Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bvlgari Pour Homme

If I had to single out one fashion/design house as a personal favourite it would have to be Bvlgari. I’m yet to find a fragrance in their male range that I haven’t at some stage really fallen for and none of them get on my goat -  to be honest, at the moment it isn’t that hard to really get on my tits so having a nice refreshing series of fragrances that are guaranteed to make me smile are always a bonus.

Bvlgari (pronounced B-U-L-G-A-R-I) Pour Homme and the concentrate Extreme are must haves and I get slightly antsy if there isn’t one or the other around for me to use. I was introduced to both on my 21st birthday when in a shower of gifts two large bottles of each landed in my lap.

At the time, and oh lord I feel old saying this (a whole 14 years ago) they were new fragrances produced by the Italian fashion and design house Bvlgari. Renown more for their excellent, stylish and often lavish jewellery.

The bottle has a rather novel design and is similar in looks to the female versions of the Bvlgari range, however, rather than being flat, the bottle is quite tall standing 15cm high and the glass has a “pinched” effect at the top where the atomiser and lid meet the bottle.

Bvlgari Pour Homme

Bvlgari Pour Homme

Bvlgari Pour Homme

My bottles were gifts but when buying recently costs have varied wildly - and to be frank I would be happy paying up to £50 for a bottle. Realistically though you can expect to part with around £35.99 for 50ml.

The notes state that the Extreme version of Pour Homme has been created to last longer on skin, being the concentrated version. Freshness, simplicity and pureness are all characteristics and the ingredients should combine to create hints of Darjeeling tea mixed with spices and precious musks to give an overall invigorating fragrances that gives an overall sense of well being. Sounds interesting but hey you’d expect that from a group of marketing gurus coming up with the blurb.

After shaving in a morning I remove the lid and use three tiny sprays from the atomiser. The actual results from only three sprays is wonderful, filling the bathroom with a gorgeous aroma. My first impressions were of a light, citrus fragrance similar to CK1 although I was positive I could pick out hints of lemon and lavender. Another interesting point of note was that when applying after shaving it didn’t burn at all, and like my earlier post about Joop this is a massive bonus! There is nothing worse than a sore or red face as you leave the house in a morning.

As soon as the fragrance is applied it begins to alter immediately, becoming lighter and less noticeable to me. The smell continues to become lighter but much spicier on the nose. At no time do I ever become overwhelmed by the actual fragrance. It is so delicate after only a short while in the past I would forget I was wearing it and spray on more - cue comments from staff at work on me smelling extra sweet.

After 5-10 minute the fragrance is completely unnoticeable.  In the interests of research I have asked a few people at work what they think to this over the years - girlfriends and the wife love it, colleagues compliment me on it and I am yet to experience the dreading calls of “eurgh what the hell are you wearing”.

Even though I couldn’t smell it, those around me could and they all loved it.

Three tiny sprays of Pour Homme or one/two of Extreme cover me in a light citrus fragrance that became spicy with only the mildest of woody undertones for in excess of 10 hours. Now that is a result.

As this is a personal favourite of mine I wear it all the time, but would highly recommend it for those special occasions, big nights out and formal wear. This is a fragrance that will get you noticed for all the right reasons. Not only do these fragrances have  a lovely long lasting smell, it’s not too hard on the wallet and the actual bottle will last for well over 4/5 months making it much better value than poorer relations  in the fragrance market.


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IBP home blood pressure monitor

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood within the arteries, and is measured usually by a General Practitioner. The results are given as two numbers, the systolic pressure (the pressure on the arteries when the heart contracts) and the diastolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart rest in between each beat).

A reading over 140/90 is consider to be elevated and 'mild' high blood pressure, a reading over 160/100 is classed as Hypertension. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease, strokes and other serious conditions that will ultimately do increased life expectancy no good at all and is known as the silent killer.

Since the age of 18 I have suffered with high blood pressure, truth be told, I actually now suffer from Hypertension which is stupidly high blood pressure where there is a high risk of continued damage to my heart and a significantly high risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Medication has been part of my life to try and control this but following a move from Manchester and London I took a break from taking it until a routine visit to the doctors 4 years ago revealed that my blood pressure was 185/110 - not good!

I was immediately put onto a course of medication of Ramipril (the side effects of which were truly unbearable) that ultimately did bring it down but I continued to develop headaches on a daily basis, an awful TB like dry cough and became incredibly fatigued. More recent visits have shown readings of 196/115 and 185/120. The elevated readings can be put down in part to my absolute fear of doctors, hospitals and the fact that my GP has medieval views of medicine that include blood letting at every opportunity (blood tests). 

To combat 'dodgy' readings I decided to buy my own monitor from Boots to keep at home leading onto the IBP home blood pressure monitor (IBP HL 888 JF the actual make and model) – a snip at £29.99 in my opinion. Small and compact, the monitor takes batteries and is pretty much fool proof. I’m no wizard with technology but the operation couldn’t be easier and the screen and reading self-explanatory. 

As with a blood pressure machine at the doctors, the readings are taken after a cuff is strapped around the upper arm and inflated automatically by the machine until a pulse is detected and blood pressure is picked up within the artery in the arm. A diagram on the cuff makes the process of strapping it on very straightforward and easy to do. As the cuff inflates the sensation is very strange and it does tighten to an extent that it feels as though the blood is being cut off to the lower arm and the feeling of a strong pulse in the arm is a tad freaky!

The cuff is plugged into a large LCD screen that records the blood pressure as the cuff inflates and slowly deflates. At the same time a little heart flashes on the screen in time with your pulse. As the cuff finally deflates the actual blood pressure reading is displayed on the monitor. The LCD screen is 12cm by 10cm and gives the date, time, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure and pulse. On the front of the screen are two large buttons, one to start and stop the inflation process and a memory button that allows up to 30 readings for up to 3 users to be stored over a period of time.

I have owned the machine for around 3 years now and it just keeps on going – great value for money, it gives readings that are accurate giving peace of mind. I’m incredibly pleased with the IBP monitor - it has taken on something of novelty value with friends and family (who think it's funny how high my readings go), but in short, it gives me peace of mind and will as I start to make further adjustments to my lifestyle (cutting down on the filthy cigarettes and alcohol) the machine should in theory allow me to record the actual benefits, making the suffering that little bit more bearable!

It’s worth noting that as around 50% of over 65's and 25% of those in middle age suffer from high blood pressure the chances are that you could be at risk without actually knowing and therefore this is an essential piece of kit for any home.

Do you have a machine like this at home?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Joop Homme Eau de Toilette

If I told you there was an aftershave that would guarantee women and men falling over themselves to get near you, you would probably think I was mad. Well, yes, I am mad, but I can honestly say that Joop Homme Eau de Toilette is this aftershave.

Joop has been around since 1989 and I’ve been wearing it on and off since I was 18. Despite having feminine colouring, the warm warm purple and crimson colour I now find quite appealing. Instead of being a rather boring liquid it's purple/warm pink in colour and adds both a touch of warmth and cheeky style to any bathroom cabinet. It just oozes cool in my opinion – an opinion that has become wiser as the years roll by.

The notes to Joop make for surprising reading. Not only does it contain extracts of tobacco, spices and fruits, it claims to have a long lasting fruity smell that will leave a warm woody fragrance.

So, what is it actually like?
Don’t be put off by first impressions – I found that after removing the lid I was greeted with a sickly sweet smell. There were no hints of tobacco or spices, but the smell was very fruity, too fruity. The smell from the bottle was very strong, bear in mind I have the spray!

I applied the aftershave as directed by the notes. The first thing that is evident once applied to skin is that the smell doesn't change immediately. This is an extremely sweet fragrance that fills the nose of the wearer and those around that the time of application. Once again, no hints of tobacco or spices could be smelt. Unlike most other aftershaves Joop doesn't sting that much after you have actually shaved, this is because it contains less alcohol than most other aftershaves. The reduction in alcohol content means that Joop is better for your skin than other more potent rivals.

After the Joop had been on for around half an hour the smell begins to change, instead of being sweet, it became heavy and a more refined fruity smell with just a touch of nutmeg. I have to say this is the one of best smelling aftershave I've ever had the pleasure of owning. In fact, I can only think of two others that I would chose over it – Bvlgari Extreme, and Bvlgari Man.

Once the smell has changed personally I find that the longer it has been on the less I can smell it. However this doesn't mean that the smell has gone. Oh no, it simply means in my opinion that this fragrance is suited to your skin type and the smell is still noticeable to those around you. You'll be able to tell this from the compliments.

Joop is the kind of aftershave that will get you noticed when out and about. It smells wonderful, is long lasting and only a tiny amount is required making an actual bottle of it last an absolute age.

Suitable for days at work, an evening in the pub or for a special romantic moment, this makes a perfect gift for any man who likes his fragrances to be fruitier than normal.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fishshape Hair!

As a first foray into the world of product blogging I was handed a small pot of Fishshape texturising cream to test and give my feedback on. There is a picture of me to the right-hand side of this article giving an idea of the length of my hair, but needless to say over the years I’ve tried a number of gels, creams, clays, putties and waxes all with varying results.

In all honesty I hadn’t heard of Fish or any of their products and looking at the way it’s packaged it probably wouldn’t be something that would catch my eye or make me pick it up as an impulse buy. That is why I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the way in which it came into my possession and the results of using the product.

The product blurb as you would imagine plays up the benefits of using the product – it’s the ultimate texturiser by all accounts. Not shy with their claims then! Described as more subtle than wax, it is designed for short to medium length hair and can be used on dry or towel dried hair. I’ve been using the cream since just after having my hair cut down to around an inch in length and up to now while it’s three to four inches in length.

Fishshape Hair!

Fishshape Hair!

Fishshape Hair!

When using the cream they say only a pea sized amount is needed. I beg to differ! Enough to cover the entire tip of my finger (and I have big hands) is needed to shape and sculpt properly, especially when applying to completely dry hair. The texture of the cream is on a par with most moisturisers and is very easy to spread across your palm and apply evenly. It does leave some residue, but that’s to be expected.

It smells lovely, a rich clean and fresh fragrance – there are no chemical aromas coming from your head or hands.

Styling is a breeze – the cream clings to the shaft of the hair and allows for spiking and sculpting that is really easy. However, as my hair has grown in length I have struggled to style it and maintain upright spikes in my hair, even when twisting them. This is down in part to the fact that the hold weakens quite substantially as hair gets heavier. It’s no ultra-firm gel though so this can be forgiven especially as those annoying white flakes that comes an hour or so after applying alternatives such as styling mousse, gel or wax.

This product won’t have you brushing flakes off your shoulders as though you are suffering from a severe bout of dandruff and will give you the confidence and reassurance of a long lasting hold.

I would recommend for use if your hair is shorter than two inches in length. The cream will keep your style, won’t leave your hair looking greasy and those pesky flakes are a thing of the past.

Try it - I think you’ll like it and it is available from Boots retailing at around £6
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