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My 500th review is how shall I celebrate?

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since 07/02/2006


Rexel Joy Tape Dispenser 02/09/2015

The Joy of Tape

Rexel Joy Tape Dispenser As an Amazon Vine* member I was happy to select my third Rexel Joy product from the list. Rexel are a familiar name to many, as a well-established stationery company who manufacture a variety of files and office equipment. JOY is a new range that they have produced with bright, modern colours as the selling point. The folder I had previously came in four colours, but this tape dispenser only seems to come in three colours: Pretty Pink (a bright, fuchsia shade), Perfect Purple (a nice warm purple – I have a stapler in this shade) and Blissful Blue which is a muted turquoise and is the colour of the tape dispenser that I now have. The product comes boxed and inside is the weighty tape dispenser (800g). Dimensions are 7 x 15 x 7 cm, so it is fairly chunky and sturdy, but not as long as some, so this could be handy for limited desk space. Tape isn't supplied – the manufacturers recommend it is suitable for small rolls of tape up to 19mm wide and 30m long. As far as looks go, it is a lot curvier and shapely compared to my boring workplace tape dispenser. The bright colours, plastic coated and glossy make it a rather glamorous tape dispenser (if that is not a contradiction in terms). The grey rubber base helps keep it functional and it looks sturdy and unlikely to knock over easily. Usually I buy sellotape or scotch tape with the plastic disposable dispensers for ease at Christmas, but they are not normally very sturdy and fall over meaning you still need two hands to dispense ...

Figs & Rouge Cherry Blossom Lip Balm 27/08/2015

Very Cherry

Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil Skin Wash 24/08/2015

Soothing Skinwash

Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil Skin Wash Australian Bodycare Spa Range Skin Wash (250ml) Introduction, Price and Where to Buy I had never heard of this range before, but this product was recommend to me by my beauty therapist, Julie. I was having a bank treatment that involved exfoliation and a massage. I had started to get a few nasty spots on my back, at the top, from either hair products, general sweating/stickiness from hot cars or packed tubes (ewww) or scratching due to other irritants (neck labels, itchy knits, seams in clothes) and its not the easiest part of your anatomy to get to. It was self-perpetuating as itchier it got, the more I scratched at it making it worse... Julie then recommended this product as tea tree oil and antiseptic will help it. She advised that a lot of tea tree products often don’t have that much quality tea tree oil in and it is worth making sure you get a decent amount. They use it in the salon for waxing, and she uses the products herself at home and bought it from Look Fantastic ( and advised I searched out some discount codes too. Doing a price comparison I saw there were a few online places that stocked it slightly cheaper, but as I could get a 20% discount for my first order with Look Fantastic I purchased from there, selecting the standard (free) delivery option. Overall this cost me £8.15 (from £10.19) for 250ml. The RRP is £12.50, so I was pleased with the final price in the end, but it is still more than I would normally pay for a body wash, but ...

Buckingham Palace, London 19/08/2015

A Palatial Afternoon

Buckingham Palace, London Finally this year I got round to booking tickets to see Buckingham Palace's opening of the State Rooms. Background History This Palace is not as old as some other palaces and castles in the UK, having only become a palace in the early nineteenth century, when the flamboyant King George IV decided to modify the existing Buckingham House. This became expensive, and was not completed in his lifetime, and William IV (his brother, who succeeded him) carried on with the work, with a different architect. However the palace did not become the official home of the monarchy until Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837. The palace left a lot to be desired and needed some alterations in the living quarters (the state rooms were fine) and was subsequently expanded to cope with Victoria’s growing family – the new East wing was built to close off the quadrangle, and is now the ‘front’ of the Palace, overlooking the Mall. This happened in 1850, and the façade was given an overhaul in 1913 to how it looks today. If I recall correctly from the audio guide the place has some 800 plus rooms, and 240 bedrooms for the Royal Family and live-in staff. The Palace Today This is still the official home of Her Majesty, The Queen, but is owned by state, not her personally. Thus maintenance of the palace is paid for by the Government. The Palace was first opened to the general public in 1993 to help recover the costs of rebuilding and restoring Windsor Castle (also public property) after a fire ...

Rexel Joy Stapler 11/08/2015

An Office Staple

Rexel Joy Stapler As a member of Amazon Vine* I occasionally get offered products to try out in return for an impartial review. Having previously had and been pleased with a lever arch file from the Rexel JOY range, I snapped up a stapler from this collection also. The stapler is made by Rexel who are a long established stationery brand, and manufacture all sorts of files and office equipment. I know every stapler in my workplace seems to be a Rexel one. JOY is a new range that they have produced with bright, modern colours as the selling point. The folder I had previously came in four colours, as does the stapler : Pretty Pink (bright pink), Blissful Blue (turquoise), Lovely Lime (lime, surprisingly enough – but I can’t actually see it for sale anywhere) and Perfect Purple, which I have, and is basically an attractive glossy light purple. The stapler is described as a ‘half-strip’ stapler and I have to confess I had no idea what it means so checked out Google – basically a half-strip is smaller than a full-strip stapler, so nothing really exciting then! Apparently it is because it can only hold half a strip of staples, but I am guessing they now make smaller strips of staples since they started making half-strip staplers as a whole strip of the correct type of staples fits in without me having to break any off. You can use Rexel No56 (26/6) or No16 (24/6) staples, which I am guessing are pretty standard (my desk drawer at work has three half used boxes of 26/6). The stapler comes boxed ...

Logitech M185 - mouse 06/08/2015

The Mouse in the House

Logitech M185 - mouse Introduction For ages at home I had a wired mouse connected to my laptop (I’m not a fan of using the scroll pad on laptops) and in the spirit of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, I didn't really think any more about it. I'd had a wireless one in the past and it used to 'lag' quite a bit, so I had been fairly underwhelmed by them. Mostly I was using my laptop at my dining table, and occasionally the lead would get tangled if I was shoving it back and forth at mealtimes. Having given over much of my dining table to an organisational project I moved the laptop to the coffee table and actually used it on my lap. The lead could still get tangled mainly because my coffee table got more cluttered with the laptop on it, especially when I moved it from the table to my lap and back again. To compound this the mouse then had a hissy fit and refused to scroll so I figured the time had come to stop procrastinating and buy a wireless mouse. Naturally, the day after I ordered a new one, the mouse behaved itself. It’s now been consigned to a cupboard in case of emergencies (I'm not sure what that emergency will be). Purchase Cost and Where to Buy I ordered the mouse off of Amazon. I didn't search anywhere else as I had some smaller items in my basket and was just waiting for a bigger purchase to reach the free-delivery minimum. To be honest, I probably would have bought from there anyway as it is just so convenient. I paid £9.99 for my mouse which had a RRP of £12.50. For this ...

Amie Morning Light Hydrating Moisturiser 03/08/2015

It is good for Evening Light too

Amie Morning Light Hydrating Moisturiser Introduction I received this moisturiser in the Heart Beauty Box, from Latest in Beauty. I was not familiar with their products but like trying new skincare products like this, that are easy to use and part of my normal routine anyway. Amie I'd heard of the brand but really didn't know much about them. Apparently the brand was created by top 'beauty expert' Fiona Parkhouse for her daughter, who was suffering with oily skin and breakout during her teenage years. Whilst the brand may originally have been aimed at a younger market, Parkhouse discovered it helped her own more mature skin too. The idea is for green products using natural botanical extracts, and no harsh chemicals to provide skincare for sensitive skin. They are apparently “ free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, petrochemicals, animal extracts and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans” ( . This information reassure me that the firm is ethically sound and that the product should be good for my skin. This product is made in England. Packaging The 100ml tube I have is pale pink in colour with bright pink and green text. Both the font and the simple flower logo and very modern and look 'young'. Even before I know about the brands history (above) I thought it looked like it was marketed at the younger end of the scale and had initially been concerned that it wouldn't be suitable for my mid-forties (yes, I know – how did that happen?) skin. The blurb on the tube assures us that the ...

Pilot FriXion Rollerball Pen with Eraser and Rewriter Tip 28/07/2015


Pilot FriXion Rollerball Pen with Eraser and Rewriter Tip Why Buy? Whilst clearing out some cupboards and drawers recently I came across a number of old, incomplete puzzle books. I use to buy them semi-regularly to take on long journeys and holidays, and would then shove them in a drawer when I got home and did nothing with them. As I used to enjoy them I thought I would keep them on my coffee table to pick up of an evening at home, rather than watch the TV or surf the internet. I find pencils (at least the ones I have at home) not always suitable for the job – they either tend to smudge or don’t show up very clearly on the cheap, cream paper most of these books were printed on. Pens are more ideal for clarity, but of course, make it tricky once you’ve made a simple mistake on your Kriss Kross puzzle or ticked the wrong box on your Logic Problem. I remembered have erasable pens at college many moons back, so set about seeing what was available. As I had some Amazon items in my online basket awaiting me getting the minimum purchase up, I selected these ones from there. I thought £4.77 for a pack of three seemed reasonable (the RRP is a much steeper £9.99 however). Pilot pens are a long established brand in writing instruments, having been founded in Japan in 1918. They also have a European production facility, where approximately 60% of their products for the European market are now made in France. Whilst I can’t quite recall my first Pilot pen, I recognise the brand and I am sure most of us have unknowingly used their products ...

Filofax Personal Organiser Refill Insert Business Card Holder 23/07/2015

Essexgirl Gets Organised(ish)

Filofax Personal Organiser Refill Insert Business Card Holder A recent clearout of a drawer revealed my old Filofax from a zillion years ago. I’d long ago stopped using diaries in favour of my phone, and had put most addresses I needed into an indexed A6 notebook (now rather tatty) which I kept at home. My Filofax is a pretty basic Personal sized one (about A5 basically) from twenty five years ago but was still serviceable – at least 21 of those years was spent in various drawers I should imagine, so I decided to utilise it and update the addresses and whatnot as I was feeling organised. Everything essential is in my phone, but it is good to have some information easily to hand at home. Whilst browsing for the best pieces I spotted the double sided business card holder and felt it could be useful. I don’t use business cards for work and usually when I receive them (either work contacts or tradesmen at home) I chuck them in a drawer and five years later try and remember who that good plumber was and what I’d done with his card. I thought this would be a good idea for such occasions. I don’t want to put my new favourite electrician in my new neatly written address book as they can often turn out not to be unreliable at a later date. Needing to make up an Amazon order to minimum value for free delivery, I had a look there first and added these to my basket for £2.50. I did think that wasn’t particularly cheap for what it is, but the price seems typical across the web. Some places had it for £2.30 plus postage costs, so this seemed the ...

Rexel Joy Lever Arch File 20/07/2015

A File Filled with JOY?

Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Shampoo 15/07/2015

An Anti-Ageing Shampoo?

Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Shampoo Introduction Just before my last economy drive kicked in, I treated myself to a Heart FM Beauty Box via Latest in Beauty as it had a good mix of products I would use. One product that I though would be good to try was the Dove Youthful Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used Dove hair care products before and been pleased with them, but usually use products dedicated to colour treated hair. This particular product is aimed at older hair that is thinning and dry. I’m fortunate to not be at that stage yet, but years of colour treatments, mean my hair isn't as full and thick as it used to be. This review is of the shampoo. Company and it’s ethics Dove is a very well established company and was founded in the 1950s and is part of the Unilever group. The Dove branding has involced a very popular ’campaign for Real Beauty – by using real women of all shapes, sizes and ages, instead of models for its adverts. Dove’s ethical stance is based on Unilever’s and they claim “We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers. We are committed to ending animal testing everywhere we operate. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing”. (Source: This may sound good, but in practice ...

PurMinerals Big Look Mascara 13/07/2015

Big Look or Big Clumps

PurMinerals Big Look Mascara Pürminerals Big Look Mascara with Argan Oil, Black 5 g Getting Started I was not familiar with this brand when it came up on my Amazon Vine* queue but my beloved Chanel mascara was running out and was somewhat pricey to replace. At £15 this product was still at the pricey end of the scale, but with Argan oil to condition your lashes, I thought this was worth a try to see if it made any difference. The blurb is that this mascara is ‘game-changing’ and ‘envelops lashes in nourishing, knockout colour with endless build and dewy sheen’. It also has an ‘exclusive, clump-resistant mascara wand, getting smooth, evenly coated lashes is easy — even in tough inner corners’. I'm often sceptical about such claims – we've all heard them before but the proof is in the pudding. The Company and its Ethics According to its website Pürminerals does NOT test its products on animals, they are manufactured cruelty free (it is not clear if that means it contains no dead-animal derived ingredients, or none of the ingredients are tested on animals). They produce most of their products (including this one) in the USA and claim to be environmentally responsible in that they like to minimise waste and source ingredients responsibly. I have not used the brand before, but I gather they are an American skincare and cosmetic company founded in 2002 but very little background info seems to be available on the web. Product and Packaging The long, chunky bright pink tube (12.5cm high – taller and ...

Dove Advanced Hair Series Youthful Vitality Conditioner 09/07/2015

An Anti-ageing Conditioner?

Rimmel Kate Lipstick Summer 08/07/2015

Summer Shimmer

Rimmel Kate Lipstick Summer Rimmel Kate Lipstick - shade 035 Pinky/Mauve Introduction I love trying new make up, so was pleased to try this new lipstick from Rimmel that is part of the Kate Moss collection. Fortunately I got to try this for free, which is even better! I like pinky/mauve shades so was happy to try this shade – 035. Normally I use Clinique chubby sticks or No 7 lipsticks. As far as I can tell this is different from the long lasting lipsticks in the range and is just a 'regular' lipstick available in new summer shades. Company Rimmel is a British cosmetic brand founded in the mid-nineteenth century. These days it is part of the Coty group since 1996. The collaboration with supermodel Kate Moss began in 2001 when she fronted their advertising campaigns (Get The London Look). Since 2011 she has put her name to a brand of on-trend cosmetics aimed at the High Street market. Ethically Coty voluntarily ceased testing finished products on animals in 1991, and also claim that they don’t request their suppliers to test their products or ingredients on animals. They do not say that they ensure the suppliers are cruelty-free – Coty/Rimmel may not request it but it doesn't mean to say that they don’t use suppliers who have, or do, test on animals. They admit to testing on animals where required by law (for the lucrative Chinese or Russian) market, and claim to do so only as a last resort. Products sold in the UK, Europe or USA will not be tested on animals, but as I have mentioned above, it ...

AnySharp 3-in-1 Box Grater 02/07/2015

Too Tiny

AnySharp 3-in-1 Box Grater I was intrigued when this product came up on my Amazon Vine* list as I liked the idea of a covered box grater that caught all my cheese instead of spreading it over my counter top like my current standard box grater. It is quite small, but as I live alone this didn't bother me. The grater has three attachments – for grating, peeling and shredding. The grater came boxed in a shiny cardboard box (which Amazon had packaged in their standard brown cardboard wrap packaging – it's only slightly thicker than a reference book, for example). Within the box it was wrapped in bubble wrap with the attachments in separate plastic bags. The peeler had safety tape over it – I assume this is because it is potentially the most harmful if handled wrong. This is the official blurb: • Makes small jobs faster, easier and cleaner • 3 quick click tools for grating, peeling or shredding • Catch all box • Safe, secure grip outer shape • All parts store safely away inside The box grater is 6.5cm x 5cm x 14.5cm high so nice and compact. It is black plastic and stainless steel. The attachments can be stored within the box, which in turn can be hung up if necessary. There is no information other than pictorial on the box nor any instructions inside. Not that I needed instruction per se, but I assumed there might be some sort of safety leaflet. There wasn't for the record. Attaching the plates was fiddly at first but you can get to used to it. There is a small slot in the base of the unit into which ...
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