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houseofberries
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Member since: 10.05.2013

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    • Pyrex 3 Piece Bowl Set / Cookware / 72 Readings / 71 Ratings
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      19.09.2013 15:22
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      Great kitchen essential

      I seemed to be finding myself short of bowls for mixing, cooking and serving, so when I found this set of three Pyrex Bowls reduced to £9.99 on Amazon, I decided to invest. The RRP is £14.99.

      The bowls arrived stacked one inside the other in a box - the box was a little flimsy, but the bowls weren't damaged in any way. The bowls are made of clear glass and 0.5 Litre, 1.0 Litre and 2.0 Litre. I find the large bowl great for mixing, cake mixes, pastries, crumble etc.

      These bowls are designed to be cooked in too, perfect for making fruit crumbles (one of my favourite uses for the large bowl). Amazon states they bowls are made of borosilicate glass, this can be used up to 300 degrees. Pyrex state they are microwave safe, I've heated baked beans and simular products in the microwave with no issues. They can be used in the fridge (I've tested this with crumbles and jellies). They are also thankfully dishwasher proof, mine have been though many times in the last 6 months and still look nice and shiny.

      I've also used the bowls to put salads, tomatoes and various cold dishes out, when we've had guests round. It states on Amazon that they are scratch resistant and don't allow for transfer of flavours. I've had a onion ladden potato salad in one day, then a crumble the next and there certainly wasn't any trace of the onion.

      They come with a 10 year guarantee, so Pyrex must be pretty confident in their bowls. They do feel very robust and mine - despite heavy use for 6 months are showing no signs of wear as yet.

      The sizes make them easy to store in the cupboard as they can be stored one inside the other. A great kitchen essential, don't know what I'd do without them now. Highly recommended.

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        16.09.2013 22:29
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        Great fun for Octonauts fan, robust, tough toy.

        This toy is from the popular children's programme , The Octonauts. They are a group of creatures that explore under the sea, looking to help sick or injured sea life. It's a great show actually, they pop in lots of real facts about sea creatures, my 4 year old understands Symbiosis, can identify a Puffer Fish in a aquatics store and tell me that throwing his vampire squid behind the TV is okay because it's in the 'midnight zone' (he has a point). Back to the toy....

        This was bought for my 4 year old on his birthday - he loves the Octonauts and this has been a key vehicle used in the more recent programs.

        The Gup comes with:

        Captain Barnacles Figure (one of the main characters)
        Slime shooter discs (these are quite big so no need to worry about them being swallowed)
        3 sea creatures - one of which has a bandage that fits over them - (Spider Crab, Snot Sea Cucumber and a Horseshoe Crab)
        A rescue line/pulley
        Stretcher

        It's great for role play with the creatures and rescue features. The figure stands with ease in parts of the Gup as it has little holes in the bottom of the feet and there's raised noddles that the foot can be pushed into. In fact all the old Octonauts figures we have prior to this being made have the same holes in their feet, so they can be easily put into the Gup too.

        The Gup breaks into three parts and easily fits back together, even for little hands. It's really robust and has a big grip on the top of it to push it around, turn it around, carry it etc. After nearly a year of hard use and being dropped, it's still looking in great condition.

        Sadly this is one Octonauts toy that doesn't go in the bath as well as for normal play - unlike most of the others. It does has some electric functions with the slime shooter and noises that are made, which I believe is the reason why.

        The slime shooter is lots of fun, again the discs are chunky and are easy for little ones to use, there's just a simple lever that launches them. Thankfully they don't go too far or dispense too fast.

        When finished with the toy at night, all the pieces can be put inside to stop them being dispersed around the home. I've just bought a box to store them in though as our collection of Octonauts seems to be growing.

        There was no assembly required with this item, or stickers to put on, it came out of the box ready to go, which is a massive plus in my book. It requires batteries, these are included and already fitted. Despite lots of play, I've never had to change them - yet.

        The Gup X is available to buy on Amazon with an RRP of £44.99. I managed to get it for £25.00 however, for that price it's been great value for money with the amount of use it's had. It's currently at £25.00 at the time of writing the article.

        Overall I'm really happy with this toy, it's well made, has enough features for lots of play, very tough and robust. I can't really find any fault with it at all.

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      • Garden Pea / Plant / 64 Readings / 62 Ratings
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        12.09.2013 13:13
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        Fun to grow, great for you and really tasty

        Peas taste so much different fresh from the pod, I've never matched it with peas bought from elsewhere. Great cooked or even better eaten straight from the pod or put in a salad.

        Peas are fairly straight forward to grow, after the frosts is a good time to start. They don't like very hot weather so anytime in Spring is perfect. There's a lot of advice out there that recommends sowing the peas straight into the ground as the roots don't like being disturbed. I grow my peas from seed on the window sill and haven't had a problem with transplanting them from pot to outside soil over the last three years. If you're concerned and want to grow them in pots to start with, you could always use a peat pot that will break down into the soil - avoiding any root disruption.

        Peas germinate reasonably quickly inside, you'll see the pea start to appear from 7 - 14 days, once they appear they'll start to grow reasonably fast. If they're indoors or in a greenhouse hardening them off by placing outdoors for a few hours then building up to full time will help the process of transplanting them go much smoother.

        Peas are a climbing plant, up to about knee level. You can use canes with pea netting over the top, either in a long line or wigwam shape. Even sticks in the ground with some tightly woven string around, just something they can put tendrils out to support them. I prefer the wigwam with netting just due to the space available in the garden. Pea netting can be bought very cheaply from garden centers, also in the various 99p/Pound stores. Canes also from garden centres, or you could use some long sticks.
        When they get started sometimes I find they need a little help finding the netting or string, just a little nudge towards it, pushing the tendrils through the netting usually helps.

        Peas can be susceptible to pests like mice and birds. You could use a little plant fleece to deter, we had problems with Thrushes pecking the leaves of the plants, to the point where they were struggling to survive one year. I placed carrier bags on poles around the area and this worked amazingly well. The plants recovered and produced a good crop despite the shaky start.

        Just before the plants produce pea pods, they product a large white flower, soon afterwards the pea pod will form. You'll be able to see the peas inside develop and you'll be able to feel when they are ready for picking.

        I try and get some more going around about 4 weeks apart over the Spring/Summer, even with one lot in July as the plants tend to product pods for around 4 weeks then die back, just to keep a supply going through the warmer months. The peas planted in July have just started to produce peas now.

        There are many different types of pea variety, including varieties of Mange Tout which are grown in exactly the same way.

        Peas are high in vitamin C, they lose a little of the vitamins when cooked, but to be honest most of ours don't make it to that stage and are eaten off the pods or in salads.

        At the end of the season it's worth keeping a pod or two back and letting them dry out, so you have peas that can be used for planting next year.

        Highly recommended, fun to grow and very tasty too.

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        • More +
          27.08.2013 23:12
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          Musky, floral perfume

          I was bought Dior Addict EDP as a present - I seem to get a lot of perfume for presents, I'm a lucky girl.


          **The Bottle**

          I love the design of the bottle, it's a tall, slim, very dark blue, slightly translucent bottle, enough just to see the liquid level inside. 'Dior Addict' is written sideways on the top part of the bottle in raised plastic, very subtle. There's a gold knob on top of the bottle, this can be pressed to spray the perfume and twisted to lock the spray. Makes it perfect to take in a handbag without the worry of a leak. I've transported the perfume before and never had it leak in my bag.


          **The Spray**

          You don't need to press the knob on the top of the bottle very hard to dispense the spray. It's quite a fine spray and I find dispenses just the right amount in one squirt. I feel a second squirt would probably be a little over the top.


          **Wonderful Smells**

          This is a very musky perfume with a floral edge, it's evident from the first spray. I'd class it as more of an evening perfume than day to day wear. A fresher smell becomes evident within 15-20 minutes of wearing the perfume I can only describe as fruity, vanilla.

          Notes taken from http://www.escentual.com/:

          Top Note
          ITALIAN MANDARIN

          Heart Note
          QUEEN OF THE NIGHT FLOWER

          Base Note
          MADAGASCAN VANILLA

          So it's quite a simple make up really, but fits together rather well. Dior describe it as 'Oriental, Sensual energy'.

          It lasts well, usually across the whole evening. I take it out with me and never end up re-applying.


          **Availability**

          Widely available in Boots stores and on-line, Amazon and most department stores.
          Available in 20ml, 50ml or 100ml. Currently in Boots for £36.50 for 20ml, £65.50 for 50ml, £92.50 for 100ml.

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          • Runner Beans / Plant / 81 Readings / 79 Ratings
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            25.08.2013 13:36
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            Great tasting beans, fresh from your garden

            Runner beans are probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow. One bean can produce a whole load of beans to eat, if you can't eat the beans fast enough they can be blanched (boiled in hot water for a few minutes) then put in a tub or bag to freeze when you're ready for them.

            **What you'll need**

            Beans to plant
            Good sized vegetable bed or a large pot
            Canes, poles or long sticks to grow the beans up
            String to tie the poles together or a plastic disc wigwam maker that you can slot the poles into (to make a wigwam shape)

            Bean 'seeds' can be bought from Homebase, B&Q, 99p Stores and Poundland to name a few. Also available on Ebay. Poles to grow the beans up can be bought from DIY Stores like Homebase, as can the canes. If you're on a budget you could try foraging in a wood for nice long sticks. They need to be around 8ft. If you want to go really self sufficient you could always try growing bamboo (make sure you keep it in a pot - this stuff spreads). When it gets growing cut canes off and leave to dry.

            Our neighbours planted a bamboo plant in their garden years ago - not in a pot. It's spread into our hedge, actually I don't really mind, I take cuttings off it regularly and have a good supply of canes, as do my family. I wouldn't recommend putting it straight in the ground, it does try and take over.


            **Deciding how to grow**

            If you're growing the beans in a pot, you'll probably want to make a wigwam shape with your canes. The pot needs good drainage so the beans don't become waterlogged. The advantage of a pot is that it makes it harder for slugs to attack the plants. You can also do this straight in the ground. If you have more room, you can always grow them in a long line, putting two canes up against each other in a triangle and repeating, using one cane to go along the middle. You'll need lots of string to tie them all together.

            Runner beans enjoy a sunny patch in the garden, which is worth considering when setting up an area to grow.

            **Getting the plants going**

            This is one plant I love involving my boys with, they germinate quickly so they don't get fed up caring for a non responsive plant for weeks on end.
            You can either plant the beans straight into the ground or grow in pots inside/in a greenhouse to get them started. I usually grow indoors, when I'm 100% sure the frosts have gone I start them off in little pots with 1 or 2 beans in each (depending on the space I have on the window sills). Each bean should be placed in potting compost about 4cms down into the pot. Keep well watered and watch the beans quickly appear.


            **Planting out**

            If you've been growing these inside or in a greenhouse, they'll need to be hardened off. Put the plants outside for a few hours each day in the sun, working up to full days. They'll start to get tall quite quickly. After a week or two of hardening off, you can then plant them into the soil. Plant each plant near a cane, so it can easily find it to climb up. You can plant two plants per cane if you like.


            **Caring for the beans**

            They don't need much attention, regular watering in dry spells is needed. Pests can include slugs and snails - if you want you can use slug pellets or lay beer traps if they become a problem. I just keep an eye in the evenings and pull off any snails seen on the plants.
            The plants will produce red or white flowers depending on the variety of bean, some birds find these attractive to peck at. Some people tie carrier bags on the tops of the canes to try and deter them. One year when it was a massive problem I purchased some plastic bunting and strung it across the top. It did help deter the birds.

            When the beans start coming, they taste nicest when they're not too big, regular picking promotes more growth on the plants.


            **Cooking**

            Runner beans are easy to prepare. You'll need a bean slicer that costs pennies from most supermarkets. Simply snap off the top and bottom of the bean, then push through the bean slicer. Remove the sides - these can taste a little stringy. Then boil for around 10 minutes according to how soft you like the beans.
            They don't keep very well as they are, after a few days of being picked, they go a little soft and this makes it hard to push through the bean slice. So I'd highly recommend preparing them and blanching/freezing as it the beginning of this article if you're not going to use them for a while.
            I love these with a roast on a Sunday, they taste really nice with the gravy.


            **Getting ready for next year**

            At the end of the growing season, I keep some of the bigger beans and leave them to dry in a paper bag or paper envelope. That way you can save on buying seeds again next year. The canes, poles or sticks used can also be kept for the following year.

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              20.08.2013 12:54
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              Great Head lice solution

              My youngest Son recently had a bought of head lice that became resistant to my usual Lice treatment of choice. After weeks of wet coming, egg pulling and battling, I resorted to trying something new. Enter Picksan Lice Stop.

              If you've been fortunate enough to not experience head lice, they're tiny little creatures that live in hair. They are a parasite and live by sucking blood from the scalp - this is what causes itching. They lay eggs that stick to the hair, these are what's known as 'nits'. The're quite small and look like a tiny brown tear drop shape. They hatch within around 10 days and so the cycle starts again.

              I wet comb my children's hair with a nit comb once a week while they're in the bath to keep a check. The quicker they are found, the more chance there is of getting rid of them easily.

              After the lice became resistant to my usual head lice lotion, I asked my GP while seeing him for something else for recommendations. He said that wet combing and getting rid of the eggs was really the most effective way. After four weeks of constantly thinking I'd got rid of them but they kept coming back I resorted to a very severe hair cut and an alternative solution.

              I found Picksan Lice Stop on Amazon, it had a small collection of positive reviews and it's statement that lice find it difficult to become resistant to. From Amazon: 'Contains a MelAza extract which by nature lice find difficult to become resistant to' attracted me. Also that it only needed to be left on the hair for 20 minutes rather than overnight.

              When the product arrived, it came in a small box with an instruction leaflet tucked inside. It's only a 100ml bottle, so it's quite small.

              From Amazon:

              Picksan, Paraben and DEET free, the natural way to treat Head Lice.
              Picksan Lice Stop uses a combination of vegetable ingredients to treat Head Lice.
              Can be used on children over the age of 2 years.
              Picksan Lice Stop was developed by Professor Melhorne an internationally recognised parasitologist.

              The product is classed as a 'shampoo', very straightforward to use. The instructions advise to make the hair wet, dry it off a little, then rub in the shampoo and leave for 20 minutes. I applied it to all our heads (just in case). The solution is a off yellow colour, doesn't really lather, but is thick enough to stay in the hair while you do other things. It has a very faint smell that I can only describe as like vegetables, you have to sniff pretty closely to get this however.

              It states that this product removes the lice and not the nits (eggs), so you need to reapply in 10 days time to stop the cycle. They also state to wet comb the hair after application.

              It rinses out the hair quite well. I did over the 10 days keep combing and never found a live louse, I did work very hard on removing the eggs so I'm not sure after 10 days that there was anything to remove but I applied it anyway. I'm happy to say we are now head lice free.

              I'm very happy to recommend the product, it does take some effort however with the combing and removing eggs, so it's not a cure all. I'll certainly use again if we (shudders) get another bought of head lice.

              It's available on Amazon and Chemist Direct for around £6.00 - £8.00 for a 100ml bottle. I've not seen this available in high street stores.

              Quite cheap compared to some of the big brand head lice treatments.

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              • Leeks / Plant / 79 Readings / 78 Ratings
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                18.08.2013 20:43
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                Easy to grow, low maintenance vegetable

                I was introduced to growing leeks 4 years ago, I purchased a tray of baby plug plant leeks from Homebase, popped them in the soil and was amazed at how easily they grew.

                Leeks are a member of the onion family, they grow happily in most soil conditions and are very versatile in the kitchen. The flavour is milder than most onions and they work really well in soups and stews. The can be chopped at the bottom and the outer leafs removed, then cut into pieces and boiled to soften to have as an side dish, or just boil for 6-7 minutes, then cover with oil and roast in the oven.

                Since my initial Homebase purchase, I now grow the leeks from seed. I usually purchase them from Amazon or Ebay as they seem to work out cheaper that way for the amount of seeds in the packet. Usually paying just over a pound delivered for 50 seeds or so. I've also seen them in Aldi for 39p a packet at certain times of the year.

                The seeds are then grown inside, in trays on window sills. They can be put straight in the ground but will usually germinate quicker inside or in a greenhouse. I sew them around April in trays. Depending on the variety and conditions they take around 10 to 14 days to germinate.

                When the weather warms up a little I start putting them outside to harden off in their trays. After a week or two and I feel totally happy that the frosts are gone, I put them into a well dug soil. A dibber is really useful for this, to make little holes around 10-15cm deep (depending on the size of the baby leeks). They can then be gently pulled from the trays and transplanted to the soil, obviously pushing the soil around to support them. Each one is spaced around 20-30cms apart.

                If you have children, transplanting is a great way to get them involved too. They can make the little holes in the ground with minimum guidance, then with a little help, put each leek into the ground or even do it on their own dependent on age. My boys really enjoy doing this and seeing what they planted grow though the summer months.

                It's best to keep watered through the drier weather, apparently lack of water means they will be less tender. I've never exercised that theory however and just kept them watered with the rest of the growing fruit and vegetables through the summer. I use a watering can with a rose on when the leeks are small, so the pressure doesn't knock them over.

                Leeks should be ready in late summer, but will happily keep in the ground through the Autumn. I've even kept them in the ground during the winter snow and the leeks have still been fine. Overwintering leeks successfully can depend on the variety used.

                When it comes to harvest time, if the soil isn't too dry you should be able to just pull the leek out of the ground, if not you can always use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the leak and dig around the area to release it from the ground. They store reasonably well for a few weeks, I find it best to pull up a leek or two when I'm ready to use them for freshness.

                If you want to try and get your own seeds from the leeks, leave a few in the ground from the previous year through to the next, during the summer months the leeks will bolt and produce what looks like a large flower head on the top. I've found I needed to put canes alongside them and tie them to the cane for support, they are nearly a couple of meters tall and rather spindly so they definitely needed it. That and the fact that my boys were using them as punch bags, staking them has thankfully put a stop to this. You'll see the dark brown seeds develop in the flower head when they are ready. Just give them a shake in a paper bag to catch all the seeds. I'm hoping next year I'll have enough seeds from ours to save buying any.

                Leeks can be quite expensive to buy in the supermarkets, if you have a bit of spare garden or even a deep pot it's worth putting a few in the ground. They'll sit there and happily grow with very little attention required.

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                  14.08.2013 23:05
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                  Microwaveable bear

                  My first son received a Beddy Bear as a present 6 years ago. Our Beddy Bear is dark brown, is around 25cm tall (but the bear itself is floppy). All the features of the bear are sewn on although manufacturers instructions state it's not suitable for under three years old.

                  The bear has a 'Beddy Bear' logo across the middle of it's tummy. The gold logo shown in the picture - at the time of writing this is the same as our bear, I see from bears on sale the style of logo has now changed a little, but the look of the bear remains the same. As I say our bear is brown, but it's available in a rainbow of different colours.


                  **Keeping Warm**

                  The idea of this bear is that it can be heated in the microwave, the bear itself is quite heavy and has contains treated wheat grains, this is what gives it the heavy, floppy feel. It states in the instructions to put the bear in the microwave for 2 minutes. I actually find about 40 seconds on high is enough, so the bear isn't too hot to touch. The bear now belongs to my younger son (it's been passed along) and he finds it hilarious to watch the bear spinning around in the microwave.

                  The warmth lasts for a good hour or so, perfect for snuggling in bed on cooler nights. I prefer the peace of mind of this bear compared to a hot water bottle. There's always that worry about leaks, this bear avoids all of that.

                  The bear can also be put in the freezer for bumps, I've never used it in this way but imagine it could be an effective way of encouraging little ones to put a cold compress on any bumps.


                  **What? No lavender?**

                  I'm not sure if it was an accident, but our Beddy Bear never had a smell of lavender as all the Beddy Bears on sale claim to have. I bought a Beddy Bear as a present a few months after receiving ours as we loved it so much, this had a very strong smell of lavender about it. It didn't bother us that ours didn't have this smell particularly. Maybe it missed it's lavender sprinkle on the manufacturing line. The manufacturer does state that lavender oil drops can be added to refresh if needed.

                  **Recommended?**

                  I love the Beddy Bear, so do both of my boys. Even as a normal bear, he's a regular toy that's played with. It's lasted six years of heavy use and really doesn't show any signs of wear. It's been/is still a great present. If I'd purchased it I'd feel it was well worth the money.


                  **Availability**

                  Beddy Bear is available on-line on Amazon and Ebay, priced around £8.99 plus delivery.

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                    11.08.2013 22:45
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                    Great value shower creme, good basic to have in the bathroom

                    My shower gel was running low, so when I was in my local 99p Stores I picked up Carex Moisturizing Shower Creme. It seemed great value as the bottle was a huge 500g size, it seemed large in comparison to all the other shower and washing products on the shelf. So I walked out feeling I had quite a bargain.

                    **The Bottle**

                    Nothing flashy about the bottle, it's a standard, white flip top bottle. The top clips down and flips open easily. The bottle is quite wide and it sits well on the side of the bath. To dispense the product you simply turn the bottle upside down, it just pours out without the need to squeeze. I did find the hole in the cap dispensed a little too much product at a time for me, but that's just personal taste. For the price of the product this just seemed a minor niggle, I still felt I was getting good value for my money.


                    **The Shower Gel**

                    The product itself has a fresh, clean smell. It comes out as a white cream that quickly lathers on water contact.

                    It states on the front of the bottle 'Contains milk protein, a natural skin conditioner'. It's not the most moisturizing shower product I've ever used, but it certainly gets me clean, without drying my skin, lathers nicely and doesn't leave any residue in the shower. It doesn't do anything spectacular, but certainly does the job.

                    On the back of the bottle it states that's it's 100% soap free and dermatologically tested. I don't have sensitive skin so couldn't comment on that side but I haven't had any kind of reaction to the product. It also states it's mild enough for all skin types, I wouldn't however want to test their 'all skin types' theory on my son that suffers with Eczema, too much of a risk.


                    **Recommended?**

                    I'd certainly recommend this product for value, most the shower gels I buy are 300g or thereabouts, this is a 500g bottle. For 99p I'd certainly buy this again, in fact I might stock up as stock tends to change in this store fairly frequently.

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                    08.08.2013 13:58
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                    Great perfume for evenings out

                    Calvin Klein Forbidden Eurphoria EDP was bought for me one Christmas in a box set. The 30ml perfume also came with a moisturizing cream with the same fragrance.

                    For the purposes of this review, I'm reviewing the 30ml perfume.

                    **The Bottle**
                    It's certainly a unique bottle, it's a long slim shape, a little like a child's rocker, it's a transparent dark pink/purple colour. The lid is silver on two sides, then transparent pink on the other two. The spray part is a metallic pink. It sits in the hand reasonably well to dispense the spray. I find the lid doesn't fit back on very tightly, it kind of just sits on top. If you were to put this in a bag, I've no doubt it would just fall off - which is a real shame. It seems a lot of thought went into the bottle design, this lets it down in my opinion.

                    **The Perfume**
                    It dispenses rather nicely from the sprayer, you get a fine mist that you can waft into or spray directly on the skin. It's quite a musky, heady perfume, one spray I find is enough. The smell isn't really a day to day perfume, probably better for nights out and special occasions.

                    The musky tones are evident straight away, I can detect a little floral smell about it, but the musk dominants.

                    Notes as from Amazon.co.uk:

                    Top Notes: Mandarin, Passion Fruit, Iced Raspberry
                    Heart Notes: Pink Peony, Tiger Orchid, Jasmine
                    Base Notes: Cashmere Woods, Patchouli Absolute, Skin Musk

                    There is a slight detection of these top notes when first used, but as stated previously, I did find the musky smells more dominant.

                    It lasts really well, probably a good 6-7 hours for me before noticeably fading, so I feel the perfume represents excellent value.

                    The perfume seems to be marketed towards younger women, although it seems a smell that any age could wear.


                    **Recommended?**
                    I would recommend as an evening or special use perfume, it's a shame the lid doesn't stay on better. For this reason I've dropped a Dooyoo star off.


                    **Pricing and Availability**

                    Widley available in Boots, Debenhams and on-line on Amazon.
                    RRP 30ml £36.00, 50ml £45.00, 100ml £65.00 although there are some cheaper deals to be had.

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                      04.08.2013 18:06
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                      Lovely fresh perfume, great for the summer months

                      I came to own Ralph by Ralph Lauren Eau de Toilette when it was bought as present for me by my lovely husband one Christmas.

                      **The Bottle**

                      It sits nicely on a shelf in the bathroom with it's round, wide glass bottom. The perfume inside is clear then the bottle is clear, with a transparent blue stripe around the middle bearing the perfume name. It has a blue transparent pull off cap that protects the spray nozzle. The spray nozzle is a transparent blue and dispenses a nice amount with each squirt. The bottle fits in the hand easily and can be squirted with one hand with ease - at least mine does (the 30ml version).

                      **The Smell**

                      The smell seems quite summery to me, it's fresh with floral and fruity tones. It gives me an uplifting feel when used, it certainly makes a nice day perfume, one squirt from the bottle lasts a good half a day. I really like the smell, although it might not be to everyone's taste.

                      It's described on Fragrance Direct as follows:
                      With top notes of Apple Leaf, Japanese Osmanthus and Italian Mandarin, middle notes of Boronia, Magnolia and Yellow Freesia, and base notes of White Iris and Musk.

                      I find the musky tones come through a little later on when wearing the perfume.


                      **Availability and Pricing**

                      This perfume has been around for a while now, since 2000 so there are some good deals to be had.
                      RRP for 30ml is £28.00, 50ml RRP £38.00, 100ml RRP £53.00. At the time of writing you can purchase 30ml for £14.95 on Amazon or 50ml for £32.99 http://www.fragrancedirect.co.uk/ so it's worth shopping around.

                      Also seen available in Debenhams.

                      Perfume is made my Ralph Lauren.
                      Contact details:
                      In the UK: 0203 450 7750
                      Abroad: +44 (0) 203 450 7750
                      http://www.ralphlauren.co.uk/

                      Review may also appear on Ciao!

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                      31.07.2013 21:50
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                      Moisturising, floral smelling shower 'milk'

                      I bought this 'Shower Milk' as it was on promotion in Sainsburys for the grand sum of £1.00.

                      **The Bottle**

                      The bottle is a slim white plastic container, with a peach flip top cap. The cap is easy to flip open and the shower milk pours out easily.

                      The front and bottle design differs slightly from the picture shown, the bottle is slimmer and the cap is now wider and slants diagonally. It states 'New Formula' on the cap, I honestly can't compare against the old formula as I've not used it before.

                      **The 'Milk'**
                      To be honest, it really seems more like other moisturising shower gels I've used before. It doesn't lather, but spreads nicely with water across the skin. It is a milky colour and pours with ease from the bottle, it's not too runny either - so you don't loose the product in the shower.

                      It has a fresh, floral scent about it that lingers for a bit after showering/bathing. It's great for areas that need shaving and I find leaves the area feeling soft and moisturized afterwards.

                      Palmolive state on the back of the bottle 'It's velvety formula respects the natural balance of your skin'.

                      I certainly agree that it keeps a good balance, it's always left my skin feeling nice after use. I'm not sure about the term velvety however!

                      It cleans well too, leaving me feeling refreshed and revived. My husband doesn't like it, says it smells too girly - he prefers a fresher/fruitier shower gel. So if you want something fresh this probably isn't it.

                      **Recommended?**
                      If you want something moisturising and like floral smells this is a great choice. Especially when on offer at £1.00. I'd buy it again if it was on offer, I generally don't like to pay over £1 for a shower gel.


                      Available in most supermarkets, seen in Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda.

                      Made by Colgate-Palmolive
                      www.palmolive.eu.com

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                      • Breo Sport Roam / Watch / 105 Readings / 102 Ratings
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                        23.07.2013 15:03
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                        Comfy, easy wearing watch

                        I wanted a watch that I could wear without bothering me, able to use while I wash up, garden and various cleaning jobs around the house. When I found the Breo Sport Roam 18 months ago, this seemed like the perfect option.

                        It's not a watch I wear for nights out, but it's perfect for day to day wear with the lifestyle that I have.
                        The watch has a rubbery feel to it, it's made from a material called tourmaline. This is meant to promote good sleep, concentration, natural detoxification, improved vitality and mood. I honestly don't know if I believe these claims, I haven't noticed a difference since I started wearing the watch. Just being a comfy watch is enough for me.

                        The watch slips over the wrist and fits nicely round my wrist without feeling too tight. The display is digital and can be set by pressing in the little buttons on the back (I needed a pen to push them in to adjust mine). It was very straight forward to adjust to the correct time. It does also display the date if needed.

                        The Breo Sport Roam comes in a variety of different sizes - from 14cm - 18cm according to your wrist size. The rubber does stretch a little to allow fitting over the hand. It also comes in a wide variety of colours. I selected purple, but there seem to be all colours of the rainbow including a glow in the dark version. I've never experienced any colour transference despite the bright colour and also no sweat under the watch, even in this rather hot weather we've been having. It's incredibly comfortable to wear, I hardly notice it's there.

                        The display is LCD, it's powered by small watch batteries which were included. They can be changed if you have a very small screwdriver to access the panel at the back. So far the batteries have lasted the 18 months that I've owned the watch.

                        The watch isn't designed to be deep sea waterproof - Breo state 'DigitalWater Resistance Depth: 1ATM', it puts up with going in the shower, washing up, cleaning the car and various other wet jobs around the house and it hasn't died yet.

                        These watches can be purchased very cheaply in outdoor stores such as some branches of Millets or online on Ebay and Amazon. The prices vary from £7.99 - £18.99.

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                          18.07.2013 17:26
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                          Fun rocker for 1 - 3 children to play on

                          I came to own the Little Tikes Whale Teeter Totter when a friend passed it on after her 6 year old had grown out of it.

                          The Teeter Totter is a rocker that can be used by one child (sitting in the middle) or two (with one on each end) or even three with a third seated in the middle.

                          It's very sturdy, but light enough to move around easily in the garden. It's made of blue plastic, with a moulded seat at each end. The seat is a slightly different shape at one end to make it look like the whale's tail, they are both equally as comfortable though and equally weighted. Both seats have yellow plastic handles, these can also be used if the child is using the middle seat - whatever way they are facing.

                          I'm a bit fan of rocking toys, I believe they really help with balance when first learning to walk and on-wards. My youngest is now four - he still enjoys using this. Even my eight year old gets on 'to help his brother' of course! Although it's not really made with that age in mind.

                          It's stayed in the garden for over two years and hasn't faded in that time and isn't showing any real signs of wear - despite it being second hand. The only annoying thing is that it seems to have collected lots of rain water inside and sloshes around when rocked (for that authentic sea effect). This is a little annoying and there doesn't seem to be a clear way to get it out! For that reason it loses a Dooyoo star.

                          Aside from that it's a popular toy in the garden for my four year old, other children around that age and younger also seem quickly attracted to it when they come to play.

                          It's easy to clean and wipe down when needed, I'm sure when my youngest grows out of this it will live on for another child to enjoy, it's that robust.

                          **Availability**

                          Available on Amazon RRP £34.99 but at the time of writing it's reduced to £29.74. They are also readily available second hand, they seem so robust that they seem to last.

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                            17.07.2013 15:57
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                            A great value step stool from Ikea

                            Putting my big grown up foot through our old step stool meant a speedy purchase was needed. I found this step stool in Ikea - for £2.50 I felt it was a bargain. I didn't expect it to last long, but 2.5 years later it's still here.


                            **How it's used in the home**

                            The step stool is used daily in my house, for my little boy to reach the sink to wash himself, brush teeth and to get up to the toilet. Also regularly by me, I'm 5'2 so a little height helps occasionally around the house! It's lightweight and the holes in the ends make it easy to grab with your fingers to move around as desired. It's small enough to live under the bathroom sink without being a trip hazard. If you have more than one I believe these also stack if needed.

                            **Look and Design**

                            The stool is very basic, it's a squared off kidney shape, white with blue knobby bits on the top to help with grip while standing on the stool. I've not experienced any slipping with this stool, it stays in place well when stood on and puts up with my weight no problem. It's made of robust plastic, it feels pretty firm, certainly not flimsy stuff at all.

                            **Tricky to Clean**

                            It's a bit awkward to clean, it has little rims around the edge of the base, as it's white it needs quite a regular scrub down. I have to use my finger nails and a cloth to get out the bits round the edge to keep it looking nice and clean. But for the price I really can't complain, it's very useful to own and can't believe it's survived all these years.

                            **Availability**

                            Available in Ikea stores - £2.50 (bargain) it loses a Dooyoo star for the awkwardness of cleaning.

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