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Reviews Written by
J. Dawson (Edinburgh, UK)

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Benenox Overnight Recharge Food Supplement, 135 ml, Lemon and Ginger
Benenox Overnight Recharge Food Supplement, 135 ml, Lemon and Ginger
Price: £10.92

3.0 out of 5 stars Benenox or honey?, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This supplement claims to give you a better night's sleep and boost your energy the following day. Just what we all need! I was sent the blackcurrant version which is usually a big no-no for me, but this doesn't really taste of blackcurrant at all to me, and it's perfectly palatable. It mostly tastes of honey, in fact. Which is no surprise as it is indeed mostly honey, along with added vitamin B6 and Sustamine. As far as I can tell, the main way this is meant to boost your energy for the next day is simply by ensuring you have a good night's sleep.

The first time I took this I actually slept through until 11am and struggled to get out of bed! To be fair, I was sleep-deprived at the time and I don't expect this was entirely down to the supplement. I've used it several times since then and although I've not had trouble getting up on subsequent occasions, I also can't say I felt any more energetic. I do believe it can aid with sleep - but for many years I have found honey to be the most effective remedy for insomnia, so this is really no surprise.

As another reviewer has said, one could just as well buy a decent honey and have a spoonful each night. It would be cheaper and if you support a local beekeeper in the process, you'll be helping to save the world! Not to mention all the other proven beneficial side effects. Personally, I'll continue to take my honey neat.


FIND Women's Seam Detail Leggings, Black, 40 (Large)
FIND Women's Seam Detail Leggings, Black, 40 (Large)
Price: £18.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing quality for the price!, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was a bit concerned whether these would fit me as I am usually around a 22-24, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that although I might ideally have chosen a larger size, they are still going to be comfortable to wear. So kudos to find for their sizing, for a start.

I personally probably wouldn't wear these for normal day wear as they have a slight sheen to them that suggests sportswear to me. But as soon as I took them out of the package (plain clear plastic) I was impressed at how heavy the fabric feels, and how well made they appear to be. They're lovely to wear too, as they really feel very quite supportive. I was even more pleasantly surprised to see the fabric is not, as I had suspected, completely synthetic but is actually 71% viscose so should be nicely breathable too - highly unusual for sportswear! The side seam detail is a nice added touch that just gives them a little more definition.

I haven't washed them yet so can't report on how they launder, but before writing the review I did have to come back and check the price. They are currently selling for £18 with free returns, and I have to say that to me, that seems like an absolute steal. Aside from buying the next size up, literally the only thing I might change about these is the shiny finish. But even then, I wouldn't hesitate to buy them at this price.


Busy B 2018 Slim Diary
Busy B 2018 Slim Diary
Price: £8.29

4.0 out of 5 stars The devil is in the detail, 19 Oct. 2017
This review is from: Busy B 2018 Slim Diary (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At a glance, this looks exactly like the sort of diaries you might find in a pound shop for, well, a pound. However, at £8.29 (at time of writing), it's got a considerably heftier price tag. The devil is in the detail, it seems, and though not everyone will be willing to make up the difference, this diary does have a number of clever features which elevate it above the basic.

It's a handy size for a bag, not to be weighty or awkward whilst still being big enough for the print to be legible. The hard cover has a smooth matte finish and a modern floral design in pastel pink and lilac which is unobtrusive to the point of being a bit dull, but certainly inoffensive enough. It's got elastic to hold it closed in your bag, and also a little loop of elastic at the side to hold a pen (not included and might have been a nice touch for the price!). It has end papers in a dark purple print followed by pages for useful information, personal details, and a year-to-view double page spread which includes four lines at the bottom of each page to make notes - an unusual and useful edition. The diary pages start from Christmas day 2017 and handily, weeks are numbered at the top of each lefthand page too. It runs right the way through to January 2019 and includes several pages at the back for your contacts. There's even an attached ribbon to mark your place. But the biggest difference, the detail one suspects the designer is most proud of, is that there is a double-sided lined page for notes in the middle of each weekly spread. A fantastic idea, and one that begs the question "Why has no one else thought of this?!". So simple, and yet it will no doubtedly make life much easier and more convenient for anyone who uses it!

Aside from the dull cover and lack of pen, I do have a couple of small quibbles. One is that the pages aren't quite as heavy as I'd like - the type shows through on the opposite side which tells me I'll need to be careful what kind of pen I use if I need to be able to read both sides of the page. The other is more of a suggestion than a quibble: the pages for notes are slightly narrower than the diary pages. At first I assumed this was because they were designed so that you could see every date in the week without turning the notes page over. However, that only works for the first half of the week - the notes page partially or fully obscures the dates of the latter half of each week. Making the font a little larger for the date and having the day underneath the number would have solved this problem, and been a nice detail that made it a tiny bit more user-friendly.

The proof is in the pudding, so I'll need to get back to you next year to tell you if I think this is worth the additional 7+ quid I'd be spending on this, but I do have a hunch it might be. I just hope the next one has a more interesting cover!


Fever Tree - The Art of Mixing: Simple long drinks & cocktails from the world's leading bars
Fever Tree - The Art of Mixing: Simple long drinks & cocktails from the world's leading bars
by Fever-Tree Limited
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars If you like pina coladas....then you probably aren't sophisticated enough for this book!, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoy a good cocktail but it only took a quick flick through of this book to see I was way out of my depth: there was not a single recipe I felt equipped to attempt. I can barely tell my Glemorangie from my Malibu, and most of my liquor cabinet came from Lidl. By contrast, these recipes call for obscure and specialist spirits: each recipe is incredibly specific about the brand of alcohol to use, and few of them will be found in your local off license. Even the mixers are upmarket: aside from the ubiquitous Fever Tree, one recipe calls for an esoteric American cranberry juice, another for cardamom bitters, and many of the recipes call for making various spiced and flavoured syrups before the cocktail is even begun.

That being said, the book is lovely. Its compact size (a little bigger than the average paperback) means it is nicely portable to wow your friends at parties, it looks very smart with its gold-embossed dust cover, and it is lavishly illustrated. It's also packed with information beyond the mere making of cocktails. As one might expect, there's plenty to learn about the founding and ethos of Fever Tree itself and lots of advice about tools and tricks of the trade, but there's also quite a lot of background about the origins of some of their favourite cocktail ingredients. It's the kind of book that may be read more than it is "cooked" from, but if someone enjoys reading it then that's no bad thing: I'm a fiend for cookery books but there are some I'd count as favourites that I have never cooked from.

This then, would be a well-loved gift for any would-be mixologist or indeed connoisseur of fine spirits, but only if they are truly passionate and/or curious about fine cocktails. Dabblers like me will probably be happier with a bottle of cheap booze!


Nanogen Thickening Heat Protecting Spray
Nanogen Thickening Heat Protecting Spray
Price: £9.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Effects vary significantly from one head to another!, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found this easy to apply and it left my hair soft and manageable. However volume was on offer and volume was what I was mostly after, and I just didn't feel like this delivered on that score. When I mentioned my disappointment to a friend, she was keen to try it herself so I let her have a go. Turns out she loved it! She felt it made a huge difference in volume for her, and also that it protected her style well even after sleeping on it. I actually felt like I could see a difference in her hair too! So Nanogen have probably gained a customer in the end, even if it wasn't me...obviously how effectively this works is an individual matter!


AmazonBasics Cat Litter Wood Pellets 30L
AmazonBasics Cat Litter Wood Pellets 30L
Price: £10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent eco-friendly, effective and economical litter, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I switched over to wood pellets when I adopted a shelter cat who had been trained on them, and I have never looked back. I prefer pellets because I find that when they are fresh, they smell actively pleasant, and as they are used they still seem to keep odour down much more than traditional litters. They also seem less messy and unpleasant to change, and I like that they are biodegradable and often created as a by-product of the lumber industry from waste.

Amazon's version is a comparable price to other versions I've bought online, though more expensive than what I pay from the nearest "big box" retailer. I think I slightly prefer Amazon's version as they seem somehow "Lighter" than others and almost as thought it dries faster? But maybe this is my imagination as I can't see why it would be the case! I also didn't notice any smell, even when kitty's box was desperately needing changed. Economically speaking, I will probably continue to buy most of my litter locally but for the times when I do need to order online, I absolutely won't hesitate to choose this!


Herbal Essences White Grapefruit and Mint Shampoo 400ml
Herbal Essences White Grapefruit and Mint Shampoo 400ml
Price: £4.50

3.0 out of 5 stars New doesn't necessarily mean improved, 19 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using another Herbal Essences volume shampoo for years so I was happy to give this version a try. It left my hair soft but I couldn't see that it added any noticeable volume. I expected the fragrance to be light and invigorating, but actually it was so subtle that it was almost non-existent. I'd have preferred a bit more scent! I also felt it took quite a bit of shampoo to build up any lather at all in the first application. It was fine, but I still prefer the Herbal Essences Volume shampoo that I've been using for years.


ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature
ReWild: The Art of Returning to Nature
by Nick Baker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, over the top, and a little bit irresponsible, 2 Oct. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Over the last few years I have been actively making more effort to connect with the natural world. So a naturalist's book of tips for fostering those connections should be an ideal read for me. Sadly, it all started to go wrong as early as page two, where Baker describes stumbling across a berry he does not recognise. It looks a bit like a raspberry but clearly isn't, yet is smells delicious. Sure enough, on the next page he pops the unidentified berry into his mouth, exhilarated by this primal experience of using his senses rather than research to recognise an edible plant. Baker has obviously spent a considerable time honing his senses to nature, so he does survive to waffle on for another couple hundred pages - but surely this is an incredibly irresponsible way to start a book? I am a relative newcomer to foraging yet already seen countless examples of ignorant people popping any old plant into their mouths before bothering to identify it. I was bemused and annoyed to see such a highly experienced naturalist writing a passage that could be seen to encourage just such irresponsible behaviour.

Beyond that, Baker encourages readers to experience using nature using all their five senses - often in far more detail than seemed necessary. The following pages include (occasionally with disclaimers) walking in the dark, close encounters with bears and badgers, licking a slug, nibbling on foraged mushrooms as a means of identification, the potential value of being naked in nature, the relative merits of various night-vision technology, and using sonograms to differentiate between birdsongs. Although the latter concept makes sense, Baker apparently fails to see the irony in spending a few pages describing these visual representations shortly after discussing (at similar length) the absurdity of trying to transcribe birdsong phonetically. He further suggests the recording equipment one might want to purchase in order to preserve birdsongs, and perhaps produce the corresponding sonograms themselves at home. I realise lots of people are passionate about birds, but is this something that significant amounts of twitchers are actually doing??

Much as I love exploring the natural world around me, I found little here that is of any real value. Baker is fond of superlatives and flowery language, and his editor seems to have taken a rather "softly, softly" approach. All in all, it means the real substance of this book could have been boiled down to a chapter or two. The rest seemed aimed rather more at the obsessive than the enthusiast.


Georg Jensen Wine Stainless Steel Wine Stopper and Wine Pourer, Set of 2
Georg Jensen Wine Stainless Steel Wine Stopper and Wine Pourer, Set of 2
Price: £70.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Iconic style combined with quality function, 5 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This set certainly looks the part - elegantly packed in a posh presentation box branded with the iconic Georg Jensen name, all mirror-like steel and sinuous, organic curves. It really is beautiful. I'm not a great wine buff but the aeration system really does seem to bring out flavours I wouldn't normally notice. The silicone ensures a really snug fit on the stopper so you can be confident that not a drop will be wasted. This set looks every penny of the £70 (at time of writing) price tag and anyone who treasures good wine and good design will take many years of pleasure from it.

That being said, the price is not trivial, and as Jensen's name is famously associated with silver, it's somewhat disappointing that this is only stainless steel. However it would make a beautiful gift for a wedding, anniversary or a special birthday and would no doubt be much appreciated by the right recipient.


Design Toscano Crucifixion of Christ Cross Wall Sculpture: Medium, Multi/Color
Design Toscano Crucifixion of Christ Cross Wall Sculpture: Medium, Multi/Color
Price: £47.18

2.0 out of 5 stars Resin crucifix for religious gardens, 5 Sept. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an odd object to try and review, as obviously much is based on the reviewer's personal taste. I love religious art but the modern stuff often falls short, as is the case here. This crucifix is made of resin and although it's quite nicely moulded, with lots of detail and subtle colouring, when it comes down to it, it's still made of plastic and there's just something inherently naff about that as far as I am concerned. In fact, I'd almost prefer it to go unashamedly down the kitschy route with brighter colours and less attempt at subtlety, but I am well aware that's my own weird taste! It is a substantial piece at around 20in and suitable for outdoor as well as indoor use - makes me wonder how it would look after a couple of years in a garden, I reckon the weathering might be nice! And if you share my proclivity for religious imagery but not my aversion to resin, this is probably right up your street.


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