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I was lucky enough to receive a Burt's Bees gift set for my birthday which included this Milk and Shea Butter body wash. I love the Burt's Bees range but it is a little on the pricey side so it is lovely to get things from this range as gifts. Online I can find this individual item for around the £7.50 mark or at the moment Boots have a 3 for 2 on the entire range (worth stocking up when that happens!) Anyway, this product is designed to be used in the bath or shower and is a rich, creamy coloured thick liquid. It comes in a standard round bottle and the lid can be unscrewed or also has a flip top for ease of access. It has the standard orangey yellow Burt's Bees labels etc and my bottle is 350ml. The smell of this is quite lovely, it is not overly intense (which I dislike anyway) and has a note of coconut to it, it also smells of the shea butter it contains but not too strongly. The scent always lingers on my skin which is an element I like very much of this product. I have to say as well that it leaves your skin dreamily soft to the touch and to my mind is a very effective moisturising product (and this coming from someone with a particular issue with dry and sensitive skin). A bottle of this is more expensive than a standard shower gel or body wash but a little goes a long way - it lathers up lovely and a fifty pence sized blob will do for all over (for me!) so a bottle will last a while. Personally I would not use this as an everyday product anyway - maybe as a once a week treat. I do believe it is worth the price tag as it is such a joy to use and leaves skin so soft and moisturised.
I recently purchaed a can of this newly compressed Sure deoderant while it was on special offer in my local Tesco, I believe the special offer was because this is a new concept and I paid £1 for a 75ml can (usual price is around the £2 mark - £2.10 in my local Boots). The idea here is that the 75ml can contains as much as a standard 150ml can would - it has just been compressed more efficiently to help with reducing waste etc. Very conscientious and a great idea - if it works! I do usually use Sure deoderants anyway so was already familiar to the brand but this was my first time using one of these new cans. I don't know if I had just picked a dodgy can (judging by other reviews I think it must have been) but I had issues with the nozzle from the start. Mine was not particularly consistent with the way it dispensed the spray and the button seemed to need to be 'pumped' to get it working with any efficiency. However, once working the deoderant itself was great and as good as it normally is out of a standard size can, no difference in quality of actual product - just the packaging for me. I think I would try these compressed cans again as the ecological aspect appeals to me and I do believe the product itself is good - no white marks on clothes, no issues with sweat.
Because we travel such a lot I recently decided that the time had come to invest in some more comfortable and decent headphones, specifically for use on long haul flights. The small, in-ear bud headphones which I use at the gym etc start to hurt my ears after a few hours and I wanted some can style phones to enable me to watch a couple of movies back to back and listen to music without any soreness. I came onto Dooyoo to do a bit of research and Sennheiser got so many consistently good reviews that for me that made the decision about which brand to go for, I then checked across amazon reviews and decided that the HD201 at £18.99 was the set for me! I went with this model because it had plastic/leather ear pieces rather than the material ones - which I don't like - and when they arrived I was stoked to find that they fit my rather small head just fine. I LOVE the sound quality which seems so much more epic than with in-ear buds, perfect for watching films etc on a plane. I have not tried them on a flight as yet but will be doing so in a couple of weeks and cannot wait. I have used them at home already and the lack of any sound leakage is amazing, when I can't sleep I can now watch films on my ipad without disturbing my other half, which is fantastic. It would also make these great for playing guitar with if you were that way inclined - as would the super long 3m lead. For me, the very long lead is the only slight downer on this product because it just gets in the way and you need to try and tie it up somehow when all you really need is perhaps 50cm max. But I can see the benefits of the long lead for DJs and musicians. I think these are stunning quality for the price and they have definitely converted me into a Sennheiser fan, great sound quality, comfortable and they look good too - what more could you ask for!?
We always carry a packet of these when we travel as you never know when you will need to suddenly disinfect a cut or scratch and we tend to travel off the beaten track quite a lot. These antiseptic wipes from Tescos are very good value with a pack of 10 individually wrapped wipes at 70p. The fact that these are individually wrapped rather than in a packet all together is great if you are travelling because it means that each wipe is fresh and moist when you come to use it rather than being dried out. It also means you can stash an individual wipe in a handy place (I keep one in my wallet at all times) for just in case you need one when you might not have your first aid kit to hand. Each wipe smells fairly strongly of antiseptic and having used one recently (on a scratch sustained in the middle of a rainforest no less!) I can confirm that they do indeed sting when cleaning a wound - which is to be expected and is actually quite reassuring in my opinion. These are a very useful addition to any first aid kit and save trying to clean a wound under a tap or with cotton wool - the old fashioned way. The packaging makes them ideal for travel and at 7p a wipe they really are a bargain, well done Tesco for having such an extensive and reliable own brand range.
We recently had a retirement do for a family friend which was thrown together rather on the hoof and on a budget due to his wife being taken ill just as arrangements were about to be made. It meant that we all pulled together to have a party but needed it to be as cheap and cheerful as possible, I was in charge of providing cups, cutlery and plates and thankfully we have a megastore sized Tesco just up the road so it was the first place I went. These packs of paper plates are £1.20 for 50 which compared to the other ranges available was an absolute snip. Now as we were literally going to be using these for buffet food before slinging them anyway I was none too worried about the quality. As they were so cheap I actually bought 3 packs despite the fact we were only expecting around 60 guests, this meant we had enough for everyone to use at least 2 plates (one for buffet and one for cake potentially) with a number of spares. They are pretty flimsy - I mean you get what you pay for here, you would not want to eat any hot food off these really and I would be worried about anything too wet (curry sauce or chilli for instance) because the paper is really quite thin (grease off the buffet food penetrated in a matter of seconds). However, for casual and quickly disposable use they are fit for purpose. The diameter of these plates is 22cm so they are about the size of an average sideplate, again this is probably ideal for use in an environment where most people are eating standing up, these are easy enough to hold with one hand. So, I have to say that these were just the ticket for our party and really are a bargain at the price - just don't try and use them for wet food and you should have no problems!
I do love Baileys - it seems to be a drink which people only seem to think about and buy in at Christmas - but not in our house. We tend to get a bottle in whenever it is on offer. The price is quite high when you consider that a litre bottle of a knock off brand like Carolanns sells for around £5 a litre but Baileys itself is frequently around the £15 mark. I tend to snap it up when it is on offer at £10 a litre and consider that a fair price to pay. Baileys is available in a couple of varieties. The standard irish cream is coffee flavoured but there is also a mint and a hazelnut version (although I have only ever seen these on supermarket shelves at Christmas). You can also buy this in smaller bottles than the 1 litre version mentioned above, it comes in 75cl and 50cl bottles too. I like to drink this one of two ways, either straight over ice or in a latte coffee. It is possible to recreate a Baileys Latte (quite often seen on restaurant menus these days) by making a coffee and then replacing the milk with Baileys, because of the cream in it it will taste like a latte even with only a shot or a shot and a half of Baileys and it works quite well, lovely on a cold day. A Bailey's over ice, however, is a lovely drink even in the summer and I do think it is a shame that Baileys has tended to become known as a Christmas tipple in the main. The one thing you should be mindful of with Bailey's is that it is quite calorific because of the cream content, it is also quite sickly and sweet so it is not the kind of drink you would necessarily start a night out with (thought it makes a great nightcap at the end of one!). I also use Baileys in cooking and baking, it is lovely in cheesecake and easy to use in various recipes, plus the taste is quite distinct so you do not tend to need very much to get the effect. Overall, Baileys is a very tasty drink and suits more occassions than you might initially think!
I bought a set of these ankle weights to try and upscale the level of activity I was doing over the last three months, it's fair to say I have very quickly figured out what activities you CAN wear these for and which are not really appropriate. I paid £7.99 from Argos for my set but I see that they are widely available online, I wanted to use nectar points towards my purchase and as such these were actually a freebie (which is always nice!). They are well made, a canvas type of material with three evenly distributed weight pads in each, the total weight of each ankle cuff is 2.5lb which, believe me, is enough that you do notice them at first. They fasten by means of some heavy duty style velcro and I have had no problems with the way they attach or the security of the fastenings, they are also long enough that you can easily adjust them for use with all but the biggest of ankles because the velcro sections go pretty much right to the edges. I originally thought I would try and do a zumba class whilst wearing these as I have often done Zumba Tone where you carry or wear wrist weights, however I found that this kind of class (in my opinion) is not particularly suited to the ankle weights. I felt slightly unbalanced and it made me lose confidence in some of the moves so I quickly decided that zumba was not an option whilst wearing these. What I have worn them for with success though is my box fit classes which do not require so much co-ordination. I feel like these weights just make me work that fraction harder in class and that is exactly what I wanted them for. To this end they are great. I have also worn these for treadmill work with no issues and I will likely wear them in other classes too - it's just the balance and co-ordination required for zumba which does not seem to work well with this product.
I was very lucky to receive a bottle of this for my birthday (which is on New Years Eve - champagne always a good idea!). It happens to be my very favourite champagne but one which I would rarely splash out on due to the cost (anywhere from £40-60 per bottle - always check online for deals). It is a rose champagne from Laurent-Perrier and comes in it's own presentation/gift box. The reason I like it is because although it is dry it is very tasty and does not just taste like old shoes (which to my mind some overly dry champagnes can do), I believe that this one has Chardonnay grapes in it rather than being almost exclusively Pinot and this softens and freshens the flavour whilst retaining the depth. The sparkle of this champagne is very even and smooth, I always find that it pours incredibly well and is not overly lively, I like this because when sparkling wines are too fizzy they always make me feel slightly sick. You can usually find this in supermarkets but I have tended to look online for it in the past as sometimes you can get a better deal that way. Personally I would only ever splash out on this for a special occasion but as far as Champagnes go this one is a corker! (forgive the pun)
I bake a lot at home and I have to say that Lakeland is like some kind of baking porn for me (as a website - and also in their hard copy catalogue whenever it drops through the door!). Their products always seem to work and offer excellent value for money. This product reinforces that belief once again. These non-stick sheets come in two sizes, 33 x 100cm which fits a larger baking sheet and costs £9.49 and 25 x 50 cm which costs £5.49 and is the one I own as most of my baking sheets are nearer to this size. Effectively this is simply a sheet of thin plastic, coated with "PTFE" which is something magic that prevents sticking. You literally put the sheet on top of your tray and then whatever you are baking or cooking will not stick, things slide off this sheet very easily and I have used it for meringues, biscuits and canapes with ease. Not once has anything failed to glide off the sheet! The great thing is that it is easily reusable, I literally soak mine in the washing up bowl for a minute or so and then wipe - once dried it is ready to use again! I store mine in between a few of my heavier cookery books to ensure it keeps it's shape and this seems to work fine. Given the amount of use I get out of these sheets I believe that they are fantastic value for money and the time and effort they save makes them a fantastic buy for anyone who bakes regularly.
If you have read my accompanying review of the Mandarin Shampoo you will know that I did not particularly rate it as a product (except for the lovely smell). Well this is even less star-worthy. I bought this as part of a 3 for 2 deal in Bodycare which meant that each bottle ended up costing 75p - bargainous indeed but, as ever, you very much get what you pay for and this conditioner leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. Maybe it is because I have some highlights in my hair and my hair also tends to be that awful combination of greasy at the roots and very dry through the lengths and ends - I therefore always want my conditioner to be effective at leaving my hair feeling soft and intensely moisturised. Usually, as I am sure most of you will appreciate, the feeling of your hair before and after conditioning is vastly different (even when wet). Not so with this. The product is pale orange in colour and smells very fruity (again this is the only thing the product has going for it) and it is pretty viscous for a conditioner (which maybe should have been a clue as to how effective it would be). It comes in a round bottle with a flip top lid so no issues with accessing or dispensing it. But the issue for me was that I would apply it after shampooing and leave it for a few minutes (as is standard) and then on washing it out my hair would still feel rough and unconditioned. As I expected, on drying it my hair also did not feel particularly like it had had any conditioning treatment at all. I disliked this product enough that I actually threw away about half a bottle and I certainly will not be buying from this range again.
I have titled this 'Fruity MOR Shampoo'because MOR to me means Middle of the Road and thats pretty much what this shampoo is. However, it is better than the accompanying conditioner from the same range (for which see the relevant review). I bought 3 bottles of Alberto Balsam shampoo and conditoner on a 3 for 2 deal at my local Bodycare shop, they were priced at £1.25 each meaning the three bottles were £2.50 in total or 75p each - in other words a bit of a bargain. And every time this happens I swear I will learn from it - basically, in my experience, you get what you pay for when it comes to hair care products and accordingly to my mind these are cheap, cheerful and not especially good. The shampoo comes in a standard round bottle and this mandarin scented one is orange in colour, it has a flip top lid which is easy to manage in terms of bottle design and my bottles were 250ml in size. In terms of the scent of the product, it is a lovely, strong and fruity smell and the nice thing is that this does seem to stay in the hair after washing with it. I sometimes felt that I needed to wash twice with this because it just didnt leave my hair feeling clean (not as clean as I am used to it feeling after a lather and rinse) and weirdly it felt like it was leaving my hair very dry (not helped by the inept conditioner). My hair always looked ok after using this but to me it never felt that great and therefore I will not be buying this again - cheap or not.
I was over the moon to receive this as a Christmas present because we are emigrating in a few months time and I knew that we needed to back everything up before this point. I had specifically asked for a minimum 1TB sized external hard drive and aimed the request at my tech-savvy brother in law, knowing that he would know which one was the best for us. So, what we have is a 1TB Western Digital 'My Passport' which is surprisingly small and wonderfully simple to use. In the packaging (which was also pleasently simple to get in to - one of my pet hates is those godawful shrink wrapped plastic box things) was a small black box, about the size of one and half iPhones and a short lead with a USB attachment at one end and a smaller attachment at the other which fits in the box. Literally all I had to do was attach it to my laptop where within 10 seconds I received the message that my new hard drive was ready to use. Yes - THAT EASY! So, I started a full back up which took a couple of hours (as expected given the amount of data on my laptop) and that was it. My full back up had taken up about a quarter of the space on the My Passport. I have also purchased a small zip pocket to keep the hard drive safe while we are travelling, this has a seperate net pocket for the lead. The great thing about this hard drive is the size of it, so very convenient for us and a huge relief to know that it is a complete back up of all our data, photos and music should the worst happen. On Amazon this size My Passport costs around £75 but it is well worth it for the peace of mind it provides, you can also get a range of smaller ones for less. This brand is well regarded and I can see why - brilliant, small and reliable as well as being stunningly simple to use - I would highly recommend it.
For many years I was convinced that Lambrini was a type of cheap wine - however it is actually a 'Perry' meaning that it is in fact made from apples rather than grapes. It is a notoriously cheap drink and is one which we used to knock back with youthful exuberance ahead of a night out because we believed it to be the height of style. How wrong we were! I have nothing against this product, which has a low alcohol percentage of 7.5% and retails for around £2 for a large bottle - its just that as I got older I really started to dislike any sweet alcoholic drinks (as I developed a taste for real ale and decent dry white wines and full bodied reds). This is branded as 'medium sweet' but to my palate it is incredibly sweet. I think it probably does have a place these days as an alternative product for people seeking to cut down the amount they are drinking as it around half the strength of normal wine, it actually makes a pretty nice punch base if you mix it with lemonade but personally I would never choose to drink this straight. It is also not the kind of product you will find in any decent bar, being more of a drink at home beverage, interestingly my local Indian takeaway gives away a free bottle of this with every delivery over £15 so we always tend to have at least one bottle knocking around. A sweet, sticky perry drink which won't blow the budget but is not the discerning wine fan.
Whenever we come through duty free I always take the opportunity to grab a litre of Smirnoff red at a bargain price, usually you can pick up a litre for around £10 if you do it this way, although in a UK supermarket the same size bottle will set you back anywhere between £13-17 - the best bet when buying in the UK is to wait for it to be on offer, I also find that most UK supermarkets only stock the 75cl bottles rather than the full 1ltr anyway so duty free works out at much better value. Anyway, I like Smirnoff because it is a very smooth vodka which works well with mixers and in cocktails. I am not someone who would ever drink vodka neat as a shot or even just over ice, I like it with diet coke, as part of a cocktail or even in pasta sauce (NYC style arrabiata). I would say it is my favourite spirit because it is actually fairly bland as a flavour and whilst I rarely drink spirits this is the one I drink the most and we always have a bottle of at home. Unlike wine and beers, spirits are also much better when you are watching your weight (although of course they are higher percentage alcohol) and on weight watchers a vodka and diet coke equates to 2 points whereas a large glass of wine is 6 - the choice is easy therefore if you want to stick to plan and you can make it a long drink with diet coke quite easily. Anyway, Smirnoff for me is the Gold Standard of vodkas and the red label is 37.5% alcohol percentage which is fairly standard for a spirit. You can also get Blue label Smirnoff which is higher strength but personally I find the red is ideal for my needs and the taste which I like.
We have hours of fun with our family dogs with Trixie dog rings like the one pictured above. You can find them in all the usual pet stores and also online, we bought our most recent one during a sale at Pets at Home for £3.99 for a small red version which looks very like the one pictured here. They come in a range of sizes (and colours) to suit your dog and as our dogs are small (Cavalier cross Bichon) the size we bought is around 5"/12cm in diameter but only measures about an inch in depth to allow their small mouths to get around it! The product is strong and resin based, one of the things we like about this range is that it is incredibly robust and does not crumble or break up when chewed and does not therefore litter the floor with small bits which have come detached from the ring. Despite their best efforts these rings seem to last a good long time and withstand an inordinate amount of biting and chewing from our two. Because of the shape, these are great fun to play with and easy to throw, the distinct colours mean that you are unlikely to lose your ring and I love the way they bounce and roll if they land on the edges, it keeps the dogs guessing and that is great for their stimulation. These are a great toy and easy to get your dog to engage with (hopefully therefore discouraging chewing anything else), they are also reasonably priced and well made. I would advise shopping around online and also looking out for reductions at your local pet store, they can be found relatively cheaply and represent great value for money.