Just Charlie G

It was in 2013 I think that first talked about Chloe and the possibility that she has aspergers and since then I’ve blogged sporadically about the difficulties we have faced as a family, the decision we faced regarding getting whether or not to get a diagnosis, and once that decision was made, our time on the extremely lengthy waiting list. If you’re interested, you can find all of my previous posts here.

And so it was that Chloe was assessed a few weeks ago.  The wait for the diagnosis (or not) was excruciating, although thankfully very quick. We had no idea how Chloe had been in her observation as we were in a separate room. We also were aware the Chloe is capable, on occasion, of seeming perfectly fine (she’s always fine but I mean not displaying any signs of what we suspected). There were times where I hoped there was no diagnosis (meaning there’s hope that things could be “fixed” in simplistic terms) and there were times I was desperately afraid we wouldn’t get a diagnosis (well why do we have the problems then? how can we get help if there’s no diagnosis?)…but both views were accompanied by a constant feeling of anxiety.

As I say, we didn’t have to wait long, about three weeks. I was actually told Chloe’s diagnosis on the phone. The procedure is normally that you would go in for a face to face meeting to discuss the results and next steps (regardless of the outcome), but the assessment team wanted us to have the results quickly as we had a meeting at the school the following day.

To cut a long story short, Chloe has Autism Spectrum Disorder, as we have always suspected. Asperger Syndrome is not diagnosed any more hence the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I’m not going to lie, the report was incredibly distressing to read, the detail of her observation, in black and white, by professionals, hammered home the problems, making a mockery of the fact I was ever concerned they might not see it.

And it’s hard to even describe how I’ve felt the last few weeks, happy, sad, relived, vindicated, positive, negative… and everything in between. So far though, for me personally it’s had a definite impact on how I view and manage situations, it’s like something’s clicked in my brain…instead of wondering “why is she behaving like this? arghhh!” now (nearly always but not every time!) KNOW why and knowing means I can manage the situation considerably better than I could before.

At this point in time I don’t know whether I will continue to discuss this subject on my blog, Chloe’s older, more aware, and I’m keen for her not to be defined by this label, but equally, it provides an outlet for me and I think talking about this stuff can be a great help for other parents going through the same thing. I have no doubt there’s much more of this story to tell, getting the help we need, family life and so on, but I may choose to keep this private from now on.

But for my blog, and for those who have followed this journey all the way through, I wanted to share the outcome. Thank you to everyone who has supported, shared their experiences  and been so kind over the last few years, it really does help.

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OMG! This is about as exciting as make up gets for me. Today I’m blogging about the Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass collection. The collection includes five limited edition lipsticks, as well as an eyeshadow palette.

urban decay alice through the looking glassI can’t actually believe that the original Alice in Wonderland palette was five years ago, I blogged about that palette at the time, but appear to have lost the post in my blog move. The original Alice palette was a big deal, it sold out almost immediately and it was beautiful. The Alice Through the Looking Glass products are equally beautiful and are inspired by the film release of Alice Through the Looking Glass which is released next week.

I’m going to start by showing you the eyeshadow palette (£45). It’s truly a thing of beauty. I should say tight now this post is going to be picture heavy. I think for now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

urban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glass urban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glassurban decay alice through the looking glassSo, what you have is the most stunning palette, housing 20 all new shades of eyeshadow and a double ended brush. The box itself is a work of art decorated in a kaleidoscopic pattern and Alice quotes. Once you lift the lid you’re greeted with a mirror and two doors, lift the doors and find a beautiful butterfly who’s wings flap as you move the doors, it’s truly beautiful. When you pull out the draw, you’ll find a brush and the twenty eyeshadows.

The eyeshadows are in a variety of finishes and shades from smooth buttery matte, to glitter to satin and a few in between. It’s truly gorgeous.

Now for swatches, two photos in two different lights, each swatch has been done over Urban Decay Primer Potion, and in rows, from Left to Right. Looking Glass, Hatter, Lily, Heads Will Roll, Time, Reflection, Gone Mad,  Duchess, Bandersnatch, Dream On, Dormouse, Paradox, Salazen Grum, Chronosphere, Metamorphosis, Cake, Chessboard, Royal Flush and Mirror.

urban decay alice through the looking glass urban decay alice through the looking glassSuch beautiful colours. Three points:

This is one seriously beautiful palette that more than lives up to the hype, grab it if you can!

Moving on to the lipsticks, these are £16 each and amazing, I love them more than the eyeshadow palette if that’s even possible.

urban decay alice through the looking glassFirst a note about the packaging, the same beautiful kaleidoscopic print as the eyeshadow palette. Truly gorgeous.

Left to Right for both of the next pictures. Mirana, Mad Hatter, Alice, Time ad Iracebeth.

urban decay alice through the looking glass urban decay alice through the looking glass

It’s not until you see these on that you really see their beauty so I’ll comment on each shade.

Mirana

urban decay alice through the looking glassMirana is a beautiful matte berry shade with tonal shimmer. The shimmer is totally lost in the swatch and it’s no overpowering when worn, it’s just really lovely.

Mad Hatter

urban decay alice through the looking glassI loooove this shade. Mad Hatter is a bright purple with shimmer. I think the shimmer is slightly blue-y, but it’s truly lovely. I love purple lipsticks anyway, they are great for when you want to be slightly unconventional but aren’t brave enough to go for one of the more unusual shades!

Alice

urban decay alice through the looking glassAlice is one of my favourites and the most wearable. It’s also one of the hardest to photograph. It’s a sheer nude, and really pretty as shown above, but what the swatch and the picture above don’t show is that it has a pink shift. The pink shift is nigh on impossible to photograph but it’s GORGEOUS, and as your nude fades through wear, the pink shift becomes more and more apparent. Truly a gorgeous shade This is the  best photo I managed to get of the shift.

urban decay alice through the looking glass Time

urban decay alice through the looking glassTime is the shade I was most worried about wearing, I never thought I could wear a blue lipstick, but this is really special. It’s a gunmetal navy with silver shimmer, the shimmer is not apparent in my opinion, it wears more as slightly metallic. That’s a good think. This is gorgeous!

Finally we have Iracebeth.

urban decay alice through the looking glass No words, this is just the perfect red. And for a matte formula it’s not at all drying. There’s not much more I can say about this, it’s my favourite, the colour is seriously beautiful.

The lipsticks from this Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass collection are all amazing, I can’t think of a bad word to say about them. What a treat!

So there we have it, a not-so-quick look at the new collection. If you’re tempted by anything you’ve seen, I’d get on and shop really quickly as I predict a sell out!

The Urban Decay Alice Through the Looking Glass collection is available from Urban Decay Online as well as from counters nationwide.

*Products received free of charge for review purposes

I recently blogged about a brand new to me, Elemental Herbology, and I really liked the products that I received to review, and they are all still very much in regular use. The Purifying Facial Mask is truly a skin saviour!

Since then I’ve been sent a couple more products from the range to try out, in the hopes of fixing my dehydrated and reactive skin. The first of these is the Elemental Herbology Vital Cleanser (£29/100ml).

Elemental Herbology Vital Cleanser Elemental Herbology Vital CleanserThis glorious golden elixir is just what my skin needed. As you might imagine, given it’s colour it’s made with 10% Manuka Honey, also included is Vitamin C, Organic Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil, Apple Serum, Green Tea, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Seaweed and Papaya Extract. All of these gorgeous ingredients combine to cleanse deeply (without foaming and therefore without drying my already parched skin – yay!), while improving the radiance and vitality of the skin. I can’t say that my skin looks a huge amount more radiant if I’m honest but there is a general improvement in texture, because the dryness is a thing of the past… everything looks a bit better. It removes my make efficiently meaning I can dispense with a double cleanse routine and just stick to this product, hot water and flannel. My skin feels just fine after use, with no hint of that horrible tight feeling I often get if a cleanser is a big mistake. I have been enduring the most awful break out this past week but I’m actually putting this down to other factors, a high stress level, as well as a change in routine. Changing from one skincare brand to another is often a trigger for a break out for me and while my skin is not clear, new blemishes have stopped appearing, which I think means I’m settling down into the new routine.  I really like this stuff and its far nicer than the cleanser I was using before which dried me out terribly.

The other product I’ve been trying out is the Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose Damask Facial Moisturiser (£37/50ml).

Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose Damask Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose DamaskThe Calendula & Rose Damask Facial Moisturiser is formulated for sensitive skin. And while I’m not sure if my skin is typically sensitive, I think I’d do well to switch out all my products to sensitive versions to avoid break outs and dryness. This hygienic pump bottle houses a beautiful moisturiser for soothing and nurturing. While it’s texture is light it does a brilliant job of hydrating my skin. I’ve always had this suspicion that products for sensitive skin are not as effective, but this proves that just isn’t the case. The two products mentioned in this post have made dry skin a thing of my past. When I apply my foundation now it goes on smoothly.  I honestly think this is great stuff and I can’t fault it. I mentioned my current breakout, well this moisturiser calms any redness and banishes flaky patches from healing blemishes while NOT creating more spots for me to deal with. Another highly recommended product.

In all honesty, I have tried lots of skincare lines, many so bad I couldn’t even been bothered to review, and I mean it when I say this line is brilliant. I’ve a mental shopping list to include the sensitive cleanser to try out, Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream as well as the Radiance Peel and don’t even get me started on the beautiful sounding Body line…

If you’re looking for new skincare products, do head over and check out the Elemental Herbology website. I can’t promise they’ll work for you but I can say for sure they are worth a look.

*Products received free of charge for review purposes

09. 05. 2016

*Squeeeee*

It is a fact that if you take most things and make them mini they become extra cute. Baby animals for example. And now the Foreo Luna. I’ve blogged about two of the Foreo Luna models previously and you can find my post on the original Foreo Luna here and the Foreo Luna Mini 2 here.

If you’ve read those previous reviews you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of these Foreo sonic cleansers. Hygienic, effective, gentle and generally just all round brilliant these silicone face cleansing tools are used daily by me so I’m delighted to add a new model to my arsenal, the Foreo Luna Play.

Foreo Luna Play  The Foreo Luna Play is based on the full size and mini models, but is tiny, smaller than the palm of my hand. The main differences between this model and the larger sizes are as follows:

foreo luna play foreo luna play

In terms of use the basics are the same, apply your cleansing product to your skin and turn on your Foreo Luna Play, massage your cleanser in using the bristles, rinse away. Rinse your brush and get on with the rest of your day.

Given it’s size, its a little less comfortable to hold I find, but in terms of effectiveness, it cleanses just as well as the larger models.

You may well be thinking that if it’s not rechargeable its a bit useless, but it’s really not. This is an ideal bit of kit for travelling, or if you are cautious about shelling out for a larger model. The Play retails at £29, while the Mini 2 is £99 and the full size Luna is £149 making the Foreo Luna Play ideal for testing the water before investing in the rechargeable models. Plus it’s super cute and available in 7 cute colours!

If you’re yet to try a sonic facial cleansing brush, this is an ideal product to try, it’s more hygienic than nylon bristles, gentler on the skin and more effective at cleansing. Highly recommended!

The Foreo Luna Play retails at £29 and is available from Foreo Online.

*Product received free of charge for review purposes.

Bleach London Silver

Today I’ve got a Massive Rave for you. To begin at the beginning, a year ago my hair was like this:

10560961_1599460076947268_189398091_nIf you regularly read my blog you’ll notice that my hair has been getting lighter and lighter thanks to my fab hairdresser Laura. It was beautiful warm tones but I’ve been wanting to try taking my hair cooler for quite some time, I’m cool toned anyway so I just wanted to know what it’d be like and last week Laura came round and took me the lightest I’ve been with a gorgeous balayage colour but it was still pretty warm. Cooling the tone down was up to me so I hit up Boots and decided upon the Bleach London Silver Shampoo and Conditioner in order to take out some of the yellow and warm tones in my hair.

So here’s how my hair looked the morning after it was recently done. Sorry, it’s not styled!

Bleach London Silver

Silver shampoos and conditioners work by neutralising brassy tones, and so the products are violet. In the case of the Bleach London products the shampoo is incredibly vividly coloured, it’s hard to believe it won’t leave your hair purple, while the conditioner is a much more pastel shade.

Bleach London Silver Bleach London Silver

The recommendations are to use the shampoo every other wash, but I have been using it every single wash, and I’m using the conditioner once a week but using my normal conditioner at every other wash. The silver shampoo feels a bit odd to use, it doesn’t seem to distribute easily through my hair, its not terrible but its a bit of effort, but I would say that it leaves my hair very clean, but it also seems slightly drying. Not a concern, my hair feels like silk after I’ve conditioned. The conditioner is creamy and smooth and works as well as my usual conditioners.

After the first wash I didn’t notice any difference in my hair, but after two washes it was markedly cooler. I am amazed!

Bleach London Silver It’s now a couple of weeks on and my hair is amazing. Alright, the next photo has an instagram filter on it, but my hair is so blonde, so soft and I love it so much I want more blonde!
Bleach London Silver The Bleach London Shampoo and Conditioners are £6 each for 250ml bottles and I was worried that as I have such thick hair I’d get through the product really quickly but its lasting really well. The scent is light and inoffensive but the results are incredible and speak for themselves! My hair also feels amazing which is pretty important when you’re bleaching your hair!

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. I purchased mine from Boots, but you can also purchase from BleachLondon online.

*products purchased by me with my own money!

22. 04. 2016

I’ve always been slightly dismissive of mass public outpourings of grief, I remained largely unmoved when Princess Diana died, I was a little sad when Kurt Cobain died and very sad when Bowie left us. But yesterday, yesterday was the worst.

prince

I can’t think of many people who don’t like Prince, whether Grebo, Goth or Grunger, Pop Fan, Soul Fan or Blues fan. Nearly everyone I know liked him. Many passionately, but among those who weren’t fans in some way, there can’t be many who didn’t at least appreciate his genius, or his skill, particularly instrumentally. He was a phenomenal artist.

Growing up, Prince’s singles were favourites in our house, Kiss, Girls & Boys, Paisley Park, Raspberry Beret, Lets Go Crazy, 1999, Purple Rain to name but a few, but it wasn’t until I reached my teens and I started discovering his albums that I truly started to appreciate his talent. His lyrics were so filthy I don’t know how I managed to listen to the albums without getting into trouble but listen I did. I don’t know how such a small man in high heels and lurex could have such sex appeal but he did, by the bucket load. Just wow.

I have one particular memory of being in my friends bedroom, singing my heart out to Darling Nikki and the excruciating embarrassment as her older sister walked in and heard me singing

“I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine”

I can still feel my cheeks burn now! I lapped up every song I could find. I plastered the biggest Prince poster I could find on my tiny bedroom wall and I loved him. And I’ve always loved him. I’ve never stopped listening. He’s been part of the soundtrack to my whole life.

The thing about Prince was he was so prolific it’s nigh on impossible to choose a favourite. I wanted to share some songs on my Facebook page last night but I just couldn’t narrow my list down but ultimate favourites are Paisley Park, Gett Off, Sign of the Times, Alphabet St, Sometimes it Snows in April… I could go on and on. And then there are the songs he performed with or wrote for other artists including Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor, Manic Monday by the Bangles, The Belle of St Mark by Shelia E and U Got the Look featuring Sheena EastonI shed tears at several points last night and I woke up this morning and shed a few more and to quote my dear Dad

“Bowie and Prince gone. Two of the greatest talents and innovators. Leaves the world  a poorer place”

And so now I get it, now. I get these mass outpourings of grief in some way, it’s not bandwagon jumping in my case, it’s feeling the loss of an artist who impacted my life in a huge way. I just cannot believe he’s gone.

Gosh I don’t know where the time is going at the moment. It’s been a week since I last blogged, although it’s fair to say that my last post my mind has been elsewhere! Mostly on the kids. We’ve had parents meetings, assessments (no answers yet!), dramas, days out…it’s been non stop.

Speaking of the kids, well they have been trying out a new product, OptiBac Probiotics.

Optibac My two are particularly prone to picking up every single bug doing the rounds at school. Chloe doesn’t cope well with illness and finds it very stressful, while not much gets Lola down but it often feels like she’s never 100% well. In addition, Chloe’s eczema is not good at all at the moment.

I’m terribly au fait with probiotics but we’ve been giving them a go.

Children are full of bacteria, good, bad and benign, but recent studies have shown that a dose of good bacteria can decrease the risk of common childhood infections by 25%. Probiotics work in different ways so its good to opt for probiotics specifically for children. Each box contains sachets of powder. You can either purchase a box of 10 or a box of 30 (£6.99 and £16.99 respectively).

Optibac Optibac Each sachet provides 3 BILLION live cultures and 0.79g of FOS fibres which are well documented for their effectiveness on the different level of the immune response. It’s also worth mentioning that pregnant and nursing mums can also take For Babies and Children as the natural bacteria will pass through to baby either during birth or while nursing.

Practically speaking I was concerned I would never get this product into my kids because they are both so incredibly fussy, one of them has never even taken Calpol. I needn’t have worried. Ideally these need to be taken with a meal, ideally breakfast and as they are flavourless you can just mix them into food or drink. Lola never even noticed these slipped into her milk.

Having only been using these for less than a month its hard to say whether Chloe and Lola have been less prone to bugs but I am totally convinced that there’s no harm in introducing probiotics to their diets, they can only do good, or at worst, nothing. It is worth mentioning that Lola had a cold just over a week ago but it cleared up in record time so I’m inclined to think these are helping to strengthen her immune system.

Time will tell if these make a difference but for now it just feels good to know I’m doing SOMETHING.

I would recommend these for new mums, babies and children up to the age of 12 and I also recommend the reviews section of the website, the reviews are really incredible.

You can purchase OptiBac Probiotics for Babies and Children from the OptiBacProbiotics website, and be sure to check out the rest of the comprehensive range too while you’re there!

*Product received free of charge for review purposes

Allegiant Veronica Roth Allegiant forms the final part of the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, now also a series of films.  As the final part of the series it’s quite difficult to review this without giving away too much but here goes!

The first thing to mention is that the Divergent Trilogy is very much aimed at the teen/young adult market. This is rarely off putting for me at my ripe old age, I loved the Hunger Games books and I really enjoyed this trilogy for the most part.

The series is set in the future, in, where a dystopian society is divided into five factions. The storyline closely follows the lives of Beatrice Prior (Tris) and Tobias (Four), their friends and their lives as one faction declares war upon the other factions. Allegiant takes places after this violence, when Tris and Tobias hope that by leaving the city and seeing what is out there behind the wall, they may find peace and a new life. Of course, it was never going to be that simple and what lies behind the city walls is not what they could have ever imagined.

The first two books in the series are narrated by Tris, while Allegiant, the final book, is narrated by both Tris and Four and this change works well.

Characters are really well crafted and I personally found all of the books incredibly well written.

I think it’s fair to say Allegiant has had its fair share of flack, a quick scan of Amazon reviews show that many readers were unhappy with this final chapter in the story, and while I can see why many were disappointed, it’s not a feeling I share.

Allegiant took me far longer to read than it should have done, it certainly wasn’t as gripping as Divergent and Insurgent, but I still enjoyed it and at no point did I find myself not wanting to continue reading. The story plods more, it’s not a page turner, but its still a worthy read if this is a genre you’re interested in and of course, if you’ve read the the first two books you’ll probably be compelled to read to the end anyway, even if you are not enjoying it.

I must say that I was surprised by the turn the book took in the last section, and while some were unhappy with the shock turn of events, I felt the surprised, and that’s a good thing. I don’t really like predictable. Let’s just say, its not a happy ending.

You’ll have to read this yourself to make up your own mind, but I’d say do so with an open mind. You might find that like me, you really enjoy it.

I’m giving this one three stars, purely because its not as great as the other two books but its far from terrible 🙂

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*Book received free of charge for review purposes via NetGalley

Well it’s been a very long time since I’ve done an update of this sort. Those here for the lipstick posts may wish to skip this one. If you’re interested in the background, you can find relevant posts here, here, here and here.

I woke up feeling sick this morning. Literally sick to my stomach, the reason being the time has nearly come. After three long years, some of you will have been with me this whole way, on Monday Chloe’s assessment starts. I am not sure how long the assessment process lasts, I think it could be months, I really don’t know. I guess it all depends on how many people they wish to involve and how much there is to investigate.

Three long years we’ve waited for this appointment and now it’s nearly here I kind of wish I had more time. I’ve got so much information ready both in my head and on paper, we’ve even got what is called a “working” diagnosis, of Aspergers, but still I’m so frightened. It’s not like I want Chloe to be labelled, but there are issues we desperately need help with and in order to get this help we have to go through this process. In fact, I’ve been assured a diagnosis isn’t all that important as there will still be, or should be, a plan of action after the assessment, regardless of the outcome. This is what we have waited for.

Chloe, like all children, indeed all people, is ever changing, but what sets her apart from say, her sister, is that her needs are so demanding. While we can have months with one problem (refusing to travel anywhere new for example), this can quickly disappear to be replaced by another issue. It is my belief that Chloe actually lives in a state of anxiety all day, every day, which is the root of many of her issues, and these can change as she focuses on one thing for a few months, then switches that over to another. She is still argumentative and challenging in the extreme and her behaviour is hard to manage, she also seems incredibly hyperactive a lot of the time. Add into all of this some sensory issues that just make every day life a bit more tricky..

I’m playing a lot down as I’ve detailed the problems in other posts and while things change constantly, NOTHING changes.

Some things have improved of course, we can now travel further distances in the car and aren’t so housebound any more, and she is much much better at occupying herself for more of the time so things are just generally easier, however, outbursts are more aggressive, and more extreme and socially things are not good. Don’t even get me started on the dental issues.

The Easter holidays, which have always been a source of extreme stress, have been relatively laid back, and bar a lack of social events for Chloe, haven’t been too bad at all, we even enjoyed a lovely grown up trip to town, the highlight of the break in my opinion.

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So, with this looming and the Easter holidays I hope you’ll forgive my infrequent blog posts, and wish me luck for next week…I think I’ve got a few anxious days ahead of me. Chloe meanwhile, is blissfully unphased by the whole thing 🙂

Docteur Renaud iris lift serumI recently blogged about the Docteur Renaud Iris Discovery Kit which I really enjoyed using. The Kit included small sample of several products from the Iris Anti-Ageing range, including the Iris Lift Radiance Serum. Since then I’ve been trying out a full size version of the Iris Lift Radiance Serum. I absolutely lovely the bottle, there’s something so gorgeous about the white glass bottle, which is of course a hygienic pump.

Docteur Renaud iris lift serum

At £46 for a 30ml bottle its a relief that a tiny amount goes a long way.

You use the serum twice a day before applying moisturiser and in terms of texture, its an absolute dream, it’s incredibly light and makes your skin feel so incredibly smooth and soft. In terms of scent, it’s light and floral, not at all offensive to my nose, in fact it smells gorgeous and its pearly and pretty too.

The Iris flower is wonderful for the skin thanks to it’s ability to strengthen the dermis and to limit the degradation of proteins that constitute skin structure, therefore, its the ideal ingredient for an anti-ageing range. I find the serum offers an immediate effect on my skin, with fine lines looking less obvious and everything looking a touch plumper, in a good way. The radiance aspect of the serum is the bit I find more gradual, and I do believe that after a good month of use (including the small sample size I had before) my skin does indeed look a little brighter. I am still suffering with spots, but they have got no worse, and to be frank I’d not expect this product to address that issue, it is however a relief that it has not made this problem worse. Serums are often “trigger” products for me, causing me terrible break outs, but this has not been the case with this product, even with prolonged use.

If you have skin like mine, that seems to break out with everything, then I’d definitely recommend checking this out if you want to add a serum to your routine. I’ve been without a serum for quite some time now and am very pleased to have filled that gap.

You can purchase the Docteur Renaud Iris Lift Radiance Serum at Skin Evolution where it is £46 for 30ml. Remember a little goes a very long way and I’d estimate that my bottle is well over half full still, after twice daily use for approximately a month.

*Product received free of charge for review purposes