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Being more selective who I read and rate. Too many regulars are posting and running without contributing to the community.

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since 07/02/2006


AEG AG3103 Ergorapido BRC 25/11/2015

Sticking it to my Floors

Duracell Mobile Back-Up Battery 18/11/2015


Duracell Mobile Back-Up Battery Duracell 10200 mAh Power Bank Back-Up Battery for Smartphones INTRODUCTION I am fortunate that my smartphone (a Sony Xperia Z3 compact) has a decent battery life, although my usage sometimes (on weekdays for example) is generally low. However I find when I am out and about and take lots of photos, read on the Kindle app or listen to music then it can drop, and I've had a few close shaves (New Year's Eve for example with a billion blurry photos of people pulling faces, and mis-aimed selfies). When this product popped up on my Amazon Vine* list, I thought it would be a worthwhile product to have. It says it is also suitable for tablets. DURACELL Back in the 1920s scientist Samuel Ruben and manufacturer Philip Rogers Mallory combined their ideas and expertise to develop a specific requirement of Rubin’s. They went on to develop the first alkaline battery and form the Mallory Battery Company. Whilst the Duracell website is hazy on the details of how this became Duracell, I was interested to read that the iconic Duracell bunny first made it’s appearance in 1973. Other sources inform me that Gillette bought the brand, and subsequently Proctor & Gamble, the current owners. For me, Duracell seem to be a very established and respected brand who are renowned for making quality batteries that last that little bit longer. My ‘battery box’ under the kitchen sink has plenty of half packs of Duracell batteries (usually AA or AAA) bought on offer as they tend to be a bit pricier. This ...

Cailler L'Art du Brut Milk Chocolate 16/11/2015

Posh Fruit & Nut

Cailler L'Art du Brut Milk Chocolate Introduction I love chocolate. Whilst in most other situations I prefer savoury to sweet (I’d rather have a starter than a dessert for example), I make exceptions for chocolate. I am no brand snob however and am just as happy with a bar or Dairy Milk or a Wispa as I am with a fancy flavoured bar of Green and Blacks. I’m not a big biscuit eater either, but I will eat biscuits if they have chocolate on them. Basically I have to try very hard not to eat chocolate all the time, and to be fair, I’m usually quite good. I was recently sent this Cailler L’Art Du Brut Milk Chocolate (they also do a plain/dark version) to try through the Amazon Vine programme. Cailler The company was founded by Alexandre-Louis Cailler in 1898, in Switzerland. The claim to use only the best ingredients and use the Nestle Cocoa Plan to ensure plantations are ecologically sound and sustainable, as well as benefiting the producers through a fair price (according to them). The milk comes from local cows on their doorstep. There are videos on their website if you want further information : They manufacture boxed chocolates as well as tablets/bars. Nestle are not a popular brand due to their aggressive marketing of their baby milk formula in countries where clean, fresh water and sterilisation equipment is not always available (not to mention they miss out on the natural nutrients and protection from their mother’s milk) and for that reason many people choose to boycott ...

Wacom Bamboo Spark Gadget Case 10/11/2015

Spark Your Imagination

Wacom Bamboo Spark Gadget Case WACOM BAMBOO SPARK GADGET CASE INTRODUCTION As a member of Amazon Vine* this product came up on my list. I had heard of these type of products before, through friends who are designers, but had not used them. For the unfamiliar, this is the blurb on Amazon: “Bamboo Spark Pocket is a Digital Notebook designed to capture your handwritten notes in digital form that will work with cloud services enabling you to share and/or edit your notes”. Basically it is a grey plastic wallet with a notebook, pen and Bluetooth that transfers your designs or handwritten notes from the pad onto your phone or tablet by magic (or Bluetooth most likely). WACOM Wacom are an established technology brand that work towards making the world more creative (according to their website) as far as digital technology goes (movies, photo editing, mobile and tablet accessories) since 1983. Their head office is in Japan and they have subsidiaries in a number of other countries, their European HQ has been in Germany since 1988. My only experience is with their design pen/tablet tools through a graphic designer ex-boyfriend and through my own workplace. We do Computer Aided Design (CAD) in my workplace, and even though I am not a designer myself, I have had some basic on-the-job training to be able to use/amend some of the end results. I was briefly provided with an electronic pad and pen, but it wouldn't ‘talk’ to each other and was sent back and never replaced (I used a mouse after that), I have to say I ...

Cath Kidston Rose Manicure Set 04/11/2015

Everything's Coming Up Roses.

The New Woman - Charity Norman 02/11/2015

Something New....

The New Woman - Charity Norman When this book was suggested at my book club I didn’t know a thing about it. My friend said it was well received on Simon Mayo’s Radio Two Book Club (although, to be fair, they seem to like everything) and the subject matter really appealed to me, so it immediately got my vote. It is not a spoiler to say the book is about someone who is transgender, and I have a very good friend who is trans, and through her I have met other trans people. The book is also known as The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone in some parts of the world. THE AUTHOR: CHARITY NORMAN This is the first time I had read anything by Ms Norman. She was born in Uganda, the daughter of a vicar, and the family later moved back to the UK. She qualified as a barrister, specialising in crime and family law, but took a break in 2002, and moved with her family (she has three children) to New Zealand, where she works as a counsellor (in between writing novels, one presumes) and through this met many trans-gender people. Her previous novels include After The Fall (aka Second Chances), Freeing Grace and The Son-in-Law. PRICE AND AVAILABILITY The Book has an RRP of £7.99 for a paperback of 384 pages, although can be bought for £5.99 currently on Amazon. It is available on Kindle for £2.40. Second hand copies are available on both Amazon and Ebay. SYNOPSIS Luke Livingstone has it all: a successful career as a barrister, a successful marriage to an amazing woman (Eilish) , two grown up children and a grandson whom ...

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream 27/10/2015

Rescued My Complexion

Sassoon 1200W Ultimate Styler 22/10/2015

Too Hot To Handle

Sassoon 1200W Ultimate Styler INTRODUCTION As an Amazon Vine member I am occasionally invited to try new products in exchange for impartial reviews. I was pleased when this product came up and thought it would be a solution to my travel haircare requirements , taking the place of a travel hair-dryer, straighteners and curling tongs, and just taking one device with an assortment of attachments, would do the trick. I’m not particularly skilled at styling my own hair, but I can curl (and straighten) my hair with my slim GHD straighteners. It does take some practice and a little bit of time. My hair is long (below the shoulder), medium thickness and mostly straight, but often with a kink, or sometimes a natural wave after blow-drying (by luck rather than design sadly). VIDAL SASSOON Vidal Sassoon was a British born hairdresser, a brief read around the web shows it to have been an interesting life. He established his first salon in 1950s London and is credited with the ‘wedge-bob’ and other angular and geometric styles. He subsequently moved to new York and in the 1970s began his own haircare product range with shampoo and conditioner. Although Sassoon has since passed away, the brand lives on through his international salons (twelve in the UK, as well as branches in the US, Germany and Canada) and hair care products (manufactured by Proctor & Gamble). The hair appliances are no doubt manufactured by someone else, and the Vidal Sassoon brand is just added to it to give it credibility. I see no mention of ...

Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush 19/10/2015

Making me Blush

Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush Clinique Blushing Blush Powder Blush Introduction I started buying Clinique products some 18 years ago, but mostly skincare. Through taking advantage of their Bonus Time promotions that occur in different stores I started to try their make-up products and for a long time now I have used their cosmetics on and off. I'm not completely loyal to the brand these days, but there are a few products I think they do well, and this blusher is one of them. Clinique Clinique is part of the Estee Lauder group and was established in 1968 in the USA as one of the first, dermatologically based/anti-allergy skincare brands. I've generally found Clinique counter staff to be exceptionally helpful and amiable, and will happily advise you if you are not sure which shade is best for you. Rarely do they ‘up sell’ you to other products. 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 – but the products cannot be sold in the EU, so I assume they get round this with some loophole or other, as plenty of international brands now do this. They do a full range of skincare and cosmetic types in a good selection of skincare shades. Price and Availability £22 ...

Clinique Even Better Make-up SPF 15 15/10/2015

A Good Light Foundation

Clinique Even Better Make-up SPF 15 I have been using ‘”Even Better”’ foundation by ‘”Clinique’” for a good few years now. For many years I got away with just a tinted moisturiser, but as I got older I felt that I needed a little bit more coverage to give my complexion a ‘lift’. I was also getting some ‘big freckles’ (some people call these age spots, but I prefer to call them big freckles – I'm sure I'm not old enough for age spots…) I'm naturally quite pale, and also quite freckly, so I struggled to find a foundation that was the right shade, to make me look a little less pale, whilst not looking too dissimilar to my neck. Eventually I found and used a different Clinique foundation which was subsequently discontinued. The sales lady on one of the Clinique counters assured me that this Even Better foundation was very similar, and was…eh…even better. Clinique Clinique is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder group and was founded in 1968 in the USA as one of the first allergy tested, dermatologically based skincare brands. I have been using their products for fifteen years – from skincare to cosmetics, but am rarely loyal to one ‘type’ over another – I’m just as likely to buy a high street blush as a Clinique one – it depends on promotions and how flush I am feeling! It is worth keeping an eye out for their Bonus Time offers where you purchase two items (one must be skincare and sometimes foundation) and get a bag of assorted products for free which often include mini moisturisers or cleansers (travel sized) or eye ...

Where, when, how, with whom do you travel? 13/10/2015

My 500th Review

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. ...
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