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windwhisperer

windwhisperer
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Member since: 17.12.2008

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      29.01.2009 11:48
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      We need to get our own house in order first

      I knew I should never have wandered into Speakers Corner ...

      Firstly I must clarify - I've never been foxhunting, but I have for quite a number of years now lived in rural locations within the British Isles, and I don't think any would argue that my lifestyle is pretty 'basic,' so I don't have much to associate myself with the upper classes.

      But I am constantly struck by the hypocrisy associated with the subject of foxhunting and after many years of coming across such outbursts feel it's time to give people food for thought.

      Firstly, lets get the myth out of the way that foxes eat livestock to survive - they don't. In fact, the areas worst hit by fox attacks are usually populated by rabbits (and zillions of them) Foxes do kill for fun. Don't believe me? Well watch a ratting terrier at work and then tell me that animals only kill to survive. The same thing basically happens when a fox gets into a compound with birds. He will kill them all and, perhaps, maybe, take one.
      So you may think that is the bird he is going to eat ... not so I'm afraid. Nine times out of ten you can track the fox, basically due to the trail of feathers it leaves. The fox will part bury the bird in loose soil or leaves and that is it. You can go back months later, the bird will still be there. So Mr Fox wasn't that hungry after all ...

      So where you may think, does my statement about hypocrisy come in?

      Well, I think the main objection to fox hunting, is that it is performed by people looking to enjoy themselves, have a day out and a damn good time - yes? It is this reversion to base, antiquated human mentality of inflicting suffering on another creature unable to defend itself, that really stirs our guts.

      So, next Christmas, when you are all sat around that turkey - you know the one - the one that has been reared in a shed, never seen daylight until it was picked up by a leg, wing or neck, chucked into a lorry with hundreds of other birds and transported, terrified, to be hung by its legs, stunned (if it's lucky) and had its throat cut, so you could sit around in your party hats, popping poppers, and telling jokes and stuffing yourself until you can't get off the couch to wash the pots and chuck the carcass remnants in the bin - are you really bothered ... really????

      Okay, some of you are, but most, the vast majority, are going to go down the 'traditional,' 'cheap (we can't afford free range)' 'they're only birds they can't feel anything,' 'we're entitled to it' route.

      Please tell me though, what makes you any better/worse than the fox hunters - oh, don't tell me, you're eating your 'kill,' - but you don't really need to, now do you? Come 1st January you will all be taking New Year resolutions to diet.

      I hope that at least some of you out there don't hit the 'automatically offended' button and try and digest some of the things I've said. I'm certainly not a 'fox hater' and have rescued more animals than most of you have had hot dinners, but think on it this way:
      If all the intensive units disappeared tomorrow, chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese - if they all went and you did have to rely on getting free range birds to access poultry - how would you really feel about fox controls if the farmer turned round to you and said you couldn't have any bird related products (including eggs) for the next year because foxes had killed all his stock?

      I'm not saying one opinion is right and one is wrong - just that for the majority of the time it's a case of 'people who live in glass houses ...'

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        29.01.2009 10:30
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        A good vitamin boost when you are needing a lift

        I'm not, and never have been, somebody who swallows vitamins on a regular basis, but feel I must say a word in favour of Feroglobin.

        Having a lifestyle that is somewhat apart from the norm, as in a lot of my daily activities are physical, i.e. yesterday I unloaded half a ton of animal feed via wheelbarrow across a muddy field; consequently every so often I tend to feel as if I need a bit of a 'boost.'

        It's usually at this point that I reach for the Feroglobin.

        Obviously I can't present this as a miracle 'cure all,' but I do find that it is one product that after taking for two or three days, ensures my general lethargy evaporates.

        For those of you that like to read the labels and I realise it is important in this instance, some of the constituents in a 5ml teaspoon are:

        Vit B1 4mg
        Vit B2 1mg
        Vit B6 2mg
        Vit B12 5ug
        Vit C 10mg
        Folacin 150ug
        Calcium 10mg
        Niacin 8mg
        Iron 7mg
        Zinc 5mg

        To make it palatable it also contains honey and malt.

        The recommended dosages are as follows:
        Children (1-3)
        ½ teaspoon daily

        Children (4-6)
        ½ teaspoon twice daily

        Children (7-12)
        1 teaspoon 1-2 times daily

        Adults
        1 teaspoonful twice daily

        It does give additional information that if you are pregnant you can increase the dosage to 1 teaspoonful three times a day.

        You can take the mixture straight from the spoon but if you (or the kids) don't like the taste, you also can mix it with fruit juice.

        The price, well, generally speaking you can get it from many health food stores direct or on-line. A standard price for the product is around £4 for 200ml.

        So, if you don't feel the need to take something everyday, but do occasionally feel washed out and need something to give you a boost, then I can't recommend this product highly enough. I've been using it for that long now I can't remember who recommended it to me in the first place!

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        • approvedfood.co.uk / Online Shop / 20 Readings / 16 Ratings
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          28.01.2009 18:36
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          You need patience, but if willing to wait, will save a fortune!

          Before I fling myself whole-heartedly into the review, I think there are a few things I should clarify first.

          For a start this company deal in short-dated and out of date, products. This does not mean they are past their usable date, simply that some of them (certainly not all) are past their sell-by date. Sell-by dates are simply a measure of quality ie. They state that a product is at its highest quality prior to that date - it doesn't mean they aren't fit for eating!!!
          And you will also find when browsing the site that a lot of their products aren't past sell by dates at all - some are rejected simply because the packaging is upside down or, as in the case of something I received recently, in Christmas packaging.

          So, in no way are these products unfit for consumption and this is something you do need to bear in mind.

          Another couple of points that I feel need to mention, although by the time some prospective buyers get around to reading this review they may well be resolved: are the fact that you need to have a Googlemail account to pay for items you purchase on-line. It's probably best, to minimise personal trauma and stress, if you set up an account before trying to place your first order. Although I do understand that other payment methods are being considered in the future.

          The final fact to consider, and it's the reason I've only given Approved Food 4 stars instead of 5, is that due to recent publicity they are getting a little bit behind with orders and deliveries. I must stress that I believe this to be a temporary situation as the owner sorts out the problems, but at the time of writing some people will be disappointed to learn they may have a 12 day waiting time before their order is despatched.

          Right, all that aside and we can get down to the important stuff - products and price!

          Approved Food is the online site of Crags Cash and Carry. If you live within driving distance of Worksop, then forget everything I have to say and just pay them a visit - the actual store does have more stock available than the on-line arm at the minute and I very much doubt you would manage to drive away without a car full and, only if necessary of course, leave the kids behind if you need to!

          The online store carries a range of products that seems to be increasing daily but, of course, there is no fresh produce available.

          A quick run down of the current categories on offer is:

          Breakfast
          Food in Jars
          Healthy Eating
          Packet Soups, Pasta and Rice
          Sauces and Pickles
          Sunday Lunch
          Tinned Food
          The Rest of the Kitchen Cupboard
          Biscuits and Cakes
          Chocolate and Sweets
          Crisps
          Snacks
          Fizzy Pop
          Juices
          Still Drinks
          Tea and Coffee
          Other Drinks
          Energy Drinks
          Pet Food
          For the Home (Cleaning products)
          Furniture
          Stationery
          Toiletries
          Cosmetics
          Approved Holidays (just one link to a place in Spain)

          So if that list is enough to get you tempted, then I'll give you an idea of price.
          Currently on offer are such goodies as Baxters Minestrone Soup, 12 cans for £1.50. Or if you are feeling slightly self indulgent 3 packets of McVites Digestive Caramels for 99p, or if you are feeling even more self indulgent, what about a 250gm of Milk Chocolate Brazils for £1 (Too late, I've ordered loads!)
          On a healthier note, you could consider the variety of Full of Beans energy snack mixes they have on at the moment - 5 x 60gm packets for £1, or some Hib Juice for the kids - 24 bottles for £1.

          Hopefully these few items have got you more than a little tempted so I'll give you the delivery charges to tip it right in their favour.
          Standard Courier Delivery is £5.25 and that is for an order weighing up to 25kgs. This is to all areas except IV and KW postcodes and NI and the Scottish Islands - but here is another bit of good news for you 'remote' dwellers - they will actually deliver to us as well! Neat bit of negotiating with courier companies by Approved Food if you ask me. To these areas delivery is £10.50 for an order up to 25kgs, which is not bad at all if you consider my first order came to around £35 including carriage and I worked out to buy the products under normal circumstances would have cost me a minimum of £100.

          Again though, you have to bear in mind that at the time you place your order, the items are in stock. By the time your order is processed, things may not be. So, at the current time you really shouldn't be ordering if you are absolutely desperate for anything. However, yet again Approved Foods are working on this, and hopefully will be installing some kind of system to keep stocking up to date.

          So, the upshot is, if you don't want or expect immediate gratification, but do want to save money, then they are certainly worth a lot more than a passing glance. The customer service provided by Approved Food is second to none (you can phone them if you need to) and they are working very hard to sort out the problems associated with their recent publicity explosion.

          So they get four stars, although without the recent problems, they would most certainly get five. I do feel a little guilty about giving four stars but feel it's only fair to warn some folk that buying from the site, at the moment, may not run quite as smoothly as they would wish.
          I've used them, and most certainly will continue to use them, but for the time being have to keep repeating to myself, 'patience is a virtue,' (and the prices are worth the wait!)

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          • Clix Multi-Clicker / Dog Accessory / 7 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            28.01.2009 11:53
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            It works and works well providing the trainer understands how to use it.

            Let's face facts, if you are looking for some guidance on how to train your dog from the outset you are probably feeling pretty much stressed - I know I was - so I'll try to keep this review as straightforward as possible.

            I'd actually threatened to buy a clicker for my older dog but never got around to it, however when I got a new puppy who quickly transformed into 'Thunder Thug,' as an adolescent, I knew I had to do something.

            Firstly you can buy several 'packages' of clicker.
            You can buy a standard, stand alone clicker. One tone and no instructions.
            You can buy a two tone clicker and small instruction booklet
            You can buy a clicker 'package,' which, I understand, contains the two tone clicker, lanyard (ropey thing for going around your wrist), instructions, and a pole thingy for training the dog. I know nothing about the 'pole thingy' so can't comment on its involvement or effectiveness, except to say that this package comes in at around £10.

            I went for package number two, which costs around the £3-£4 mark depending on where you buy it from. So, I ended up with a two tone clicker (with wrist lanyard attached) and an instruction booklet.
            I actually think that I did make a good choice. Without the lanyard I most certainly would have lost the device by now, without the lower and higher clicker tone I don't think my dogs would have taken much notice, and the information booklet is invaluable in pointing out what you are doing right, and probably more importantly, in highlighting what not to do.

            The importance of the two tone clicker I found out more or less straight away. I set it on the quieter tone, not wanting to scare the dogs rather than just get their attention. They didn't hear it - and that was in the house, so if the wind is blowing outdoors you stand a chance of a dog taking no notice whatsoever.
            It duly went on the louder tone and this certainly got their attention.

            The booklet is basically an Idiot's Guide - something I do like to see, and is written in plain English giving instructions on how to train the dog to basic commands and then on to more difficult 'tricks' should you so wish.

            Now as with all animal training, should you suffer a distinct lack of success, it is worth remembering the majority of the faults lie with the trainer rather than with the dog. A hard lesson for us to learn I know, but very true nonetheless, so I did set off with the mind-set that if the dog 'didn't get it,' then I was most probably doing something wrong.

            But the dog did get it - provided I got the timing right -and as with most things, timing is everything. Basically you are getting the dog's immediate attention and rewarding it as soon as it does something right, but your clicker response has to be immediately the required action happens. Here was the only problem I found with the clicker - it was sometimes a little difficult to actually depress the clicker button itself. Fumbling about and giving the dog a click/reward a few seconds after the required action really does no good, so my one bit of concern is that I would like to see a quicker-clicker.

            Other than that, if you get it right and are patient and persistent, then this product does work. Both my dogs are bull headed and somewhat thunderous, but it grabs their attention and I can now get the younger of the two to walk to heel - most of the time. But these things do take time and occasionally you have the odd slip up - however you do make it in the end and feel better about praising a dog for doing the right thing, rather than shouting at it for doing the wrong one.

            Altogether a good product.

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          • More +
            28.01.2009 10:34
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            A super product that I'm sure is designed to make us feel more 'girly.'

            I received this product as part of a recent Christmas present, and, unlike a lot of the 'smellies,' that seem to work their way into wrapping paper, I was very, very, impressed.

            The fragrance is the first thing that struck me (don't we all stick our snouts into the bottle before doing anything else!) and the smell was lovely; warm and aromatic, lacking the sharpness that you can get with a lot of products.

            The second, very nice surprise, was that the day after using it, although the scent wasn't overwhelming to start with, it was certainly still there. I had a doctors appointment that involved stripping down to the 'undies' and was quite pleased to find myself still smelling gently fragrant and feminine!
            I suppose the other benefit that derives from this is that you actually don't need to use a lot of this product if you are simply looking for the 'smell good,' factor.

            The product does contain ginger, which although it states on the bottle is beneficial for circulation and causes a slight tingling effect (wanted) and also shouldn't be used near eyes or mouth (not wanted). I never felt the tingling sensation, but the product certainly moisturised the bits it was applied to and was pleasant to use. Additionally it also has Jojoba and Vitamin B5, to help moisturise and rejuvenate the skin, so a little bit of something to keep everybody happy.

            The cream itself is not greasy and absorbs into the skin without any difficulty, although in the travel size it is simple a case of 'shake it and see,' to get it out of the bottle.

            As I said earlier, this was actually a gift so I had to check out the price on The Sanctuary website. Not bad at all, in fact less than I expected - the full size 250ml version is £4.88, and when considering how little you need to use and how long the fragrance lasts, then I think it reflects a very good price.
            If however you wanted to try it first then you could just purchase the travel size at £2.20 for 75ml.
            Either way I would be surprised to see it being money wasted.


            Of course if you are near to London or just fancy a special pampering treat, you could actually visit The Sanctuary and pick some up direct!

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            • dri-pak.co.uk / Online Shop / 8 Readings / 7 Ratings
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              31.12.2008 10:59
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              A family firm that makes an extra effort

              I know I'm a bit sad, but I tend to steer clear of commercial cleaning products and where I can, stick to natural cleaners instead.
              It's partly driven by a desire not to impact negatively on the environment and also by the fact that I've got a septic tank - non-degradable cleaners stop it from working properly and 'doing what comes naturally.'

              My arsenal consists of; soda crystals, pure soap flakes and borax, there isn't much you can't clean armed with these three, but I generally find buying them to be a bit of a pain as the soap flakes and borax in particular can be a bit difficult to source.

              Imagine then my surprise and delight when I found listings on eBay from a company called Dri-Pak, who allowed me to buy in half dozen quantities, and bless them, would use Royal Mail as opposed to a courier service for delivery.

              Price wise I definitely found them competitive even including the postage, which for heavy items, was charged at cost and the products combined. Each of the items came in at around £6 (more or less per six packets) excluding postage and is very reasonable if you can't source them locally. And, as relative newbies to eBay, they were very helpful considering I gave them a task most would shirk from; Can I have half a dozen of each, sent via RM and to one of the most northerly isles in the UK ...?

              But the products duly arrived and with them came a brochure directing me to their website. Not only does this give you the opportunity to buy products direct, but also directs you to other suppliers if you don't wish to purchase on-line. Both the brochure and the website give you listings of their products together with very helpful hints on what to use them for and the full range generally means you can clean everything from clothes to drains without worrying about how you are impacting on the environment.

              You can order direct from their website but they don't take credit cards, only cheques, but buying via eBay means you can pay via Paypal. The website gives the whole product list including postage costs and also has sections on hints and tips, downloads and fun stuff to do with the kids - including finger painting and making slime!

              Apparently this is a family firm that has been in operation for three generations. Their main business has been supplying traditional cleaning products to the retail sector and their expansion is founded on this. Personally, I hope they do well, companies that make the bit of extra effort, which Dri-Pak do, deserve to.

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                30.12.2008 13:39
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                A great product marred only by the connection issue.

                A few months ago I finally cracked and splashed out on an electric blanket, or to be more precise, a heated mattress cover.
                Rising fuel costs just ain't funny and tie this in with the fact that I have no central heating and lousy circulation, a pre-warmed bed seemed the most sensible way to go.

                However I've always been aware of the pennies and tend to have a good look around before I part with any of them. Eventually I decided the Dreamland was my best bet. There are cheaper ones on the market, but you do have to be careful when looking at sizes (some only cover a small proportion of the bed) the settings available, pre-heating, and also whether it can be left on over night or not.
                Another factor that I think most people would want to consider at some point is whether the blanket is washable.

                Most electric blankets use between the equivalent electricity of between 1-3 electric light bulbs. Not too bad I thought, especially if you just use it for a couple of hours at night. The Dreamland works out at about 3 bulbs on the maximum setting but since it's rarely on that for very long, I'm not concerned about a huge increase in bills.

                As I mentioned earlier, this is actually a mattress cover: it fits the mattress much in the same way as a fitted sheet, although only the top surface is quilted and heated and there is no heating element under the pillow section, but it does have the added advantage of extra heat in the foot area - heaven!!! As yet it has also failed to move about - nothing worse than laying on crinkled bedding - so passed that test with flying colours.

                It also has all night settings and is not only washable, but machine washable - who could ask for more?

                Well, I could actually. The only downside to this product is that the connection to the cover itself, protrudes a few inches onto the mattress, possibly about 2 or 3, so if you have a partner who is a little too fond of 'stealing your side' and pushing you to the edge, you might end up clutching onto a little plastic box.
                It's only a small thing, but I find a bit of an irritant and can't for the life of me understand why the connection couldn't have been located so it lay on the side of the bed.

                You'll pay around £50 for the single size, up to around £90 for the king size - but do shop around as prices can vary quite a bit

                Overall though this product gets 4 stars! It heats up quickly and makes getting to sleep a lot easier for those of us who are tired of filling hot water bottles and waking to find we are clutching something akin to a large, cold slug!

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              • ebay.co.uk / Auction / 24 Readings / 20 Ratings
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                30.12.2008 08:45
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                Increasing costs to smaller sellers are making it less viable as a market place

                How many stars eBay should receive I suppose would depend on whether you were writing from a buyer's or seller's perspective. I've been busy in both aspects on eBay for over eight years, and for now, will write this from a seller's perspective.

                Over the years the rules and red tape, have unfortunately become more restrictive with regard to selling. It seems that in an effort to minimise bad publicity about fraudulent sellers, eBay has now pulled the plug and the baby is going out with the bath water. It also seems that their current forwarding thinking plan is based on what happened, economically speaking, during the last five years - which we are all now patently aware is simply not the case.

                So, if you are new to eBay, have a desperate urge to clear your lives out in readiness for the forthcoming year and are chucking everything you don't need into a box ready to sell, there are probably a few things you need to know.

                Firstly, it is, and always has been, possible to lose money selling lower priced items on eBay, simply due to the fees involved. Even 'free listing' days, where you should always read the Terms and Conditions to see if those 'free listings' really apply to you, will cost you if you want to upload more than one photo, or set your auction to start at a specific time/date.
                It has also now come to pass that you will have to pay a fee for your items to be displayed to potential customers in the USA or Canada, the fee being dependent on how much you list your item for.

                You will also, of course, have to pay a final value fee, should your item sell - again this is dependent on both the amount and type of item you are selling.

                eBay do of course, have a free re-list policy, this means that if your item doesn't sell the first time round, you can list it once more and have your fees refunded - but only if it sells - if it doesn't you still get charged the listing fee.

                It will cost you again if your customer pays you via Paypal (also eBay owned) in the form of a fee for each invoice paid, and a 25p fee to transfer the money to your bank account if it is less than £50.
                You also have to remember that these fees will eat into any postage costs your customer pays you, because they pay the complete amount and you get charged on it. For example I recently quoted a customer £44 (the actual postage cost) for sending an item to the US, the customer pays me the £44 and the price of the item, but I pay Paypal fees on the full amount, thus not recouping the full postage costs - this equates to a loss that I am not allowed to pass onto the customer.


                Then we turn to the more recent furore of negative feedback. The situation is one whereby the buyer can give you a negative for all the world to see, but you cannot leave a negative for a buyer. You can however leave negative comments for a buyer, but really these comments are negated because you have to give a positive rating which means the negative isn't highlighted and most certainly lost once the feedback comments are off the first few pages.

                The costs involved in getting negative feedback? Well, directly there are none - but indirectly negative feedback, particularly if it is unwarranted such as an item being delayed in the post, can cost your reputation and hence deter potential bidders.

                Certain categories of items also carry with them specific regulations recently devised by eBay and I would certainly advise anybody thinking of selling in media categories, DVDs and the like, to check out the postage and packing regulations before listing.

                'Tis a shame that eBay have felt it, for whatever reasons, necessary to take the course of action they have in recent times. The site itself is sold to the public as a place to sell unwanted items, to then expect them to act like a business, seems whole heartedly unfair.

                Maybe like other institutions who rode the crest of the credit wave, they really believed their success lay completely in their own genius and they could never fail, but, like other companies have found out, will end up floundering on the beach sucking a mouthful of sand.

                I hope not, but increasing regulations and costs to sellers means more and more will be deterred from listing items. A reduction in items listed, at least of the type people are seeking to buy, means this eventually impacts on the buyers as there is less choice.
                Making life more difficult for the sellers, thus makes life less pleasant for the customer - not difficult to figure out.

                Personally I would be devastated, for many reasons, to see the demise of eBay, and hope they realise, before it is too late, that any fool can make money when times are good, it's the bad times that sift the wheat from the chaff.

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                • More +
                  29.12.2008 13:51
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                  A nice product but I couldn't live with the strong fragrance

                  Normally I'm not too keen on changing face washes and moisturisers, but since I've recently discovered that I'm not getting any younger, and perhaps, a little shift in regime wouldn't do any harm, I started to delve into a box of stuff donated by mum.

                  Estee Lauder Soft Clean for dry skin has had its first trial runs over Christmas, and much as I hate to say it, I was quite impressed. The tube itself is a nice shimmery pink, just the type of thing I can lay my hands on without too much rummaging about. I did though find the cream itself to be a little on the thick side and quite difficult to squeeze out of the tube and so a second wash with slippery hands made things a little tricky.

                  For me, the first downside to this product is the smell. As with many Estee Lauder products they do seem to be quite strong, and for a lassie who likes to go for the simpler things in life, I find them a bit over-powering. This one, because it's on your face, I found to be more overpowering than most and even three hours after washing the smell seemed as strong as ever.

                  On use though, it did lather up well and, I have to admit, leave my face feeling very clean and fresh. I felt some tightening of the skin, but unlike some other products, it didn't leave me rushing for a moisturiser immediately. However I did notice that after using a second time in the evening my skin began to feel slightly tight and I didn't feel that I would want to use it twice a day on a regular basis. Neither did I feel that I would want to live with the perfume permanently either, but I appreciate this is an aspect of Estee Lauder that a lot of women like.

                  From Estee Lauder direct the product comes in at £16.64 for a 125ml tube, which I don't think is bad value as you don't need to use a lot.

                  Overall, it was better than I expected, but if you don't like highly perfumed products then I wouldn't think this would be for you.

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                • Sarakan Toothpaste / Oral Care / 11 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                  29.12.2008 11:37
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                  Well worth trying if you are looking for an alternative toothpaste.

                  For quite a while I had been on a bit of a grumble about toothpaste. Apart from having sensitive teeth, I felt that standard, commercial brands, despite making my mouth feel clean and fresh just after brushing, didn't have the effect of making my teeth feel clean for any length of time. In fact, on several occasions I resorted to giving them a quick rub with salt just to make me feel better.

                  I then came across Sarakan toothpaste, and despite having reservations, decided to give it a try - after all it is good enough to carry a statement that the British Dental Health Foundation consider it a useful aid in dental health care.

                  It's also made up of natural ingredients, including salvadora persica extract, which is a shrub also known as the 'toothbrush tree.' On top of that it has what some would consider to be the biggest bonus by lacking the ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which meant absolutely nothing to me until I looked it up and found it started life in industry as a degreaser and then sneaked into a lot of our body care products.

                  I must admit though I was a little concerned about its potential smell and taste, Sarakan is flavoured with geranium oil ... not a flavour you would normally associate with toothpastes, but the reviews I'd seen on the product were all glowing so gave me the confidence to try it.

                  First off let's give the colour a mention - it's pink, not white with any coloured stripes. I can't say this bothered me at all, in fact I think it's quite cute and looks more like children's toothpaste, but it might be a little off-putting for some.
                  Then of course we get to the smell - it does smell of geraniums, surprisingly so, and because of this the taste may take some getting used to. I actually found that after using it a couple of times I now prefer it to the standard commercial toothpastes as the taste is more natural.

                  To the actual results: well I haven't felt the need to sprinkle salt on my toothbrush since using this product. Teeth actually feel squeaky clean after using it and have a slightly polished feel to them. Although you don't get the initial 'blast,' you feel with other products, my teeth generally feel fresher for longer.

                  Another bonus seems to be that this product reduces sensitivity, which was something that concerned me slightly at the outset, but I haven't had any problems with hot drinks or ice-cream since using it.

                  It is available in a few places, I get mine from Goodness Direct which I reviewed earlier. With them the product comes in at around £2 for a 50ml tube and the postage is free on this particular product. I'm sure it must be available to buy direct from health stores and I have seen it on eBay but the postage cost bumps up the final price a good bit.

                  The only downside I could comment on is that you don't seem to be able to get this product in a larger size as you can with most toothpastes, but despite that I will certainly continue to use it as the potential downsides are far outweighed by the positives.

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                  • Flexicose for Pets / Cat Accessory / 14 Readings / 14 Ratings
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                    24.12.2008 08:57
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                    A non-prescription product that really seems to work

                    After my older, large, cross-breed dog starting getting a little stiff in the back legs I began to browse the net for a product I thought may help his joint problems.
                    I saw many references to glucosamine being helpful with cartilage problems and maintaining general joint health so I gave it a shot.
                    Very glad I did - within a couple of weeks he was back to normal.

                    I did however tend to find product information a little confusing and this, I have discovered, is because the same product is suitable for dogs, cats, horses and people! It isn't however suitable for any ruminants - so don't think of giving it to sheep, goats or cattle.

                    It comes in several forms, tablets/capsules, granules or liquid.
                    My first purchase was of granules and although I found it easy to just sprinkle on food and the dogs found no problem in eating it, the next time round I went for the liquid.

                    For me I find this is better, but maybe for pet owners with smaller dogs they could find the tiny amounts needed a little difficult to measure out; for instance for a dog weighing up to 10lbs it recommends 1/32 of an ounce and although the bottle has its own measure, much as in weed-killer bottles and the like, it does start at ¼ of an ounce, so you'd have quite a bit of fiddling about to do. You also get advice on what proportion of a teaspoon to measure out, but again, since you are measuring out tiny amounts (and teaspoons all seem to be different sizes these days) it would still be quite tricky.
                    Also, both with the granules and liquid I found the amount recommended for dogs weighing in at 41-100lbs to be quite wide as it says 1/8 ounce for the whole of this group. Since my older dog comes in at around 70lbs and my younger one currently at around 100lbs, I do make a slight adjustment with the amounts I give.

                    I must admit that I have yet to find any negative comments regarding glucosamine in general. It seems that most research suggests it is beneficial preventatively and also can reverse effects of joint degeneration and for humans it is used in treating arthritis.

                    As I touched on earlier, I do have a second, younger dog, that is a mastiff breed and growing at speed, so I also give it to her as a preventative against cruciate problems in later life.

                    Assessing the positive factors of a product such as this can be a bit problematic - it's not like telling you a bread maker works or not - but, as I said earlier, my older dog was back to his old self within a couple of weeks of taking Flexicose, and although it may not be down to that, I have to presume it is.

                    Price wise, an 8 fl oz bottle comes in at between £16-£20 including postage, but how long it lasts will certainly be affected by both the size of your dog and how many you have. The guidelines state it will last from 32 days up to 256 and that is for breeds weighing over 100lbs down to under 10lbs.

                    Either way, I feel, it was a lot cheaper than a vet's bill and prescribed medication. From me Flexicose certainly gets the thumbs up!

                    As an additional warning! I've just been reading the 'people' brochure on this product and if you are somebody considering using it for yourself, it says not to be taken if you are allergic to shellfish or diabetic. Also to consult your doctor prior to taking it if you are preganant or nursing.
                    Not pet related I know, but thought it was worth a mention!

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                    • More +
                      23.12.2008 19:05
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                      Well worth the little extra over the cheaper models and I can't think of how it could be improved.

                      This product has got to rank as one of my all time favourite buys!

                      Torches in general are the bane of my life - living on a smallholding with no outside electricity and in an area that is frequently plagued by power cuts, there is nothing more frustrating than finding the batteries on your torch are dead.
                      Prior to buying the Indigo, I had bought several, no, numerous, cheaper wind-ups and without exaggeration, I confess I managed to break the handles on all of them!

                      So I then turned to Freeplay.

                      This version has several benefits in addition to the usual solid construction this company is renowned for:
                      Firstly it has a small torch light on the front in addition to the main lantern section and both can be used independently of the other.
                      Although only small, the torch is certainly large enough to see your way with and I use it when I take the dogs for a walk in the early mornings and night-time.
                      Secondly, it has a mains charger as well, so you aren't limited to just winding up the handle. I've never actually worn the battery down on a mains charge so the torch won't work, so it lasts for hours and hours and hours ... bearing in mind I use it for about an hour in the morning and probably the same in the evenings. During power cuts it has been left on all night and still not so much as dimmed. The manufacturer suggests it lasts for 70 hours before needing a mains re-charge and I won't disagree with them!

                      I have worn down the battery enough to use up the lantern energy but it has an adjustable dimmer anyway and still lasts me for about 3 days usage before I stick it back on charge whether it needs it or not.

                      Even in wind-up mode, the light just lasts and lasts, although if you use the lantern on its highest setting it will drain the battery a lot quicker.

                      To give you an example of the brightness of the lantern with its LED cluster - when I bought mine I asked, obviously as many people do, 'Can you milk a goat by it?' Well I can answer that one now with certainty, yes you can! Even on one of the lowest lantern settings I have no problem at all in milking and feeding the goats.

                      Now I do appreciate that not everybody lives in a situation similar to mine, but if you are looking for a reliable standby torch, walk dogs in an unlit area, need to keep one in the car, go camping, or are just worried about power cuts, then I can't recommend this highly enough.

                      This is the second winter I've owned mine and it is still unscathed, which, going by my track record, is pretty much an achievement! The lantern itself is solid and much of it rubberised and it is water resistant - however, although it will stand being taken out in the rain, please note you shouldn't drop it in a bucket of water ... it stops working, but, bless it, after a couple of days drying slowly by the side of the radiator, it kicked into life yet again.
                      This lantern has nine lives!

                      It costs around the £25 mark plus postage, but do check to see if you get the mains adapter with it or have to purchase it as an extra - mine came as the complete package.
                      There are other lanterns a bit more expensive and certainly those that are cheaper, but I've never had a cheap one that has managed to keep up with my outdoor lifestyle!

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                      • Davies Chubs / Dog Food / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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                        22.12.2008 19:58
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                        Not on my favourites list but could be for some

                        I'm sure that over the years most pet owners have at least come across chubs even if they've never tried them.
                        Davis Chubs are one of the most popular and I know when I open one I always think of the old fashioned meat 'brawn,' so if you were thinking these were going to be full of meaty chunks then you will be sorely disappointed. The consistency is more of a slightly rubbery pate and I must admit I'm not too fond of the smell either which does seem to linger if you get it on your hands.

                        Still, to the plus points; the meat is gluten free, which may appeal to some dog owners and it also limits packaging by being sealed in a strong sheet of plastic. However this same plastic can be a bit of a nuisance if you are unlikely to use a whole chub at one sitting - what exactly do you do with a half cut roll of rubbery pate until next needed? If opened I find it's best to store in a plastic lidded carton, just in case any moisture seeps from the horizontal pack, and refrigerate.

                        Davis chubs also come in a good variety of flavours including rabbit, chicken and original and weigh 800gms each. On the net a pack of 6 will come in at around £4.50 and 15 at around £12. There are however, cheaper brands on the market.

                        Taste-wise; well personally, I really couldn't say, but both my dogs have never turned their noses up - then again they have never refused to eat anything I've put in front of them!

                        Another word about storage: sometimes the plastic can get damaged, always check it for holes or tears before storing away, if you don't you are basically putting meat into a cupboard and before long you will have bred your own little family of white, wiggly things that some people take fishing!

                        I can't hold my hands up and admit to this being a product I couldn't live without, the messy packaging and lingering smell, aren't my favourite selling points, but then again both the packaging and the gluten free aspect could appeal to many dog owners and, if your dog enjoys it, then why not!

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                        • Newspaper Briquette Maker / Homeware / 13 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                          21.12.2008 18:22
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                          Time consuming and the bricks take time to dry - but well worth the effort!

                          Lets face facts, there can't be many people left who are not looking for a way to save money on fuel bills, so a paper brick maker is possibly a good place to start if you have facilities for burning solid fuel.

                          With postage costs you will be looking to pay around £19-£20 for a solid metal version and they can be bought in several places on-line including many Eco shops.

                          Firstly, as I'm sure you've guessed, they come in handy for getting rid of all, or at least most, of your unwanted paper. I use newspaper, cardboard (but certain types won't soak) old envelopes and whatever junk mail is suitable.
                          Experience has proven that this is best soaked overnight at least, cardboard for even longer depending on how many thicknesses it is, although as the paper soaks it is easier to tear into smaller pieces.
                          You are also advised to add a tablespoon of bleach to the water which speeds up the action, however I feel that this can slow the burning process somewhat.
                          Added sawdust also helps a lot, in both holding the bricks together and prolonging the burning process.

                          When I first got mine I didn't find it particularly difficult to fathom out; you simply lift the inner compartment out, load the casing and place the inner back bringing the handles over to press it all down - what I did find was a problem was just how much paper to load the machine with. Too much and the handles wouldn't come over far enough, too little and it didn't squidge any water out.
                          I was also concerned that it wasn't getting rid of enough of the water (if I stood on the 'finished' bricks I could get rid of a lot more) but some retaining water is necessary if you don't want your bricks to fall apart!

                          There can also be a slight problem in getting the inner out after you have finished 'squidging,' but this gets better as time goes on. Practice does indeed make perfect, just make sure you have even leverage to pull on the inner, the heavy duty machine is strong enough to take it.

                          Drying the bricks can also be an issue too - be aware, you can wait a long time. One manufacturer's guidelines say 'A week in a greenhouse.' Well, a week in a summertime greenhouse can be an awful long time if you transpose it with, 'Winter in the shed!'

                          In fairness though most manufacturers do say these are best made in the summer and stockpiled for winter use, but being the impatient little madam I am, I simply can't wait for summer and also don't want to stockpile paper until the weather is better, so I make them now and turn them every few days to try and speed up the drying process.

                          The brick maker will save you money, but like most things involving 'make do and mend,' it will cost you your time, so you need to be aware of this, but overall, if you are prepared to put the time and effort in, your brick maker will save you cash and filling your recycling bin!


                          In summation - the main problem area is not with the machine but how long the bricks take to dry. You can't hurry this job along!

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                          • More +
                            21.12.2008 16:28
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                            A reasonably priced machine but mine had an attitude problem

                            Unfortunately my experiences with this particular bread maker haven't been very successful.

                            Prior to purchasing I did make bread by hand, but decided that a bread maker would make a nice little time saving gadget.
                            I actually saw this one recommended in Which magazine, and, since it was in my price bracket, I bought one.

                            The first, I believe I bought from Asda, but it had a mind of it's own and no matter what stage it was at n the process it would always return to mixing mode again at some inconvenient point and render the bread useless.
                            That one was shipped back to the shop but I didn't deter and got another.

                            Although not quite as wicked minded as the first, this one never seemed to bake the bread properly. The crust would turn brown but further down the loaf I ended up with a white, pasty, rather ill-looking loaf.
                            The machine wasn't returned and I did persevere with most of the settings to see if it would improve matters, but it never did.

                            After moving house it was confined to its box but on removal I discovered the mixing paddle had gone missing.
                            Here I found that Morphy Richards don't quite live up to their customer service reputation either.
                            I went on line and found, what I thought, was the correct one. Telephoned and ordered it and it was shipped out very quickly.
                            Unfortunately it was the wrong paddle - apparently there are lots of different ones and unless you supply them with the serial number of your machine it very possibly won't fit.
                            I did telephone and request another but apparently it was 'my fault,' because I didn't ask the customer service representative's advice. Well, okay, a bit my fault I suspect, but if you ever need to order spares do remember to ask their representatives everything - that way you cannot be held responsible for any errors.

                            All the above aside, I still use the bread maker but on the dough making setting only. It's still handy and saves a lot of the initial messy hassle in mixing the dough and you can then remove it and do as you will - teacakes, rolls etc.

                            So, no, my experiences mean that I cannot really recommend this product. It comes in at around £30-£35, so isn't expensive if you know you are the kind of person who buys gadgets and then consigns them to the deepest, darkest cupboard.

                            It does up to a 2lb loaf, so good for a family and the settings are nice and clear to see on the front.

                            It is a large piece of kit though and not one I would want to be dragging out of the cupboard to use on a regular basis, so I would check out where you would keep it first.

                            Had mine worked and cooked the bread as I liked to see, I would have found the product easy to use, have easy instructions and be relatively easy to clean, provided you remember to wipe the inside of the casing on a regular basis, and for the money, I would have been quite pleased.

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