Thursday 26 May 2011

REVIEW: Softlips

I received some of the new Softlips French Vanilla and Vitamin Enriched to review. This is what I thought...

I tried the French Vanilla first - the smell of it was fantastic! It made my lips very soft. I must say, however, that I was very much overwhelmed by the scent once it was on my lips - every time I breathed or swallowed, I could smell or taste it which was quite unpleasant. Although the scent/taste of it isn't horrible, it gets a bit much when it's a constant.

I tried the Vitamin Enriched one today and again, the smell was very nice, but once on it was very dominant and overwhelming.

I feel like a started on a negative point whereas so far I've neglected to mention the many good points...

Well, firstly the smell is really, really nice. It really does make your lips unbelievably soft and cared for. Not to mention, it is in a small tube, so it is very easy to carry around in your pocket or bag to use when you are out and about.

It gets to work right away - the instant you apply it, you can feel how soft your lips are and they remain that way for most of the day. It's been really quite cold here and it protected my lips very well as they weren't chapped at all. I'm hoping it'll work just as effectively if we ever get some sunshine!

They contain vitamins A, B2, C and E which all work to protect your lips come rains or shine.

Softlips French Vanilla retails at RRP £1.83 and Softlip Vitamin Enriched retails at RRP £2.03. You can find further information at

REVIEW: Yantra Mat

I was sent a Yantra Mat to review, and here is what I thought...

When I first took this out of the bag it comes in to carry it around in, my initial thoughts were 'Yikes!' as it looked really painful. To put it simply, it is a simplified bed of nails, so I just thought it was going to be extremely painful. I was pleasantly surprised...

Much to my amazement, when I braved lying on it for the first time, it was actually quite comfortable and relaxing. It's maybe the tiniest bit uncomfortable for the first few seconds, but then it's actually quite a nice, peaceful, relaxing feeling you get from lying on it. I found it very uncomfortable lying on it bare skin, however, so I always leave my top on now when using it.

It was very popular overall, my husband gave it a go and liked it, my Mum gave it a go and liked it, my 8 year old son gave it a go and liked and my 9 year old sister gave it a go and liked it too!

After lying on it for 20 minutes, you definitely feel a kind of rejuvenated feeling once you stand up.

It's very portable and lightweight which is brilliant - it comes with a carry bag, so you  can take it with you when you go away. You can use it lying down flat on the floor, or on your bed. You can lie on your back, front or even use it as a pillow. The effect is amazing though.

The Yantra Mat is covered in spiked flowers and has 8,820 contact points designed to stimulate 'acupoints' on the body through acupressure.

The Yantra Mat is priced at £39.90 and is available from Holland & Barrett, all good pharmacies and direct from Lifes2good on 0845 399 0038. You can find out more details and purchase at

Wednesday 25 May 2011

REVIEW: Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

I received a jar of Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard to review...

When I opened the jar - I thought 'yum!' as it smelt really nice and rich! Opening the jar was easy. The jar looks very fancy to me - it makes it look like it's not your standard cheap mustard - it makes it look special.

I first used the dijon mustard to make a delicious mustard mayonnaise for with salad. It was really easy to use.  The consistency of it is just right - not too thick and not too thin. The flavour was nicely strong, but not overpowering. It was really easy to use to make into mustard mayonnaise as a dressing for salad and it tasted very delicious. I also had some with just a ham and lettuce sandwich and it was equally delicious on its own. It is easy to store once opened - just pop it in the fridge.

The recipe for the Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard is over 200 years old and it has never lost its quality. It is stated that it is the only Dijon Mustard to contain white wine as part of its recipe.

Grey Poupon Mustard is available from Tesco, Waitrose and Asda stores and select independent food stores nationwide.

REVIEW: Milton Antibacterial Products

I recently received some Milton antibacterial products to review - Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes, Milton Antibacterial Fabric Solution and Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel.

Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel - Our family are regular users of hand gel anyway, so we were looking forward to trying this. When using it, I've noticed it has a very strong smell - it smells like it can kill germs, if you get my meaning? It's easy to use and it's quite small, so it fits in your bag or pocket easily to carry around when out and about. The only thing about it that I didn't like quite so much as others I have used, is that it is very runny - unlike other gels I have used that are thick gels, this one was too easy to squeeze out that bit too much onto your hands and spill some as you do it. On the other, I found that this left my hands feeling soft and cared for after use compared to others which didn't.

Milton Antibacterial Fabric Solution - If, like me, you don't normally think about it, a product like this actually gets you thinking... Normal soap powder/tablets don't get rid of the germs (bacteria/fungi) in your clothes - it simply gets them clean - and that is two different things. You add this fabric solution to your wash (in the bleach or condition compartment of your washing machine as well as your normal soap powder and fabric softener if you use it) and it actually works to kill germs on your clothes. This is quite a difficult item to review - because there are no visible results. I mean you wash clothes, you can see the soap powder has done its job and got rid of the dirt, but as you can't see the germs on your clothes, there's no way to see if after using the fabric solution, that they have gone. The fabric solution is easy to use - you add 20ml to your normal wash - you take off the lid, squeeze it and it fills it up - it's really quick and easy to use. It's strong smelling, but that smell does not transfer onto your clothes. It doesn't affect your colours in any way. You can use it any wash, including cold wash for it to be effective.

Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes - Well, for starters this is a good size pack of wipes. They clean well when wiping surfaces, so I assume they equally get rid of germs well, but as with the fabric solution, it is difficult to ascertain just how well a job it is doing, because you can't actually see the germs unlike the dirt which you can see.

Milton products can be found in the baby aisle at pharmacies and supermarkets, or you can buy online from

The Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel retails at £2.19 for 100ml, or £5.21 for 450ml.
The Milton Antibacterial Fabric Solution retails at £5.73 for 1l.
The Milton Antibacterial Surface Wipes retail at £2.29 per pack.

REVIEW: Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth Speakerphone

I was pleased to have the opportunity to review the Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth Speaker...

The Bluetooth device is lightweight and easily transportable. It has a clip which made it really easy to attach to sun visor.

Connecting your phone to the speaker with Bluetooth is extremely easy to do - as easy as connecting to any other Bluetooth device. It takes just a couple of seconds.

Receiving a phone call through it is very simple - you just tell it to answer the call (it has voice guidance) - it even tells you who is calling! This is quick and easy and does not take your attention away from driving in the slightest. It is also very easy to adjust the volume of the call and saves your attention for driving. Talking on it is just like talking to a passenger in your car.

You can also play the songs from your phone through it which was really good too. It is a very innovative product in my opinion - it definitely makes taking calls whilst driving a lot easier. It's the ultimate handsfree kit really!

The Jabra CRUISER2 Bluetooth Speaker retails at RRP £69.99 - you can find out more information at

Monday 23 May 2011

BIG Competitions

OK, these are not my competitions, but these are 3 fab competitions that I'm sure my fellow compers will really want to enter. These are so brilliant, I had to blog about them (that and I'd like some referrals to them ;):

Win £10,000 cash as well a 1 winner receiving a £200 Love2Shop voucher every day and get a £1 off a 6 pack of Seabrook's crisps too! Ends 17th July 2011.

Win a £500 Dell Inspiron laptop or an iPad 2 + £10 gift cards when you enter this competition. Ends 30th June 2011.

Win a personalised world tour to travel to 12 cities of your choice, including free flights and hotels worth £20,000, with a second prize of an iPad 2 and 10 runners up prizes of £100 to spend on iDealy deals. Ends 15th June 2011 (though it was originally meant to end on 15th April 2011, so I guess it is subject to change).

Instant win an iPad 2 with Navigator - you can enter as many times as you like each day and there are 300 up for grabs. Ends 30th November 2011.

Thursday 19 May 2011

REVIEW: Giovanni Rana Pasta Meals

I was lucky enough to receive a Giovanni Rana Tortellini meal to review...

The exact meal I received was "Tortellini filled with Prosciutto Crudo in tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes, spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings".

Looking through the packet, it looked very appetising indeed. And the description (as I've noted above) made my mouth water even more! It was very quick to cook in the microwave - a total of just 3½ minutes - it needed a stir after 2 minutes, but that was easy enough.

When I removed the lid when it was finished, the smell was gorgeous and it looked good too. The filled pasta was very nice, and the cherry tomatoes were delicious, though I wish there would have been a few more in there. It was a really nice combination of things together though - a very delicious taste and delicate flavour. The texture was just right too. All in all it was a very delicious meal. It was very full on calories however considering the size of the meal - it contained 488kcal which I'd consider a lot for a meal of that size, but then if I wasn't on a diet, I wouldn't be counting the calories, so I am probably just being superficial. I would very much like to try the other meals in the range at some point too.

The new filled pasta range comprises:

  • Tortellini filled with Prosciutto Crudo in tomato sauce (with cherry tomatoes, spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings)
  • Tortellini filled with Spinach and Ricotta in a basil sauce (with courgettes and cheese shavings)
  • Tortellini filled with Prosciutto Crudo in Alfredo sauce (with peas, smoked ham and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings)

These meals are available from Sainsbury's stores nationwide, and selected ASDA stores at RRP £2.99 each.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

REVIEW: Nakd Snack Bars

I was lucky enough to receive some Nakd snack bars to review...

I received three flavours - Berry Delight, Pecan Pie and Cocoa Orange. Because they are snack bars, I was expecting crunchy, oaty type things, but in reality, these snack bars are quite different.

The snack bars are soft, chewy and cake like and each bar provides you with 1 of your 5-a-day too as well as being gluten, wheat and dairy free - so they are suitable for almost everyone. They are fairly low calorie too at 135kcal per bar.

The Berry Delight was my favourite - it very much tasted of fruit and I really could taste the berries coming out in it. The Cocoa Orange was my second favourite - there was just the right amount of flavour - it was much like a cup of cocoa with some orange syrup in - very scrummy! My least favourite was the Pecan Pie, but I did not dislike it - I liked that a lot too, I just preferred the other two! The Pecan Pie had a lot less flavour/taste than the other two, but I was impressed that the bits in it weren't really big and crunchy.

Nakd snack bars are available to buy from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett, independent health food shops and at RRP 72p.

You can find out more information by visiting

Tuesday 17 May 2011

REVIEW: Ambrosia Snacks

I was very lucky to receive some of the new Ambrosia Custard Coated Apple Flakes and Ambrosia Custard Coated Banana Flakes to review here on my blog...

When I was offered the opportunity to review them, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect - I was maybe expecting fruit flakes in custard in a tub or something from the name of them. What they actually are, is small chunks of fruit coated in solid custard.

I'm not really a fan of dried fruit which I was expecting it to be, so I was very pleased when I realised that was not the case with these - instead being nice, soft chewy pieces of fruit which are really quite delicious. The custard tastes more like white chocolate to me, and although I'm not a big fan of white chocolate, the snacks are very delicious. My hubby says they taste very much like custard on the other hand, so he disagrees with my white chocolate opinion!

They are very filling as a snack and as I am on a diet as you all know, I was very pleased to see that a pack only contains 95 calories!

I really like these and will definitely buy them again in the future. My hubby likes them a lot and so does our 8 year old son, David. In fact, David wants to take some in his packed lunch to school he likes them so much!

Although a banana is my favourite fruit, the custard coated apple flakes were actually my favourites! Though they are both nice. They have a very nice taste and texture to them. They fit perfectly into a lunch box too and don't take up a lot of space.

The Ambrosia Custard Coated Apple Flakes and Custard Coated Banana Flakes are available at Sainsburys and Morrisons stores nationwide from £1.89 for a multipack of 5x 20g.

Monday 16 May 2011

REVIEW: RetarDEX Oral Spray

The lovely people at RetarDEX sent me a full size RetarDEX Oral Spray to review here on my blog. So here goes...

Well, the spray comes in a small and very easy to carry around container - ideal for putting in your bag or pocket.

It is for freshening your breath. I gave it a go and I liked it - I was a little worried about what the taste would be like, but it very much reminded me of a packet of mints. I went out after using it and the taste remained dominant for a couple of hours, which is really good (and definitely beats how long mints last!) and my hubby and son said my breath still smelt fresh in this time - it lasted a lot longer than expected.

It is very easy to use - a quick spray or two is all it takes. I used it again last night after eating a pile of raw red onion and it actually got rid of the smell and lingering aftertaste too!

It's alcohol and sugar free which is fantastic as they are both things that would put me off it. It does stuff you wouldn't even think about too, such as it having a secret ingredient that works to break down the bacteria and food debris that cause bad breath. It's a little miracle in a spray bottle!

I really cannot find anything negative to say about it - it far surpassed my expectations!

RetarDEX Oral Spray is RRP £3.05 and is available from Boots and selected Sainsburys, Tesco Waitrose, Booths, and all good pharmacies and dental surgeries.

For more information, visit

Sunday 15 May 2011

Public Transport Costs

Well, time for a rant methinks! This time, it's about the outrageous cost of travelling on the bus these days.

I don't know if it's the same all over the country, but ever since public transport went from being public with Merseytravel to being private with Arriva - the price of travelling has soared, sometimes as much as 3 times in 1 year!

Just yesterday, I went to the city centre with the hubby and our son - we walked there but got the bus home as it was raining heavily - 2 adult fares and 1 child fare cost £4.50 in total (2x £1.80 and 1x £0.90) - 7 bus stops, less than a mile home - it's the minimum fare for a bus ride in Liverpool - it's ridiculous! In fact, if we had got a private hire taxi home (which means you can get home straight to your door from any location, without having to wait around for ages (and when it's busy stand up for the journey), sometimes in the rain), it would have cost £3.50-4.00 - taxi's used to be more expensive than buses, but no it's the other way round and it's ridiculous! All you ever hear is that people should ditch their cars in favour of public transport - that may well help the environment, but there are no advantages other than that which I can see - they are unreliable, you get to wait around ages, spend a fortune and stand up for your whole journey sometimes - doesn't sound very good to me!

In my opinion, there is something very wrong when a taxi journey (which you could say is personalised and it takes you directly to and from your desired destination), costs less than a bus ride - £1.80 to go 1 bus stop is not a good deal!

Copyright ©2011-2012 Yvonne Brownsea

Sunday 8 May 2011

Defining Friendship

In this day and age, with social media playing a very big part in day-to-day life, I find people are very quick to still define friendship as only being someone that you personally know and have met.

I've met many people through Facebook and Twitter that I would now consider friends. I've never met them and probably never will - some of them live at the other end of the country or in another country entirely - yet I chat to them and share common interests with them - isn't that what friends are?

Most of you that know me, know that amongst other interests, one of my favoured ones is comping (entering competitions for fun). Through this, I've won a lot of prizes and met a lot of new people who share my hobby.

I have a separate account on Facebook for comping than my personal account. On my personal account, I have several "friends" that I used to know at school that I have hardly spoken to since I added them or they added me - so I put "friends" in speech marks as I have to ask - can they really be considered friends? On my comping account, I've got a lots of friends, many of them I speak to a lot more often than some of those added on my personal account - and most importantly, we share a current common interest - entering competitions - does this not qualify them for friend status?

The thing that inspired me to write this blog post, was voting competitions. I see a lot of people complaining about vote exchanges being a cheating way of gaining votes, and I disagree. A voting group is a group of people with a mutual interest/hobby - competitions. If one real person is asking for a vote - the other people are not obliged to vote and do it out of choice should they want to and you can vote on theirs if you want to. What I don't agree with about voting competitions is buying votes or those people that make numerous fake accounts. I don't see where the problem lies with a vote exchange as long as it is genuine people, who share a mutual hobby, helping each other out in a competition. Just because you are in a voting group, it doesn't, and shouldn't, invalidate you as a real person.

There is no-one in the world who is born with friends. You meet and make new friends usually through shared hobbies and interests. The same rules can be applied to comping friends. If you share an interest, why should you be called a cheat when it comes to voting competitions for voting on each others competitions? The competitions often state "ask your friends to vote" - they are no less friends just because you don't personally know them (i.e. have met).

It is often other compers who complain about it the most as well - they state they are not interested and don't enter - so why does it matter so much to them to have a go at voting comps with a vengeance? I know at the end of the day, the bigger the prize, the worse the cheat and that's not fair, so I equally would prefer no voting comps - but I don't think it is right for people to go bad-mouthing fellow compers just because they choose not to enter into it. I have my own voting group on Facebook - Competition Likes - it's a bunch of mutual friends and family, who all vote for each others competitions - where's the crime in that? We're all real people and it just saves on sending each other a lot of e-mails or posting a lot on each others walls - we're all there because we want to be and none of us have fake accounts or try to cheat - we just want to help each other out.

Copyright ©2011-2012 Yvonne Brownsea

Thursday 5 May 2011

REVIEW: Lego - It Never Fails To Entertain!

This is my toy review to apply to become a Toyologist with Toys R Us - I think it is suitable for the 'Family Fun' or 'Rainy Days' review categories as Lego is good for most occasions! In fact today was a rainy day here in Liverpool and we wanted something to do as a family!

My 8 year old son, David really, really enjoys playing with his Lego - it keeps him entertained for hours sometimes. His 31 year old Dad, Paul is equally content when he's playing with Lego! I don't mind joining in the fun, but I get annoyed when there's not enough pieces left for me because those 2 build stuff quicker than me! Today we were all playing with Lego as a family - David was off school today as his school was being used as a polling station, and as it was rainy out, Lego was his choice for us all to play together.

David doesn't have the biggest collection of Lego ever - he has a tub his Grandma bought him for a Birthday or Christmas a couple of years ago and he's enjoyed playing with it ever since. We also managed to get him a bag off a very kind freecycler whose child had grown out of it. We've also collected numerous free Lego sets out of the newspapers for David - though his collection still remains quite small - despite him not having much he makes all sorts of wonderful, imaginative creations from it.

The thing I, as a parent, like most about Lego, is that it allows my son to be as imaginative as he likes and he comes up with very zany ideas, but it really gets him thinking - sometimes he puts more thought into what the thing he has made does than the time it has actually taken him to make it - he often comes up with very futuristic ideas about the 'functionality' of his creations - so all the time he is having fun, he's keeping his brain active which is something he wouldn't get from simply watching television.

Above right, is a photo of our finished creations today. Mine is on the left - it's an important King on his throne with his minion SpongeBob SquarePants waiting to be of service alongside the red carpet which has flowers along the side and a seating area for visitors to the left. David's is in the middle - in his words, "It's a double decker bus that has boosters to make it go fast and a sun shade. It has a propeller to make it fly and it can go into water too" - that is word for word what he told me. Paul's is on the right - he says "It's some sort of super police car with a jail in it" - again word for word. We all had fun together and we spent at least a couple of hours together - which not only meant we were having fun, but also spending time together, as a family which was really nice.

Above is a video of David playing with his finished creation - he had lots of fun making it and then playing with it afterwards. He says he likes Lego because it is fun and he can make anything with it.

For anyone who does not know what Lego is - it's quite a simple idea... It's a set of bricks that stick together - anything from single pieces to large platform pieces, or - you get Lego people and trees, Lego windows and doors, Lego wheels, Lego flowers - basically, your imagination is the limit - it's very engaging for children, and I think even adults can get a little lost in play too - just because you get older, doesn't have to mean you don't get to use your imagination any more!  You can buy tubs of it or individual items - for example, David has a Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story figure that is made of Lego, and a SpongeBob SquarePants Lego set too. If you have a younger child, you can also get Lego Duplo which is just larger bricks that are less tricky and therefore more suitable for little hands - my son had some when he was younger and he loved that just as much as he likes his 'grown-up' Lego now.

As for price, there is a large variation in price - smaller sets are usually cheaper, character sets (regardless of size) tend to be a little more expensive, and obviously bigger sets are on the more expensive side - in terms of value though, whatever you buy, Lego is definitely worth the money because it provides hours and hours of fun and endless use of imagination and creativity.