Thursday, 17 April 2014

Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav

I genuinely do not know where I'd be if I had to rely on maps, I've got the worst sense of direction you could possibly imagine and I don't even know where to start with map reading; which way up does it go for a start?! Not only that, trying to navigate using a map while on your own in the car can't be safe at all! So when I was asked to review a sat nav as a safety and security tester for Tesco Compare I couldn't pass it up, because I think that sat navs are one of the best inventions this century.
Some sat navs can be quite confusing in how they work, the screens can be too small and the instructions are sometimes vague meaning that it puts you at risk of being a danger to the road, however Garmin have obviously put safety first with the Nuvi 50 as it has lots of features to making navigating easy. The last thing you want to be doing while driving is squinting to see a tiny map but the extra wide 5 inch touch screen makes seeing the details maps and navigating around the options so easy. Everything is so simple with this sat nav; if you're not sure of a postcode you can find places by street name or by using the 'points of interest' feature which lists hundreds of thousands of different places sorted by type (for example if you were running low on fuel you could find a petrol station by just selecting 'POI near me' and 'fuel' and it would give you a list of petrol stations, nearest first).
Garmin Nuvi 50* £79.00 Amazon
When it comes to complicated junctions and exits the Garmin Nuvi 50 has lane assist which helps guide you into whichever lane you need to be in before it's too late; the screen view changes around a mile before the exit/junction to show you where you need to be in relation to your current position on the road. Another fantastic safety feature on this sat nav is the Cyclops Speed Camera system which shows real time warnings of any upcoming speed cameras as as well as an alert if you tip over the speed limit. It also gives instructions with the street name, so for example instead of it just saying 'turn right' it will say 'turn right down Smith Street' so there's no confusion as to where you're turning if there are several right turns in your vicinity.
Overall the Garmin Nuvi 50 is an excellent safe, user friendly sat nav and at £79.00 it suits lots of budgets. 
You can also buy and download maps for different countries to use on the Garmin Nuvi 50 so I think I'll be downloading one for North America because as you'll probably already know I'm going to Florida next month and a sat nav will be our saving grace when driving round. You can program any points of interest in before you go which is ideal, it takes a little bit of the stress away for when we get there, also the maps are only £34.99 which is only slightly more expensive than hiring a sat nav from eBay. 
  
Do you use a sat nav?
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Skincare regime for Combination skin

It's been a while since I did a skincare regime so I thought I'd do a little update. If you don't already know by now I have combination skin prone to blemishes BUT if you have normal/dry skin please don't let this put your off reading this because some of the products I use are actually for all skin types. 


You'll have seen by my post the other day that I'm really impressed with Lush Ultrabland (£6.95), despite really enjoying micellar water I do really love this for a night cleanse when I have heavier makeup on. I do find that I always have to tone properly with Lush Tea Tree Water (£7.50) otherwise I feel a little bit oily... the tea tree in the water acts a mild astringent but is so gentle and it doesn't smell offensively of tea tree. It's also antibacterial which helps to keep spots at bay without leaving my skin feeling dry as the Sahara (nothing worse than toning with an over-zealous toner if you have problem skin as it can make you over produce oil). I have to say, I'm really really impressed with Lush's skincare range, and it's so affordable! As you can see, the old favourite Heal Gel face (£48.00) is still there, the most expensive of everything but it's lasting me a good while. I now alternate this with Effaclar Duo Plus, I tend to concentrate this on my cheeks where I have the most redness and scarring and it is helping to reduce the mess that years of battling with my skin has caused... as I said in my review of it: I don't expect miracles, baby steps are fine for me. You'll also notice a completely new addition in the form of Melvita Nectar Pur mattifying balancing fluid (£26); I've been using this peppermint scented number to give me just the right amount of moisture whilst stopping my face looking like Shines-ville Tennesee. 

Looking at it, my little 'regime' looks quite elaborate but it doesn't take me long at all to do (trust me, if it did I wouldn't be doing it!). I'm still getting spots, but I've managed to get it down to the odd one or two at the moment which is good compared to 6 months ago. I dare say a better diet will be going a long way towards improving my skin but I reckon skincare contributes a fair bit too!

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Is Garnier Ultimate Blends Dry Shampoo better than Batiste?

 I love dry shampoo, it's a staple in my little bathroom collection, but there are certain aspects of Batiste shampoo that I'm not really keen on; namely the white powdery scalp and weird feeling hair after using it. If you feel my pain where Batiste is concerned then you'll be pleased to know that I found a little gem in Morrisons in the form of this new Garnier Ultimate Blends 7 in 1 dry shampoo.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Dry Shampoo £3.99

Garnier claims that their new dry shampoo has '7 actions':
1. Instantly cleanses
2. Absorbs grease at the roots
3. Lightweight feel
4. Hair feels supple to the touch
5. Hair easy to detangle
6. Blissful fragrance
7. Leaves no visible residue
 
My thoughts: Garnier seem to have reverted back to 80's/90's style packaging, I personally think this can looks like it could be 20 years old with the colour and design... not that it really matters, just an observation. This is applied in pretty much the same way as Batiste, you spray it onto your roots, leave it for a couple of minutes then style your hair as you normally would. The first thing I noticed was the smell; I got one for 'mid to long hair' and it smells of peachy vanilla... I really really like it, it's a lot softer smell than some of the Batiste ones which can be a bit too much. Secondly the spray is so lightweight, as soon as I spray Batiste on my hair I can feel all the little particles on my hair which is what gives the feeling of dry, strawy hair (which I hate), Garnier Ultimate Blends is the total opposite. I actually thought that it wasn't absorbing any oil when I first applied it but after 2 minutes my hair looked far better than it did before but texture wise it didn't feel any different; still soft and touchable. Finally I can confirm 100% that there is no white residue, which of course is a massive plus because Batiste is quite well known for leaving that white powdery look all the way down your scalp if you're not careful! It is slightly more expensive than Batiste at £3.99 a bottle but I for one will definitely be stocking up when I see it on offer.

I would 100% recommend this for you to try if you're looking for a new dry shampoo, I've tried other dry shampoos and until now nothing has come close to Batiste but Garnier have really made an effort with this and I do think it'll be the next best thing in dry shampoo. There is also a dry shampoo for 'normal' hair with Chinese green tea and lemon extracts and of course the Ultimate Blends range extends to shampoo and conditioner for all different hair types.

Do you have a favourite dry shampoo?
 
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Lust List - Designer Watches

Believe it or not I've never owned a watch worth more than about £30 and the older I've got the more I've been tempted to buy a bit of a special watch, one for every day wear but something that's classy and nice looking. Obviously Michael Kors seems to be a really popular brand at the moment; probably because they do some of the most gorgeous rose gold watches, however I've chosen a couple of my favourite ones that I found The Watch Hut website from some different brands...
Marc by Marc Jacobs Rock rose gold watch £247.00
Marc by Marc Jacobs Baker watch £165.00
Vivienne Westwood Orb black steel bracelet watch £210.00
DKNY white chronograph bracelet watch £206.00


I've only included watches which I would be prepared to pay for myself, I don't have the bank account to justify spending more than around £250 on a watch so my lust list reflects that! I've also tried to go for timeless designs because I think I would treat any designer piece as a small investment so I'd want to be able to wear it for years to come and not have to worry about fashions. The temptation to include a Disney watch in this lust list was quite great but I figured it didn't really fit with the 'designer watches' title!

Do you own a designer watch or do you stick to more affordable brands?

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What's your Throwback dress?

I think we've all got that one fail-safe 'Throwback Dress' in our wardrobe, the one we know we can wear no matter what and no matter how old it gets we just can't bare to throw it away. Mine has to be a black swing dress from Matalan, cheap and cheerful at only £12 but it could be worn for so many occasions; whether it's work or play this black swing dress is going to be in my wardrobe for years to come. What I love most about it is that it's smart and sophisticated but it's so comfy so say for example I've been out for a big meal I don't feel like I have to hide my food baby because it just skims all my bumpy bits... I guess it's my perfect little black dress.


But of course there's one season that my long sleeved LBD doesn't really go hand in hand with... summer. My wardrobe is probably around 80% black, brown or grey because before I lost weight I was just so desperate to buy clothes that covered me up as much as possible. Those colours and most of the designs aren't ideal for warmer weather, so I thought it was about time I injected some summer into my wardrobe with this Daisy Print Skater Dress from New Look* (£12.99)...




I honestly never thought I'd post a full length photo of me on my blog... let alone with a dress on and without tights but I couldn't not show this dress of properly because I absolutely love it! The jersey material makes it fit perfectly; hugging my waist and skimming my hips and the print is just gorgeous; I don't think I could have got anymore summery if I tried! I think this is going to be a staple summer dress in my wardrobe for many summer seasons to come because it's just so wearable; I'm around 5ft 5 and as you can see it falls only just above the knee which for me is the perfect length (protecting my modesty but showing just a bit of leg).

I was so unsure of summer dresses because it's been years since I've worn a design like this but I honestly can't wait for the weather to be warm enough for me to get this one out with a pair of strappy sandals and some sunglasses! Floral prints have been in for many summer seasons and I can't see them disappearing any time soon so hopefully this £14.99 little beauty will prove to be an affordable long term resident in my wardrobe! The current collection of New Look dresses on the website is full of floral prints and pretty pastels so no doubt I'll be stocking up for my holiday!

Do you have a 'Throwback Dress' in your wardrobe that you couldn't bare to part with?

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Bumble and Bumble Colour Sulphate Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Quite a long time ago now, I went sulphate free for 2 weeks with some products from the Naked haircare range, I have to say I wasn't wow-ed by the experience with those products, I didn't see enough of a difference in my hair and it never felt as clean as it did if I used products containing sulphates. It's been just over a year since I did my 2 week sulphate free detox so when I was kindly sent some Bumble and Bumble shampoo and conditioner I was interested to see whether more expensive products meant that they'd perform better than high street products.

  
Bumble & Bumble Color Minded Shampoo* £23.00
 I looove the smell of this, it smells soapy but expensive soapy; such a rubbish way to describe it but what I mean to say is that it's not heavily perfumed by overpowering fruity smells or anything like that. It leaves my hair feeling SO clean, I tend to double cleanse but with only a 20p sized amount the first time and a 5p sized amount the second time (I have quite a lot of hair so a double cleanse definitely is necessary no matter what). My hair is dyed blonde and I've found that this has helped to stop it looking brassy and off-colour which I'm really impressed with.
 
Bumble & Bumble Color Minded Conditioner* £25.00
The first time I used this I put it way too near the roots of my hair and the crown of my head was left feeling pretty greasy (probably half my fault for not rinsing properly) but after the first time I made sure I only used a 20p sized amount just to do the very bottoms of my hair and this is working well for me, the ends of my hair are nice and soft but not weighed down in the slightest. I just wish I could find a conditioner which I could use further up the shaft of my hair (shaft... what an awful word) because it feels a bit dry and strawy and quite hard to brush which means I still need a serum to fight the frizz.

Overall
I usually have to wash my hair every day, if I want it to look in an acceptable state for public viewing but as time went on using this I found that I could leave my hair 2 days without washing, I might need a little dry shampoo towards the end of the second day but I'm so pleased with the progress it's made. One more day might seem like nothing to some but believe me when drying and straightening your hair takes as long as mine, you cherish the days you don't have to do it. I do believe that these Bumble and Bumble products have helped a lot a. because they're sulphate free and b. because they're quality products. I don't believe that Bumble and Bumble products pile any unnecessary products onto your hair which is why it doesn't feel greasy so quickly!

It does seem a bit barmy, spending nearly £50 on shampoo and conditioner but I find that I never have to buy shampoo and conditioner at the same time (one always runs out before the other) so it's just over £20 for each. What I'd actually be tempted to do is just use the shampoo from this range and use a different conditioner, I'm just not sure if using a conditioner using sulphates is defeating the object of using a shampoo without them?

Do you think it could work if I used a sulphate free shampoo with a conditioner which contains sulphates?

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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Best Cleanser for Heavy Makeup

Until a few weeks ago I've been cleansing with just a micellar water no matter how much makeup I had on, but every time I cleansed off heavy makeup it was always in the back of my mind that a micellar water wasn't enough to properly cleanse it all off. Ever since my bad experience with Emma Hardie Moringa balm I've stayed away from heavy, oily, balm cleansers for fear that they might cause a breakout but when I was introduced to the skincare range at Lush at the Meadowhall Bloggers Breakfast I thought I'd give Ultrabland a go. 

Up until going to the meet I'd never heard of any Lush skincare products apart from their face masks but the lovely guy at the Meadowhall Lush explained lots of their products and how they work; Ultrabland has been voted the Lush founders' number one Desert Island product and is apparently one of their most popular cleansers. It was the simplicity of the ingredients that really caught my eye because although it's a heavy, oily, balm cleanser it's not fragranced to the hilt with potential breakout causing ingredients. Made with beeswax, almond oil, rose water and honey, this makes removing heavy makeup as easy as it can be. 

My Thoughts: Because the ingredients are so simple, this doesn't have a particularly nice smell, I think the beeswax smell really comes through more than anything else but aside from that I really like using this. Literally a scraping of this goes a long way; I tend to wet my face first then pick a little bit of product up with my index finger, warm between my fingers and then I apply to my face, starting with cheeks and working up to my eyes (the two places with most makeup on) and then the rest of my face. I leave it on for a minute or so and then I remove with a warm flannel, if I try and wipe it off my fingers with just cold water it doesn't work it stays really greasy and can be a bit worrying to begin with because it made me think 'Oh no it's going to leave my face a greasy mess'... but with a warm flannel it really doesn't.

 It's so gentle and you don't have to really rub and pull at your eyes to get heavy makeup off. A single cleanse will get most of my makeup off )foundation, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, bronze etc.) but I sometimes double cleanse my eyes depending how much mascara I've put on. It doesn't leave any greasy residue but it makes my face feel so soft and nourished. With an oily cleanser like this I always tone, I've been using Lush's Tea Tree Water with this and it's been working really well for me. In fact I think I might do an updated skincare routine very soon because it's changed in the last month!
I honestly never thought I could get on with this cleanser because I have oily skin but I love using it now and it's such good value for money at only £6.95 for 45g... trust me 45g goes a long way. 
Do you have any Lush skincare in your routine?
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polish in Autumn Spice

 Not really sure why I bought a nail polish entitled 'Autumn Spice' when we're now into spring, I should have been going for corals and pinks or pastels but nope my logic said 'ooh that looks nice, pick the brown one'. Don't ask, because I don't know.

Anyhow, it wasn't the shade which drew my attention to the new Revlon Parfumerie nail polish, it was the pretty little vintage perfume bottle style bottle which I immediately thought 'ooh that'd look nice on my dressing table', regardless of the quality of the product. A bit shallow really but I'm a sucker for pretty stuff. I could have chosen from a plethora of 19 other shades of polish, from pastel mint to hot pink but no I went for Autumn Spice which is a shimmer brown shade, perfect for autumn as the name suggests. The polish is also scented, I'm a lover of woody/warm scents which is one of the reasons why Autumn Spice seemed like a sensible shade choice but the lighter colours are more of a fresh fragrance. 

Revlon Parfumerie Nail Polish £6.49 Boots

My Thoughts: It looks exactly the same on nails as it does in the bottle, as you can see. I did actually think it was going to be more of a purple shade (the swatch on the Boots website does look quite purpley, shame on me for buying blindly online!) but alas it definitely is a brown shimmer shade. As I say, not ideal for the current season but it'll definitely come out again in September/October. When I first opened the bottle I expected to smell 'Autumn Spice' but I just smelt nail polish HOWEVER me being a bit dim didn't realise that the nice scent doesn't come through until the nail polish is dry. When it's dry it does actually smell like Autumn Spice, its quite nice and reminds me of Christmas actually, ha! At £6.49 a bottle it's quite pricey and there are obviously cheaper alternatives but the bottle is very cute and it smells nice so that's two unique selling points it has over other high street nail polishes! I'm loving the look of Ginger Melon, which is a like a coral pink and a bit more season-appropriate.

Have you been tempted by these cute little bottles?
 
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