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vanillaman

vanillaman
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Member since: 23.05.2010

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      10.03.2012 13:53
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      A waste of money

      Mattesons fridge raiders chicken

      I bought these roast chicken fridge raiders because the family were complaining about a dearth of relatively low calorie savoury snacks in the house. They caught my eye as they were presented in a "3xmini [multi] bag" of 25g packets reduced from £1.89 to 89p at Tesco. What I didn't realise was that the full size packs are only £1.15 for 60g so the saving (although I was getting 15g more) was less than it appeared.

      In the 25g packs there are 57 calories which is pretty good; there are also no artificial flavourings. The wife and I are knocking on a bit now and neither of us could read the stupid white writing against the lightisht yellow background without a magnifying glass, giving storage instructions which tell you to store below 5 degrees Celsius eat within two days of opening and that they are not suitable for home freezing as they've apparently been previously frozen. These claim to be 100% seasoned chicken breast, however although I don't dispute the claim of it being a 100% chicken boobies the texture looks and feels like it's reformed (reclaimed?) meat.

      When we opened these the wife was baffled she thought I'd served her up cold day old wrinkled chips as this is what they look like at first glance under the dim Victorian era light thrown by the energy saving bulbs. What I and the family were really shocked at was that there are only 5 pieces per 25g pack (so I'm assuming there would be approximately 12 pieces in a 60g pack). I know this is a snack but we felt the quantity was a bit of a con and quite disappointing, I certainly wouldn't be offering my pack around my mates in the 25g pack size. Also the offer at Tesco was rather misleading as though the multi pack may be £1.89 (why!?) weight for weight they are certainly not half price.

      The packaging says that they are ideal for kids lunch boxes (though I would dispute that as they are fairly high in salt) and I can see how the size of the mini bags might be suitable for a child or young person as part of a balanced meal or break time snack, a low calorie option to crisps perhaps. However for a full grown man or hearty woman they are a sad disappointment. The 60g packs as shown in the Dooyoo picture might prove more satisfying but then the calorie content is correspondingly higher.

      Having picked them apart I have to say that they are really quite tasty and the whole family enjoyed them, and I can see how they could be handy not just as snacks but as additions to other meals. Used in baguettes, wraps, pitta bread etc with salad and dressings of some kind, or as additions to basic salads. The flavouring used gives them a different slant on plain chicken in these meal options. We also think they are a decent alternative to fatty oil soaked potato or maize snacks etc. Calorie wise with handy packaging they could be nice as an occasional treat if you really really like them, but not as satisfying as they are gone in a few bites. I do think that if you are following an Atkins style diet they could be very useful as a snack both at home and when out and about.

      All in all I feel this product is a bit of a con you could get a whole garlic flavoured cooked chicken from the 'rotisserie' in the Tesco Deli for not much more (at full price), which would be more versatile a whole lot more satisfying and last longer. If you like the convenience your chicken could always be cut up into dinky little bite sized pieces and wrapped in cling film. These in my opinion are not worth the money especially at full price. We won't be buying again.

      If I were rating these on taste alone I'd (if it were possible) give them about three and a half stars as they are pleasant enough. However they are such a massive con price wise I simply can't go above a two.

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      • JML Ped Egg / Beauty Accessories / 64 Readings / 62 Ratings
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        01.03.2012 11:30
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        A Good product which does exactly what it's supposed to

        I've never been the supplest of guys and touching my toes has been a whimsical dream. So when I broke my hip and knee a couple of years ago and had to show off my feet amongst other things to all and sundry I decided that the shrek like growths on the end of my legs needed some attention. Unfortunately for the wife in my metal legged drugged up state post op I was in no condition to do this myself. We started with a pumice stone, which worked rather well. However for the base layers of basalt we needed something more drastic. Enter the Ped egg.

        The Ped egg we bought was the same as the wifes, the basic original plain white model as the Dooyoo picture, which came with only the blade that was attached and two replacement 'sandpaper' sticky things, which create a smooth effect after grating your feet.

        The contraption is somewhat like a little flat oval cheese grater attached to a mouse (the computer sort not the ones that go eek), the size of grater you use to get fine little worms of cheese, not the rough spiky one to powder parmesan. That is where the similarity ends though the blades on the Pedegg are very sharp, they slice on both sides of the blade so you shave off dead skin with the forward and back stroke.

        The instructions inform you to use in a lengthwise motion along the longer axis of the 'egg', this is fairly obvious even to me, as if you rub across the narrower direction you will not be using the blades at all. This also works best on dry skin nor skin that is fresh out of the bath/shower/trainer.

        The egg comes in three parts, the removable lid, the removable blades and the base to which it and the scouring pad/sandpaper thing attaches. This base is hollow and is meant to catch the foot shavings. It doesn't unless you are double jointed and can treat your foot in a position which means the base is always facing upwards to catch the 'dust'

        While the wife was doing this for me the position of my foot could be controlled somewhat so most of the ick was caught in the base, but even then we did need to use a towel or something else underneath so as not to get the carpet thoroughly seeded with my genetic imprint.

        I was surprised at how well this gadget worked, as the missus has had variable results with other brands that claim to do the same thing, entirely variable on a spectrum of cr*p to rubbish. However as she had already succumbed to the allure of the Pedegg we knew it was up to the job. She refused to allow me to use hers which I completely can see the reason for, also it is recommended by the manufacturers that you do not share your blades. It would be a fine way to spread any foot related nastiness, such as verrucas and athlete's foot. The manufacturers also recommend that people with circulatory issues or difficulty healing such as diabetics use a different non blade related skin removal system.

        When I first started using the egg I used it about every three days for just over a week, each time I was surprised at how much dead skin was removed. Once the layers of historical me had been dealt with sufficiently we reduced use to about once every three weeks or so during treatment physio, hospital visits etc all seemed to need me to strip off to my skivvies for some reason; so I felt it was important to maintain the pretence that I was a metrosexual.

        You do have to be careful when using the Ped Egg as the blades are so sharp that it takes much less pressure and time to hit soft pink skin than you might think, especially when the product is new. So I would advise checking every few strokes how much skin has been removed, and to be honest if you only have minor dry skin rather than actual calluses and problems with dry skin build up I would opt for another treatment method as this may be too drastic for you.. The wife actually made one of her feet quite painful the first time she used hers as she was so used to this sort of item needing quite some welly to work. So it is possible to over do it.

        The blades last at their sharpest for about a year taking into account the frenzied grating that may occur in the first month or so then lesser use for maintenance. The "exfoliatating pads" are not so long lasting but pretty good and better than other 'foot smoothers' of this type we've used. We did go through all the replacements though before the blade needed changing. You need to keep the pads dry or it spoils the rather effective smoothing action and you will need to replace the pad if it should get thoroughly wet. It happened to me and despite patting dry and allowing to thoroughly air dry before using it was no longer very effective. I have to admit that I really like the effect the finishing pad has. The blade does the donkey work but the pad makes your feet very smooth.; so smooth in fact that I found the shower rather difficult as my feet weren't gripping the porcelain as they did pre Ped Egg.

        I'd never been that bothered about the aesthetics of my feet before my hip disaster and thought they were pretty good anyway. Though when the local nurse was coming to the house every few days then once a week for several weeks she sometimes had to manipulate my leg. This often involved holding my foot so I became very self conscious about what the wife referred to as my carbuncled rhinoceros feet. Pedegg helped give me some modicum of grooming and confidence at what was quite a vulnerable and awkward period. My three weekly use has reduced now that I don't have to expose myself any more (though a further operation on the knee is coming up, so that usage is due to rise again), and even though I don't use as often at the moment my socks still slip on a treat and don't get all snarled up on my heels as they used to. I used to think that it was poor fabric that was causing that, oops!

        The price of the Ped Egg hasn't changed much and can be bought on the high street for about £10.20, I have noticed one on Amazon for £7.99. Replacement blades can be bought for the same price as the whole egg! However you do get on average 2 blades for this price. Other pack sizes and colours etc can also be found.

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        • More +
          29.02.2012 11:59
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          A good tasting drink that goes a long way.

          We've fairly recently trained the offspring to drink squash and water more than fizzy drinks, it was a bit of a battle especially as they are young adults not little ones where you can occasionally get away with a bit of subterfuge. To cut a long and bloody story short they finally accepted that it was more economical and much better for them to lay off the fizzy stuff so much. They are a picky bunch and there are very few squashes that they will tolerate, so my dreams of being able to slash the budget by buying Tesco or other supermarket own brands were quickly dashed. Their current favourite is the Britvic Robinsons Summer Fruits double concentrate and they can tell this from any other brand in the same flavour or even the Robinsons non concentrated, with one sniff.

          Until the 6th march 2012 the larger 1.75ml bottle is selling at Tesco for half price and at the £1.82 that comes too it's quite a bit cheaper than the 1.25l bottle which is at the time of writing selling for £2.69. I think my mother in law has found it more cheaply at Farm foods in the past (we don't have a farm foods near enough to justify the petrol unless we happen to be passing).

          You make this up much as you would any other squash. The instructions suggest you shake the bottle well and dilute it as one part squash to 9 of water. We usually judge by personal taste and eye, the youngest preferring it a little stronger than the rest of us, but that is one of the pleasures of squash you can personalise the taste more than with ready made drinks. Britvic say that you can get 50 servings and 70 servings respectively from their 1.25l and 1.75l bottles. We haven't counted but the bottles do seem to last us quite a long time approximately just under two weeks for the larger size.

          The company are also proud of their packaging; they have made it quite compact and say that it saves 693 tonnes of CO2 per year. They say that their bottles have a unique pour control feature which allows you to pour easily without spilling a drop. We don't like this feature very much as the spokey wheel thing in the top of the bottle obscures the view of the contents as they reach the mouth of the bottle and I always feel hesitant when pouring as I can't see if there's a flood or a dribble on its way. It does however seem to limit the amount of squash that can be poured and there has never been a flood alert yet. The company also states that the bottle is easy grip for anyone to be able to pour the drink easily, while this is true of adult hands, as the indentations in the bottle while not quite a handle do function almost as such, I have noticed my little niece tends to need both hands as the bottle is rather big and heavy. Though this is to be expected with 7 year old paws I suppose, with any large bottle, and this design does seem to afford her a better grip. There is more information on the ecological costs/savings of the actual material of the bottle on the Britvic website: www.britvic.co.uk .

          Of course the more compact design is also meant to make it easier to carry and store, also we like the wide based nature of the bottles as it's far less likely that one of the many cack handed people in the house will knock it over while open.

          Although drinking this kind of soft drink is much better for the teeth and general health than acidy fizzy drinks this is not as neutral as pure water. There are 'naturally occurring sugars' in the concentrate it also contains artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame which are still fairly controversial health wise so we do try to limit this drink somewhat. One thing I like about this squash is that there is 20% fruit juice included from the relevant fruits. I find a too high a percentage of juice doesn't taste nice in a squash when water is added, but that is just personal preference. The calorie content is good with only 19 calories per 100ml of concentrate, so when diluted the calorie content will be almost as good as fresh air.

          This is the only squash that the whole family like, even in the Robinson's range none of the other squashes are liked by the whole family, so I hope they never discontinue this flavour, or tamper with it! As it contains only natural colouring and flavours it is good for people who have reactions too the artificial versions of these things, the wife and 1 daughter react badly to many squashes (not rolling on the floor badly, but itchy throat and wheezieness badly) but not to this one.

          There is a smoothness and refreshing quality to this drink which is often missing with others of the same flavour and this is much better in our opinion than any other brand of this flavour that we have tried. That is not to say the other brands are terrible but for us this has everything that we like about a squash drink, in that it masks the fact that you are really (as with all drinks) just drinking water with something in it. I don't like the taste of tap water as I feel there is a metallic taint to it and this unlike many squashes we have tried covers that completely.

          Not the cheapest concentrated squash drink out there but in my opinion it is at least one of the best.

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          08.12.2011 18:25
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          A nice comforting drink whether used as a night cap or otherwise.

          Horlicks seems to be one of those drinks you either love or hate. I hadn't tasted this for several years when I got the urge to chuck one in the shopping recently.

          Horlicks has the reputation for being a bed time beverage that helps you to sleep, and although there is some witchery pokery information that seems to back this up there is no real evidence that neither warm milk nor the malted milk which Horlicks is aids sleep. There is some case to be made for the psychological relaxation that this drink (and warm milk in general) induces, via a subconscious psychological infantile response (warm bottle or booby before sleepy time as a baby). Or because it simply fills you up a little with something that is light enough not to create indigestion when consumed just before bed, but nutritious enough to stop any nocturnal hunger pangs.

          The container which Horlicks comes in (not like the Dooyoo picture) is an oval plastic tub like the Dooyoo picture for Horlicks malted food drink, which is what it now seems to be called. The tub is quite easy to open and use with an opaque plastic membrane inside to keep the contents fresh before you open it. Never has that membrane been more needed, as I found that the contents are very prone to sucking up moisture getting sticky and fairly quickly hardening into an unusable lump. This happened to our last pack of Horlicks, we don't drink it every day and the tub had been in the cupboard for a few weeks (ok a month or two), when the missus went to use it (there was about a third of a tub left) it was as hard as a rock, the container was properly closed for the time of storage.. I would like to see Horlicks make their container more airtight as I don't think this should happen so quickly after opening (I think it is quick, others may differ)

          I enjoy a mug of Horlicks at anytime that I feel the urge for it, and don't use it as an aid to relaxation before sleep. You are instructed to add about a third of a pint of milk (of whatever fat content you prefer) or water. You are supposed to stir the few teaspoons of Horlicks with a little cold water to form a paste before adding the other ingredients. This is supposed to stop the tendency this product has to form little sticky toffee like lumps that no amount of bashing against the side of your mug with a spoon will blend in. I know its wrong as Horlicks is a sweet drink anyway but I sometimes add a tiny bit of sugar just to soup it up a bit, and have been known to add a spoon of cocoa powder or half an 'options' sachet. If I'm drinking a drink with the calories of a snack or small meal I want to really taste and make the most of those calories. These additions as long as they are thoroughly mixed in I find work quite well with Horlicks.

          The drink has a distinct malt aroma, which is stronger than Ovaltine but still subtle. The drink has a lovely creamy consistency and is quite sweet on its own.

          Despite being relatively high in calorie in its original formula made with milk this (approximately 180 calories when made with milk and nothing added) is a very healthy drink - unless you are lactose intolerant, in which case you could try it with water as Horlicks themselves suggest, I wouldn't recommend this personally as in my opinion it tastes like pish made this way. The drink contains 12 different vitamins and minerals and is high in vitamin D, something which the sun starved UK could always do with a shot of.

          This nutritional element of Horlicks can be very useful for people recuperating from illness who for one reason or another can't take in enough nutrition or calories through conventional means. A friend of mine who had a very fast metabolism would drink this throughout the day (along with any other high calorie food he could get his hands on) to help stave off becoming a skeleton. Elderly people with compromised organ function, or loss of appetite could find this drink particularly useful, my mother before she passed away was partially paralysed by a stroke so found it very difficult to eat; but she enjoyed a nice warm cup of Horlicks (and other beverages) from a tippee type cup.

          Horlicks original at time of writing costs £2 at Tesco for 500g (reduced until 11.01.12 from £2.60)

          Horlicks comes in a few varieties, including low calorie and chocolate, but my favourite will always be the rich smooth malty taste of the original made with milk, full fat or semi skimmed are just as nice.

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          07.12.2011 17:16
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          A great product sadly not such a great price.

          As I'm yearning for our halcyon days when L'Occitane products were a fairly regular purchase I've been having a little thumb through the Dooyoo catalogue in search of some suitably manly products to review. So far it's mainly soap; I'm not quite ready to admit any dalliance with creams etc. My most recent find is the L'Occitane Sweet Almond Shea Butter Liquid Soap in a pump.

          You can find out about L'Occitanes excellent ethical and ecologically sound policies at their website here http://uk.loccitane.com/FO/Home.aspx . L'Occitane also do not test on animals or use animal products or by products in their manufacture (other than bee products such as honey and wax).

          This soap at time of writing is reduced at L'Occitane in an 'eco pack' costing £22 for a soap in dispenser, and full 500ml refill pack£3.95 (the site also provides a store locator so you can check of there is one of their own outlets near you). L'Occitane products can also be sourced from large department stores such a Debenhams (though I haven's seen this specific soap there recently), and online shopping at QVC.

          This is a pricey soap, and even when we were better off I would never have paid the full price for what at the end of the day is 'just' soap. However the wife is fairly nifty at finding good offers and we always purchased our L'Occitane products only as part of a multi packs on special offers, ours came with hand creams (which were the main reason for purchase), body wash, half size samples of some of their face creams, a cologne and even a bath/shower mit. If you look out on their website or in particular QVC you can often find these products in amazing offers where each item would average out at a few pounds.

          The bottle is a handsome specimen solid and rectangular and has a sort of presence on the sink. The pump action is a good looking black and solid in operation, and doesn't seem to gunk up during use. The amount delivered with each press is a decent portion, the wife presses less hard to get a smaller amount, I take the full dollop and it gives a nice rich lather which is enough for both hands, wrists and face/neck should I want to use it there. I have been surprised at how long this soap lasts, it was 7 months before it came close to needing changing, I think we got 8 months out of it in total, that is with daily use by a family of four.

          This soap is an excellent quality - as it should be for the price - the best thing about it is that it is detergent free, so much less likely to set off the itch cycle for people with eczema or similar.
          The bubbles like most of L'Occitane's soap products which I have tried are small and tightly packed forming a creamy lather, not big and frothy; which as mentioned in my Verbena soap review is the sign of quality soap.

          You can feel the difference between this and cheaper supermarket brands. It really does feel kind of luxurious right from the moment it hits your hand. The ingredients of shea butter, aloe-vera extract, and sweet almond oil make for a really nice moisturising wash. Plus, as one would hope, it gives an excellent cleaning action. It gets everything off my skin that I've thrown at it with ease, from oil to biro and a lot worse in between. It rinses away like snow on a hot plate leaving nothing behind but clean, soft, nicely scented skin.

          The colour of this liquid soap is very nice, a rich golden colour almost as it it's infused with saffron (I don't think it is) and very attractive, as the bottle is clear this colour of course does disappear as the wash does. The fact that the bottle is clear is good as you know exactly when you are about to run out.

          The only issue we have experience with this soap is the smell, now if we had had a choice of which liquid soap to chose as part of the offer we would probably have gone for lavender, plain shea butter, or verbena as the wife hates the smell of almonds (though she quite likes the taste of the fresh from the shell nut), and won't even allow marzipan in the house (if you are kind say ahhhh, because I love marzipan and haven't tasted it at home since 1987).

          A testament to how good this soap is is that the wife didn't pack it off to her sister but used it with the rest of us to the last drop. She claims that this is because the almond smell though strong, doesn't come over as highly processed or 'chemical'.

          I would highly recommend this soap, we wouldn't buy it again simply because madam is not keen on the almond smell, but this is a fantastic product sadly at not such a fantastic price. I would normally knock a star off for the price, but this is so good I can't bring myself to.

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          • More +
            05.12.2011 23:33
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            A nice grapey tipple

            I'm cutting down on my alcohol consumption at the moment as it was getting a bit of an everyday thing. So I've been trying a few things out that have a hint of my favourite alcoholic beverages but without the happy juice. At the moment I'm quite liking a blast from the past in the form of Shloer, my favourite being the white grape as my favourite drink is white wine and thought this might give me the taste I like but in a healthier way. There are six other flavours my wife's favourite is the white grape and elderflower (the others are sparkling rose, white grape and apple, red grape, raspberry, cranberry and white grape). There is also a new Shloer non alcoholic drink despite what the name might imply, which is Berry Punch.

            Shloer is named after its creator Jules Shloer (more information about the brand can be found at http://www.shloer.com/

            The white grape variety contains 49 calories per 100mls and the bottle contains 750mls. Tesco gives the ridiculous figure of 176 calories (they seem to have got their kjoules and kcals the wrong way around) for 100mls.

            It is suggested that you drink this chilled, and this is the way I do prefer it, seems to kill some of the sweetness and make it on the whole more refreshing. I like mine ice cold, so sometimes stick it in the freezer for a while - though this is not advisable as glass will break if the liquid inside it freezes. Once open it's suggested that the bottle is consumed within 3 days, and this is really not a problem in our house.

            I like the way this looks in the glass nice and fresh and actually seems to resemble the juice of a grape, with a gentle golden/ecru hint to the liquid. The advertising states this is light and refreshing, it is up to a point, but in my opinion it's a little too sweet to quite live up to that description. The juice is not pure grape juice and the primary ingredient is carbonated water, but there is a good level of juice from concentrate included at 36%.

            The level of fizz suits the drink well, it's not hyper fizzy like some colas can be, but it's not too flat either, and if you do consume this within the 3 days recommended period the fizz remains quite good with every glass.

            This isn't just a change from other soft drinks it is a little healthier than most despite the high calorie content. There are no preservatives, artificial colourings, or flavourings and it doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners. So is more healthy than even most low calorie soft drinks such as diet Coke etc as there is no aspartme etc. It does contain sugar in the form of glucose-fructose syrup hence the calorie content which is even higher for the same volume than a 350ml can of coke (the coke being approx 140 calories the Shloer being 171!).

            The price tag is a little steep in my opinion at a full price of £2.09 at time of writing (at Tesco, and with a decent offer of two for the price of one starting from 6th Dec). We don't drink this on an everyday basis partly because of the price, and partly because in my opinion it's not the sort of drink you could manage several glasses of throughout the day without getting fed up of it, also the calorie content is prohibitive as a more than one a day or so drink. We prefer to buy it occasionally to mix things up a bit.

            Talking of mixing things up, this does make quite a nice mixer; I enjoy it with a splash of vodka, or any of the less strongly flavoured spirits. My sister in law likes this with Magners cider instead of lemonade to make a shandy.

            This doesn't really satisfy my desire for a glass of white wine, as to me it really doesn't taste like it. I like dry wine and this it just too sweet to come close and of course the indefinable something just isn't there. However it does offer something different with a nice grapey punch. A very nice drink for any occasion on it's own or with something else.

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            • E45 Cream / Skin Care / 48 Readings / 46 Ratings
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              04.12.2011 15:38
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              A good product for a good price

              We always seem to have a tub of this knocking around somewhere as my wife's sister gets it in huge tubs on prescription and occasionally passes a tub on to us. We find it so useful that if we run out we will fork out and buy some for ourselves, the prices vary widely and it comes in all sorts of sizes and delivery methods so I'll just detail the one we most often buy which is the 350g tub, the cheapest place we have found it so far is Asda at £5.25 nearly £2.00 cheaper than the most expensive place (Boots at £7.05) and we haven't yet found it cheaper on the internet.

              The one we buy looks the same as the Dooyoo picture but without the pump, being a simple screw top tub.

              The cream itself is snowy white, and cool to the touch. I feels quite light and despite the ingredients (as mentioned below mainly petroleum based) doesn't feel greasy. To me there is a sort of 'wet' quality to it as it spread, but is creamy enough to sink in without leaving a damp film on the skin. I notice no smell with this product, well at least no perfume odour, just a faint clean generic sort of cream smell. I like this about it as I'm not the sort of man that likes to use a lot of scented products so wouldn't want creams competing with the smell soap, and any aftershave I might chose to wear.

              E45 is often recommended or prescribed by doctors to help treat eczema and other skin conditions as it is deeply moisturising and has no added perfumes. However it does contain anhydrous lanolin (this is lanolin in its purified form with no additives) which is a known allergen though only for a relatively small percentage of the population. My wife reacts to lanolin in skin care, and until she realised that she was puzzled as to how a product prescribed to her sister for eczema could ultimately leave her own hands feeling 'prickly' and a little more dry than before use. Now she knows why. It baffles me how a product taken from the wool of sheep and is a known allergen can be included in a cream advised for skin conditions. As people who suffer with eczema and similar conditions are often highly reactive to many allergens. However lanolin is such an exceptionally good moisturising and barrier ingredient (there are some claims that it has rejuvenating protective properties too) that it must be worth including for the majority of people who don't react to it.

              There is also a warning about other irritant ingredients "This preparation contains cetostearyl alcohol and potassium sorbate which may cause skin irritation." (from www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100000887.html) but no mention of the lanolin, so perhaps I am mistaken in the belief that anhydrous lanolin can cause skin reactions but then it is an allergen not an irritant necessarily.

              Anyway despite my concerns about the risk of allergic reaction to this product I find it excellent. I suffer from mild contact deramtitis on my hands if I come into contact with detergents, and my skin is generally dry. When suffering with an outbreak of dermatitis I use this several times a day on the affected area. I find this clears up any dry scaliness quickly and helps to stop it flaring up again. It doesn't seem to reduce any itching, but there is an E45 cream available to tackle this very issue.

              This cream is primarily petroleum bases so not all of it sinks into the skin despite the feeling that it does. Most of it sits on top of the skin forming a protective barrier which gives the skin an opportunity to repair itself, and rehydrate from within by preventing evaporation at the skins surface.

              Despite this oily protective layer my skin doesn't feel greasy, or 'clogged' in anyway, and I think it's a pleasurable product to use.

              A 350g tub lasts us about 6 months depending on frequency and surface area of use, my youngest daughter uses it sometimes, but mostly it's me.

              Would I recommend this cream, as long as you are not allergic to any of the ingredients, yes.

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              • L'Occitane Verbena Leaf Soap / Soaps / 54 Readings / 52 Ratings
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                02.12.2011 12:18
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                I love this soap, and would use it all the time if I could afford to.

                Verbena leaf soap

                I miss L'occitane, before the wife had to give up her job to look after my parents and our youngest daughter (who has problems) we could afford to indulge a little in our everyday products from time to time. My favourite slightly luxury items were L'occitane bathroom products, I never realised how much better they were than the average stuff until we couldn't get them any more.

                The verbena leaf soap has made a brief reappearance in our bathroom recently via my wife's sister, who gave the wife a little hamper of smelly bits and pieces for her birthday a few months ago. It's a handsome soap as you can see from the Dooyoo picture (which is accurate), and very suited to unisex use, both because of the visual style and the scent.

                This soap is not the families favourite though it is perfectly lovely, they prefer the square shea butter soaps. I love this however, and as I use soap in the shower rather than gels and creams (habit rather than conscious choice I think) this is perfect.

                L'occitane are a good ethical company founded in 1976 by Olivier Baussan  in Provance, they are still based in France. They don't test on animals and don't use any animal products or by products (other than from bees) in their ranges. They use top quality ingredients and support sustainable planting , sourcing many of their ingredients locally rather than through a third party, they also buy many things through fair trade, such as their shea butter. They even help to maintain rare plant species by planting their own fields. You can find more information on the company should you wish either on the accurate wikipedia entry or on their own website http://uk.loccitane.com/FO/Content/About/ , the link takes you to their about us section, but you can explore their products and ingredients here, and it has a store locator too.

                The verbena leaves sourced in Corsica used in this soap give it a fresh citrusy smell, and as there are roughly chopped verbena leaves mixed into the soap they are meant to give you a mild exfoliation as you wash. I can't quite see how this would work in everyday use as a soap kept by the sink, as you tend to lather in your hands and spread the lather over your face, neck etc rather than the soap itself ... well we do it that way. So the verbena leaves wouldn't be in contact with your skin. However used in the shower I can see how this would work as the soap does get rubbed thoroughly over most of my skin. There is a good dense lather with this soap as with most L'Occitane soaps, it's not an extravagant lather composed of huge bubbles, but a lovely rich creamy one, made up of tiny bubbles, which is apparently the sign of a quality soap, why I have no idea.

                Personally I haven't noticed any exfoliation as such, but I'm fairly hairy so perhaps I wouldn't. I do though feel very clean and fresh with no hint of over dryness to my skin after using this. Though my wife likes this soap one of the reasons it is not in her top three of this brand is because on her skin she does find it slightly drying, so if you have very dry skin or eczema or other skin sensitivities perhaps this would not be the soap to jump into this brand with. My daughters like me have no issues with dryness using this soap at all and my youngest does have quite dry skin.

                What I particularly like about this soap after being used these days to the soft squishy gunky Tesco value brand, is that it stays pretty much perfect right down to the last morsel. It doesn't get gunky, or swell up and fall apart, with a little care, ie tapping its bottom with a piece of tissue before setting down to absorb any excess water - I wouldn't normally do this, and don't always, but the missus insists - it doesn't even get a slippery discoloured or misshapen bottom.

                The scent as I've mentioned is a little citrusy, it also has a fresh 'green' aroma which some people may find a little masculine, but I and my daughters really like it, and it does linger on the skin for just a little while after using.

                L'Occitane products are now more available in the high street than they were, a few years ago they were only available through their own outlets, which we didn't have locally, or via QVC. You can now purchase them from Debenhams, and other higher end stores but the full range isn't usually stocked. I haven't seen this soap on the high street, and it's currently not on sale at the most economical place to buy L'Occitane I have found which is QVC. They usually have multi packs of things at a much lower price than high street or even L'Occitane's own website. On the companies own website it's currently selling for £4.50 (postage is £3.95! unless you are spending £50 or more) you also get to chose two fairly small free samples in sachet form from a set selection at checkout. You can also chose and option for the items you buy to be sent to a different address gift wrapped with a message, and price hidden on invoice.

                The price means that it's not likely that we will repurchase this in the near future, especially as the wife prefers other soap products from this company, and to be honest I like them all so wouldn't complain. However if I were buying only for myself I could see this becoming my favourite soap which I would repurchase often.

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                • Tesco Value Toothpaste / Oral Care / 25 Readings / 23 Ratings
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                  02.12.2011 10:29
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                  An inexpensive product that does the job, but without the little extra zing of more expensive brands

                  Tesco value toothpaste

                  Most of my reviews seem to be about Tesco value products, I really must start suggesting some of the finest range we have tried lately for the Dooyoo catalogue as I'm starting to look like a real skin flint. The truth is times are hard and anything that can help to stretch the budget that little further is very welcome, even the finest range items we have sampled have mostly been reduced price.

                  A value buy from Tesco that is a household staple is their toothpaste. It comes in the usual Tesco value sparsely embellished packaging, there is a sprig of mint decorating the tube (and packaging I think... I've thrown the box away)

                  The tube is made of the same materials, and the same design as most other standard toothpastes are, it has a flip top lid. At the time of writing it costs 17p for 75mls but it can vary a little from week to week.

                  The colour is a soft white, the texture fairly soft, when squeezed out on to my toothbrush it doesn't maintain its shape but flattens and droops on the brush, and leaves little strings of toothpaste between brush and nozzle... if I'm in a rush and don't 'wipe' it off on the side of the brush. However this doesn't bother me in the slightest, I'm going to brush my teeth with it not enter it into some kind of bizarre 'on brush' beauty competition.

                  There is not much 'grip' with this toothpaste and it brushes over the teeth and spreads easily, I do notice a marked difference in how it feels in the mouth compared to thicker more expensive brands. There is no slight foaming action which I'm aware of with some other products, and the mintiness is very superficial, it is there and feels fairly fresh while using but that feeling doesn't last in the mouth for very long afterwards. There is also a very slight chalkiness to the taste and texture.

                  I don't mind using this toothpaste long term as it leaves my teeth feeling smooth and just as clean as when using other products. However I have noticed that to get that smooth clean feeling I have to work a little more with the brush than with for example the Colgate or Aquafresh we used to use. As long as I'm very thorough with the brush it's ok, but if I rush once I rinse I occasionally find areas which I feel need another going over. I think the extra fresh feeling some other brands give is more to do with the extra mintiness than cleaning ability.

                  This product is approved by the British Dental Health Foundation. It's a product that is now our everyday toothpaste, however if by some miracle my pay were ever to go up again I would switch back to at least Colgate as it just has that extra zing and is more pleasant to use.

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                  18.11.2011 15:54
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                  A good heater, but not terribly long lasting.

                  I've been using Micromark-Kingavon heaters (1,200watt) for a few years now. Our house is quite cold and often needs an extra blast of heat in very cold weather and this heater can usually be found for a reasonable price (we paid £20 for our last one, that was on offer from a catalogue, I have seen them around the £15 mark in various places). I don't like fan heaters as they are quite noisy, and we had an experience I never want to repeat with our last floor 'mounted' fan heater. Our dog is not the best behaved and peed on the heater, we weren't aware of this initially we could smell the hint of rebellion in the air but not find the 'stink bomb'. When we turned on the fan heater we realised what had happened as a fine heated but dry mist of pee was blown out in a puff acting as a sort of reverse air freshener. I realise this won't be a problem for most of you but it kind of acted as aversion therapy for me regarding fan heaters. So to get back to the crux of the matter a heater with radiating elements is what we wanted.

                  This heater has an oscillating function which is easily accessed by one of the clear and easy to use buttons on the top. One red for on and off, one for twisty turny-ness three to switch different bars on and off to adjust the heat ouput, giving 400, 800 or the full 1,200 watts. We rarely use the oscillating function as the heater is just left on to warm up the whole room, but should you want to use this feature it is very quiet in use, and slow and smooth in operation.

                  Where the heater connects to the base is where the oscillating function operates from, and I feel this is a weak spot as we have had one heater break at this junction, leaning like some tipsy old school Doctor Who life form, strangely the heating elements still worked, whereas when subsequent heaters have been treated with kid gloves the heating elements have proved a bit ''delicate'.

                  The heat given out by this item is excellent and one bar is often enough to take the chill off a cold room, when a real cold spell hits this is perfect in one of the upstairs bedrooms which doesn't have a functioning radiator at the moment, on full blast the room is often the hottest in the house.

                  Although the front double mesh panel of the heater doesn't get dangerously hot, it can't be left too near anything flammable of course, which could be a problem in quite a small room as it is quite a large heater both in base circumference width and height. We've never had a problem with size as our rooms are of average size, but my sister in law found it difficult to keep it far enough away from flammable things in her tiny bedroom, like any heater it needs some free space around it. Being slim and tall(ish) it doesn't look very cumbersome and it is very lightweight and easy to move (there is a handle at the back which make it easy to lift, but not a terribly good grip if you are carrying it any distance, such as up or down stairs.

                  There is quite a bright glare from this heater, so I wouldn't recommend having it facing you if you are sitting down for a prolonged period, such as in an office or just vegging out on the sofa, and wouldn't be too good if you were trying to sleep either, though although I wouldn't have thought it's sensible to leave a moveable heat source such as this on all night while you are asleep anyway.

                  Being lightweight is great for mobility but it's not so good for safety as we've found that despite the decent width base it can be knocked over by an exuberant dog, or in any of the ways you might give it a shove, so not a good idea to leave it unsupervised if you have young uns, pets, or an unruly wife.

                  We find the good level of instant heat this heater gives to be superb, we even like the warm glow given out by the bars (when not in our face). However this isn't a long lasting heater, the elements have blown on us several times, we have had a few of these because they just don't last that long, we went through two in one winter. However we keep buying them because we like the adjustability of the heat settings, and although we could probably buy a longer lasting heater for the price we've paid for several of these we couldn't have afforded a more sturdy and expensive one in one payment, and we like the level of heat this gives out.

                  The Kingavon Heater despite its faults is highly recommended and although I wish the were more sturdy we will buy again if our current one gives up the ghost.

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                  • Tesco Value Soap / Soaps / 69 Readings / 67 Ratings
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                    31.10.2011 13:01
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                    A product that as a family we're really not keen on but put up with when impoverished.

                    We're going down the pan fast financially, what with a cut in pay and two daughters living at home but not working, so anything that can stretch the budget is tried and tested.

                    This soap costs at time of writing 30p for two 125g bars. They are unperfumed, and a nice clean white colour, and come in a basic cellophane wrapper with the usual Tesco value logo.

                    Although this soap may seem like a bargain in my opinion it's very much a false economy. In my opinion the formula clearly lacks the essential ingredients to maintain its shape and texture during regular use.

                    The soap sucks up any surrounding moisture and swells to a behemoth bar which has no stability. Lumps of it fall off during use and block the plug hole until I scoop it out or it washes away. This softness means that the soap is used up quite quickly compared to other bars.

                    It seems to give you a film of slightly greasy thin ... well I wouldn't call it lather, to me it appears to be more of a scum which takes some working to feel as if it's cleansed the skin. In order to rinse the soap off your skin I'd recommend a pressure hose, as even though it doesn't stick to itself very well (to maintain bar shape and usability) it sticks to the skin with great tenacity.

                    A good point to this soap is that Tesco don't test any of their own brand products on animals, and that I don't suffer any sensitivity or particular dryness after using this.

                    I do keep my soap in the sink 'dip' designed for this purpose rather than a soap dish and it wouldn't even occur to me to try and dry off the soap after use other than to shake off the excess water before replacing on the sink. So perhaps this contributes to the fact that it goes so mushy. However I haven't experienced it to this extent with any other soap I've ever tried.

                    One use I find this soap acceptable for is used with a brush or puff in the shower, I don't use shower gels etc, not sure why I just don't, and this soap sticks well to the brush and gives a decent lather when used in this way.

                    All in all a really cheap product that I still use if we are particularly hard up, but try to avoid at all other times.

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                      25.10.2011 13:27
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                      A refreshing tasty way to get merry

                      I do like a pint or three, being Welsh I'm surrounded by quite a culture of heavy drinking, which they claim comes from the days when Wales had a huge heavy industry base. The workers from the scalding hot steel works would rush out during their breaks and sump several pints on the head, it was said you could almost see the steam and hear the hiss as the refreshing brews hit their throats. These lucky workers seemed to be able to drink 10 or 11 pints in a session with no ill effects, this could be early in the morning or tea time, as the mills worked 24 hours a day and the employees had to work shift to accommodate this.

                      Not being able to afford to go out for a brew as often as I'd like these days I do partake of the odd can and bottle at home. One of my favourites is Old Speckled Hen, which I initially bought to be honest because of the quirky name. Which apparently has nothing to do with Hens and winking foxes, but was brewed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG factory in Abingdon,. It was named after an old MG factory runaround, which was often parked outside the paint shop where it would get splattered with paint, becoming affectionately known as the 'Owld speckl'd un'. You can see this little tale and other information on the Speckled Hen website http://www.oldspeckledhen.co.uk/history.html

                      It comes in both bottles and cans containing from 355mls for the standard bottle, up to 500ml in a bigger bottle and cans. As an example of price range it costs £1.69 for the 500ml bottle and £8.00 for 8x440ml cans in Tesco right now, and there are often offers on in various places.

                      My preferred way of drinking this would be from the bottle, as for some reason I can't help but feel that the bottled version is superior to the can. It may be the same beer, but I do feel that all liquids taste better from glass for some reason.

                      I really like the full flavoured refreshing bitter taste, it is a strong flavour with quite a kick, strangely my wife doesn't mind a sip of this even though it has a bitter underbelly. I say strangely because although she likes spirits, whisky included she loathes beer and larger with a passion. Though full of malty flavour, with a touch of sweetness at the back of the mouth (which is why I think the wife tolerates it) it doesn't feel thick and cloying on the tongue. The alcohol content is quite strong for a beer at about 5.2%(abv). Also being beer the calorie content is fairly high too, at about 170 calories for a 355ml serving (which is the very smallest bottle size). There is a sort of refreshing dryness once you have swallowed the mouthful which helps the refreshing quality of this beer.

                      With bitter I often get a bit of a dodgy stomach, but although Old Speckled Hen is classed ad an 'extra special bitter' I don't get this unfortunate side effect from the Hen.

                      A characteristic I like about this is that it slips down very smoothly, though there are some bubbles it isn't highly carbonated and fizzy. There is a lovely silky smoothness, without the thickness that some bitters and stouts have.

                      When poured into a glass the head is usually quite thin, depending on how you pour and the size of the glass, but it doesn't form a key element of the appeal of the drink.

                      I don't tend to be brand loyal to beers etc, and though I went through a phase where Speckled Hen was my preferred home beer, it's not something I buy in preference to all others I like to change it about a bit.

                      While perhaps not having the character and intensity of taste of some local special ales which have a big following of brewers and drinkers alike, it does have something different to the run of the mill stuff you normally get from the big brewing houses. It's a bit pricey but if you like the taste of something a bit different, then this could be a good buy.

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                        24.10.2011 23:55
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                        Works well on eliminating snow storms around the head.

                        Over the years the wife has now and then gone on a head and shoulders kick, claiming my snow globe head is the reason. She buys the smooth and silky variety as it suits the whole family. My hair is sparse on top but disproportionately thick around the edges. I keep it cut short so as not to fall into comb over territory so any shampoo I use will be based on whether it cleans my hair and keeps it feeling fresh until the next wash. In this case the the snow reducing capabilities are the main issue.

                        There are several potential causes of dandruff, from a reaction to a yeast that normally lives on the skin with no problems (malassezia) or other fungi, to an allergic reaction, hormones to stress. More information about this can be found at www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dandruff/Pages/Causes.aspx . Zinc Pyrithione is the active ingredient in Head and Shoulders and this has an action on any fungal issues present on the scalp and is also antibacterial.

                        The shampoo is nice and thick, with a pearly white colour, and nice sweet smell. With my hair being so short I don't need much to get quite a lather worked up. About the size of a 2p piece. I lather it up for about a minute to allow the ingredients to get to work, the lather feels much more luxurious than our usual budget buys.

                        Though the shampoo is thick and creamy it rinses away very easily and leaves what little hair I have feeling healthy and clean. However I do find it becomes greasy a little more quickly than with other shampoos. Another thing I've noticed while using this and I'm not sure what causes it, but when my hair is due for a cut and has grown out a bit, it can look quite messy after sleeping on it, in a way that it doesn't when I use most other shampoos. This is easily remedied though with comb through with perhaps a little cold water on the comb.

                        Did it get rid of the snow storm though? Well I'm happy to say while not being 100% flake free the reduction is fairly dramatic. From the first wash I notice a difference, and by the time I've washed my hair a few times I'd say the reduction is about 90% and remains at that level throughout use. I don't suffer from an itchy head when I have dandruff so I'm afraid I can't vouch for any effect on that. Any other issues I may have about greasiness etc is completely outweighed by the efficacy of the anti-dandruff properties.

                        While we are using the head and shoulders my wife and daughters are very pleased with how it works with their long hair. None of us have suffered any sensitivity to the shampoo. They use conditioner afterwards, but never on the roots, and their hair continues to shine from root (where there is no conditioner) to tip. Though this version of Head and Shoulders is called 'Hydrating Smooth and Silky' we all agree that it is not the most effective in this respect, and that the original non fancy old fashioned bluey green Head and shoulders left the hair in smoother condition. While the shampoo may not be the best for smoothing, it's certainly not the worst either and while in use the condition of the longer hair in the family remains good and not too 'pouffy' (as in not puffed up like a birds nest) as the youngest puts it. There are matching conditioners sold but as none of us use conditioner on our scalp we just carry on with the usual.

                        I have a friend who suffers with a little bit of dermatitis on his face, and he uses this on a cotton wool bud in his eyebrows where he gets flaky dry skin that's difficult to fix, and it actually works!

                        The smell does linger a little in the hair but not so strongly as to be instantly noticeable.

                        Once the bottle is finished we tend not to replace it for a while as it's a bit pricy. Sadly if you lay off using completely the dandruff inevitably comes back. I have used Tegrin previously which I found excellent, but Head and Shoulders is a more economical and is an effective enough alternative. At the time of writing this is available at Tesco for £2.44 for 250mls, and £4.50 for 500mls, it can sometimes be found on offer, at the moment it's part of Tesco's 3 for 2 but this ends on the 25th October.

                        If you suffer from psoriasis or similar skin conditions, or dandruff that has no connection to a fungal issue this may not work for you.

                        A good anti-dandruff shampoo but we find that once dandruff is under control it's best to use it just once a week or so to maintain it, as other shampoos work better at keeping the hair shiny and sleek.

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                        • Migraleve Complete / Pain Relief / 67 Readings / 65 Ratings
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                          01.10.2011 15:18
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                          A product which though expensive for a pain killer is worth the world when a migraine hits.

                          I've been aware of migraines for a long time, my wife gets some real beauties but luckily I'd never suffered from them until fairly recently. Initially even though I'm familiar with the symptoms I didn't realise what they were as I mostly don't get the severe headache with them. Mine are more stomach focussed with visual disturbances. The first time I had one I thought someone had slipped me magic mushrooms and I was about to start hallucinating, as the room looked all kind of fuzzy and wobbly, with light flashes going off here and there. Within a couple of minutes I was head first down the loo saying hello to breakfast. After this happened several times the wife suggested it could be migraine and told me to get myself off to the doctor. To cut a short story even shorter, it was migraine and I now keep a pack of Migraleve in the medicine cupboard.

                          What is migraine

                          Migraine has many symptoms, the most common one is a throbbing, stabbing debilitating headache, often affecting only one side or part of the head and or eyes. Some other common symptoms are extra sensitivity to light or noises and movement, nausea and visual disturbance. There are even more symptoms however and if you think you might be suffering from migraine but aren't having some of the classic symptoms it may be worth checking with your G.P.

                          I find Migraleve to be particularly useful for me as my primary symptom is visual disturbance and sickness, which ordinary painkillers sometimes do not address. Migraleve Pink tablets consist of strong pain killers (500mg paracetamol and 8mg codeine) but also contain an antihistamine (buclizine) which helps to cancel out or reduce the nausea. It's this anti-nausea effect that I find most useful.

                          If a migraine has already got a grip taking ordinary pain killers often won't work because of the effect the illness has on the stomach (everything slows down and won't digest properly, so doesn't get absorbed). If you catch it right at the start there is a chance, but for me taking the pink Migraleve tablet is a better option, and often is just like magic meaning I often don't even have to take any of the yellow tablets which are just strong painkillers, again in a paracetamol, codeine combination.

                          I do sometimes now get the searing throbbing stabbing pain of the classic migraine headache and when one of these sets in I do usually have to follow up with at least a couple of doses of the yellow tablets, which you shouldn't take less than 4 hours after the pink one. You are not supposed to take more than 2 pink Migraleve, and 6 yellow within a 24 hour period (over 14 years old, children between 10 and 14 can take them at half the dose). While you are taking this you should not take any other painkillers because of the potential for overdosing.

                          You can buy Migraleve in many combinations of pink and yellow, or single colour. Personally I usually buy a pack of only the pink tablets (24 for £6.65 with free postage from chemist direct currently) and use the strong versions of standard painkillers for follow up doses (paracetamol or ibuprofen as aspirin doesn't seem to help me).

                          Doing it this way works out cheaper for me, and my pack of pink tablets even with the wife using them too has lasted over a year so far, and as the shelf life is 36 months this is nothing but good news. The good thing about having more of the pink tablets for us is that as we both get nausea with our migraines, lucky us, we often have to take two initially as we throw up the first one. Or we follow the first dose of pink four hours later with another pink rather than the yellow or ordinary painkillers, just to get rid of the nausea completely. A 12 pack of pink and yellow tablets can be bought at Boots at time of writing for £5.10, but the pack sizes and combinations vary a lot as does the price.

                          Migraine comes in so many different shapes (as mentioned above) that it is worth looking it up (for eg at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Migraine/Pages/Symptoms.aspx ) as it often doesn't present initially with a headache, so what you think is just a spell of giddiness could be migraine. At first I thought I might be epileptic as I get a distinct 'aura' some time before the attack, which makes me feel kind of 'wolly' and dissociated. Which now I know what I'm looking for is very useful in heading a full attack off at the pass as by taking medication at this very early stage I can often avoid it setting in at all.

                          If migraleve doesn't seem to work for you there is also a stronger version 'Miagraleve Ultra' that contains a different drug that addresses seratonin uptake, which many doctors think may be linked to migraine.

                          For some people migraine can be so severe and debilitating that medical intervention is necessary, this can range from injections to surgery or botox to freeze certain nerves which seem to play a part in migraine for some people.

                          Luckily for me Migraleve and ordinary painkillers are enough to help me get by with this horrible condition, and touch wood since I've been using Migraleve and been able to recognise the warning 'aura' I haven't had a really severe attack.

                          I've found this medication a life saver for both myself and the other half as any migraine sufferer will know it feels like torture. These tablets work very well for me and I hope they will continue to do so.

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                          • Tesco Original Cola / Soft Drink / 67 Readings / 65 Ratings
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                            26.09.2011 17:31
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                            A very nice alternative to the big brand colas

                            Ever on the hunt for a bargain and with out favourite household tipple being so expensive I decided to try this after reading a positive review on it here. I'm writing from the perspective of buying the 2 litre bottles, but as the Dooyoo title says Tesco Original Cola with no mention of cans despite the picture I assume this is ok, as it's the same drink we are talking about.

                            Tesco own brand Cola looks a bit classier than you're usual own brand or value brand in it's eye catching red livery. I don't think it's an accident that it looks a little like the Coke 'a' Cola branding.
                            I want to try the cans, but for some reason they aren't sold in the most convenient Tesco to home so I have to make do with the bottle. We rarely buy bottles of fizzy drink as the plastic doesn't keep the fizz well once opened. Glass bottles are so much better for storing drinks in, but also so much more expensive and heavy, so we take the rough with the smooth I guess.

                            The wife found these bottles very difficult to open (wimp), she said the lid was more deeply corrugated than usual and was very tightly sealed. She had to resort to jamming the top in the door jamb to loosen it. The ridges she said hurt to much to get a good grip. I too found them more solidly screwed on and needed a bit of heft to shift them. This isn't a bad thing though, and better than a leaking bottle in your shopping bag. It may even have been an inconsistency in manufacture and not all of them are like that.

                            Opening the bottle there was a reassuringly robust hiss, which assured me that the drink would be nice and fizzy and not half hearted as some budget brands can be. In the glass it's a nice deep brown, looking like a cross between coke and dandelion and burdock to me, with plenty of bubbles dancing up and down in the liquid.

                            I am more than happy with the taste, I'd recently bought the co-ops own brand of cola and was disgusted with it, it tasted the same as Panda pop from the old days (I'm not sure if they are still making their vile brews). So the first sip of the Tesco brand was a delicious relief. I can honestly say it's the best own brand cola I've tasted so far. I have to say though that I haven't tasted a huge variety of home brands as the family are fairly brand loyal to Coke and Pepsi, but have got my lips around a few.

                            The flavour is full and sweet and refreshing, just what I'd expect from a decent cola. It does seem a little more sickly than Coke, I can't sump it down in the same way as I could with the more expensive brand (which I guess can only be good for the waistline and teeth). It has a more caramely flavour and feel on the tongue, and as my youngest put it, it doesn't have the refreshing 'bite' that Coke does. The fizz seems just right, some drinks can be hyper fizzy but this seems to strike a good balance. The fizziness seems to last all the way through the bottle, though it does decrease a little the longer you keep it, we haven't found it to become close to being so flat as to be undrinkable at the end of the bottle, as many fizzy drinks do.

                            My daughters are extremely fussy about their drinks and would much prefer water to something that isn't up to their 'high' standards. They have no problem with this at all, and enjoy it for what it is, they don't think it tastes exactly like Coke or Pepsi, but is as near as damn it.

                            250mls contains 100 calories, so a similar calorie content to other non diet colas.

                            The two litre bottle which we've been buying until I can get hold of the cans to try costs at time of writing 54p! A huge saving on Coke's £1.74 for the same size. A pack of 12 cans cost £1.99 I've just been in-store and see that the cans there are £2.68 for 12! either they've gone up over night or the website is inaccurate, the low calorie option is even cheaper at 39p for 2litres! I'm not sure we'll risk that though as a family we aren't keen on any diet drink and can just about tolerate Pepsi Max.

                            Though the price is excellent currently I'm concerned that Tesco will soon hike it up by a massive percentage as it has been doing with many many of it's lower priced brands over the last several months. Very unethical in my opinion, seeing as most people's wages are static or reduced. If they do this I will stop buying it just as a point of principal and move to a less tasty but more ethically priced product.

                            In financially tough times this is a more than acceptable Coke substitute, which we will be buying regularly as long as the price stays the same or rises only in line with wages. We will still buy Coke from time to time, when on offer, or as a treat when feeling flush but it won't be on our everyday shopping list from now on.

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