Student Survival Kit Review

Amphora Aromatics Student Survival Kit Review

For those that don’t already know I’m currently finishing off a Masters in Information and Library Studies. The appearance and subsequent diagnosis of my ME (you can read all about that over here) threw some of my plans into chaos but thanks to a supportive department and understanding supervisor I was allowed to go on medical leave. But before all that I’d also graduated with two undergraduate degrees; one in Art History from the University of Leeds and one in English Literature from the University of Glasgow. So when an opportunity came about to the check out Amphora Aromatics’ Student Survival Kit I signed up straight away, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my studies it’s that it’s super important to remember to look after yourself. And that is exactly what Amphora Aromatics had in mind when they created this survival kit.

 

Student Survival Kit Introduction

The Kit

The kit features some great products that utilise aromatherapy to provide relief and comfort for students in all walks of life. Whether you’re a Fresher just starting out, a student in the middle of their course or a Masters/PhD student there is something for everyone. The products also cover a range of needs; there’s some great beauty items from AA Skincare for skin, lips and hair care, face marks by Ooh-arr, a foot lotion by Amphora Aromatics and their specially developed focus Aromatherapy Blend.

What attracted me to this kit was that Amphora Aromatics  have covered all the bases and put together an assemble of products that I would have picked myself. I’m a big fan of aromatherapy products as I’ve mentioned before and I really appreciate that they combined their knowledge of aromatherapy with the realities of student life when creating their student survival kit. While it’s great to have some excellent face care products to pamper yourself with for a self-care session, it’s even better when you’re getting the healing and soothing effects of aromatherapy to boost you too! I’ll be talking more about this in my review of AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Face Lotion below.

As every student knows it’s not always easy to splash out on products to pamper yourself, especially when you’ve got x amount of expensive textbooks to buy. All the prices in the student survival kit are reasonable and the slightly more pricey items, such as AA Skincare’s Natural Shampoo Bars and the FOCUS aromatherapy blend is something that will last for a long period of time. Prices start at £1.20 for the Ooh-arr facemasks, with most products ranging between £3.40 – £.5.60.

 

Amphora Aromatics - My Student Survival Kit

My Student Survival Kit

I was given the chance to choose three products to create my own student survival kit and then provide an honest review of them. So before I get into the review of each product I wanted to explain why these three products beat off the other contenders to make it into my personal survival kit!

First up is Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion which made it onto this list because sore feet is a part of any students life. I’ve not met a campus yet that hasn’t been huge, and I know from experience how often students have to trek from one side of the campus to the other – usually in a tiny 5 minute window! Throw in the cold weather as we head into winter and it’s a horrible combination for our bodies, especially our poor feet. I’m a big fan of foot lotions especially those that are made from peppermint so this was a must for my own kit.

Next up is AA Skincare’s Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion because as I said it’s important to remember to take time out to give yourself some self-care. This lotion can be used as a cleanser as part of your daily routine so if you’re super busy and don’t have time for a full on pamper session you can still actively be looking after yourself and your skin. It was the two key ingredients, lavender and tea tree, that drew me to this product and ultimately got it a spot in my kit. Lavender isn’t just great for your skin; it’s great for your well being. It’s great for stress – which lets be honest is something ALL students will suffer from at some point during their studies – due to it’s calming and sedative products. So you’re not just helping to soothe your skin, you’re also giving yourself a calming boost at the same time! I talk more about how I noticed this while using the product in my review below. Tea Tree is fabulous in skin care due to it’s natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, so popping that in a moisturiser alongside lavender was a win-win for me.

The final product in my kit Amphora Aromatics’ FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend, and if you’ve been keeping up with my blog you’ll know I suffer from ME. Since hearing about Focus blends I’ve been wanting to try one to see if it could help me focus when struggling with fatigue and brain fog. However, this is something that can benefit all students. If you’re having a long day with back to back lectures, or you’re stuck in a room that is too hot and stuffy, it’s really easy to start to lose focus. Early morning lectures, especially if you’ve been out the night before, can be a nightmare too. Blends like this are great for popping in your bag or spotting on a tissue to keep in a pocket. It’s also designed to be used in a oil diffuser or burner so after a long day of classes you can get back home, pop it in and feel able to focus on that mountain load of coursework waiting for you.

Now that you know why I picked these three items, it’s time to find out how they shaped up!

The Products

Amphora Aromatics - Fresh Feet Lotion

Fresh Feet Lotion

Due to my hypermobility I’ve always suffered from sore feet and being a student didn’t help with this at all. Hurrying across campus, often struggling through crowded hallways and in wet and cold weather; yep student get definitely need some TLC! And lets be honest; until it gets to the summer and we whip out the sandals we won’t really give them much love. Peppermint and Tea Tree are an ideal combination for a foot lotion because not only do they help keep your feet feeling and smelly fresh, but tea tree has lots of natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities too.

After a long day the idea of giving your feet a thorough pamper or a pedicure is not at the top of any student’s list. A lotion like Amphora Aromatics’ Fresh Feet Lotion is something that you can rub into your feet within minutes, or use as part of a longer massage to really work out those aches and pains. The fact that it’s so easy to use, and not messy means that you can use it on the go too. If you know you’re going to have a long day at Uni, followed by a shift at work or a night out then pop this beauty in your bag. No one’s going to know if you whip it out in the toilets and rub some on your feet!

The light weight lotion spreads really easily and absorbs quickly not leaving a sticky residue behind like some foot lotions, and also not leaving you with excess cream to spread. It does smell strongly of peppermint but no more so than any other peppermint product out there – pocket mints smell stronger as an example. It is a foot lotion after all so you don’t want something with a weak scent. I found that it doesn’t take much to use as it spreads so well so the 100ml bottle will keep you going for ages! And finally; does it work? Yep! I recommend putting it on overnight (and wear socks to lock in the goodness) and you’ll wake up with feet that feel nurtured, soft and refreshed.

 

AA Skincare Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

Lavender & Tea Tree Moisturising Lotion

I have been eyeing up the AA Skincare range for a while, and have heard great things about so many of their products so I wasn’t surprised to find that I liked this product. I was surprised, however, to find just how much I needed it. I thought I had most of my skin care routine sorted out and this product came along and proved just how wrong I was!

It’s described as being “perfect for balancing acne prone skin” in the Student Survival Kit and while I don’t have terrible acne I would definitely describe my skin as acne prone. I’m now in my 30s and I still have trouble with it. I’ve made great progress in recent years after discovering Garnier’s PureActive and SkinActive ranges, but it’s still not perfectly under control. Well, after a month of using this lovely product I can say for certain that it definitely does balance your skin.My skin felt more hydrated and refreshed, and generally it felt like a balance in my skins levels had been reached. It really did feel like I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle for my skin routine. It kept my skin free from blemishes, and any that did pop up due to hormones were soothed away thanks to the wonderful combination of tea tree and lavender.

The added bonus with this product is that it smells very strongly of lavender – and before you think, oh no, give me a moment to elaborate. Strong smells, especially lavender, can be a big turn off and I hear you on that one. When I first got a whiff of this moisturiser I did think it was pretty strong and wondered whether it was going to be too strong. What I found was that it disperses as you use it and ends up becoming a pleasant lingering scent instead. My fiancé normally notices when a product has a strong smell and when questioned he had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. So don’t worry you won’t be walking around smelling like you’ve dunked yourself in lavender! 😉 You will, however, be benefiting from the therapeutic qualities of lavender. I like to use this product before bed so that the lavender helps to calm and soothe my skin and my mind, preparing me for a nights rest.

 

Amphora Aromatics - FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

FOCUS Aromatherapy Blend

You might be wondering what exactly is an aromatherapy blend, and why is it worth investing £7.50 in a tiny bottle of 10ml? That’s a pretty steep price, or so it seems, especially for a student. Aromatherapy blends like the FOCUS blend by Amphora Aromatics isn’t just a bunch of oils thrown into a pot. Made from pure essential oils, Amphora Aromatics’ blends are specially formulated to produce a mix of oils that work in harmony to help boost your mood or well-being. They have a whole range, but this one is specifically designed to help stimulate and clear your mind, enabling you to feel refreshed and be able to focus more.

The instructions on the product itself says for use in a diffuser or oil burner; I did not test the product in either of these for two reasons. As I am asthmatic I have to be careful when burning oils, especially those with a strong scent and that is why I didn’t try this in my diffuser either. While I was very happy with this product and it’s effects (read on) it does have a very strong smell due to the main ingredient; cloves. I have a pretty sensitive nose; I can visit candle shops and Lush without any problems, where as my mum who has an incredible sense of smell cannot even walk past them. So hopefully that can give you an idea of scale for strength of smell.

I did still use the blend though and found other ways to use it that worked for me! For example, I found it useful to spot some on a tissue and smell that, and I also used it during steaming sessions to clear my sinuses and found that it worked fantastically for that. After steaming I felt much more refreshed and focused than I would have done using a vapour rub, while also benefiting from clearing my sinuses as the blend also contains Eucalyptus (one of the main ingredients in vapour rubs!).

After using the oil I definitely felt a difference in how I felt. It helped to clear my head, almost feeling like someone had run through my mind and giving it a shower. The cobwebs were gone, the fuzziness and the fatigue that coated my thoughts had been brushed away and I could focus again! I really do recommend trying this blend if you find you are having trouble concentrating in classes, or exams. If you have ME like me, or another condition that causes fatigue or brain fog then this may also benefit you. As with all aromatherapy oils be aware of the ingredients and check that they’re safe for you to use. As this blend is made of pure essential oils it isn’t safe to use directly on skin, but you can easily dilute it with a base cream or base oil. You can out the full range of base products available at Amphora Aromatics right here.

Conclusion

Everything I tested in this review would be a fantastic part of any Student Survival Kit. They are just the right mixture of practicality and pampering mixed with all the goodness that aromatherapy has to offer. What I particularly liked about these three products was that none of them meant taking extra time out of my day to add some self care and aromatherapy into my routine. They are all items that are quick and easy to use, and also so easily portable; you can pop them in your bag and use them on campus if you need to. The whole kit listed by Amphora Aromatics fits that bill actually, and is also a great starting place for anyone who has never tried aromatherapy products.

Over to You

Although this review was aimed at students, I think that most of this was applicable to anyone and I hope that even if you’re not a student that you got something from it! For the students among you don’t forget to also check out my student advice section. It’s my way of passing on my knowledge and experience to the next generation of students. If you have any questions about student life then feel free to get in touch 🙂

Do you have a student survival kit? Or if you were a student what would be in your kit?

Personally I think everyone could do with a survival kit for those long days; how do you cope with long/bad days?

Have you tried aromatherapy before? Do you use oils and blends or do you prefer to use products like AA skincare which contain aromatherapy oils?

Let me know in the comments! And if you have any questions about anything in this review please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

Review: CareCo Exercise Band

Review - Exercise Band by CareCo: the discount mobility experts

RewviI was diagnosed with hypermobility at the age of 14 after multiple ankle injuries which culminated in the tearing of all the ligaments in one ankle. Not pretty right? So when the opportunity came around to review some products from CareCo the discount mobility experts I grabbed the chance to review their exercise band. Exercise bands like this were a core part of the many years of intense physio I had that focused on stabilising my ankles. Although I used them primarily for working with my ankles back then,  exercise bands have a variety of uses for such a simple and inexpensive product.

 

Careco Exercise Band in Pouch

First Impressions

I was really impressed with the neat little pouch that the band came in. It’s exactly as advertised on the site, however, anyone who’s ever done physio will know that you don’t get handed one so neatly packaged. In the past if I’ve been given one by a physiotherapist they have quite literally gone to a massive role that they have and cut a length off of it. So just having that little bit of extra effort made in the presentation and also having somewhere to put the band between exercises makes a big difference to me.

CareCo 4 Week exercise resistance plan booklet

 

The band also comes with a 4 week resistance exercise plan booklet which is fantastic! The contents include the four weeks plan as well as exercise tips, dieting tips, mental fitness and further advice. I really appreciate that Careco have included mental fitness in the booklet and it has some great – and more importantly useful – advice in that respect. The diet page is brief and useful, not at all lecturing or guilt tripping.

 

CareCo Exercise Resistance Plan Week One

 

In regards to the exercises each week tackles a separate area of the body; week one is upper body, week two is legs, week three is abdominal (chest and back) and week four is legs and triceps. You have the option of doing the plan as it is set out or using the booklet as a guide for what area of your body you need to focus on. For someone with a condition like mine, hypermobility/hypermobile EDS, it could be wrists one day and legs the next so I can quite easily flip through the guide and select an exercise that pertains for that area of the body. And there are several options to choose from as well.

 

Careco Exercise Band for Resistance Exercises

Exercise Band

The band itself is pretty much a standard exercise band made of the same stretchy rubber material as all the bands I have previously encountered. Exercise bands can come in different strengths depending on the needs of the patient, and the CareCo band does not seem to come with any strength details. The specification segment of the product page is empty so no luck there. When testing the strength for myself I found that it had quite a high resistance strength so this may not be the best product for someone with weak joints or muscles.

 

Numbers on the CareCo Exercise Band for hand positions

What I did like about the exercise band is that it is numbered; each number pertains hand places for the exercises outlined in the guide book. This is a really useful feature that helps the users become accustomed to using the band and grow comfortable and confident in doing so. It also ensures that they use the band correctly reducing the risk of injuring by over stretching their muscles.

 

The CareCo exercise band fits easily back into the pouch with plenty of room to spare!

 

One last thing I wanted to check was whether the handy pouch was actually as useful as it seemed – and yes it is! Sometimes when you get an accompanying bag for an item, especially one that can be messy to put back in like a rubber exercise band, the bag isn’t as up to the job as it first appears. But as you can see I had absolutely no problem popping it back into the pouch. The band folded up easily and there was plenty of room left in the pouch for a time if I wasn’t able to fold it neatly (which is an issue if my fingers are sore) and I needed to just jam it in.

 

Resistance Strength Rating of the CareCo Exercise Band

Conclusion

Overall it’s a good product for £11.99 (inc. VAT) and CareCo have put a lot of time and effort into the supporting material to ensure that users have the information they need to get started straight away. This makes the product a great all rounder for a variety of customers; whether you’re just starting out with fitness, have been recommended resistance exercises by a physiotherapist or you’re a fitness fanatic this exercise band has something for everyone.

My only reservation about the product is that it does not come with a resistance strength rating and I do feel that this is an oversight by CareCo. I gave it a few strong tugs to test the resistance for the purpose of this review, and the day after my wrist was still tender. It would be remiss of me not to mention that this band might be too strong for, or at least requires careful use for those with weak joints/muscles and who run the risk of hyper-extension or dislocation. It can still be used provided you are aware of the strength and take that into consideration when using this product for exercises.

 

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed this review and found it useful! Don’t forget to check out CareCo’s website they have a great range of mobility products at good prices compared to other places. They also offer a price comparison service so if you find it cheaper else where they will match it!

Have you used an exercise band before?

Are you familiar with CareCo?

What are some of your favourite mobility or health aids?

Let me know in the comments! If you have any questions about this product please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

Aromatherapy Sprays by The Divine Hag [Review]

The Divine Hag - Aromatherapy Sprays Review

There are those moments in life that happen when you least expect them and this review opportunity was certainly one of those! I was on the train home from London and struck up conversation with one of my fellow passengers. When a young man came on stinking of cannabis and thus, filling the cabin with the smell, she whipped out this spray and within seconds the smell was gone. I was in absolute awe. I’m asthmatic and I’m also allergic to cigarette smoke (and any recreational drugs smoked cause a reaction in me too) so the rest of my journey and evening could have become very unpleasant as a result of this one random stranger.  We started talking and I mentioned my blog, and Margaret was kind enough to offer me that particular aromatherapy spray there and then, with a promise to send me some products to review. ((Polaroid stock used in banner is from danielle-lee.))

 

The Divine Hag - Aromatherapy Oils & Sprays

Described as an “aromatherapy lifestyle concept”, the company’s creation is steeped in paganism (something that appealed to me spiritually as a pagan) and is heavily influenced by the aspects of the Celtic triple goddess.

We are a woman focussed company, creating scents for women at every stage of life.

As anyone with asthma and allergies knows it is imperative to find products that help solve the problem without causing more problems. It’s a difficult task and one that Margaret set out to do when she created The Divine Hag. As someone with chronic health conditions herself and a strong sense of smell, she’s well aware that chemical smells can cause a strong reaction and even pain for people with certain conditions. With that in mind she set about creating products that provide optimal relief through a layering of dilutions that are suitable for everyone. All of The Divine Hag products are therefore organic and hypoallergenic.

 

The Divine Hag - The three products being reviewed

The Products

Along with the original spray she sent me, Margaret sent me three other samples to review. I will only be reviewing two of them and the original room spray, however, as the third sample was the Period Ease Spray which I want to test it a bit more before offering a review.

In this review I am going to be reviewing the following products:

 

The Divine Hag - Clearing & Re-energising Spray

Clearing and Re-Energising Spray

Ingredients: clary sage, cypress, lemon, citronella, rosemary.

To say I fell in love with this spray is an understatement. This is the one that Margaret whipped out on the train and has been my constant companion ever since – it goes everywhere with me. It’s been my absolute life line this summer with the heatwaves as it’s been way too hot to cook with the kitchen window closed, but our neighbours smoke so it always floods our kitchen with the smell. Thankfully I could just spray a few bursts of the re-energising spray and hey presto, smoke-be-gone!

It wasn’t actually originally designed for this, mind you, although Margaret has been super happy to find out that it’s got another amazing use (and of course, I’m extremely happy it does too!). The spray, as the name suggests, is blended from organic essential oils known for their positive properties. When sprayed they weave together to not just boost your mood, but also clear your head – something that we all need in this busy world. The result is an uplifting, clean and positive space for you to move forward with whatever you need to do. It comes in multiple sizes so you can pop a little one in your bag and take it with you to work, so when things get a bit overwhelming you can just spritz it.

The scent is also not designed to be overwhelming either – my fiancé, Chris, is quite sensitive to strong scents and he is happy for me to spray this around. It’s very light and airy, with a very slight citrus under tone that gives it that burst of energy.

It isn’t just amazing for cigarette smoke either. I’ve been testing it on pretty much any strong smell that causes me irritation – or annoyance – and it’s been great. It really does help to disperse it and unlike most air fresheners it doesn’t leave anything hanging in the air, it literally does what it’s name for; it re-energises and clears the room. So far I have tested it on; bonfire smoke, cat urine and cat poop. If you have cats you will know how strong the smell of cat urine is and nothing, and I mean nothing, ever gets rid of that smell. So I am really happy to have found something that helps disperse that AND smoke in one bottle! I will definitely be buying a new one of these when this one is finished!

 

 

The Divine Hag - Blissful Sleep Spray

 

Bliss Sleep Spray

Ingredients: geranium, roman chamomile, rose, lavender, rosemary and ylang ylang.

I’m fortunate not to struggle with sleep that often, however, Chris suffers from chronic insomnia so we have tried a lot of sleep sprays out to try to help him. I also like to use them because sometimes when I go to bed I find that the events of the day, or the lack of productivity, catches up with me and hits me full force right before bed. Sleep sprays are naturally designed to ease your mind and relax you so they help me drift into sleep.

Most sleep sprays are chock full of lavender but as Margaret explains here that’s not a good thing as it can result in you waking up groggy or with a headache. Many people are also quite sensitive to lavender too, so The Divine Hag Bliss Sleep Spray only has a touch of lavender in it, letting the other wonderful oils do the rest of the work to relieve anxiety and help ease you into a relaxing sleep.

I certainly found that it did the trick, and I didn’t feel as groggy in the morning. As I have rhinitis as well as asthma I can get groggy quite easily, so it was a relief to not feel like that in the morning. The spray can be as strong as you want it to be depending on how much you choose to layer it, or how you use it. I prefer to spray it directly onto a pillow, whereas, other people may benefit more from having it on a tissue placed inside a pillow.

 

 

The Divine Hag - Anti-Nausea Spray

Anti-Nausea Spray

Ingredients: peppermint, grapefruit, sage, lime, and ginger.

Nausea is to put it bluntly a right pest, especially if you have a strong nose. Even the tiniest hint of a smell can set your stomach heaving so I’m always a bit unsure of any anti-nausea scents. I always find that some of them are unbearable, filled with rich scents that are far too strong when your stomach is rolling around. Like the other Divine Hag products much care has been taken to ensure that this spray doesn’t do that and uses distinctive ingredients that you may recognise from various travel sickness home remedies. There’s peppermint which I recognise from IBS and upset stomach remedies as it’s well known for settling tummies, as well as ginger, another ingredient common in many home remedies. By mixing these with the uplifting scents of lime, sage and grapefruit Margaret has created a light and airy spray that I didn’t bog me down. This was especially important for me because my nausea always accompanies my migraines so anything too strong will just make my head feel very stuffy.

I do have to admit that out of the three products this was my least favourite. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t work; I think it is probably because I’m not a huge fan of peppermint and I can smell it quite strongly in this spray. It doesn’t overpower everything else, I’m just one of those people who just doesn’t get on well with it. The lime in the spray balances off the menthol smell of the peppermint nicely, taking off the sharp edge so if you’re not keen on peppermint like me it does make it usable – unlike other products that contain peppermint and all you can smell is the peppermint!

I can certainly see this being a product much more useful for someone with nausea caused by anxiety or travel sickness. I do tend to experience it with anxiety, however, did not have any such moments during the testing period. When I breathe in the spray I feel the sense of calm relief that I associate with treatments for travel sickness that I had when I was a child. I used to suffer from terrible car sickness as a child and we tried everything, eventually I grew out of it (thankfully), but I do remember that cool sense of relief as it flooded my body and my stomach settled. This spray gives me that same feeling, so if you suffer from travel sickness I would suggest picking up a sample to try – and based on the amazing quality and results of the other products I’d vouch for it working!

 

Conclusion

Aromatherapy is one of those things that has become trendy in recent years and almost everyone has become a dabbler; The Divine Hag is not one of those. Margaret is a connoisseur and as she puts it on her website she has chosen to put her super sensory nose to good use. The result is a variety of products that also include sprays for menopause, babies and studying/concentration (something I might check out for my focus issues due to fatigue!).  The Divine Hag also runs a series of workshops in London and Glasgow for a range of aromatherapy topics so if your interested in learning more about creating something for yourself you can do that too!

 

Over to You!

I really hope you have found this review useful. I had quite a few people ask me about the Clearing and Re-Energising Spray when I posted about it on instagram so I hope that this is useful to a few more of you. A lot of people struggle with unwanted smells and finding a calm space, so it’s a great addition to any home for a multiple of reasons. If you have any questions about that or any of the other sprays featured in this review please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

Have you ever used aromatherapy?

What is your favourite scent?

If you’ve never used aromatherapy has this review tempted you to try something?

Review: Engraved ID Bracelet from Butler & Grace

Product Review - Engraved Medical Alert Bracelet from Butler & Grace

When the opportunity came up to review an ID bracelet from a fashionable range I grabbed the chance. My fiance Chris was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called Brugada Syndrome by random chance when he was admitted to hospital for gall stones. If the doctor hadn’t checked his ECG on a whim we would have been none the wiser, and since it’s a very serious genetic condition we are both very grateful that he did! It’s meant a lot of changes to our lives, and a bunch of new worries, especially for me when I see Chris go out and about without me. I’m very much the mother hen type 😛 I’m a worrier. And while we were given this lovely handy ‘I have Brugada’ NHS card from the genetics clinic for him to pop in his wallet – it’s not much good when he doesn’t carry one around often 😛 ((Polaroid stock used in banner is from danielle-lee.))

So I’d been wanting to get him an ID bracelet for a while now and upon reading that Butler & Grace were created by their founder Tanya in a similar situation, I realised that this was the company that could help me find just the right bracelet for the job. Something that Chris would be happy to wear, something in his style and that he wouldn’t even notice he was actually wearing a medical alert bracelet – because let’s face it, when you’ve got a life threatening condition carrying around a constant reminder of it doesn’t make anyone feel good.

 

ID jewellery with a difference

Before I go into the review of the bracelet we were sent I wanted to show you some of the variety of styles available from Butler & Grace, because I was seriously impressed with just how many different ones there were. Obviously we were looking for something suitable for a 32 year old man, however, there’s something for just about everyone. While browsing I saw styles that appealed to me someone who’s style isn’t really conventional (I tend to be a bit eclectic with what I like and mix boho, and rock chick at times), stuff for kids and also styles that I’m sure teenagers wouldn’t be ashamed of wearing either (I can imagine just how much of a nightmare that must be!). Here’s a few examples of those:

 

 

Our Bracelet

Chris likes chunky metal styles for his bracelets and so he went for Adore ID Bracelet. You’re probably thinking, wait a guy picked a bracelet with a heart? Yep he did, and no he doesn’t have an overly feminist side. He liked the style of the bracelet and as he said, and as you’ll see from the photos, you really don’t notice it’s a heart. If you look closely you can see it’s one but the only people getting that close should be the emergency services and they’re going to be concerned about much more important things.

 

Adore ID Bracelet from Butler & Grace

 

From the get go Tanya was absolutely brilliant and so patient with me when it came to working out the engraving, helping me get just the right inscription that would fit on the medical tag. The Adore bracelet comes with a circular tag which you can choose to have inscribed on both sides, or with one side inscribed and the commonly used symbol of medicine the caduceus ((fun fact; the actual symbol is the Rod of Asclepius but over time it’s become replaced with Hermes’ staff the cadueus – probably because people don’t like snakes!)) on the other side. We chose to go for the second option as we preferred to have an obvious sign that yes, this was a medical alert bracelet and not an average piece of jewellery.

The size of the tag allows for five lines of text. We chose to have Chris’ name, condition and a contact number listed. You can see the sizing in the photo below, however, you can’t see the full inscription as the phone number has been erased for safety reasons 🙂

 

 

What we liked

The bracelet was really comfortable for Chris to wear despite being a chunky style. You would expect a big chain to be something you would really notice, especially with an extra tag dangling from it constantly. But no, he was happy to wear it for several days at a time and didn’t bat an eyelid at it – I honestly would have just been happy for him to be comfortable to wear it while out for a day at a convention or when we went on holiday. He ended up wearing it to the supermarket, lounging about the house and so on! It really is that comfortable! It’s also not a heavy item, the links are made of a light weight material. This shows the sort of care and attention to detail that has gone into Butler and Grace’s products; they’re aware that people want an ID bracelet they can forget is there and won’t hinder them in an event of an emergency.

 

Close up of the clasp of the Adore ID Bracelet

 

One thing that was important, especially to me as I have mobility issues with my hands, is that the clasp was really smooth. I don’t know if this is something Butler and Grace researched (and if they did, kudos it’s much appreciated!) or it’s just another sign of the quality materials they use, however, it was really easy to open. Not too easy in the sense that you need to worry about the clasp coming loose, just enough that there’s no need to struggle with it.

Finally, the inscription is neat and tidy. The tag is small and the engraving is carefully done, and yet it’s not too tiny. It’s clear as day to my terrible eyesight (I’m very short-sighted, -11 prescription to be precise!) and I don’t have any bother trying to read it. My eyes don’t even take that moment to adjust. It’s just there, easy to read and that is what you want on an ID bracelet. Easy, clear information that anyone can read with clarity. The fact that there are so many types of tags and options for what you can put on them as well, plus an awesome selfie wall full of examples on their website is a fantastic bonus.

 

Adore Id Bracelet laid out fully

Suggestions

While we were super happy with the product we did notice a few things we wanted to mention in this review, more suggestions than complaints. The Adore bracelet links have a small gap in them which is absolutely fine for the bracelet itself, they’re not loose at all. However, the same gap is attached to the loop connecting the clasp to the bracelet and that loop is a lot thinner. We would suggest having it tightening up a fraction just to save any mishaps from happening.

The ID tag itself is positioned right next to the clasp and this can make things a bit fiddly when trying to put the bracelet on, especially when you’re trying to put it on by yourself. The tag keeps falling in the way and you simply don’t have enough hands to hold the bracelet in place, move the tag out the way and fasten the clasp. It would be much better in a more centralised position in the chain.

Chris was also a little surprised at the size of the bracelet when it arrived. He found that the real size of the links didn’t really compare to the photos available on the website. We think it might be more useful for chunkier styles like the Adore bracelet to offer a size comparison photo to give a more accurate idea of size.

 

Conclusion

As you can tell we were both really impressed and happy with the ID bracelet and the range of options available. It’s not often that you find a range of jewellery that offers something for everyone in a normal store, let alone for a specialty item like medical ID bracelets. I personally love that Butler & Grace’s mission statement is to make sure everyone is protected, and that is what drew me to them in the first place. They’ve helped me protect my love one and honestly, I can’t recommend them enough. They are a company that takes your order personally because they have been there, they know how important it is to ensure you or your loved one has this information on them at all time. They want to help you reach that goal. Their website is easy to navigate and filled with information, and the team themselves are fantastic to communicate with.

 

Disclaimer: We were sent an item to review in exchange for an honest review, as always all words are my own and you can read more about my review policy here. Thanks goes to my fiance Chris for being the “guinea pig” and thoroughly testing this item, as well as giving his own review of it. I pretty much just did all the admin work! It was also thoroughly cat inspected by cat inspector George who ensured we followed strict protocol for the photo shoot.

 

Over to You

I hope you enjoyed this review! If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.

Have you got a medical ID bracelet? If so, are you happy with it?

If no, is it because of the lack of styles available?

Have you considered getting a medical ID bracelet?

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts so please let me know what you think of the review in the comments!

10 Things I learned at my first Sci Fi Weekender!

10 Things I Learned at my first Sci Fi Weekender!

Last March we headed down to Wales for our first ever Sci Fi Weekender (SFW) and had an absolute blast. I had hoped to post detailing our experience last year, but life and health got away from me and I never got a chance to finish it. I intend to get one done this year so stay tuned for that at the end of the month! For now though I wanted to share 10 things I learned from our visit last year. Prior to the event last March I tried to find some information online and found a very old blog post from one of the first events and that was it! Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what to expect if you’re heading to SFW for the first time or thinking of going next year. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments 🙂 ((Map is from Google maps and Masquerade image is from Public Domain Images. All other images are copyrighted to me.))

 

 

Hafan y Môr Map

1 – It’s in the middle of Nowhere

I was going to start by saying this is relevant if you’re traveling by car, however, I think this is also relevant for anyone traveling by public transport. The holiday village, Hafan y Môr, is lovely and located close to the Welsh Coast – but that means it is in the middle of bloody nowhere! There’s a week to go and if you haven’t started planning your travel I really suggest doing so because it isn’t straight forward at all. Expect to be completely confused and at times bamboozled as you go down tiny Welsh lanes and wonder whether you’re going the right way. A SATNAV is essential, and you do have the bonus of listening to the navigator trying to pronounce all the Welsh place names.

I also really do suggest making sure you check your car and that you have everything prepared in case of emergency because if something did go wrong you could be stuck in the middle of nowhere – especially with the warnings of bad weather again.

 

 

Bring your Wellies!

2 – Bring Wellies

One thing I wish someone had told us was how easily the caravan park turns into a marshy bog. It was raining when we arrived Thursday evening and a few hours later there was a complimentary swimming pool with our caravan! It remained muddy and marshy all weekend so pack a pair of wellies or at least some boots!

 

 

Don't rely on technology

3 – Don’t rely on technology

The site is a total black spot, so don’t rely on having internet access or even phone signal. I’ve been told that the site seems to have updated their wifi since last March (thanks Blazing Minds!), however, I would suggest taking that with a pinch of salt and this doesn’t necessarily mean phones will be working. So if you have someone you need to contact over the weekend I strongly urge that you let them know in advance that you might be out of touch. Likewise, it can make it hard to meet up with friends so I would suggest making plans in advance as to when and where you want to meet up.

 

 

Smaller & more intimate venue

4 – Expect a smaller and more intimate venue

The venue, and especially the area for signing, is much smaller and thus more intimate than you would find at a bigger convention. You still need to queue, and you only get a limited time with the celebrity but as you can see from this photo of the lovely Chris Barrie you can sit close by and observe to your hearts content (observe, not stalk). I get completely tongue tied when it comes to meeting celebrities so it you suffer from anxiety it’s nice to be able to take a seat nearby and get your bearings before the actual moment. Don’t expect much – or any – photo opportunities. Unlike at bit conventions you’re literally paying for the signing and if you’re later in the queue (it’s done by raffle numbers) then they are usually short for time. Most don’t mind a photo taken by a companion while the signing is happening, they just don’t have time to post for selfies.

Also, BIG tip is that there are no photos for you to pick up to be signed. They literally just have a very crappy logo-ed piece of paper with a tiny signing spot so make sure you bring something more memorable to get signed. It doesn’t need to be a bulky item like a dvd; we have really nice notebooks from a Blizzard convention that we use for example.

 

 

Never enough seats

5 – There’s never enough seating available

The fact that the venue is small also means that there is never enough seating for events, especially the big events or popular celebrities. For one event we tried to stop in two different places and were moved on; first by security and second by a less than polite fellow attendee. Later at an event we began to understand why he was so irate, however, there’s still no need to be so rude if people don’t even realise that they’re blocking your view. This problem occurs because the seating in the main room is split by a walk way and therefore, when all the seats at the front and tables at the back are filled people naturally converge in the walkway to stand and watch. Unfortunately that means that the people behind at the tables cannot see anything. It’s a simple case of overselling tickets for the convention and not realising how many people actually attend certain events. You can, of course, buy an upgraded ticket which provides you with seating at every event in the main hall. However, there’s a catch; they sell insanely quickly the year before the convention. Yep, that’s right. It sells out the year before, so you need to have the funds available and be quick on the draw.

 

 

Disabled Assistance

6 – There’s hardly any support for disabled visitors

As a holiday park the venue itself is fully catered for disabled visitors, however, the actual convention staff appear to have very little training in how to help disabled visitors. Their website says to speak directly to them if you seek aid, and upon doing so I was asked ‘do you have a blue badge?’, which I can only assume was to prove that we did indeed need assistance. When I explained that no, we did not, and that it was extremely hard to obtain one, I was then informed that we could pay extra to gain seating for every event by purchasing a royalty or VIP ticket. However, as this was mentioned it was also stated that they were completely sold out so that wasn’t even an actual viable option. The only useful information given was that we could ask for assistance at celebrity signings. This assistance consisted of informing the staff and security managing the event that we were disabled, required additional assistance and therefore, could avoid queuing and be allowed to go straight to the signing table. We chose not to do this for our signings because quite frankly, it didn’t feel that reliable and there was no where for disabled people to sit to wait. So it was a case of standing and waiting, or standing in a queue and waiting.

As we both suffer from chronic illnesses that do not require walking aids, or wheelchairs, I cannot comment on how the situation is for disabled people that use these. Perhaps, the convention staff offer more aid to those that they deem appropriately disabled or can offer “proof” – this may seem harsh, but sadly it is the way invisible illnesses are considered by many.  I did note that the security teams were very active in keeping the wheelchair ramps and access areas clear, so there is that at least.

 

 

Geeky Stalls

7 – Don’t forget to check out the stalls

One thing I regret from last year is that we were so busy trying to get to events, and catch hold of cosplayers for photos that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted browsing the stalls. For me personally there was also some nasty migraines thrown in, but it is so easy to get overwhelmed with everything going on that you don’t truly get to appreciate the goods on offer and the people who made them. You get the usual geeky mass produced geeky products, such as Funko Pops, however, there are so many handmade unique items which you probably won’t find any where else! I also had some great chats with some of the stall owners, especially Pam of Pams Happy Hats and June of Clan Jewels. Chris picked up a BB-8 hat from Pam’s stall (I couldn’t choose one, there were so many awesome choices!) and I picked up a gorgeous moonstone pendant from Clan Jewels. I really hope to see them both back this year, and also excited to meet new people and their geekywares!

 

 

The Masquerade

8 – The Masquerade is very very low-key

I was really excited that  there was a masquerade ball because it is something I’ve wanted to go to for a long time. So we put a lot of effort in and got dressed up, only to find that it is extremely low key. There is no dress code, and while many people use it as an excuse to dress up in fantasy style gear or cosplay, there were a lot of people in just hoodies and jeans. Essentially this is still a geek event and not everyone wants to dress up. So if the idea of  masquerade or formal wear causes you anxiety, don’t panic! It is totally a do as you please event and there’s other stuff happening at the same time, so you can skip the whole thing if you want to. This year we’re going low-key, nice top and jeans because we honestly just don’t have the energy to go all out.

 

 

Cosplayers at Sci Fi Weekender

9 – Don’t be afraid to approach Entertainers & Cosplayers

I spent most of the weekend building up my confidence when it came to approaching the professional entertainers and fellow visitors who were cosplaying, and while I did manage to approach several, I do wish I’d done it a bit more. On the whole the entertainers were really friendly and happy to take photos, and I currently have an outstanding invitation with Tabitha Lyons to grab a photo with her next time I see her at a con. In general I found that the non-professional cosplayers could be a bit shyer, and were generally just shocked that someone liked their cosplay and actually wanted a photo. So my advice is be super polite and understanding, if someone says no then accept it and move on, and just use common sense i.e. don’t be creepy or interrupt conversations. It’s also considered extremely rude to take photos of cosplayers while they’re working with a photographer on a shoot, so always ask before you take a photo just in case you’re interrupting a planned shoot.

 

 

Meet Entertainers

10 – Keep an eye out in the crowd for entertainers

There’s going to be a lot of people wandering around and it is really easy to miss some great opportunities to talk to entertainers before they’ve done their big show, aka before people realise who they are and want their attention. We bumped into one of the entertainers, Chris Cross, who was offering magic tricks the day before his event and not realising who he was we just kept on moving. After seeing his fantastic show I really wish we’d gotten some time with him!

 

Over to you

That brings us to the end of my 10 lessons learned from last years Sci Fi Weekender. I hope that it’s been useful, and while there are some negative points there were also many many things that made it a fantastic experience – after all, we’re going back this year so clearly something went right 😉 If you’re heading to Hafan y Môr next weekend then I hope to see you there (feel free to say hi!) and if you’re not, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming (provided the wifi holds up 😉 ) all weekend. If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments 🙂