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I quite enjoy a lovely bowl of Rice Krispies, but there are cheaper substitutes that are indistinguishable from the "real" thing. Tesco Rice Snaps are a more reasonably priced alternative, and they taste just as good.
Obviously Tesco can't totally rip off the Rice Krispies box design, and they've gone for a completely different style of character, with a crocodile enjoying a bowl of tasty rice snaps. My kids love crocodiles, and let's face it, who doesn't? There are also games on the back of the box, in addition to the usual nutrition information - but I think that most cereals aimed at children have this feature nowadays.
It's important for our family to buy cereals that are good value. Our house has two hungry children and two hungrier adults, and we want a good quality breakfast for a sensible price. We do sometimes buy branded cereals, but if there's a cheaper version that is just as good, then we're obviously going to go for that.
This cereal is great. You can get it in a big box (I think they do it in 500g and 750g sizes), which is good for families, and it tastes nice, doesn't go soggy too quickly and still has the crackliness that you'd expect from the branded rival brand. I can't fault this product at all; it's a great value buy!
I really like the good old orange single blade Bic razors. My liking for them might be a little biased because I've been using them for years and I've grown familiar with them; but if they were awful, I wouldn't carry on using them, would I?
I have used a razor with replaceable blades less than 10 times in my whole life (all of these were sneakily borrowed from a boyfriend, and not my own). I just can't be doing with the faff of changing the blades, and buying the (massively overpriced) replacements to fit my specific type of razor. It's just too much hassle - I want a razor that's ready to use, reasonably priced, and gets my legs smooth with minimal fuss.
I started off with disposable razors about 15 years ago and have never looked back. I find that Bic razors are very good quality. While they are obviously a cheap product (around £1.50 for a pack of 10), they are well made, practical and work very well.
Bic 1 razors have a moulded plastic body and a single blade. They are mass-produced and pretty unremarkable in appearance. They are easy to hold and use, and I personally find it difficult to cut myself with these - but it is possible,especially if you're not careful around the ankles and the back of the knees.
A new Bic razor is very sharp and will give a really good smooth result for quite a few shaves. I don't shave my legs that regularly, but I reckon one of these razors would be good for 3 to 5 complete leg shaves. If you're just using them for your armpits every other day or so, each razor will last for quite a while. I can't really comment on face-shaving, but given that that's what they were originally designed for, I would hope that they're alright for that too!
I think that the price of these is really good value for money. A pack of 10 lasts me a long time, and while they are very basic razors, they do a great job.
I only use disposable razors, and I mainly use the ordinary Bic 1 blade razors (the orange ones, usually in a pack of 10). I went for the Bic Lady ones because they were on special offer. And they really need to be on special offer for me to choose them over the ordinary "men's" Bic razors; there is nothing special about them.
As a razor, they perform well. They last quite a long time for a disposable razor, and give a clean shave without dragging or slicing the skin to pieces. This is what I expect from Bic, so no complaints there at least. But there are four key differences between these and the regular Bic product:
1. The head of the razor is thinner. Perhaps this is meant to be handy for awkward places like the bikini area, but I manage just fine with the ordinary razors. But at least this is a practical and potentially useful difference.
2. The handle is thinner. The ordinary Bic razor handle is more oblong in section, and chunkier. The lady razors have a handle that is almost circular and not much wider than a fat drinking straw. I know that women generally have smaller hands than men, but I don't think that making the handle this thin really has any ergonomic value. I find the ordinary Bic razors easier to use, the handle on these feels too small.
3. They are pink. Why do all products aimed at women have to be pink?? It's bad enough that they make the product smaller in case our dainty little hands can't manage the huge unwieldy razor, but making pink products for the "ladies" just annoys me and is a bit of a turn-off.
4. A pack of 5 ladies razors costs about the same as a pack of 10 ordinary Bic razors. Ok, the smaller razor head might have some practical uses for shaving awkward areas, but I don't think it adds enough value to justify charging twice the price.
I'm giving this product 3 stars because while it performs well for its intended function (it shaves well, accidental cuts are rare, and it lasts a long time for a disposable razor), I don't think that this "ladies" product fulfils any additional need. Just buy yourself the ordinary Bic 1s and save yourself a quid or two.
My hair is quite resistant to some permanent dyes, and well-suited to others. I personally select from Garnier Belle Colour and L'Oreal Preference, and I no longer bother with any other brands. These two brands give a better colour result and last longer than other dyes.
From the Belle Colour range, I have used Belle Colour Blonde Lightener, Belle Colour Intense Dark Brown 3, and Belle Colour Black 1. I found all of these dyes to be really good. I'll expand a little on each of the shades:
I used the Belle Colour Blonde Pre-Lightener to remove my natural dark red-brown colour in preparation for applying La Riche Directions Dye over the top (I've also reviewed this product; check it out!). After it had been on for the recommended development time, it was a coppery light ginger colour - so I left it on for longer, about an hour in total, I think. This got my hair looking quite yellowy, but definitely more blonde than ginger. The product worked better on the roots than the lengths of my hair, and when I did my roots every two months or so, I applied it to the lengths also to progressively lighten it some more - this worked quite well.
I really don't want to alarm you with these images of yellow and coppery-gingery unfinished-ness; I'm writing from the perspective of someone with extremely bleach-resistant hair. The fact that this product did anything at all to get my hair even close to blonde gives it a 10/10 for me. I suppose that if your hair is naturally a lighter colour, you'll get a more natural-looking blonde result.
Regarding the Black 1, and Intense Dark Brown 3 colours, I use these either over my natural colour to cover up greys and make my hair look darker than it naturally is, or to cover up a previous crazy colouring (after bleaching and using bright Directions coloured dye over the top), and they do the trick nicely. The coverage is even, and masks a multitude of sins, mistakes and premature greying. The colours that I've used are true to the result on the side of the box, even if you've previously bleached your hair or have a lot of grey, and they don't fade very much. If I'm going through a phase of dyeing my hair normal colours (it happens occasionally), I'll use a pack of this dye every 2 or 3 months, and the effects are good - no noticeable fading, and a natural result.
The only slightly bad thing about this product is the ammonia smell when applying it, but you get this with a lot of permanent dyes.
It's a really good product and it's only comparable to L'Oreal Preference in terms of performance.
I really like to make a statement with my appearance, and Directions dye is exactly the kind of product designed for that. The dyes come in 88ml tubs with instructions provided,but nothing else. All the swatches that the manufacturer provides (whether online or in a shop) are for the expected result on bleached / pre-lightened hair, and they make no guarantees about the consistency of the results. Added to this, it's a semi-permanent dye, and it will fade differently for each person according to how frequently the hair is washed, or how porous the hair is. So every person's experience with this dye will be different - I would recommend reading as many different reviews about this product as possible, and using Google Images to see the huge variety of outcomes possible by using these dyes.
I have used the Atlantic Blue and Plum dyes from Directions, and got a different type of result (not just the different colours!) for the two different dyes.
First of all, I have naturally dark reddish-brown hair and none of these dyes are going to show up on my hair in its normal state. So on with the bleach! It takes a lot of chemical abuse to get the colour out of my hair; it's not good for it, but it's the only way to make it light enough to get a bright dye to show up. I think that bleaching the hair also makes it porous enough for the semi-permanent dye to bind to.
I used different bleaching kits to get my hair light enough, and this had an effect on how well the Directions dye worked over the top of it. I used Garnier Belle Blonde Lightener (look out for another review of this!), which gave a good (albeit time-intensive) result, and Directions 40% lightening bleach (not such a good result - it only lightened my hair to a light ginger colour).
Using the Plum colour gave the best result for me, over the top of the Garnier Belle Blonde bleach. It gave a really intense colour result that began to fade slightly after 4 - 5 washes. When it did fade, it still looked ok, and it was easy just to slap some more of the Directions dye over the top to top it up. Even though the pot only contains 88ml of product, the purple Plum dye lasted for ages because I needed hardly any to get the desired vivid colour result. I was very pleased with the Plum dye.
My experience with the Atlantic Blue dye was not as great. The colour results that I've seen posted on the internet are really beautiful and impressive, but I was unable to emulate them. Part of the problem may have been that I used the Directions bleach to pre-lighten my hair (I mentioned above that this was not the best bleach I've ever used), and it didn't strip enough natural colour out of my hair to provide a base for the blue colour. I found that the initial application of the Atlantic Blue dye gave an interesting greeny-blue result, which wasn't what I expected,but it still looked great. However, the colour didn't really last and required frequent re-application (after every 2 or 3 shampoos it was looking a really washed-out pale sky blue with hints of pea green. It looked alright, but it wasn't the result I was after, and I was worried it looked a bit "funny" - says the girl with blue hair, haha).
I suppose the thing here is that different people with different hair will get different results. I would say that the more of your natural colour you can remove before applying Directions dye, the better. This will give you a result closer to the colour swatch, and the dye might take to your hair better than for untreated hair.
Regarding applying this dye after bleaching the life out of your hair... this is probably the least damaging part of the process. The instructions say to leave the dye on for at least 15 minutes, but I left it on for 45 minutes or so with no adverse effects. The dye is meant to be conditioning, and it seems to be so. This meant that when I washed the dye out afterwards, my hair didn't feel as "rough" as if I had only bleached it (yes, bleaching is bad for your hair!). My hair also appeared quite sleek when dried, and not as flyaway as naked bleached hair would be.
Just one more thing: the dye doesn't come with gloves provided, but you WILL need them. This dye will turn your hands a bright and very conspicuous shade of whatever colour you dye your hair. Even using bare hands to rinse the dye off under the shower will give this effect. Just ordinary latex / surgical gloves (you can pick these up pretty cheap for a box of 20 or so) will do, and they're easier to use than the massive ones you get in a pack of normal hair dye from the chemist.
I bought my Klippan sofa about 2 years ago and still absolutely love it! I've lived in a succession of houses with small living rooms, so I need to select furniture that is compact and functional to make the most of the little space that I have. The Klippan sofa is marketed as a two-seater, and it will seat two comfortably and three at a squeeze. The shape of the sofa looks quite boxy, but it is very comfy and seems to have been designed for the optimum combination of comfort and economy of materials.
There is some assembly required, the sprung base of the sofa is pre-assembled but the backrest, arms and legs need to be attached. This is pretty simple to do and not too much hassle. The sofa has a range of interchangeable covers to choose from, in lots of different colours and patterns. I like this because this gives us a bit of variety in our living room decor, and it's handy when you have small children spilling drinks all over the place. The covers are machine washable, but are heavy and made from thick material so you will need a washing machine with a decent capacity (mine's 7kg) and enough space to allow it to dry properly.
On the whole, the klippan range is very practical. It also has matching footstools, which I have considered buying, but they seem a bit pricey in comparison to the sofas (which are really good value). My original sofa and cover combination cost about £170, and you can buy replacement covers for about £30 - £60. They are bringing out new designs quite frequently, my favourite is the one that looks a bit "yellow submarine"-esque.
The Njuta slippers are very basic slippers with a flat base and a flap of fabric sewn over the top to create the body of the slipper. They slip on and off easily and are a good basic slipper. They won't last forever, and certainly won't survive going in the wash, but they are pretty good for three quid. The material is very soft, and slightly furry / fluffy (it has quite a short "pile"). The slippers are roomy and although they come in quite ambiguous sizes (small, medium, large as far as I remember) they do fit well. They are available in a variety of colours, although only three were available when I bought mine. I would probably buy another pair because they are convenient, cheap and easy to replace. They're not the best pair of slippers that you will ever buy, but that's not really what they were designed for. And I bet you can't find a pair as good as these for just £3 either!
The Ikea Lack range has coffee tables of various sizes, ranging from small square ones up to pretty large ones with extra shelves underneath. Ours is a medium sized one with a shelf, measuring about 4 1/2' x 3' x 18" tall. It has the light-coloured beech veneer, which looks ok and would probably go quite well in most living rooms. So I decided to completely change its appearance by customising it using fabrics bought elsewhere in the Ikea store.
The table came in six parts: four legs, the tabletop, and the lower shelf. The legs screw into the tabletop, and the lower shelf is attached to the legs by tiny metal brackets. I was able to construct the table single-handedly, and it has remained in good condition for the last 2 years, including two house moves since it was originally put together.
The whole LACK range has a common style, but there is enough variation in it to be able to make a unique choice. I believe they've now introduced interchangeable tabletops and decals, so there is a lot of scope to be creative with this standardised product.
We bought two Ikea Hensvik cots for our twins. We didn't have a huge budget, but we needed something sturdy, safe, and just nice. We headed straight to Ikea to have a look at what was available. They have a really large range of cots and children's beds, and even if you don't like the Hensvik one, you will find something else that's right for you.
We chose the Hensvik cot because it has a clean design that would look good in almost any bedroom. It is plain white with smooth, flat edges, and a scalloped pattern to the head and foot boards. It was also only £59, which was great value for what you get.
The cot is easy to put together, and has two different heights. When you need to raise or lower the bed base, it is very easy to do. The mattress is purchased separately; I can't remember how much it cost, but they weren't too expensive either. As your child becomes older, one of the cot sides can be removed to turn it in to a small toddler bed. We didn't use it like this for very long, but it was useful to have this transition feature. All in all, it was a very versatile piece of furniture.
This pack of six plastic bowls matches the Kalas plates and plastic cutlery set. The bowls are in 6 different colours and are in a tough, durable plastic. Unlike the matching plates, these bowls did not scratch easily, and they served us well for about 4 years before we got rid of them (they were still useable, it's just that my children had grown out of using them). The bowls are quite small (about 4 1/2" across, and are just big enough for child-sized portions. They are easy to clean and can be put in the microwave and dishwasher. The pack of six bowls is cheap at about £1, and is extremely good value.
We got these bowls mainly because we needed something tough that would not break easily, and these bowls delivered. This is a really useful product, and it's good that you can buy them as part of a stylish matching set.
These plastic plates match the Kalas bowls and cutlery set. They come in a set of six, in 6 different colours. The plates are a sort of rounded / rectangle oval shape, and are about 7" long by 5" wide. They are a good size for toddler-sized food portions, are easy to clean, and most importantly, won't break if they are dropped. Hurrah! We initially bought them when our twins were babies and had just started weaning. They were used up until they were four years old, wen we moved on to bigger plates. These plates are great for young children getting a bit of independence in their feeding, and are durable and easy to clean. They did gather scratches over the years, and I would say that they probably do scratch a bit more easily than other, harder plastic plates. However, given their price and the fact that they still function perfectly well despite the scratches, they are really good value for money. They are also dishwasher-safe. Like most of the Ikea children's products, they have a simple design and do the job really well.
We used this bed in a different way to the other reviewers on here. We bought this bed for our twins when they were toddlers, and used a small modification to use it as a bunk bed. I was initially worried about one child sleeping high up, but with supervision and time to make sure they got used to sleeping at this high level, it turned out ok. The way we modified it was to buy a separate bed slat base (also from Ikea), which we placed on the floor where the low-level "den" bit is, with a mattress over the top of this. It's just like sleeping on a futon, and my younger child seems to like it. The tent canopy over the top is really cool, and provides a darker, enclosed space conducive to sleep. The only problem is that my kids loved to take the tent off and mess about with it, which was a major pain.
I bought this bed when it first came out, and I remember paying a lot more for it than its current retail price. So now it's even better value, and is still a great product. If you do want to use only the top "bunk", you could fit loads of toys underneath it, and it would make a great den. My children love sitting in the lower bed when we have a bedtime story, and also the excitement of getting into the top bunk with the tent on.
I've had to move house twice since buying this bed, and you absolutely have to be certain that you keep track of all the pieces when dismantling it! There are lots of parts to go missing, and I'd recommend hanging on to the instructions for the lifetime of the product. It also needs at least two people to assemble it, because some of the sections are quite large, and it's pretty awkward putting together a bunk bed by yourself! At least we didn't have to get it up the stairs in one piece.
These shelves are on display in Ikea in the children's section, and they are really good for a child's brightly coloured bedroom. They are nothing like what you would expect from a conventional shelf - they are designed to be mounted on the wall at an angle, and have a curved shape to the edges which makes them taper off towards the outside of the item.
In order to fit the shelf on the wall, you need to mark out two screw holes on the wall for slotting screws into the loopholes on the body of the shelf. Once you've got two screws in the wall, the shelf body slides on and gravity keeps it in place. Simple.
We use our shelves for storing children's books. They work just fine, but many children's books are a lot wider than these shelves, so they hang over the edge quite a bit. But they don't fall off, which is obviously a good thing. That's my only gripe about these shelves, because everything else about them is just fine.
We bought a pack of these knives, forks and spoons for our twins when they first started solid food. They were good to use from weaning up until about 3 years of age - when we moved on to small metal cutlery.
In the pack you get 6 knives, 6 spoons and 6 forks, all in 6 different colours. The cutlery is bright and easy to hold. I can't remember exactly how much they cost, but it was only a few quid, and was really good value.
The cutlery is very durable, lasting over 3 years before we gave it away to someone else because all the items still had a lot of life left in them. The items are all easy to clean, and dishwasher-safe.
Like a lot of Ikea products, the company obviously has a lot of confidence in them as they are used in the Ikea restaurant (it's ok, they do have adult cutlery too!). And also like much of what Ikea produces, this cutlery set is a simple and useful product for a sensible price.
We bought one of these a few years back for use in our children's bedroom - it was meant to be used as a comfy chair for feeding time. It was really useful, it was indeed comfortable, and it was light enough to be moved around easily.
When it had outlived its use as a feeding chair, it was moved to the living room where it sat for another year or so. It's a nice-looking chair with an interesting design (it doesn't really have conventional "legs", it is all one piece of shaped, springy wood with a backward-curved foot design). The only problem was it didn't really fit well in our living room. I'm talking about the design as well as the size and shape - it's a really stylish piece of furniture, but it was quite unlike anything else we had in the house.
Maybe this chair would be good for you if you like quirky design, and have a lot of space in which to display it. The design of this product is really cool, which is great for a piece of mass-produced furniture. You can buy interchangeable covers for this chair, great if you want to update the look, or if, like me, you spill lots of things. The chair also has a bit of bounce to it. Not quite as much as a rocking chair, but it is pretty springy - which is fun!