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Hi I am also on Dooyoo, so you may see some of my reviews over there as well. Sx

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since 10/07/2011


The Speech House, Coleford 29/04/2012

The Speech House Hotel - an option for a peaceful staycation.

The Speech House, Coleford I visited The Speech House Hotel in April 2012 with several members of my extended family to celebrate my Grandfathers 80th Birthday. I had visited the same hotel many years previously for work, and at that time it was a Best Western hotel, however, I was aware that it had recently been taken over by new owners. Despite somewhat mixed reviews on travel review sites, we decided to go ahead with this venue for our celebration because of its convenient location between Wales, the Midlands, and the South coast, which suited the various members of my family scattered around the South and West of the U.K . Location The Speech house Hotel is located in the heart of the Forest of Dean, near Coleford, and it takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the hotel from Ross on Wye. It is situated on a road junction, with the front of the hotel facing the main road between Coleford and Cinderford, and one side of the hotel on a minor road which takes you deeper into the Forest of Dean towards Lydney. Although the road at the front of the hotel is a main route through the Forest of Dean it is a B road (B4226), and during the three days I was there, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it was only busy on Monday during the normal rush hour. The photographs on the hotel website are a little deceptive, and it could be a surprise to first time visitors to find the hotel is located so close to the road, but in my opinion this should not deter anyone from staying there, as the road is not normally busy and ...

Perception Scooter Beach Sit on Top Kayak 09/02/2012

Perception Scooter Beach Sit on Top - A kayak or a beach toy?

Perception Scooter Beach Sit on Top Kayak I bought my Perception Scooter Sit on Top kayak because of a friend who was really keen to take up kayaking, but was a little frightened. After some deep psychological analysis (well....a chat in the pub), I discovered she was scared of capsizing and being trapped under water. I'd seen Sit on Tops' at beaches previously, and thought this would be an easy way to introduce her to the basics of kayaking and build her confidence without the fear of capsizing. Now I'll admit at that point I thought of Sit on Tops' as purely beach toys, nothing like 'real' kayaks, was I right? The modern Sit on Top kayaks evolved from the Surf Skis of the 1920's, which were popularised by lifeguards in the USA. They were a hybrid of kayaks and surf boards and were perfectly suited to lifesaving because of their speed and stability. Over the years the concept has evolved and there is now a huge range of Sit on Top kayaks available, designed for a variety of purposes including kayak surfing, touring, diving and fishing. Perception is a British company that has been producing plastic Sit on Top Kayaks from Ukfield, Sussex, for 30 years. The Perception Scooter is a moulded polyethylene kayak, it has a moulded seat area for the paddler to sit and put their legs on top of the hull with the feet resting in moulded foot braces, rather than sitting inside the hull as with traditional kayaks. The hull is sealed so it won't fill with water and it has (sealed) self-draining holes so any water that is splashed ...

Nivea Visage Q10 Tinted Moisturiser 05/02/2012

Nivea tinted moisturisers with Q10 - Sheer natural coverage with care

Nivea Visage Q10 Tinted Moisturiser I've been using Nivea Daily Essentials tinted moisturiser for several years. I use it everyday and I find it ideal for work, when I want a little 'help', but I don't want to look too obviously made up. I usually love Nivea products, I think they are a great brand, simple and basic but effective. When I went to Boots to replenish my supplies recently they had an offer on the newest version of Nivea's tinted moisturiser which includes Co-enzyme Q10, and is designed to help fight wrinkles as well as moisturise and even out skin tone. I bought mine on special offer at £6.66, but the normal price of £9.99 for a 50ml tube is still pretty reasonable, especially as I find a tube lasts quite a long time. Packaging - It comes in a little white cardboard box, with all the essential information I would expect to find printed on it. The original nivea tinted moisturiser originally came in a box as well, but in the last year Nivea have done away with the outer packaging and it's just now just a white plastic tube. This may be because they are environmentally aware and are trying to reduce packaging, or just to reduce costs (cynical - nooooo!). I expect this new version will do away with the box after a short whille as well, it certainly seems unnecessary to me, as all the information on the box is also printed on the tube itself and it is not an especially attractive box.Product - It is available in 3 shades, light, natural and dark. I have quite fair skin and use the lighter shades for ...

Outwell Andaman Sea Tent 28/01/2012

Outwell Andaman Sea tent - get out in an Outwell.

Outwell Andaman Sea Tent I camp a lot. My earliest memories of camping are with my parents when I was a small child, and we were staying in a campsite in Scotland. I remember being cold, wet, and the endless dive bombing attacks from swarms of midges. With this unpromising start it's strange that I have continued to camp throughout my adult life, but I love the freedom it gives me, the peace, the independence, and being able to wake up to fantastic views of the natural world that I really feel connected to when I'm camping - I just don't get that feeling in hotels. I have two really good lightweight technical tents, but when I turned 30 I decided it was time to consider comfort, so I decided to treat myself to a 'luxury' tent, preferably one I could stand up in. Being a regular visitor to outdoor and camping shops I was well aware of the Outwell brand, and had often drooled over their tents, looking at the price tag and thinking "one day", well now the day had come! Outwell is one of three brands produced by Oase Outdoors Aps; a family owned and operated Danish company. They started in 1984, and today are widely regarded throughout Europe as the leaders in family camping, consistently winning awards for their outstanding products. They are regularly at the forefront of camping innovations. Some of the concepts Outwell introduced were luminous reflective guylines, skylights, carpets and footprints. All of these ideas have now been adopted and integrated into the tents produced by many other companies. ...

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel 22/01/2012

It simply cleanses

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel I bought this cleansing gel a few months ago when I couldn't find my normal cleanser. Simple Kind to Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel was on offer in my local Tesco store. Because I have combination skin I always try to use gently products that won't aggravate my skin, and I had previously had a good experience with Simple facial cleansing wipes, so I thought I'd give this cleanser a go. It costs £2.99 for 150ml in Tesco and Boots, but can frequently be found on special offer. Packaging - The cleansing gel is contained in a large green plastic tube, with a well fitting lid that flips open. The lid is sufficiently wide to allow you to store the product upside down; this enables the product to settle at the top and avoids problems when trying to squeeze it out. The tube has all the information you would normally expect on the back, and it clearly states it is suitable for sensitive skin. It is dermatologically tested and approved. Product - The gel is clear and has no detectable fragrance (it is free of artificial fragrance and colour). The consistency is just right, not too thin or thick. It contains pro vitamin B5, said to actively restore, soften and smooth skin. It is soap-free, which appealed to me as I find soap is really harsh and drying on my drier cheeks. Surprisingly, there was no lather at all when I massaged the gel onto my wet face (I found this surprising as I live in an area with very soft water and I usually get an abundance of lather with any product - even ...

Nivea Hand Age Defying Q10 Plus 21/01/2012

Nivea Q10 handcream - hope for harassed hands?

Nivea Hand Age Defying Q10 Plus My hands often get dry and tight in both winter and summer. I'm not a big fan of gloves, so cold wintery weather takes it's toll on my hands, and in the summer I'm in and out of the sea in my spare time so they have to contend with the drying effects of salt water. I don't have age spots yet (thanks only to religious application of copious amounts of sunscreen I'm sure!), but my hands do look older than they once did. I've used a variety of hand creams for years, but when I saw Nivea Age Defying Q10 Plus in my local Boots store recently I thought it had to be worth trying. I've been a fan of Nivea products for years, and distinctly remember the familiar blue and white pot of Nivea cream on my grandmothers' bedside table. I find that particular cream too heavy and greasy, but I love most of Niveas other products. Nivea is a well known brand produced by the German company Beiersdorf. They first produced the original Nivea cream in 1911, and over the years have diversified to produce a huge range of skin care products, as well as a medical wound care range. The Age Defying Q10 Plus hand cream is packaged in a white plastic tube, with a blue flip-top lid. The distinctive blue and white Nivea logo is clearly visible on the front, with all the information I would expect to find on the back of the tube; ingredients, company contact details, directions for use and a summary of the products' claims. It is available in a 100ml tube for £4.16 from Boots, but it is also available in a ...

Caerfai Organic Farm Campsite, Pembrokeshire 08/01/2012

Caerfai campsite - more than just a breathtaking view!

Caerfai Organic Farm Campsite, Pembrokeshire One of my favourite campsites in West Wales is Caerfai Organic Farm campsite. It's in St. Davids (the smallest city in the U.K!) as you enter St. Davids turn left just in front of the Tourist Information Centre and follow the road for approximately 1/2 mile as it turns into a single track road. Caerfai Farm campsite is the second campsite you will pass on this lane (the first has a small pub attached to it which serves evening meals - useful to know in case you have a wet few days!). Caerfai Farm campsite has fantastic views across the bay - a beautiful sight to wake up to! It is a working farm, and they have a small shop which sells everything you are likely to need, including their own organic cheese - which is delicious - ask for a taste! They also sell their own untreated milk from their dairy cows, and a great selection of pastries, croissants, pain au chocolate etc. as well as all the basic supplies you would expect. My only minor complaint is that the shop doesn’t open until 9:00am most mornings. Because of its prime location overlooking Caerfai bay/St.Brides bay, it can be a little exposed in windy weather so I would recommend taking a windbreak just in case. It is a very spacious site, with three large fields, leading down to the cliffs overlooking the bay, which have allocated pitches around the edges of the fields so there is always space in the centre of each field – enough to play cricket without disturbing any other campers (we joined a family playing ...

Platypus Hoser 1 03/01/2012

Platypus Hoser - Just like a camel!

Platypus Hoser 1 I enjoy walking and cycling, but the same as most people, I never enjoyed having to stop every so often to take off my rucksack, dig out my water bottle, drink, put my bottle back, and put my rucksack back on. It doesn’t sound like too much of a challenge I know, not like crossing a ravine on a tightrope blindfolded (not that I’ve ever done that!), but after the tenth stop it does begin to feel a bit inconvenient. Because of this inconvenience I tended to delay drinking until I felt really thirsty, which as we all know, is really too late to stay adequately hydrated. I bought my first Platypus Hoser about 8 years ago, it was the 1litre version, and about 6 years ago I also bought the 2 litre version. The Platypus Hoser can be purchased from most outdoor shops, and online with some really good prices to be found at places like Amazon. The prices have reduced over the years and a 1 litre Hoser can now be found for under £10. In addition to the 1 and 2 litre versions, a larger 3 litre version is also available, as well as accessories such as an Insulation kit to prevent freezing in extreme cold, a cleaning kit, and a wide-mouth zip-closure version of the Hoser. The Platypus Hoser is produced by Cascade Designs, a company based in Seattle, USA, who started by producing the Thermarest self inflating mattress in 1971. The company went on to produce a number of innovative products which are now familiar to most people who take part in outdoor activities, including camping ...

Saucony Pro Grid Triumph 7 Running Shoes 01/11/2011

Pounding pavements is a pleasure in Saucony Pro Grid Triumphs.

Saucony Pro Grid Triumph 7 Running Shoes Saucony Pro Grid Triumph were my first 'proper' running shoes. Before buying them I had been running in normal trainers. I started to experience knee pain, and a physiotherapist I know recommended I try shoes specifically designed for running. I found a specialist running shop locally, and called in to see what they could offer. The assistant started by discussing my running habits, then getting me to run on a treadmill, she explained that she would play back a recording of my running style to analyse my gait. Using this information she was able to recommend several running shoes that suited my needs and individual style. This is the bit when I am ashamed to say I came over all girlie. Out of the recommended shoes I picked the one that was the prettiest colour! That was several years ago, when the Saucony Pro Grid Triumph running shoe was on version 4, it has now been updated several times and is on version 7. They cost around £85.00, although you can find them a little cheaper on Amazon, and this is not terribly expensive for a top of the range running shoe. Saucony is a US company; it was founded in Pennsylvania in 1898 and started making childrens and adults functional footwear. Saucony started designing and producing running shoes in 1968, and regularly wins awards for its innovation and technical leadership in the field. Version 7 comes in two colour options, blue and white, which I have, and a neon orange with black. This neon option is part of Sauconys Visi-Pro ...

The Body Shop Peppermint Foot Lotion 30/10/2011

Peppermint foot lotion - priceless pampering for fatigued feet

The Body Shop Peppermint Foot Lotion I've been using peppermint foot lotion for years, and recently started using the Cooling version. I'm often unkind to my poor feet; I make them walk around in shoes with stupid little heels, I climb - which involves squashing them into really tight climbing shoes, and I run, often further than my exhausted feet want me to. I've found this is the best way to refresh tired feet, and to make up to them for all the abuse I put them through by giving them a bit of indulgent tlc. Peppermint foot lotion is one of a range of peppermint foot products from the Body Shop. It comes in two sizes, 250ml for £8.00, and a miniature 60ml for £3.00. This does sound a little expensive, but in my opinion it is good value for money as it lasts a long time, and it's such a good product it is worth every penny to me. The Body Shop was founded by Anita Roddick, and opened its first store in 1976 in Brighton. It quickly grew into a worldwide business, but still retained its core values of responsible sourcing and being strongly opposed to animal testing. No Body Shop products are tested on animals, and they are all suitable for use by vegetarians. In 2006 the Body Shop was bought by the L'Oreal Group, although it still retains its distinct identity and has remained true to its values, continuing to sponsor many worthwhile causes. It diversified from shop sales, to a retail website as well as The Body Shop At Home, a party plan franchise. Anita Roddick died in 2007, but the company continues to ...

Blistex Lip Splash Liquid Lip Moisturiser 29/10/2011

Blistex Drench - luscious, lustrous lips, but not for long!

Blistex Lip Splash Liquid Lip Moisturiser I'm not a big fan of lipstick, but I am always careful to use sunscreen on my lips, and I like to use a little gloss on them in the evenings. I discovered Blistex Lip Splash a couple of years ago, killing time in airport shops when I was going on holiday I realised I had packed sunscreen but not lip gloss, and I spotted this. From the packaging it looked as though this product would meet my needs, a clear, shiny, hydrating gloss. Blistex Lip Splash is available from supermarkets and chemists for between £1.49 - £2.95. It can often be found on special offer, Boots frequently do three for two promotions on Blistex products. It comes in a cardboard carton which contains the bottle of lip splash. The bottle is 4ml in volume, and is a 6cm long silver plastic tube, with a screw on lid, again in silver plastic. There is a clear plastic label on the bottle with all the information I would expect e.g. contact details, warnings etc. The bottle can be recycled, the product is not tested on animals, and does not contain any animal derivatives so it is suitable for vegetarians. It also has an SPF of 15. Blistex was established in 1947 as a family run company in Illinois, USA, in the 60's they opened a specialised research and development facility with the goal of becoming the market leader in lip care. Removing the lid reveals a tiny metal roller ball in the top of the bottle. I think this is a great way to apply lip gloss, and it's certainly less messy than those that need to be ... 09/10/2011

Figleaves - Sexy smalls, and not just for women! I feel I should start this review by being completely honest. My name is Stephiej, and I am a lingerie addict. I am ever so slightly obsessive about it, and I have an overwhelming compulsion to ensure my underwear is always matching. I think this is because at work I need to dress professionally and in my spare time I'm usually either in jeans, running kit, or rubber (wetsuits - in case anyone was imagining weird fetishes!), so lingerie is my main outlet to buy and wear what I want and like rather than what is practical. I probably spend more than I can really justify on lingerie, but I look on it as a little luxury I can indulge in every day, which makes me feel good and always puts me in a positive frame of mind in the mornings. I like to buy good quality items that feel nice against my skin, and although I have found some gorgeous sets on the high street I buy most of my lingerie online. This is because although I'm not a particularly unusual shape, size 14 and 36D, I find that high street stores often sell out of my bra size really quickly, so I'm more likely to find what I like in my size online. is one of my regular online haunts, along with La Senza, but I find Figleaves usually has a much greater range. The website is well laid out, user friendly, and very intuitive. The homepage displays the Figleaves banner at the top, along with links to the main departments; Women, Men, Brands, Offers, Holiday Shop and Outlet, these departments are broken down ...

The Body Shop Vitamin E moisture Cream 05/10/2011

Body Shop vitamin E moisture cream - more than a moisturiser

The Body Shop Vitamin E moisture Cream I've been using the Body Shop Vitamin E Moisturiser for many years, initially as an inexpensive facial moisturiser, but more recently I've found other uses for it. The Body Shop was founded in the UK in 1976 by Anita Roddick. It has now grown into a worldwide business, but still it still remains true to its core values of responsible sourcing and opposition to animal testing. No Body Shop products are tested on animals, although as with all cosmetics some of constituents of the products may have been tested by other companies. The Body Shop was bought by the L'Oreal Group in 2006, however it strives to remain true to its founding ethical principles. It now distributes it's range of products through retail outlets, online and via Body Shop At Home party plan. It is available in 50ml pots, costing £9.00. During the Christmas period smaller pots of the Vitamin E Moisturiser can often be found in gift sets, ideal for travelling. It can frequently be found on special offer. The pot is a pale semi-opaque pink colour, through which the product can just about be seen. It has a black screw on lid, which fits securely, so there is no risk of leaking. Because it comes in a pot it is applied by scooping a little out of the pot and applying to the face. I have no problem with using my fingers to do this but I know some people are concerned by the possible contamination issues, if this concerns you it is easy to pick up a small plastic spatula from the body shop for a few pence, ...

Lancome La Base Pro Perfecting Make Up Primer Smoothing Effect Oil-free 01/10/2011

Lancome La Base - a perfectly peachy primer

Lancome La Base Pro Perfecting Make Up Primer Smoothing Effect Oil-free Now I'm in my mid-thirties I am finding the make up routine I used when I was younger no longer gives the same results. I have combination skin, and consequently I have larger pores on my nose and chin, which foundation can sink into and accentuate. I have tried many different foundations, from shockingly expensive to budget brands, and as all of them do this, some quicker than others, I concluded that the problem is my skin rather than the foundation. I also have a few small scars from spots when I was younger, and I'm definitely starting to get 'smile' lines around my eyes, so my skin is quite challenging. I am enough of a realist to acknowledge I'm never going to have perfect, flawless looking skin again, but I can't help longing for the smooth, glowing skin of my younger years! I had previously tried a couple of make up primers, but had been disappointed with the results, one made my skin break out in small spots under my skin, the other made no noticeable difference, but on the recommendation of a good friend I decided to give Lancome La Base a try. Lancome is part of the cosmetic giant L'Oreal. They started over 60 years ago, initially creating perfume, but have since diversified into skincare and cosmetic products. As one of L'Oreals companies, Lancome has a dubious history when it comes to animal testing. In 1989 Lancome, along with several others of L'Oreals subsidiary companies, stopped testing their products on animals, however, they are still using substances ...

Tetley Tea Bags 25/09/2011

Tetley tea - True amber nectar

Tetley Tea Bags How can the same drink be both refreshing yet relaxing, invigorating yet calming, uplifting yet soothing? I don't know, but somehow tea manages to do it, and for me, tea always has to be Tetley. According to their website,, Tetley have been selling tea in the UK since 1856. The brand was originally created by brothers' Joseph and Edward Tetley, who initially sold it from the back of a pack horse (the 19th Century version of -off the back of a van). The brand grew successfully in both the UK and USA. Tetley were the first company to introduce the innovative concept of a tea bag to the UK in 1953, although tea bags had been common in the USA for many years before that. Over the years the Tetley brand has been owned by several companies including Lyons and Allied Breweries, and is now part of the Indian corporation TATA. From humble beginnings Tetley is now sold in 67 countries worldwide, as well as their familiar black tea they now produce a wide range of teas including green, iced, and organic. Tetley is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, ensuring ethical sourcing of ingredients and sustainability for producers, they are also working towards membership of the Rainforest Alliance. Tetley tea is available in various quantities from a pack of 80 bags to 440 bags, as well as giant catering packs. The greater the quantity the better value, however they frequently have offers in supermarkets of 3 for 2, or they have a certain percentage free in the pack. ...
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