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Grr "Gumbo" (England)

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Maclaren Nurturing Bath Milk
Maclaren Nurturing Bath Milk
Price: £16.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little pricey but a lovely bit of luxury, 8 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great product marketed at expectant mothers but anyone can use it - though as another review has noted you really shouldn't use it during your first trimester. It has a lovely fragrance that is not over powering and makes your whole bathroom smell like a spa! It doesn’t foam like many bath milks instead it turns the water a little cloudy but does leave my skin nice and soft. I really liked the fragrance and it doesn't linger too long on your body meaning it won't clash with and perfumes, moisturisers etc you might want to apply after bathing.

I think it's a little expensive compared to the other bath products available but it does seem to work wonders on my skin so the extra spend is worth it for the results. It also has a large number of organic ingredients which is always a positive in my book.

The product itself is well packaged and looks classy with a nice cover on the glass bottle to add a bit of safety in the bathrooom. Should the bottle get dropped into a bath or sink it is unlikely to break due to the covering and if it does the protective layer will help prevent it shattering. That said it did take some time to actually open the cardboard tube it comes in as it fitted together so tightly no air could get in. I solved the issue by puncturing the top to ensure no vacuum was created but worth noting as it really did stick!

Overall I enjoyed using the bath milk and will keep it on hand whenever I feel I need to treat myself at the end of a long day but due to the cost it won't be used more than weekly.

Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Percy Engine
Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Percy Engine
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Durable, fun and robust, 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Take-n-Play Thomas range has long been a hit in our household. My son (rapidly approaching his third birthday) has quite a collection of these trains and adores them now as much as he did when he first starting getting them well over a year ago. Other toys have fallen in and out of favour over this time but the Thomas toys have never been allowed to rest for long. His friends too have these trains and they enjoy playing together with them.

They are not cheap and, at first, I was very reluctant to spend such sums on these small trains but have to admit that they are very well made toys that are able withstand the terrifying onslaught that is rough toddler play. we actually have a decent number of these trains which have been thrown around outdoors and in, shoved down slides, kicked and bashed and not a single one has broken, in fact aside from scratches and chips to paintwork, they still work as well as they did on day one.I cannot say this about many other ranges of toys.

The trains have magnets at the front and rear and can therefore be joined together with other trains and/or carriages - a feature my son has always enjoyed especially. As at least one other reviewer has noted, the toys can also be used in educational play - colours, numbers etc - and we have often used them for this. There is also a bit of sentiment that has to be applied - how many generations have now loved these characters? I love to see my child playing with toys that would have recognised when I was a child. Thomas is also a gentle programme, no guns, violence etc and only nominal 'bad guys' - as such its as toddler friendly as it gets for imaginative play.

As for Percy himself? Well, after Thomas he's probably the 'must-have' - being Thomas's best friend and a kindly, if timid, fellow. He features heavily in the orginal and newer books and is a central character trhoughout all incarnations of the television series. This toy's face is easily recognisable as his and his fans will be delighted by it.

The Breath Co Fresh Breath Oral Rinse - 500ml - Icy Mint
The Breath Co Fresh Breath Oral Rinse - 500ml - Icy Mint
Price: £8.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Tasting and Effective, 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At £12.99 for a 500ml bottle, it’s fair to say that this is not a cheap mouthwash. I suspect that those who are considering spending that amount are probably those who suffer with a dry mouth or halitosis on a regular basis. Thankfully I don’t have these issues (or at least no-one has told me that I do!) but I do use mouthwash twice a day as part of my regular dental routine so I was interested to see what this can do.

It’s a very flavourful wash, the ice mint being sharp and punchy without becoming overbearing. Its lack of alcohol means there is no ‘burn’ sensation – something I’ve oddly always quite liked about my Listerine – and it would be suitable for those with sensitive mouths. The flavour certainly lingers for a long while afterwards, noticeably longer that other washes, and it can therefore be labelled a success in this regard. I would be confident it can handle most challenges for clean smelling breath.

It’s worth noting that for all the wonders it works on your breath, this is not a wash that purports to do anything more. It doesn’t suggest that it removes plaque or tartar for example, nor does it offer any cavity prevention. This is not a criticism, the product does what it claims to do and can hardly be disparaged for not doing things it makes no promise of. It is worth noting however that you may want to use a different wash for this purpose on top of this one.

Overall, it’s a pleasant tasting and effective breath freshener which I suspect will be very effective to those who have issues with such things but it may be a touch on the costly side for those with more prosaic requirements from their mouthwash.

Cosatto Koochi Sneaker Stroller (Ticket)
Cosatto Koochi Sneaker Stroller (Ticket)
Price: £95.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, strong and easy to use but not as lightweight or compact as many!, 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When we received this pushchair there were two things that I immediately noticed about it. The first is how long it is and secondly how heavy it is. Our previous pushchair was extremely lightweight so it came quite a shock when I lifted this one out. It is quite a weight in comparison with others - but this does mean it is extremely sturdy a great plus point for any pushchair considering the battering they tend to get. It is also longer than I anticipated which means it has to be put into the boot of our Fiesta diagonally and will not lie flat in the boot. Neither of these things is bad as such but it is worth noting them especially as it is marketed as a lightweight stroller and I would say that this claim is pushed.

The chair is easy to open up and once open the seat back can be easily adjusted using the strap at the back. One plus point I have found is that there is a plastic piece at the end of the seat adjusting strap which means that you can always easily lower and raise the seat back. On one of our previous chairs the adjusting straps did not have a buffer so you had to be careful or the seat could get stuck in the lie down position which was a huge pain.

The fabric of the chair has a nice wipe clean surface and should be easier to keep clean than some. There is also a rain cover which can be folded to a compact size in order to keep in the storage basket. The sunshade is great and is easy to put up and down.

The chair is easy to push and the wheels move really well. It steers easily and can manoeuvre around objects with little effort. The storage basket underneath is spacious but due to the design of the chair it can be a little tough to get into especially if you put larger objects in there. There are easy to operate brakes at the back and the front wheels can be locked in the forward position and left loose to swivel.

It can take a little time to get used to folding the chair as although the closing mechanism is simple it requires a little coordination. There is a really useful carry handle on the side so when it is folded it is easy to just pick up and take with you.

Price wise this is in the mid range but of a very high quality. Overall I have given 4 stars as the weight, length and slight issue getting things out of the storage basket mean it is not quite perfect for us, but it is a very good little stroller and well worth investing in - especially if boot space is not an issue!

TONI&GUY  Classic Shine Gloss Serum 30 ml
TONI&GUY Classic Shine Gloss Serum 30 ml
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little goes a long way!, 28 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a small bottle of hair serum designed to smooth hair, make it look shinier and stop it being so dry and I am pleased to report it delivers on all counts.

The serum itself is easy to apply, you simply pump out a small amount onto your hands - usually 1 or 2 pumps depending on your hair type and length and smooth through the mid lengths and ends of your hair. It is best to avoid the roots as this can cause them to look greasy but I have found that this is not a huge issue immediately. The serum smells nice and I noticed a difference in the feel of my hair straight away. It felt lighter and easier to pull my hands through. Looks wise I was pleased to see that my hair was sleeker and had much less frizz than usual. My hair looked healthier all over.

It's also worth noting that the bottle this comes in is small enough to tuck into a handbag so is nicely portable so you can apply whenever you need to.

Overall this is a great product that really does make a difference to help smooth dry hair and tame the fuzzy ends of wilder hair. It is a decent price and as you only need a small amount for each application it should last a fair while.

Panasonic ALL3 Wireless Speaker System (White)
Panasonic ALL3 Wireless Speaker System (White)
Offered by Crampton And Moore
Price: £209.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A great sounding but awkward product, 22 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First things first, the positives: this little monster of a speaker has a surprisingly crisp sound. It delivers real wallop of bass and is well balanced and clear. This is vital as there is no option to vary the sound settings so a mistake in this would have been fatal for the product.

I used a few faithfuls to test its capacity – Handel’s Water Music, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, The Cramps’ Songs the Lord Taught Us and Radiohead’s The Bends. It handled all of these very well; even the notoriously muffled production values of the Cramps album were fairly well sidestepped. All told, the device plays music rather well and has quite a fearsome top volume.

Aesthetically it’s a rather simple and minimalist looking thing, not in the least ostentatious or imposing, so it would likely work well with most room decors. It’s quite heavy, akin to a couple of bricks, so feels substantial enough and does have the feel of quality you would expect from a Panasonic product.

However, the start rating at the top of this review suggests that I didn’t love this product and that, regrettably, is true. It doesn’t deliver some of the basic features I would expect for a unit that sells for the current retail value of around £230.

Simple things like a remote control are not present for example, I also personally prefer to be able to fiddle with different audio settings and this won’t let me do so.

I notice the product proudly proclaims it works with Spotify. Not entirely accurate, it works with Spotify PREMIUM, a service which costs around £10 a month to subscribe. If you use Spotify for free or have a basic account (as I do), then this is not supported by the product and it won’t play the music. This seems a bit strange and backward as it limits the usefulness of this feature for many. I like Spotify but have no desire to pay for a Premium service as I wouldn’t use it enough to warrant it. (I will note that 6 months of Spotify Premium does come with the product – if you are one of the first to review it) It also does not work with the Amazon Player, not recognising it at all. Again, I can’t understand why it hasn’t got this capability.

I also had some frustrations setting the speaker up. It’s incredibly fussy about what it will or will not connect to. Whilst I don’t pretend to be a technically savvy whizz, I am certainly competent enough to connect all the other wireless products in my home without much trouble but this speaker tried my patience. It didn’t like my Samsung Galaxy for some reason; it didn’t support the software in an Archos Tablet we own, my partners HTC worked but only after a lot of trial and error. The only thing is linked to comfortably was my Toshiba laptop, but even then this has been a bit temperamental (I've also only managed to connect this by ignoring the intructions andfinding my own way around it). I also simply do not understand why it doesn’t seem to have Bluetooth functionality? That’s got to be a standard for wireless items these days surely?

A last, brief, word on the App you need to use to run this off a Smartphone, I'm in agreement with the other reviewers that find this a bit clunky and cumbersome. Not disastrous but frustrating to use.

As I stated at the outset, once it’s playing music it does a great job but it does seem to come with a lot of ‘buts’ and a stubborn refusal to work with lots of different things.

Personally, I like my tech to be as compatible as possible with my other items and the more barriers and caveats it puts up, the less enamoured I will be with something. This is the case here. A promising product let down by poor and/or limited functionality.

Maclaren Hydrating Lip and Cheek Balm
Maclaren Hydrating Lip and Cheek Balm
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely smelling, long lasting, 14 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a small 15ml tube of lip and cheek balm made from 99% organic ingredients.

The balm itself is smooth and a nice consistency when it has been applied but it can be hard to squeeze out of the tube - although the angled tip does help with this a little. I tend to keep mine in my pocket so that it is warmed through otherwise I have a job getting enough out.

The smell of the balm itself is lovely, although it feels a little odd putting lavender on my lips. Not a problem when using as a cheek balm but it smells a little overly floral on my lips. That said it does not taste floral, you can't taste anything at all, but I still find it a bit strange on application.

You do not need to apply very much of the balm for it to be effective. My skin is quite dry and I found a little of this was perfectly ok to help keep it hydrated. It also lasts well and you don't need to apply very often - though I tend to use several times a day. All in all a good little moisturiser and not overly expensive given the cost of normal lip balms against this one and its organic credentials.

Trigger Point Performance Grid STK Hand-Held Foam Roller - Orange
Trigger Point Performance Grid STK Hand-Held Foam Roller - Orange
Price: £26.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't do it for me, 14 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Despite being fastidious about warming up and preparing properly before exercise, old sporting injuries mean that I am always prone to lower neck/upper back and calf pain afterwards.

Over the years I have developed a fairly solid system of minimising these aches and pains and have a few sure fire tricks to appease them if they occur. That said, I am always happy to give anything new a go if it promises to help soothe those weary muscles of mine, as such I was quite pleased to be given a chance to try out this product.
t’s an odd looking thing, a bobbly foam roller on a stick. It’s fairly lightweight for its size and should fit comfortably in any sensibly sized gym bags. It’s nice enough to hold and its operation is simple and straightforward.

But did it work? Not especially well for me I'm sorry to have to say. It would be unfair to say that it made no noticeable difference because it did relieve the ache somewhat but only during use and not by any great measure. In fact I found it less useful on my calves than self massaging and applying some deep heat, a far cheaper and simpler method.

For my back, shoulder and neck it fared a bit better but, due to the frustrations of human skeletal design rather than any fault of the product, it was difficult to adequately apply sufficient pressure in the right places for my all personal problem parts.

So, for me, this is not the magic wand I would have loved it to be but it may well be that for my particular needs it is just a case of it being a poor match. I have noted that the other reviewers who have sung its praises have often been properly sporty/athletic types rather than semi-regular gym botherers like me so it could well be that sportspeople would reap far greater benefits than me personally.

However, I can only give two stars as it didn’t really do it for me.

Philips HP3631 300w InfraCare Lamp
Philips HP3631 300w InfraCare Lamp
Price: £50.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Soothing warmth for achy muscles and joints, 30 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When this first arrived the first thing I noticed is how light it is. The lamp has a sturdy base and feel about it, but it is very light meaning you can position it easily.

The timer element of the lamp does not run on mains power and is operated by a small press button on the top right of the lamp. You press the button once for each minute you want it to be on for and when it gets to zero it emits a high pitched beeping sound. It doesn't however automatically turn off the lamp so you need to do this manually. Something to be aware of in case you dose off while using the lamp.

When you turn the lamp on it lights up in a bright red colour and immediately emits a strong warm heat. The instructions say you need to sit about 8 - 15 inches from the lamp itself and at this distance the heat is strong but not uncomfortable. The lamp head pivots up and down so that you can adjust where you are aiming the heat.

I tend to use this after I have finished some physical activity that might make me stiff the next day, particularly gardening. I find the heat to be extremely soothing and effective at stopping or minimising a painful slow moving morning after.

For anyone who suffers muscular pain I imagine this would be essential. For me it just helps to keep me moving and ensures I don't get put off doing hard work thinking it will put me out of action for a day afterwards. Very glad I have it.

Philips GC9236/02 PerfectCare Expert Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 320 g Steam Boost, 1.5 L, 2400 W, Purple/White
Philips GC9236/02 PerfectCare Expert Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 320 g Steam Boost, 1.5 L, 2400 W, Purple/White
Price: £249.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable ironing? I would never have believed it!, 20 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I first opened this iron and got it out of the box I considered that I might need to build a specific laundry room to accommodate it - it certainly looks like it deserves it - but having used it or a while now I have been able to tuck it away when not in use and when I do use it I tend to leave the water reservoir beneath the ironing board so it doesn't get in the way.

The iron itself comes in two sections, the actual iron plate itself and a hefty water reservoir which is connected to the iron by a heavy duty cord that has two sections to carry both power and steam. The iron slots into the water reservoir and has a clip to hold it in place so that there is no danger of it falling out when moving it - this is also helpful when you have an interested toddler trying to see what you are doing as the iron can not be removed by little hands.

Once you turn the iron on it takes a couple of minutes to heat up and then you are good to go. The base unit delivers a continuous stream of steam to the iron plate though initially you may need to watch out as there are usually couple of water drips that preceed the steam. I also did burn myself a couple of times when I first used this as you need to make sure you keep your hands well away from the steam and I was trying to hold fabric in position which put my fingers too close. This is a minor issue though, you just need to adjust how you iron clothes as it is a different technology to a traditional iron. The water tank is a huge 1.5 litre and it is easily removed from the unit so you can fill it up from the tap. The amount it holds means you really can get through a lot of laundry without a refill.

This iron differs from your usual models in that you do not adjust the temperature, instead it adjusts the temperature itself and produces pressurised steam to remove the creases from almost all fabrics. This has the benefit of never burning clothes and ensuring you never set it at the wrong temperature again. It also has a self cleaning mechanism which is extremely useful as we live in a hard water area and with the amount of water it gets through it could clog up quite quickly. You are also reminded when you need to do this which is great.

The results you get from this iron are great, it really glides easily over clothes and produces fantastic results quickly - faster than my traditional iron. It's also actually pretty enjoyable to use which is a welcome relief when you have a mountain of clothes and bedding to get through.

I guess the big question really is - is this iron worth the hefty price tag? Part of me says yes - it is a high quality piece of equipment that uses new technology to make ironing simpler and easier and part of me says no - how can an iron be worth £250? I think it all depends on how important ironed clothes, sheets etc are in your life. If you need to have crease free everything the this is a great investment. It will make ironing quicker, easier and in many ways more enjoyable. If you have the funds then go for it, you will not be disappointed.

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