would be kind to my scalp where as some other intensive treatments I've ...

Diamondbrite Aftercare Pack 05/02/2012

Grime To Shine

Diamondbrite Aftercare Pack I've little interest in motors, even driving bores me and cleaning is usually performed under duress, a quick reminder that I really should pay attention to the investment my hubby spent several thousand pounds on when what I really wanted was a new kitchen! On the rare(ish) occasions I bother to clean the car, I always use Diamondbrite, a comprehensive range of professional valeting products. For those whom enjoy Sunday afternoons on the driveway with their beloved transportation this review will probably have you bubbling with excitement. For those like me, who aren't too fussed if their wheels look puddle splashed for a month or so then I present you with a little light reading to ease you into the land of nod (just remember to rate when you awaken!) ---- What Is Diamondbrite ---- Diamondbrite is a two part treatment applied to the exterior of the vehicle and designed to provide a tough, durable, high gloss coating on the paintwork, a protective skin if you like consisting quite simply of a shampoo and Conserver which provides complete protection to the cars exterior. Applied by approved Diamondbrite professional valeters and available for caravans (Caravanbrite) and marine craft (Marinebrite) the treatment, made from refined rock oils has a proven track record for paint protection even being widely used by the aviation industry. Today, most cars (new and used) have had the Diamondbrite coating applied by the dealership, the cost of which is built into the forecourt ...

Deya Limited 23/01/2012

The Yellow Book Road

Deya Limited ~~~ Introduction ~~~ I'm a stay at home mum with young children, one who's just at nursery and a hubby who's full time driving job varies on a daily basis depending on his work load. A lack of flexibility on my part means finding work particularly tricky as I can't guarantee when I will be available and child care costs usually total more than I would earn working on a part time basis. I wanted a job that I could fit around my home life and supplement my husbands income without an initial outlay and without canvassing where I would yield a guaranteed payment on a non commission basis. Once, sometimes twice a year I deliver the Thomson Local, BT Phone Book and Yellow Pages for extra pennies, the latter two through a company called Deya. Distribution of the Yellow Pages has been my most recent job and the one I will concentrate on for the purpose of this review. It's fair to say that door to door distribution is not for everyone. If you don't like outdoor work or walking long distances there's no point applying although Deya offer several other opportunities that I will explain a little later. To offer you some background on the business, Deya are a distribution company based in Wokingham, Berkshire who specialise in mass door to door deliveries of items such as the BT Phone Book and Yellow Pages amongst others. Deya has a fairly extensive client base which includes BT, Yell, Cable and Wireless and Marks and Spencers to name a few. Started in 1989, Deya, according to their ...

Bare Escentuals Multi-Tasking Summer Bisque SPF20 09/01/2012

Conceal Appeal

Bare Escentuals Multi-Tasking Summer Bisque SPF20 I accept imperfections equal individuality, that dark circles, uneven skin and blemishes are the simple quirks of ones appearance but that doesn't mean I like them on myself. I've always been self conscious regarding my own "perceived" skin inadequacies and consequently seldom leave my house without wearing make up of some description. If nothing else a good concealer is Paramount and Multi Tasking Summer Bisque (here on referred to as just Summer Bisque) is an imperative product in my cosmetic case. Although it's primary use is as a concealer it can be just as easily adapted to become an all over face cover or foundation. ~~~ What Is Summer Bisque ~~~ Summer Bisque, not to be confused with the slightly paler shade of Bisque is a multi tasking mineral concealer that works in much the same way as my old traditional liquid or stick concealers. It's designed to camouflage unwanted blemishes and conceal minor skin imperfections such as Rosacea, broken capillaries and light scarring but also doubles as an eye shadow base where a light dusting along the eye lids provides me with an excellent base that holds the shadow in place and prevents the colour from sinking into the creases and smudging. Derived from a blend of natural minerals and organic extracts finely ground to a powder of near dust consistency, Summer bisque is incredibly light weight both to apply and wear and has a lovely soft, velvety texture which lends to a smooth, creamy application and flawless finish, ...

John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3 Day Straight 17/10/2011

A Frizz Free Failure!

John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3 Day Straight Why My Mischievous Hair Needs Taming.... My hair, a complex shoulder length bouffant I battle with daily to tame. Whilst everyone strives to pump up the volume of their tresses I want the opposite. My hair is thick, naturally curly and voluminous. Left unattended, unmanageable. I submit my locks to a daily workout of heat styling to eliminate any trace of body and occasionally I colour it. Left unprotected my hair becomes coarse and dry. I undertake a religious six week sabbatical to my hairdresser to thin my mop and remove dry, split ends and keep my tresses in tip top condition. For years I deluded myself I could achieve straight hair, now I would be content winning the war on frizz, the worst of all hair conditions persistently inflicting misery on my hair during damp weather and humidity. Even central heating causes my hair to frizz and throughout the course of the day my barnet slowly defies gravity providing the (less sought after do) of a motor cycle helmet, an unflattering look only enhanced if I wear sun glasses that double as a tinted visor (for those giggling at my misery...shame on you!). So whilst my hair could offer my skull full protection from hurtling debris it's not the look I want so I need products that prevent damage from heat and stave off the atmospheric nuisance of frizz. On face value, John Frieda's 3 Day Straight seemed to have the potential to be my new hair saviour by combining several different products into one solution that could keep my ...

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Mini Peel Kit 09/10/2011

Applying The Rough With The Smooth

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Mini Peel Kit Since reaping the benefits of Olay's Thermal Skin Polisher and 3 Point treatment Cream, two products I happily converted to a few months ago, I decided to place some more of my faith into the Olay brand purchasing their Micro-Dermabrasion & Mini-Peel Kit, a high street alternative to two popular but expensive clinical treatments. Purchased from Boots for £25.99 the kit is not cheap, especially considering usage is limited to around fifteen or so applications although from time to time Boots run a three for two promotion across Olay's entire range so savings can be found if you coincide your purchase with their offers but if your prepared to shop around there are more competitive prices to be found at Superdrug and on Amazon and EBay. Scratching The Surface And Peeling Back The Years....What Are Micro Dermabrasion And Mini Peels? Micro-derm-abrasion or small-skin-exfoliation is a form of facial exfoliation using crystals to deep clean the pores to effectively remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate dull skin. The procedure is generally performed in salons and clinics and regarded as an effective treatment to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, blemish marks and acne scaring as well as evening skin pigmentation and skin texture. Mini Peels have become increasingly popular with varying degrees of results depending on the strength of the solution used. They are recognised for reducing the appearance of fine lines, evening the skin tone and tightening and firming the ...
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