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RAC DOG HARNESS
I have a beautiful four month old Shih Tzu puppy called Pebbles. She is adorable, and rather like when a new baby is expected I have collected quite a lot of equipment for her from toys to leads, and one of the most important items I think I have purchased for her is the RAC Car Harness which is the subject of this review.
Taking dogs in cars can be a hazardous business if you don't prepare for it first. The number of dogs I see loose in the car as I drive around frightens me. I have a vet daughter and I suppose I am privy to her stories, but it has happened on more than one occasion, in her experience, that a dog unrestrained has either caused an accident, or been killed by the impact of a crash when a harness could have saved them. Unrestrained dogs are ready made missiles, and according to the AA a Labrador will hurtle forward in a crash with the weight of a baby elephant crushing all in its path.
ALL ABOUT THE HARNESS
This RAC harness is a fantastic piece of kit and is much better than the Ferplast one I owned with my previous dog. I wanted simplicity - something that would take me from car to walk effortlessly, without any danger to the dog when transferring leads or harnesses. The harness is available in several sizes and is available from the RAC web shop as well as many on line retailers. You can opt for Jumbo if you have a very large breed like a Newfoundland, or a small in my case which fits my Shih Tzu puppy perfectly at the moment. There are options to adjust the harness within each size choice so buying an extra large should fit a Retriever and a Labrador for example. This size fits girth 56 - 89 cm (22-35") so there is a wide margin to play with.
The harness varies in price according to size and place of purchase, but as a guide I paid £7.99 for the small and £9.95 for the XL.
Fitting the harness is very easy - it has two straps that fit round the neck and underneath click locking so that it is a comfortable and secure restraint around the dog. You then use the car seat belt to secure through the reinforced loop on the harness.There is an O ring on the top which allows you to clip your lead to it. I love this facility as it means that you can do this before opening the door at a busy service area for example, when a nervous dog could be startled and could bolt.
The strap is very comfortable as it fits to any seat belt. It does allow some movement, but not enough to allow the dog to wander into danger, but enough so he can get comfy on long journeys.
MY RECENT EXPERIENCE
Only last week I had the pleasure of using two sizes of this harness which illustrates the excellent attributes the product has. My daughter has a beautiful Golden Retriever called Rosie. She had been staying at the Royal veterinary College in London for a few days having tests, but when they wanted to send her home my daughter was on call herself so was unable to collect her. We bought a harness for her in the size XL from the RAC web shop on their overnight delivery service, as we needed it quickly. This was a positive experience, with the courier delivering within the agreed time frame. So the next day we had both dogs in the car on the way to Wales for 4 hours. Pebbles was able to rubber neck enough to see her companion, but not enough to hinder the driver or to cause any danger to Rosie, who having had a general anaesthetic didn't want a new puppy jumping all over her! I don't recommend putting the dog in the front as it is a more dangerous seat in any vehicle, and if you have air bags a crash may really hurt the dog if it is in the front and an accident happens. Air bags are not designed to protect dogs and may injure them.
The harness only comes in black, but this is fine for me as I tend to use any lead with it, saving my pretty leads and matching collars for times when I am walking Pebbles locally without a car ride first.
My daughter who is a vet also has an RAC harness, and she adores hers. She feels it is perfect as it keeps Rosie secure and out of mischief when she is on call. She often takes Rosie to farms and leaves her in the car if it isn't sunny, and sometimes has to leave her for a long time if she is doing a cow caesarian for example. So not only does this harness keep a dog safe when the car is moving but also when stationary.
I think it is a brilliant piece of equipment to keep dogs safe when in the car, and also makes transferring them to a lead safe and effortless. Highly recommended.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation is something I have used for many years, and is a product I return to time and time again because using it is effortless and the results gained are outstanding. It is a French brand very popular with make up artists.
It isn't a cheap foundation and added to this it is quite difficult to purchase. I buy mine from www.preciousaboutmakeup.com where it retails for £32. The foundation is said to be of an extremely fine texture, oil free and leaves skin soft and radiant. I would agree that this is the look you will achieve when using the foundation.
The aim of the product is that skin looks natural both on and off camera, and that a flawless coverage is achieved. It has an ingredient called Sericite that is said to heighten the diffusion of light, and to intensify the glow of the skin. It claims to be an oil free, medium to full coverage foundation with a large range of colours, and the former claim initially put me off some years ago as being a more mature lady my skin is not oily and is prone to slight dryness. This foundation has been a dream to use despite these initial reservations, and has been a product I use on many occasions, especially if I want a quick but polished make up look.
ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCT AND MY EXPERIENCES.
Presented in a smart black box the bottle is glass and has a pump dispenser. I love this as Nars Sheer Glow Foundation for example is a similar cost, but it is extra if you wish to purchase a pump.
Due to the lack of SPF in this product it photographs beautifully, so is ideal to wear for a wedding for example, but obviously not good in hot climates, unless you have a lot of shade and use a high SPF moisturiser. I would say it is a medium coverage, more than a BB cream or a light foundation, but not like Estee Lauder Doublewear for example. The finish is natural, not matte or dewy, but as natural skin looks in my opinion. It does however impart radiance and helps enormously on those days when I look tired and want to brighten my complexion.
What I really love about this product is the ease of application. I use my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush and the coverage is flawless with minimal need to blend, it seems to cover like a second skin in moments and looks so natural. I use shade 115 which is perfect for me and this equates to MAC NW 20. There are over 25 shades, some are pink based, some beige and some lean to a more neutral tone, so there is a wide selection including some for women of colour. You are advised to shake well prior to use.
I think this effortless application is what I love so much, and in moments you can have a polished make up look. I often use this with a little concealer under my eyes, a wash of a neutral brown eye shadow, and a cream blush with a lip balm, and this looks fresh and natural.
Although expensive you don't need to use a lot of product. I find one and a half pumps to be enough, so it does last well so this does help with the initial outlay at purchase.
I finds it lasts well all day, I don't use powder to set it, but you might want to if you have oily skin. It removes easily at the end of the day with make up wipes or cleanser.
Due to the price I don't use this everyday as it is too expensive, but I always have a bottle on the go for those days when I want to get ready quickly, but have more coverage than a BB cream gives. I always choose this for occasions when I may be photographed, as foundations with SPF in them can cause flash back on photographs.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
Make Up Alley, the review site that I always consult when researching opinions on cosmetics has some very interesting reviews on the product, and overall 58% say they would repurchase, which is not as high as I would have expected. The average rating given is 3.8/5 with a 4.2/ 5 for the packaging, which meets with their approval slightly more than the product. In general the negatives they report seem to be based around those who have very dry skin, and certainly if you are in this category I wouldn't recommend it as it is found to be too drying. Being a mature lady of almost 54 I have normal to dry skin, and I love this foundation, but I don't have dry skin to the extent that it peels or flakes, so to that end I can use this with confidence.
I think the negatives have to be the price, and the lack of availability on the high street making it difficult to choose a shade in person. I did a lot of research online some years ago as I wanted to buy the right shade first time. I love this foundation, and I recently discovered it is a favourite of Lisa Eldridge, so this endorsement is worth noting as she is very discerning and well respected. It is also worth saying that she has a lot of respect for Bourjois foundations, which are much cheaper, and I love many of these too which provide alternatives to higher end foundations such as this. Having said that I will continue to purchase this as it is lovely and effortless to apply. I don't travel with it on the whole due to the glass bottle, but it is sleek and streamlined so I would if I was going to a wedding for example.
All in all, except for the price, I would say this is a high end foundation well worth trying, and certainly one to consider if you have difficulty finding the shade that is right for you in other foundations as there are so many to choose from.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
ELLIE-BO DOG CRATE
When my beautiful Shih Tzu Molly passed away at Christmas my life was turned upside down. She hadn't been ill at all, and it was observed at a routine vet appointment that she had a mass in her abdomen. This was subsequently found on ultrasound to be a very rare tumour. She was given weeks to live but she actually only lived for two. We always said we would wait if anything should happen to her to grieve, but the pain was unbearable, and I felt that the pain I was feeling was not only for her, but also because we had lost that joy of having a companion who was always there. Dogs are something special- my daughter who is a vet has a picture in her lounge that says "Whoever said that diamonds are a girl's best friend never owned a dog." I feel that too, and so within a week we had Pebbles - an adorable Shih Tzu puppy.
It has been 13 years since we had a puppy, and I had forgotten how much work they are! It is also incredible how quickly they progress. When we brought her home she was tiny, and couldn't climb up the little set of three steps that we had bought for Molly to get onto the settee in her last few years. Within a week she was scampering up them at a hundred miles an hour, then bypassing them and vaulting onto the back of the sofa. We had to completely reorganise the lounge to make it safe for her as I could see she had energy! It is also quite difficult in the first few weeks of a puppy's life as you are not allowed to take them out for walks until they have completed all their injections. Additionally we have an extra wait, as in our area there has been an outbreak of Parvo virus, which has proved fatal in several puppies that were vaccinated, so we have to have another vaccine in addition to the usual at 16 weeks. Until then we are not allowed to take her anywhere where dogs are likely to be un-vaccinated, so she spends more time indoors that she would have done otherwise.
Enter The Crate!
We decided that a crate would be a sensible option for sleeping in at night, and also for short periods in the day when it is necessary to keep her safe, or when I need to go out. Amazon is a good place to source these as they are much less expensive than Pets at Home for example. We purchased the crate which is listed as the Ellie-Bo Dog Puppy Cage Folding 2 Door Crate with Non-chew Metal Tray in Small 24-inch Black. Reading the reviews on Amazon we determined this would be a perfect size for Pebbles, as it is important for the puppy to be able to lie down in comfort and to move around freely. However if you are also buying it to help with puppy training you don't want it to be too large, as puppies try not to soil their bedding. This was a very reasonable £22.70 and we also purchased a Ellie-Bo Memory Foam Orthopaedic Dog Bed With Faux Suede And Sheepskin Topping which is designed to fit the crate perfectly, and this was an additional £21.95. In the early days of having Pebbles we decided to purchase two of these as she was having accidents so laundering was important. We also used cheap fleece blankets on top of the mattress for added protection. Pebbles is a Shih Tzu - these dogs are companion animals rather than more working dogs, and I know my daughter who has a Retriever didn't bother with a mattress for her crate as her dog used to chew them up. So far Pebbles hasn't done this and the mattress has been easy to launder as the cover is removable and is able to be tumble dried.
The crate itself is of a very high quality and was very easy to assemble. Its details as listed on Amazon are-
24" folding dog cage.
Folds flat for easy storage and transportation.
Two sliding latch mechanisms on each door to secure the cage.
Height 20" x length 24" x width 18"
Steel non-chew removable metal tray for easy cleaning.
- 2 Doors for easy access/exit.
- Movable carry handle.
- Folds flat for ease of storage and transportation.
- Steel non-chew removable tray for easy cleaning.
- Two heavy duty latches on each doorway.
- Ready assembled in folded position with instruction booklet and training guide.
It is also easy to dismantle and to take in the car, so is an ideal choice for overnight stays as it is quick to erect on arrival. There are very secure bolts in two places and on two sides so you can choose which side to open and close, and the double bolt is very secure. Sometimes you have to put a small amount of pressure on the cage as you close the bolts, but this ensures a snug fit.
The crate comes with a comprehensive training booklet which is excellent and highly recommended.
The important aspect of crate training and use is that the concept is based on the fact that dogs love to have their own den, so we covered hers in a lovely wool blanket for extra security for her. Puppies can only hold on to their urine for the same number of hours as their age- so in Pebbles case now that is 3 hours as she is 3 months. This means that you will have to get up in the night to let them toilet if you don't want to see them soil the crate. Actually on a good night Pebbles can go 4 hours now but it isn't consistent yet. We set the alarm and go to her during the night, but we don't respond to barking at random times, as sadly this is the way to train them as they have to learn discipline. In the early days we soon found out that if you go to them every time they bark you will never sleep, and furthermore they think it is fine to play toys at 3am!
It is also vital that you encourage them to see their crate as a den, and to do this you leave the door open during the day and gradually entice them in using treats. These treats you place at the entrance to begin with, but then you progress to putting them towards the back. It isn't long before puppies love this and will seek solace in their den during the day on their own. You can also use Adaptil which is the dog version of cat Feliway, it is a spray or plug in diffuser that emits pheromones which mimic those given off by the mother, and can aid the puppy to accept the crate. You can spray the bedding about fifteen minutes before you put the puppy to bed, or plug the diffuser in close to where the puppy is to be sleeping. We also took a blanket with us to the breeder's house so she could rub the mum in it and that seemed to calm Pebbles in the first few nights.
I find the crate to be of immense value during the day as a place to keep her safe for short periods, or if I have to go out. I don't leave her for more than 2 hours at the most as puppies have to learn social skills, and confining them to a crate for long periods can make them very difficult and unhappy. I tend to make sure that she has been out for a walk, and has been played with and brushed so that she is tired before I leave her. This is then a good time to put her in the crate, and actually it often calms her down when she is beginning to get over-active as puppies do as they tire. I have found to my cost though that in the early stages it is as well to watch for recent bowel motions, as you don't want to crate an overexcited puppy with a full bowel, as this has the effect of making them go. At first Pebbles did cry, but now she accepts it and it is part of their learning experience that you can't always be with them.
I know not everyone with a puppy has a crate. Many use the kitchen as a place for them to sleep, but my kitchen has three rather naughty Persians in there and she wouldn't be safe. Also I like to have the comfort in knowing she is safe and contained, as there are so many dangers for puppies in the home, and just like toddlers they need containing for their own safety.
I know some people use this crate for car journeys, but personally I prefer to use an RAC car harness specifically for dogs that is used in conjunction with the seat belt. The crate isn't designed to be sold for car travel and I prefer to be as safe as I can be when travelling with pets.
Reviewers on Amazon are unanimous in their opinions that this crate is superb and is well made and good value. I am delighted with mine so can add my own positive thoughts to theirs. As Pebbles grows I may need to purchase the next size up for her so I will be monitoring this closely.
One final word of warning about crates in general, and that is that the collar should be removed before putting the puppy in the crate, as there is a very small chance it could get tied up in the bars. I think it is a remote possibility but I always remove hers to be ultra cautious.
As time goes by we should be able to let her sleep in the crate with the door open at night. Rosie my daughter's Retriever still loves hers and sees it as a place of solace even though she is now four. In the meantime Pebbles snuggles up in hers with the door closed and I know she is safe.
This review is also to be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278
MAX FACTOR MIRACLE TOUCH CREAMY BLUSH
There is something so fresh and pretty about cream blush products, and for anyone over fifty they are a best friend in my opinion. I have many of them, and some particular favourites including this Max Factor blush that I am reviewing today.
Available widely and usually no more than £6.99 this is an absolute gem as it has five main attributes, and as far as I can see no negatives at all.
I am almost 54 and time is going by. I love to wear make up, but I have discovered in the last few years that less is more, and that natural, but fresh and dewy skin, seems to be less ageing than heavily powdered looks. I tend to choose light foundations or BB creams, neutral eye shades, and above all soft cream blushes to add a natural flush of colour. The effect I love is that of the appearance of just coming in from the cold, as if you have been on a brisk winter dog walk. Healthy and rosy, but not cakey or obviously made up. This is where this product excels, as it imparts a youthful wash of colour that blends effortlessly looking natural and beautiful, so let's look more closely at the five attributes I feel this product has.
5 REASONS I LOVE THIS!
Firstly it is inexpensive. At £6.99 this is a reasonable price and when compared to other blushes in my collection by Illamasqua, for example, that are over twice this cost, they are certainly on a par with those.
Secondly the packaging is dinky and neat, and as the product is best applied with fingers it is so travel friendly. I think of all my blushes this is the one that I take away with me the most as it is so lightweight and compact. It doesn't have an integral mirror however, which for the price I would not expect, but it does mean you will need one for travel if you want to apply this on the move.
Thirdly it is absolutely ideal for mature ladies, and for those with dry skin as it has moisturising qualities and it simply glides over the skin. Blending is so easy compared to the Stila Convertible Cream Blush or the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges, that I also love, which have a slightly dryer texture than this.
Fourthly it has a lovely shade range that encompasses peach and pink shades well, and there is also a more sun kissed shade available called Soft Copper. My favourite is Soft Pink which is a very pretty rosy pink. There is also Soft Candy which looks like a dark raspberry in the pot, but is paler on application, and Soft Murano which is a bright red-pink. There used to be a shade called Cardinal which Lisa Eldridge used in one of her tutorials on a mature lady, but this is not widely available now, and may either be discontinued or US only, but you can still get this on Amazon or Ebay and it is a lovely coral. I can wear all these shades as they go on sheer and can be blended out easily, so you don't have to be afraid of the intensity of colour.
Finally it lasts all day and I really mean lasts. Its longevity is impressive, and I find I have no need to touch up at all. It also removes effortlessly in the evening with your make up remover of choice.
Over on Make-up Alley, the site where reviewers give their honest opinions about cosmetic products, there is a consensus of opinion that these blushes are superb. 82% say they would repurchase which is impressive.
IDEAL FOR EVERYDAY NATURAL MAKE UP
I think for me the benefit of these blushes has to be in their ability to be used on a daily basis to create a very flawless healthy and dewy look. I love them, especially for days when I want to look polished and don't have very much time, and especially for holidays when simplicity is the key. For example I will apply Estée Lauder BB cream, which is my favourite face product for easy make up days, a little concealer - often I will use Mac Moisture Cover or Nars Creamy Concealer. I will then apply a wash of cream eye shadow all over the lid and into the crease, I love MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork and will follow with a generous coat of mascara. I will then use Max Factor Cream Touch blush and a simple to wear, but pretty lipstick, such as MAC Velvet Teddy or Nars Mayflower. The entire look can be done in less than five minutes and it looks fresh and polished. You can even do all this without a brush, so if you want a holiday friendly make up this is it! I often exchange products, but the general idea is the same, and the cream blush by Max Factor is ideal for this look as it is effortless.
I can't recommend this blush highly enough as it is simply perfect and so tiny that it takes up no room at all in my make up bag. A gem for sure.
This review will also be posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Origins GinZing Brightening Mascara
Origins is a cosmetics and skin care brand that I value highly. I have used their products for many years, and have confidence in their ethics, as well as their ingredient choices which lean towards the natural end of the spectrum.
I have several products from Origins that I use daily that I would say are my "holy grails" including their moisturisers in particular. It wasn't until last year that I ventured into their make-up and in particular their mascara. I had pondered this purchase for some time, but it wasn't until September of last year that I decided to purchase. Normally I only like to have two mascaras on the go at any one time, one of these is always waterproof. This is because I am a contact lens wearer and you can't be too careful about eye products. If I see a new mascara that I feel I would like to try I note it and then plan a deferred purchase.
Actually I am mostly loyal to Clinique mascaras, in particular the "Extreme Lash" as I find them to be of excellent value and have all the attributes you look for in a mascara that being volume, lengthening, ease of application, non clumping and so on. In recent years they brought out a waterproof one so this completed my holy grails, and only occasionally do I look elsewhere.
I kept looking at the Origins product and wondering, as I absolutely love the Ginzing Moisturiser in the same range. Eventually I made the decision to purchase and went to Debenhams, making use of my loyalty card during one of their promotions. In case you are unfamiliar with their loyalty scheme it is free to join, and awards points on purchases that can subsequently be used to obtain discounts on beauty items. Beauty Club customers also quality for free postage on mail orders so that is well worth having.
The Origins mascara retails for £17.50 which makes it a high end option. It promises lush and lifted lashes and a brush that sweeps up, fans out, and imparts an awake look. It should do for the price as Clinique is a pound cheaper, and there are many excellent lower end options for half the price. It only comes in black so no options for a lighter shade at the moment.
My Experience And Opinion
On purchasing the mascara I immediately wrote the date of opening on the outer box. I always do this to remind me when I ought to be thinking of replacement. Inside the box an orange/grey tube greeted me, it was chunky and looked unique. On opening the tube I was really shocked when I saw the wand which was absolutely enormous. It is gigantic, thick and so cumbersome to use- you could almost use it to sweep a chimney! At first I thought I would need to be extra careful to make sure that the product was placed on the lashes correctly, and sure enough I needed a lot of concentration. Even with repeated practise I am not convinced that this product is for me, as I like to get ready quickly, especially if I am going out and want to look polished. I have quite small eyes and this wand is very difficult to use, I often get bits of black in all the wrong places, which is frustrating and time consuming. If the product excelled I might have been able to recommend it to you but in all honesty the effect is average, and in line with cheaper products. It has no wow factor in my opinion and does not impart any kind of brightening that I have noticed in line with its name. Furthermore application with this giant wand is hopeless for bottom lashes and I have to use my Clinique for that.
I am persevering, as I never throw make up away because this is a good mascara, as long as you have the time to be very careful with it. However on days when I need to look polished and be out for an appointment I just would not even consider it. This week, for example, I have a dental appointment quite early in the morning, and I would not want to use this when getting ready for that as it would take too long.
Yes it does everything a good mascara should- it leaves lashes looking full and separated, but the brightening effect eludes me. It is easy to remove at the end of the day with cleanser.
I am not alone in my thoughts. Over on Make Up Alley, my favourite cosmetic review site, the mascara scores 3.9 out of 5 with 66% saying they would re-purchase. However the majority comment on the brush, as I have, which is why it has a lower score that I would have expected for Origins, which is a highly sought after make. Some people on Make Up Alley reported eye irritation with repeated use but I have had no problems. Reviews on the Origins site are more positive though where it is said to have been a winner in the 2013 Beauty Awards.
I am using this up, and enjoying it, as long as I choose days that have little time pressures to adhere to, however with a new puppy in the house those days are few, and I find myself reverting back to my holy grail Clinique for ease of use and speed.
There seems to be a trend for large brushes- Too Faced have a new mascara out called "Better Than Sex" and again this has a massive brush that makes application very tricky. Yes it does impart a full almost false lash effect with perseverance, but not without a lot of effort and for me that is just not possible for everyday life.
In conclusion I would say this is a good mascara with a poor wand that needs to be made smaller. I can't ascertain any sort of brightening effect, but that is not to say you would not. I think it is an average product that is overpriced, and I would not re-purchase, notwithstanding the fact that this is a natural organic product that is not tested on animals- something that is very dear to my heart.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Axus Décor 100 Percent Long Merino Sheepskin Roller Sleeve Pile
Pebbledash is an external wall covering that was more popular in times gone by than it is today, although there is a more modern version called Spar that is used sometimes. The original type is in effect a coarse plaster made from gravel, lime, sand and cement, and historically contained pebbles or even shells in some cases. I actually love it, but the maintenance is a serious consideration which is why its popularity has declined, in fact it is now thought to devalue a property, as the time and cost necessary to maintain it is considerable.
I have a small cottage in the Outer Hebrides close to the sea. This sea is ferocious at times, and winds that come from the South West batter the house especially in the winter months. It was built during the 1930s when Pebbledash was so popular, but houses being built on the islands now rarely use any form of Pebbledash as the maintenance issues are too great. Our summer holidays are spent painting the Pebbledash, and over the last fifteen years we have used a large brush which we use to stipple the paint onto the walls. This is necessary as the surface has many crevices, and it is necessary to push the paint onto the surface to cover all the areas completely. As you can imagine this is very tiring and slow, and it takes many days to complete a small area properly. We always use Dulux Weathershield, as you need to use good quality paint on these islands that will weather the storms. You can't paint like you would a wall that is smooth, as the surface has so many nooks and crannies which is why it takes such a long time.
The first year that we bought the house in 1998 we employed professional decorators, as the surface of the pebbledash was grey and had never been painted. This necessitated spray washing first to remove loose stones and dirt, followed by several coats of paint. The first was watered down to improve coverage. This was very expensive, and not something we wanted to pay for regularly, so after this initial outlay we drew up a plan to keep on top of it. However after 15 years and many years of dedication it was becoming like the Forth Bridge - an endless round of painting that consumed days and days of holidays, especially as at the time we has wooden windows that also needed painting. Stippling paint is an arduous task and very very tiring, and so one day I decided to do some research to see if there was any kind of alternative. I first thought of a spray gun, but many reviews had said this was useless and used so much paint. Also a day without wind on the islands is rare, and so this was another problem as spray guns can send paint everywhere in windy conditions. I then thought about rollers, but none of them sounded suitable until I found the Merino wool version that was the answer to my prayers!
The Axus Decor 100% Long Merino Sheepskin Roller Sleeve Pile is available on Amazon for £19.99, and you will also need to buy a 12"-18" adjustable roller frame for it at a separate cost of around £15.The roller is made from pure sheep wool and is highly absorbent, and is said to be effective on uneven and rough surfaces, so I thought it could be ideal for Pebbledash. There were no customer reviews on Amazon so I was rather sceptical, and my husband was too, although after years of painting the walls he was willing to try anything! I think his biggest reservation was how much paint it would take and if it would be uneconomical to use. So let's look at how it fared!
Clipping the roller to the frame was a doddle, and we had also purchased a large tray for the paint so that facilitated loading the roller with ease. We turned our attention to a long stretch of wall last summer that was in dire need of paint and set to the job. Normally this wall would take about 2- 3 days of painting to achieve a solid coat - we covered it in 4 hours! My husband used the new toy and I loaded a brush to follow him around, as we anticipated there being some holidays to cover, but it was soon obvious that this was not needed as the roller was applying the paint into all the crevices on its own. In four hours the wall was completed - it was utterly amazing, and the colour was solid and brilliant white. In addition the paint use was exactly the same as with the laborious brush technique, so there was no additional outlay in terms of materials.
When we went to the cottage this winter we knew this would be the test, as this year the islands have seen their most severe winter storms in many years. The wall has weathered them exactly in line with expectations and still remains solid in colour with very few areas of wear- just the same as if the job had been done using a brush!
The roller does come with some specific care instructions and it is important to rinse straight away after use to remove as much paint as possible, which we did, and on looking at it recently it remains in good condition with no hair loss. Indeed it is recommended by the manufacturer as being a low shedding roller, as there is nothing worse that hair constantly shedding from brushes during use.
I think my purchase of this has been nothing short of a miracle, and it highlights the benefit of internet shopping, as I have seen nothing like this in DIY stores local to where I live. I was rather horrified as the initial outlay of £35 for the tool including the frame seemed very steep, and my husband had concerns that the paint costs would double, but they did not, and the benefits of doing the job so thoroughly in such a short time frame were absolutely confirming that we would never be going back to the old method again. In short this is a miracle product for anyone with Pebbledash who devotes days of their lives to keeping it white, or who has resigned themselves to an acceptance of a grey exterior. Highly recommended!
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Please note I have asked Dooyoo to move this as it has been listed in the incorrect category by themselves, as this was a product suggestion intended for the DIY section.
As grown up members of my family have finally got round to returning to their bedrooms and sorting through memorabilia, we have finally been able to redecorate, making their rooms more suitable to the adults they have become. That way when they visit they can enjoy their rooms without too much clutter!
We recently finished painting my youngest daughter's room who is now 24, and as she shares my love of yellow we decided to update her room adding a more vibrant shade to the walls. They were originally primrose yellow, but they now are what is my favourite Dulux shade of all time- "Cornfield". This is available off the shelf in gloss, but you can ask for it to be mixed specially in matt, endurance and eggshell, and as our preference for walls is endurance matt this is what we had made up. The result is a beautiful vibrant yellow which is warming and imparts a summer glow to the room. I love this shade so much I have it in 3 other rooms in my house.
A few years ago I had purchased some primrose yellow curtains from Laura Ashley, and they had hung at the bedroom window which faces south, so had faded from their original shade but were otherwise in good condition. I took the risk of washing them in the machine which they survived well, and then I set about trying to find a way of dyeing them to match the lovely warm summer colour that the walls in the room had been painted.
Dylon Sunflower Yellow Machine Wash Dye
I came across Dylon Sunflower Yellow machine dye and having read several reviews on Amazon regarding the colour, that was described as being more orange than yellow, I decided to try to use the product in the hope that it would match the walls.
Dylon say that using this dye it is possible to change or to renew the colour of clothing and soft furnishings on suitable fabrics such as cotton, linen, viscose and poly-cotton, but not for delicate fabrics such as woollens, or for synthetic or dry clean only items. One pack dyes up to 600g of dry weight fabric and using more fabric and less dye results in a lighter colour result. Additionally you are warned that the final colour depends on the original shade. The product is designed for automatic front loading machines only. The price for one pack is £5.99 with free delivery from Amazon, and you can also purchase this in stores including Wilko.
My curtains are very large, as the window is of a decent size and the curtains are fully lined. I worked out the weight and calculated that I would need 4 packs so it was going to cost £22. Additionally I also read that I was going to need salt which Dylon sell, but actually table salt suffices perfectly well. I would advise not to buy the dye salt as it is £2.20 for 500g and this is the amount you need however many dye sachets are required, so table salt is a lot less expensive.
How To Use
To use the dye it is imperative that the item has been freshly laundered and is damp. Then you place the salt into the machine drum and the dye on the top before adding the items. Take care not to get dye on your hands- rubber gloves are advised. You then run the machine on a 40 degree wash with no detergent. At the end of the cycle you simply add detergent and run again with the items still in the drum. On removal it is then advisable to run the machine one last time with no items in it to remove any trace of the dye. I actually used paper towel to wipe inside the seal after this cycle, as I felt there was some dye residue that had collected in there. It was minimal, but I wanted to make sure that it was not going to dye other items that I put in subsequently.
On removal of the curtains I was absolutely delighted. They looked almost brand new, and were a gorgeous vibrant sunny Mediterranean yellow. The colour had taken well in all areas of the fabric, and only in one or too places was there any evidence of fading that wasn't quite uniform, related to previous wear prior to dyeing. This was absolutely minimal so I was delighted.
I ironed the curtains and when rehung I was blown away by the transformation. I struggle in winter with lack of light and this colour scheme lifts my spirits and makes me think of warmer days and the summertime. Cornfield is the exact shade these curtains become - just like the Dulux shade, and when combined with pure white gloss-work the result is a warm and inviting bedroom that also looks spotlessly clean.
For £22 plus a pot of table salt, and the cost of electricity to run three wash cycles, I have a pair of curtains that look brand new. I have been so impressed I am thinking what to dye next - the possibilities are endless, especially if you purchase white to begin with. Soft furnishings have a new lease of life with this product that excels in every aspect. I think my only caveat would be to check the machine thoroughly after use, especially around the seal, and run a hot wash with vinegar or a machine cleaner just to make sure all residue has gone if you are worried.
As Dooyoo don't allow images to be added to their reviews I have a link below that takes you to the Dulux page, as it shows the exact shade shared by the colour "Cornfield" and the Dylon shade "Sunflower Yellow". I feel it is important to include this as not all yellows are the same, as I think of sunflowers as being a less orange shade than the resulting items I dyed. Obviously my curtains were pale-mid yellow already, so bear this in mind if you are using this colour.
The beauty of this is that it can give items a new lease of life and does so without breaking the bank. It is good for the environment and pretty satisfying too!
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278 with photographs.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O - Micelle Solution (formerly Crealine)
Bioderma is a cleanser made in France with a dedicated customer base, fuelled in the UK by the wonderful Lisa Eldridge, who sings the praises of this product in many of her online tutorials. She likes it because it is gentle, so is ideal for use on models during photo shoots when different outfits require different make up looks.She also takes it onboard aircraft to remove make up and to freshen up in the morning after long haul night flights. This product has had a new name change from the Crealine solution listed by Dooyoo but is the same product.
I became a dedicated user some years ago, and although sceptical at first I now use virtually nothing else, as once you discover this you may well not look any further for products that cleanse the skin and remove make up.
When I first started to use this product it was difficult to purchase, and being in the south of England I would stock up on my trips to Paris. Now though availability is much improved and Amazon, Ebay, and most recently the online retailer Escentual stocks this product. There is often a very big difference in price depending on offers and discounts, but currently a 500ml bottle costs £14.50 on Escentual, and a dinky 100ml bottle is £4.50. It may sound a lot but the small bottle easily lasts for the entirety of a 2 week holiday, and being 100ml is allowed inside the aircraft cabin.
The product is supplied in a plastic bottle and is clear like water. Intended for use on normal to dry skin, this is a non rinse cleanser that you simply pour onto a cotton square, and use to wipe off make up and to cleanse the skin. It has anti redness properties, and is mild and gentle containing no harsh ingredients alcohol or parabens. It is also safe to use near to the eyes, and in my experience is fantastic for removing eye make up effortlessly including waterproof mascara. The lotion has no discernible scent.
Prior to purchasing this I used to be someone who would flit from one product to the next in terms of cleansers. I used to love face wipes, especially for the convenience, and would often stock up with those made by Boots Number 7 when they had the £5 offer on. I also used to love the rose scented variety made by Garnier. I wasn't loyal to wipes though, and would use many other lotions depending on what took my fancy and often in response to offers. Now I have no wipes at home, and Bioderma has replaced most of my other things, as I really can't fault it in terms of its make up removing qualities and its kindness to the skin.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
I think what really convinced me was recently when I decided to use up the last of my Boots Number 7 wipes that had been my holy grail for many years. I had a full face of make up on so I dutifully used the wipes until all traces of make up were removed, and the wipe was coming away clean. Before using a moisturiser I decided to try the Bioderma to see if there was anything left on my skin, and to my horror absolutely loads of foundation and mascara came away from what I had considered to be a cleansed face. This was something of a revelation and I realised that this product was much more thorough that I imagined.
Being available in several sizes is a real bonus as the larger size lasts for absolutely ages- I would say at least 4 months so compared to wipes this is not too extortionate. The smaller size is perfect for holidays and trips and fits easily into my make up bag.
The lotion leaves my skin feeling lovely and soft, and I usually follow with a lovely French toning lotion Eau de Beauté Rosamélis which is a flowery lotion that is refreshing and cool.
On my favourite make up review site- Make up alley there are almost 600 reviews of this product and 82% say they would repurchase. This is a very impressive score as these reviewers are straight talking, and dedicated to advising others so that financial outlay can be avoided for products that don't live up to the hype. There are some negative reviews where writers say that it doesn't remove make up as well as my experience has been, and a few state that it was irritating to their skin, but the vast majority find it to be, as I have, - an outstanding product.
I think my perception of whether something really is a holy grail product is whether I try other things with frequency in that area, despite having the item in use. I can honestly say that I have not been seeking anything else, and have repurchased the Bioderma time and time again and it does everything I want effortlessly.
I will continue to purchase this going forward, as it leaves my skin feeling fresh and cleansed and soft as it has no drying properties. It removes all my make up effortlessly and surpasses the results I have gained with wipes that were my product of choice in the past. It really is a product I love in all aspects.
NICA SUSIE CROSSBODY BAG
Finding that perfect handbag for everyday use is never easy. I don't own many accessories preferring to keep things simple, but I do like to have a bag that is large enough to accommodate the daily essentials I need. I purchased my Nica Susie Cross Body Bag from Nica themselves last summer when the brown shade was in the sale. I paid only £22 but the black is still being sold for £45, which I would still pay as I have been so pleased with the bag.
Nica bags are sold in many outlets including Debenhams and I have seen the brown version on the Very.co.uk website and on Asos.co.uk. I have also seen the brown version on Isme where there is an excellent video to watch on the product http://www.isme.com/nica-susie-crossbody-bag/1285653327.prd
ALL ABOUT THE BAG
The bag measures Height 21 by width 27 by depth 11cm and is entirely synthetic, which I prefer as I am vegetarian so tend not to opt for leather items. The bag has a unique pleated style so that a yellow canvas print shows though in a couple of places, and there is a pretty flower fitting on the front.
The bag has a crossbody strap and plenty of pockets, and the main closure is a zip which operates from either end. The bag is lined with an attractive yellow print.
I love the cross body style of this bag. It has only been in recent years that I have come to love this style of bag so much. I think it feels very secure when I am out in the city centre, and there is no danger of the bag slipping off my shoulder as a conventional shoulder bag can do. I have the disease ME and some days I am not as sharp as I should be, and I value this sort of bag even more on those brain fogged days if I have to go out into public places.
Furthermore the capacity of this bag is absolutely ideal for everyday use. I did an experiment a while ago when I tried to manage with a much smaller crossbody bag that I purchased from White Stuff. It was just about big enough to hold my purse and phone, but I found it awkward to open and close, and there was always something I needed to have with me that wouldn't fit in. So I save that bag now for meals out with my husband, and similar occasions when I am going out by car and only need the bare essentials. The Nica bag however is the perfect alternative as it is roomy, but not excessively so. Currently it contains my purse, make up bag, keys, phone, loyalty cards and various medications for sore throats which I am currently battling, and there is a lot of spare space so I can add items according to need. What I do is keep a pretty box by my front door with what I call my "handbag essentials" that I choose from each time I go out, and I then replace items on my return. This seems to work really well and avoids my bag becoming too heavy. Items in this box include things like hand gels, Bach flower remedies, small compact umbrella, car keys, perfume and so on. Before I had this scheme I used to carry everything everywhere and my bag was like a cavern- it was dreadful and so cumbersome and heavy, and so now I think about where I am going and pack and unpack accordingly. Having ME means that you can't carry much, so it is pointless going to the shops with a heavy handbag already on your arm.The trouble is with the illness though is that you have so many symptoms that often need treatment, you can have a bag full of medicines if you don't plan ahead! Even aside from the meds there are things like water bottles which add to the weight considerably.
The layout of the interior is excellent. There is a designated phone pocket which is inside the zipped area in the main compartment, and there is also an open pocket on the front, which is ideal for storing things like coupons as they can lie flat, and are safe and protected there but easily accessible. Inside the main compartment there is also a large zipped pocket for valuables. When open the bag seems to stay in an oval shape so it is easy to find what you are looking for, and the size is just perfect allowing you to visualise everything with ease.
As I said I have the brown version which I love with the yellow accents, and as yellow is my favourite colour this suits me so well, but the black version is more versatile and would go with more outfits.
I think I only have one very small concern which relates to the zip mechanism. As this bag closes from either end with the pulls meeting in the middle, which is lower than each end, there is a lot of tension at the outer edges, and after several months of use I can identify some slight wear to the stitching. It is very minor and I have stopped it deteriorating by not opening it completely to capacity, which is not necessary to view the contents, but it may well be the ultimate cause for replacement further down the line in a few years.
Other than that I can recommend this bag to you, especially if it appears in a sale again soon on one of the many websites that seem to stock Nisa bags. It is a perfect size and I love the capacity and the cross body style which offers security and protection when out and about in public.
CAUDALIE PINK GRAPEFUIT HAND AND NAIL CREAM
A few years ago I discovered a hand cream that was to become my all time favourite, and one which I now have many of in different sizes all over my home and in my handbag. The product is The Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, and I have reviewed this wonderful product on Dooyoo in the past.
Just recently I was sent a voucher to use on the Feel Unique website. It was a "tempt me back" offer as I hadn't used the site in a while, so I had a look and noticed that they were stocking some variations of my favourite hand cream. I had never appreciated that there were variations, and assumed these may be new to the market, or previously not available in the UK. However further research told me that these were limited editions for 2013/2014.
The new fragrances for the hand creams have been made with three grape varieties in mind - firstly Sauvignon. This variety is rich in anti-oxidant grape Polyphenols, and is the one that caught my eye as it is the hand cream they call Pink Grapefruit. This is a fragrance that The Body Shop does so well. I think the citrus notes in these products by The Body Shop are fresh and uplifting, and I always have a Body Shop shower gel in this fragrance in my bathroom.
I went ahead to purchase this Caudalie hand cream in the pink grapefruit as the price was £6 for 30 ml, and I had the choice of other fragrances including Blackcurrant Leaf and Grapevine Honey. The former is inspired by the grape variety Merlot and the latter by Cabernet. There was also a gift set containing all three for £12 which I thought was excellent value, and would make a lovely Christmas present. The site also has the original cream available in a large size, although small sizes are available from many outlets online. So what did I think of the Pink Grapefruit?
Caudalie say that " The cream will make your hands beautifully soft, and the smooth texture melts instantly into the skin to envelop it with a sensation of absolute comfort. They also say that the fragrance offers up a basket of citrus, with notes of pomelo and sweet orange blending into the refreshing scent of crushed mint. They say that the delicious freshness revives the senses and boosts the spirit" -Enticing isn't it?
Caudalie, if you are not familiar with them, are a French brand that produce natural products using the extracts from their vineyards, so expect to find grape vine extracts in all their products. Until a few years ago their products were not easy to obtain in the UK but now they are widely available.
The cream contains grape-seed oil which is rich in omega 6, and an ingredient called Vinolevure which captures and retains water, so is used to prevent dehydration of the epidermis, and is also claimed to reinforce the skin's natural defences. The cream also has organic fair-trade Shea butter.
So what is my experience?
First of all I adore the packaging. The tube is a lovely handbag size, and of course being French the "Pink Grapefruit" is translated to "Pamplemousse Rose", which must be the most gorgeous name for a hand cream that I can imagine. This would make a lovely little Christmas gift as the silver tube is decorated with a green and pink floral design and looks very attractive.
The cream looks identical to the original version in that it is a milky thin cream that dispenses easily from the tube. The fragrance is sharp and very strong and long lasting, and has the pink grapefruit note, but I cannot ascertain any mint aromas. It isn't the same as the Body Shop scent as the sweet orange does make this different - unique in fact - and very memorable.
The cream is absorbed immediately into the skin, and it does not leave any greasiness which makes it suitable for daytime use, I dislike using greasy products during the day, as even if they are intensely moisturising they are annoying if you want to type for example, or do other tasks round the house. I hate that sticky feeling after application, and some of my favourite creams such as the Lavender by L'Occitane I prefer to apply before bed for this reason as it is slightly greasy.
As this cream by Caudalie is intensely fresh and citrus scented it is ideal to use after preparing food in the kitchen as it leaves hand lovely and fresh and free from odours.
I think compared to the Caudalie original cream, that is my holy grail, this variant is slightly less moisturising, and it does not leave my hands as soft and as comfortable as I would have hoped.
It is a lovely cream and I have enjoyed using it, but I don't think I will re-purchase as it falls slightly short compared to the original on this attribute. This has resulted in the need to reapply slightly more often, which makes it slightly less appealing as it isn't as cost effective.
I think this is a beautiful product that has a gorgeous name and is a lovely cream to use. I think that it is only the lack of intense moisture that means I will not repurchase. Being a hand and nail cream I would have expected this to moisturise the nail beds as the original is excellent for this. However this does not seem to do this as well, and I have more hang nails and dry areas close to the nail margins which I don't when I use the original.
I have loved using this for a change, and if it wasn't for the original that I adore I would possibly repurchase, but I will stick to my favourite as it is outstanding in every area you expect for a product in this category. I will try the blackcurrant variant as I have read some very positive reviews about this, and will let you know how it performs.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278
When my Shih Tzu Molly became unwell this summer with colitis I was determined to see if I would find the cause, as this is something that has plagued her all her life. Now being 13 it isn't something that I want her to endure, and so looked to find anything that could help her to restore good healthy gut function.
Not only did I look at her diet, but I also looked to supplements, and one product that stood out to me was the Bionic Biotic by Pooch and Mutt. This is a granular product sold in a sachet that you sprinkle onto food like a condiment, and is available from Amazon and VetUK as well as other outlets like Pets At Home. You can expect to pay about £10, but I recently purchased some from Chemist Direct for £8.99 which is a good saving, especially as they are affiliated to cash-back sites. You can also purchase from Pooch and Mutt themselves at www.poochandmutt.co.uk where they have a money back guarantee if the product does not work for you. There is also the option to purchase a sample pack for £2 from the website.
So What Is It?
In essence this is a pro- biotic supplement for dogs. My thoughts that led me to purchase were based on the very popular Prokolin that I have reviewed earlier on Dooyoo. This is a treatment for diarrhoea, and also uses good bacteria to crowd out the bad. However this is more of a first aid emergency Vet prescribed measure, and I thought that Bionic Biotic would be a valuable product to try, as it had similar properties with regard to the pro- biotic content, especially as it is intended to be used daily.
The initial cost of the product may seem expensive, but I have found that a bag lasts about 2 months, as you only need a teaspoon if your dog is small like Molly. Larger dogs are told to use more so a larger outlay would be required.
The supplement contains the recommended pro- biotic for dogs, as well as omega 3, omega 6, soya, oil, antioxidant vitamins c and e , organic zinc, selenium, menthol, eucalyptus, biotin, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and methionide. The intended use for this product is dogs with loose stools, digestive issues, skin problems, colitis, pancreatitis and others, and the manufacturer states that an improvement should be seen with many of these conditions within 3 weeks. They also advise taking a photograph of the dog's coat if the aim is to improve the condition, so that comparisons can be made a few weeks later.
Now Molly had colitis at the time I initially purchased, and this always seems to involve a load of feet chewing and itching of her coat, but there is not a skin problem to photograph as such. My main reason for purchase was to treat the loose stools that seemed to persist after the initial colitis attack. She also had joint problems which have been ongoing for several years, which we had been treating with Synoquin tablets, which are an expensive vet product containing glucosamine.
I was initially really hopeful as the reviews on Amazon were very positive- in fact the overall rating is over 4*
Adding this product to Molly's food has been easy as she loves the taste and eats it with gusto. She has hypo-allergenic wet food, goat yoghurt, Bionic Biotic and kibbles, and the result is a rather tasty looking medley. The goat yoghurt was recommended by my daughter who is a vet as it too contains pro-biotics.
Within 3 weeks of using this product Molly had improved so much- I was very impressed indeed in many ways. First of all her stools became formed and normal again, not straight away - I would say from about 2 weeks onwards, the chewing of her paws lessened, and generally her itching reduced. Even more interesting though was that her joint problems have completely disappeared, and she is no longer hobbling around. I am convinced that something was missing in her diet that this supplement has provided, and she is now off Synoquin altogether as the results have been long lasting and impressive. I have also been giving her Feelwell biscuits that have some of the ingredients in Synoquin, but which for a much cheaper outlay seem to be keeping her free from joint problems.
I have been very impressed with this product which is now a daily item that I use for Molly. So far it has worked well and has had the desired results. Obviously I can't be 100% sure that her recovery is not also due to the other measures that I have introduced. These include the goat yoghurt, the change in diet and the Feelwell biscuits, but the time scale of improvement strongly suggests that this product is a good bet and one that I will continue to use on a daily basis.
Of course if your pet has any condition mentioned it is vital to seek advice from the vet which I did first. Colitis in dogs is notoriously difficult to treat, and in many cases the cause is illusive. I strongly suspect Molly has an allergy to wheat, gluten and a rather naughty habit of eating things in the garden such as soil and so on, which may account for some of her issues. She is also definitely allergic to house dust, so we have to wash her bedding frequently, and keep on top of dust in the house. All these measures I mentioned seemed to have resulted in one very happy dog, so I am really hoping this lasts as she is well into the winter of her life, and I want to make it as happy as I possibly can.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Vioet1278.
WILKO WHITE WOODEN COAT HANGERS.
I have been more than impressed of late with the mail order service that I have received from Wilko. Not only does the site work with cash- back companies such as Topcashback, but it also offers a very wide range of items including Diy, Home-wears and gardening. Postage is very reasonable, and the delivery times are amazing, with only 2 or 3 days wait. I was able to benefit from this incredible service also from my other house in The Western Isles of Scotland where my order was delivered within a 3 day window, which when you take into account the terrain, sea crossings and logistics barriers due to distance, this is an amazing service. This was also charged at the same rate as mainland deliveries, which I double checked with customer service by phone who were absolutely first class- helpful and professional. Returns are also very easy as recently I had some paint delivered which had been damaged in transit, and in "John Lewis" style my account was refunded without question. For this reason I have been loyal to the company as I think they offer an excellent customer focused outlook.
The White Wooden Hangers
The subject of this review is the white wooden coat hangers that are sold by Wilko both online and in their stores. A few years ago I decided to try to make a collection of hangers that were all the same in my wardrobe, and to ditch the wire hangers that I had collected over several decades, that were less than kind to some of my more delicate items. A Hotel Inspector programme a couple of years ago highlighted the problem when I saw a rather irate Alex Polizzi informing a hotelier of his appalling choice of acquired hangers that hung tattilly in his bedroom wardrobes. I glanced at mine and decided then I had to carry on with my quest to replace my mish mash, and this is where I looked to Wilko to see if I could find any that were of excellent quality but were a sensible price.
This is when I discovered the beautiful sets of white wooden hangers that were being sold on the website. These are very popular indeed, and are often out of stock with a "back soon" message, so it is worth keeping a look out for them regularly. They are sold in packs of 5, and for as long as I can remember they have also been sold as a buy two for £5 offer, making them 50p each. I think this represents excellent value for money as these are high quality sturdy hangers built to last.
The hangers have a connecting bar for trousers and grooves for skirt loops making them multi-functional. I have been able to use them for all my clothes regardless of type, and as they have no sharp wires they are extremely kind to delicate knitwear.
Having hangers of this quality, all the same size and thickness, actually allows me to store more items in my wardrobe than before, as the uniformity of the hangers facilitates clothes to lie well next to each other. This minimises creasing, and items do not fall off as these hangers are designed well and support the garments. For an outlay of a few pounds every now and then, (I have been collecting them for several years) I now have a lovely wardrobe that actually looks quite like a boutique, and it feels good to have this level of organisation when I am looking for items in the morning. What I have tended to do is to purchase two sets of 5 along with other items regularly, as they have superb offers on household products and heavy items like garden compost. So over the course of a couple of years I now have a sizable collection of these hangers, and am starting now to collect them to use in my husband's wardrobe, as he has still got some of the "free with dry cleaning" wire hangers that I have been using to clean down the back of radiators when untwisted and covered with tights!
These white wooden hangers are easy to clean with a damp cloth, and the sturdy hook they have holds even heavy garments well without any obvious strain on the wood.
I highly recommend these hangers as I am so pleased with the finished look, and the cost to achieve it which was reasonable and affordable. Even some of my older clothes seem to have taken a new lease of life when displayed on these hangers! I feel like I have a boutique in my bedroom and am delighted!
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks
As I have got into my fifties I have tended to prefer to purchase cream blushes rather then powder finishes. I don't purchase them exclusively as MAC, for example, make some lovely sheertone blushes that impart a lovely youthful glow to the skin, without leaving a powdery finish. Also many lovely powder blushes can always be softened by adding a finishing spray at the end of applying make-up, such as the lovely one by Urban Decay known as the All Nighter. This product is amazing and will eliminate any cakey areas, if you have been heavy handed on the powder blush or finishing powder in general.
All this being said though I am tending to purchase cream blushes more and more, which is how I came to find the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge range. Designed as a dual product to be used as a blush and also as a lip stain, these versatile little pots are absolutely beautiful. I would say that they are now in my holy grail of make up products for so many reasons, so let's look in detail at the product and its attributes.
Retailing for £19 this is not a cheap option, but the product design is good with a mirrored lid which allows application to be made easily, whether at home or on the run. The mirror is a good decent size making it perfect for the job. The amount of product supplied is generous, and if used daily it will last for months and months. There are 10 colours so there is an option for every skin type and colour you wish, ranging from deep pinks to peaches and red browns. I have two colours, "Rose" which is a beautiful English rose shade, and "Fresh Melon" which is my absolute favourite pinky peach shade. I believe this one was an new addition to the range in 2012.
The product is available from www.bobbibrown.co.uk and from John Lewis, Selfridge's, Debenhams and The House Of Fraser. I tend to use Debenhams as they have frequent special offers and a very good loyalty card scheme.
I researched all the shades first by logging into my favourite review site for cosmetics over at Make-up Alley, where I found great respect for these blushes - my favourite "Fresh Melon" for example scores a 4.4 out of 5 with 100% saying they would repurchase. As I have said before reviewers over there are very discerning, and don't award high scores without justification, as the site is a wonderful resource for information, and writers are dedicated to providing accurate reviews.
My Experience And Opinion
The first thing I have to say about these blushes is that you must make sure that your skin is moisturised well. The formula is a tad drying, although nowhere near as drying as the lovely cream blushes by Stila. I love these, but they really demand skin to be moisturised, and in my opinion are difficult to use if you have very dry skin. The Pot Rouges by Bobbi Brown are fine, as long as you take care to make sure that your skin has been moisturised well beforehand. If you have severely dry skin I would recommend trying the new cream blushes by Bourjois, or Max factor- Miracle Touch Cream Blushes, as these are much more moisturising and easy to blend. In fact both of these products are little gems that I intend to review soon.
The beauty of the Pot Rouges is that you can apply them with fingers alone, which is what I do as it makes for an effortless application. I simply use two fingers and gently blend the product up from the apple of my cheeks towards the cheek bones, and the result is a lovely soft healthy glow. Fresh Melon is absolutely gorgeous as it is a light peach pink, and it makes your complexion look healthy and youthful. Rose is a tad darker and more pink toned, but again the result is a dewy finish with a lovely soft pink glow. I believe that the look of these on the skin, together with the effortless application without the need for brushes, makes these a wonderful product for travel. Of course you can use a brush to apply them, but it isn't necessary. There is no glitter going on in these blushes, so they are ideal for mature skin and for a sophisticated look.
I have used this product on my lips as a stain and it performs well, and the rose in particular gives a lovely pink stain which looks fresh and youthful. When used as a lip stain or a blush the result is very long lasting - I feel that the blush is one of the most long lasting formulas I have in my collection.
The blush is easy to remove at the end of the day with any remover you choose, and in my experience it has never made my skin sensitive or caused any break outs.
I highly recommend these blushes, and especially if you are a lady of maturing years like myself, or if you travel a lot these are a lovely lightweight option. The finish is so natural on the skin, and the blendable formula makes it a joy to apply, and as a result it is quick and easy.
I think the only negative is the price, and as I mentioned in my opinion there are about 4 other products that I use that are on a par with these in terms of performance, application and being travel friendly. So here is the price for you to compare the Bobbi Brown against these. The first two are blushes only, but the last two- the Stila, and The Daniel Sandler are also lip and cheek combos.
Max Factor Miracle Touch Cream Blush- I have the shade Soft Pink which is a beautiful natural shade and this retails for £4.99. This is a tiny little pot and fantastic for travel. Perfect for dry skin.
Bourjois new cream blushes- I have 01 Nude Velvet and this is £5.99. This is a beautiful blush perfect for dry skin.
The Stila Convertible colours that all have flower names are £16. I have the shade Peony and these can be used on the cheeks or lips. Again these are difficult to use if you have very dry skin.
Daniel Sandler Creme Rouge Blushes in Soft Peach and Soft Pink. These are beautiful cream blushes that can be used on the lips too. £15.50
I hope this review has been helpful. In conclusion I would say that I highly recommend the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge blush and lip stains, but I would say that if you are primarily purchasing them to use as blush products only, then have a look at the Bourjois and the Max Factor alternatives as these are less expensive and beautiful. If you want the versatility of the lip cheek combo then I highly recommend them.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278
SMEG DISHWASHER DF 612WE
One of the reasons that I rarely write reviews on home appliances and white goods is that my opinion has to be made, not only on the machine as it is in use, but how long it lasts. If a machine is to be given 5* it has to be value for money, and by the time it leaves this world it is probably not going to be available for purchase. This poses a serious problem, as obviously a purchaser needs to be given all the facts on which to make a decision, and for this reason I have decided never to award any appliance 5* from now on.
To further quantify this I refer to my previous dishwasher purchase two and a half years ago. This Bosch dishwasher was of a good standard, but I concluded my review, written at the time, by saying "TIME" would tell. It did and this year it washed its last run of dishes before succumbing to heater failure. My husband often fixes parts on white goods, but on this occasion he decided that it was not going to be cost effective, or worth the time to do so, as the machine had also had other faults that occurred just outside of the warranty period. I was very surprised and disappointed by this Bosch appliance, as I have a lot of faith in this brand generally, but it did concern me enough to decide to try an alternative make this time around. It was also brought to my attention that early heater failure could have been due to over reliance on 5 in 1 tablets, without adding extra salt. It seems that, after extensive research, that the consensus of opinion by experts is that in medium and hard water areas, although these 5 in 1 products claim to be adequate by the manufacturers, in reality they are not. With this in mind I have now opted to add extra salt, even though I am using the same 5 in 1 dishwasher tablets as before.
Choosing a new dishwasher was really determined by make and price of equal importance. We have had a lot of expense this year, with other white goods reaching the end of their lives, and university bills at their highest for some years, so I opted for a Smeg model that I found on the website Appliance World. I have used this company before and was satisfied. They are a firm that have diversified into supplying white goods, following on from 25 years in the kitchen refit market. They have very competitive prices, but the only drawback is that you have to wait until they take their van to your area. In the case of my dishwasher this was a full 3 weeks, which was a little longer than I would have liked. However the price for the Smeg dishwasher was £250 with free delivery, which I found to be extremely competitive.
The problem with buying appliances online is that, unless you have a showroom close by, you are often buying blind, and so I rely on reviews and recommendations solely. In this case I knew that the model I had in mind was an older one, and had been superseded by newer technology, but of course this gave me the discount I was looking for. The point that really made me decide to purchase was that it had been sold originally with a 5 year parts and labour warranty, which although no longer being offered, made me feel I had something to base a purchase decision on. I felt that the manufacturer was confident in the machine to make this sort of offer.
My first thoughts on the dishwasher were less than positive. I said to my husband that the overall feel of it was cheap, and it resembled a make much less known for quality and more for budget.
The door felt very lightweight and not sturdy like my Bosch, and the inside of the machine seemed smaller, even though it was a 12 place setting as my Bosch had been.
The overall rating of this dishwasher is A, and it is a free-standing model 600mm wide. It has a noise level of 51db and a water consumption of 15 litres. The warranty is 12 months and the machine has 5 programmes.
I think my personal opinion of this has to be influenced by the times that I have had a lot of dishes to load. It really is badly designed, and requires a lot of thought to stack them all in. Even my Mathematician husband finds it a challenge! I still can't really work out why, but there are some definite niggles. Firstly the cutlery baskets are not suitable if your cutlery has wide handles, as the spaces are minute, and also the cutlery baskets are always falling over. I do however value the fact that there are two cutlery baskets to use on the lower level, meaning that it is possible to take one out if you wish to free up more space for other items.
There seems to be little space in which to put tall glasses without them toppling over, which they do with monotonous regularity as you slide the door closed. The layout of the trays makes it very difficult to load, and the cutlery trays seem to take up an inordinate amount of space in the bottom shelf if you have a full load, leaving limited space for large dinner plates.
There are many ways to configure the top shelf with fold down flaps and so on, and the shelf can be adjusted in two positions which is a positive attribute.
The choice of programmes is very limited compared to my previous model, and the ecological setting takes 3 hours to complete. The digital display is very simple, and has three buttons - on off, programme selector, and start and pause. There are also lights to show the salt and rinse aid levels. In terms of having cycles, the shortest for light soiling still takes over an hour, which is quite a long time compared to my previous model, in fact the normal programme is only a further 30 minutes in length. There is however a cold wash of 15 minutes duration which is a soaking programme. This is good if you had casserole dishes, for example, but were waiting for a full load to put the machine on. This programme cannot be used with a full load. There is also an intensive wash that is called the ultra clean, and this program terminates with an antibacterial rinse. My issue with this model though is that there is no way of knowing how long the programme has left to run, and I think this is a safety issue, as I do not like going out leaving appliances on.
The machine has been built to run using the 3 system- powder, rinse aid and salt, and so if you choose to use tablets or liquitabs instead, these must be placed into the cutlery rack, and not into the door. I must admit this really surprised me, but as this is an older model it is perhaps reflective of the way that dishwashers are used in 2013, rather then 2009 when this machine was originally designed.
I think the manual that is supplied with the machine is excellent and very informative, with information relating to both the dishwasher and dishwasher use in general which is very helpful.
There are detailed instructions given on how best to load the machine, including advice to put the most dirty dishes on the bottom shelf where the force of the jets is highest.
I have been pleased with the noise of this machine as it is quiet and does not interfere with thoughts or conversations that occur in the vicinity.
I think it remains to be seen as to how this machine will perform over the years to come. My husband has high hopes for its longevity, I remain on the fence. My initial reservations still stand with regard to the flimsy and rather tinny appearance and feel of the machine, and the way that the trays are made that makes loading quite a task. However so far so good, it has cleaned the items well - I don't think they come out quite as dry as my Bosch, but this may be due to the way I load them as it isn't an easy task at all and as I have said is rather fiddly.
Price-wise this was a bargain, and Smeg have impressed me in recent years with my fridge which is absolutely brilliant, so I hope this dishwasher becomes the workhorse I am hoping for. One thing is for certain it won't have to try hard to beat my last Bosch which was cradle to grave in under three years.
Insect Repellent, Thé/Citronelle
There is something about me that insects find very interesting, I am like a magnet to them , whether it is mosquitoes in the Maldives or Midges in Scotland I attract them. My husband looks on with amazement as they rarely worry him, and he certainly never has the bites to show for it!
I have tried many things over the years including B vitamins, insect repellents of various types from the lethal and serious Jungle Formula, to the more gentle natural therapies, and my most recent purchase several months ago was the Isabella Smith Thé/Citronelle Insect Repellent.
I purchased this on a recommendation I had from a beauty guru I watched on YouTube. Her point was that this was a perfume with insect repellent properties, so it was a fragrance as well as a medicinal product, and this was of interest. I went ahead and purchased this from www.isabellasmith.co.uk after some research about the website, as it was new to me. Isabella is Danish author as well as being a television presenter within Denmark, and has her own magazine and shop over there which specialises in home and garden products. According to her website this shop is one of the most popular in Denmark, so I found that to be very reassuring. The UK arm of the company has a warehouse in Bedford with an office in Knightsbridge, so orders are shipped from the UK so don't take long at all to arrive. The website is absolutely beautiful, and I spent a long time making a comprehensive wish list from the amazing range of products sold, many of which are environmentally friendly. The insect repellent is occasionally sold on Amazon as well so this gives an alternative buying option.
The Insect Repellent I purchased is the standard one, but you can also choose one of two other options, one called "Insect Repellent, Épices", which has spices such as star anise, orange, and cinnamon, and a floral version "Insect Repellent, Floral" which has Lily Of The Valley and rose as the fragrances used. I chose the basic version as this was the one reviewed on YouTube, but also because it is said to be a unisex fragrance that can be used by both men and women. As my husband expressed an interest in this product I thought it would be ideal to share, as many times we are out together and insects appear in their droves.
The fragrance has a citrus fresh light scent that is beautiful, and although slightly reminiscent of an aftershave, it has similar notes to fresh and light fragrances designed for women, so is perfect for both sexes. It is ideal to wear for a picnic, for example, especially if you just want that extra bit of protection in case there are insects about. The website claims that it deters mosquitoes, ticks, wasps, bees and black flies, so this is quite a claim so I think it is helpful for me to talk about my personal experiences of using this product, and where I think it excels and where maybe it needs a back up.
I think it is vital to say that there are two occasions when I would not depend on this product alone to repel insects. The first is if I was to travel to any region in the world where mosquitoes carry malaria, or where any insect carried a disease at all, as I would then take more serious precautions. If in doubt seek medical advice and up to date information for where you are planning to visit. Secondly if I was someone who suffered from infected bites, as some people do, I would not depend on this sort of product alone, as infected bites can be very serious and require prompt medical attention.
So having said this my experiences can be put into three main areas- first of all a holiday to the Maldives. Mosquitoes are a problem on some of the islands, and though very irritating and prone to biting, they are not a malaria threat at the moment, and so in recent years on my visits there I have moved away from Jungle Formula to more natural remedies, and also to more prudent use of long trousers as dusk approaches. They are more prevalent at night, and on my last visit I used this perfume in the evening and in conjunction with the long trousers I was actually very well protected, and sustained only a few bites that were mildly annoying. It is difficult to say if this experience was due to the product, or to the island, as we tend to visit a different one each year, and those with more dense foliage are the most prone to mosquitoes. However the island we were on had dense foliage, and did not use a smoke machine in the evenings, which many islands do to deter insects, so I am confident in saying that the perfume had protective properties, enough to say that I would certainly take it again.
My second experience was in Scotland where midges are a problem. Normally in The Outer Hebrides, where I spend a lot of time, midges are less irritating due to the high winds, but this year there was little wind and they were annoying on some days. I applied the perfume and certainly was less affected by them than I normally would be, and also as we are based on a farming area when we visit I was also less bothered by flies than normal.
My third experience has been with regard to the dreaded wasp that I tend to associate with September pub lunch dramas. My husband and I eat out in various pubs at the weekend, and make use of sunny days to sit in the gardens. Yes there have been wasps present, but they haven't made their usual beeline for me as they normally do, so I can only assume the product works!
The price of the perfume is £9.50 for 50ml and the bottle itself is probably not the sort of dressing table adornment you would want to display, as although a lovely delicate green, it does have a few insects depicted on the front and the words- NO DEET.
It also has the instructions for use, which instruct you to spray the cologne on all exposed areas avoiding the eyes, and use is to be repeated after 2 hours to maintain the repellent properties. Obviously it is important not to overlay the scent with other products, so I avoid using body lotions and other scented products if I am depending on the perfume to be effective. The bottle also suggests that you check your body for ticks after spending time in places where these are likely. This is vital in The Outer Hebrides as there are ticks here and these carry Lyme disease which is extremely serious, so I am pleased to see this warning on the bottle.
Also the product is not recommended to be used on pregnant ladies or on infants or toddlers.
The fragrance itself is lovely. I really enjoy wearing it as it is such an uplifting scent. It reminds me of the Body Shop Bergamot range from years ago and is a pleasure to wear. My husband loves it too so it really does live up to its claims of being a unisex product.
In conclusion I would say that this product is a valuable weapon against the irritation of insects, but extra precautions must be taken in areas where Malaria and other insect borne diseases are endemic. Also I would not advise depending on this if you are prone to infected bites. I have found it be very effective in the situations I mentioned, but I would strongly advise to consider other options if serious repellents are vital to maintaining health.
This review will also be published on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.