“ Bathroom Accessories „
For some reason in 1998 I bought a Linda Barker (Changing Rooms?) "grout your own jar" kit from Homebase on sale for 50p- and proceeded to have my first and last experience with grout, an old storecard, a load of blue and green glass beads, some glue and a glass jar.
After four hours wrestling with the kit and the grout and reminding myself it was 50p for a reason (discounted from £12.99), I had made myself a blue and green glass bead covered square glass jar and had used about 200 cotton buds trying to poke the grout between the beads whilst wiping it off the see through bits of the container. I ended up using this jar as a cotton bud holder as it held 300 cotton buds perfectly.
Moving house earlier this year, I was a little sad when the grouted jar fell off my desk and the side smashed. As I had been buying new things for the forthcoming move, I could justify getting the peek-a-boo Alessi cotton bud holder I saw on a whim in a boutique in town.
*Price and Availability*
This Alessi designed item sells for £14.99-£18 online and in some little designer homewares type boutiques. It is currently advertised on Amazon for £16.00.
You get two parts:
1: a white plastic beaker and
2: a coloured plastic figure of a pinocchio like character (with something that looks like a little male "part" I might add) that has a cup like base which sits inside of the white outer beaker.
The product when put together measures 6 inches tall and 3 inches diameter at the top and 2.5 inches at the base. It comes in three colours: orange, yellow and blue.
*What does it do?*
You lift the coloured figure upwards a few inches (by the white plastic replica cotton bud at the top for ease of use) and your cotton buds start to show and fan outwards a little so you can lift one out. The product has no parts that move on their own- it does not shoot out a cotton bud if you poke a certain bit- it is only a beaker with a smaller holder part that sits inside that is in the shape of a cartoon figure with slightly startled eyes.
Out of curiosity, I have now counted how many cotton buds it holds- 60 is a good number if you like the idea of the cotton buds fanning out when you lift the top part up. 75 is the most I was able to put in so it would close (so the top would sit correctly inside the white beaker).
This looks cute when it is sat on a shelf when it is closed and you see it is a little figure with cute cartoon eyes peeking out. I can see that children would find it alluring. I thought it was a rabbit in a hat until I got it home and opened it to put the cotton buds in to find it is actually a Pinnochio like figure with a little attached part sticking out front that I am still finding a little odd.
I am assuming this is some cartoon male part but I can't see it has any function (it doesn't separate or guide the cotton buds), I think it is just something they added to be quirky/ funny. If you have kids, they will probably raise the question "What is that?" when they see this... So be prepared for that one.
I was disappointed that it is not a rabbit in a hat, but it was my imagination jumping to the conclusion this is what it was before I had bought it and not the fault of the product...
It holds cotton buds and as the top part sits flush against the edge of the white beaker it will keep your cotton buds away from moisture or dust/ dirt (ie if you do not use many cotton buds). So, I can see this may be a hygiene benefit. It is easy to clean- as it is plastic, (the sort of plastic you get picnic set beakers in) it is washable.
This is purely a gimmick- cotton buds are sold in tubs or boxes so technically we does not "need" this product for anything other than effect/ as a design product or to match other similar products or a colour scheme in your bathroom.
This is quite expensive for what you get- a normal white plastic beaker (that looks like a beaker) and a coloured plastic figure. It does not do anything special- if the cotton bud at the top pushed down and this in turn ejected a single cotton bud from this, then I could have justified the price. As it is £15 for a beaker and a static figure to me is not that great a buy.
Then again, it is "Alessi". Alessi are a chic italian design company- they take "normal" things like a collander and produce funky plastic brightly coloured versions. They have guest designers and some of their products are just stunning, functional and beautiful. This, for me fell a little short of the mark.
The main disadvantage is it only holds 75 cotton buds before it will not close too well. You have to sit and put the cotton buds in it in small numbers (ie 5 at a time) and have to put them in to the cup at the base of the coloured part slowly filling all the way around. This is fiddly and will be no good for anyone with arthritis or hand mobility problems, poor eyesight or no patience.
The first time I filled this (it comes empty) I put way too many cotton buds in to it (I rammed them all in so the base of the coloured figure was full) and it would not close. Nor did the cotton buds "fan out" when I lifted the top part. This is a disadvantage as cotton buds are sold normally in boxes of 200. Even if you buy a tub of 100 cotton buds, you will struggle to fit them in. Depending upon how many cotton buds you use, you will have to refill this regularly.
If this falls of my shelf I would not expect it to meet the same fate as my grouted jar. But, as it is a faff to fill up, it does not hold that many cotton buds and you do literally have to put the cotton buds in and arrange them so they all stand upright so it actually "works" (ie closes and the buds fan out when you open it), I would not advise you buy this if you use a lot of cotton buds.
If this is just a design gimmick to sit on the shelf and for people to go "aww" when they see it. If you intend to use it on a daily basis, expect some faffing around.