Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vidal Sassoon Salonist - Project with TRND

I recently applied to take part in a project on a site called TRND. The project is basically the chance to try out a product for free in return for providing honest feedback, telling your family, friends, colleagues and filling in some feedback sheets and surveys.


It took a little while for my stuff to come through but when it did I had a great information pack and 3 boxes of different dyes. One for me and 2 for me to give out to family / friends to try.

In the information they provide they have various suggestions for spreading the word and trying out the products provided. I decided to hold a dye party with some older family members (as they are keen to hear from older ladies with regards to the dyes).

I decided to offer to do my mum (age 65) and my aunt (age 70) hair and also invited my older sister (age 44) to come around and help, keep them entertained.

We have all been using hair dye for years but as this is one not used before I arranged to sort out the patch tests.

To do the patch test is simple. Add a small amount of each part of the dye into a container - mix well, apply using a ear bud to your arm (about the size of a 10p) leave on for 45 minutes and rinse off. Thn check it 48 hours later - if no reaction your good to go. We actually did a slightly shorter patch test in I did the patch test at around 10am on the Friday and we had our dye party at 7pmish on the Saturday.

Unfortunately, my aunty had a bit of a reaction to the dye (her skin went red and a bit itchy) so we decided that she would not have her hair done after all just to reduce the chance of her having an actual full on reaction .

Saturday night and everyone was pretty keen to see how well the dye worked.

I decided to do my hair first.

STEP 1.- Unpacking the box:


In the box you have:
- good quality gloves - these were a great quality (which meant that later on when I actually had my hands covered in dye it didnt go through to my fingers)
- a mixing tray and brush for mixing up the dye
- the 2 mixing items (red VS1 tube and white bottle in pic) used for the first step - doing your roots and hair line
- the extra agent you add when you are getting ready to do the rest of your hair (red sachet in pic)
- conditioner - this is supposed to last 6 washes but I personally found it run out after 4 (silver tube)

STEP 2 - Mixing it up

Pour contents of red tube and white bottle into the tray and mix with the brush (making sure to wear gloves)

It's quite difficult to mix and starts off looking like cottage cheese but eventually goes smooth and paste like


STEP 3 - doing the roots and edges

This is actually much more difficult than it looks on the instructions!

You need to use around 3/4 of mix and leave 1/4 for later


Once the top and parting and roots are done then you do the underneath at the back and around the edges


Pretty sure I *never* look like this when I get it done at the hairdressers LOL

You then need to leave this on for like 10 minutes.

After 10 mins its on to

STEP 4 - the all over cover

You need to pour the red sachet into the tray and get mixing again with the left over mix.

You then basically get a few handfuls and rub it into your hair - like shampoo! cover it all - make sure it's all  done!


Again you have to leave this on to set for around 30 mins this time.

Following this you wash it under water until the water runs clear, then wash with a mild shampoo and rinse. You then apply some conditioner. Leave the conditioner on for a couple of minutes (I left it  on for 10 mins as I always find my hair needs that extra time to absorb the conditioner) and rinse, dry and style.


The whole process took around 1 hour 15 mins which is a LOT longer than I normally spend dying my hair at home.

The results are pretty good:


BEFORE





















AFTER


















As you can see prior  to my dying my hair it was a faded reddy pink colour - fairly light on the top and dark to the bottom.

The dye pretty much covered all the colour with a mostly even tone (a little lighter again at the top).

Overall I am pleased with it.

Due to the fact its quite complicated I actually had to do my mum's hair for her as she found the process difficult. Her colour came out really well and she is very pleased with it too.

Would I recommend this?  - I think if you are looking to get a decent colour and coverage its a good product but it takes longer than most dyes and it also needs 2 people to really get it done properly.

4/5

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Lamenting the Loss of the Laptop!

Just a brief update with more posts to follow on the weekend when I have some spare time!

Sadly my lovely laptop died - I have zero idea what happened but die it did!

I only discovered it was dead when I tried to use it on hols at the Forest of Dean (bog post to follow)

Luckily my dad had the foresight to purchase extra care insurance and once I was home I was able to get it replaced but it took over a week hence the fact I have not been around for a few weeks.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Reviewing Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush :) for SavvyCircle IF

I recently applied to take part in a supersavvyme (savvycircle) product trial of an Oral B toothbrush but I didn't make the panel boo! :( I was gutted mainly because last time my dad was down he dropped  my electric toothbrush down the loo and even if I had wanted to use it after that (which I really didn't) it wouldn't have mattered as it was completely broken! And it cost me £25 too! So I was using just a regular non - electric toothbrush which just doesn't leave your teeth anywhere  near as clean.

However, they now have a new IF panel on there (stands for Instant Feedback panel). I joined savvy circle ages ago so when they sent out an email a few months ago about a new panel they were setting up called the Instant Feedback panel I signed up for that too.

Anyways the difference between the 2 panels is the savvy circle runs projects which run over a slightly longer timescale 4 weeks plus normally. The IF panel runs over a shorter period of around 2 weeks.

For both panels you need to be active - complete any surveys and a couple of reviews.

The savvy circle one has more tasks than the IF hence the longer running time.

If your interested in joining over on the site (and I'd recommend it apart from the product trials the whole webbie that is supersavvyme is pretty awesome with tonnes of coupons, free samples, reviews, advice and information) then click on the link and take a look.

For more info on the savvycircle and whats expected in the product trials please check out my review advice page here :) 

So after failing to get into the product trial on savvy circle I got another e-mail saying they were running the project on the IF panel as well so I jumped to it and applied. Some time passed and then I got the e-mail saying I'd been chosen - whoop whoop :)

Then it was just a case of waiting for my parcel containing my new toothbrush to arrive!

The e-mail did say that we might get sent slightly different products to the ones shown and so on - the product I got sent was the Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush. RRP of this item on amazon is like £80! Wow right? 

So as part of this project I got to try the product for 2 weeks and then write 2 reviews one on supersavvyme and one on amazon and that's pretty much it.

The toothbrush is seriously awesome! 

And here is my review (also posted to amazon)

My review of  the Oral B Smart Series 5000 Electrical Toothbrush

This comes boxed and includes:

- a plastic travel case
- 3 different heads
- toothbrush base
- mobile phone stand
- charging base with separate head holder which can be attached




The charger unit with this toothbrush has the 2 prong shaving plug which I find annoying as I don't have a shaving point in my bathroom and therefore have to use it with an adapter to charge the brush - not a huge issue just a tad inconvenient as they suggest that when not in use you leave the toothbrush sat on the stand so it can be kept fully charged (charge turns off when battery is full) however I personally am uncomfortable with leaving something switched on with an adapter over night or when I am home.



It arrived with a little bit of charge in it but required around 14 hours of solid charging to take it to fully charged for first use.

Oral B say that from full charge it should last around 7 days before going flat and needing more charging (will obv last longer if you are storing it on the base plugged in when not in use) - having been using it for 2 weeks I would say that they are pretty much spot on with the battery length - brushing twice a day for 2 - 3 minutes and not charging it on the stand it lasted 6 days before needing a charge.

It doesn't have any battery level indicator - it only flashes red on the battery symbol when its running out and needs a charge - it would be more useful if in future models the light indicated the battery level.

When charging it flashes green until fully charged.



I didn't really get much use form the mobile phone stand - perhaps because my phone is quite big and in a heavy case it just didn't seem to hold it in securely and toppled over - it would probably be fine if it was out of the case but it's a hassle getting the phone in and out of the case.

The plastic travel case is really useful - to use it you have to take the brush off the base - there is room in the case for 2 heads and if your just going for a week or a few days you can charge the brush before you go and it is nice and easy to carry without having to take all the bits with you.
 


















The brush itself is good. It has 4 different brushing settings:

- High speed - for daily use - this is my personal preferred mode

- Gum care - low speed to massage your gums and keep them healthy - I use this mode every 2-3 days after a regular brush just to make sure my gums are in good condition

- Whitening - this has alternating pulses / speeds to remove stains from the teeth - not really something I used

- sensitive - a low speed for those with sensitive teeth - not really something I used

Its a bit annoying that there is one button - so you turn it on and it starts in the daily clean mode and then you have to keep pressing the button to cycle through the different settings in order to switch it off. It would have been better to have an on/off button and then a separate mode button that you pressed to switch through the brushing modes.

I do find that my mouth and teeth feel really clean using the standard daily clean mode and my gums look healthier using the gum care one too - after 2 weeks of use my teeth also look slightly whiter than before.

I really like the pressure sensor which flashes red when you are brushing too hard - I tend to rush in the morning and press too hard in my attempts to get through it quickly - The flashing red light makes me pause and stop putting too much pressure when brushing which can be harmful to the teeth and gums (you can see the redlight in the photo where I push against the brush head attached) the brushing pulse also changes slightly to let you know you are brushing too hard in case you miss seeing the light flash on.



I also like how during brushing every 30 seconds the pulse changes - this acts as an alert to let you know to change the area of the mouth you are cleaning. After the recommended 2 minutes it also changes the pulse briefly.

This toothbrush also has bluetooth connectivity - you can download the oral b ap and then connect the brush to your phone running the ap so you can see how long your brushing for, how often you have brushed too hard etc unfortunately I had issues with the ap. Mostly it wouldnt run for me on my phone. I have an LGG4 which is just over a year old and havent had issues with other aps or connectivity but did with this one.

Mostly it would have an error saying the ap unexpectedly stopped working. However when the ap did work it was okay but I didn't find it particularly helpful because the data was skewed as you had to start the ap and then start the toothbrush and then switch the toothbrush off and then switch the ap off - I was surprised that the ap didn't automatically start and finish the recording when you turned on/off the brush.

I do actually really like this toothbrush and it does have some really good features. I think they need to work more on the ap to make it more useful and responsive but as it has the timer and pressure sensor built in and both alert you from the toothbrush not having the ap isnt really an issue for me.





My Review of the Hisense WFP8014VS Washing Machine from AO.com

I am super lucky in that ao.com kindly offered me a new washing machine to review for free - awesome right?

Anyways I have written a bunch of stuff about how to review for ao.com and other companies over here - so if your interested in applying to be a reviewer yourself then check out my guide - and any questions feel free to comment and I'll get back to you :)

So after they contacted me to offer me the washing machine the first thing I did was to check if it would fit in my kitchen - I live in a council maisonette style flat and the kitchen has limited room with all the cupboards and work tops fitted tightly. 

Luckily apart from being a little bit bigger depth wise the offered machine would fit perfectly in our kitchen.

Our old machine was a very cheap Beko model that was around 6 years old, very very loud, and not running as well as it had done previously (clothes often not coming out very clean, issues with the clothes being soaking wet and needing to go on for extra spins etc) and it only had a 5kg drum and if you filled it completely the clothes would come out dirty and soaked!

The machine we were offered was the Hisense WFP8014VS - a rather smart looking 8kg one with digital display (posher than a twisty knob haha) and lots of rather smart features. I was a little concerned that my mum would struggle to use this machine because lets be honest here she struggles to send me a cohesive text message (they normally look something like " hi pLLL$ acorn u pick...Me up!!apackofdecaf 8Tbags ")

However its super easy to use - in fact my mum was the first one to use it because it was delivered and I was in work and then out and she wanted to wash some bedding! It has one single A4 street of instructions with handy pictures.

Anyways I am getting way ahead of myself! 

After I replied and basically said I would chew my own left leg off for a new washing machine ao asked me to pick a delivery date. I sent them 2 dates when there would be someone in to accept delivery - the dates were 2-3 days away and they replied with a confirmation saying that they would deliver it on the earliest date.

All the way through the process they kept me completely up to date - e-mails and a text reminder the day before delivery and then a text reminder on the delivery day.

They arrived on time and firstly disconnected and pulled out my old washing machine - if we had wanted them to they would have taken our old machine away but I am a firm believer in recycling and freecycling and I had already decided that I would offer my old washing machine on freecyle to benefit someone who couldnt afford one - sure it wasnt the best machine but if you have nothing then its better than that! So they kindly left the old machine out of the way to the side in the kitchen, they then carried the new machine upstairs, unpacked it and fitted it. the whole thing took them around 10 minutes - seriously that quick. I wasnt home when they did all this but my mum informed me they were lovely friendly guys and nothing was too much trouble - excellent service!

Anyways after trying out the machine a few times and getting to grips with using it I wrote up my review and recorded my video for ao.com and here they are :D NB I was going to do a separate review for the blog but actually I think these pretty much cover the main points of this wonderful machine :D However, if anyone has any questions about it or how you use it give me a shout and I'll do my best to answer them

My youtube video review


















My ao.com review

The Hisense WFP8014VS washing machine is great. 

It has an 8kg drum which is ample for doing most washes - in our house hold that equates to a full laundry bin (on our old 5kg machine it would mean 2 loads) 

It looks quite hi-tech and complicated but is really simple and easy to use - making it perfect for most households. Everything is also displayed clearly on the screen when it is on so you can see exactly what it is programmed for. I love the timer which shows how long is left for a wash - you know exactly when it will be finished so you can get your clothes out quickly to avoid them getting creased. It comes with a host of built in programmed washes which are easy to use and to choose the one which suits your needs best. 

I particularly like quick wash (for light worn) items which is only 15 minutes from start to finish, the 95 degree antibacterial wash which is perfect for doing animal bedding, or for when there has been any illness in the house hold as it washes the items on a super high temp killing of any bacteria that are on them and the new clothes wash which basically gives them a quick swill and freshen up - which is something I used to do by hand. 

I also really like the fact you can choose anti-crease / crease-care for your clothes - I hate ironing and this little feature is brilliant - I can put work clothes in on a wash - add the crease care and they come out with barely any creases - if I then dry these on the line outside or the inside line I dont need to iron them - perfect! 

It has an A+++ energy rating, clever smart technology which adjusts for each load giving the most efficient settings and uses inverter wash technology which means it uses magnets to spin - these 3 things together add up to a machine that works well and quietly and uses minimal energy and water - this means it costs less per wash saving you money. 

It is also pretty quiet when running - and even when on a high speed spin cycle it doesnt rattle - again perfect for us as its under the draining board in the kitchen and our previous one would rattle any plates left drying and make a racket. 

Overall this is a great washing machine, easy to use, cheap to run and your clothes come out clean and crease free."

Monday, July 4, 2016

Catching Up

Isn't it funny how life suddenly overtakes you when your not expecting it?

The last few weeks have been chaotic:

1. Sisters house move - so many issues and things to sort out from getting her to register with a GP, to sorting out council works at the house and getting basics like curtains. She's finally mostly sorted - has beds, curtains, a working connected gas cooker and surprisingly is almost finished unpacking - although she needs to take time to sort through everything too!

2. Car - my car is currently the bane of my life - the exhaust has now gone so will need to be repaired sooner rather than later - I am hoping it will hold out for the holiday next week and then I can get it sorted when I get home *fingers crossed!*

3. Uncle who is quite poorly has had his license revoked by dvla due to having been hospitalised due to the Drs messing with his meds - means he can no longer do his basic everyday things like getting his shopping in, making his numerous hospital appointments (hes on dialysis) and even coming round for dinner I have to go collect him - of course this all depends on my car actually running!

Alongside the craziness though there's been some cool things too:

- went to see the preview of AbFab The Movie with my mum last Thursday - tickets were free and I won a £40 odeon giftcard last year which provided us with hotdogs, buckets (literally buckets!) of pop and a large tub of Ben and Jerry's too - awesome!!! Movie was pretty good in parts it was really funny - others were a bit strained but you  have to love Patty and OMG how many celeb cameo's can you fit in one movie?

- went for afternoon tea - my former colleagues got me a voucher for afternoon tea for 2 at a local tea rooms - so the day after AbFab  I took a few hours flexi time and me and mum had afternoon tea - it was lovely and a nice start to the weekend :)

- reviews :D I am super happy with my new washing machine from ao.com - it even plays a cheery little tune when you turn it on - I've done my review and will be linking it to the blog shortly. I've also been reviewing a fab tooth brush from oral B (need to write the review on that) and a ton of stuff from AMZ reviews. Most of the stuff is really good which is great for me.

- comping - I have taken a bit of a break from comping as I am super tired in the evenings and just wanna play some games and watch some crap telly rather than doing loads of comps - however still doing a few and getting my fair share of wins - I now have the mammoth task of sorting through everything I have put aside for Birthdays and Christmas - my family are going to have an awesome year this year thanks to comping, reviews and freebies!

- nails - I stopped biting my nails its been abut 6-8 weeks and they are nt long because I trim them but apart from 2 of the nails which were really badly damaged and are taking ages to grow out they look in really good condition - I've put a pearly almost clear varnish on them and they look really nice - never thought of myself as a nails sort of person but it makes a change to not have really sore bleeding nails and fingers from chewing them!

- TV - finally getting round to watching the walking dead series 6 - currently up to episode 14 and still loving it - hear the new series will be out in October so once I have finished this going to watch South of Hell and a few others on amazon Prime as normal TV sucks!

So thats about it for me - holidays next week so will have lots of time to relax and tidy up the reviews list and stuff on the blog in between lunging in the hot tub and walking the dog

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Holiday Planning - New York & Orlando on a Budget

So I am a super lucky girl - this year I have a couple of holidays - firstly in July I am heading to the Forest of Dean for a Forest Holiday which I won :) You can read my plans so far here.

However, my second holiday is to New York and Orlando in September whoop whoop :)

If you have read my blog before you will know that I am a planner I love planning my holidays - I tend to do a random mix and book everything myself for a couple of reasons:-

  • I want my holiday to be my holiday my way
  • I am cheap - well actually poor therefore in order to afford to do the holiday I want I have to look at the cheapest way of booking it - holiday companies charge you for their booking service - if your a nervous traveller or your looking for something a bit more bog standard then they are fine - if you want to do some random stuff (like my hol last year - niagara falls, las vegas, disneyworld and then i-drive) it's more costly and complicated.
  • I'm a control freak - I like to know that everything is planned to the last detail, with contingency plans and a day by day break down!
I've wanted to go visit NY for a while and my mum really wants to go too so even as we arrived back bleary eyed and shattered from last years holiday we were already considering this years holiday.

Having looked at NY I realised it was ridiculously expensive like a 'cheap' room was running to the 100's which is ridiculous - there was no way we would be able to afford to spend 2 weeks in NY and to be honest whilst there is loads to do I only really wanted to do a couple of days so I could arrange to go back again in the future. 

We decided to do a split stay - as we love Orlando we decided we would do a couple of days in NYC and then 2 weeks in Orlando - skipping Disney and just staying on i-drive this time. I wanted the holiday to be less than £1000 per person as I'm paying.

I started off by looking for flights on skyscanner - I knew that I could travel at various times including mid week - I also had a variety of airports to choose from - Bristol, Birmingham and London are all easy to get to from Cardiff and I had no preference about which airport to fly into in NY (there are 3 within close proximity) 

I found flights on a Friday from Gatwick to JFK with luggage for £230 per person - my budget for the one way flights to NY was £250 so these were perfect. I never bother pre-booking the seats - I would rather rock up to the airport and hope they have some left available - and if they dont I will just chuck the headphones on and sleep - no worries and a saving of £25 per person!

Our flights are with Norwegian - now an interesting thing about Norwegian is that your in-flight meal is not included and you have to pay for it - they charge £25 for this service. Our flight is at 5pm - we have free passes to the airport lounge through my mum's bank account which includes unlimited cold food (pastries, bread, cheese, salad, cakes, meats etc) plus your choice of one hot item from their hot menu. So the plan is to stuff myself until I can hardly walk at the lounge! And to buy a pack of sarnies from boots / WHS in the airport to take on the plane - total cost to me of around £8

I found flights from Orlando to Gatwick on a Wednesday for £176 per person - again with Norwegian and including luggage - again I didnt bother with booking the food or the seats - the flights not until midnight and we always have food at the Golden Coral before leaving plus there is plenty of cheap eats in Orlando airport.

I havent booked the internal flights yet - I have checked them out and they are running between £25-50 per person which is not too bad.

Hotels have been an issue - I have booked a cheap one in NY but when I booked it had no review - after re-checking the reviews have been put up and they are bbbaaadddd - we wanted a small room but private bathroom - I am currently looking at some other options including staying in NJ as its only a 30 min bus ride to Times Square which would be fine. I havent paid yet as you pay on arrival and I have free cancellation so I have time to look at the other ones.

I booked a hotel in Orlando for us - it has mixed reviews but a friend has stayed there and they said to ignore the reviews and go for it (if its awful I am going to kill them). Hotel in Orlando cost £350

So total cost so far £1132. I still have the NY hotel to sort which will cost between £150 - £300, Gatwick transfers which will be around £100 and Gatwick hotel around £60 but even with these costs the total cost of the flights and travel will be around £1700 - thats £300 under budget - which is great as it means I can book some dinner shows and things too.

Next month (after payday!) I will be sorting out the internal flights and hopefully the NY hotel, gatwick hotel and transfers :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A crazy couple of weeks!

You know how sometimes you think your all caught up with everything and then it's like the gods look down on you and start laughing and drop you in the middle of a crazy zone? That's been my last few weeks!

So here is a brief update of whats been happening!

1. My sister got given a house in Cardiff - she knew about it we knew about it everyone knew about it but do you think she got her ass into gear and got herself organised for the move? Hell no! So I did around 8 round trips back and forth to move some of her stuff then a friend of ours did 2 massive van loads. In between trying to get my sis signed up with a gp, a health visitor for the kids and various other services and unpacked. Total chaos.

However on the positive:
1. got her some beds from gumtree so her and the nephew are no longer sleeping on the floor
2. got carpet from gum tree for H's bedroom
3. mostly moved in and most of the repairs on the new place done
4. grant application done for some carpets for the rest of the rooms and a cooker (shes currently living off micro, toaster and deep fat fryer food which is not good!)

On the negative:
1. House in bridgend still not empty!!!
2. unpacking not finished in new house
3. need to sort out sofas she has none
4. waiting on grant application approval to get vouchers for a cooker and carpet

Overall this is a positive improvement for us - her new house is 20 mins by a direct bus from my house or a short 10min drive. It's a new start and she is working pretty hard to try and sort out her belongings and to get rid of what she doesnt need - this is hard for her due to metal health issues and problems with concentrating but she is doing it slowly. It also means that H has her own bedroom - this will help to get her into a better nighttime routine. There are lots of services available in the area she has moved into for her and J's mental health needs and there is also lots of things nearby for her to do such as parks, a leisure centre, shops and food places. The house is lovely with a large enclosed back garden which J has already worked hard in and brought from the state of an overgrown jungle to a safe play environment for H and for D when he stays over.

Sorting my sis out has taken a lot of my time and energy - but I have also started my new job. At first I thought I had made a mistake - sure the new job is better paid but it seemed really boring for the first week and I felt a bit let  down - I am used to being busy from the moment I step through the door until I go home and the first week I didnt really do anything - my computer id took a long time to come through and it seemed like they didnt really have anything for me to do. Thankfully the second week picked up.

It's a little scary actually how much I will be responsible for but I am sure I can do it.

Everyone in the new place seems really nice and approachable which is good. The office is massive and open plan which has taken a bit of getting used to. My parking space is a 10 min walk from the office which means I have to leave earlier in the morning and I get home later in the evening - not a huge difference about 30mins or so but its something else to get used to!

I've been so shattered with the move and with the new job that I actually took a break from comping and went a whole week without doing them.

In other exciting news - well exciting for me :D I'm doing a project with savvy circle IF team (thats the instant feedback team) with anew oral b toothbrush I am really pleased about this because I needed a new one as my dad dropped my old one down the loo when he last stayed over and I have been using a regular one and its just not as good as an electric one. The new toothbrush is proper clever and talks to my phone and stuff.

I am also going to be reviewing a washing machine for ao.com which will be fab.

Both reviews will be on the blog in the next week or so :D