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Reviews written

since 02/06/2011


Barry M Matte Lip Paint 15/11/2017

I am a heartbreaker ..

Barry M Matte Lip Paint I am loving matte lipsticks at the moment, so I was delighted to find that one of my favourite brands has a whole range of them. It's actually not that new but it's taken me a while to like the matte look so I ignored the product launch first time around! Barry M offer about 20 matte lip colours, and the one I currently have is Heartbreaker, aka no 177, a mulberry red. I paid £5.00 for it in Marks & Spencer, which is the first time I even realised they stocked that brand. You can save yourself a whole 1p by buying in Superdrug or Boots instead though. . . WHY I WANTED TO BUY THIS FROM BARRY M I like Barry M products because they were cruelty free even before brands sold in the EU were not allowed to test products sold here on animals. Secondly I like their non matte lip paints as they last a lot longer for me than many brands, despite being on the cheaper end of the price scale. So I was hoping that the matte lip paint would be as good. Barry M use lip paint as a name for their lipsticks but they are just conventional wind up solid lip colours. You can get liquid matte lip colour from them but that's called the Matte Me Up lip paint and not the subject of this review. The lipstick is in a plain black tube with a gold logo on the lid and colour swatch on the bottom. Maybe not the most exciting design but I think its understated and quite smart. . . IS IT EASY TO APPLY? IS THE PIGMENT GOOD? It feels beautiful and smooth as it is going on but I don't find the ...

Kitchen Craft Mandoline slicer 06/11/2017

A slice of the action

Kitchen Craft Mandoline slicer I received the Kitchen Craft mandoline slicer as a birthday present about 8 years ago, and I admit it was not the gift I recieved with the most excitement. Partly that was because I already had a mandoline gathering dust and secondly, my Kenwood kitchen machine has a slice/grate attachment. But after a few years it's come into regular use, thanks to my addiction for baked vegetable crisps as a healthier snack. So it's survived the recent kitchen clear out but it's far from prefect. My opinion is also tempered by the fact its current RRP is £29.99 which seems a lot for a manual kitchen gadget to me. Amazon sell it for around £25.00, and I can see a few other retailers offering it for the same. Whether it's (almost) worth that price depends on what you intend to use it for and more to the point, how often. . WHAT IT IS INTENDED FOR Slicing firm fruit, vegetables and cheeses to a variety of thicknesses, the production of juliene vegetables, thicker vegetable sticks, french fries, grating and shredding. It can produce straight or wavy edges. (Soft items would just squidge on the pressure of the handle) . . A FEW SPECIFICS All atrachments can be adjusted to operate with cutting/shredding thickness of 3mm - 2cm. Comes with a reversible straight/wavy slicing blade and 3 seperate shredding attachments to allow for grating and julienne. Length 19cm, Width 11cm. Not suitable for cleaning in your dishwasher. IS IT EASY TO SET UP? First you need to pick whether you ...

Body Collection Foundation Brush 25/10/2017

I'm going to give you the brush off..

Body Collection Foundation Brush I am often surprised at how my opinion of a foundation can change depending on what I use to apply it. Some work great with beauty blenders or sponges. Others of the same type are transformed when used with a brush and vice versa. So as I like to try new products, I like to have a few different blender/brush options to hand. My last foundation brush went awol so I was looking for a cheap but reasonable quality replacement. (I was sure the old one couldn't be far. Actually it's still MIA!) I came across the Body Collection foundation brush on Amazon, where it cost me a measly £1.99, with a RRP of £3.99 (It was an add on item which means it could be ordered for free delivery on orders over £20.00. Marketplace sellers were offering it for around the same price with various delivery charge to add.) You can also buy the brand from discounters like B&M, and online suppliers like Fragrance Direct at £3.98. . . BODY COLLECTION Body Collection is one of the brands produced by Badgequo, a British cosmetic company that also produces Technic make up. They say they produce high quality pieces for budget prices - my own experience has been mixed on the quality front but when they do something well, it is great value. . . THE BRUSH The brush looks surprising good quality given the low price it sells for. The handle is described in the Amazon listing as wooden by more than one trader but it feels more like plastic. It doesn't matter either way to me, as it's the right size and ...

BIC Twin Lady 18/10/2017

For ladylike moulting - sort of

BIC Twin Lady My prefered way to remove hair on my legs is to use hair removal mitts that buff it away and exfoliate at the same time. But they can't be used as often as you realistically need to if you like to stay totally hair free, for fear of irritating the skin. So I used to keep a few manual disposable razors to hand as well, and this is a review of one of them - the BIC Twin Lady. I most recently bought them from Amazon in a pack of 5 for £1.69. On the high street they are more usually available as a 8 pack which costs £2.69 in Superdrug for example. . . FOR LADIES? I must say I take "lady" specific shaving products with a pinch of salt. Sometimes it seems if a company colours a razor pink they think they can sell it for an inflated price despite it being exactly the same as the equivalent cheaper mens version. BIC say this twin blade razor is for woman as it has a narrower head and shorter handle making it easier to manipulate over the contours of the wider range of body parts us ladies tend to shave. Fair enough, but actually the handle is longer than the mens BIC classic One and the head is exactly the same width as the mens twin blade. It's just ever so slightly narrower depth wise - not enough to actually make a meaningful difference though. So we get a more contoured handle - again not enough to make much difference in my experience - and pretty pastel colours. The handles do look nice and colourful as razors go, but I am still aware we pay £2.69 for 8 while the mens ...

Kenwood CO 606 13/10/2017

Oh can it!

Kenwood CO 606 WHY I BOUGHT THIS When a local health food shop closed down, they sold off a lot of extra large (1kg) cans of lentils and haricots and being the stereotypical pulse loving vegetarian that I am, I bought a load. When I got home it was clear my sad manual tin opener was never going to open these large cans. My boyfriend was happy to come over all Bear Grylls and open them with his frankly vicious camping can opener but I consider that thing an open ended invitation to visit A&E, so I went to my local independent kitchen ware shop for a safer choice. I had the choice of a overpriced manual option for £12.00 or the Kenwood. CO606 electric can opener for £14.99 which was also a knife sharpener and bottle opener so I went for that. It's still a current model and widely available from places like Argos, Amazon and Tesco with prices around £14.00 - £16.00. I got the metal look version which resembles chrome from a distance but it's actually made of plastic and not likely to fool anyone up close. I don't actually keep this out on display as I want to keep my work surfaces clutter free but if you do want to do that, bear in mind the back is actually black coloured plastic and obvious side on so the chrome effect is only partial. You can also buy it in white and sometimes that's cheaper by a couple of pounds depending on the seller. . . IS IT EASY TO USE? Setting it up is dead easy, just a case of unpacking and plugging in. The lead length is a helpful 1m and it comes with ...

Dove Essential Nourishment Hand Cream 10/10/2017

Softly does it.

Dove Essential Nourishment Hand Cream My other half won some Dove toiletries in a work raffle, most of which got passed to me so here is a review of the product that most impressed me - the Essential Nourishment hand cream which would have cost about £1.99 for the 75ml tube. You can easily get hold of it in places like Boots, Superdrug and most of the supermarkets. WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO DO Provide long lasting softness. Dove says this nourishes "deep within" but a little asterisk gives a note that this refers to the skin surface layers only, as if we couldn't guess. It has what Dove call a DeepCare complex inside, a mix of ingredients targeted to provide these benefits. DOES IT SMELL NICE? Yes it does to me but it isn't really something I would buy for the scent as it is just ordinary, rather than something more luxurious. But it is a fresh, light, clean smell that doesn't really remind me of anything in particular. It's not strong and likely to clash with other scents or appear particularly stereotypically feminine. So I suppose it is ideal for those who like to apply hand cream after every hand wash and don't want something too overpowering or for men who don't want to smell of roses! It doesn't really linger long either way. . . DOES IT ABSORB QUICKLY? . At first I thought this was a bit runnier than other hand creams but it is only slightly so it is not inconveniently messy to use on the go. The top dispensing hole does not let out a wasteful gush of cream at least. For the first few ...

Sugru Mouldable Glue 04/10/2017

I'm in a sticky situation here...

Sugru Mouldable Glue WHAT IS SUGRU?' A mouldable, flexible silicone based glue that is freezer, UV, heat and water resistant, as well as electrically insulating up to 24 watts and 1 amp. It's basically a glue unlike any you usually come across, as it resembles plasticine and you mould it in your hand prior to use. The fix is described as permanent but the glue is also removable from most surfaces. I couldn't quite marry those last two facts in my mind prior to purchase but I will explain how it lives up to it's claims. You use it for jobs like you would other adhesives, sticking two things together or for mounting. . . WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO STICK Wood, metal, most plastics (not polyethylene, or polypropylene), ceramic, glass, leather, and most fabrics. . . WHY I BOUGHT IT? Sugru came up as a suggested product on Amazon when I was buying a different glue, and I was intrigued enough to add a mixed colour pack to my basket as I thought it could be uniquely useful for a few projects I had in mind. Sugru comes in 5g single use packs, and I got a pack of 8 assorted - red, green, blue, yellow orange, grey, pink and brown. You can also buy it in black and white. I paid 7.00 which seemed a good deal as I was hoping to repair products that would cost more than that to replace but the price has now increased to around £11.00. . . WHY SO MANY COLOURS? Sugru comes in many colours but NOT clear. This will obviously limit it's usefulness in some situations where you want to make an invisible ...

Vileda VIL116973 Magic Mop 02/10/2017

This magic didn't cast a spell on me

Vileda VIL116973 Magic Mop I acquired the Vileda Magic Mop for the unpromising reason that my great auntie who had bought it foisted it on me as she could not operate the thing with her arthritic hands. She thought my younger hands would find it easier to manage and she was right. I have been using it for the last year or so and I think it has a lot of plus points but also some drawbacks which will be relevant to certain groups. You can buy the mop for around £7-8 in places such as Robert Dyas, Wilko, Dunelm, Argos and most supermarkets. The replacement heads cost £3.00. . WHAT CAN BE MAGIC ABOUT A MOP? Vileda recommend this mop for tiled and vinyl floors (I use it on both). It's clever features are an inbuilt wringing function that removes the need of a bucket with seperate wringer, and a triple action head for improved cleaning action. The centre of the mop head is a sponge to absorb water, and then one side has a white non scratch cleaning surface for a scrubing action, while the other dotty side has "red velour power zones" which act like a microfibre cloth to pick up hair and "bits". Is it a magic helper that will make you zoom around the kitchen with a smile on your face leaving sparkling floors in your wake? Well... . DOES IT CLEAN FLOORS WELL? In this aspect, I have to give full marks. The mop glides easily across the floor and the wedge shape of the head really does allow you to get into the corners much more easily than I can with my other traditional cloth mop. The scubber ...

Orly Color Blast 28/09/2017

Neon Grape

Orly Color Blast I am an absolute sucker for buying more nail polish despite having a large number in my possession. But I have a few favourite brands that I am drawn back to because I know they will be reliable and Orly nail polish is one of those. I have just removed a polish from my toes that I first applied two weeks ago, and it was still in good condition. Considering how I don't actually like the process of painting my nails very much, any product that lets me do that a lot less often is a cause for celebration, or in this case, a review. I am reviewing a polish in the Color Blast range which is made up of especially brightly pigmented colours, and my current colour of choice is neon grape, a glossy pinky violet. (See my pic below, it looks more purple in the Ciao pic than it does in real life.) I bought mine through Amazon at £6.00 for 11ml but the usual price is around £9.50 in places like Boots. IS IT WORTH £9.50? I know the price does not make this anything like one of the most expensive polishes, but it is a step above what you could pay for a decent polish from a brand like Rimmel. Personally though, I think Orly Color Blast is great value. There are not many polishes I need to remove from my toe nails only because the colour has been on so long I am bored of it. I would no doubt have had to apply some cheaper polish much more often and the bottles are often smaller too so the generous 11ml Color Blast lasts ages in comparison. Most importantly I have never had to pay full ...

Gourmet GBSDHP001 Double Boiling Ring 26/09/2017

This made my blood boil..

Gourmet GBSDHP001 Double Boiling Ring I first used an independent double boiling ring when my kitchen was being refurbished and I didn't have access to my ususal facilities. I kept it to use on occasions when I was cooking for family gatherings and an extra hob would come in useful. But then I had the idea of shedding excess kitchen items and I gave the hob away. Roll on a few months and yes, unexpected kitchen problems meant I was yet again in need of hob I could use in a temporary kitchen. So I went along to Argos and purchased the Sensio Double Boiling ring. It's full price was £39.99 then, but I paid only £28.00 thanks to a sale. It's still available there but the price is currently £50.00. If you shop around you can still purchase this for something close to the price I paid but for the reasons I will list below, I certainly do NOT recommend buying this however cheap you find it. If you need a quick answer, please scroll to my final paragraph. . QUICK SPECIFICATIONS • One large and one small boiling ring • Large ring 1500 watts. • Small 1000 watts. •Made from stainless steel, white finish • Each ring has own controls and operating light. •Size H7, W46, D28cm. Lead length. - 1m, possibly a little longer but we could never get it to sit straight. . DOES IT LOOK WELL MADE? I was surprised that the double boiling ring felt solid and relatively substantial given it's size. It has a style I would call functional more than anything, with a white finish. I noticed a small imperfection in this ...

Make Up Academy MUA Extreme Volume Mascara 25/09/2016

Look into my eyes

Make Up Academy MUA Extreme Volume Mascara Every mascara I truly love seems to end up being discontinued or replaced with a new improved version that doesn't work as well. So I am not product loyal anymore. I have just cleared out some mascara tubes from my make up collection comprising 8 different brands, so I thought it was time to review the one that was far the cheapest of the lot and definitely not the worst quality. The Make Up Academy (MUA) Extreme volume mascara cost me a tiny £2.00 for 7ml, in Superdrug. I have it in Extreme black. You can buy it from MUA direct on their website, otherwise it is exclusive to Superdrug in store and online. PRODUCT PROMISES Magnifies lashes for a "spectacular" false lash effect. . MAKE UP ACADEMY MUA are a budget beauty brand but low prices definitely do not mean low quality in their case. I prefer some of their products to more premium brands although like with almost every range, some products are better than others. This mascara is part of the Pro range which usually means a higher price for a more specialist product but as this still costs just £2, there is not much of a premium to pay. In general I would try products from the MUA core/basic range which start at £1, before trying a similar item in the Pro collection as I think the former is usually better. THE BRUSH I was a bit worried when I spied the hefty brush that comes with this mascara as I don't have the steadiest hands and I thought it may be a bit unwieldy for me. Actually I love it as it is good ...

Lifemax 965.1 Talking Clock 12/06/2016

There's an American stuck in our clock

Lifemax 965.1 Talking Clock The Lifemax talking clock is an alarm clock that can be set to announce the time out loud on the hour, or whenever you press a large button on the top. Aimed at the visually impaired and those who have trouble telling the time for other reasons, I bought the clock for my mum who has developed spatial awareness problems due to long standing health issues. This means she has periodic difficulty reading a normal clock face, as well as trouble gauging the passing of time, not to mention hearing and vision problems. We had already purchased a talking watch for her from the same brand but unfortunately the talking clock is less successful. I paid £9.99 in Argos but Amazon are among other stockists. QUICK FEATURES * Quartz analogue and digital displays * Announces time on hour (optional) or when top button pressed * Three alarm sounds - cockerel, beeping, owl * Snooze Function (10 mins) * Takes 2 AA batteries, not included * Display is not lit at night although hands technically have glow in dark tips * Plastic casing with silver finish and white face IS IT EASY TO SET UP? I found it easy to set the time and I didn't actually need to refer to the instructions for this. The print size is not as small as that used in the operating "manual" of the last Lifemax product I got going but it is closely printed and I think could be better spaced out to accommodate the needs of the visually impaired for whom this product is chiefly aimed. Those who have severe vision loss should ...

Jumbo PortaPuzzle Deluxe 1000 07/06/2016

The final piece of the puzzle

Jumbo PortaPuzzle Deluxe 1000 As part of my mum's ongoing recuperation from illness, she is required to do some brain exercises and one of the suggestions was to have a go at jigsaw puzzles. So I bought the family a Portapuzzle Deluxe 1000 for £25.00 in WH Smith, a reduction of £5. Shortly afterwards I discovered she still had a Portapuzzle standard in her attic that we were all convinced had been shed in a previous house move. So I will quickly compare the two in case you are wondering whether to pay more for this deluxe model. WHY THE PORTAPUZZLES ARE USEFUL It seems that whenever someone sets up a jigsaw on a table, someone else needs to use the surface for something else straight away. So a Portapuzzle provides an alternative surface for you to "puzzle" on, and when you have had enough for one day or been kicked off the area, you can fold place a protective pair of panels over your incomple jigsaw, fold down the top flap, and zip the puzzle away. Then lift the Portapuzzle up and carrying it out of the way, and when you next unfold the thing, your half done jigsaw should be waiting for you exactly as you left it, thanks to the non slip surface. You can get roll up jigsaw mats that do the same thing but we have had those before and they were not all successful at keeping the puzzle bits together. DIMENSIONS Suitable for puzzles of up to 1000 pieces and a max size of 68x 49cm. Size when open -114cm x82cm Size when closed - 114x 63cm IS IT WORTH PAYING £5-10 MORE FOR THE DELUXE V STANDARD ...

Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch 31/05/2016

The watch that talks

Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch My mum has suffered many health problems over the last few years leaving her with vision, hearing and neurological issues. The last affects spatial awareness and gives her periodic difficulties with understanding an analogue clock face and confusion about the time of day. For this reason, I purchased her a talking digital watch so she could check the time without having to read a clock face. These kind of watches are often used by the visually impaired of course, and also by those with conditions such as Alzhiemers who can also find it hard to interpret a traditional clock display. Mum was not used to wearing a watch in the past and I was not sure she would adapt to wearing one now so I looked for a cheap but reasonable quality product. I came up with the Lifemax Talking Big Digit Watch on Amazon for just under £10, with the rrp quoted as £12.99. It is a unisex sporty style, rather than anything elegant but the face seemed easier to read than others so I ordered that one but bear in mind Lifemax offer many variations of talking watches if this style does not appeal. QUICK FEATURE LIST * Talking function - gives time aloud on the hour if desired, or when special button is pressed at any time * Large LCD display features hour, minute, and seconds plus day of week * Date can also be announced * Has 4 independent alarm settings NOT 5 as mentioned in Amazon product listing *Stopwatch function * NOT waterproof * Plastic strap/casing, with stainless steel back, buckle ...

Rolson 60381 Double Sided Carpet Tape, 50 mm 12/05/2016

A sticky experience

Rolson 60381 Double Sided Carpet Tape, 50 mm Before my boyfriend and I got the flooring in our then new home sorted we had a lino floored passage and kitchen - the previous owners really had a thing for 70s style orange/ brown lino in fact and some had even got in the bedrooms. My boyfriend knows how I like retro things so he was probably worried I would decide to keep it. Hence his keeness to cover the thing up with some small carpet offcuts from his parents home, before the lot was replaced. That was great but the carpet pieces slip on smooth floors so I bought some Rolson double sided carpet tape to fix them in place. I paid £3.80 on Amazon who said it was reduced from £6. It is one of those brands available from a lot of stockists so it is worth shopping around - I saw the same size roll for as much as £9.00 on one site! Each roll is 5cm wide and 25m long although I missed that last bit of info on Amazon so I ordered three when two would have been enough. The is made of "guaze fibre" should you wish to know. WHAT THE TAPE IS FOR The tape is double sided like all carpet tape so it can bind the the carpet to the floor below. Some are meant to give a temporary hold but having used an ineffective one of those before, I decided we needed something intended to provide longer lasting hold as I hoped they would be stronger. Rolson do not say this tape fixes permanently but I suppose many carpets are down for a long time so maybe they don't want to drawn on whether this could last for a decade. Our floor underneath ...
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