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Thank you for the ratings, I no longer thank people individually for E rates as I prefer to spend my time on here reading and rating as many of you as I can. But rest assured, all are appreciated!

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since 07/02/2006


Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser 21/05/2015

Foam Away

Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser I have long been a fan of Clinique products. They are a premium brand at a premium price, but I have always found the quality and results to be worth the extra money. Clinique started out as a spin-off brand of Estee Lauder in the late sixties. These days they are a global brand with counters in department stores and larger Boots/Chemist stores throughout Britain's High Streets. I have been using their 'rinse off foaming cleanser' on and off for about fifteen years. This often comes up with their 'gift with purchase' during Clinique's Bonus Time (check their website for dates and stores) if you want to try it in addition to other products. I sometimes buy this or their seven day scrub in order to qualify for the bonus gifts. In between I mix cleansers between brands such as Liz Earle and cheaper high street products. A 150ml tube costs £17 and it will last a fair while. I don’t recall the tube coming in a box (which isn't really necessary). Clinique claim it is allergy tested and 100% fragrance free. As someone who wears make up on a near-daily basis, (although I rarely re-apply unless I am going out in the evening) I think it is important to get a good cleanser that can tackle make up as well as the day’s grease and grime. Firstly wet your face and then squeeze a small amount onto your palm, rub them together to create a lather ('foaming' might be stretching it a bit) and massage onto your face- upwards and outwards. Rinse thoroughly. You only need a small amount – pea ...

Russell Hobbs RHM2064 18/05/2015


Prestige Create Stainless Steel 2 Slice Toaster 15/05/2015

For Toast

Prestige Create Stainless Steel 2 Slice Toaster Having been given an almond and stainless steel Prestige kettle by my parents, I decided that it was also time to upgrade my toaster to something that matched. My old one was a digital one, which I hadn’t chosen myself and didn’t really like, so decided to get this one. It came from Robert Dyas and was £17.99 (according to the website has an RRP of £19.99). I have seen different designs of toaster by Prestige online but much prefer the classic rounded shape. As mentioned I specifically chose this as it matched my kettle (you can by them as a set also I believe), however I am familiar with Prestige as a long-standing brand so have no qualms about purchasing their products. The toaster looks good in matt almond and shiny stainless steel. The steel, of course, can get finger-marks on it (I swear they appear even if I didn’t touch it!) but it is easy enough to remove them and keep the appliance looking smart. I have a dark worktop and light wood units, so I think this toaster (and the kettle) look good in it. The power cord is about 1m in length – there is not place to store excess cord under the toaster as there is with the kettle but as only about 80cm of the power cord shows from under the kettle, this won't be a problem. The toaster has a 6 position dial for variable browning at one end. I like mine fairly lightly done and usually use number 3, but sometimes this is even too light for me, and tend to use number 4 now. It must be pretty pale on number 1 – perhaps it just ...

Philips GC2045/26 11/05/2015

Speeds Up My Ironing

Philips GC2045/26 As a member of the invitation only Amazon Vine program I was pleased to spot an iron available to be sent to test and review. My current iron was a cumbersome Morphy Richards one, that weighed a ton and I hated using it. I wasn't convinced I’d suddenly like ironing with a new one but I felt I was overdue to replace it, at least. There were a number of points that appealed to me about this Philips GC2045/26 EasySpeed Steam Iron it but most of all was that it claimed to speed up my ironing – what’s not too like?! Whilst I am a tad cynical about such claims, I was prepared to give it a go. The iron came in its own heat-resistant storage box which was another appealing novelty. No leaving the iron cluttering up the kitchen worktop while it cools, it can go straight into the box, which was an attractive, modern floral print. Around the box was a cardboard sleeve promoting the 5 ways to speed up your ironing (allegedly). When ordering from Amazon then the box was in an external box about twice the size. Standard (free) delivery took about 3 working days. The manual is one of those folded map-like leaflets in about 8 billion languages. Naturally the English instructions are completely on the wrong part in relation to the diagrams so I spent a frustrating few minutes unfolding, turning and refolding the paper until I had found what I was looking for. I swear I was only a few folds away from making an origami swan! The text on here is tiny also, a very poorly thought out non-user ...

Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker 06/05/2015

Light up Your Sounds

Lava Brightsounds Bluetooth Speaker When I spotted this speaker on Amazon, I thought it would be quite handy and ordered it. The RRP is £39.99 which I think is quite pricey. I didn't pay this though*. Most of us don't have a 'music centre' any more and how we listen to music has changed considerably. I exclusively listen to my music digitally – either through my iPod and speakers, or through my laptop or through headphones connected to my phone or aforementioned iPod. I had previously had portable speakers for the iPod which eventually broke, although I rarely took them anywhere. I replaced them with a more sturdy, better quality non-portable set some years ago. However, as it is so easy to get expandable memory for your phone these days, the iPod rarely travels. My most recent music is on the phone (when I remember to transfer it). The dodgy old CDs are on the iPod/laptop. Which eventually brings me to the point of why I selected this product - I wanted portable speakers to take away with me at the weekend, and this seemed to fit the bill. The speakers advertise themselves as suitable for camping and the garden as it has an inbuilt lamp. I live in a flat with a shared garden so I don't use it this way (I wouldn't want to listen to my neighbours playing their music outside, so I'm not going to do this myself). I camp about once a year, and I can see the appeal of it (providing there is adequate charge for the phone/music device and the speaker), though I'm more looking for something when staying in hotels ...

Savoy Grill, London 01/05/2015

Chompin' at the Savoy

Savoy Grill, London INTRODUCTION My boyfriend had a birthday and decided he wanted to return to his favourite restaurant – Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Grill - because they do the best steaks in the world (according to himself). The restaurant was established in the late 19th century, alongside its namesake hotel, and a previously opened theatre. Many top celebrities and whatnot have stayed here over the years, and dined in the restaurant. We didn't see any that I noticed. I am not sure when Ramsey took over the restaurant precisely, but I know it was remodelled in late 2010. He doesn't cook there himself – head chef is a chap called Andy Cook. I'm not sure how much involvement Ramsey has on a day-to-day basis. As himself was poorly over his birthday the meal was rescheduled and we went on Easter Sunday. I believe he booked it online via Open Table for 7.30pm. The restaurant is situated within the hotel, to the left and behind you as you go in the main doors. The Savoy is just a few minutes walk from Charing Cross tube and mainline station and is situated on the Strand, so accessible from pretty much most of central London such as Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Waterloo (via the bridge which is pretty much behind the hotel). INITIAL THOUGHTS We arrived a fraction after 7.30pm and found a warm reception and out coats were taken. I was handed the token. We were seated at a ‘normal’ table near the middle of the restaurant, but we coveted the little rounded booths that went around the pillars ...

Travelodge Waterloo, London 28/04/2015

Whoa Whoa Whoa Waterloo

Travelodge Waterloo, London A combination of non-local family birthdays, a big (and inconvenient) work project for my boyfriend and Bank Holiday rail disruptions meant that the recent Easter weekend was quite a challenge for my boyfriend and I to get together, leaving us just with Easter Sunday evening. As we live on opposite sides of London I decided to book a hotel for that night, so that neither of us needed to worry how we were going to get home and himself could have a good night's sleep without having to get up at some ridiculous hour to trek across London to work. Being on the disorganised side, I didn't start looking until Thursday night so there wasn't a huge amount of choice. The best deals on a centrally located hotel was for the Travelodge chain. As it was only for one night, I decided to book the Waterloo Central branch for £77 as it was walking distance from the restaurant we'd booked . I had a flexible booking, so I could cancel up until noon of the day of arrival (this seems standard, there didn't seem to be any discounts for paying in advance) and my credit card just reserved the booking. I booked on-line, through their own website. The process was quick and simple. This particular branch has a bar-café so offered breakfast (including hot food) for an additional £7.95 per person. I didn't take this option as I wasn't sure himself would have the time. Instead we bought supplies from local stores. You could also book a late check out/early check-in if you so wish, but I was happy with ...

Oliver Bonas Isla Snake Clutch 22/04/2015


Oliver Bonas Isla Snake Clutch I’m a sucker for buying handbags – whether days out bags, everyday handbags or evening bags I always find one that would be more perfect than the last one, but never one that is quite right for every occasion. At the beginning of the year I spotted this snake print clutch bag in Oliver Bonas at Waterloo station for £28. I resisted it at the time, as I may have overspent slightly *cough* during the holiday period. Next pay-day saw me in their Liverpool Street branch making a purchase. Currently it is on sale for £18 so grab whilst you can. They have branches throughout London and in a few other cities. Otherwise it can be purchased on-line with a delivery charge (standard charge £3.95, or a surcharge for next day delivery). The clutch is leather and a bold , deep red – I have not seen any other colourways available. The snake print is an embossed design on the front, the zip and strap attachments are a brass colour, with the zip puller in matching red leather. The bag is very slim with dimensions of 24 x 14 x 1.5 cm so you can’t keep a lot in it, but that is the nature of clutch bags really. It is quite lightweight, there isn't much else to it. There is a detachable (chunky brass lobster claw clasp) red leather wrist strap. it’s about 20 cm long so suitable for all wrist sizes. I prefer to use the strap – I like to stick my hand through the strap and hold the clutch for extra security, should someone try to snatch the bag from me when out and about. However if you have ...

Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser 17/04/2015

Simply Quite Good

Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser I hadn't used Simple products for ages, having moved onto premium skincare products as I got older, but before my last holiday I picked up a 50ml bottle of this in Boots. The small size (suitable for airline hand luggage if needed) and lightweight white plastic bottle was ideal for travelling and weighed less than my bulky pots and tubs, and allowed me to be able to do my washbag zip up without too much of a battle! It is also available in regular sizes of course. There is no pretentious packaging with this product – you get a white bottle with a green screw cap lid. All the information you require is on the sticky label attached to the bottle. This includes directions for use and ingredients. I usually prefer an SPF in my day creams, however this one only has 'defending UV filters', so you would need to ensure you got adequate SPF protection elsewhere. I have to admit I don't know how effective these filters are. Simple don't use any animal derived ingredients, nor do they add perfumes or colours to their products which they claim are suitable for sensitive skin. I don't have particularly sensitive skin but I am always happy to use a gentle product, if effective. They claim it contains pro-vitamin B5 as well as glycerin, bisabolol and allantoin for their nourishing and smoothing properties (although I have absolutely no idea what the last two are). I have noticed a couple of parabens in the ingredients list, for those that prefer to avoid such ingredients. I am no expert ...

Kipling Alenya Shoulder Bag 01/04/2015

My Mini-Tardis

Kipling Alenya Shoulder Bag I have always been a fan of Kipling bags, finding them lightweight and durable. Looking for a new ‘day out’ or holiday bag, I decided to pop into the Kipling store in Westfield Stratford. The purpose of such a bag (for me) is for a roomy, casual bag that can fit a lot of stuff in for a day out (rather than my everyday handbag). This sort of stuff includes my ‘good’ camera which is quite bulky (not a compact), my Kindle and/or a guide book, purse, phone, iPod, mirror, travel card/passport, umbrella, make up and any other item that I deem essential for that particular day or trip. Sort of buying a TARDIS I had my work cut out for me. There is quite a variety of Kipling bags available these days, and a lot more finishes available but I was looking for the lightweight yet durable fabric bags. The one I went for is the Alenya medium shoulder bag in water-resistant nylon in dusky grey for £69. If I wanted a patterned finish or a different material, it would have been slightly more money, but there are quite a few examples available. The dimensions are 32 L x 32 H x 14.5 W cm and I usually find these hard to interpret when I have bought similar bags online before as extra pockets add to the dimensions and you end up with a smaller bag then you expect. In this case the bag is fairly flat and isn’t ‘bulked out’ with added pockets as they are all slip pockets. As the bag has a shape to it, it doesn’t seem as big as the dimensions imply, but it is certainly roomy. I’m glad I bought it ...

Hotpoint RFA52 27/03/2015


Hotpoint RFA52 HOTPOINT RFA52P FRIDGE-FREEZER My last Hotpoint Fridge Freezer had only a half-freezer and did 15 years of loyal service. Eventually (and inconveniently over Christmas and New Year) the fridge section got ‘freezer-envy’ (I’m not sure this is a recognised condition to be honest) and decided to freeze the contents of the fridge. Although I turned the dial down, I realised that I needed to get new one as soon as possible and decided I wanted a proper double fridge freezer. I had a preference to stick with Hotpoint as the last one had been so reliable and set about doing a bit on online research for prices and promotions. I was also keen to find someone who would remove my existing product also. Armed with the relevant research I popped into a local Curry’s and saw this one (which had been on my short-list). It was priced at £225, as cheap as I had seen online. The helpful sales assistant said delivery was free, as was collection of my old appliance. This was better than most of the online only retailers which charged for one or the other. Delivery was arranged for a week next Tuesday (9 days hence) when they were next in my area. I can’t comment how this compares with other retailers as I didn’t get that far. I figured I could cope until then, so was happy with this time. A bit later I realised I had bought the exact same fridge-freezer as my parents… DIMENSIONS/SPECS 1740 x 545 x 580 mm (H x W x D) Weight: 56 kg Manufacturer’s guarantee 1 year Energy efficiency ...

Fenton's Curling Rink, Tunbridge Wells 16/03/2015

Ice, Ice Baby!

Fenton's Curling Rink, Tunbridge Wells FENTONS ICE CURLING INTRODUCTION Back in January a social group I am a member of organised a trip to Fenton’s Ice Curling rink for a two hour session. Having enjoyed it so much, a group of us decided to have another go, and organised a subsequent trip ourselves. This review is based on my combined experience over two visits in January and March. Fentons is the only dedicated curling rink in England. ‘Normal’ ice rinks used by skaters are not suitable for curling as the ice has to be smooth. Many of you have probably seen curling during the winter Olympics, we have a strong national (GB) team. Basically you are sliding a heavy (20kg) granite stone across the ice into a scoring zone, the team with the closest stone(s) to the centre of the target win that ‘end’. Your team mates ‘brush’ the ice in front of the stone to help it, the stone can move a further 8-12 feet with this help apparently. The equivalent points are written up (only one team can score per end so it is important to be the team with the stone closest to the centre) and at the end of the match, the team with the most points wins. There is a little bit more to it than that, scoring wise, but (without diagrams) that is the gist of it. A four person team would take it in turns to deliver the stone, sweep and ‘skip’ but I’ll explain this as I go along based on my own experiences. PRICES A two hour session costs £20 each (this includes shoe and equipment hire, and the services of a coach), and you need teams of ...

Smiths Spitalfields 1st Floor Dining Room, London 10/03/2015

Smith, not Jones

Smiths Spitalfields 1st Floor Dining Room, London My boyfriend and I had been looking at restaurants in the Spitalfields area of London for a while and whilst deals were coming through via Amazon Local or Open Table, they were not giving the full menu, so we decided one Saturday just to spurge and go for a full price meal at Smiths. Booking was done online through Open Table, although we didn't take advantage of the limited special offer The restaurant is the ‘sister’ of Smiths of Smithfields and their ethos is on quality British meat. I don’t eat meat but unlike some meaty establishments they do come up with a quality vegetarian alternative, so I am not palmed off with spinach and ricotta cannelloni or anything. Their menu lists their suppliers of meat and fish. Their vegetables are from New Covent Garden. The restaurant is situated on the edge of Spitalfields market which is just 5-10 mins walk from either Liverpool Street or Aldgate stations. The building retains the original brickwork, and when I asked the manageress what it used to be, she explained that it was a Grade II listed building and where the birds and flowers were sold back in the day when Spitalfields was a fruit and vegetable market. These days there is a bar in the basement offering live music, a lively ground floor bar (which doubles as a coffee shop during the day), a first floor dining room (where we ate) and a private dining space on the 2nd floor. I wouldn't recommend this as a place for children. Our day hadn’t quite gone to plan and we were out ...

Kingsman: The Secret Service (DVD) 06/03/2015

Kings-sized Fun

Kingsman: The Secret Service  (DVD) This is a film-only review as I watched it at the cinema, therefore I cannot comment on any extras that maybe on the DVD. I knew I wanted to see Kingsman: The Secret Service as soon as I saw the trailer. I love the Bond franchise, and this looked like a good spoof version complete with silly, far-fetched weapons and men (and women) in suits. The film is actually based on a comic book of the same name. I’ve not read it, so cannot comment how close to the original story this is. The screenplay was co-written by Jane Goldman who has written a number of adaptations for the big-screen including some of the X-man franchise. Her co-writer and the film’s director is Matthew Vaughn, who has also helmed Layer Cake, Stardust and X-Men: First Class, as well as having worked extensively as a writer and producer on similar projects. The credibility of the behind-the-scenes team is in no doubt, and neither is that of the cast: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine and Samuel L Jackson are the bigger names that head up the film. There are also some very talented newcomers, that are worth a watch. Kingsman is a real secret service, its so secret no one had heard of it before. They help prevent a number of national and global events that we are not aware of. Now they have a new adversary in Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson with a lisp), a tech genius with an unusual plan to save the world from itself. Valentine has the obligatory evil hench(wo)man in ‘blade-runner’ Gazelle (Sofia ...

Ornami Silver CZ Set Heart Earring Studs 02/03/2015

Sparkly Hearts

Ornami Silver CZ Set Heart Earring Studs I am not a big earring buyer but was bored with my current pair that I wore day in and day out. I can only wear real silver or gold, anything plated or even the hypo-allergenic earrings cause me to want to pull my ears off within a short period of time. Whilst I had acquired a few pairs of nice gold or silver hoops and studs, one by one I would lose a pair, or the backs/butterflies (when I had nothing else to use) rendering another pair out of action. It is quite expensive to keep replacing these types of earrings so I am often on the look out for good deals, but sometimes manufacturers are not clear if the earrings are real silver or not. Cutting to the chase I spotted these earrings on Amazon as one of their lightening deals they have on for a limited time. It was a bit of a risk buying something I had not actually seen but the price was under £10 with free UK delivery, which was a significant saving on the RRP of £29.99 so I thought it worth the risk. With super saver delivery they arrived within a few days, securely packaged in a their own textured cardboard box with a velvet base. It isn't the most tasteful box if giving as a gift and looks a bit cheap if I am honest. I am not familiar with the brand Ornami, which is apparently ‘adorn’ in Esperanto! It seems they mainly sell through Amazon and a few other online accessory retailers. The earrings are quite dinky and light, approximately 1cm diameter with the post on one of the rounded edges of the heart, not in the ...
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