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hanmillie

hanmillie
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Member since: 21.06.2011

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    • More +
      24.07.2014 10:01
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      • "One wipe goes a long way"
      • "Re-sealable packet"
      • "Easy to use"

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      • "Not the cheapest antibacterial wipes"

      Creating freshness that lasts!

      Before I left work to start my period of maternity leave, I was getting increasingly more paranoid about having my desk and computer surfaces clean and tidy. In my opinion, eating lunch at my desk most days and using my computer throughout the day meant that there was noticeable dust on every surface and I can only imagine the bacteria that thrived on my phone. Therefore I decided to buy a packet of wipes to solve the problem.

      Dettol are a brand that I have long associated with producing quality antibacterial products thanks mainly to their convincing adverts. Therefore I opted for a packet of these surface wipes. The wipes were neatly packaged in a white envelope with the Dettol sword illustrating the front of the packet and these wipes promised to kill 99.9% of bacteria. Personally I liked the packaging of these wipes which I felt was clean and minimal with the mainly white packet and blue and green accents.

      In my packet I received 36 wipes and I believe I paid around £2 for them from my local Asda making them around 6p per wipe which I didn’t think was bad value. Each wipe pulls out of the small envelope detail easily and the re-sealable opening means that the unused wipes are kept fresh inside the wrapper.

      The wipes themselves are white in colour and are slightly larger than an average baby wipe which makes them perfect in my opinion for covering larger surfaces such as my work station. Each wipe has a clean and fresh scent and the wipes are noticeably wet to the touch meaning that they cover quite a large surface area, with one wipe being more than sufficient to do my entire desk, key board and telephone.

      To use each wipe I like to ensure that the dirty surface is kept clear of clutter before taking a wipe and liberally wiping over all available surfaces. I find that a wipe glides easily over any flat surface and leaves a slight streak of cleaning residue which dries quickly leaving a shiny finish underneath. Although Dettol state that these wipes are odourless I can smell a hint of freshness after cleaning and personally I like this trait as I find it leaves my work area smelling fresh and clean.

      Obviously I am unable to comment on the bacteria cleansing properties of these wipes without the necessary detection device however I am convinced that by using these wipes weekly on my desk it not only left it looking cleaner for longer but also made me more confident in knowing that my work environment was a germ free one.

      Overall I have been impressed with these wipes and will certainly be buying more for my home when our baby finally makes an appearance. They are easy to use and clean surfaces well and with the added security that they remove germs there really is nothing to dislike in my opinion. As a result these wipes score an excellent five stars from me.

      I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! X

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      14.03.2014 13:31
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      A great appliance which we use daily

      When we replaced the appliances in our kitchen a couple of years ago now, it was important for us to install products which were of good quality. Being a Surveyor by profession, I generally look to buy the best value option I can find but realising that cheapest doesn't always mean best I was determined to buy some middle of the range products for our small kitchen. Hotpoint are a brand that I have always been impressed with and being that at the time of buying this hood we owned a six year old Hotpoint washing machine, I was confident that they would offer quality appliances. Therefore when we saw this Hotpoint HE6TIX cooking hood which also came with a pair of other appliances for a multi-set deal we purchased it for our new kitchen.

      ~~~Appearance and Features~~~

      Looks are important to me when buying appliances for a kitchen and I liked this cooker hood from the minute I saw it in the Homebase catalogue. This hood is completely silver in colour and has a brushed steel finish which gives this appliance a modern look. The main body of this appliance is stainless steel and oblong shaped and this leads down to a tapered hood which houses the extractor fan and control buttons. In keeping with the chrome colour scheme, the buttons are also silver in colour and these are positioned at the front of the hood meaning that they are easy to reach and can be pressed on and off without too much effort. The five buttons serve to control the fan settings for this hood with three buttons serving to set the fan to low, medium and fast speeds, one button turning the fan on and off and the final button being to turn on the two circular lights underneath the hood. The pair of halogen lights under the hood are a nice feature in my opinion as they provide a bright white light and I must admit that we often use our hood to light our kitchen on darker evenings even when we are not using the fan itself. Underneath the hood are a pair of grills which are quite easy to remove and these are constructed in metal with a mesh finish allowing the air to circulate through the hood.

      ~~~Technical Details~~~

      In terms of the technical specifications of this unit it really is useful to note in my opinion that this fan extracts a maximum of 400 cubic metres of air per hour. Obviously it is unlikely that you would want the fan to be on for this long but in smaller kitchens or those with limited ventilation it is worth knowing. The dimensions of this extractor fan are 90.5cm high (including chimney unit), 60cm wide and 48.5cm deep. In our kitchen these dimensions were perfect to suit the depth of our worktops (600mm) and width of our hob which also measured 600mm and the overall effect looked neat and precise and in keeping with the minimal look of our kitchen.

      ~~~Installation~~~

      I must admit that I did not install this cooker hood, leaving it in the ever capable hands of our electrician and I would be lying to say otherwise. However, with our cooker hood came a set of installation instructions which detailed the process with the aid of several diagrams. It is important to note that this cooker hood is powered electrically and therefore it is important to have a power supply available for connection. Once the hood is ready for installation it is imperative to have an air exhaust outlet hole in order that the air can be extracted effectively. In our kitchen this was achieved by hanging this unit on an external wall with a circular opening to the air outside. Once everything is ready to go this hood should be screwed securely to the wall being sure that the wall itself is capable of holding the weight of this unit. I believe that our electrician made sure that the chimney was screwed to the wall initially and then, being sure that the correct gap between the bottom of the hood and surface of the cooker was achievable (at least 65cm) the hood was connected to the chimney and fixed into place. It is my opinion that this is quite a simple job for an electrician or kitchen installer who must do this type of work on a regular basis and therefore in the future I will certainly be paying somebody else to fix my appliances rather than go through the aggravation myself.

      ~~~Operation and Use~~~

      Once our cooker hood was installed I was keen to see how noisy our new unit would be. Out of the three speed setting buttons I opted for the fastest of the three and this made the fan jump into life producing quite a strong whirring noise as it worked. Used after quite a smelly roast dinner I found that this hood extracted the smelly air quite quickly on the fastest setting and within fifteen minutes of use the air smelt clean with the stale odours not noticeable. I generally only use this fan after a particularly smelly cooking session such as bacon sandwiches as I don't like to add to my already expensive electricity bill when I can open a window for free, but do find it effective at removing odours and leaving the kitchen smelling fresh.

      ~~~Maintenance~~~

      In terms of the maintenance of this particular cooking hood it is recommended that you regularly wipe down the hood inside and out and in our kitchen this really is a must as this appliance does get greasy quite quickly. In my opinion the brushed stainless steel finish does make this hood quite annoying to clean without leaving streaky marks around the buttons and for neat freaks like me this can be a bit frustrating. The carbon filters should be replaced around every four months and again this really is worthwhile in my opinion as they get filthy very quickly. This is easy to do by simply unclipping the grates underneath the hood and removing the filters before binning and replacing. The halogen lights which we use daily can be replaced by removing the circular glass pane over the lights and taking the bulbs out. In my experience the bulbs can be purchased through a number of retailers including my favourite Wilkinson store although it is worth taking one of the old bulbs with you to pinpoint the exact replacement bulb.

      ~~~Guarantee/ Warrantee~~~

      I am a firm believer that the quality of an appliance is reflected in the length of guarantee it is given by the manufacturer and this cooker hood is given a five year parts and one year labour guarantee which I consider very good for the reasonable investement.

      ~~~Price and Availability~~~

      I cannot remember the precise amount that we paid for this cooker hood but believe that when purchased as a trio of appliances we paid around £1,200 all in. However, this cooker hood is currently available on the Homebase website for £269 which I consider a bargain considering the years of use we have had out of it.

      ~~~Summary and Recommendations~~~

      Overall I have been very impressed with my Hotpoint HE6TIX cooker hood. It looks great in our kitchen giving a modern and sleek look, it works efficiently and effectively at removing the stale air caused by cooking odours and it is easy to operate. I particularly like the two halogen down lighters and believe that they only add to the stylish look of my kitchen giving a soft glow of light on a dark evening. Consequently I would highly recommend this cooker hood and will certainly be looking for a similar model in our next house.

      This product scores a well deserved five stars from me and thanks for taking the time to read my review! x

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      • More +
        13.03.2014 17:58
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        Uplifting wipes

        When it comes to my office it always amazes me quite how much dust accumulates on every surface. I don't want to accuse our cleaners of doing a bad job, but in my opinion having our desks dusted just once a week is not sufficient. As a result I am regularly buying anti-bacterial wipes to keep my desk, computer equipment and general office stationary clean. Once in Asda at lunchtime I came across these Dettol anti-bacterial surface wipes and, being that I have always associated Dettol as a brand I can trust, I purchase a pack of 72 wipes.

        These wipes come housed in a plastic envelope which serves to distribute the wipes individually through its oval re-sealable opening. The presentation of these wipes is certainly clean looking in my opinion with a predominantly white packet and the standard Dettol logo in a green circle. On the front of the packet we are told that these wipes are for cleansing surfaces and have a non bleach formula which kills 99.9% of bacteria. Although I am not one to worry too much about bacteria, I have recently found that there have been quite an outbreak of colds at work and so I will resort to anything to try and keep my desk as germ free as possible. These wipes contain lime and mint ingredients and I was hopeful that these would give a fresh odour to my office.

        Once I had removed one wipe from its pack I was pleased to find that they are rather similar in size and texture to that of a baby wipe with a thick spongy texture which glides easily over most smooth surfaces. The smell of these wipes is very fresh and clean and I must admit to loving it from the minute I smelt it. The smell is definitely that of the citrus ingredient with the mint being just noticeable and this is an uplifting fragrance in my opinion.

        To use these wipes I really do find them quite versatile and have rubbed them across virtually every surface of my desk. The slightly damp feel to these wipes ensures that they pick up dust and food particles as they go and the wet residue that each wipe leaves behind ensures that I can see the areas that I have missed. I have found two wipes adequate to thoroughly clean the surface of my desk, keyboard, mouse and top of my laptop and I like the way that each wipe can be thrown away after use so as to prevent the germs from spreading. These wipes have left the surface of my desk relatively streak free and shiny and this is a nice change from the slightly dusty, mug marked surface that it was before.

        I purchased these wipes in my local Asda and paid £3 for them. Considering this comes in at just over 4p per wipe I consider this good value for money and can see them lasting a good amount of time before they need replacing.

        As a result of my experiences I would have to recommend these fresh smelling, anti-bacterial wipes and as a result they score an excellent five stars from me.

        I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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        • More +
          13.03.2014 10:15
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          Another maternity essential

          One of the first things I noticed when I found out I was pregnant was how quickly I grew out of my jeans. Jeans are an item of clothing which I practically live in outside work and therefore I was keen to buy a couple of pairs of maternity jeans to see me through the nine month period. I was surprised how few high street stores actually did maternity clothing particularly in store and therefore when I came across these skinny jeans from the ever reliable New Look I did buy a pair to see how they would wear.

          When I was in my local New Look they only did one colour option for these jeans that being a light denim blue with faded detailing around the legs and bum areas, however I have since seen them on their online store in an even lighter blue which is a lovely colour for summer in my opinion. There were various sizes to choose from ranging from a size 8 to an 18 and I stuck to my standard size pre-pregnancy which is a size 10. As the name would suggest these are skinny jeans and therefore they do cling to the legs and ankles however I like this look particularly with ankle boots and wedges when the weather warms up. As these are pregnancy jeans they do differ from normal jeans in that they house an elasticated waist band to fit around your expanding bump and I must admit that this took a little getting used to especially as there was no zip detail either to fasten these jeans.

          I am not a huge fan of trying on items of clothing before buying and since becoming pregnant I have tended to avoid trying things on even more as I find I get very hot and flustered quite quickly. These jeans were no exception to this rule and I took them home eager to try them on when I was back in the comfort of my bedroom. I did think that these jeans looked quite small before trying them on however the denim fabric did have a certain amount of stretch and so I was confident that they would fit me. Sure enough, I managed to pull these jeans up and over my hips quite easily and they felt comfortable with the waist band providing a soft band of support around my tummy. The only thing that I would mention about the fit of these jeans is that they do fit quite low rise around my hips and therefore as my bump has grown it has begun to push the waistband down meaning that these jeans do require regular pulling up throughout the day which I find a minor niggle.

          The fabric composition of these jeans is 77% cotton, 21% polyester and 2% elastane and I think this creates a good blend of coolness together with a stretchy and soft feel which is comfortable on my skin. To care for these jeans it is recommended that they are washed in a 30° wash and as this is the setting that I wash most of my clothes in I don't find this a problem. These jeans wash well and dry relatively quickly without loosing any of their shape which is good in my opinion.

          I purchased these jeans for £22.99 which I think is a good price for a clothing item which I will get a lot of wear out of. I will certainly be looking to add another pair to my wardrobe to get me through this season.

          Overall I really like the look and feel of these jeans as they are comfortable and cool yet look fashionable and go with most things. As a result I would recommend them and they score a good four stars from me.

          I hope this review has been of help and thanks for reading! x

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            12.03.2014 17:34
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            A spring essential

            As spring is slowly on its way I am generally finding it too warm to wear a thick jumper during the day time and yet not warm enough to get away with a light top. Therefore I went on the hunt last weekend for something in between that could keep my arms and body warm without being too bulky. New Look are a store that I often look in as I find their clothes incredibly good value for money and once there I came across these drop pocket boyfriend cardigans. These cardigans are designed to be quite long in length with long sleeves and I was confident that they looked smart enough to wear to work as well as casually during the weekend.

            I purchased one of these cardigans in the stone colour way although there were quite a variety of colours to choose from in my local store including pink, white and black. My cardigan drops just below my hips meaning that I can wear it with leggings and has a stretchy feel which I great over my growing bump. The front of my cardigan has a slightly ribbed detail around the front opening which gives a nice finish in my opinion and has one pocket either side which I like to keep my hands warm in as I walk. This cardigan does not have any fastenings on the front however I find that the pockets mean that I can pull the two sides together as I walk on occasions when I do feel a little chilly. The composition of this cardigan is 96% viscose and 4% elastane and this means that it has a very soft and stretchy feel which I find light and comfortable on my skin.

            Although I am pregnant I purchased one of these cardigans in my usual size ten and find this a perfect fit with the added stretch meaning that I do not have to worry about it loosing its shape. I would guess that the idea of these cardigans is to layer them underneath jackets however I like to wear mine on its own over a simple top. I like the look of this cardigan and find that it keeps me warm in the office whilst looking smart. Plus I find this cardigan incredibly comfortable and so will be looking to buy another one in the near future.

            In terms of washing this cardigan should be put in a cool wash and I have done this once with the stretchy fabric meaning that I didn't need to iron it.

            I paid £12.99 for this cardigan in my local New Look store and consider this very good value for money particularly considering the amount of wear I think I will get out of it. As a result I would recommend this cardigan as a wardrobe staple and will be looking to add another one to my wardrobe in a different colour.

            As a result of this review this cardigan scores a great five stars from me.

            I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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          • Puma Ankle Socks Women / Clothing / 26 Readings / 26 Ratings
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            11.03.2014 10:27
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            A great work out sock

            Although I believe that socks are a necessity to stop my feet from smelling in my trainers, I have never been a fan of the sock over the ankle look and therefore am regularly looking out for new pairs of ankle socks. Put quite simply an ankle sock is basically a shorter than normal sock which ensures that it hides out of sight inside my trainer and personally I prefer this look. As a result of my old ankle socks beginning to look a little worse for wear I went on the hunt before Christmas for some new ankle socks and found my local JD Sports a great place to look.

            The socks that I came home with were these Puma ankle socks which I believe can be worn by both women and men seeing as the sizes range from a small '2.5 - 5' to a much larger '9 - 11'. There were only two colours to choose from in my local sports store those being black or white and each came in a set of three pairs. Being that I wear white trainers I opted for the white socks and these looked pristine with their mainly white block colour and black cat and puma logo illustrated on the toes and heel. The socks feel very stretchy to the touch and yet quite soft and they have a slightly thinner feel to that of a standard sock which is great in my opinion as it ensures that my feet can breathe in these socks and that I can firmly tuck them down inside my trainers out of sight. As I am a size six I went for the middle size which is a '6 - 8' and found these to fit snugly around my feet and ankles without any of the fabric gathering or looking loose and I attributed this to the very stretchy feel of these socks.

            Personally I think that these socks work best when worn underneath trainers as oppose to longer footwear such as boots. This is because I find that when worn with boots these socks can cause the thin skin around my ankle to chafe inside my boot and cause blisters. With trainers these socks rise about half a centimetre above the height of the trainers and therefore are only just visible. The thin material of these socks ensures that they feel cool and comfortable inside my trainers and do not have much bulk therefore giving my toes more room to move around. The thin texture of these socks does mean that they are not the warmest sock that I own and are not thick enough to withstand the cold surface of my hard flooring however, they are more than adequate during times when I am going for a bit of exercise.

            To care for these socks I find that by washing them in a cool 30° wash they come out fresh and clean. The thin fabric of these socks ensures that they dry quite quickly and I typically find that by leaving them to dry on my airer the socks are dry by the end of the day. As these socks are quite stretchy they have kept their shape very well and have not gained any size however, these socks are not quite as white as they were when I first purchased them and I am sure this is down to a couple of factors including the fact that they may have been put in a darker wash cycle by accident more than once.

            In terms of price, I paid £6 for a pack of three pairs of these socks which equates to £2 per pair. I think this is good value for money however I was dismayed to see them on Amazon recently for only £4, I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the best price in the future.

            I like these socks and think that they are good value for money and quality in construction. As a result I would recommend them and they score a great five stars from me.

            I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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            • New Look Long Sleeve Tops / Clothing / 31 Readings / 30 Ratings
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              10.03.2014 15:24
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              A lovely wardrobe essential

              When it comes to my winter wardrobe I am not a huge fan of jumpers as I generally find that I get too hot in them. Therefore I am often on the look out for long sleeved tops which I can wear underneath prettier tops to create a layering effect. Although I haven't done a huge amount of clothes shopping recently, saving all my money for our new baby due in July, I was in need of some just before Christmas and so popped in to New Look to see what I could find.

              The tops I came home with were these long sleeved variety from New Look which are very plain in colour and yet perfect to wear underneath other garments with the long sleeves giving my arms some much needed warmth. The two colour options which I could find in my local New Look were black and white although I understand that you can also buy a burgundy option. These tops are quite simply a long sleeved t shirt with a stretchy feel and a plain colour and this is perfect for my wardrobe as it means that these tops go with so many things. I came home with two white tops although I am tempted to go back and buy a couple in black now that I know how good they are.

              Essentially these tops are constructed out of a 100% cotton material and this gives them a light feel against my skin and gives a small amount of stretch although it is worth mentioning that these tops are a slim fit. The fabric feels soft against my skin and very breathable and this is important to me as I tend to get hot quite quickly. In terms of the sizing of these tops they do come in sizes 10 to 18 and I find that my usual size ten feels about right with none of the issues of the sizing being slightly small or large as is the tendency with other stores.

              Once on, I like the fit of these tops and find them comfortable and very versatile, suiting virtually every casual outfit I put on. Despite now being twenty weeks pregnant, I do find that these tops have fitted up until a couple of weeks ago when my expanding bump meant that I had to put them in the drawer for after baby, therefore I have got a good amount of use out of them. It is worth mentioning that my white tops are now a touch see through after a few washes however with a vest top underneath this really isn't an issue in my opinion.

              To care for these tops it is recommended that they are washed in a 30° wash cycle and I find that this is adequate in making them as good as new. Despite wearing for a good number of weeks I have had no issues with the fabric becoming misshapen or marked and this is very good in my opinion.

              I purchased a pair of these tops before Christmas and paid £4.99 for each of them. However they are now in the sale at only £3 making these tops an excellent essential to any wardrobe in my opinion.

              As a result of this review I would find it hard to fault these tops and as a result they do come recommended. Consequently I will award these tops a well deserved five stars.

              I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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            • Dove Bar Shea Butter / Soaps / 27 Readings / 27 Ratings
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              10.03.2014 10:53
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              An average soap

              Knowing how much I loved my original scented Dove soap bars, my husband purchased a pair of Dove Shea Butter soaps recently with the thought that I would love them just as much. Having just got through my second bar, I thought it was high time that I gave these soaps a review not least because I wasn't quite as impressed with them as I was their original scent.

              These soap bars are presented in a plastic wrapper which is predominantly white in colour and has the Dove logo on the front. Unlike the original bars which have a blue colour theme, these soaps are presented with an almost caramel brown hue to illustrate the shea butter ingredient and I have to say that I didn't like this as much as I don't feel it has the same fresh and clean feel. Inside, the bars of soap are white in colour and share the same oval shape and Dove imprinted design I have come to expect from any Dove soap. Sadly however, that is where the similarities end as the smell of this soap is not nearly as nice or as refreshing and I believe this is owed somewhat to the shea butter and vanilla ingredients which give this soap quite a warm nutty smell as oppose to fresh. The shea butter scent is immediately noticeable in my opinion and the vanilla is only just noticeable giving a hint of sweetness.

              I was a little disappointed with the smell of these soap bars however, as I don't like to waste items by simply discarding them I did make it my mission to use them both up over the coming weeks. I prefer to use soap in the bath as I find that I can get a thick lather which easily spreads across my skin and these soap bars did this well. To use I rubbed the soap bar over wet skin or over my bath lily before rinsing off. In my opinion these soap bars produce a good amount of lather when rubbed and this leaves a rather nourishing film on my skin which rinses off easily. Once washed, I find that my skin feels soft and nourished with these soap bars with a slight scent of the shea butter ingredient. The foaming qualities of this soap make it ideal for use when shaving and therefore I regularly use it when I am in the mood to shave my legs or underarms and it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth after use.

              In terms of the longevity of these soaps I have to say that it is good as they seem to last the duration in my soap dish without turning into a sludgy mess which I have often known other soaps to do. In addition they retain their Dove logo for a good amount of time (few days) before this begins to melt into the soap and you are left with a white bar.

              These soaps are available from a number of retailers including Boots and Amazon and you can buy them in pack sizes of four to get good value. A pack of four is currently available on Amazon for £3.49 which I consider good value for use everyday.

              Overall I would have to say that although the quality of these soaps is good, I was a little disappointed with the shea smell. This may appeal to some users and to them I would recommend this soap however, for me it wasn't a favourite and for this reason this soap scores an average three stars from me.

              I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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            • Totes Slipper Socks / Clothing / 32 Readings / 32 Ratings
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              06.03.2014 15:19
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              A useful pair

              Knowing how often my feet get cold my husband rather kindly bought me a pair of slipper socks for Christmas and I have been wearing them virtually every night since. The brand of socks that he gave me were these Totes and he gave me a berry pair which rather suited my dark red pyjamas. These socks really have been an essential item over the winter period and I actually prefer wearing them to slippers so I was very pleased with this gift.

              These socks are essentially the same height as a standard sock but have a very thick fabric composition which makes them feel slightly heavier than a day to day sock. The socks are made in a mixture of acrylic (86%) and nylon (4%) and this gives them a soft and stretchy feel. On the bottom of each of my socks is a series of little plastic slip resistant sections together with the 'totes' logo and this ensures that when I am wearing these socks around the house on hard floors I am not likely to slip. As mentioned, I have these socks in the berry colour however I understand that they can be purchased in a wide variety of colours including blue and pink and this is great in my opinion as it ensures that you can buy a pair to match your nightwear or dressing gown. The sizing of these socks is interesting as they only come in one size however I have found this more than adequate for my size six feet and can see them fitting larger sizes due to their stretchiness.

              I generally like to wear these socks at all times of day when I am at home regardless of what I am doing and like the way that I can place them conveniently inside my handbag when we are visiting family or friends and thus use them at other peoples houses. The socks feel incredibly warm and cosy and I have had no issues with wearing them on our cold kitchen tiled floor as they keep my feet feeling a comfortable temperature. The only time when they become too hot is when I wear them to bed at night at which point I will sometimes wake up in the morning with particularly hot feet but as I often have very cold extremities this is a negative that I personally don't mid experiencing.

              Looking after these socks is a doddle and personally I prefer them to a pair of slippers as they can be thrown into a cool wash with regularity and don't have the tendency, as some slippers do, to trap body odours. I like to wash these socks on a 30° wash cycle and then hang them out to air naturally. The thickness of these socks does mean that they take slightly longer to dry than a standard sock but I find that by leaving them on the airer all day and then placing them on a warm radiator at night my socks are generally completely dry within 24 hours.

              As I didn't personally buy these socks I have had to have a look online to find out how much they cost. Prices vary greatly depending on where you buy these socks with them costing anywhere from £4 on Amazon to £6 on the Totes website. For such a useful pair of socks this is a price that I would consider paying and even if I only get one winters use out of them I will certainly be buying another pair next winter.

              I really like these socks and they really are a saving grace on cold hard floors therefore they do come recommended. As a result of this review these socks score an excellent five stars from me.

              I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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                06.03.2014 10:33
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                In need of another pair

                It is important to me to make the effort when I go into work everyday and therefore I will often wear a skirt or smart dress to try and look more polished. During the winter months, my legs do get there fair share of cold weather, especially since I walk in to work and therefore I went on a hunt a couple of months ago for some reliable tights. I am not a huge fan of tights as I can find them uncomfortable or easy to ladder and therefore I didn't want to spend a fortune. As a result I went in to my local Asda store to see what they could offer.

                The tights which I was immediately taken with were these 300 denier opaque tights. The tights are black in colour and have a slightly opaque look although not so see through that they expose my hideously pale legs. These tights have a warmth rating of 1 which means they keep my legs quite warm and as a result I have been known to wear mine underneath my trousers on a particularly cold day. In terms of frilly details these tights are pretty functional and do not have any print or lace details however this was perfect for me, having wanted them to wear to work. The sizing for these tights is always something I have to read before purchasing as not only are tights sized according to the size of the waist band but also down to the height of the wearer. Being that I am quite tall I opted for a medium size for these tights and found this to be adequate for my frame however they also come in sizes small, large and extra large.

                For information the composition of these tights is 96% nylon and 4% elastane and they should be washed in a hand wash with other delicates rather than in the washing machine.

                It is always quite a mission in my opinion putting tights on and these particular beauties are on exception. I like to ensure that I put these on one leg at a time and roll each tight leg down in to a small ball before inserting over my foot and gradually working my way up the leg. There is inevitably quite a bit of wiggling around with these tights when you get to the crotch area where I find that these tights have an annoying habit of hanging a couple of centimetres below my crotch. Therefore further jiggery is required until they are smooth to my skin. Once on I find that these tights are comfortable and warm and give a polished look to my finished outfit which is certainly preferable to showing off my bare legs.

                I do seem to be quite hard on tights and I can never work out whether this is the result of having quite long finger nails which always seem to get hooked around the delicate fabric of the tights. However, these tights seem to have served me well in my few weeks of owning them and I have had on issues with them laddering or becoming holey. The only thing I would say about these tights is that it is important to wash them in a hand wash as advised as I have chucked mine in the washing machine a couple of times now on a low heat and have recently found that they are beginning to bobble which doesn't make for the nicest look.

                The price of these tights is £4 and they are available in Asda stores. This is a price which I think is good value for money and one which I would certainly pay again.

                As a result of my review I would have to recommend these tights and as a result they score a good four stars from me.

                I hope this review has been on some help and thanks for reading! x

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                05.03.2014 15:10
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                A useful pair

                Another staple that I wear very often is a comfortable pair of leggings. Since becoming pregnant I have found that the majority of trousers, including those specifically designed for maternity wear feel quite uncomfortable around my middle or have a tendency to slip down. Having never looked at maternity clothing before now, it surprises me how few high street stores actually do a maternity range however thankfully H&M are one of the ones that do. Therefore when I went into my local H&M store recently to have a look at their maternity line I was on the look out for a good pair of stretchy leggings amongst other things.

                The leggings that I settled on were these 'Mama leggings' which are specifically designed to fit an expanding midriff and therefore allow a section of extra fabric to accommodate your growing bump. In store the material of the leggings looked quite thick and therefore I was not worried about them becoming see through with wear as other brands of leggings can sometimes do. I could only spot one colour of leggings in store, that being black, however this suited me as I find black the best colour to wear on my bottom half to suit virtually every outfit. In terms of sizing, these leggings come in sizes 10-12, 14-16, 18-20 or 22-24. It is my belief that the sizes in H&M are not very true to size and I often have to go one size up from what I usually am to find an item which fits nicely. However, with these leggings I opted for the 10-12 and they fit me perfectly.

                For information, the composition of these leggings is 5% elastane and 95% cotton which makes for a fabric which has quote a stretchy feel and yet is cool enough to wear even on warmer days. I find this combination of materials perfect in ensuring that the leggings maintain their shape and in the two months I have owned mine they have not become misshapen or overstretched. H&M recommend that these leggings are washed on a 40° wash and I like to wash mine on my usual 30° cycle and find this more than adequate for washing out any marks or dirt accumulated from wear.

                I like to wear these leggings with quite a variety of different tops and dresses and find them the perfect accessory underneath a casual dress or long jumper. These leggings feel incredibly comfortable on and, unlike other leggings I have tried, these do not leave a pink line around my midriff over the course of the day as a result of the fabric digging in. These leggings have continued to fit me as my bump expands and I can only see this continuing as I get further along in my pregnancy. I like the look of these leggings and find that the thick fabric is adequate at covering my knicker line and the stretchiness of the fabric seems to smooth over my lumps and bumps without exaggerating them.

                These leggings are currently priced in H&M for a reasonable £7.99. Although this isn't the cheapest price for a pair of leggings, after all I'm sure Primark do some cheaper, it is a good price to pay in my opinion for such a quality staple item and I will certainly be buying more in the future.

                As a result of this review I would recommend these leggings as an essential maternity item, therefore they score a great five stars from me.

                I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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                04.03.2014 15:05
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                A useful purchase

                When I found out I was pregnant a couple of months ago my mind immediately turned to my wardrobe, after all what was I going to wear over my newly expanding tummy? One of the staple items in my wardrobe is a vest top as I wear them under virtually every outfit during both my time at work and home. Therefore when I spotted a pack of two maternity vest tops in Asda I popped them into my basket.

                The pair of vest tops that I purchased came with one black and one white vest top in a pack. This was great in my opinion as I like to vary the colour of the vest depending on the top that I am wearing usually opting for the lighter vest when I am wearing a light shirt or blouse. Both look very functional in appearance and they certainly wouldn't win any awards for style with their slightly longer than usual sections of fabric and stretchy spaghetti straps. The composition of my particular vest tops is 96% cotton and 4% elastane. This ensures that the tops have an adequate amount of stretch and yet the cotton element ensures that they are breathable in my opinion.

                In terms of the length of these vests they really are adequate for my 5 foot 6'' frame. I find that when worn under clothes they extend a couple of inches below my bump although I can see this length shrinking as my bump gets bigger. The stretch in these vests ensures that they feel comfortable on and the length is great at preventing my belly from being exposed when my tops ride up over my bump during the day.

                To wash these particular vests I like to ensure that they are put in amongst items of a similar colour before washing on a cooler 30° wash cycle. I have had no issues with these vests shrinking or loosing their stretch after washing and indeed mine look as good today as they did when new. I do like to iron these tops as I do tend to iron everything in our house however the stretch in these vests means that you really shouldn't have to.

                The vests that I purchased came in sizes eight to twenty and as I have had no extra weight gain aside from my expanding bump I opted for my usual size ten and these fit perfectly. The pair of vests cost me £6 from my local Asda which I consider a bargain and will certainly be returning to buy more in the near future.

                Overall I think these were a great purchase and I can see myself using them for the months to come therefore they score an excellent five stars from me.

                I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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                • Sky HD Box DRX595 / Set Top Box / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                  27.02.2014 14:50
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                  Getting a lovely picture from Sky

                  When we purchased our first property together some four years ago now, my husband and I were keen to get the best TV package that we could find. We had in the past used Virgin but, having heard some great things about Sky we contacted them to see what their best deals were. Fortunately for us we were offered a good package which included a free SKY HD box. Therefore knowing how many great programmes that SKY broadcast we signed up on the spot and eagerly awaited the visit by our local SKY engineer to set things up.

                  ~Product Looks and Dimensions~

                  When the SKY engineer came out to visit our property a couple of days later I was keen to see how the look of the Sky HD box would compare to our previous Virgin version. I have to admit that I really liked the look of this box which is modern with a masculine touch in my opinion and has a slightly sturdy feel. The predominant colour of this box is black and this black plastic forms the body of the box which is a matt finish making it less likely to show up fingerprints. On the front of the box is a curved stripe of silver and this serves to highlight the controls for this box with the playback button being a large circular button at the front of the box to clearly indicate whether a programme is being recorded or played. The sides of this box are punched with a number of ventilation holes which suggested to me that this box likes a lot of space to breathe and therefore when we positioned it inside our TV cabinet I did ensure that there was a large gap either side of the unit. In terms of dimensions this box measures 380mm wide by 72mm high by 243mm deep which made it the perfect size to fit within our Ikea television unit with adequate ventilation space.

                  ~Technical Details~

                  In terms of technical details this box is designed to allow the user to watch a range of programmes and channels in high definition format. Obviously in order to do this you will need a HD compatible TV and the amount of channels which broadcast programmes in HD is limited although most channels now offer it in addition to their standard definition channel. The box also gives you the option to pause and rewind live TV which is always handy in my opinion when you want to take a quick trip to the toilet but don't want to miss what is happening. In addition to watching TV through this box you can also record up to 185 hours of standard definition television through this box or 60 hours of high definition. As we both have funny working hours we really use this facility a lot and what is even more helpful is the ability to download the Sky+App which enables us to control our recordings through our iPod when we are out and about. Sky claim that this box offers five times more picture detail, vibrant colours and superb sound and that it is also wi-fi enabled allowing you to connect it to any broadband router for on demand viewing.

                  ~The Remote~

                  One of the things which is critical to the use of this HD box is the remote that it comes with and you can also buy this from a number of stores including Robert Dyas in the event that it goes missing. You can control the box via the small buttons on the top and we occasionally change the channel on ours with the iPad however the remote really is a necessity for easy viewing. The remote is coloured in a black and silver theme to match that of the box and the buttons are all very clearly marked and have sufficient space between them to easily press the correct button. Our remote has begun to loose the marks on a couple of buttons such as the volume + and - markings which are beginning to disappear however I pretty much can use this control without looking at what I am doing having owned it for a number of years.

                  ~Setting Up the Box~

                  When we were first visited by the Sky engineer we were fortunate that he set our box up for us together with the satellite dish and this meant that we had instant television that evening. However, since then we did purchase our Ikea television stand and therefore had to unplug the wires and reconnect the box to sit within the unit. In my experience this was relatively easy to do although we did mark each cable before disconnecting in order that we could be sure we put it back in the correct hole as there are quite a number of different cables which can be connected into the back. Starting at the left of the unit is the power cable and this plugs in to the mains ensuring that the box is powered. To the right of this are a pair of cables which connect the box to the satellite dish and in our house these cables come up through the wall of our lounge and give adequate length to position the box where we want it. Next to this is the HDTV cable which connects the box to the actual television and then there is a smaller cable which enables you to connect the box to the broadband router. Finally to the far right is a cable for connecting the box to the telephone line and this is a light grey cable unlike the other black cables which makes it obvious to assemble. Once everything is up and running a red light glows to the right of the front of the box and when switched on this light changes colour to green which is a nice indicator that the box is powered on.

                  ~Use~

                  When I first used our Sky box I remember being quite overwhelmed with the amount of buttons and controls that it came with however having now owned it for a number of years I really am a pro. When the box is switched on and the correct HDMI channel selected on the TV itself the box defaults automatically to the Sky channel which you can then change using the remote. In pressing the TV guide button on the top of the remote you are presented with a large blue screen which continues to play your programme in a small viewing screen in the top right hand corner. This guide area on the box is divided into various headings such as the 'what's on guide', 'on demand', 'search', 'planner', 'box office' and 'controls' which each enable you change the settings, record different programmes and search for your favourite programmes. One of the options I use the most is the search tab which is illustrated with a magnifying glass and this allows you to search through the upcoming programmes to find one that you have missed. Another tab that we use a great deal of is the planner one as this shows you what has been recorded during the week. Each programme is clearly displayed in a table format and shows you the status of the programme including whether it is yet to record, has been viewed or is yet to view and you can delete each one after watching using the yellow button on the remote itself. The amount of space available on the box is clearly illustrated using a lien and a percentage on the top of the screen and despite using our box to record a number fo hours of television we have yet to even get it full to half its capacity meaning that it is more than adequate for our viewing needs.

                  ~Security~

                  One of the first things that you have to do once getting the box home is to put a security code on it. This code is purely a precaution against those programmes with an adult content or for those occasions when you want to authorise watching a little extra such as a film from Sky box office which will be charged to your Sky account. In our case this is a four digit pin which we just use for those programmes we have recorded which have adult scenes and this is easy to do in my experience as a box flashes up to tell you to put the pin in.

                  ~My Experience~

                  Over the years I have owned this box I have been both impressed and annoyed with this box particularly as it is getting older. I have to say that this box does give excellent viewing and during times when I am watching a nature programme or documentary I am constantly blown away by the quality of the picture and the detail that I can see. The sound from this box is also excellent and I find that I can hear every detail of a programme and every instrument on the occasions when I am listening to a piece of background music. Some of these qualities can also be attributed to our television but without the use of the box to view HD programmes in the first place this really would be worthless. Another thing that I really enjoy using is the recording option on this box which we probably use practically everyday and this makes selecting what we want to watch easy and is very simple to set up with a series loop which enables you to record a series of programmes with the press of one button rather than finding them individually each week. Finally I must commend this box on the Sky+ application which enables us to view and record programmes remotely from our iPad which is a very convenient feature.

                  As this box is getting older I have noticed it becoming less responsive to the remote and this is one thing that really irritates me particularly in the morning. The box does have a tendency to occasionally freeze or only partly remote programmes and this is frustrating when you get up in the morning to find that something you were looking forward to watching has not been recorded. There have been times in the past few weeks where I have had to turn off box and start again and this takes time for it to load up again which is annoying. In addition, the remote which began its life working very efficiently, has now started to be selective about which buttons work with the volume and mute buttons now being completely void.

                  ~Price and Availability~

                  As we received this box free through Sky I really believe that this was an excellent deal and one which has given us endless hours of great viewing. However I understand that these boxes can also be purchased independently online from as little as £45 from EBay which makes it a good investment in my opinion.

                  ~Summary and Recommendations~

                  Overall I would have to say that this is a box which has offered us excellent viewing over the years we have owned it and quite a good variety of different programmes which we have enjoyed viewing. I cannot fault this box for the high definition viewing it gives together with the great sound quality. Where this unit does fail in my opinion is in its shelf life and as ours is beginning to play up I do question how much longer we will continue to use it before we try and get a new box through Sky.

                  All in all this HD box has given us much enjoyment and consequently it does come recommended. Based on my comments in this slightly long winded review this box scores a good four stars from me.

                  I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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                    26.02.2014 11:33
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                    A great way to keep the hygienist happy

                    It was with trepidation that I recently went to my annual dentist and hygienist appointments. Although I am a bit of a stickler for keeping my teeth clean, there is always the worry that the dentist might find something or else that I might get a good telling off about the poor quality of my dental hygiene. Fortunately for me neither of these issues was raised however, I was advised to floss my teeth with more regularity and the hygienist took the opportunity to show me these Tepe interdental brushes. I had spotted a display of these brushes when I entered the dentist surgery and commented to my husband about the pretty colours however it wasn't until the hygienist began to use a couple on my teeth that I really appreciated the benefit.

                    Quite simply, these interdental brushes are designed to clean the narrow areas between teeth including those around bridges and dental implants. The bristles are attached to a thin piece of metal wire which is relatively flexible and allows you to position the brush between each pair of teeth with minimal discomfort. Each brush is designed for purpose in my opinion with a slightly rounded head with which to hold the brush during use and this ensures that you can grip it well when you are reaching some of the harder to reach areas in your mouth. One thing which struck me about these brushes was the amount of colours that they came in ranging from bright red and green to less bold black and grey. The hygienist explained to me that each colour represented a thickness of brush and for information these are as follows:

                    Pink - 0.4mm
                    Orange - 0.45mm
                    Red - 0.5mm
                    Blue - 0.6mm
                    Yellow - 0.7mm
                    Green - 0.8mm
                    Purple - 1.1mm
                    Grey - 1.3mm
                    Black - 1.5mm

                    The size of brush that you choose depends entirely on the size of the gap between your teeth. I was fortunate that the hygienist recommended that I use the smallest of the brushes as I have quite narrow gaps between my teeth (that being the pink) and so once home I ordered a selection of pink brushes from Amazon. The brushes arrived in packets of eight and I ordered five packets in total. Each packet has a see through section at the front enabling you to see the pink brushes inside and we are told that these brushes are made in Sweden. Further information states that these brushes have improved access and durability and a small diagram shows how the brushes should be used between each tooth.

                    To use these brushes I really like to ensure that I have already flossed my teeth with my dental flossers to ensure that every tooth has been cleaned. It is unfortunate that not all the gaps between my teeth are big enough to use an interdental brush (you are advised not to force them between a gap) and therefore I like to make sure every tooth has been flossed before I start using these brushes. Once ready to go I begin by taking one of these brushes and bending the bristles down ever so slightly so that the wire is at a 90° angle. I find this the most used friendly method of ensuring that I can brush through every nook and cranny without having to pull my cheeks in every direction imaginable. I then work the point of the wire through the gap in my teeth and pull it slowly from front to back to ensure that all the plaque has been cleaned starting at the front of my mouth and working back. With each brush I wipe off the bristles before working my way onto the next pair of teeth. On the back teeth it really is a case of moving the wire to different angles to ensure that I can reach the harder to reach places with ease. Once I am satisfied that I have done every possible section, I finish off the process by cleaning my teeth with an electric toothbrush and gargling some mouthwash. All in all this is quite a long winded process and as a result I only do it every other day as oppose to every night which is advised by most dentists.

                    My hygienist did advise that I could re-use a brush for two nights in a row however, I don't like to think of the bacteria sitting on the brush in between uses and therefore use a new one every time.

                    After using these brushes for the first time a couple of weeks ago I was quite amazed at the amount of bleeding that they produced along my gums. I had been advised that this was the natural reaction due to the amount of bacteria along the gum line and that the bleeding would soon abate which fortunately it has. I am keen to keep up the use of these after the hygienist did such a good job of decaling my teeth and therefore I have been using them every other day for two weeks. The results really are excellent as my teeth not only look cleaner but they also feel cleaner and with each use I find it easier the next time round to work the small bristles between the gaps. The process, though time consuming, is very easy to do and with regular use I am finding it completely painless. Additionally, the quality of the brushes ensures that they last an entire round of teeth without loosing any bristles or breaking in those harder to reach areas. Using these brushes I am confident that I am doing a thorough job of cleaning my teeth and the proof is in the fact that the horrible line of plaque, which usually sits between my front bottom teeth has yet to reappear.

                    I did take the time to shop around for these Tepe brushes and found them most competitive on Amazon where I purchased five packs of eight (40 brushes) for £14.60. Using these every day works out at around 37p per brush which I do not think is too extortionate considering that my set of 40 should last for around three months with use every other day.

                    I can honestly say that I enjoy using these little brushes and if they protect my teeth from further plaque and decay then they really are a good investment. With each use I continue to find the method quicker and the bleeding minimal therefore I am satisfied that I am doing the best job of keeping my teeth clean. I just hope the dentist agrees at my next appointment..

                    I would recommend these quality little brushes and as a result they score a well deserved five stars from me. I just hope I can keep up the good work.

                    I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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                      25.02.2014 13:15
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                      Attempting to stay fresh all day

                      I seem to go through deodorant at quite a pace and as such am often purchasing new brands which are on offer at the time. Personally I do like to buy different deodorants each time as I find that my skin seems to get used to a certain product which makes it less effective the next time around. One such buy was a bottle of this Sure Crystal Invisible Aqua. I have used Sure products in the past and, have nearly always found them to be of good quality. Therefore when I spotted this product for only £2 in my local Asda I purchased it to take home.

                      ~The Product and Packaging~

                      The packaging for my can of deodorant differs somewhat to that shown in the Dooyoo illustration and I can only assume that this is down to the fact that my bottle is part of the new compressed range of spray deodorants thus taking up less packaging for the same amount of spray. The canister is predominantly silver in colour and has a blue tick and almost ice illustration which I believe gives this product a slightly masculine look. On the front of my bottle we are told that this deodorant is anti white marks and yellow stains which is always a bonus in my opinion. Although I do not tend to wear a huge amount of dark clothing I do find that the underarm sections on my blouses and shirts tend to get a build up of yellow stains over time and so was hopeful that this product would prevent this.

                      Turning the canister over there are instructions as to how to use this product which is combined with further features of this deodorant including that it is dermatologically tested, alcohol free and gives up to 48 hours of protection. I always find it interesting when a product claims to give two days protection, after all who wears deodorant for such a long period of time without having a wash? However it is always interesting to me to see how it will fare over one days use to get an idea of whether it would really last the duration.

                      ~How Does it Smell?~

                      Another thing of importance to me when I buy a new antiperspirant/ deodorant is the smell of it. I am certainly one of those annoying people that you see sniffing the lids of various products around the shop as I do like to ensure that I get the smell right rather than wasting my money. Personally I like to smell fresh at all times of the day and so will often look for a product which gives a fresh and clean scent but without being too overbearing and detracting from my perfume. This spray has a particularly fresh scent which is almost cottony in fragrance and smells quite clean without being masculine or overly perfumed. It is a smell that I like and one which I enjoy getting little bursts of scent from throughout the day.

                      ~Application and Use~

                      Using this deodorant really is quite straightforward and in no way different to using any other spray based product. On the top of the canister is a grey push forward button and this is slightly ribbed to give it grip. To unlock this button we are told to push it forward with the thumb at which point a jet of deodorant sprays out of the narrow nozzle and this is relatively easy to do in my experience and makes this product less likely to spray accidentally. Once pressed the button omits a strong jet of spray which quickly coats my underarm area and I generally find that two jets under each arm is adequate for a days wear. The spray comes out of the canister clear in colour and dries almost instantly and I have had no occasions where my armpits are covered in white powder which I do find to be the case with other products.

                      ~My Experience and Opinions~

                      In terms of the longevity of this deodorant I would have to say that it is rather good. I generally walk a mile to work everyday and therefore am often warm and ever so slightly damp from perspiration when I arrive at the office. With this deodorant I find that my underarm area is kept relatively dry and retains a cotton fresh scent which stays with me all morning. By the end of the day I do find that the scent of this deodorant has begun to loose its cottony freshness and evolved a slightly more bodily smell however, it is easily adequate for a days work and is not noticeable to anybody other than my keen sense of smell. I do agree with the Sure claims that this product does not create white marks on clothing as it certainly sprays on clear and does not go powdery, however I would struggle to agree to the anti-yellow marking qualities of this spray as I don't find that I have been wearing it for long enough to truly validate these claims.

                      ~Price and Availability~

                      A 150ml bottle of this deodorant set me back £2 from my local Asda which I think is a pretty average price for a bottle and one which I would happily buy again. My 150ml canister of deodorant has lasted around a month which I consider quite good for such a small bottle and as such I will be looking for a similar product the next time I need a new deodorant.

                      ~Summary and Recommendations~

                      As a result of my review I would recommend this product particularly for its clean fresh scent and ability to spray clear onto the armpit area. I do not agree with the 48 hour claims for this deodorant as it does not stay cotton fresh on my skin for longer than a few hours therefore I would have to mark it down one star. Therefore this product scores a good, if not excellent, four stars from me.

                      I hope this review has been of some help and thanks for reading! x

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