REVIEW: FAST Shampoo & Conditioner

Throughout my life I’ve been through my fair share of hair cuts.

Luckily, I’m comfortable enough with both super short and fairly long hair so deciding on what style to go for never usually is an issue.

At its shortest...

At its shortest…

At its longest...

At its longest…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But every girl always wants what they don’t have (admit it), so whenever I have all my hair chopped off, it is inevitable I want to glue it straight back on as soon as I have to style it myself because it “never looks as good as in the salon”.

I’m sure many of us have been duped into trying/buying some “miracle growth” product, be it shampoo, vitamin supplement or hair treatment, without the desired results.

Myself, well I’d just love to be just like the Brush n Grown My Little Pony I had when I was younger that only needed a quick shake of her head and her tail grew straight back  (remember? This one  (pretty sure mine was Curly Locks) – thanks for throwing out/donating my entire collection mother!)

So when the FAST Shampoo and Conditioner landed on my desk I thought, hey, why not give it a go? I’d recently had my hair cut into a fairly short bob and with a family wedding coming up a month or two later, my tresses could have done with a little help in growing long enough for an up do.

FAST shampoo and conditioner

FAST shampoo and conditioner

 

The bumph accompanying the two bottles said: “Made by Nisim International, Canada, FAST is a unique shampoo and conditioner that accelerates hair growth. As of May 2013 FAST has been permanently listed in 300 Flagship Boots Stores. The range is perfect for someone with slow-growing hair or for those who want to outgrow a bad haircut as quickly as possible. FAST is NOT for hairloss but can make hair grow up to 99% faster. Use FAST daily for 30 days to give you maximum length in minimum time.”

So use it for 30 days I did – washing my hair every other, or every two days, at least.

My hair grows relatively fast so I couldn’t really tell if the product helped or not but what it did do was thicken and improve the condition of my barnet which was a welcome improvement as I’m often told by my hairdresser that I have a lot of hair but it is quite thin so all I can guess is that the shampoo and conditioner thickened each strand – great!

All in all I liked this product, I didn’t love it though. One thing I did find was that unless I stood under the shower for about half an hour to rinse the conditioner out it left my hair quite greasy and with the feeling that I hadn’t properly washed the product out. This was a tad annoying but all in all I would recommend this product if you’re looking to add a little oomph to your hair.

Here’s the before and after pics, I’ll let you make your own mind up (sorry for the face! And the quality of the pics)

Before (scuse the paleness!)

Before (scuse the paleness!)

After....not much difference?

After….not much difference?

 

 

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The Coronation Street Tour

They are the most famous cobbles in the world, and I got a sneak peek at the new Coronation Street Tour that opened, for six months only, on April 5.

It is said that you should never meet your heroes.

I’m not quite sure how a street that has been on UK television for 53 years has become a hero of mine but it has. Perhaps it’s the spirit of its fictional inhabitants, perhaps it’s because I’d sit and watch Corrie with my Grandma when I was little or perhaps it’s because it is, quite simply, a British institution.

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Yes, that is serial killer Richard Hillman sneaking up on me in the Platt’s living room!

Filming at Granada Studios in Manchester ceased before Christmas when the cast and crew moved over to Salford’s Media City to a news, high-tech, high res set and most of the old sets moved or dismantled.

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Always knew I’d get behind this bar one day!

But the Street has remained in place, for now, as has the Rovers, the Platt’s, the Dobbs’ and Carla’s old flat and relics past such a Hilda Ogden’s hair net, Deirdre’s glasses, the ornament Tracy Barlow used to murder Charlie Stubbs and Becky McDonald’s wedding dress, have been rescued from storage to see the light of day once more.

And now 35 new cast members have taken centre stage.

What these tour guides, who have been recruited from in and around the Greater Manchester area, don’t know about good ‘ole Corrie, isn’t worth knowing.

Showing me around were Martin and Dora who explained that they had spent four weeks of intensive training.
Dora, said: “We have been learning a brilliant script written by Coronation Street scriptwriter, Tim Randall, and we spent time with acting teachers from Salford University to learn all about voice projection and storytelling – it’s been brilliant.

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Becky’s wedding shoes – River Island FYI

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Roy’s lovely beige uniform, Jack Duckworths outfit and the infamous Bett’s overcoat

“Now we’re armed with all kinds of facts and gossip to pass on to the visitors when they get here, I can’t wait.”

Walking into the iconic Stage One studio, having already visited the “Corridor of Stars” where long serving cast members had their dressing rooms and the wardrobe and make-up department, there is such a sense of history that it seems sad that in just six short months, most of it will no longer exist.  The short film beforehand reminding me of old friends and new favourites, storylines past, births, weddings, deaths and the oh so brilliant disasters, made it all the more poignant.

Admittedly, my professionalism may have slipped slightly as I took in the in sets of Carla’s former flat, the Platt’s home and the instantly recognisable Rovers Return. (Well, I couldn’t NOT have my picture taken behind the bar could I?!)

But the piece-de-resistance appears through the doors of Nick’s Bistro.IMAG0129

 

Behind those doors lied hallowed turf, well, cobbles, and once I was in I didn’t want to leave, in fact. I contemplated hiding down the infamous ginnel so that I didn’t have to!

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Too early for a G&T?

One of my favourite touches was the use of sensors down there that set off Vera and Jack Duckworth, Sally Webster and Hilda Ogden shouting down the backs as you walked by their houses, making you feel like you could bump into one of them at any given moment.

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Roy? You in there?

Tour guests spend 45 minutes taking in the exhibits on stage one but the real fun comes when they get onto the street itself because your time is your own to peek through windows, take a snap outside the Rovers or call on Roy for one of his rolls.

I did all three and then some!

 

Get your tickets here

 

 

Last minute Mother’s Day gifts

If you’ve left it a little too long (a little? It’s the day before you idiot?!) to get your dear old mum a present for this Sunday then look no further, I have the ideal gifts certain to put a smile on anyone’s face – particular Mother Dear’s – BUBBLES!

First off, everyone’s favourite kind of bubble – the ones in Champagne.

Canard-Duchêne Authentic Brut Rosé  (£30 available at http://www.oddbins.com) is lovely as an accompaniment to, say, an Afternoon Tea, which is exactly what I have planned with my lovely mamma (shh, don’t tell her!)

Authentic Rosé Packshot

 Whether you’re holding a leisurely lunch, indulging in afternoon tea like us, or you simply want to give the gift of luxury, add some sparkle to mum’s special day with these two suggestions from Champagne Canard-Duchêne.

 

Crisp, refreshing and light, the champagne is perfect to add a bit of colour to the table and as a fun alternative to the usual brands.

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And as delicate fruity notes such as raspberry and strawberry are quite evident in the glass, it’s perfect to accompany a cream tea scone, mmmm.

 

And, why not finish the day with bubbles too

 

 

 

LUSH (I know I go on about them but I’m obsessed!) have some great bubble bars, soaps and amazing bubble bars, specially for mum. I’m a big fan of the tulip bubble wands, this time with added wildflower seeds embedded in the label (I’m still waiting for mine to grow!)

 

Tulip bubble bar

Tulip bubble bar

I also discovered the inhale/exhale bath bomb which, looks a little different from the glitter-packed bombs I’m used to but is a bit more fun as each side fizzles away at a different speed to the other.

AND it has a lovely surprise, a sweet little message floating around the bath before mum steps in. So cute.

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Happy Mother’s Day x

REVIEW: Lush Spa, Hard Day’s Night Treatment

Once in a while an experience – because that’s what the Hard Day’s Night treatment is, an experience – comes along that stops you in your tracks, knocks you down, and throws everything you every thought you knew about spa treatments out the window.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Liverpool’s Lush Spa to try their Hard Day’s Night treatment in the city where it was launched last year. Inspired by the music of The Beatles, the treatment is designed to relax your mind and body through a combination of firm massage and gentle passive stretches and, from what I had read, I was in for a treat.

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The lovely Lush store, Liverpool

On my arrival at the store and after a quick shufty around a few of my fave Lush products I was met by my therapist and taken upstairs through a secret door to the spa which was unlike any other spa I had visited before. Instead of all clean lines, uplighting and minimalist decoration, I found myself in a country cottage kitchen area complete with solid wood workbench/table and comfy seats.

After a short consultation and a walk through about what was in store for me in the next 75 minutes  I was taken through to the treatment room where I was given my very own set of PJs.

Pyjamas

PJ Time!

That’s right – pyjamas! No nudity here thank you very much, this was all about getting cosy, comfy and content and the lovely striped slumber wear had also been wrapped around a hot water bottle to make them all toasty – bonus!  PJs on, I snuggled down underneath the covers on the heated bed and rang my little bell so the therapist knew we were good to go. Loved this touch as too often when I’ve been to a spa I’ve been left lying there for a touch longer than I would have preferred.

During the sensory journey of music and stress-releasing massage, designed to leave you feeling relaxed, uplifted and ready for a new day, a series of passive stretches are performed to work out any knots and niggles. During the dry massage your limbs are gently stretched, bounced and manipulated in time to a dreamy soundtrack of cleverly reworked Beatles songs. Whatever worries you walked in with, this treatment will help you find your inner peace and just… let it be. (Badumtish!)

It was the little touches that really made this treatment for me. From the start when the music takes you to the docks, listening to the gentle swish of the sea and the seagulls overhead, to the hand massage as ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ (what else) began.

Another alternative moment that I had never experience in the past, was the use of ribbons tied to your ankles to make you feel like you were floating through weightlessness – a section inspired by the Cirque du Soleil ‘Love’ show which also uses Beatles music.

After the treatment I was left alone in the room for a short time to meditate and reflect on the experience. As the sound of a gently ticking clock played, you knew it was time to wake up refreshed at the sound of an alarm clock. No one likes that sound usually but I was more than happy to yawn, stretch and get out of ‘bed’ feeling more refreshed than I do when I have to get up to go to work!

Back in my normal attire I made my way back through to the kitchen where tea and Jammy Dodger biscuits sat waiting for me.

Tea and Biscuits

More tea vicar?

There are many other surprises throughout the treatment but I didn’t want to give you a step by step, paint by numbers because each individual will take certain aspects away with them for different reasons.

Given the Hard Day’s Night Treatment is priced at £85 it is a little pricier than usual treatments but that’s the thing, this treatment isn’t ‘usual’ – it is anything but, so the price tag is certainly worth it for a special treat.

And for everyone who has the treatment  is  a Golden Slumbers bath bomb to keep the feelings of peace, calm and relaxation lasting even longer.

I’m just planning when I can try something else because if that is just one of the treatments I can’t wait to experience the rest!

To find out more, or to book an appointment, telephone Lush Spa Liverpool on 0151 236 6952 or visit the Lush website here to book and to see a video on how the treatment was designed.  You can also purchase or take a listen to the music used in the treatment here

REVIEW: B Precise Gel Eyeliner

Afternoon all –  nice and full from over-indulgence from the festive period?

Now, as we all try and squeeze ourselves into our party frocks for the biggest night of the year tomorrow night, I’d like to draw (scuse the pun) your attention to this little beauty….the B. Precise Gel Eyeliner from Superdrug.

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For a long time now I’ve been toying with the idea of purchasing a gel eyeliner and have been given lots of recommendations by friends. However the decision was made for me when this little baby landed on my desk thanks to my wonderful friends at Superdrug.

I was sent the black colour and in the box is a little pot of gel with its very own brush. 

Usually I have used a liquid eyeliner to draw on my little cat-eye flicks but had grown tired of the constant smudging in my usual brand but on first use of the gel eyeliner I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to use as opposed to the liquid one that takes a few attempt to get right – a wonderful thing when you’re in a rush to get ready!

 

A little goes a long way with this particular brand and the pigment is strong so there is no reason to go over the liner unless you you like some really thick lines that is!

I would also recommend wiping down the brush after each use as it does clog a little if you don’t and though it is perfectly fine to use for the time being, I’m looking at buying a more finer brush to get a less thicker line that this brush provides. 

REVIEW: Chocolat Lovers

Some words just go together.

Fish and Chips, Morecambe and Wise and, most importantly, Christmas and Chocolate.

It’s that time of year once again where it is perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and tea (or dinner if you’re posh!) and during the festive season it is simply a given to replace your regular five a day with five treats from a box of Celebrations.

I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful box of choccy delights from the ultimate on-line chocolate boutique, Chocolat Lovers, recently and given the fact I’m usually happily settled in the savoury camp when it comes to snacking, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed devouring the contents of the little black box.

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Inside I found three bars: A Dark Chocolate Amsterdam Liquorice and Hemp Bar (£3.50), a Sea Salt & Caramel Bar (£3.50) and a Lemon & Poppy Seeds Creamy White Bar (£2.29)

The first came in a cardboard box, designed to look like an old postcard from Amsterdam and on opening it up was met with a lovely looking dark chocolate bar decorated with butterflies.

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Usually preferring the Dark Side to the usual milk or white chocolate I was eager to try this bar but when I did was a little disappointed in the flavour that was promised.

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The immediate reaction was “well this just tastes like a really nice dark chocolate but I can’t taste either liquorice or hemp” but when the chocolate was long gone from my mouth a slight liquorice-y after taste lingered.

Though I’m not a fan of that particular flavour usually it was quite a nice surprise. Not sure I’d buy this bar myself but it would be a nice gift.

Onto the Sea Salt & Caramel Bar.

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This was my absolute favourite of the three. The decorative use of the caramel and sea salt on the milk chocolate bar was showcased in a cellophane wrapper and on tasting I found that the chunky pieces lent themselves to creating a gloriously crunchy chocolate bar.

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Perhaps my preference of savoury snacks over sweet made me like this more than the others but the fact that I found it really hard to put down and that is disappeared in very little time speaks for itself. Would buy this one again in a heartbeat.

Finally the  Lemon & Poppy Seeds Creamy White Bar. Although an unusual pairing of poppy seeds in a chocolate bar I was curious to dig into this particular bar. So curious, in fact, that this was the first one I opened even though it was at the bottom of the box.

The creamy white chocolate was interspersed with the tiny black poppy seeds and popping it into my mouth on a cold Winter’s evening transported me back to the heady Summer warmth. The lemon flavour was not overpowering and the poppy seeds gave it an added bite. I could imagine eating this in the garden with a cold, crisp, white wine or a small tot of Limoncello it was so refreshing and a real eye-opener to what other chocolate flavour possibilities are on the market.

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Having tried and tested just this small sample of what Chocolat Lovers have to offer I’m sure I’ll be paying a visit to their website very soon.

Chocolat Lovers have some great Christmas gifts if you’re still struggling to find that perfect gift from Chocolate canvases, cars, teddies and trains that double up at tree decorations, as well as brilliant chocolate hampers.

REVIEW: Cloud Nails, Manchester Airport

Preparing for a holiday is half of the fun for me; even packing adds to the excitement (so I love a list, who doesn’t’?)

Yet on a recent girlie trip to Prague for a dear friend’s birthday, I just couldn’t seem to get into the swing of things – my outfits were all chosen last minute, my hair hadn’t been cut the week before in my usual pre-holiday fashion and my manicure was chipped. Perhaps it was because we were only going for a weekend, or maybe it was down to the fact we were going in early October and I’m only used to jetting off in Summer, I just don’t know but prepared I was not.

So when the birthday girl and I were invited to have some pre-flight pampering at the new Cloud Nail bar at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1, it appeared the holiday angels had been listening.

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With no bags to check in and online boarding passes printed out we headed through to security. It’s not uncommon for me to be stopped to be patted down (something about my face?) but this time a full on search was undertaken by the lady on the desk. And with a group of eight girls, this was no mean feat.

IMG_3078Not to worry, we were through and B.G and I took our places at the nail bar while the other took their places in the actual bar. Due to the quick turnover of passengers, appointments aren’t necessarily made at the bar but with the lighting-fast manicure talents of the salon girls, there is little time to wait.

B.G and I opted for something similar for our manicures – O.P.I navy gel polish with sparkly gel overlay, fabulous.

Taking the time out for a little pampering ahead of your flight is something to be enjoyed. Having never had the experience before I can certainly say the next time I’m in T1 ior T2 I shall be taking the time out for myself.

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The ‘Express’ menu of treatments means even the most ‘time pushed’ traveller can enjoy a flawless set of nails from only £15 and the ladies mentioned that most of their customers are amazed to learn that they can treat themselves to an O.P.I. 3 Week Gel manicure which is chip resistant, super glossy and instantly dry in only 15 minutes with no risk of knocks or smudges.

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Ideal for the weekend city-breakers like us or the two week beach dwellers.

Due to the friendliness of the girls, B.G, myself and the rest of the ladies almost missed our boarding call which resulted in a Home Alone-style sprint to the gate.

But while our faces may have been flushed, our manicures were flawless.

Even better, they stayed that way until my Birthday a couple of weeks later – bonus!!

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For more information on Cloud Nails visit here