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My 500th review is how shall I celebrate?

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since 07/02/2006


Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion 08/10/2015

Honey, I'm Hydrated

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion Introduction When I was sent this day lotion to try I was thrilled. I had recently tested the cleanser by Burt’s Bees, in the same range and been really impressed with it. It was the first product I’d tried from this brand and I had heard nothing but good things about them in reviews. There are five products in the range – the cleanser, a day cream, a night cream, a face mask and an eye cream. It is obviously recommended by the manufacturers to use all the products for the best results, but I rarely do that as I have other products I like to use. Burt’s Bees Burt’s Bees was founded in Maine, in the North-eastern United States by an artist called Roxanne Quimby and a local beekeeper Burt Shavitz. The company started making candles, before moving onto lip balms and other beauty products. They now also sell throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and Pacific regions. Their philosophy is about keeping the planet safe, and I admire their environmental ethos. They endeavour to keep ingredients natural and their products free from chemicals. They do use animal-derived ingredients such as honey, milk, lanolin and royal jelly in some of their products and sadly they also use carmine (crushed insects) in some products so those would not be suitable for those who prefer to use vegetarian-friendly products. This particular product does not contain carmine, but it does have beeswax. However products are manufactured on the same line, so ...

Xanadu Island Resort, Turgutreis 05/10/2015

(Now we are here) In Xanadu

Xanadu Island Resort, Turgutreis XANADU ISLAND A place where nobody dared to go, The love that we came to know, They call it Xanadu I don’t normally do package/beach holidays, preferring sightseeing trips to more unusual destinations, however when two friends of mine got engaged a couple of years ago, I always knew they were planning on getting married in Turkey, where they’d got together and subsequently where they got engaged. When the invites went out last year, a Facebook group was set up to discuss accommodation options. Suggestions included a mid-priced hotel on a bed and breakfast basis, or for an extra £150 or so we could get a triple share room in a five star all inclusive hotel . It didn't take long to work out that this would be the most cost effective option (besides there were 40 of us – who wanted to be stuck with that round at the bar?!). Fifty weeks before departure my roomies and I had booked and paid our deposit (I'm not normally this organised). The wedding party were also staying here so we booked through their recommended contact at Co-operative travel via telephone. The company we bought our package with was Thomas Cook. THE DEAL It was made clear that our triple room (called a Courtyard Suite) had two twin beds and a sofa bed. As a fair chunk of us were single or travelling without partners, this was decided to be the way to go to keep costs down. We agreed in our room that whoever had the sofa bed paid a little less. We also got a good price by booking so far in advance. We ...

In Bed with the Tudors - Amy Licence 02/10/2015

More Birthing Than Bonking

Burt's Bees Cream Cleanser with Clary Sage 24/09/2015

Clary Clean

Burt's Bees Cream Cleanser with Clary Sage Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Cleanser Introduction When I was sent this cleanser to try I was thrilled (via Amazon). I had heard nothing but good things about Burt’s Bees products, yet had never got round to trying any of their products out. I like to cleanse my face using water rather than just a product, as I don’t feel clean unless my face has been wet! This cleanser is used with water so this is how I prefer it. It claims intense hydration, with the disclaimer if used with their five step hydration routine. I've no idea what the routine is, but I'm not interested in any beauty routine that needs five steps, I barely manage three (cleanse, tone, moisturise). However, there seems to be only five products available, including a day and night cream, so assume you don't actually need to use all the products each time. I don’t think I've ever been brand loyal enough to use more then three products from the same range at the same time. Burt’s Bees When Maine based artist Roxanne Quimby and local beekeeper Burt Shavitz met and hit it off, they started making candles and founded Burt’s Bees in the 1980s. They moved onto lip balms and other beauty products in the 1990s and expanded to become a well established natural beauty range for all. The started selling in Europe at the turn of the last century. Their philosophy is about people (not just their staff, but their customers) and keeping the planet safe. Ingredients, where possible, are natural and free from chemicals. ...

Jacob's Cracker Crisps 21/09/2015

Crispy Crackers

Dr Organic Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisture Melt 11/09/2015

I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.

Dr Organic Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisture Melt Ages ago I received a Dr Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Moisture Melt Body Oil in a Beauty Box. At the time I’d had a few boxes regularly and had stock piled several zillion body lotions, oils and creams and this one ended up at the back of shelf. Recently I decided to break it out and give it a try. I don’t usually get on well with oils as I find they make my hands greasy and sticky, which then, in turn, makes the bottle sticky, making everything sticky. Dr Organic The firm was founded in 2009 and is based in Swansea, South Wales with the aim of supplying the beauty industry with certified organic and natural products that are functional. They avoid chemicals and their products are free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS),and artificial fragrances. Mineral oils are substituted with plant based oils and extracts, and they use no GM ingredients. They do not test on animals, including their raw ingredients and finished products and the ingredients are all vegetarian friendly. However they do use animal by-products such as honey, royal jelly and bees wax. Although this particular product is vegan friendly also. They have won a number of industry awards for their products, so they are not just ethically sound, but effective too. I am happy with their policies and am thrilled that a British company is at the forefront of developing such products. Price and Availability Dr Organic products are sold exclusively through Holland & Barrett on the high street, they can be bought ...

Bosch Brilliant Care Keratin Advance Hair Dryer 08/09/2015

I Wasn't Completely Blown Away

Bosch Brilliant Care Keratin Advance Hair Dryer Bosch Brilliant Care Keratin Advance Hair Dryer Introduction Although I wasn't in the market for a new hair-dryer, being quite happy with my three year old Babyliss Turbo Shine product, when this hair-dryer came up to test I was intrigued enough to try it out. I was familiar with Bosch as a premium kitchen appliance brand, but I had not known they had moved into hair styling products. I was also intrigued by the keratin aspect. Generally I don’t look for anything too fancy in a hair-dryer – I like an easy life – and don’t really want to have to worry about which setting it should be on, I just want it to dry my hair and for my hair to remain in good condition. Availability and Price RRP: £39.99 I have seen it on Amazon for £29.99, but currently it is at the RRP. I have also seen it for the same price with Argos. I believe it can also be purchased via other electrical e-tailers. The price is at the upper end of similar domestic hair-dryers. Bosch As mentioned above, I know them only as an established household appliance manufacturer. They produce a full range of kitchen white goods, kettles, toasters, coffee machines (including Tassimo), vacuum cleaners and food processors. As far as I am aware hair styling is new to the brand. They were established in the late nineteenth century as an engineering firm, based in Stuttgart, Germany. Mostly they made components for other industries. They didn't start making items for the domestic market until 1929. The first item was ...

Humble Beauty Body Wash 04/09/2015

Rose & Toilet Cleaner Body Wash

Humble Beauty Body Wash Humble Rose & Frankincense Body Wash I was offered the opportunity to try this body wash through the Amazon Vine* program, and jumped at the chance as I love trying new skincare and bath products and the blurb informed me that this was an eco-friendly brand (I’d never heard of it before), which was even better. Humble The main reason I had not heard of this brand before is that it is brand new! At first I thought the name was used as the adjective, to describe the company’s modest objectives, but no, that isn’t (completely) the case. The range has launched only this August and is the brain-child of TV’s Countryfile and Springwatch presenter Kate Humble. It’s the usual story of wanting a natural range that was kind to the environment and was a pleasure to use. I’m happy to try the product and let you know how pleasurable it is – you lucky folk! The products contains no parabens or sodium laurel sulphates and all ingredients are natural, and wherever possible from sustainable sources. Their ingredients are sourced in the UK, and made in the UK, which means, in accordance with EU law, they have not been tested on animals. As far as I can tell they use vegetarian friendly ingredients (they use a local honey ‘infusion’, so is not vegan friendly) although this isn’t expressly clear according to their website. The packaging is recyclable, and where possible is made from recyclable materials. There are six products in the range: Body Wash (which I have), Body Lotion, Hand Wash ...

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 ...
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