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Looking forward to Christmas! Thank you for all the rates, nice one!

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since 26/10/2014


Nivea for Men Sensitive Shower Gel 25/11/2016

Soapy and sensitive

Nivea for Men Sensitive Shower Gel Introduction I get through toiletries at quite a fast pace and I’m certainly not brand loyal, although Lynx have a few products which I go back to a lot. I normally choose my shower gels by seeing either what’s on offer, or if I see a new shower gel on the shelf that catches my eye I’ll grab it (with a Ciao review in mind!). The latest shower gel I’m using is Nivea Men Sensitive. The Product / Opinion As part of Nivea’s Sensitive range, this shower gel is not too perfume heavy but that’s not to say it has no scent at all – it smells of a good quality bar of soap to me, quite classy and subtle and not nuclear strength. This is a good thing – remember when shower gels and soaps smelled of soap, and not Moroccan Sandal and Strawberry Bubble-gum? The 250 ml container contains a quite runny, milky white gel and a little goes a long way as it lathers up very quickly and gives lots of bubbles, also it stays on the skin well and doesn’t slide off wet skin easily in the shower. I often get a shaving rash on my neck, but since using this shower gel when washing my face before shaving, I’ve noticed that the rash has diminished significantly, so the claim on the label that it is “anti-irritation” is one I can vouch for. It’s available for £2.10 in Boots, £1 in Superdrug or £1.47 in Morrison’s at the time of writing this review. Guess where this tight fisted Northerner bought his from? Going back to the scent, I would say that it is a sexless scent, so there’s no reason why a lady ...

Imperial Leather Talcum Powder Original 31/10/2016

Good for feet in Africa - Imperial Leather Original Talcum Powder

Imperial Leather Talcum Powder Original Introduction I’m currently working in Kenya, where it’s often quite hot. As the ground underfoot can be rough terrain and also there are acacia thorns everywhere (if these thorns were present in the UK, the police would be arresting trees for possession of a lethal weapon) I’ve been wearing some quite thick, rugged walking boots. These are great for safety but are terrible for giving me sweaty feet. So, my feet’s new best friend is Imperial Leather’s Original Talcum Powder – please see below for the review. The Product Costing £1.05 for a 300g bottle from Boots, this Imperial Leather Original Talcum Powder is very much in keeping with the same brand’s other products in that it has that classic Imperial Leather fragrance which is fairly unisex and universal in its appeal. The powder is nice and fine so doesn’t clump, but not too fine that all you get when you squirt some from the bottle is a cloud of fine airborne particles which bring on a coughing fit. It applies well, from al little squirt you get plenty out and a gentle rub of it onto the applied areas makes it stay on well enough. Even though my feet are getting a battering where I currently am, it lasts all day and I can still see and feel the traces of the talc on my tootsies when I take my socks off after work for a shower. Opinion This does its job very well – for the first couple of days when I arrived my luggage hadn’t caught up with me and my feet were a damp, soggy mess in this heat which I’m unused ...

Yankee Candle Christmas Tree Wax Tart 01/02/2016

Yankee Christmas Tree - it's not just for Christmas

Yankee Candle Christmas Tree Wax Tart Introduction One of the Yankee tarts I got last Christmas was the Christmas Tree scent. My wife and I asked for various scents, some were festive / seasonal and others were just ones we fancied trying or knew as old favourites. This particular tart came in a festive bundle of ten different tarts which was £10.90, working out as £1.09 for this tart. There’s no rule set in stone that says you can only melt a festive Yankee tart at Christmas, although some might think it would be a bit strange to have the smell of a Christmas Tree wafting through the house in that fortnight of good weather we get called Summer later on this year. The Product / Opinion The Yankee Candle company make tarts as well as other scented wax products, and a tart is a petal shaped scented wax disc which when placed in a tart burner (almost the same as an oil burner, but with a deeper well to retain the wax) melts and releases its scent. Yankee also makes candles of differing sizes in jars and tumblers, pot pourri and reed diffusers. Most scents are available in all of these formats and all the ingredients used are 100% natural. Yankee say each tart lasts for 8 hours, but with the exception of one or two scents I’ve never had a tart yet that isn’t still releasing its scent for sometimes nearly double that. We use between three and four separate tea light candles per tart in our house before replacing the tart, each tea light lasting between three and four hours – depending on where we’ve bought them ...

Yankee Candle House Warmer Tart Sparkling Snow 25/01/2016

Very fresh clean scent

Yankee Candle House Warmer Tart Sparkling Snow Introduction Thanks to my Amazon wish list, I was the happy recipient of 10 festive themed Yankee tarts this Christmas, here’s another of a few reviews covering the ones that I haven’t already reviewed. I have had this tart in the past, and thankfuly it is still in production with Yankee and hasn't been retired yet. This review is about the Yankee Sparkling Snow wax tart. The Product / Opinion For those that either don’t know, or, like me, have resisted having a bit of Yankee out of pure bloody minded neophobia (does anybody else still call a Snickers a Marathon?), the Yankee Candle company are based in America and their main two strengths are the intensity of their scented candles, votives and wax tarts and also the range of scents. This review is about the wax tart, but Yankee also make candles in glass kilner jars in varying sizes, reed diffusers, tea-light / votives and small shell shaped dollops of wax with no wick – the tarts. The tart is a bit smaller than a mince pie, and is intended to be placed in the bowl of a tart melter with a lighted tea light underneath to provide the heat which melts the wax and releases the smell. The tart is supposed to last for eight hours – ours has well passed this mark. Yankee make their own tart burners which start from around five pounds for a basic version, and go up to about twenty quid plus for their seasonal, decorated ones. We use an oil burner and break pieces of the tart off and use it piecemeal. Top tip – I have read ...

Morrisons Savers Washing Up Liquid 21/01/2016

Less bubbles than Micheal Jackson's pet, but IT'S CHEAP!

Morrisons Savers Washing Up Liquid Introduction I’ve long been one for a supermarket’s own brand value range products, whether it’s food, shower gels or cleaning products. The latest cheap and cheerful product I’ve become a fan of is Morrison’s Savers washing up liquid. I don’t see the point of spending a couple of pounds on something that is going to be flushed down the drain once I’ve done the washing up. However, with cheap products comes the question – “is it any good?”. Please see a product description and my opinions below. The Product / Opinion 34p gets you a 500ml bottle of a runny, green coloured washing up liquid. It smells similar to a pine disinfectant, but the pine element is not as strong as most disinfectants. It won’t be winning any awards for the most pleasant smell of the year, but it does a functional scent to it – you know it’s a cleaning product. However, if I want a nice smell in the kitchen I’ll either put the coffee machine on or melt a wax tart, so I don’t hold the smell against the product too much. The label recommends that it should be diluted sparingly – I disagree with this and this leads to the reason I have only awarded the product three stars. It is nowhere near as strong as leading brands’ washing up liquid, like Fairy, so quite a big squirt has to be used. This kind of makes the cost effectiveness of the price quite poor, but if you don’t often use washing up liquid and mainly use the dishwasher then I suppose that is where you would get your money’s worth. Regular ...

Yankee Candle Christmas Garland Wax Tart 07/01/2016

Pine and Cranberries

Yankee Candle Christmas Garland Wax Tart Introduction Thanks to my Amazon wish list, I was the happy recipient of 10 festive themed Yankee tarts this Christmas, here’s the first of a few reviews covering the ones I haven’t already reviewed. This review is about the Yankee Christmas Garland wax tart. The Product / Opinion This was part of a bundle of ten festive scented tarts which cost £10.90 and qualified for the free delivery service if the total order was over £20. That means this tart cost £1.09, which is only 9p dearer than buying a Yankee tart from the range that Asda stock. For those that don’t know, Yankee are an American company that make mainly wax based scented products like candles, tarts and reed diffusers etc. A wax tart is a scallop / petal shaped disc of scented wax that releases its scent when placed in a tart burner (or an oil burner with a deep enough well to hold the molten wax safely). Every now and again, Yankee will retire certain scents, but I’ve found that in the main they are still available for at least a year on other websites who might have a stash of them. The website describes the main scents for this tart as freshly cut pine boughs and zesty cranberries. I agree with this description, and would also add a hint of vanilla. This sweetness that the vanilla adds softens the “toilet cleaner” potential of the pine scent, which is the dominant scent of this tart. The cranberries add a light fruitiness too and the overall effect is quite pleasant. For an actual ...

Yankee Candle Snow In Love Wax Tart 30/11/2015

Snowy couch snuggles, with a Yankee

Yankee Candle Snow In Love Wax Tart Introduction Snow in Love is one of the many Yankee tarts we try to get hold of in our house for the run up to Christmas - we have many a good night snuggled on the couch watching a film with a Yankee tart or candle on the go, and as Christmas approaches and I'm at home more we'll be doing this a lot soon. I know, a bit unexpected from a bloke in the Army, but Yankee products are one of my guilty pleasures. A fantasy involving Nigella Lawson and a wooden spoon is another one, but that's for the adult section - I'm going to call it "Spooning Nigella". Back on topic - some of our other Christmas / winter time Yankee favourites include "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas Tree". What is it? / Opinion For those that don’t know, Yankee are an American company who make all sorts of wax based scented products and other air freshener type things like reed diffusers and pot pourri. A wax tart is a petal / shell shaped disc of scented wax that releases its scent when melted by using a tea light underneath an oil burner. This particular tart has the scent of fresh snow and woods, as if you were out on a winter walk, hand in gloved hand with a loved one. I would say that the wood scents give it warmth, and the fresh air scent is strong, crisp and clean like ozone on the beach but without the unpleasant seaside smell of a Fleetwood trawler. This tart has an outdoor wintery feel, but also has a freshness which I think works just an air freshener without necessarily making your room smell ...

Yankee Candle Jar Medium Cranberry Zest 24/11/2015

Very festive Cranberry Zest Yankee candle

Yankee Candle Jar Medium Cranberry Zest Introduction I’m not sure exactly when it started, but our local Asda now sells Yankee products from the “Simply Home” range of scents in a few different formats – tarts, candles etc. My wife and I normally only buy the tarts (being good northerners, we tend to go for the cheapest option) but last Christmas we did a “free” shop for goodies using the change we’d saved all year in a jar. One of the treats we got with this saved up cash was a medium jar of the Cranberry Zest scent as we thought that out of all the different scents they had on sale, this one was the most Christmassy. We’ve only just got round to using it, we thought we better had as next Christmas is nearly upon us! The Product / Opinion For those that don’t know, Yankee are an American company who make predominantly wax based scented products like differing sizes of candles in glass jars and tarts, but they also make car air fresheners, pot pourri, reed diffusers etc. Although the jar candles are quite expensive as a one off purchase compared to buying the tarts, they do work out as quite good value for money as they last for a long time (Yankee suggest between 110 and 150 hours) and the jars come with a lid which can be re-used for all sorts of things once the candle has burnt out - I use them for storing dried homegrown herbs in with a silica sachet. This medium candle, Cranberry Zest, has the very rich, sharp and fruity smell of juicy ripe cranberries mixed with the sweetness of oranges. The smell also ...

Morrisons Savers All Purpose Cleaner 22/11/2015

Cheap and makes me cheerful

Morrisons Savers All Purpose Cleaner Introduction I’m becoming more and more impressed with Morrisons and their Savers range, the equivalent of the Sainsburys Basics range of cheap yet not too low quality goods. I’ve recently been given a flat by work to live in when I’m in Cardiff, and there is a massive Morrisons five minutes walk away from me. I recently went there and bought a load of cheap cleaning equipment to give my new place a spring clean. Please find my thoughts below on the Morrisons Savers All Purpose Cleaner. The Product / Opinion A 1 litre bottle costs 50p, which straight away is cheaper than a minimum of £1 (and up) for a branded all purpose cleaner. It’s all very well being cheap, but sometimes its worthwhile paying a bit more for something that gets the job done better. Is this any good? – I’ll come to that! The liquid is a clear yellow colour and smells faintly of lemon – we are not talking Yankee Candle standard of lemon here but more of an industrial citrus, similar to Stardrops. It soaps up a bit when mixed with water, and can be used either neat or diluted. I use it undiluted on things like worktops, cookers, toilets, sinks, stains on floors (not carpet, I wouldn’t trust it on material) etc. I pour a bit on, scrub it with either a damp cloth or piece of scotchbrite, depending on the surface, get rid of whatever stain it was then I wipe the residue away with a damp cloth. It doesn’t leave either chalky or streaky marks like some cleaners can. When using it diluted, I find the ...

Bulldog Natural Grooming Sensitive Moisturiser 21/11/2015

Good but expensive

Bulldog Natural Grooming Sensitive Moisturiser Introduction When I’m not behind a desk answering pointless emails or reading the minutes of meetings that are as interesting as a 3000 word review about a computer graphics card, my job also takes me outside quite a lot. I am currently working and living temporarily in Cardiff Bay, and it can get quite windy down there with cheeky gusts coming straight in off the sea. My face is taking a bit of a battering, so I recently invested in a tube of Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser. I’d never bought it before and was curious to try it. The Product / Opinion Normally selling at £6 for a 100ml tube, it’s not the sort of product I would normally get. However, my local Morrisons are currently selling this at £4 so I thought it made it more appealing to get something that usually costs more than a packet of 10 fags. Bulldog are a company that specialise in mens’ grooming products, ranging from shaving gels and face washes to deodorants and lip balms. They are an animal friendly company, so no real bulldogs were harmed in the making of my moisturiser. There is a slight smell to this product, but it’s not one perfume or soap. It’s more of a natural, almost medicinal smell but it is not unpleasant. As with a lot of sensitive skin care products, I think synthetic perfumes have been left out deliberately so as not to dry the skin. This moisturiser contains, amongst other ingredients, green tea, green algae konjac mannan and vitamin E. Konjac mannan isn’t a spelling mistake, it’s commonly ...

Heath & Heather Green Tea & Jasmine 18/11/2015

Reasonably priced herbal tea

Heath & Heather Green Tea & Jasmine Introduction I'm normally a coffee, milk and one sugar kind of guy, but every now and again in the afternoon I will drink some sort of tea if I think I've had too much coffee. The latest tea I've been into is by Heath and Heather, and is the Green Tea and Jasmine variety. A work colleague brought them in and I've been pinching them when they're not looking - my goal is to offer them a cup of it and pass it off as some tea I've brought in, I'll let you know if I succeed or not! The Product / Opinion Heath and Heather is a company started in the 1920s by the Ryder brothers (no relation to Shaun Ryder, he’s into an altogether different type of herb, man) who were interested in the health benefits of herbs. Today the company is connected to the National Institute of medical Herbalists which I must admit gives them some credibility as not just a tea bag company, but one whose products have some health benefits too. Heath and Heather have a range of about 30 different tea bag flavours; I quite like this Green Tea and Jasmine so I’ll be looking out for more of their teas. A bit of research has shown me that Holland and Barrett sell a 20 bag box of these for £1.49 which I think is quite reasonable. Another place they are available is on, where they sell for £1.59 for 20 or £3.19 for a big box of 50. They are currently out of stock on Amazon and no price is listed. The bags are of the type that have a string attached to them (which take ages to rot down in my ...

Sage 17/11/2015

A very versatile herb

Sage Introduction It’s getting into winter now, and while most things in my garden are dead, I’m still picking leaves from my sage plants to use in the kitchen. Not bad for a plant that prefers a middle eastern / Mediterranean climate! It’s a very easy plant to grow, which makes itself useful when you’re cooking too. Let me tell you a bit more about sage, or to use its Latin name, saliva officinalis. Background A well known plant to the Romans and ancient Greeks, this is where it gets its name from and the fact that “sage” means knowledge or wisdom is a direct result of the belief in ancient times that this plant has brain enhancing powers. The prefix “salvia” from its Latin name means “to heal”, as it was also recognised that the plant has antiseptic, antibacterial and digestive qualities. So, it’s not just tasty as a herb, it’s also good for you. Growing your own It really is very easy to grow sage from seed or a cutting, and before long you’ll have a compact bush teeming with leaves just begging to be plucked. To grow from seed, place them in gritty compost on a warm sunny windowsill and keep the soil moist but not soaking – you should see them sprout in about a fortnight. When the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, they can be pricked out and moved into bigger individual pots. Harden them off before placing outside in their final growing position. Like a lot of herbs, they like a sunny position and good drainage for their roots so I add a lot of sharp sand to my ...

Oust Aerosol Clean Scent 16/11/2015

When it comes to Oust every weekend

Oust Aerosol Clean Scent Introduction I’m hoping that there will be some honest enough people out there to agree with me in the comments box, but is it just me or is it a “man thing” to do poos that smell so horrible that wallpaper starts to unpeel and that no insurance company in the world will provide a quote for the family pet canary’s life expectancy? Come on, please not let it just be me. I don’t see the point of using a scented candle in the toilet where I’m not spedning most of my time to enjoy the scent, so I tend to rely on good old fashioned aerosol air fresheners to cover my scent (if not the marks in the toilet pan – but that’s the subject for a review about disinfectant or bleach) and reduce the chances of my children wanting to leave home to escape my foul fumes. We tend to buy whatever is either on offer or just easily available, and for the last few months we’ve been using the Oust Clean Scent air freshener. Here’s how my family’s sense of smell has taken to it. The product In a predominantly white spray tin, the 300 ml “clean scent” version costs anything from £1 in Asda to just over £2 elsewhere. It claims not to mask bad smells (in the way that old spice used to hide my teenaged insecurities) but effectively batter them out of the air and throw them to your carpet in a sleeper hold that Big Daddy would have been proud of. It involves some quite clever science, but the particles of the air freshener “lock on” to bad smell particles and if these bad smells are bacterial, then ...

Yankee Candle Soft Blanket Tart 15/11/2015

Relaxingly comfortable and clean smelling

Yankee Candle Soft Blanket Tart Introduction My latest wax tart addiction continues with the Soft Blanket Yankee Tart. My wife and I are currently trying to get through our stash of Yankee tarts so that we can start burning more Christmas related scents from next month onwards, which is a great excuse to make the house smell great and also buy some more Yankee tarts. About the product For those that have heard of Yankee tarts but aren’t quite sure what you do with them, the only bit of kit you need to enjoy the scent is a tart burner (a bit like an oil burner but with a slightly deeper well to hold the melted wax) and a tea light. And nostrils. Oh, and a sense of smell. The tart can either be placed whole into the burner or crumbled in a bit at a time when there is a lighted tea light underneath. The Yankee company have made their name by having a range of scented wax products (they also do candles, air wicks, car air fresheners etc) that smell incredibly realistic and aren’t just the usual collection of Ocean Breeze and Pine Forest type scents that reek of public toilet industrial disinfectants. The thing that impresses me most with the Soft Blanket tart is the way that closing my eyes and smelling the scent actually makes me think of soft blankets – the lightest fluffiest new blanket taken from an airing cupboard at a posh auntie’s house who uses nicer fabric conditioner than your mum used when we were younger. I’ve noticed with quite a few Yankee tarts that there is a big dose of sugar in the ...

Stinging Nettles 14/11/2015

IntereSTING plant

Stinging Nettles INTRODUCTION Most people treat nettles with the same disdain as telephone sales calls – they’re unwanted, hopefully avoided and extremely irritating. The common nettle however has lots of different uses, and with a bit of “blue sky thinking” can be seen as much more than an annoying weed that is difficult to remove from the garden. Hopefully this review will change your opinion about nettles and show you how to embrace the presence of nettles at the back of your shrub laden borders rather than reach for the hoe, or even worse, use some soil poisoning chemicals to get rid of them. BACKGROUND Latin name Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle is found all over the world in temperate climates, from urban wastelands in the UK to caves in China. They are perennial, meaning that they will return year after year once established in a certain spot. The sting, which we’ve all suffered from as children, comes from a tiny amount of formic acid (the same acid that biting ants have when they nibble on us) which is located in small “hairs” along the stem and leaves. These hairs are like miniature hypodermic needles and inject their painful substance when brushed against. How many of us as youngsters soon learned to look for dock leaves to sooth our nettle-stung legs and forearms with? That’s because dock leaves contain a small amount of anti-histamine which will soothe the stings, although other than that, they are actually not much use as they also contain oxalic acid which will, when ...
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