News story – Carmen

Double speedway world champion Tai Woffinden heads to Poland this weekend continuing the defence of his crown.

He will be riding another strong field in the second round of the championship, taking place in Warsaw, a country he knows well.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to it after riding club speedway in Poland and Sweden.  I can’t wait to see the new track, and I’m ready for the challenge” he said.

“The competition is more fierce than ever this year, but with the new shape of the track, it’s more of a level playing field, and whoever learns fastest, will be the fastest.”

Other multiple speedway champions, Greg Hancock and Nicki Pedersen had indifferent starts to the season but will be looking to bounce back over the 23 heat meeting.

Hancock wants to improve on his 10 point haul in Slovenia, and is cautiously optimistic having seen the new venue.

He said: “So far the track looks great. There are a few lines to pick from, which makes it both exciting and tricky because you’re trying to find the best line and that can change as the meeting goes

“The inside looks like it is quite well packed, but relatively slippery. The outside is grippier because riders were pushing dirt towards the edge, so there may be some interesting moves come Saturday evening.

“With the layout of the temporary tracks, they all feel similar, but this one is nice because they have given us more room to push.

“You feel like you have space and can run in two or three different places and not feel at a disadvantage.”

The current leader of the Speedway GP is former champion Chris Holder, who is back to full fitness after two seasons plagued by injury, and is looking to add to his championship victory in 2012.

“It’s good to be back to winning ways again, and going to Poland always gives a huge boost.

“With 50000-plus in the arena, there are bound to be nerves, but the best of us thrive on that, it gives us an edge and makes you bring your best to the meeting.”

 

 

I have a keen interest in Speedway, and I know personally Tai Woffinden who is mentioned within the interview.  All interviews were sourced from the online Speedway GP Media Briefing, which was held on 12th May 2016 in Warsaw, Poland.

The target audience for this news story is the sports pages of local/regional newspaper together with selected tabloid national newspapers that cover speedway on a regular basis.

 

 

 

Feature – The Rise of House Shares – Final Copy

With UK Interest rates at an all-time low of 0.5%, and the rates of home ownership above the European average, even with record number of repossessions, why are so many people sharing a house with strangers?

Interest rates have been at 0.5% since March 2009, which is good if you have a mortgage, but more of a struggle if you are a saver.  This means that it is harder for people to save for a deposit for a property, and then harder to actually get a mortgage after the rules on borrowing were tightened after the Banking Crisis of the late 2000’s.

UK Bank Base Rate 1900 - 2016

Living in a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), sharing a bathroom and a kitchen is increasingly becoming the norm for a larger amount of people.

House sharing isn’t for everyone, but given the increasing purchase prices of property, and the rental market continuing to rocket, it seems that people in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s, will be living with strangers, in the same way that they did when they were at University.

With the rising costs of utility bills, and people coming to the end of a cheap deal on their mortgage, the option to cash in a house, if you can sell it, and cut costs is fast becoming a option for a wide range of people across the country.

Richard Walker, is a 53-year-old, recently divorced, civil servant, who after the breakdown of his marriage, wanted to find his own flat in Central London, but found that getting back on the property ladder was not as straight forward as he first thought it would be.

Richard turned to the internet, and the only cost-effective option of finding a place to live in one of the most expensive places in the UK was to turn to house sharing.

“I felt that I had it all.  A great house, new car, foreign holidays and wardrobes full of expensive clothes and shoes.  However, a lot of that had to go, once I had worked out just how expensive running a house on a single income is.

“When I started to look for a one bedroom flat, one within 30 minutes commuting time of work, I realised that by the time I had paid the rent on a property, a good chunk of my salary would have gone.  Then I had to factor in the utility bills, mobile phone, gym membership, food, and clothes, and I worked out that there wasn’t a huge amount left to try and save for emergencies.” said Richard.

According to Zoopla, an online property website, the lowest price for a flat that would meet Richard’s requirements, would be around £1100 per month, and that is for the rent, before adding all the utility bills.

“I just couldn’t justify the cost of it, considering that my mortgage was less than that for a 4 bedroom detached house.” added Richard.

Research into average flat rental prices shows a huge north-south divide, but also that in the Greater London area, it is within it’s own property bubble.

Average Property Rent Prices Per Calendar Month

October 2015 saw average rental prices within Greater London at £1560 per calendar month compared to the Yorkshire and Humber region at £621.  With a difference of £929 a month, the north-south divide only seems to get wider.

With higher rents, landlords would appear to be making large profits from the shortage of affordable housing stock to purchase.

Jayne Tibbett, a landlord of 20 years experience, disagrees with that statement, and has seen other property businesses fail in the last 5 years.

“I’m very lucky that my portfolio is spread across the country, with properties from Newcastle to Manchester, Cardiff to London and the South East.

“My business is profitable, but not in the same way that people might think.  Letting agents fees have increased, together with the general upkeep of properties.  I have to employ people to maintain the properties, and their rates have gone up, as their overheads have increased.”

In the recent Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a 3% premium on stamp-duty for buy-to-let properties, and this will directly impact on the rents that landlords charge to prospective tenants.  The average price of a property in the United Kingdom is £299,000, and stamp duty is payable on purchase.  The 3% tariff on buy-to-let homes will see the fee increase from £4,950 to £13,920.

So with mortgages harder to get, and rent prices increasing in most of the country, the numbers of house-sharers is likely to increase.

Looking on one of the major house-sharing websites, Spareroom, it seems that the numbers of people wanting to rent a room is greater than the number of rooms available to rent, which ultimately will cause the prices to increase, due to supply and demand.

Average house-share prices, as with rents, are skewed when including Greater London, where the average room rent is £710 per calendar month, whereas further north, you can rent a room, on average for less then £400 per calendar month in cities in the “Northern Powerhouse”, with Leeds (£351pcm), Manchester (£380pcm), and Hull (£340pcm).

Jim Howard knows the difference moving north can make.  Jim is 47 years old, and works as a Regional Sales Director, and has recently relocated to Manchester, after his company moved away from the South East, looking for cheaper office space.

“I was very surprised with the difference in the price of accommodation.  I didn’t want to commit to buying a new property, so that I can offer maximum flexibility to the company I work for.

“I would prefer my own place, but at the moment, I need to just cut my cloth, and save, save, save.  You never know when a big bill will come in, whether that is for the running of the car, or a medical emergency.” said Jim.

Jim’s new home is a shared house, with five other house mates.  A shared kitchen and lounge, a conservatory and upstairs, two bathrooms.  The bedroom is a decent size, previously being a downstairs lounge, but it has all the things that you need.  A bed, wardrobes, drawers and a desk, but not too cramped, and this is the place Jim will call home for at least the next five months.

“I’d never considered sharing with other people, I like my own space too much, but when working out the pros and cons, I took the plunge.

“There are little shops locally and a supermarket about five minutes away, a pub around the corner, and it’s only 15 minutes drive to work.  I can park my car right outside the house, which I struggled with in London, and the commute is a lot less stressful than when I was in the South.

“By the time, I did a couple of miles in London, I can be in my office, with a cup of coffee and wading through my emails.”

At 29, Rebecca Busman, now working for a media company after recently graduating, has had bad experiences of house sharing before while at University, but she thinks she’s developed a thicker skin for it.

“Don’t get me wrong, house sharing isn’t my idea of heaven, it means that I’ve managed to put a little bit each aside each month, and I get to keep more of my salary each month for the things I like.

“I’ve had house shares before, ones that I’ve found in the newsagent window, and my advice to anyone thinking of doing that, don’t!

“The best advice I can give, is to go with a reputable company, and visit as many houses as you can, and if possible, meet the house mates as well, you will get a sense of who you might be living with for the next few months or years.  Make a pros and cons list for each one and take your time.”

House sharing is something that is growing year on year, and an industry that is set to flourish as house prices continue to outpace wage increases.

Product Review -Vanilla Pod Hand Cream – Final Copy

Vanilla Pod Hand Cream - Heaven by Deborah Mitchell

Vanilla Pod Hand Cream – Heaven by Deborah Mitchell

 

 

Hands are on show at all times, so ensuring they look in good condition, even in the cold and windy days of winter, is important to people of all genders.

I received a hand cream from Heaven Skincare that looks perfect on my dressing table, nestled in between the perfume bottles and body shimmer, but is it simply a case of style over substance?  As with any product, the question that needs to be asked is, does it do what it is supposed to do?

Any product with a vanilla fragrance, can be quite overpowering, and some people can be put off from a product, be that candles or air fresheners, if the aroma is sickly sweet.

So, I always look for a beauty product that can keep the fine balance between strength and blandness, as long as it does the job.

On removing the clear cap, I was presented with a pump-action dispenser, so that I was able to use the amount of the product that I actually needed.  With a price tag of £19 per 5oml pot, waste is simply not an option for me.  When initially pressing the dispenser, the aroma was noticeable, but didn’t strike my senses too hard.

Once I had washed my hands using a non-perfumed hand wash, to ensure that all natural oils and fragrance were removed, I applied the cream, and found that the consistency was just about right. Not too thin to run off the hands, but not too thick so that it felt like a chore to apply.  The best way to describe the texture, is that of indulgent double cream, that has been lightly whipped.

Working the product into the hands and nails, and the company’s recommendation is to use it on nails too, the room fills with the two main aromatic ingredients, Vanilla Bean, and Coconut.  The blend of those two flavours, is just about right, with the former complimenting the latter.

I have used products in other reviews, that feel oily, and take a while in which to absorb into the skin, whereas this one doesn’t.  It feels light on the skin, and that it is actually working with the natural elements of the epidermis.

In addition to the aromas, the hand cream does contain sand.   Sand, I hear you cry.  Yes, there is a small amount of sand, so that there is a slight element of exfoliation when applying the hand cream.

As per the guidance from the company, I used this product on my hands, nails and feet, and, after using this product, my skin felt considerably smoother after the first application, and I felt the benefit of it throughout the day.

This product will be something that I keep in my skincare regime, and not just because it looks nice on the dressing table, it is there on merit.

The question I posed at the start of this review was, is it style over substance?  In my opinion, I feel that it ticks both boxes.

 

First Person Interview – Final Copy

When Rachel Wilson met her partner, she knew he was different from other guys she had dated, but she didn’t realise just how different.

“I first met Steve at work. Although we work on different floors of our call centre, we used to bump into each other, in the smoking shelter, usually on our break.

During those times, we used to talk about random things, sport, politics, food.  It was just nice to chat about anything away from work.

I noticed early on that Steve was a little bit different from other people that I worked with, or knew away from work.  Whether that was a sixth sense or not, I don’t know, but there was just something a little different, something captivating which drew me in, the sort of thing you can’t quite put your finger on.

It is rare to meet someone with whom you connect instantly, and on many levels. I’ve never met anyone able to hold such engaging, stimulating conversations on a range of subjects. My only imminent concern were his nails…real or false? Those 10 perfectly manicured talons, on reflection gave a subtle clue to the real person within.

Away from work, we started starting messaging on social media, and the range of topics covered in one evening was staggering. The ease and flow of conversation was not only stimulating but refreshing, and that is where he told me he was transgendered.

He later told me that he sent it via message as he was nervous about doing it in person.  He explained that he wasn’t like other guys, and that he had a feminine side to his personality and he had had to live with it for thirty years.  I had an idea about it, given the nails, but I felt privileged when he told me, allowing me to see such a special part of himself .

The capacity to become so congruent is something most people aspire too.  Being settled in your own skin, doesn’t come easy to everyone, especially when you have something that sets you apart from the so-called normalities of life.

Although I work in a customer service based role, I studied for a counselling degree, and through that, I had heard of people being on the transgendered spectrum.

I found myself needing to understand more over the next few days, my research skills came to the fore, I wanted to try and understand what this actually meant, and the range of materials out there is vast.

One thing Steve said to me was, that if I had any questions about anything regarding transgenderism, then the best thing to do was actually ask him, because there was a fair chance that he had already been asked the question over the years.

What I found online, and by asking questions, just made me determined to learn more, especially now that the trans community is becoming more visible, with the high profile transitions of radio presenter Stephanie Hirst, and the former decathlete, Caitlyn Jenner.

With the research, I realised that there are many people having to deal with this, be that people on the spectrum, or the friends and family that are, in some cases, struggling to cope with the change in the person that they are close to.

After all the research, it just re-enforced that I wanted a relationship with both genders, because I love the complete person.

For me, Steve is still Steve, although he is also Jemma.  I recognise that the blend of male and female, are the complete package, and that if you embrace both, you get the best of both worlds.  Denying either, you lose the sense of balance for everyone concerned.

When Jemma is around, there is a softer side to her personality, where the male trait gets buried deep within.  She takes over and it’s like she’s never been away.

We haven’t been out together yet, as Rachel and Jemma, but I can’t wait to be there for her and to be with her.  There are subtle changes to the person I know.  It’s more than a man in a dress, I see a confident person, who wants to thrive, no matter what persona is being shown.  I’m quite thankful that she has great dress sense.  The wardrobe I now share is full of dresses, skirts, tops, jeans and shoes as you would expect from a 30-something woman.

We’ve arranged a shopping trip soon, and I can’t wait.  To have my best friend looking her best, standing tall while we shop will be such an experience.

My advice to anyone who is being introduced to the transgender spectrum, is to ask questions, do your research, but mainly don’t be afraid, and above all, talk to each other, be honest and open about how you feel. Whilst your relationship, romantic or platonic, may inevitably change, embrace the fear and uncertainly, as the outcome has the potential to become something beyond your dreams.

Colour Writing – Reflection

In the session, we discussed colour writing, and the major differences between colour writing and news pieces.

When writing with colour, the wording is more descriptive and paints a picture of a person or scene.  An example of this could be in an interview with a celebrity, the article could discuss what they are wearing, where the interview is taking place, or what you can smell in and around the situation.

Colour writing is more prevalent in newspaper features and magazines, where the journalist has more available column inches, rather than having to tell a story in a clear and concise manner, with a smaller number of words.

I found the session fascinating, by being able to use the full range of the English language.  In colour writing, I am able to paint a picture in full Technicolor, rather than having to be straight and to the point in a news article.  The examples that the group created in the session, I felt that I could imagine being there, with the descriptions woven into the story.

Both types of journalism have their place in the media, and I will enjoy creating further pieces of colour writing as I move towards the end of the course.

Feature – The Rise of House Shares – InDesign Version with Issuu

After creating my feature for the Writing For Purpose strand of my degree, I felt the need to put my words into an InDesign spread, to see if the words would work within a magazine or newspaper pullout.

I created a blank 4 page document, with 2 columns per page, which I have used on previous booklets and pullouts.

On the settings screen, I left most of the defaults, with Paper Size as A4 Portrait, and left both slug and bleed as 0mm, but if I was to send this off for printing, I would ensure that it matched the requirements of the publication.

DocSetup

Settings for InDesign 4 Page Spread

With the 4 pages, I created 2 text boxes, each one being the height of the page, allowing for the margins shown above, and covering two of the columns, minus the gutter of 4.233mm.

4pagespread

4 page spread shown at 33% in InDesign

Using Google Images, I found a creative commons photo of generic houses that had a licence for non-commercial usage.  This is acceptable for using in the assignment, but I would have to change it, if the spread was used in a magazine or newspaper.  I felt that the image was appropriate to use in the document, but was too strong in colour, to use either as a background or as the front cover.

Using Photoshop, I changed the look of the photo, by adding a white rectangle over the image, and changing the opacity to 60% for the front cover image, and 83% for the background on pages 2, 3 and 4.

As you can see below, this allows the image to be visible, but also enough white for the black text to see over it later in this post.

Example of 0 and 83

Image shown at 0% and 83% opacity with a white rectangle drawn in Photoshop

By copying the text from the blog, and pasting into the spread, I was able to link the text boxes, so that any extra text can automatically move into the next text frame, be that on the same page, or the next.

The final spread is shown below, complete with the infographic created in infogr.am

Spreadwithtext

Final Indesign Spread before export.

On finishing the spread, I was able to use the InBooklet feature in InDesign to export as if I was to send it off to the printer or publisher, and I also exported the document as a PDF, so that I was able to upload to copy to Issuu, where a copy can be found by clicking on this link.

 

 

 

 

Feature – The Rise of House Shares – 1st Draft

UK Interest rates are at an all-time low of 0.5 per cent, and the rates of home ownership above the European average, even with record number of repossessions, why are so many people sharing a house with strangers?

Living in a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO), sharing a bathroom and a kitchen is increasingly becoming the norm for a larger amount of people.

With the rising costs of utility bills, and people coming to the end of a cheap deal on their mortgage, the option to cash in a house, if you can sell it, and cut costs is becoming a option for a wide range of people up and down the country.

Richard Walker, is a recently divorced civil servant, who after the breakdown of his marriage, wanted to find his own flat in Central London, but found that getting back on the property ladder was not as straight forward as he first thought it would be.

Richard turned to the internet, and the only cost-effective option of finding a place to live in one of the most expensive places in the UK was to turn to house sharing.

“I felt that I had it all.  A great house, new car, foreign holidays and wardrobes full of expensive clothes and shoes.  However, a lot of that had to go, once I had worked out just how expensive running a house on a single income is.

“When I started to look for a one bedroom flat, one within 30 minutes commuting time of work, I realised that by the time I had paid the rent on a property, a good chunk of my salary would have gone.  Then I had to factor in the utility bills, mobile phone, gym membership, food, and clothes, and I worked out that there wasn’t a huge amount left to try and save for emergencies.”

According to Zoopla, an online property website, the lowest price for a flat that would meet Richard’s requirements, would be around £1100 per month, and that is purely for the rental cost, before adding all the extra things.

“I just couldn’t justify the cost of it, considering that my mortgage was less than that for a 4 bedroom detached house.” added Richard.

Research into average flat rental prices shows a huge north-south divide, but also that in and around the Greater London area, it is within it’s own property bubble.

HousePricesInfog

October 2015 saw average rental prices within Greater London at £1560 per calendar month compared to the Yorkshire and the Humber region at £621.

With a difference of £929 a month, the north-south divide only seems to get wider.

Landlords would appear to be making a tidy sum from the shortage of affordable housing stock to purchase, and the banks tightening up their procedures for qualifying for a mortgage after the credit crunch of 2007-2008 and subsequent period of austerity.

Jayne Tibbett, a landlord of 20 years experience disagrees with that statement, and has seen other property businesses fail in the last 5 years.

“I’m very lucky that my portfolio is spread across the country, with properties from Newcastle to Manchester, Cardiff to London and the South East.

“My business is profitable, but not in the same way that people might think.  Letting agents fees have increased, together with the general upkeep of properties.  Tradesmen and women’s rates have increased also, as their overheads have increased.”

So with mortgages harder to get, and rent prices increasing in most of the country, the numbers of house-sharers is likely to increase.

Looking on one of the major house-sharing websites, Spareroom, it seems that the numbers of people wanting to rent a room is greater than the number of rooms available to rent, which ultimately will cause the prices to increase, due to supply and demand.

Average house-share prices, as with rents, are skewed when including Greater London, where the average room rent is £710 per calendar month, whereas further north, you can rent a room, on average for less then £400 per calendar month in cities in the “Northern Powerhouse”, with Leeds (£351pcm), Manchester (£380pcm), and Hull (£340pcm).

Jim Howard knows the difference moving north of the Watford Gap can make.  He has recently relocated to Manchester, after his company moved away from the South East, to look for cheaper office space.

“I was very surprised with the difference in the price of accomodation.  I didn’t want to commit to buying a new property, so that I can offer maximum flexibility to the company I work for.

“I would prefer my own place, but at the moment, I need to just cut my cloth, and save, save, save.  You never know when a big bill will come in, whether that is for the running of the car, or a medical emergency.”

Jim showed me around his new place.  It’s a shared house, with 5 other house mates.  A shared kitchen and lounge, a conservatory and upstairs, two bathrooms.  The bedroom is of a decent size, previously being a downstairs lounge in a former life, but it has all the things that you need.  A bed, wardrobes, drawers and a desk, but not too cramped, and this is the place Jim will call home for at least the next 5 months of his tenancy agreement.

“I’d never considered sharing with other people, I like my own space too much, but when working out the pros and cons, I took the plunge.

“There are little shops locally and a supermarket about 5 minutes away, a pub around the corner, and it’s only 15 minutes drive to work.  I can park my car right outside the house, which I struggled with in London, and the commute is a lot less stressful than when I was in the South.

“By the time, I did a couple of miles in London, I can be in my office, with a cup of coffee and wading through my emails.”

One of Jim’s house mates, Rebecca Busman has had bad experiences of house sharing before, but she thinks she’s developed a thicker skin for it.

“Don’t get me wrong, house sharing isn’t my idea of heaven, but it means that I get to keep more of my salary each month for the things I like.

“I’ve had house shares before, ones that I’ve found in the newsagent window, and my advice to anyone thinking of doing that, don’t!

“The best advice I can give, is to go with a reputable company, and visit as many houses as you can, and if possible, meet the house mates as well, you will get a sense of who you might be living with for the next few months or years.  Make a pros and cons list for each one and take your time.”

House sharing isn’t for everyone, but given the increasing purchase prices of property, and the rental market continuing to rocket, it seems that people in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s, will be experiencing living with strangers, in the same way that they did when they were studying at University.

One thing that Rebecca mentioned as I was leaving the house was, “You start living with strangers, but friendships grow, and you end up living together as one big happy family…mostly, unless you use up all the toilet roll!”

First Person Interview – 1st Draft

I first met Steve at work, although we work on different floors of our building, we used to bump into each other outside, in the smoking shelter, usually on our short breaks, or our lunch breaks.

During those times, we used to talk about random things, but thankfully, not about work.  It was just nice to chat about anything but the day to day, run of the mill things that we both dealt with during our shifts.

I noticed early on that Steve was a little bit different from other people that I worked with, or knew away from work.  Whether that was a sixth sense or not, I don’t know, but there was just something a little different, something captivating which drew me in, the sort of thing you can’t quite put your finger on.

It is rare to meet someone with whom you connect instantly, and on so many levels. The ability to hold engaging, stimulating conversations on current affairs, then in the next moment, to be giggling like a young girl, when he flashes his warm infectious smile. My only imminent concern were his nails…real or false? Those 10 perfectly manicured talons, on reflection gave a subtle clue to the real person within.

Away from work, we started talking on social media, and the range of topics covered in one evening was staggering. The ease and natural flow of the conversation was not only stimulating but refreshing.

As a person, I found him more and more fascinating, but I wanted to know more about what made him tick…and more of what lies behind the nails.  I felt privileged when he disclosed he was transgender, for him to allow me to see such a special part of himself . He seemed so comfortable in telling me that it blew me away. The capacity to become so congruent is something most people aspire too.  Being settled in your own skin, doesn’t come easy to everyone, especially when you have something that sets you apart from the so-called normalities of life.

Although I work in a customer service based role, I come from a counselling background, having studied for a degree, and through that, I had heard of people being on the transgendered spectrum.

I found myself needing to understand more over the next few days, my research skills came to the fore, I wanted to try and understand what this actually meant, and the range of materials out there is vast.

One thing Steve said to me was that if I had any questions about anything regarding transgenderism, then the best thing to do was actually ask him, because there was a fair chance that he had already been asked the question over the years.

What I found online, and by asking questions, just made me determined to learn more, especially now that the trans community is becoming more visible, with the high profile transitions of radio presenter Stephanie Hirst, and the former decathlete, Caitlyn Jenner.

With the research, I realised that there are so many people who are having to deal with this, be that the people who are identifying on the spectrum, or the friends and family that are, in some cases, struggling to cope with the change in the person that they are close to.

For me, Steve is still Steve, although he does have his female persona, Jemma.  I recognise that the blend of male and female traits, make up the complete package, and that if you embrace both, then you get the best of both worlds, with Steve, I have a man to love, and with Jemma, a best friend.

Denying one or the other, you lose the sense of balance for everyone concerned.

Everyone dreams of being loved unconditionally, with complete acceptance of who they are. So many times you hear the words “I love you but…”.

With Steve, there are no “buts”, unconditional acceptance is something which moves in both directions. To truly love someone, you have to embrace all aspects of who they are.

There are distinct advantages for me.  I have someone that loves to shop, won’t complain if I spend hours in the hair salon, or having my nails done, and I’ve got a new wardrobe full of clothes and shoes to rummage through, oh, and I never go short of mascara, foundation or nail varnish.

My advice to anyone who is being introduced to the transgender spectrum, is to ask questions, do your research, but mainly don’t be afraid, and above all talk to each other, be honest and open about how you feel. Whilst your relationship, romantic or platonic, may inevitably change, embrace the fear and uncertainly, as the outcome has the potential to become something beyond your dreams.

I never believed I would find a man, not only to share the rest of my life with, but also my makeup bag and heels.

 

Product Review -Vanilla Pod Hand Cream – 1st Draft

vanilla_pod_hand_cream_50ml_288

Vanilla Pod Hand Cream – Heaven by Deborah Mitchell

Hands are something that are on show at all times, so ensuring they are in tip top condition, even in the cold and windy days of winter, it is important to women, as well as for the guys.

I received a hand cream from Heaven Skincare that looks perfect on my dressing table, nestled in between the perfume bottles and body shimmer, but is it a case of style over substance?  As with any product, the question that needs to be asked is does it actually do what it is supposed to do?

Any product with a vanilla fragrance can be quite overpowering, and some people can be put off from a product, be that candles or air fresheners, if the aroma is sickly sweet.

So, I always look for a beauty product that can keep the balance between strength and blandness, as long as it works.

On removing the clear cap, I was presented with a pump action dispenser, so that you only use the amount of the product that you actually need, and, at a price tag of £19 per 5oml pot, waste is not an option for me.  When initially depressing the dispenser, the aroma is noticeable, but doesn’t strike your senses too hard.

Once I had washed my hands using a non-perfumed hand wash to ensure that all natural oils and fragrance were removed, I applied the cream, and found that the consistency was just about right. Not too thin to run off the hands, but not too thick, so that it felt like a chore to apply.  The best way to describe the texture is that of indulgent double cream, that has been lightly whipped.

Working the product into the hands and nails, and the recommendation from the company is to use it on nails too, the room fills with the two main aromatic ingredients, Vanilla Bean, and Coconut.  The blend of those two flavours is just about right, with the former complimenting the latter.

I have used products in other reviews that feel oily and take a while in which to absorb into the skin, whereas this one, doesn’t just feel that it is on the skin, but actually working with the natural elements of the epidermis.

In addition to the aromas, the hand cream does contain sand.   Sand, I hear you cry, yes there is a small amount of sand, so that there is an slight element of exfoliation when applying the hand cream.

As per the guidance from the company, I used this product on my hands, nails and feet, and after using this product, my skin felt considerably smoother after the first application, and I felt the benefit of it throughout the day.

It will be something that I keep in my locker of products in my skincare regime, and not just because it looks nice on the dressing table.  The question asked at the start of this review was, is it style over substance?  In my opinion, I feel that it ticks both boxes.