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Essexgirl2006

Essexgirl2006

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since 07/02/2006

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Rapesco P30 2 Hole Punch 19/05/2016

Packing a Punch

Rapesco P30 2 Hole Punch Rapesco P30 2 Hole Punch 30 Sheet Capacity Introduction As a member of Amazon Vine (an invitation only scheme, where I can receive certain items for free in return for an impartial review). This hole punch came up on my list, whilst far from being the most exciting item I find them to be handy to have (plus I think my existing metal one is older than me, having come with me from my parents' home). Rapesco We have some Rapesco stationery items at work, so I assume they are a brand that is competitively priced. They are a British brand that claim to be a business leader in items such as hole punches and staplers. Founded in 1957, they now sell to over 100 countries and are based in Sevenoaks, Kent. The Hole Punch The hole punch should be able to punch up to 30 sheets at a time, which is considered 'daily' use, Rapesco have other products for 'business' or 'heavy duty' use if this doesn't work for you. I doubt most of us have much use to punch more than thirty pages at home – mostly I do only one or two! This would probably suit most people for office use too, unless you need to do a lot of filing. It is also only punches two holes – I tend to only have simple A4 or lever arch files for any home filing, and have no need to a four hole punch (or any others) but this may be a consideration for some. It comes with a 15 year guarantee and there is a matching stapler available. My hole punch is white plastic and I am not aware of any other colours available. It weighs a ...

Philips HX8331 Sonicare AirFloss Pro 09/05/2016

Faff-Free Flossing

Philips HX8331 Sonicare AirFloss Pro Introduction My dentist is always telling me how important it is to floss and indeed I floss (sort of) most evenings. I expect I am not alone in finding it hard to reach the back of my mouth and feel this area sometimes gets a bit neglected, especially as I usually find myself gagging using either a manual or electric toothbrush when attempting to clean the back teeth properly. I have marginal more success with TePe inter-dental brushes over conventional floss, but I do get occasional gum bleeding and have a few gaps between teeth which need extra attention after certain foods. For a while now, I feel I have been going around in circles – I do my best to keep my teeth clean but still get a bi-annual lecture from the dentist telling me to be more careful and was wondering how to get around it the best when this product came up on my Amazon Vine* list – a power flosser! Philips Philips is an established Dutch electronics company, founded some 125 years ago manufacturing lamps. They still have a strong and successful lighting division today, as well as manufacturing consumer electronics, and healthcare (diagnostic and other medical equipment often used in hospitals). The company has offices all over the world now. Products include TV and audio, electric shavers, kettles, irons, childcare items as well as oral care. The product This is an electronic re-chargeable device that claims to be as effective (if not more so) than manual flossing. “It uses powerful bursts of ...

AmazonBasics Packing Cubes 12/04/2016

Pack Squared

AmazonBasics Packing Cubes AmazonBasics Packing Cubes - 2 Medium and 2 Large (4-Piece Set) Introduction As a member of the Amazon Vine program I am occasionally offered free items in exchange for an honest review. When these packing cubes came up on the list, I thought they looked very useful so requested them. What are they? They are fabric and mesh box shaped bags (a cube may be stretching it – they are oblong) and I have two sizes: Medium-sized cubes (35 x 25 x 8 cm [13.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches]) Large-sized cubes (44 x 32 x 8 cm [17.5 x 12.75 x 3.25 inches]) (L x W x H). The bags seem well made of polyester fabric with mesh panels at the top so you can see what is inside. The ‘cubes’ can be zipped almost all the way round, with double zip pullers so you can quickly access anything inside. The zips are chunky and the pullers easy to grab and there is also a webbed handle, which can also be used to hang them. They are very light and won’t add to your excess weight. They can also be machine washed (cold, gentle) and line-dried. They seem nicely finished, with all seams covered to prevent snagging. Price and Availability These particular cubes are exclusive to Amazon and have an RRP of £20.99 and I have not spotted an offer on these, the price seems to stay about the same , which means delivery is currently free with Amazon. Other brands offer packing cubes and it would seem that Amazon Basics are competitively priced for the sizes/packs that they offer compared to the Premium luggage/outdoors ...

SkimProt Guard 29/03/2016

A Little Bit More Protection?

SkimProt Guard SkimProt Guard for Bank Card Introduction I was sent this by the Amazon Vine program in return for an honest review. I thought it a good idea with card fraud on the rise, but can it really help? A few years ago a former colleague of mine had his bank card skimmed locally and, whilst he was away, they emptied his bank account on payday. Fortunately, in trying to access some cash whilst away in Scotland, he got out a print out from the machine, and thus was able to prove he was not in the local area which expedited the process of getting his money back. Otherwise the bank had been claiming he had done it himself, as he usually used the same machine. He found it an unpleasant and stressful period and ended up having to get an advance on the subsequent month’s wages to see him through the weeks it took to get his money back. What is it and what is it supposed to do? It’s a sticker! It is supposed to protect your bank card from skimming in cash machines and is suitable for any chip and pin type bank cards only. Card fraudsters are getting smarter and the scanning devices they place on cash machines or handheld point-of-sale devices to ‘skim’ (copy) your card details are getting smaller and harder to detect. It’s slightly smarter than most stickers though, as according to the manufacturers it has four layers: an adhesive layer to allow it to be stuck to the card (and removed if necessary), a screening layer to obscure the information in the card’s magnetic strip, a ...

Nivea Micellar Water Dry Skin 22/03/2016

When Water isn't Water

Nivea Micellar Water Dry Skin Nivea Gentle Caring Micellar Water Introduction I usually prefer to use water and a face wash when cleansing my skin – to me it doesn't feel clean unless water has been on it. However I was recently sent this Nivea Micellar Water to try as part of the Amazon Vine* program and I was keen to try as I have seen lots of Micellar products on the market and had wondered what they were like. The version I tried is for dry skin, I don’t particularly have dry skin, but its borderline in the winter after a few months of cold weather and central heating. Nivea Nivea are an established brand in the UK making a huge range of bodycare products from shower gels to moisturisers to deodorants. Now part of the Beiersdorf group, Nivea was founded over 100 years ago, in Germany and now sells to over 48 countries in nearly every continent (no stockists in Antarctica as yet!). There products have been used to help Olympic teams, Himalayan climbers and have even been taken into space. According to the Nivea website, the Beiresdorf group does not test cosmetic products on animals (it doesn’t mention what they do about other products), and claim to have used ‘in vitro’ (test tube) testing methods for many years. Under EU law they are not allowed to test products or ingredients sold within the European market anyway. However, they do sell to the Chinese market, where animal testing is mandatory under Chinese law. Micellar Water If, like me, you were wondering what the micellar water trend is ...

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturiser 02/03/2016

A Pleasant Overnight Cream

Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturiser Clinique Turnaround Overnight Revitalizing Moisturiser Introduction Last autumn I bought some foundation and a scrub from the Clinique counter in one of the larger branches of Boots, during their Bonus Time promotion (a twice yearly in each store, you get a bag of sample sized goodies if you buy two products ) where I received a pretty tin with a selection of Clinique skincare and make up products. One of the products inside was this night-time moisturiser. I’d always liked their moisturisers but found them too expensive. I was slightly put off my the Turnaround aspect, as the few Turnaround creams from Clinique I had tried during previous Bonus Times were disappointing, including the daytime version of this cream. Clinique Clinique were founded in the USA in the 1960s. They are owned by the Estee Lauder group, but the Clinique brand was one of the first to develop dermatological skincare which were not tested on animals, and suitable for those with allergies. I have been using their products for almost twenty years and I have tried lots of products through bonus promotions and complimentary samples. More recently I am now looking to shop elsewhere for most of their products due to a change in their ethical stance (see below). If you wish to try this product or any of their others than it is worth keeping an eye out for their twice-yearly Bonus Time promotions where get a cosmetic/toilet bag of assorted products for free which often include mini moisturisers or ...

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals BareSkin Perfecting Veil 26/02/2016

A BareAble Face Powder

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals BareSkin Perfecting Veil BARE Minerals bareSkin Perfecting Veil finishing powder Introduction Whilst searching for a new foundation recently I tried Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum foundation. As part of an introductory offer I got to try a small-sized version of the Perfecting veil finishing powder. I often use a loose powder over my foundation, so was keen to try this one as I had been using my No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder in translucent for several years. Bare Minerals Bare minerals is an American firm, founded in California in 1994and is part the of Bare Escentuals, (a bodycare manufacturer) group. Bare Minerals specialises in mineral make up (clue is in the name!) and after launching its initial limited range, broke through after selling on QVC, the TV shopping channel. The company has a full range of mineral based make up and skincare in a wide variety of shades. Japanese firm Shieseido bought the company a few years ago. Bare Minerals does not test on animals nor does it ask any others to do so on its behalf. It does not sell in China, so are not legally obligated to test on animals as any firm that sell to the mainland Chinese market must do. However their Shieseido do sell in China, as always there is a grey area and it is up to the individual if you would prefer to boycott them. Some products use animal by-products such as their brushes (the animal isn’t harmed) but they also offer synthetic versions. Not all products are vegan friendly as they sell products ...

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush 23/02/2016

A BareAble Brush

Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush BARE MINERALS Perfecting Face Brush Introduction Recently I was shopping for a new foundation and popped into a branch of Debenhams, where I approached the Bare Minerals counter. Whilst the counter assistant was applying the make up, I noticed that she used a unique shaped brush. I have always applied my foundation with my fingertips so I interested to see how I would get on with such a product. The brush has been designed for use with bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. Bare Minerals Bare Minerals (part of the Bare Escentuals bodycare family) was founded in California in the early 1990s, The brand was initially a pioneer for mineral based cosmetics and has grown since appearing on QVC (the TV shopping channel) a few years after it was founded. The company now offers a full range of mineral based make up and skincare as well as a variety of brushes and applicators. Japanese firm Shieseido bought the company a few years ago. Bare Minerals does not test on animals nor does it ask any others to do so on its behalf. It does not sell in China, so are not legally obligated to test on animals. (However their parent company does sell to China, as always there is a grey area and it is up to the individual). Some brushes are made from pony or goat (usually extracted from a living animal by combing – the company assures as that they are not harmed), but the brush I am reviewing is synthetic. Some cosmetic and skincare products use animal derived ingredients and may not ...

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals BareSkin Serum Foundation 21/02/2016

A BareAble Foundation

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals BareSkin Serum Foundation BAREMINERALS BARESKIN PURE BRIGHTENING SERUM FOUNDATION SPF20 Introduction Having used the same foundation for years (Clinique’s Even Better) I was slightly apprehensive about changing. It had taken me ages to find a product that worked for me as far as colour-matching, skin suitability and longevity were concerned . However Clinique’s decision to sell in China and therefore condone the testing of their products on animals (although products sold in the EU remain untested on animals) didn’t sit well with me and I started to look elsewhere for this and other products. Bare Minerals Founded in San Francisco in the 1990s, by Leslie Blodgett the new CEO of Bare Escentuals (a bodycare manufacturer) , Bare Minerals initially had a more limited range and became established by selling on QVC, the TV shopping channel. BM now offers a full range of mineral based make up and skincare. Japanese firm Shieseido bought the company a few years ago. Bare Minerals does not test on animals nor does it ask any others to do so on its behalf. It does not sell in China, so are not legally obligated to test on animals. (However their parent company does sell to China, as always there is a grey area and it is up to the individual). Some products use animal by-products such as their brushes (the animal isn’t harmed) but they also offer synthetic versions. Beeswax and lanolin is also present in some products so not everything is suitable for vegans. Some products such as blushers and ...

YHA Eastbourne, Eastbourne 16/02/2016

A Cheap Weekend

YHA Eastbourne, Eastbourne A Youth Hostel? I thought my days of hostelling were behind me, but a social and activity group I am a member of organises weekends at various Youth Hotels and bunkbarns around the country combined with walking and trips to country pubs. I’ve been on a few and whilst facilities are basic they are a sociable and inexpensive way spending time with a group of like-minded friends as you tend to mix more in communal areas than in your own room. The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) is a bit of a misnomer, there are no restrictions on age, but it was founded to encourage young people to get out and explore. YHA was founded in 1930 and is a registered charity. It has attempted to evolve over time to keep up with modern demands for better facilities and smaller rooms. I stayed here for two nights in January 2016. Location YHA Eastbourne East Dean Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN20 8ES The station is about two miles from the hostel The Hostel is situated to the West of the town on the A259. It has the benefit of being just a mile or two from the town centre/seafront as well as being on the edge of the South Downs. You are a reasonable driving distance from Brighton or Hastings for a day of sightseeing. The hostel has its own parking and is signposted from the A259 but this stretch is not well lit. The Room They have 7 rooms in total, one twin, two triples, two x four person rooms and 2 x six person rooms. I was in an all female room for four, which had two single bunk beds. Bed ...

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula 11/02/2016

Scrub It Off

Clinique 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula Clinique 7 Day scrub Introduction I have been buying Clinique products for almost twenty years, and was a devout follower of the three-step skincare routine. These days I don't buy as much, preferring different brands, but I still really like this seven day scrub over others I have tried and have bought a full sized version . Clinique Clinique is part of the Estee Lauder group and was established in 1968 in the USA as one of the first dermatological and anti-allergy skincare brands. I've generally found Clinique counter staff to be friendly and helpful. Twice a year each store offers a Bonus Time promotion where you can get a sample sized tube of this to try after purchasing two full price items (one usually has to be skincare). They do a full range of skincare and cosmetic types in a good selection of skincare shades. As a product sold in Europe, under European law (since 2013), they do not test on animals or ask others to do so on their behalf. As I understand it, the company did not test prior to this, but the Estee Lauder group did. However, it is a legal requirement for goods sold in China to be tested on animals (under Chinese law), thus testing is conducted on Clinique’s behalf outside of the EU (in China) . It's a bit of a grey area as technically the product you by in the UK has not been tested on animals but the company has chosen to do this to expand their brand in China. Ingredients Water, Tridecyl Stearate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Dipentaerythrityl ...

My Ciao'ing 07/02/2016

10 Year a Ciao-ing

My Ciao'ing Yup. 7th February 2016 is the 10th anniversary of my joining of Ciao. I can hardly believe I have been here ten years, (admittedly with some breaks). Early reviews My first review was of the book the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith and I wrote a staggering four lines! Having written previously for Amazon I was used to a book’s synopsis being part of the page, so didn’t grasp, at first, that Ciao needed a little bit more. I dabbled a bit more with short reviews on books, film, music CDs and travel, taking me a few months to get my first overall VH review – for a review of Highgate Cemetery. My activity was sporadic and I would dip back in every few weeks or so, post a couple and disappear again. My Ciao addiction had not really formed! I still managed 56 reviews up until the end of 2006. It may have been newbie naivety, and whilst some members did write longer reviews, it wasn’t really the norm back then. Overall Exceptional reviews were, well, exceptionally rare and more than likely Café pieces where people shared personal advice and tips. E ratings were more limited then (regardless of dot colour), so everyone was more discerning. As 2007 dawned I was getting into the groove and posting reviews most weeks, but became more sporadic as the year came to an end, mostly due to a romance with a fellow Ciao member (not telling, so don’t ask!). In total I think I posted just over thirty reviews, rarely straying from Books, Travel and Films (I had a Love ...

Clinique Turnaround Daytime Revitalizing Moisturiser 25/01/2016

When is a Moisturiser not a Moisturiser?

Clinique Turnaround Daytime Revitalizing Moisturiser Introduction Some time last year I bought some goodies from the Clinique counter in a larger branch of Boots, it was during their Bonus Time promotion (something that happens twice a year in each store – if you buy two full sized products, including one skincare, you get some free gifts)and I received a pretty tin with a selection of Clinique skincare and make up products. One of the products inside was this daytime moisturiser. I’d always liked their moisturisers but found them too expensive. I was slightly put off my the Turnaround aspect, as the few Turnaround creams from Clinique I had tried during previous Bonus Times were disappointing. Clinique Clinique are an American company and have been going since the 1960s. They are a subsidiary of the Estee Lauder group. They were an early market leader in allergy tested, dermatological skincare which were not tested on animals. I have been using their products for almost twenty years and I have tried lots of products through bonus promotions and complimentary samples. More recently I have made a conscious decision to shop elsewhere for most of their products due to what I see as their change in their ethical stance (see below but I am still ‘re-sourcing’ some products. If you wish to try this product or any of their others than it is worth keeping an eye out for their twice-yearly Bonus Time promotions where get a cosmetic/toilet bag of assorted products for free which often include mini moisturisers or cleansers (travel ...

Go Stationery Banksy A5 Notebook 21/01/2016

You can Bank on this Notebook

Go Stationery Banksy A5 Notebook Introduction As part of the Amazon Vine program I was offered one of these A5 notebooks. Things like this are always handy, so even though I have plenty of notebooks at home (some I don’t use because they are too nice!) I decided to accept it. I like the quirky Banksy design on the front. GO Stationery GO Stationery are a British firm and their products are designed and made in their London factory. They produce diaries and various notebooks of varying designs including licensed products for The Woodland Trust, as well as William Morris prints, and a wide selection of bespoke products for museums and gift shops . Their own designs are bright and generally quite modern. As well as notebooks, they also product gift wrap and bags, and various files and folders. Products are available through Amazon, John Lewis and other independent stationers. Of the Banksy (a Bristol born, internationally renowned street artist) designs, they also do Girl With Balloon and Man With Flowers. My thoughts The notebook has a durable plastic printed cover of the Banksy painting featuring Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, having her basket searched by a policeman. Toto, the dog, waits patiently beside her. This cover gives the notebook some protection. It looks wipe clean and won’t bend easily if knocked about in a bag. The Amazon page claims is has an elastic closer, but it doesn't. The pages are spiral bound, so easy to tear out – there are no perforated edges. The notebook is A5, but the ...

Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow Hand Therapy Cream 18/01/2016

Why not an Essex Meadow?!

Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow Hand Therapy Cream INTRODUCTION I received a 25g tube of this in a beauty box (Glossybox) sometime ago, and ended up taking the hand cream to work and leaving on my desk. I had used some of their products in the past and find them to be good quality, and hand creams are always useful. The Hand Therapy cream is available in sixteen different scents. CRABTREE & EVELYN I always thought of Crabtree & Evelyn as a long establish brand with a bit of an ‘old lady’ reputation. I had been gifted some of their bath and shower products in the past and really liked them, as their floral scents can be very modern. However I was still surprised that the brand was only established in 1972 by American Cyrus Harvey. The name was inspired by 17th century British naturalist John Evelyn and the Crab Apple Tree, which is also British, and the tree that founded all other cultivated apple trees. This is to represent natural goodness within the brand. They now have over 500 stores internationally. In spite of their implied Britishness the company has been owned by a Malaysian company from 1996, and a Hong Kong based one since 2012. At the end of last year it was taken over by a Chinese investment firm Ethically their website claims that they do not test the finished product on animals nor use during the ‘formulation process’ (whatever that means). They do not specify regarding individual ingredients being tested. They also use the ‘cop out’ clause of “we do not submit our products for animal testing by third ...
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