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Mr. Mischief (Guernsey)
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Sudafed 15ml Blocked Nose Spray
Sudafed 15ml Blocked Nose Spray
Offered by All Day Pharmacy
Price: £3.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best nasal decongestant you can buy, 29 July 2014
For years I suffered from regular bad colds and, with them, the horror that is nasal congestion. It's perhaps one of the less-pleasant side-effects of your body's attempt to fight the virus but I'd always thought that there was little to be done about it. And then, one beautiful day some years ago, I discovered the wonder that is Sudafed. One blast of the dispenser into each nostril and, just minutes later, my nostrils were clear and my breathing no longer laboured.

Sudafed works by unblocking the nasal passages that produce mucus to stop bacterial infections, and which become swollen when you have a cold. This allows the built-up mucus to drain away naturally, rather than clogging up your nose. It's a wonderful solution to a problem that I thought I was stuck with, and one that has allowed me to live through, rather than suffer through, a cold. Science may have produced some dubious things over the years but Sudafed isn't one of them. It is, simply, the best nasal decongestant you can buy.


Montblanc Presence Eau de Toilette Vaporisateur Spray for Men 75 ml
Montblanc Presence Eau de Toilette Vaporisateur Spray for Men 75 ml
Price: £21.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfect if you want to smell like old man's soap, 29 July 2014
It's not often that I blind-buy a fragrance and when I do it's only after having read copious amounts of information and numerous reviews on it. And so it was with Mont Blanc Presence, a scent that scores highly on Fragrantica, not quite so well on Basenotes, and one that I decided to take a punt on anyway.

The Mont Blanc website states that Presence has top note of bergamot, ginger, cardamon and cinnamon, mid notes of sage, apple and heliotrope, and base notes of tonka bean, amber, sandalwood and musk. It sounds a glorious combination of fresh-yet-familiar aromas and I would imagine the majority of men finding something in there that they like. Bergamot, ginger and cinnamon are aromas I love, as are apple and sandalwood, so all things being equal I should have loved this. But, as is that way of things, I didn't.

From the very first spray I knew that Presence and I probably weren't going to hit it off; it's a sweet scent with a very evident ginger and sandalwood start that doesn't really disappear. There's also a clear mint aroma running through it that does sharpen it up a bit, but the overriding sense I get from Presence is one of old man's soap - not something I really want to smell of, if I'm honest.

All in all, Presence is a fair fragrance that many seem to like (or love) so my feelings about it might not match yours. But the fact that the only other reviewer (at this time) says that she uses it to spray her beds, I think speaks volumes; it might be great in your house but on your person is another matter.


Collar and Cuffs London - SHIRT AND TIE SET - Superior Quality 100% Cotton - Fit Guaranteed - Emperor Fine Herringbone Design - Non-Iron Men's Shirt - Long Sleeve - Blue - Slim Fit, Double Cuff - Plain Pattern
Collar and Cuffs London - SHIRT AND TIE SET - Superior Quality 100% Cotton - Fit Guaranteed - Emperor Fine Herringbone Design - Non-Iron Men's Shirt - Long Sleeve - Blue - Slim Fit, Double Cuff - Plain Pattern
Offered by COLLAR AND CUFFS LONDON
Price: £100.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A good value set that looks good when ironed properly, 28 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a lot of men will tell you, it can be a pain finding quality formal (work) shirts that look good and don't cost the earth, and more so if you're fussy and tight, like me. I'd never used Collar and Cuffs London before but I really can't fault their service - the three items I ordered arrived all present and correct in a couple of days and there was even a voucher included for money off my next order from them.

The items I ordered were this shirt and tie combination and another shirt, without a tie. In the case of this shirt and tie, both items look darker in the flesh than the pictures here suggest, with the tie actually being a dark gold colour rather than the yellow it appears. This doesn't matter to me as the items still look good, but it might be worth bearing in mind if you're expecting either to be a particular shade.

The shirt is good quality, thin enough for summer wear without being able to see through it (a problem I've had with cheaper shirts) but thick enough to give some winter warmth. The collar is nice and stiff, helped by the included collar stiffeners, which you'll want to remove before washing, and the button-less double cuffs are a nice touch, as long as you have a pair of cufflinks spare. There were a few thread ends visible on the shirt here and there, but otherwise it was pretty much pristine.

The tie is of equally good quality and, after a quick going-over with an iron, looked really good, even if it wasn't quite the colour I was expecting.

The only gripe I have with the set is with the "non-iron" trait the shirt is supposed to have. No, it's not the fact that the shirt isn't actually non-iron (I'm yet to find a non-iron shirt that is), it's the fact that this shirt one is one of the least non-iron shirts I have. Out of the wash and off the line, the shirt looks seriously creased, much more so than most of my other shirts. And it's very easy to add to those creases accidentally when ironing it as it bunches up and moves around as if it was on ice. It takes me longer to iron this shirt than most of the others I have, and the results are never quite as good as I'd like.


BODUM Cool 1.5 Litre/ 51 oz Water Jug, Lime Green
BODUM Cool 1.5 Litre/ 51 oz Water Jug, Lime Green

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a handy thing for those warm summer evenings, 28 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What an interesting contraption this is! A blown glass jug with a moulded glass handle at the side and a plastic lid incorporating a pouring spout and a removable plastic coolant stick containing a measured amount of some magical liquid (I'm not sure what but it's probably just water.) The lid on mine is a fetching lime green colour, but others are available if you think red, blue or even orange would suit your home better. Or if you have a morbid fear of limes. The glass the jug is made from isn't particularly thick but if you're slightly careful with it then you should be okay.

To use, you simply unscrew the stick from the lid, put it in the freezer overnight, then take it out and re-insert it into the lid before putting the lid back on the jug. The stick extends down into the liquid in the jug, helping keep it cool for longer than it ordinarily would. Turning the lid opens a hole next to the spout for pouring, while turning it the other way closes the hole for not pouring.

It's difficult to say how long the stick keeps the drink cool for as I tend to dive in and drink as soon as the jug's out of the fridge, but I get probably a couple of hours' worth of cooling from the jug before I notice the frozen liquid inside the coolant stick becoming liquid again. However much cooling you get from it, it certainly stops the liquid from going warm anywhere near as quickly as an ordinary glass jug. The one way it could have been improved would have been with the addition of a second wall for better insulation, which Bodum have on some of their other products.

A handy tip - I find that the drink stays cooler for longer if I chill the liquid in the jug first, which I usually do while I wait for the stick to freeze. The time from cool to warm also depends on the ambient temperature so you have to make allowances for this and not expect too much of it if you're sitting out in the sun on a hot summer's day.

And when it comes time to clean up, you simply pull off the lid, detach the coolant stick and shove everything in the dishwasher. What could be easier?!


Baldessarini Ambre EDT Spray 90 ml
Baldessarini Ambre EDT Spray 90 ml
Offered by Scent Warehouse
Price: £25.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heady, flowery frangrance, 28 July 2014
Ambre is the second Baldessarini scent I've tried - the wonderful cologne being the first - and is exactly the sort of thing I'd have turned my nose up at not all that long ago. Maybe I'm just getting wiser in my old (late 30's) age, or maybe it's just that I'm now in the Baldessarini target demographic, but their fragrances appeal to me in ways they never could or would when I was in my 20's.

According to the Baldessarini website, Ambre (and I quote) "...opens with masculine notes of an oak whisky cask combined with fruity mandarin and fresh red apple. The warm heart is seductively complex, combining contrasting floral notes of violets with a hint of raw leather. The base note harmoniously and sensually round off the fragrance with oak, labdanum, and ambergris."

To be honest, I don't really get much of that, not only because I'm terrible when it comes to distinguishing scents, but also because I don't detect many of the above in Ambre. And as for labdanum and ambergris, well I wouldn't know what either one smelled like, to be honest. What I can say is that the apple is certainly there, as is the mandarin and violet, and these combine to make a wonderful floral scent with, to me, more than a hint of grapefruit.

Ambre is slightly reminiscent of Cartier's Declaration d'un Soir, but less strong, less spicy and less sickly sweet. And while the Cartier might be considered unisex, Ambre is very much a male scent that, for some reason, reminds me of a flowery, syrup / brandy concoction. Projection is pretty good but, as with the cologne, longevity is very good; I can smell this on my skin several hours after spraying it. And I don't need to use much either - unusually for me, three squirts is all I need to see me through the day / night.

Another reviewer suggested that someone considering it might want to sample it first; I didn't try it but blind-bought it and whilst doing that doesn't always pay off, it did here. Ambre, as with Baldessarini cologne, has become one of my top fragrances and I would recommend it, even if you can't try it first.


Levi's Men's 501 Original Fit Straight Jeans
Levi's Men's 501 Original Fit Straight Jeans
Price: £34.99 - £93.95

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Look good but not the best fit, 26 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's been quite some time since I last bought a pair of Levi 501s (although I do still own a pair from around 2000) so I'm perhaps looking at these through more critical eyes. Compared to my older pair, these are definitely thinner and not quite as well finished in some areas. Quality aside, they do look good, though, especially in this sub-darko colour scheme, which is a nice alternative to the lighter shades. They're also quite comfortable, and both the length and waist sizes - mine are 32 / 32 - were spot on.

But having said that, these jeans are quite a bit tighter around the thighs than my old pair - not quite to the point of discomfort, but not far off. I'm fairly slim so it's not just me getting portly in my old age, and there's no way I'd wear these all day if comfort was an absolute necessity. I ordered a pair of 501s in another colour at the same time as these and the other pair was far too tight to wear and had to be returned. This difference in sizing (perhaps down to quality control issues) makes it difficult to decide which size to buy as you just don't know if the ones you order will fit correctly or not.


Nescafé Azera Americano 100g (Pack of 6)
Nescafé Azera Americano 100g (Pack of 6)
Offered by Café Crema
Price: £29.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Turkish fineness coffee in an instant, 24 July 2014
This isn't my favourite instant coffee - that honour goes to Azera's stable-mate, Nescafe's Espresso - but it's a fairly close-run thing. They're both finely ground, they both produce a wonderful crema (Azera edging it, though), they both smell good and they both taste great. One other reviewer said that he found Azera Americano to be flavourless - I'll admit that it's not the strongest coffee going (particularly if you're a hardened coffee drinker) but it's hardly weak.

But whereas Espresso is a proper instant coffee, Azera Americano actually has something in common with yet another Nescafe coffee, Gold Blend Barista Style, in that both are made from a combination of ground and instant coffees. Unlike Barista, which is something of a `love-it-or-hate-it' drink, Azera Americano is much less divisive, which I put down to its less bitter, more rounded taste; true, not everyone will like it, but they're likely to be very much in the minority. Another way Azera Americano differs from Barista is that Azera is ground to what I think must be Turkish fineness, so you don't see the mix of coffees in it.

As I said, Espresso is my instant of choice, but I'd hardly be crying into my soup if Azera Americano was the only coffee going.


Carte Noire Espresso No 7 Aromatique 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 8)
Carte Noire Espresso No 7 Aromatique 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 8)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad aroma, good taste, great crema, 7 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No. 7 Aromatique is the second of Carte Noire's Nespresso coffees I've tried. The first - No. 5 Delicat - was a little too citrusy sharp for my tastes but No. 7 is different and a much more palatable coffee. It's slightly stronger than No. 5, less bitter, with a more intense, smoky / nutty taste; I rarely take sugar in my hot drinks but this seems the ideal drink to which to add a teaspoon of Demerara as a dash of sweetness would balance the flavour. Taken with milk, No. 7 produces a fantastic crema (although, in fairness, so does No. 5) with absolutely zero effort, although the aroma isn't quite up there with the best - it does, however, smell fantastic when you first take the pod from its wrapper.

And the wrapper is the one area that gives me guilt pangs when I drink any Carte Noire Nespresso coffee. As with No. 5, No. 7 was delivered in a cardboard box housing eight Carte Noire boxes, each containing ten plastic wrappers of individually-wrapped capsule pods. Whilst holding them in separate plastic wrappers undoubtedly keeps the flavour intact (you only have to leave one unwrapped for a few hours to sense the difference in the smell), it does seem like a monumental waste of packaging in this age of reduce / reuse / recycle.


Blanx 75ml White Shock Toothpaste
Blanx 75ml White Shock Toothpaste
Offered by Survival-32
Price: £8.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay as a toothpaste but no appreciable whitening effect, 7 July 2014
Like some (many?) of the other reviewers, I found that Blanx White Shock toothpaste had absolutely no effect whatsoever on the whitening of my teeth. I didn't buy the LED bite with it so it could be that this particular gadget would have made all the difference, but even after a month of using White Shock my teeth weren't any whiter. Granted, it does a good enough job of cleaning, but no more so than any other reputable toothpaste, and I seem to need to use more of it to get it to foam (leaving the debate on the benefits of foaming agents aside.) Given how many other good toothpastes there are on the market, I wouldn't buy White Shock again in a hurry.


Linksys WUSB6300 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless USB 3.0 Adapter
Linksys WUSB6300 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless USB 3.0 Adapter
Price: £30.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great connection, but nowhere near the quoted speeds, 18 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
WiFi dongles seem to be getting smaller all the time - I have one that's about the size of a tab of chewing gum - but Linksys plainly hates this fashion, because its WUSB6300 is pretty big by dongle standards. This not only means that it looks a bit unsightly, it also means that there's a greater possibility of it being knocked out or even broken in the USB slot. On the plus side, you won't lose it in a hurry - unless it gets knocked out or broken in the USB slot.

Setting it up with my Windows 7 PC was very straightforward, although I had to use the included setup CD to do so as the Windows online drivers service was unable to find drivers for it; this is probably the first time I've seen that happen. The CD doesn't appear to provide anything in the way of a control panel to configure the dongle, so I'm assuming that its dual-band functionality is automatic. The included paper manual is pretty much useless, consisting of just three instructions, one of which is to put the CD in your computer's CD drive.

Once you've installed the drivers from the CD, which took me all of a minute at most, the setup program lets you select and connect to your chosen WiFi network. Both of my networks - 2.4 and 5GHz - showed up so I assume that the dual-band function is turned on by default. Interestingly, a couple of my neighbours' networks that I had never seen before also showed up, so the dongle appears to have quite a good `sniffing' ability.

In use, the Linksys has been pretty much faultless from the start. I don't have a `Wireless AC' router so I've only been able to test the dongle to `Wireless N' speeds, even so it has provided a consistently solid and unwavering connection. Linksys advertises connections speeds of "Up to 867 Mbps speed* on Wireless-AC 5 GHz band or up to 300 Mbps speed* on Wireless-N 2.4 GHz band" and whilst I can't confirm the latter I can at least say that I was able to achieve a stated connection speed of 300Mbps with the dongle and router in the same room. This speed remained even when I moved my PC upstairs in my house, several layers of concrete blocks and ceilings away - very impressive.

But as anyone who knows will tell you, the stated connection speed is only half the story; much more important (and accurate) is the transfer speeds between the dongle and the router, which are the true test of a dongle's capabilities. Using the LAN Speed Test Lite program to transfer a 20MB file from my PC to my NAS drive, I was able to achieve write speeds of 51Mbps and read speeds of 84Mpbs through the Linksys. Upping the file size to 50 and then 100MB had only a small effect on the speeds and I was never able to achieve anything even close to approaching 300Mbps, even with the dongle and router feet away from each other; a little disappointing, if I'm honest.

On paper the Linksys is a good thing and in practice it works solidly and consistently. Transfer speeds aren't, in my experience, anywhere near those quoted by Linksys so I wouldn't be quick to use this to stream movies if I had other options - a HomePlug connection being one. That said, if streaming isn't overly important to you, or if you can cope with streaming at lower qualities, the signal strength and unwavering connection the Linksys provides must count for something.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2014 4:45 PM BST


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