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since 26/05/2004


Lynx Attract For Her Deodorant Spray 13/05/2015

Attracted the eye, but I won't buy again.

Lynx Attract For Her Deodorant Spray Recently I ran out of deodorant, and nipped to the corner shop to got some. The choice was limited - in fact, the only thing they had on the shelf was this Lynx Attract for Her deodorant body spray. Having a night out planned, and no desire to inflict stinky pits on anybody, naturally I grabbed it. I actually wasn't aware Lynx did products for ladies. Certainly my impression of the brand was one of masculinity - in fact, specifically teenage masculinity - I remember several boys in my secondary school who didn't seem to understand that spraying on clouds of lynx was no substitute for a good scrub in the bath. The packaging itself is appealing -nice fresh colours of pink and white, yet not overly girly. The can is still quite chunky, and has the blocky black lid. The lid needs to be twisted to unlock the spray, which is a nice little safety feature. Pressing down on the cap gives a nice even spray, which is quite gentle on my armpits, even when just out of the shower or right after shaving. I've also found that I can spray this under my tee-shirt without it leaving and kind of white mark. The big selling point for me is the scent. I was expecting something spicy and musky, something traditionally 'Lynx' but the smell is a light, fresh and delicate fruity floral. The cooling scent of melon is the first thing I can pick out, fading into a lighter blossom fragrance. The scent does disappear quickly though. Now, the product makes no claims to be an antiperspirant - which is ...

Silverline Gardening Rake 12/05/2015

Surprisingly good value for the price

Silverline Gardening Rake Since moving into this house, I've been much more active about getting the garden done - I used to pay a friend to do it in the old house, but I've taken it on myself now that I have more free time, and I've found I quite enjoy it, although it has meant I've had to spend a fair bit kitting myself out with the tools needed, since I didn't own any. One of the items I purchased was this Silverline Rake, which I purchased from amazon using my dooyoo vouchers. It cost me £6.84 + £2.50 UK delivery, which work out to less than a tenner, and would be a good bargain if the rake was good quality. Unfortunately, the first one arrived having suffered some knocks in the post, and with two bent tines. It did however arrive nice and quickly, and the company (Ironmongery Online) were just as quick about sending out a replacement that wasn't damaged. It is a surprisingly good quality rake for such a low price. I like that the rake head has short thick tines, ideal for battling with those annoying sticky weed things that seem to take over my garden. The rake head itself is made of some kind of metal, and is epoxy hammer coated. It has a nice weight to it, a little over 1.3kg, enough to feel reassuringly heavy and durable in the hands, but not enough to make it hard to use. I did find that getting the grass out of the tines had to be done manually with my hands or my shoe, rather than just tapping the rake on the edge of the compost bin to get it all off, which was mildly annoying at first, ...

Lush Sunnyside Bubble Bar 12/05/2015

Something a little bit special

Lush Sunnyside Bubble Bar I do love Lush products, although due to the stores giving me a nasty thumping headache, I don't tend to go in and treat myself as often as I would like, however I do occasionally recieve Lush items as gifts, or buy them online, and one of the little treats I got for myself was this Sunny Side bubble bar, which costs £3.65 on the Lush website I was attracted by the appearance - it looks very bling, and it really stood out on the website as being something quite unusual. It is gleaming, glittery and golden, and just looks quite cheerful and fun. I couldn't wait to try this out, and eagerly dashed upstairs to have a bath the minute it arrived, breaking off a chunk (I find about a quarter of this is a good amount for plenty of scented bubbles) and chucking it under the running tap. Almost immediately I could see the bubbles starting to appear, and see the water change colour to a shimmery gold, with the glitter floating about amidst the bubbles. It also released a wonderful deep scent of oranges and lemons, scents that make me think of sunshine and happiness. It really did smell wonderful, really fresh and vibrant. I enjoyed a lovely long soak with this. I did find that when I came out, I had a little of the glitter on my skin, but it was only a little bit, and since I had nowhere to go I wasn't too worried, though this is probably one to avoid if you have work the next day. My skin was lightly fragranced , and felt soft and silky, almost as though it had been moisturised. ...

Ikea Vanlig Glasses 11/05/2015

Budget Beverage Holders :)

Ikea Vanlig Glasses Recently I needed to buy some new glasses, and having fallen in love with Ikea , I decided to go have a look in there, since I knew prices were generally budget friendly. I came out with a set of 6 48cl Vanlig glasses for £4 (also available in 22cl for £2, or 33cl for £3) These are clear glass which is thick and very solid feeling - not the kind of thing that will chip easily when putting in on the shelf. The glasses have straight sides, narrowing in towards the bottom with horizontal ridges running round the bottom part of the glass giving a slight element of decoration, and also enabling these to be stacked together without sticking together, which I find to be a problem with glasses that are entirely smooth sided. The ridges and narrowing also help the glasses feel secure to grip. These glasses are a good size for water, milk, or bottled beers. However, they are unfortunately a little too small to accommodate a full can of beer. The glasses have a good heaviness to them, and aren't too easy to knock over. The glasses are dishwasher safe. I like these glasses - sturdy, weighty, and not too frilly in design. I would have liked to have seen them available in other colours perhaps, even if that had cost a little more. But as basic drinking glasses go, I really don't think you can go wrong with these!

Tango Cherry Showerr Gel 11/05/2015

Sound for a pound

Tango Cherry Showerr Gel I often pop into poundland when I'm in town, and one of my latest purchases has been this Tango Invigorating Shower gel, which comes in Orange, Apple, and Cherry varieties, with each containing Aloe Vera. I was attracted by the very vibrant packaging or the cherry variety - a clear plastic bottle with a nice black lid, and a black and pinkish red label - the colours are the same you'd expect to see on a can. The bottle allows you to see how much gel (which is a vibrant red) you have left, and has handy finger indentations in the side making the bottle easy to grip even with wet hands. It also comes with a handy flip top lid which can be opened with just a quick flick of the thumb. The gel is easy to dispense - it's probably a touch more watery than I was expecting, but no so runny as to mean I end up with it going everywhere or with too much in my hands. It has a very strong cherry scent - it's a little artificial perhaps, but I still like it. It lathers up nicely, with a fair amount of bubbles, and feels really gentle and soft on the skin. Rinsing off is easy, and it leaves a very light cherry fragrance behind on the skin, though this is quick to fade which is a little disappointing. My skin feels soft and clean after this, though I have to confess I haven't really felt 'invigorated' any more than I normally would after a shower. Overall, for the cost of a pound, there is nothing to moan about - it gets me clean, smells nice, and doesn't irritate my skin. I wish ...

Crafty Jungle Black Elephant Ash Catcher 09/05/2015

An incense holder that is attractive AND functional

Crafty Jungle Black Elephant Ash Catcher love the smell of incense, and often have some burning in my house. I use a variety of of sticks and cones, and when unfortunately one of my ceramic ash catchers got dropped and broken, decided to get myself a new one from Amazon, using some vouchers I'd received. I opted for this rather smart black elephant ash catcher, which costs £4.95 with £2 delivery charge. I opted for this one as it was actually the first holder I'd seen suitable for both cones and sticks. Aesthetically, it's very attractive. It's 24 cm long, and 6.5cm high at it's highest point, with one end holding a small brass cone holder, and the other holding a rather handsome looking elephant, with his trunk playfully raised, and an ornate saddle and cap. The decorations on the saddle and cap are lovely with a really nice raised texture, and they reflect the light really nicely, helping them to stand out even from some way away. The long 'boat' of the incense holder features an attractive arched pattern carved into it, and the whole is completed in a glossy black resin finish. It looks like it should be quite a heavy piece, but is surprisingly light when picked up. It's designed perfectly well for functionality too. The 'boat' is actually quite a deep hollow curve, over which your stick incense is suspended using the hole in the base near the elephants feet (not it's mouth, which was where I initially assumed it was. I like that this dip is much deeper than with my other ash catches, as when I pick it up and ...

Ikea Malm 2 Drawer Chest 08/05/2015

The perfect place to pop your morning cuppa

Ikea Malm 2 Drawer Chest When we moved into a new house, the layout of the main bedroom meant that for the first time, we actually had space for a bedside table each side of the bed, and we ended up purchasing 2 of these Malm units from our local(ish) Ikea. Having seen them in the store, we were pleased with the style and the size, and we chose them in the brown/black finish to complement the other furniture (also purchased from Ikea) we had chosen for the bedroom. As with most other Ikea items, a range of finishes were available, black brown cost us £35 for each table, the same cost as the birch and oak veneers. A white finish is also available at £25. There are also many other items in the Malm range designed to match with these. The kits came with instructions that consisted of diagrams, instructing how to put the stuff together. I have to admit that generally I do struggle with flatpack instructions if they involve anything more than hammering in dowels with a shoe or twisting an allen key, and I did find the diagrams here a little confusing, especially the instructions on how to fix the runners. However, I have a foolproof method of assembling furniture when the instructions baffle me - it's called leaving it to the boyfriend whilst I put my feet up! Luckily, he managed to put these up fairly easily - the first one took him perhaps 20 minutes, the second was done in about half the time as he'd had the practice by then. As you can see from the image above, these drawers have quite a clean ...

Ikea Annons Cookware Set 08/05/2015

Ideal for those just starting out.

Ikea Annons Cookware Set When we moved in 2013, we decided to get rid of our old ones, which were a cheap non-stick set we'd had for some 5 years. Due to a lack of love and care, the non stick coating was all but destroyed, so when we spotted this little set of 3 pans in Ikea for just £6, we decided to pick it up, along with a larger pan from the 365 range. The set consists of a small 0.8 litre sauce pan, a larger 1.4l saucepan with lid, and a double handled 2.4 litre pot with a lid. The pans do require a little assembly, as the pan handles for the two saucepans are not attached, nor are the lid handles attached to the lids. This is very easy to do though, and although instructions are provided with the pans, I found it unnecessary to look at them. The pans themselves are very stylish in a mirror shine steel, with smart black handles. The picture above doesn't make it very clear, but the lids are actually glass, with black handles and steel trim around the edges, and both lids have small holes for the steam to escape from. The pans are suitable for all kinds of hobs, and are dishwasher safe (although I don't have a dishwasher so this isn't too relevant to me). I found that the pans are sufficient for most of my needs. The smallest can just about fit in 6 small to medium eggs for boiling, and is also the perfect size for reheating a tin of soup or baked beans. The medium pan is a good size for boiling veggies, and the larger one is just about the right size for boiling up pasta for two adults and ...

Ikea PS Fangst Hanging Storage 08/05/2015

A great little item of storage, ideal for kids rooms.

Ikea PS Fangst Hanging Storage We purchased one of these in lime green for my daughter to hang in her wardrobe to keep smaller items stored - hats, gloves, tights, and smaller toys. There were three colours available, pink, the blue pictured above, and the light green which seemed the most neutral of the colours, and the most likely to remain appealing to her as she gets older (she's getting to the age where she is starting to tire of pinl). This cost £3, and when we purchased it came pressed flat - it's essentially netting, with wire hoops inside at regular intervals, and each compartment being separated by a mesh floor. Eash compartment has a hole to allow putting stuff in, and rather than run in a straight line down the front of he Fangst storage, they seem to be at different random intervals around the hanging tube, going round it in a sort of spiral. There is a hanging loop at the top that could be hung from a hook, or, as in our case, slipped over a wardrobe hanging rail at the point of assembly to become part of the furniture. It is extremely light, and of course can be collapsed when not needed, so when empty needn't occupy much space at all. The six compartments are ideal for storing small items - my daughter actually can't reach the top one easily at the moment but can easily reach the rest, and using them for storing her hats, gloves, scarves and thick winter tights. She also uses them to store her smaller cuddly toys to stop them being all over the floor. It seems fairly sturdy - certainly ...

Tartufalba White Truffle Oil 07/05/2015

Making all my meals just that little bit sexier

Tartufalba White Truffle Oil I love the flavour of Truffles, and for many years I used Truffle flavoured oil to jazz up my dishes. Not the keyword there, 'flavoured'. The oil I was actually using didn't actually contain any real truffle. That changed recently when I decided to splash out, and instead of spending 5 quid on the artificial stuff, to spend a bit more on the real thing, buying Tartufalba White Truffle Oil for £22 for a 250ml bottle. Produced in Alba, Northern Italy, this oil contains 1.5 % white truffle in quality Italian olive oil. It arrived wonderfully packaged, rather like an expensive liqueur, in a lovely thick glass bottle inside a smart black box. Whereas with booze I might have been tempted to throw the box away, with this oil it actually serves a purpose - too much exposure to heat and light will alter the flavour of the oil, so the box helps to keep it cool and dark when not in use. This isn't an oil you'd use for frying food-it really isn't terribly effective for that, and it would just be a waste of money. This is more of a drizzler and a dipper. A few drops of this stirred onto cooked fresh pasta, and sprinkled with a tiny bit of parmesan cheese, and you've got a tasty meal in minutes that doesn't cost the earth. A drop or two onto hot scrambled eggs, brushed onto grilled meats, or drizzled on toasted ciabatta and you've elevated the most basic of ingredients into something that tastes, and smells wonderful. This is one of the reasons I was able to justify the expense - it ...

Markylis Shamballa Style Bracelet 07/05/2015

Not sure about the healing properties, but I love it anyway!

Markylis Shamballa Style Bracelet I have a lovely American penpal who is a bit of a hippy. After mentioning to her that new medication was causing some disruption to my monthly cycle (longer/shorter cycles, cramps etc) she sagely advised me that I might benefit from keeping some moonstone about me, as apparently moonstone is very effective on the female reproductive system. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not a great believer in crystal healing (though I do find crystals and semi precious stones beautiful) and I fairly promptly forgot all about it - and was then pleasantly surprised when, a week or two after her letter, this arrived for me in the post, along with a gift note saying 'Just give it a go, whats the worst that can happen?'. Well, true. And it is a very nice, very pretty bracelet, moonstones with slight variations in colour (I'd always thought they were always white, but some of these have yellow and peach tints when the light hits them) all about the size or a pea, smooth and cool to the touch, and threaded on to a sturdy off white cord which has an adjustable part to make it tighter or looser to fit your wrist. I didn't know if this was going to work, but I certainly thought it was pretty. I'm not really used to wearing wrist jewellery, so at first this bracelet (which is quite weighty) felt a little odd. I kept noticing the extra weight on my wrist, or hearing it click on the table as I ate, or hit a cup as I took a sip. I kept worrying that the beads might get scratched, dull, or chipped, but so far ...

The Faber Book of Beasts - Paul Muldoon 07/05/2015

A great book to dip into a little every day.

The Faber Book of Beasts - Paul Muldoon I'm not generally in the habit of reading a lot of poetry (with the exception of Christina Rossetti, who is a great favourite of mine. However, this Faber Book of Beasts was one of the required books for my current OU module. Essentially, this is anthology of poems about, or relating to, animals and beasts - from the tiny flea, to the mighty elephant, and including fictional and mythological beasts such as the Kraken and the Jabberwocky. It begins with a brief introduction by the editor, Paul Muldoon, explaining his methods in selecting the poems included, and left out of the book. Essentially, he has mostly included poems originally written in English (though there are a few exceptions), and has them listed alphabetically by title, to avoid giving too much prominence to any particular poet (although you can search by poet in the index at the back). My course module has (so far) only required me to read, and study in depth, five of the poems, but I have been reading a few poems each day from the book on my own to get the most out of it, and have found the selection varied and interesting. I was actually surprised by how many of the poems were familiar to me, either from long association with them in the form of nursery rhymes, or from encountering excerpts from them in popular culture. The poems are all of different styles too, some comfortable separated into rhyming couplets, others not rhyming at all and being rather more free form. They very in length, with some being ...

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - A.N. Roquelaure 06/05/2015

Gripping and enthralling, but at times a little uncomfortable.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - A.N. Roquelaure **Warning, this is an adult novel, so there will be some adult content in this review. I'm sure most of you are familiar with that heartwarming fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. You know the one, parents forget to invite grumpy old bag to christening, grumpy old bag lays a curse that when the princess begins to blossom into a young woman, she'll prick her finger and the entire kingdom will descend into a deep sleep, until Prince Charming comes along, cuts off her clothes, inserts his penis without so much as a by-your-leave, and then carries Beauty off naked to serve in his mothers kingdom as his own personal love slave. No? Well, I imagine when you were little, your parents probably read you a different version, because this version definitely isn't one for the kiddies. I've long been a fan of Anne Rice, but although I was aware she had written some erotica under the pen name A N Roquelare, I only recently got around to reading the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, of which this is the first book. And it certainly gets started with a bang - a quite literal, and possibly slightly rapey one, given that young beauty is in a slumber from which only a kiss will wake her, and he goes for the penetration directly after the cutting away of the clothes but prior to giving her the kiss that will awaken her and enable her to consent. Bit of a risky opening scene perhaps, and certainly one some people will object to, but it does set the tone for what else is to come in this book - this isn't a ...

IKEA Expedit 06/05/2015

I love it!

IKEA Expedit When we moved house recently, we took the chance to get rid of our old dated mish-mash of furniture, and get ourselves kitted out with some nice co-ordinated bits and bobs. We also wanted a lot more storage for the house, and in a couple of trips up the road to Ikea, we soon had everything we wanted, with one of the star items from our shopping trip being this Expedit unit. Out of the many items of furniture we've purchased, this for me is a favourite. Essentially, it's as you see above, a unit made up of squares, which can be used as bookshelves when placed against the wall, or (given that it is finished on both sides with no raw edges) as a room divider across the centre of the room. There are a range of different colourways available, we opted for the brown/black colour for all of our furniture, and there are also a range of sizes, from the one picured above at 5 squares by 5 squares, down to the dinkier 1 by 5 or 2 by 2. We chose various sizes for various locations around the house - a 4 by 4 (w149, d39, h149cm) square unit for against our living room wall, a 2 by 4 unit (w79, d39, h149cm) for my daughters room, and a 2 by 2 ( w79cm, d39, h79) for under the stairs. Prices do of course vary depending not only on the size you select, but also on the colour you choose. The finish you choose really can make a difference to the price - for our three expedit items in black/brown, we paid £185. However, had we purchased them in white veneer (the cheapest finish) they would ...

Eat Thy Neighbour - Mark F. Donnelly 06/05/2015

What do cannibals do at a wedding? They toast the bride and groom

Eat Thy Neighbour - Mark F. Donnelly Cannibalism has always been something I've been curious about (learning more about, I should say, not actually trying) perhaps because it's one of those things that is regarded as Taboo, at least in western culture. It's something that, in the old days of British Imperialism, we would (often wrongly) accuse tribes in 'uncivilised' parts of the world of practicing. With that said, it is something that happens. There are a small number of tribes who have historically practiced cannibalism for different reasons - to humiliate enemies, or to pay respect to their elders by eating them in the hope of taking on their traits. But it's also something that has often been practiced for survival - such as in the case of people wrecked at sea, or in the Andes Flight Disaster. And sometimes, it's practiced purely for fantasy fulfillment by those whose minds work a little differently. This book explores all kinds of cannibalism. It starts off with a chapter explaining what cannibalism is, the different reasons it might be practiced, and the different ways it is viewed in different societies. It's an interesting mix of anthropology and history, and although written in a conversational tone that makes it easy to read, sets a nice educational tone for the book. Which makes it a little surprising then that after the first chapter (which to be fair is a fairly long one) the book changes tone, using case studies of individuals, and taking on a more sensationalist tone using lots of gallows ...
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