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Our lovely dog Jess who appeared in many of my reviews lost her 6 month fight with epilepsy earlier this year. Now trying to get back into the world again. Good to be back with my friends on site.

Reviews written

since 16/01/2011


Restless - William Boyd 29/04/2016

Restless- A gasp out loud spy thriller.

Restless - William Boyd Spy thrillers are not normally my first choice for reading but I was drawn to this one as the cover had "Winner of the Costa Novel Award 2006" on the cover so I knew I would be in for a good read, better than many books that I have picked up from our local swap shop in Gibraltar. Written by William Boyd the books revolves around two time spans, WWII and the 1970's and two women Sally Gilmartin and her grown up daughter Ruth. Ruth becomes concerned when her typically English middle class mother shows increasing signs of paranoia about events in her sleepy village including using a wheelchair that she has no need of. Ruth and her young son visits her mother leaving her own complicated London life to confront her mother and find out the root of the problem. She gets more than she bargains for when her mother hands her a folder titled "The Story of Eva Delectorskya" '"Eva Delectorskya," I said, mystified."Who's that?" "Me," she said. "I am Eva Delectorskya."' Eva's story as a spy is revealed little by little to her daughter as more chapters are handed over to Ruth. The story of both women run in tandem, Ruth's more modern life and the fascinating details of how Eva thrived in her spy training until she is nearly outstripping her teachers. Trailing and being trailed, misinformation, how to avoid capture and safe houses. Eva becomes one of the best until.... But no that would be a spoiler! It had me enthralled with it's crisp writing and direct style. I felt like I had been ...

PG Tips Pyramid Tea Bags 10/07/2015

Have you seen the Pyramids?

PG Tips Pyramid Tea Bags We are just coming to the end of a box of PG tips Pyramid teabags 240 in all and very nice they have been too. We given these by some friends who were leaving Spain and going to live France and who emptied the contents of their store cupboard into our store cupboard! Being close to Gibraltar and Morrisons we tend to drink British tea as Spanish brands are quite strange and nothing like a proper cup of tea but this was the first time that we had tried the pyramids. On the box, which is large, above the traditional green and red "PG tips" is written, "Free the Fresh Taste" . There is also a drawing of a pyramid tea bag with a swirly arrow releasing the PG taste. On the rest of the box is all sorts of stuff about the cuppa club with a rather strange looking knitted monkey grinning at me! Let's move on. The secret, says PG is that you give the tea bag a bit of a shake at the seam before you put it in your cup or tea pot and the generous size of the bag lets the taste swim into the water and gives you a perfect cup of tea. We are also told about how PG use only the top two leaves and the bud of the tea bush which must be a rather soul destroying job to have but it does give us a delicious cup of tea. Once you open the box it is easy to get a handful of the tea bags as they nestle at the bottom of the box. I find it is best to put some into an airtight jar and keep the rest in the box in the larder. The teabags have three seams and will actually stand up if you give them a ...

Lush Honey I Washed The Kids Soap 12/06/2015

A Warm Hug of a Soap

Lush Honey I Washed The Kids Soap A while ago I was given two soaps from Lush as a present. One was Karma and the other was Honey I washed the kids. Both are lovely and came in triangular shaped blocks bound together. Honey, as I shall now call it, soon became a favourite with it's warm and comforting caramel fragrance making up for it's rather strange appearance. It looks a little like one of those blocks that you buy to clean suede shoes with. Beige and rubbery looking it's not really going to attract you by it's looks but makes up for it in other ways. Last week I had 11/2 hours dental work done and came home feeling really miserable not least because of the huge bill. Full of antibiotics I couldn't have a drink to cheer myself up and then thought of this lovely soap. A bit like a hug in soap form. I jumped into a hot shower and had a good long soapy scrub. The soap really does make lots of suds on my sponge and leaves me feeling nice and clean with a soft skin. The caramel fragrance is soothing and warming and you can also smell a hint of orange from the bergamot and sweet wild orange oil. Coconut oil, honey water and aloe vera extract sooth your skin and gardenia extract calms your frazzled sense. Much better thank you. the gentle scent stays on your skin for a while but is not very noticeable after a few hours. My Opinion. It's very plain looking and if you gave someone a chunk of it they would not be very impressed until they started to use it. Warm and sweet it definitely for me is a hug in soap ...

Rajah Haldi Ground Turmeric 25/05/2015

Warm and gently spicy.

Rajah Haldi Ground Turmeric My interest in using turmeric as a cooking ingredient started in a strange way. Whilst working on boats you are constantly getting bumps and bruises and strains. These are known as boat bites and whilst reading in a natural remedy book I discovered that turmeric has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a warming, tasty spice. It is part of the ginger family and like ginger it is the root or rhizome that is dried and used. Rajah spices was founded in 1931 by a former Indian Army officer who opened a small store in London called The Bombay Emporium. Originally it sold only whole and ground spices but demand grew and grew so that now they sell a large range of pickles and chutneys, curry pastes and poppadoms. Rajah Haldi Turmeric is easily spotted by it's bright yellow colour which shows through the clear window of it's packet. Rajah is depicted in gold with a little elephant above it and "A taste of home." written beneath the name. It is 100% pure with no artificial colours or additives. I buy the 100g pack which will last us about 4-6 weeks. On the back of the pack it says ,"Since 1931 Rajah has been sourcing the finest spices so you and your family can enjoy the taste you so fondly know of home." It also encourages you to store it in an airtight container once opened to keep it nice and fresh. How to use it. With it's warm but gentle taste I add a shake of this powder to lots of our dishes. Stews and casseroles, soups,vegetables and rice dishes ...

Russell Hobbs 20611/12/13/14 Canterbury 18/05/2015

The Canterbury makes a great replacement.

Russell Hobbs 20611/12/13/14 Canterbury After our bad experience of the water being tainted with the Russell Hobbs bell kettle, we anxiously awaited our promised replacement. On the phone we were asked by customer services what type of kettle we wanted and specified a jug type kettle with a shiny finish. Four days later a large box arrived with the Canterbury kettle snugly packed with lots of padding to make it secure and easy to understand instructions. Once out of the box we gave it a rinse out a few times and had a test cup of tea. Perfect, no taint to the water at all. It could stay! What's it like. It is polished stainless steel with straight sides, the base and handle being black plastic. It has a 1.7lt capacity with a sight gauge for water level which is built into the handle unit. The base is 360 degrees making it usable for both left and right hands and the cord is stored in the base. The lid is opened by a easy push lever at the top of the kettle which makes it a lot easier for my Mum to open it and fill it up. It is not noisy, you can talk while it's on! The on/off switch is at the base of the kettle and lights up when switched on. So far I have not caught this by mistake but it does have a boil dry function just in case I do. There is a removable anti cal filter in the spout which can be easily removed and cleaned. The inside of the kettle can also be wiped out as the element is concealed in it's base. Anything else? It pours very well and a quick wipe keeps the outside clean. My Opinion. It ...

Russell Hobbs 14943 17/05/2015

T'aint a very good kettle

Russell Hobbs 14943 I bought this kettle for Mum and Dad a few weeks ago. We all liked the dome shape and the handle which reminded us of old kettles but with a modern twist. We bought it from Wilkiinsons and went home anxious to try it. This is where the problem began. We rinsed it out well and were happy with the ease of pouring. The water level was easy to see and it switched on off with no problem. When we tasted the tea we had just made the water had a definite unpleasant taste to it. We left it full of water with sodium bicarbonate dissolved in it for two days but we could still taste and smell a metallic taste which was very disappointing. We rang Russell Hobbs and explained the problem and they sent us a different kettle, the Canterbury,which we actually prefer! They said that the problem might be the chlorine in the water.It arrived in four days and we have made excellent cuppas with it. Great customer service but a shame about the kettle. The customer services thought that it might be a reaction with the chlorine in the water. Apart from that problem and the lid being a bit difficult for my Mum to take on and off it is a satisfactory kettle which holds 1.6 lt of water. It is relatively quiet and the round shape is very pleasing. The water level is easy to read and there is a light on the front to indicate that the kettle is on. It is easy to pour which is an important plus and the shiny body although a bit difficult to keep clean does look very smart. The cord is kept nice and ...

Devil's Ivy 06/04/2015

Big impact plant for very little work and cleans the air too.

Devil's Ivy When you don't have a lot of money for furniture plants can add a lot of punch for very little outlay. This is definitely the case for Devil's Ivy an easy to care for plant with large shiny green, heart shaped leaves that grows so fast you have to invest in a machete. Although we had two Devil's Ivy plants in our previous flat "Godzilla" was a present from friends who moved away from the area. They are inexpensive to buy and very easy to find in your local garden center. Don't buy a big one, there is no need as they grow so quickly. The correct name for this easy to grow climber-trailer varies depending where you are. Devil's Ivy "Scindapsus aureus" in the garden centre or Golden Pothos in the US. Whatever it's name it is easy to recognise with it's large green heart-shaped leaves with varying amounts of yellow splashed on the leaves. The largest leaf on Godzilla right at the top is a whopping 8" long and 6'' wide. Our leaves are mainly a lovely dark green with a few splotches of yellow but if you want a little more yellow go for the Golden Queen variety. There is also a silver and green variety called Marble Queen but I think this one looks too pale like it has been ill as it is white blotched with green. Last in the line up is silver Vine which I have not yet seen which has a dull green surface blotched with silver and a thin white line around the edge of the leaf. Once you have got your plant you may decide that you want it to grow upwards in which case buy a moss ...

Adolfo Dominguez Te Verde Eau de Toilette 25/02/2015

Refreshing Green Tea anyone?

Adolfo Dominguez Te Verde Eau de Toilette Te Verde is by Spanish fashion designer Adolfo Dominguez whose fragrances are very popular in the south of Spain where I have the good fortune to live. His fragrances from the Natural Collection are light and easy to wear during the day and I thought that this green scent was a little departure from my normal citrus based fragrances until I researched the scents which combine to make this refreshing melange and found a good few citrus notes there too. It's Green.! Everything about this fragrance is green and refreshing including the pale green colour of the box that the slim cylindrical bottle is packaged in. All of the Natural collection have simple attractive bottles and this is no exception with it's pale grass green colour darker green at the base and becoming lighter at the top. Adolfo Dominguez is written in silver from the top of the bottle to the base. There is a fine line etched on the glass like a thin green leaf which leads up to the silver neck and the pale green glass top which hides the spray. the whole appearance is simple and fresh and the colour looks lovely and cool. The Scent. Top Notes. Yuzu, bamboo, mint and green tea. Heart. Freesia, orange blossom, cardamon, coriander, mate and tea. Base. Moss, amber, musk and Guaiac Wood. After contacting my skin the first notes I get are fresh and green. I definitely smell the cool mint and the Yuzu, which is a fruit that is new to me, gives a mix of lime and citrus, zingy and cool. It is a wake me up and ...

Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream 21/02/2015

Wrap your skin in the decadent silk of Japanese Emperors!

Kanebo Sensai Cellular Performance Cream I am very lucky in that every so often we visit Gibraltar where there is one main shopping street callled, you guessed it, Main Street!. Being a tax free zone and a port of call for many cruise liners the street is full of shops that sell cameras, electronic goods and high class perfumes and cosmetics. A very kind assistant gave me a small bag of free testers amongst which was a small jar of Sensai Kanebo Cellular Peformance Cream. I was quite horrified to find that this cream sells for around 104 pounds for 40ml and that I had a 4.5ml little jar of this decadent cream. I was almost scared to use it but I thought, "Be brave, this is for research!" so with trepidation opened the silver bo on which the name Sensai Cellular Performance appears with Kanebo written in italics beneath it. First a little about Sensai. Sensai is part of the Japanese Kanebo group who have been involved in the silk trade since 1887. It the most prized variety of silk called Koishimaru which was once reserved for the imperial family that is the secret behind their success. Their website says:- "By stimulating the production of hyaluronic acid, it bathes skin cells in an endless ocean of moisture - a life-giving environment in which skin is nourished, moisturised and made beautiful." The cream is suitable for all skin types and should be applied morning and evening after cleansing I have mature dry skin with a fair few wrinkles so I was interested to see if it made any difference but I did only use ...

Adolfo Dominguez Agua De Fresca De Rosas Perfume 19/02/2015

Surround yourself with rose petals.

Adolfo Dominguez Agua De Fresca De Rosas Perfume Agua Fresca de Rosas as the name suggests, is a delightful fresh, rose fragrance by the Spanish fashion designer Adolfo Dominguez. His range is so popular in Spain that when I go into our local Post Office the girls behind the counter can tell me which one I am wearing! Although I would not normally choose a rose fragrance for myself this was a gift and has proven to be a lovely wearable rose fragrance without being old-fashioned. I think it is the freshness that I enjoy. It was launched in 1995 as a refreshing version of rose fragrances with green notes. The nose behind this fragrance is Joan Bruges and consists of:- Top notes; Bulgarian rose. Heart Notes: Jasmine and Lily of the Valley Base notes: Sandalwood, Oakmoss, Musk. The packaging is quite plain and elegant, a white box with a small gray pattern on it and Agua Fresca de Rosas written in itallics The simple bottle is plain but feminine consisting of four flat sides of clear glass curving at the top to the gold coloured collar on which is written Adolfo Dominguez. Above is the gold coloured press down spray. The round bottle top is made of clear glass. The fragrance itself is clear and the whole effect is simple, elegant and feminine. The Fragrance. One little spray and you get that lovely scent of cut roses, almost as if you have walked into a florists. It is not cloying but feels uplifting and light with just a hint of musk. A little later the Jasmine and Lily of the Valley join in but not enough to overshadow ...

Daddies Brown Sauce 16/02/2015

I'm a Daddies Girl!

Daddies Brown Sauce Recently some good friends of ours moved house all the way to France. Just before they left they cleared out their cupboards and we were gifted with a lot of goodies. Amongst them was a bottle of Daddies Brown Sauce which I had never tried being an HP fan myself. I put this down to the unattractive packaging which always reminds of cartoon colours. My 400g clear plastic bottle is flat sided and shaped so that it is easy to handle. The main colour of the label is dark blue while the Daddies name is highlighted in bright orange rimmed in yellow as are the labels on the front and neck of the bottle. On mine there is also a fist giving a thumbs up sign (I assume that's Daddy) which is surrounded by the logo , Full of flavour. It might be but the packaging is awful! Daddies was launched in 1904 and is said to be very popular in chip shops in the North, Midlands, Wales and West Country. During World War II, according to Heinz website, the female workers in the Daddies factory became known as "Daddies Girls" and would often send sauce packages to soldiers on the frontline with notes of encouragement attached. This led to many firm friendships and one or two marriages. Can this sauce inspire a friendship? It does have a feisty taste, spicy and vinegary and just a little bit sweet. The smell is quite strong too, a bit vinegary. I'd say that it is tastier than HP but then I'm from the North! It is not too thick and is easy to control out of the flip top lid. The squeezy plastic ...

Lush None of Your Beeswax Lip Balm 05/02/2015

Lip Balm for Builders!

Lush None of Your Beeswax Lip Balm In the last few weeks we have had some serious alterations done in our apartment in the form of three new sliding doors that open up onto our terrace. The amount of dust caused by removing wall etc has been truly enormous. If you can remember the scene in "The Scorpion King" when the desert rises up and buries them all you would not be far wrong. With all the dust and cement and just all the upheaval I've found that I've ended up with really dry and cracked lips. They looked and felt like they had had a hard time. That was until I remembered that I had an almost new tin of "None of Your Beeswax" Lip Balm by Lush which I had received as a gift. I normally wear a lip balm with a high SPF as I have some sun damage on my lips and I had put this to one side. Lush, as many of you are aware, like to keep their packaging to the absolute minimum and this lip balm is no different. It comes in a little shiny round tin with it's name written on a bright green label on it's lid and a short description, "Coconut oil balm for supple, lemony smackers." On the reverse of my 8g tin are the ingredients which contain lots of soothing and moisturising oils, some of which I had never heard of. I do like to know about ingredients and lots of information is available on the Lush website, along with how they select their ingredients in a sustainable manner and do not test their products on animals. Could it do the trick? Once you have unscrewed the lid you can smell a scent which ...

Accurist LB1741WR 01/02/2015

The watch the burglars didn't get.

Accurist LB1741WR Just before Christmas we were burgled. The rotters came in whilst I was working away from home and actually took the safe out of the wall! I didn't have a lot of things in the safe but bits and pieces of sentimental value. I was then very happy to find that I still had this watch which was given to me as a leaving present a good few years ago. I had put at the back of a drawer meaning to put it back in the safe and forgot! Ha ha thieves. I'm going to review it before they come back. This is a lovely, simple, classic looking watch from Accurist which I wear when going out. The face is round with a white background about 2.25cm across and is about 0.25cm thick which sits well on my skinny wrist. With it's gold hands and black roman numeral numbers it is easy to read and has an elegant look to it. The bezel is also in gold and simple pulls out a little so that you can easily adjust the time. I have had complicated digital watches before that have taken ages to change the hour in spring and autumn and have even had to take instructions on the plane with me. This suits me just fine. As I live in Spain I like the bracelet to be comfortable when it gets very hot. This bracelet does not irritate my wrist and seems to remain cool where other resin bands get all hot and sweaty. I occasionally give the bracelet a clean with an old toothbrush and a little soapy water to get sun tan cream out of the links. I have found that resin straps tend to break after time, even on an Iron Man ...

Lyles Golden Syrup Original 28/01/2015

A Golden Taste of Sweetness.

Lyles Golden Syrup Original This morning I demolished a large bowl of porridge over which I had drizzled Lyles Golden Syrup. It was so delicious that I felt it deserved a review! Although many of us will know the famous green and gold tin I do prefer the easy pour bottle as it is just that. My bottle contains 454g of the lovely clear, almost amber coloured syrup which you can clearly see in the transparent plastic bottle. The golden lion and the bees appear on this label as well as the tin and the label does not appear to have changed from 1881 when Golden Syrup first made it's appearance. The neck of the bottle has the lion motif in raised plastic which makes the bottle easy to hold and the slight squeeziness of the bottle means you can get the quantity you want without any trouble. The top closes well and if you give your wrist a little twist after pouring, you can avoid any drips down the side of the bottle. On opening the easy flip lid you can smell the deep, sweet smell, like caramel and vanilla. It pours easily onto porridge or toast leaving a honey coloured trail which just shouts " Gobble me up!" When added to baking I find it has the same intensity as honey and adds a richness to whatever you are baking. Flapjacks are my favourite baking use of this lovely syrup, made in the microwave, believe it or not, and the taste is sweet and satisfying. Pass the "Goldie" Please. Golden syrup first started as a result of sugar cane refining. In 1881, Abram Lyle, (he looks a bit grim on the website), ...

Winalot Shapes 22/01/2015

Biscuits for a Salty Sea Dog.

Winalot Shapes I am lucky enough to have an adorable 'golden retriever mix dog which came to us from the local rescue center. She came with a very wobbly tum and a sad history. Now she is a bouncing floozy of a dog like Marylin Monroe if she came back in dog form with the longest blond eyelashes I have ever seen on a dog. Jess easily adapted to our life which involves boats, either working on them, or living on them and soon became a happy salty sea dog. So happy that she started to mess about and play to the crowd when it came to getting up gang-planks. She would twirl about and make a fuss until tempers were frayed and we were all worried about whether she and the rest of us would end up going for a cold, early bath. The edict was laid down, either Jess stopped messing about or she would have to stay at home. All week Jess and I practiced bounding up the hall stairs at our apartment on command until the neighbours though we were both daft. Anxious to please, Jess turned herself into a blond Usain Bolt charging up steps from a standing start. The next boat day dawned and Jess and I talked tactics. No messing about. No twirling. She looked confident, but I knew there was very little in that blond head. Before we reached the boat we stopped off at Morrisons where I surreptitiously bought a box of Winalot Shapes. Ever conscious of Jess's wobbly tum I went for the best that I thought I could get. I chose Winalot because it is such a reputable brand and has been providing dogs with food ...
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