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teapigs Snooze Herbal Tea
teapigs Snooze Herbal Tea
Price: £4.15

2.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying, weak flavour, 16 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a frequent consumer of herbal teas, these teapigs 'Snooze' tea bags sounded ideal for my pre-bedtime cuppa. The bags are teapigs' signature "tea temple": a transparent mesh bag which allows the contents to expand in water. The ingredients consist of 80% apple, 12% chamomile and 8% lavender flowers.

The apple pieces are little bits of diced, dried apple (like the apple rings you can buy in health stores) and they don't add any apple flavour whatsoever. I brewed the tea for at least five minutes, as specified on the label, but all I got was a weak brew with an overpowering taste of chamomile. I was disappointed that the flavour of the other ingredients didn't come through.


Natures Aid Vegan Vitamin D3/Cholecalciferol Liquid (2500 iu/62.5 ug, 50 ml, Dropper Included, Vegan Society Approved, Made in the UK)
Natures Aid Vegan Vitamin D3/Cholecalciferol Liquid (2500 iu/62.5 ug, 50 ml, Dropper Included, Vegan Society Approved, Made in the UK)
Offered by All Mall Shop
Price: £10.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Vegan-friendly Vitamin D in a dropper bottle, 13 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In 2016, Public Health England recommended that children and adults in the UK should take Vitamin Deficiency supplements in autumn and winter. Personally I prefer to take it all year round, especially considering that many of us spend a lot of time indoors and the frequent cloud cover in the UK!

Compared with most vitamin D supplements, where the vitamin is sourced from lanolin (a byproduct of wool), this supplement is extracted from lichen and is vegan.

The bottle has a small dropper which is clearly marked so you can easily dispense the daily 0.5 ml dose. It has a very subtle coconut taste if you let it linger on your tongue (coconut oil is used as the suspension for the ingredients) but it is almost tasteless. Taking it as a liquid is arguably better than tablets as it is more quickly absorbed by the body. The dose (2,500 iu) is also a high strength, higher than the tablets I was taking before.

It is very reasonable price considering that a bottle will last 100 days at the required dose. It is easy to dispense and not unpleasant to take. I would purchase this product again.


Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well
Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well
by Lola A Åkerström
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read with insights into Swedish culture and practical ideas for bringing lagom into our own lives, 10 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This lovely little book explores the Swedish concept of lagom and how it "deeply permeates the Swedish psyche". Lagom can be loosely translated as "not too much, not too little, just right", but as with many translations from other languages and cultures, it goes deeper than the literal meaning. It is a part of Swedish culture and is often reflected in traditional proverbs, many of which are included in this book. Like the Danish concept of hygge, which was popularised last year, lagom is another cultural export which claims to be the 'secret of living well'.

However, it isn't just a mindset: Swedish society supports lagom by promoting equality and fairness, e.g. through the high tax system. Rather than grumbling about high taxes, apparently it is commonly viewed as a 'stress reliever': taxes provide a safety net in the form of very good social security and people trust the state to use their tax money well. Swedes enjoy an extraordinarily high quality of life, which the author acknowledges, and this includes an emphasis on work-life balance, respecting time out, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It is an appealing small hardback book and I love the blue cover with its Nordic-style illustrations. I appreciated the design of the book: the illustration style, the colours, the paper quality and the photographs. Fittingly, it's very evocative of Sweden in its use of colours and design to create a simple, harmonious feel. The pages aren't cluttered and the photos and simple illustrations complement the text, resulting in a relaxing read.

Each chapter covers a different aspect of life (e.g. Food + Festivities, Health + Wellbeing, Work + Business, and Social Life + Play) and explores Swedish attitudes to these things. At the end of each chapter, there's a list of suggestions and ideas to try in our own lives, which gives a sense of how lagom can be practically applied. I enjoyed reading about the insights into life in another culture and also reflecting on how I can bring more lagom into my life.


AATU 85/15 Cat Food Duck 200 g
AATU 85/15 Cat Food Duck 200 g
Price: £7.48

4.0 out of 5 stars High-quality, ethically sourced food which went down a treat with my cats, 10 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My cats are very fussy about any changes in their food and turn up their noses at any food which doesn't suit their discerning palates. Feeding them brands at the lower end of the market results in dissatisfied meowing as they demand I serve up something better. However, they both tucked into this AATU food with relish.

I was pleased to see that it is made by an independently owned British company and they have been ethically awarded, so I hope that means the meat in this food has not been produced in factory farm conditions. AATU food contains none of the additives or fillers which are used to bulk out a lot of cat food. Instead, the packet states that they use "3kg of ingredients to make 1kg of finished product". This flavour consists of 85% duck (50% freshly prepared and 35% dried), with the rest of the ingredients consisting of their unique 'SUPER-8': a combination of 8 vegetables (including sweet potato, peas, carrot and tomato), 8 fruits (such as apple, cranberry, pear and mulberry), 8 herbs (including parsley, sage and thyme), and 8 botanicals and spices (such as cinnamon and aniseed).

These ingredients provide a high-protein diet designed to suit cats' requirements as obligate carnivores (they need to eat meat to survive), and the 'SUPER-8' combination helps to maintain health. Due to the high-quality ingredients, it is an expensive food but I have noticed that my cats eat less of it, probably because it is so concentrated and the protein content is high. For a 4-5kg cat, they recommend feeding 50-60g per day. However, that still works out at a very high weekly cost. I have no complaints about the food whatsoever and I do think it's worth paying extra for high-quality ethical pet food, but unfortunately my budget won't stretch to this all the time.


The Travelling Cat Chronicles
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
by Hiro Arikawa
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and heartwarming story narrated by Nana the cat, 7 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No matter how anthropomorphic it may be, I have a soft spot for books written with an animal narrator (like the The Dalai Lama's Cat series, of which The Travelling Cat Chronicles reminded me).

This book follows Satoru and his cat Nana as they go on a road trip around Japan in search of a new home for Nana. Satoru is no longer able to keep him, for reasons which become clear towards the end of the book. As their road trip progresses, we learn more about Satoru's past and Nana's narration gives us a sense of a cat with a spunky personality.

It has a gentle, heartwarming style which is evocative in its simplicity and seems very well translated from the Japanese original. I enjoyed the little line drawings which begin each chapter, and I found this book to be a very relaxing read.


Puma Women's Yogini Lux Strappy Crop Top, Black, Medium
Puma Women's Yogini Lux Strappy Crop Top, Black, Medium
Price: £20.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Supportive sports top, but unfortunately smaller than stated size, 7 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a review of the Medium (fits size 12) strappy crop top. It's great for my weekly Pilates class and also for yoga. As the description says, I don't think it would be supportive enough for high-impact exercise (cardio, aerobics etc.).

It has an elasticated back with crossed spaghetti straps for comfort and the material itself feels soft and good quality. There is a small Puma logo at the top of the cup on the left side. The material is a polyester "Dry Cell" fabric to wick away perspiration, but it doesn't feel unpleasantly synthetic. It washes well too.

However, the top comes up very small and I'd say the Medium really fits a size 10 more than a 12. Better to get the next size up on this one.


Ellia Aromatherapy Essential Oil Mix for Aroma Diffusers, 15 ml - Eucalyptus
Ellia Aromatherapy Essential Oil Mix for Aroma Diffusers, 15 ml - Eucalyptus
Offered by HoMedics Group
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Eucalyptus: pure essential oil with wonderfully restorative properties (great for colds!), 5 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
--- Review of EUCALYPTUS oil ---

The therapeutic properties of eucalyptus oil are well-known. It is a wonderfully reviving, warming scent and great for clearing the airways if you have a cold. Essential oils are very strong so you shouldn't apply directly to the skin, and as with most essential oils it isn't safe for use during pregnancy. The bottle came with copious dire warnings (incl. risk of death!) but if used properly it is perfectly safe.

There are several ways you can use this oil to get instant relief from head colds or sinus headaches: by adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of warm water and inhaling the steam; adding 10 drops to a bath; or applying a few drops to a tissue to be sniffed occasionally. I've also tried adding this to my essential oil diffuser and it gives the room a lovely, cleansed fragrance. As cold season is almost upon us (at time of writing), it's a good idea to keep a bottle of this wonderful oil in the medicine cabinet!

This is a standard size (15 ml) bottle of 100% pure eucalyptus essential oil in a dark glass bottle to protect the oil from light and avoid deterioration of the scent. It has a secure, child-proof lid. The oil seems like excellent quality and has no synthetic additives. I would be happy to purchase other essential oils from this brand.


Burt's Bees Naturally Red Lips Gift Set
Burt's Bees Naturally Red Lips Gift Set
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A versatile set with lip crayon, shimmer and balm, 3 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great little set with three lip colours and instructions on how to combine them to create two different looks. It has a lip crayon in 'Redwood', a 'Red Dahlia' tinted lip balm, and a 'Fig' lip shimmer. As with all Burt's Bees products, the ingredients are natural and ethical so they're good for your skin as well as beautifying it. The moisturising ingredients in these products, especially the lip balm, make my lips feel lovely and soft. I've used the tinted balms and lip shimmer before, but I absolutely love the lip crayon, which is similar to the Clinique 'Chubby sticks' but more reasonably priced and more ethical too.

As for the colours, they are all natural reds so they're more of a deep plum/burgundy shade than the bright pillarbox red like women used to wear in the 1940s. So I think the name of the giftset is perhaps a little misleading as you'll be disappointed if you're looking for a 'true' red. But I really like the colours: they can be toned up or down depending on the occasion and your mood, and they suit my fair complexion.

The box contains two tutorials: one for daytime and one for evening. For daytime, they recommend outlining the lips with the lip crayon, and then applying the tinted lip balm and blending outwards towards the crayon. For the evening look, the recommendation is to apply the lip crayon all over the lips, followed by the lip shimmer to create a shine.

However, you can mix and match the products as you wish, as they are very versatile. I tried applying the lip crayon all over my lips (followed by tinted balm to 'set' the crayon and create more staying power) for a daytime workwear look and it wasn't too over the top. It also lasted quite a while, even after I'd had a couple of cups of coffee. The lip balm can be used on its own to moisturise the lips and create a barely-there subtle sheen. I've also tried the lip shimmer on its own which is great for keeping in my handbag and adding a pop of colour during the day.

I'd definitely purchase the set again, and I'm excited by the news that Burt's Bees are releasing a lipstick range too.


Rapesco SP-64 6/4 mm Stapling Plier - Powder Blue
Rapesco SP-64 6/4 mm Stapling Plier - Powder Blue
Price: £8.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good-quality metal stapling plier for smaller jobs, 2 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This stapling plier is all metal, with no plastic components, and it feels like it will stand the test of time. I also love the powder blue colour, which looks great on my desk. However, I didn't realise the staples would be quite so small and so it can only be used for up to 16 sheets of paper. Loading the staples into the plier is also a little fiddly and while I haven't experienced a jam yet, it seems like it would be difficult to fix. Apart from the fiddly loading, it's great for smaller jobs and doesn't require much pressure on the handles, so it's comfortable to use.


Rapesco X5-25ps Stapler, Less Effort, 25 Sheet Capacity - Green
Rapesco X5-25ps Stapler, Less Effort, 25 Sheet Capacity - Green
Offered by AntomDirect
Price: £6.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to load and use, with less effort too!, 28 Aug. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love the bright, zingy green of this stapler. It looks great on my desk and I can use it to staple up to 25 pages with ease. The packaging claims to reduce effort by 60%. While I'm not quite sure how you'd go about assessing that, it does require a lot less pressure than other staplers I've used by the same brand. It's a small, compact stapler and I wouldn't try it with more than the stated number of sheets, but for small documents it performs admirably and I haven't had any annoying staple jams yet!


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