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since 02/07/2009


Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream 23/05/2017

'Handy' Product

Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream I suffer from dry sensitive skin and also experience the occasional bout of eczema. For that reason, I always like to try and keep my hands regularly moisturised as I find they can be a particularly problematic area, thanks to repeated hand washing and exposure to varying temperatures. The Product One of my favourite brands that I trust to soothe and reduce any patches of dry skin and soreness has to be Nivea. I currently have a tube of this 'Nivea Nourishing Smooth' hand cream in my work bag ready for instant moisture whilst at work. Nivea is quite a traditional cream and is a brand that has been used for generations but this particular Nivea Smooth hand cream is much easier to apply than the original, quite thick and heavy cream that I can remember my own mother using. The packaging is simple but informative with a useful 100ml sized tube, ideal for keeping in a handbag or storing in a drawer. The tube has a sturdy flip top lid which dispenses the thick cream slowly and steadily, helping to avoid waste. The Claims Nivea claim that this particular cream softens and smooths dry hands as well as caring for nails and cuticles. 'The rich hand cream with Macadamia nut oil strengthens the skin's protection barrier whilst keeping your hands and cuticles smooth and soft.' As with all Nivea creams, this one is dermatologically approved - so reassuring for anybody with sensitive skin and the formulation is free from colourants. The 'Hydra IQ' boasted about on the front of the ...

All Afloat on Noah's Boat - Tony Mitton 19/05/2017

Clever old Noah

All Afloat on Noah's Boat - Tony Mitton We own a collection of picture books illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees originally purchased as a set from the Book People website. Amongst them is this colourful story about Noah's ark - All Afloat on Noah's Boat which is written by Tony Mitton. The Author Tony Mitton is a popular author of picture books for young children with his best known examples including Spookyrumpus, Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus and Down By The Cool of the Pool, all of which we also own, amongst many others. All of the books share an easy to read format with the clever use of rhythm and rhyme. The Story Based on the Bible story of Noah and his Ark this story understandably features a whole range of animals from the familiar to the exotic. In this version of the story all of the animals find it tough going being contained in the Ark for such a long period and arguments start to ensue. Noah has to think of an event to capture everybody's attention and recognise each others' talents and skills. The story is simply told with a fast pace due to the rhyming language used. The vocabulary included is relevant for the target age group, with the most challenging words including hyenas and caterpillars. The story is supported by really bright and colourful illustrations, with the residents of the ark being particularly attractive and eye catching, thanks to the talents of Guy Parker-Rees. Age Recommendation This particular story has a recommended age recommendation of ages two plus according to the back ...

Phenergan Elixir 16/05/2017

Travelling can Begin Again with Phenergan!

Phenergan Elixir My nine year old son has suffered with travel sickness for a number of years, something that we had become more or less accustomed to, having tried a number of remedies with limited success. By the time he was around four years old and still throwing up during most car journeys, my husband decided that enough was enough, as he no longer wanted to arrive at our destination clutching a bag full of vomit! A visit to our helpful GP resulted in a prescription for Phenergan Elixir. What Is It? Phenergan is an anti-histamine medicine commonly prescribed for allergic reactions (such as hayfever or hives), travel sickness and also used as short term sedative. The active ingredient, according to the information leaflet inside the box, is promethazine hydrochloride. Phenergan is also available in tablet format, which might be better for any adults needing to take this, as well as this liquid (elixir) form which is easier to administer to younger children. This format is recommended for children under ten years of age. Taste The scent and taste of this stuff reminds me of cheap orange squash -loaded with artificial sweeteners and flavourings! The taste is initially quite sweet and syrupy, despite being a sugar free formulation, but this is pretty quickly replaced by a bitter taste which the artificial orange flavouring doesn't quite manage to disguise. (If anything, this reminds me vaguely of the smell and taste of Infacol drops.) Whilst this syrup doesn't have the same appeal as ...

Playmobil Vet Operating Room 07/05/2017

Playtime at the Vets

Playmobil Vet Operating Room Like many parents of young children I try to have a stockpile of reasonably priced presents ready for the inevitable children's birthday parties. I spotted this particular Playmobil set selling for a ridiculously low price on Amazon a while ago and purchased one for the present drawer, hoping to look like a generous parent rather than a thrifty gifter. Unfortunately when the set was delivered the box was quite badly damaged so I ended up giving it to my own kids to get through one long rainy day! The Set This Playmobil set is based on a vet's operating room and includes two Playmobil figures. There are other more substantial sets based on the theme of vets within the Playmobil range but, with a total of 69 pieces included here, this set can be played with as a standalone set or combined with other sets. There is both a male and female figure included within the set which helps to broaden its appeal to both boys and girls. Sadly I suspect the male figure is designed to be the vet and the female the vetinary assistant, based on their clothing, but there is nothing to prevent to prevent the children involved from assigning less traditional gender roles. The clothing itself is not removable but both characters have a removable face mask for more intricate procedures. The set also includes a small selection of poorly pets to be treated, an examination table and a fun 'working' x-ray machine as well as a range of bandages and medication. Assembly As with most Playmobil sets ...

Peppa Pig Peppa and George's Shiny Sticker Play Book 02/05/2017

Stick to Peppa Pig Comics

Peppa Pig Peppa and George's Shiny Sticker Play Book My youngest son is now six and I think we have reached the end of our time of enjoying the Peppa Pig television series, shown regularly on Channel Five's Milkshake children's tv slot and the Nick Junior channel. Peppa Pig and her cute little brother George have been such popular little characters and have produced an ever growing range of merchandise and accessories for parents to part with the hard earned cash. The Product This is a Peppa Pig themed activity and sticker book, with the added appeal that most of the stickers supplied are sparkly and holographic. The book claims to include 200 such sparkly stickers, contained within a pull out section in the middle of the book. It actually feels like far fewer stickers are included as many of them are very small and there are lots of duplicates of the exact same sticker, such as multiple coloured hearts and small stars. Whilst described as a play book, this is only a standard activity with the exterior cover made out of thickened paper and the interior slightly glossy paper, similar to that used within children's magazines. One of the positive aspects of this book is that it should appeal equally to both boys and girls, just as the TV programme does. Some of the merchandise does seem to be heavily steered towards girls with lots of pink features. Here, George has equal billing and the choice of the colours for the stickers seems to recognise that little boys also love sparkly things too but aren't necessarily going to like ...

Playmobil 5894 Pirates Carry Case 26/04/2017

Carry On Pirates!

Playmobil 5894 Pirates Carry Case Much to his excitement, my youngest son had a big birthday party at a local soft play centre last year and was pleased to come away with a bulging sack of gifts from his school friends to celebrate his birthday. Amongst his haul of goodies was this Playmobil branded 'carry case' containing a small pirate themed set. Whilst we've never got addicted to Playmobil in the way that some families seem to do, we have acquired a few sets over the years and have always found Playmobil products to be excellent quality and to offer ongoing play value for young children. Playmobil is certainly a brand leader within the market for these kinds of play sets for imaginative play. The Set This Playmobil set (number 5894) is a relatively small set, although contains enough pieces to enable it to be used independently, without having to spend a small fortune on other Playmobil sets and accessories. Included here are two Playmobil figures so there should be no squabbling around turn taking for siblings. (Insert hollow laugh here!) There is also a small rowing boat included, along with a working cannon, several other tools and small pieces of equipment and - my son's favourite piece- a treasure chest, loaded with gold doubloons! There are, according to the packaging, 63 pieces in total included within this set. This number seems a lot higher than a quick glance across the contents in use would suggest so I suspect this includes each of the tiny gold coins amongst that number. I would keep ...

Easter Holidays 2017 25/04/2017

Family Time at Easter

Easter Holidays 2017 Well the Easter holidays have now come to an end with the three boys safely waved off to school this morning. Despite having two whole weeks off school the time seems to have absolutely flown by and it's a good opportunity to reflect on the time we have spent together as a family. 1) Are you on vacation or at work? I have been working as normal over the holiday period although working part time does still allow plenty of opportunities to spend time with the boys, along with the added advantage of two Bank Holidays to enjoy off work. My time in work over the holiday period has been complicated by many members of the team taking annual leave so it does create additional pressures for the remaining employees as we need to cover any gaps in service and make sure everything carries on as normal. 2) Which activities (with or without kids) did you or do you plan to do? We have been ridiculously busy over these school holidays and have made time for plenty of fun activities around the local area. We have tried to balance more costly activities with cheaper ways of keeping the boys entertained, so there have been lots of days out to local parks and reservoirs, playing football and having fun on the playground rides. Earlier in the year I purchased annual passes for a local wildlife park, knowing that it would be a cost effective way of having fun throughout the year. This particular park (Peak Wildlife Park near Leek - formerly known as Blackbrook) has been under new management ...

Cif Power & Shine Multi Purpose Wipes 23/04/2017

Cleaning in a Ciffy!

Cif Power & Shine Multi Purpose Wipes When it comes to domestic chores my usual strategy is to use the most efficient products to minimise the time I have to spend cleaning. The most effective way of doing this is to do my best to keep on top of the cleaning on a daily basis to avoid grime building up and resulting in a much more time consuming task. This doesn't always go quite to plan and life takes over at times, particularly during school holidays, but the principle itself is a sound one. Amongst the best products that I use regularly for fast and efficient everyday cleaning are these Power and Shine multipurpose cleaning wipes, produced under the Cif brand name (formerly known as Jif in the UK and part of the multinational Unilever brand.) The Product These Power and Shine wipes are sold in a large pack of 90 average sized disposable cleaning wipes. The strong plastic packaging is along the lines of that used for baby wipes and includes a resealable sticky tab so that the packet can be secured between uses. I find the tab does a good job of maintaining its stickiness although it doesn't always last for the duration of the packet, given the generous number of wipes inside. These are antibacterial wipes which promise to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria including salmonella, E coli, listeria and flu viruses. Uses These Cif wipes can be safely used to wipe away dirt and debris from surfaces such as tables, worktops and porcelain items. I use these to wipe down after mealtimes and to give the bin lid a quick ...

Cif Cream White 22/04/2017

Just Add Elbow Grease!

Cif Cream White With three boys in the household I spend far more of my time cleaning than I would ever choose to. I find that I need to buy the best product for the tasks at hand in order to keep the house looking as clean and tidy as possible with relatively little effort. The Product Originally known as Jif in the UK, Cif is now a very familiar brand name, part of the multinational Unilever brand, and its traditional cream cleaner is one of its most well established and familiar products. Cif cream cleaner is available in this Original (white) version and also a Lemon variety. It comes suitability packaged in a slightly flexible elongated plastic bottle featuring a flip top lid which makes it easy to squeeze out sufficient quantities of the cleaning cream without excess waste. The cream itself has a pleasant texture which is runny enough to spread over dirty surfaces whilst being thick enough to remain in place without dripping everywhere. The cream has a pleasant smell with a slightly chemical aroma but far less potent than the smell of other cleaning products such as bleach. Uses Cif cream cleaner is safe to use on numerous surfaces around the family home. It can be used to add shine to polished surfaces such as bathroom or kitchen taps. Its best results are achieved on surfaces such as chrome, porcelain, stainless steel and hard plastics although some people swear by this stuff to clean up tough fabrics and canvas products. Ease of Use I find this cleaning cream easy to ...

Outwell Dreamcatcher Sleeping Mat 22/04/2017

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Outwell Dreamcatcher Sleeping Mat Having been persuaded to give camping a go last summer, by my other half, I agreed on the clear understanding that we would not be 'roughing it' and whatever luxuries were required to make the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for all of us would be purchased, within reason. Unfortunately, our budget did not quite stretch to the full on 'glamping' experience but we did run to some additional purchases that Bear Grylls would probably deem to be pretty non-essential. One of my biggest concerns about the prospect of camping was the sleeping arrangements and the potential for lack of sleep if these weren't spot on. Our tent was large enough to allow for two separate 'bedroom' areas and I wanted to make sure that I was as comfortable as possible during the night so that I was best placed to endure, sorry enjoy, the next day. The Product The answer to my quest for a comfortable night's sleep appeared to be one of these 'Dreamcatcher' sleeping mats, manufactured by Outwell. Outwell are a well established brand for decent quality camping gear and were also the makers of our tent and several other items amongst our camping equipment. This particular mat is much better than the standard style of thin roll out camping mat or a basic airbed and is what experienced campers refer to as a 'SIM' - a Self Inflating Mat. This offers some of the comfort of an inflatable air bed with none of the hassle of actually physically pumping them up! It sounded a bit odd to me, initially, but ...

Chill Factor Cup 17/04/2017

N(Ice) Way to Chill Out!

Chill Factor Cup With three kids in the household we've acquired numerous gadgets and faddy bits and pieces over the years. Amongst our haul are two of these Chill Factor branded slush cups which have seen sporadic bursts of use over the last few years. We have been quite fortunate with the weather during this Easter holiday and thanks to an unseasonably hot weekend last week these slushy makers have seen their first use this year. The Product Chill Factor slush maker cups are large flexible plastic cups, sold individually, which are designed to make and serve individual portions of frozen slushy drinks at home. Each squeezable cup comes with a removable domed lid and a large spoon ended straw and can be reused a pretty much unlimited number of times. The cups were originally produced in a range of colourful primary colours, with the subsequent 'Colour Match's and 'Tutti Fruity' ranges offering brighter and bolder shades. There is plenty of choice of different colours, so it is easy to purchase slush cups in different colours and solve any issues around sharing. Most parents will be familiar with the Slush Puppy brand of semi frozen drinks commonly sold at inflated prices at soft play venues around the country. These squeeze cups can turn any cold liquid into a slushy type of drink literally within the space of a few minutes just by following a few simple steps. Ease of Use The interior of each slush cup is lined with a special kind of gel which needs to be completely frozen before the ...

Modern Family Season 5 (DVD) 06/04/2017

A Modern Family Wedding

Modern Family Season 5 (DVD) We are massive fans of the American sitcom Modern Family in our household and watch the individual episodes over and over again from each of the seven seasons that have been released in the UK to date. Season Five This is the complete fifth season of Modern Family in DVD format and features all 24 episodes across three discs along with a selection of special features. The discs run for 513 minutes in total although this is very much something to dip in and out of, but there is always a temptation to sit through a number of consecutive episodes. Originally shown on screen back in 2014, this season still feels fresh and current. In this series, the Pitchett-Dunphy family are well established, with Jay still the patriarch of a rather unusual set up featuring his younger, beautiful Columbian wife, Gloria, their baby son, Joe, and his step-son, Manny. Jay's older children from his first marriage are grown up with partners and children of their own and the series follows their milestones, significant events and everyday challenges with a mixture of humour and sentimentality. This season follows Mitch and Cam's wedding plans from the proposal in the opening episode through to the big wedding day itself which is so 'big' that it takes up both of the final two episodes and brings plenty of opportunity for humour, drama and crisis after crisis! Casting Ed O'Neill - Jay Pritchett Julie Bowen - Claire Dunphy Ty Burrell - Phil Dunphy Sofia Vergara - Gloria Pritchett Jesse Tyler ...

Gillette Mach 3 Blades 25/03/2017

Macho Shaving for Women Too!

Gillette Mach 3 Blades I've always chosen to use razors aimed at males rather than females; mostly purloined from any men resident in the household at the time. Unfortunately, my husband has recently decided to grow a beard so I've been forced into purchasing my own blades and comparing prices. The Product These are Gillette branded replacement razor blades, designed for use with a Gillette Mach 3 razor. Gillette is one of the leading brands when it comes to razors and shaving related items, although it is part of the Proctor and Gamble group which has a long-standing poor reputation in relation to animal testing, predating current UK legislation around testing cosmetics on animals. Originally produced in the late 1990's, the Gillette Mach 3 was groundbreaking at the time - with each disposable blade offering three cutting blades to maximise cutting performance. Nowadays, razors are offering even more blades and features such as added battery power but the Mach 3 range still seems to be going strong and standing its ground against the increasingly sophisticated competition. The Mach 3 razor needs to be purchased separately and comes supplied with a single blade (unless there are any promotional offers available at the point of purchase.) These blades can also be used in conjunction with the Gillette Venus razor handle, aimed at the female market, which is very useful as the Mach 3 blades usually work out cheaper than the Venus blades. These replacement blades are required very quickly and form ...

Gillette Fusion Proglide Razors 20/03/2017

Gillette - the Best a (Wo)Man Can Get!

Gillette Fusion Proglide Razors I've always used razors aimed at males from my teenage years and my first attempts to rid my body of unwanted hair. I started by 'borrowing' my father's cheap (and rubbish) disposable Bic razors and moved on to more expensive Gillette razors with replaceable blades, depending on the budget of my boyfriend and/or male housemate at the time. I am still using Gillette branded razors, initially purchased by my husband for his own needs, to this day; although my husband has now chosen to grow a beard so I've finally been forced into purchasing my own blades! The Product Gillette is one of the leading brands when it comes to razors and shaving related items and is a trusted household name. This Fusion Proglide razor is one of many razors they have introduced to the market and offered something different at the time, with each removable blade offering five cutting blades rather than the three blades boasted by their popular Mach 3 blades. The razor comes in secure plastic packaging with a single blade initially provided. The Fusion Proglide has been revamped slightly since I obtained this particular razor and the newer versions now offer a handle with 'flexball technology' although the blades themselves remain unchanged. There is also another hybrid variant of this Fusion Proglide razor on the market with the 'Fusion Power' offering the convenience of a manual razor with additional power added by the inclusion of a disposable battery. The lack of a battery on this standard Fusion ...

Garnier Ambre Solaire Aftersun Soothing Hydrating Lotion 14/03/2017

After the Sun Has Gone...

Garnier Ambre Solaire Aftersun Soothing Hydrating Lotion Having experienced a few sunny spring days recently, it's nice to look ahead to the summer months in anticipation of hot weather and relaxing surroundings (even though I'm not likely to end up anywhere more exotic than Minehead!) The Product This is Garnier Ambre Solaire branded 'Soothing Hydrating' after sun which comes in the form of a creamy white lotion. The packaging is an attractive shade of green and comes in a sturdy but slightly flexible plastic bottle, with a strong and secure flip top lid, making this a practical choice for the average beach holiday and, at 200ml, the bottle is a reasonable size to carry about easily. The only potential issue with the packaging is that the bottle is not transparent so the only way to gauge the amount remaining in the bottle is by judging the weight. The bottle itself is informative; containing details about the brand, the after sun lotion and emphasising the positive aspects of the inclusion of naturally derived aloe vera, with its 'calming and soothing properties' as an active ingredient. Garnier claim that this particular after sun lotion has been specially developed to moisturise, sooth and nourish skin that has been exposed to sun and feeling dehydrated as a consequence. After sun lotion is not necessarily limited to use following excessive sun exposure and should not be used as an alternative to a decent high factor sun protection lotion. The recommendation is that the contents should be used within 12 months of opening, so ...
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