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Plucking up the courage to start reviewing again.

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since 11/02/2010


Valentino Valentina Eau de Parfum 16/01/2014

Be my Valentine...

Valentino Valentina Eau de Parfum Valentina EDP by Valentino I'm lucky enough to receive lots of nice things for birthdays and Christmas and this Valentina perfume was a very well received gift from my daughter on one such occasion a while ago and when I do sadly come to end of the bottle I shall most definitely be purchasing another. Hopefully this review will explain my reasoning as to why. Valentino is an Italian designer and as such delivers a rather desirable yet understated fragrance. It comes packaged in a variety of formats including both body products (shower gels, scrubs, oils, lotions and creams etc) to the all important perfume products, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum (that I own) and the EDP intense. Having a range of products such as this makes for a longer lasting perfume experience but I confess, I do not own anything else although I would dearly love to. Valentina The EDP comes in a clear glass bottle through which you can see the delicate pastel pink perfume within. It is decorated with blossoms in graduating shades of colour. The silver hardware (containing the Valentino branding) gives the bottle a refined look, as I feel, like the designer I suppose, that gold would be too tacky. The overall look is delicate and refined. Prices vary immensely so please do shop around, although the EDP can generally be found at around the £40 mark for the 30 ml bottle. At this time of year there are often gift sets available with the body lotion supplied as an added bonus at no extra cost. Boxed up ...

Bobble Water Filter Bottle 13/08/2013

Does bobble make water better?

Bobble Water Filter Bottle bobble Makes Water Better TM Having had a few health issues recently, namely reoccurring kidney infections, after the latest dose of antibiotics I decided it was time I actually helped myself and tried to up my fluid intake. I’m not a big drinker at all, alcoholic or otherwise, and while my other half has the kettle running constantly for cups of tea, if I kept up with his intake I’m sure I’d drown from the inside. Brita Fill and Go Versus The bobble Bottle It was while I was browsing through the latest Boots Advantage magazine that I saw there was a promotion on the latest Brita offering, the Brita Fill and Go, a large capacity beaker with water filter built in. I don’t like drinking water of any sort really, but decided that if I was at least giving my poor old kidneys a fighting chance at recovery, drinking filtered water was the way to go. Aided by the fact that the Fill and Go was reduced by a third to just £10, I decided to buy one next time I was in Boots. On visiting Tesco’s to do my weekly shop a few days later, I noticed they were the same price there. One can only presume that they weren’t selling particularly well at full price and a national promotion was deemed needed to get people to take notice. Well it worked for me, and I duly popped one in my trolley. My daughter was with me and also decided she needed one to take to work with her. The display stand was large and appealing, and although there at first appearance didn’t seem to have any discernible ...

Ikea Rosali Drona Storage Box 12/08/2013

Sorry to keep Drona-ing on

Ikea Rosali Drona Storage Box Ikea Rosali ‘Cabbage Rose’ Patterned Box Confession time now – hands up who loves Ikea? I know one person that absolutely loathes it. Yes, I’m talking about you Mr Gary Marsh. Well I’m in the love it category and in all honestly, I’d heard so much about this marvellous shop that sold everything (including the kitchen sink), that on my first visit twenty years ago I was so excited I had an asthma attack on the way there. Sad I know, but very, very, true. Nearly every week I make the twenty five mile round trip to get my Ikea fix, and very rarely do I leave empty handed; well, I’ve got to make the expense of the petrol worthwhile haven’t I? This review discusses my latest purchase the Drona Storage box, but in the rather lovely Rosali pattern. Drona Storage box The Drona storage boxes come in a wide range of colours and are the perfect size to fit in the Ikea Expedit shelving units. We have the four aperture unit in Elysia’s room and she has the pale pink boxes. In mine and my partner’s room, we have the 16 aperture Expedit unit (more junk) and previously had the Drona boxes in black. We found it was the best colour to go with our neutral décor at the time. There are plenty of other colours available from greens, to blues, to yellows and other shades in between. However, some colours seem to have a limited Ikea shelf life and can only now be found online, my daughter’s pale pink for example, a rather more vibrant affair is for sale now. EBay and Amazon are good starting ...

WeVee 3-Donkulous Extreme 3D Markers 09/08/2013

3-Donkulous sounds r3diculous

WeVee 3-Donkulous Extreme 3D Markers WeVeel 3-Donkulous My ten year old daughter is a creative child and rather than being stuck in front of a computer or games console over these long summer holidays, she’d rather be doing something crafty. Looking down the aisles in Tesco’s when doing my weekly shop, we were looking for something a little bit different to the ordinary paints, crayons or craft kits, when our eyes alighted upon this product. It’s from a newish brand to the UK, WeVeel, and after getting good results from another product, namely the Scento’s fragranced markers with designs that are absolutely fabulous for kids; we picked this up without any further thought. WeVeel’s mission is to create, A Whole New World of Creativity by introducing surprising new ways to create, share and experience colour and design. With the rather ridiculous name of 3-Donkulous (it could only be American), the 3D in the name gives a clue to its purpose; this is a stencil set containing 3D markers. There are three designs in the range, but my daughter chose the more girly butterfly one. The Kit The kit comes in a stiff cardboard envelope with an aperture at the front displaying the three 3D markers. The design on the packaging is indicative of the design that you will be able to achieve with this, as rather disappointingly there is only one butterfly stencil included. Along with the stencil and the markers, you receive 8 double sided black paper sheets, and a pair of 3D glasses through which to view your end ...

Fashion Angels Monster High Sketch Portfolio 07/08/2013

For Freaky Fashionista's

Fashion Angels Monster High Sketch Portfolio Monster High Fashion Sketch Portfolio I love crafts, and could quite happily spend the rest of my days doing nothing else. I have two daughters, and whilst one has absolutely no interest in anything creative; my youngest daughter is following in my footsteps and loves anything to do with drawing and colouring, or making things. I first purchased a set similar to this from Hobbycraft, which just featured hair and makeup. There were outlines supplied, in which to add your own designs of hair and makeup and embellish with jewellery etc. My daughter loved it as it encouraged her creativity and imagination, along with her sense of style, and this review focuses on this kit from the Monster High range aimed at those children who feel they are too old for traditional toys, but aren’t yet a teenager; that awkward period now widely known as ‘Tweenage’. This portfolio is essentially a colouring book, with a more 'grown-up' theme than the usual colouring books on the market. The age recommendation for the Monster High version is 7+, whereas most Fashion Angel drawing sets are 6+. I feel this is a good representation as to the higher level of difficulty from the scenes. They are much more intricate and detailed, and therefore more suited to the slightly higher age range. Behind The Scenes Monster High is a range of toys that follow the series of books by author Lisi Harrison. The characters all go to the local ‘Monster High’ school and all are offspring of or related to, famous ...

Monster High Character Headphones 06/08/2013

Freaky but Fabulous

Monster High Character Headphones Character Headphones Monster High Last Christmas my 'soon to be' ten year old daughter was lucky enough to receive an iPod for Christmas. It was a big hit over the holiday period, and between listening to her music, and her transferring the earphones to her computer so she could watch you tube clips without disturbing those around her, she got a fair bit of use from the earphones over a short period of time. We quickly came to realise that she was getting lots of ear infections and as soon as one we got one infection sorted, she'd quickly get another. Whether it was the wearing the earphones for long periods, causing a warm and moist environment for bacteria to breed, sharing the earphones with her friends (one each so they both can listen), or just the winter bugs and a sheer coincidence we just don't know. When her birthday came around (it was late January so not too long to wait), I had a thought that 'over the head' style earphones would suit her better. With this in mind, plus being that 'tween' stage, I purchased headphones from the Monster High range from the leading toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. Behind The Scenes Monster High is a range of toys that follow the series of books by author Lisi Harrison. The books themselves are more teen orientated as they feature teen angst and drama. They follow students from the aforementioned Monster High School, and all the characters are offspring or related to, famous monsters such as Dracula (Draculaura), the abominable ...

Fashion Angels 11513 Tattoo Artist Design Portfolio Sketchbooks 05/08/2013

Do you tattoo?

Fashion Angels 11513 Tattoo Artist Design Portfolio Sketchbooks Fashion Angels Tattoo Artist Sketch Portfolio I love crafts, and could quite happily spend the rest of my days doing nothing else. Real life gets in the way from time to time, and I have to do boring things like wash and clean etc. I have two daughters, and whilst one has absolutely no interest in gluing, sticking and colouring, as she calls it; my youngest daughter is following in my footsteps and is a marvel at anything creative. When I saw this set in the local Hobbycraft I thought it was just the thing to encourage her creativity and imagination, along with her sense of style. This kit is essentially a colouring book, with a more 'grown-up' theme, to the usual colouring books aimed at children on the market. The age recommendation is for 6+, although my niece used this adequately although not without a few minor hitches, from the age of four. When I first purchased this, it cost £6.99, but this was still a quite a reasonable price for the play value, and use it's had since then. Looking at Amazon today (Aug 2013) they are a similar price. OK, it's expensive for a colouring book, but this is so much more than that. It’s also quite expensive when you come to learn that the books that are twice the size are in a similar price bracket, so if Tattoo’s and Body Art aren’t your thing, there are a wide range of other, larger books to choose from. The Portfolio This book measures 25 x 14 cm and set on the vertical axis. It's quite substantial thickness, as there a lot of ...

Crayola Twistable Sketch and Draw 04/08/2013

A power packed carry case of colours.

Crayola Twistable Sketch and Draw Crayola Twistables Sketch and Draw Power Pack My daughter is quite a ‘crafty’ child anyway, but with the long summer holidays upon us, she’s been spending quite a lot of the time doing arty stuff. She has quite a vast collection of art materials but the thing that has helped her create her masterpieces, and comes out almost daily is this, the Crayola Twistables Sketch and Draw Power Pack. Phew, that was a mouthful. The Product For your money you get quite a lot of pencils and crayons, 40 to be exact, but what I love is that they are pretty well self-contained within a large carry case. The yellow and green Crayola branding colours are really noticeable, along with the Crayola rainbow coloured smile logo. At 30 cm high, 38 cm wide, and 2.5 cm deep, it’s pretty big, but it’s not heavy at all, so little ones can carry it to Grandma’s house or the child-minder’s for example, with ease. Its larger size means when it’s wrapped up, it makes a pretty impressive gift for the price. Inside you will find 20 coloured Twistables coloured pencils, 15 Twistables coloured crayons, 4 super tips washable markers and finally, 1 Twistable graphite pencil. All of which are great for drawing, sketching, shading, blending, outlining and adding detail (according to the box) or as Elysia would say, ‘Just having fun’. Let's Twist Again The majority of the set features the Twistable/Mechanical action. This means that you can twist the ‘lead’ out of the end of the barrel, to the length that is ...

The Little Experience Stitch It Love Hearts Kit 01/08/2013

For my Sweet Heart

The Little Experience Stitch It Love Hearts Kit Stitch It - Love Heart Kit When not on Ciao, there's nothing I like more than spending time doing something crafty with my youngest daughter. She's like me, and loves anything where you have something tangible to show for your efforts. With it being the school half term holidays this week, it has been the perfect time to open some of the many craft kits that she received for Christmas, and my review discusses the Stitch-It love hearts kit from The Little Experience company. I originally, erm, Father Christmas, purchased this from Boots, as part of their three for two on gifts promotion that they hold each year. Searching online today, this can be bought from at a reduced price of £8.99, which is a comparable price to the one I paid with the offer. The kit on prezzybox comes as shown above, in a lovely little suitcase. This can be used afterwards to keep mementos in etc. but ours came in a nondescript cardboard box. The Kit and What's Inside The aim of this kit is to sew two stuffed hanging hearts, to be used for decorative purposes, although you could add some dried lavender or rose petals before they are fully sewn up, and use them to fragrance drawers and wardrobes. Inside the box you will find a booklet with very simplistic pictorial instructions. These are so easy to follow, I imagine even the younger end of the 6-12 age recommendation would have no trouble. You also get all the materials needed to complete the finished project right down to a ...

Hotpoint WMUD962P 27/07/2013

The Ultima(te) in laundry technology.

Hotpoint WMUD962P Hotpoint Ultima Washing Machine WMUD 962 with Anti Stain Technology My own washing machine is a Hoover and over the years I’ve had so many problems with it, I vowed never again would I buy one of that brand. My predvious machine had been a Hotpoint, and I had worked it to death over the years I’d owned it. On the very rare occasion that it broke down, I was even able to repair it myself. At the time I was late twenties/early thirties, single parent family and a total technophobe, so if I could manage it, anyone could. When the family expanded with a new partner and a new baby and the extra washing that brings, the machine finally gave up the ghost; I’d had it ten years or more and it was second hand then, so a rest was long overdue. Due to budget constraints I went against everything that I’d learned about Hotpoint and purchased the aforementioned Hoover. Well that was to be one of my biggest regrets yet, regarding a purchase I’d made. Therefore, when I was given the chance to test and review the newest Hotpoint on the block, the Ultima WMUD 962, I literally jumped at the chance. May I just offer one word of advice though, ‘always read the small print’ – I was in such a hurry to sign up, I’d neglected to read that I was also to be filmed giving my points of view and experience. Never mind, it was worth it just to test the Hotpoint and see if it lived up to my past experiences, and this review discusses my thoughts. Delivery and Installation The first thing I knew that I’d ...

Wilko 3 Tier Steamer 19/07/2013

Wilko's Steamer gets me hot under the collar!

Wilko 3 Tier Steamer Wilkinsons 3 Tier Electric Steamer My previous steamer wasn't broken, but just damaged through general wear and tear, when we happened upon this one. We were browsing the hardware store Wilkinsons looking for something specific at the time, I forget what, but it wasn't a streamer I know that much. My partner 'thinks' he can spot a good deal at a thousand paces and when he offered to buy it to replace our other one, and without me having to twist his up his arm up his back too, I grabbed it and ran to the checkout. There was absolutely no research into our purchase, and as a new item to the store's range I didn't expect to find any reviews or the like either. This is why I write my review now, to explain the pro's and con's so other people can make an informed decision. The Steamer The Wilko's steamer is more or less as one would expect, it looks similar to my old one, and performs more or less the same. There are a few aspects to this 'own brand' appliance that really surprised me, and I hadn't seen on another streamer before. My old one was about five or six years old, so I'm not saying that other steamers don't have similar specs, just that as I hadn't done any research into my purchase, I hadn't seen any. Storage This streamer has three stackable tiers and holds and 8kg capacity, so it's ideal for a family of up to five depending on ages etc. Two adults and three kids would be perfect, but this is most definitely not suitable for five adults. When not in use, the ...

Tesco Fire Basket 12/07/2013

Medieval fire basket with a modern purpose.

Tesco Fire Basket Tesco Fire Basket This review features the Tesco's own brand fire basket that I purchased as a Father's day gift for my partner, off my youngest daughter this year. It's safe to say it's been a huge hit in our home and has enabled us to enjoy our outdoor space much more than we would have had, until the warm weather finally came this week. Now the warmer weather is here the fire basket is a little bit redundant and so the price has been reduced significantly. This review discusses why I think it was still worth its full retail price. Price At £20 it's not a huge investment piece, it looks ok and does the job well, but at half price and just £10, it's a bargain so I recommend you buy one, and put it away for those cooler days ahead. It's superb value for money at that price and will extend the enjoyment you get from your outdoor spaces, be it gardens or balcony's, for so much longer. Size I chose the fire basket design over a more popular fire pit due to its smaller dimensions. Now this isn't exactly small, in my opinion anyway; In fact it was much larger than expected once we'd removed the packaging. Fire pits usually have a much larger circumference, and many are dual purpose by the fact that you can usually cook food on them too. We already own a barbeque so there was little need for this feature, and as we have a relatively small patio area which is absolutely stuffed with a green house, kids play house, gazebo with a bistro seating set, the size was really quite ...

Pet Qwerks Inc Doggy Incredibubbles Peach 11/07/2013

Peach flavoured Bubbles? Whatever Next!

Pet Qwerks Inc Doggy Incredibubbles Peach Pet Qwerks Inc Doggy Incredi-Bubbles - Peach Flavoured Our family pet is a rather boisterous three year old Jack Russell. He can't sit still for one moment, so I'm often on the look-out for toys that offer a certain amount of fun without being easily destroyed. My daughter and I were browsing the pet aisle in Wilkinson's looking for something that wasn't a ball, rope or chew toy - something a little out of the ordinary, to keep Jack (original eh?) amused. This review discusses our thoughts about the Doggy Incredi-Bubbles from Pet Qwerks Inc. Bubblicious The bubbles come in a test tube format, and are presented on a cardboard backing, overlaid with an acetate covering through which the product is shown in a 3D setting. The acetate is shaped to form 'bubbles' and it was this that initially attracted my daughter's attention. Finding that this small tube was £1.99, I was initially put off by the high price compared to similar products aimed at children, but seeing that these are specially aimed at pets, and being flavoured, I picked one up as I thought the peach flavour would appeal to my pooch. The product has a small screw top lid, to which the wand is secured underneath. The wand doesn't reach quite to the bottom of the solution so while I haven't quite got to the bottom of our first bottle yet, I can see that some of the product could be wasted. The section where the bubble is produced is diamond shaped and wider than the neck of the test tube, the wand is extremely ...

Circulon Muffin Tray 10/07/2013

Beware - you might get a muffin top after using this!

Circulon Muffin Tray Circulon Muffin Tray Over the years there have been several types of kitchen bakeware that I've had to replace as I've either not had the money at the time to buy a quality item, or I didn't think it would be worth my while shelling out on something that I wasn't going to use often. They do say, buy cheap and buy twice, so with that in mind, I've been slowly upgrading my cooking and baking items when the time has come to replace them. I chose to replace all my bakeware with items from the Circulon brand as they seemed to offer the best balance of quality versus price and the first purchase that I made was this muffin tray. This review discusses my experience with the product. The tray as one would expect has a dozen cups in which to apportion your muffins or cupcakes correctly. These are the perfect size for a true muffin, but if you should wish to, cupcake liners still fit within the recess but only come two thirds of the way up the depth due to a muffin being a larger size. This isn't the 'normal' colour for bakeware, it's not the shiny silver colour of cheap items that have no non-stick, but neither is it the darker graphite grey that one would normally expect, I presumed this was just down to the brands preference of colour, but apparently, according to the Circulon website (, this is the perfect shade to promote even browning - well I never knew that! I thought it was down to temperature settings and the like, but I can confirm that despite my ...

Yankee Candle Summer Scoop Votive 04/07/2013

What's the Scoop?

Yankee Candle Summer Scoop Votive Yankee Candle Summer Scoop Almost 42 years ago a 17 year old boy melted his crayons, to make a candle to give to his Mother for Christmas, and so Yankee Candles was born. Since then, they have expanded into different types of home fragrancing, not just candles, and while I normally prefer the fragranced wax tarts from the range, they didn’t have any in this fragrance (boo!) so I chose to buy a votive candle otherwise known as a sampler, in order to get my fix and this review discusses my thoughts. The Votive The votive is the perfect introduction to Yankee Candles in my opinion. The wax tarts give more depth of fragrance more quickly than a candle ever could, but this miniature size is the perfect way to see whether you like it enough to invest in the larger house warmer or tumbler candles should they be your preference. The candle is about two inches high, and one and a half inches in diameter. Summer scoop comes in the most intoxicating fragrance and is most definitely summer themed. The pale pink instantly draws you to it and gives you a hint as to what it is scented of… the most delicious strawberry ripple ice-cream ever concocted. This fragrance emanates even before you remove the cellophane shrink wrapped outer. The pictorial label depicts a fruity rippled ice-cream along with frosted summer berries; red currants, raspberries and blueberries. The fruitiness also reminds me of that quintessentially English of desserts, the summer pudding too. Appearance and ...
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