My Reviews

Just my opinions on goods and services as and when I feel inclined to post them. As I tend to get a lot of free samples, I will also try and review them for you to share.

HALFORD’S – my heroes and absolutely fantastic customer service. above and beyond.

RACbrilliant at transforming!

Dorothy Perkins Bootsnot made for weather!
BHS Boots – not made for walking!

Aquafresh Ultimate toothpaste review – really nice, makes your teeth feel really clean & minty taste lasts for hours.

Nice n’ Easy Foam review: Nice coverage, easy to use, but beware the intense fumes!

    Fairy “Clean and Care” washing up liquid with Olay review:

A nice product and one I’d buy in all likelihood – and I would certainly be happy to recommend it. Review here.

Andrew Barton Ultimate Blonde shampoo review: has lifted the colour of my hair a bit and it looks and feels glossy, so I’m giving this shampoo the thumbs up and would definitely buy it in future.

Ever since I had my first car, I’ve been really disciplined at making sure I check the levels and keep everything topped up. Sadly, my car is now a bit scruffy and getting a bit rough around the edges, but still performs well for me.Amongst other little imperfections, it’s bonnet has become more and more reluctant to open and when I recently thought the engine sounded a little rough, I suspected it might want some oil – but couldn’t open the bonnet to check. Last week, it occurred to me to pop in to Kwik-Fit who had done a good job with my exhaust before, so off I went and asked if they could help. The man on reception took my keys and he and a mechanic went off to my car whilst I had a seat in the waiting area. When he returned, he said they’d got it open and had topped up all the fluids, including oil – and that I didn’t owe them a penny! WOW! What great service!

He said that the oil had been very low and that the car could probably so with a service. I replied that I thought so too, but that I was hoping it could wait until my MOT in December so it could be done in one hit – and he proceeded to tell me about their offer price of £99 for MOT and mini-service or £165 for MOT and service. That sounds a good deal to me, and I think I’ve pretty much decided to go for that! Better yet, I can apparently take the car in any time after the 2nd November and still maintain the anniversary of the MOT.

Thanks Kwik-Fit for such great service, such friendliness and good advice. Not only am I pleased, but I will be back 10/10!

Poundstretcher’s online customer service. Initially, not interested, and would have ignored me if they could. But then they made it right. 🙂

Carte Noire Cappuccino:
I was sent a free sachet of Carte Noire Cappoccino and confess I’d had it a couple of weeks before trying as I’m more of a strong, black coffee drinker – don’t like milk spoiling my coffee really. However, it suited my mood to have something as a treat after lunch one day this week so I gave it a whirl.

It comes as a 2-part creation. First you pour almost a mug-full of hot water onto the milk powder – which fizzes and pops and produces an impressive froth. Then, separately, you add just a little hot water to the espresso coffee powder. Then you add the coffee to the milk and Robert is your father’s brother

It tasted pretty decent for an almost instant and certainly more authentic than those thick powders I’ve seen before. I still prefer my coffee black, but will be recommending this to my mum who does like a cappuccino and would say this is well worth a go if you do too. Probably the best “instant” on the market.

Visitor’s Oyster Card (London): Highly recommended for anyone visiting London and it saves an absolute fortune in money, time, and planning. You can hop on and off any bus, train or tube withing zones 1-9 with no need to find change, queue for tickets, work out exact times or routes and it automatically works out the cheapest fares. In five days of constant travel by public transport, I managed to only spend £25. The balance remains on the card until I use it again, whenever that may be.

Queen’s Hotel, Crystal Palace, London: We had booked our hotel in advance, and were a little wary of what we’d find since this was very much a budget hotel, a bit out of the way, and we feared the worst. What a pleasant surprise we had when we got to our room – we expected something small and dingy but instead found we had a large room with not two, but four beds! Our room was in the basement and had a little courtyard backing on to it – though the gutter and other pipework constantly dripped and leaked. We just imagined it was a tropical waterfall and with the room getting very hot at night, it was easy to pretend we were on an exotic holiday. In the morning, we took the lift to the fifth floor for our inclusive continental breakfast and found it to be very basic, but certainly adequate. Many people were complaining about various things, but to be honest, at the price we were paying, Mum and I felt things were pretty much acceptable. There was a choice of cornflakes, Frosties or Cocoa Pops for cereal, of apple or orange juice, of toast or fresh rolls with butter and jams, and of tea or coffee. Nothing fancy, but good enough to get the day started. All in all, this hotel is fine for a budget stay. No frills but does the job and the beds were very comfortable. The only thing to note really is that apparently – “24 hour” room service is only actually available between 3pm – 11pm !

This book is an absolute MUST read for City fans everywhere – and if you aren’t one yourself but happen to know one – it’s a perfect present for that long suffering Blue in your life. Even for comparitively new Blues, this is highly recommended reading – do yourself a favour and buy this book. Today.

Wallis Store Card – what a bunch of cowboys! Trying to charge a £12 late charge when they hadn’t ever sent a statement.

I received a free bottle of this to try and have to admit, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special. I already use Bold 2-in1 tablets and thought the gel would be pretty similar. But actually I was wrong. The gel is LOVELY! It smells absolutely gorgeous and as the clothes dry on the radiators, the whole house smells wonderful (I tried the Lavender and Chamomile and then the Ruby Jasmine – I preferred the Lavender and Chamomile for freshness.) The gel is very quick and easy to use and I have to admit, I liked the fact that there’s no powder residue left on the clothes. Highly recommended and I will definitely buy this when it’s on special offer or when Costco start selling it. At the moment, the tablets are more economical for me since I do at least one wash load every day.

Braun Silk-Xelle Epilator: I needed to buy myself a new epilator since my old faithful had died after 11 years of service. I decided I’d buy it in Boots as I have an Advantage card and may as well collect points for spending so much so I headed to the appropriate section and was confronted with 3 whole shelves full of epilators! I managed to narrow the choice down to those on just one shelf as my previous one was a Braun and I knew I wanted the same make – since it had already proved a good one. I was still struggling with the options when a member of staff came to help explain all the extra gadgets and gizmos. There were ones with an ice pack thing to cool the skin and reduce pain – I don’t find epilating painful and I hate cold, so no thanks. There were ones with a shaver attachment in case you decide to shave instead of epilate – er, why would I do that? No thanks. There were ones you can use in the bath/shower – eugh! No thanks. Ones with attachments for doing the face, underarms and bikini line – I manage fine with the usual head and don’t do my face (yet!), so no thanks. Ones with two pin plugs – nope. Ones with 20 tweezer heads and some with 40. Hm…………. at last, something of interest. My old one (with no gadgets or gizmos at all!) had 20, but 40 sounded good Oh and they nearly all have a little light on them now so you can see what you’re doing. OK, I can live with a little light. Finally, I chose what I wanted – The Braun Silk epil Xelle. Phew! (I used it the next day and it’s perfect (and very fast) – though since it comes with just a flimsy little drawstring bag, I retained the zip up one from my previous epilator as it’s a bit more robust. Well done me on making a good choice )

    Make-up/Skin reviews by someone who doesn’t like heavy make-up or time consuming routines:

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation (shade 100, Ivory) I absolutely hate a clogged-up, caked-on look and have previously been using tinted moisturisers ratehr than foundations. However, this is really nice when applied with a brush. It certainly evens out my (now-showing-signs-of-ageing) skin tone and feels nice and light. I’m impressed – and would certainly buy this when the sample runs out.

Rimmel Colour Show Off Lipstick (Shake-Up Pink) I don’t go for bright lipsticks and to be honest don’t often use the stuff as the colour soon disappears and my lips dry out – lipsalve usually does me fine. This lipstick seems to be a nice texture, but sadly, the colour is far too bold – it’s nothing like the shade shown on their web page, it’s more like the Shocking Pink one there. Not convinced I’ll use this so I’m not in a position to judge the staying power, and I wouldn’t buy it for myself.

Nivea – I LOVE Nivea. Good old fashioned Nivea in a tin after washing my face in the shower with ordinary shower gel is all I need for a skincare routine. I’ve been sent samples of various expensive face creams and moisturisers, and none of them are anywhere near as good as my Nivea. I also like the Nivea tinted moisturiser as I don’t wear foundation (hate the caked, clogged up make-up look so I love this product for just adding a little natural looking colour). It goes on smoothly and keeps the skin soft.

Boots No 7 Eyeshadow – I don’t wear much make-up so I like to know what I’m wearing is good. I love No 7 and their eye-shadows are great colours. But this new stupid shape for an applicator has stopped me buying any more than the one I’ve got – even though I desperately need a replacement triple set. The curved applicator is absolutely awful and totally impractical. I even told them how I feel about it and the response was:

Thank you for contacting us about our No7 eyeshadows. I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the shape of the applicators.

As you would probably expect, quality is extremely important to us and all products are tested before they are put on sale. I have taken this opportunity to make our product quality team aware of your experience, so that they can monitor the future performance of this product. Please be assured we will do our best to stop this from happening again in the future.

We do sell a selection of spare applicators, which you may like to consider if you have difficulty using the applicator provided. These can be found in most of our stores.

I apologise once again for the disappointing experience you have had with our product and thank you once again for taking the time to tell us about it.

That’s all very well, and Brownie points to them for replying, but I don’t WANT a separate applicator, I want to be able to grab the pot and go! So I’ll just go on waiting until they sort it out – and in the meantime look for another suitable product to use. 🙁

Avon new twist lip gloss – I was sent a free sample of this to try and as with the rest of my makeup, I don’t like a heavy look for my lips.This product, to my surprise, was really nice. It was called “mauve” but I’d have called it a natural shade, certainly not a purple. It goes on SO smoothly and gives just the right intensity of colour, combined with a pleasant shine. I’d definitely buy this in the future.

Estee Lauder Sensuous perfume – Another free sample, and again, I get lots of perfume ones, most of which are OK, but nothing special. But this one is gorgeous! I loved it and felt really good wearing it. Definitely on my wish list.

    Novasure procedure review:

I had the Novasure procedure done in December 2008 and it’s absolutely BRILLIANT! No post op pain – AT ALL! and problem completely sorted. Highly recommended.

(Manchester) City in the 21st Century 🙂

Bio Sculpture Gel Nails: Fantastic! Perfect nails for 2 – 4 weeks! 🙂

Tyne Valley Van Hire review – Had a wide range of vehicles on offer, (we had a transit) plenty of parking space for collecting/delivering and are very accommodating. Very user friendly and we’d definitely use them again in the future.

    E-Cloth Review:

I received a free sample of the e-cloth through the post, though I confess it sat on my desk for weeks. Yesterday, though, I thought I’d give it a whirl and see what the fuss was about. I dampened it in the bathroom, and noticed that the mirrors in there were rather smeared so used the cloth on those. Oh WOW! Incredible! Perfectly clean with not a single smear! That was it – I was off round the house doing all the mirrors, TV screens, computer screens and anything else shiny that came into view. (Even making Stephen laugh by going into his room to do his screens – though he too was amazed.) When I have the funds, I must get more of these as the sample is only the size of my hand. Highly recommended even without really understanding how it works. 🙂

Terrible service in the restaurant!
When I e-mailed them my thoughts, I got a standard letter of apology, which didn’t even show what the problem I’d highlighted might be. I was sent £10 of vouchers, but no assurance that anything would improve. Not interested, it seems.

Browns of Chester (Debenhams) Review Awful signage & service! And their response was mere lip service.

Chester pubs – The Albion Inn & The Boathouse Review. FANTASTIC! They even popped by to say hello – see the comments on that post.

LANGLEY CASTLE Review Fantastic – highly recommended. No response when I complimented them though.

Marriott Hotel (Gosforth) Review: Unimpressive breakfast. Response was an apology and excuse of being short staffed.

Currys Review: Customer service? They’ve never heard of it!