Just Charlie G

Happy New Year to everyone! Keeping up with tradition I have made absolutely NO resolutions, what about you? After an extended Christmas break from blogging, I’m back, but I thought I’d kick off with something not beauty related. Nearly a year ago to the day, the 11th January 2016, I wrote a post about how I’d taken up crochet. At that point, I’d only been going for a couple of weeks, look at the shocking state of those squares!

By the middle of March, I’d really discovered how much I loved it and had started to make more and more things.  I’m not known for my ability to stick to things, but a year on from that first post, I’m still here, crocheting away and I’ve made loads so I thought I’d do a little post showing what I’ve made this year (well, since March!).

In March I did the lovely Happy Flower Decoration by Lucy of Attic 24, a really quick and easy project and so cute.

Attic24 Happy Flower

At the end of March, I made the gorgeous Sopan, both the design and the hand dyed Yarn came courtesy of Verity at Truly Hooked.Truly Hooked Sopan

Next came the Fortune’s Shawlette in May.

Fortunes Shawlette

March to July saw me make the Harmony Blanket, again the pattern is from Attic 24. It might look nice but don’t be fooled. I hated every single second of making it, and I made an awful error with every single round of every single square meaning it’s basically fallen apart. I also put some of the squares in the wrong order. I just think my heart wasn’t in this one, at all.Attic24 Harmony

After the stress I whipped up a little basket for  storing my yarn scraps.Yarn Scraps Basket

In July I made the All Tied Up Summer Top for Lola, she loved it and so do I. All tied Up Top

I’m not sure what happened for the next couple of months, I started a blanket I’m still working on, but nothing seems to have been made! But at the end of September I started making Christmas presents. It feels so good to have a skill and to be able to make things, but I can’t say I was confident giving any of these away, what if the recipient didn’t like them! I was however pleased.

I started with a Road Trip Scarf for my sister, skipping the flower details.Roadtrip Scarf

Next, a cute Lil’ Baby Unicorn for my cute little niece!cute lil unicorn

Followed by an adorable Sleepy Bear for my lovely nephew.Sleepy Bear

A Bellflower Infinity Scarf for my Mother in Law…Bellflower Infinity Scarf

The final Christmas gift I made was a Fortune’s Wrap, the same basic design as the Fortune’s Shawlette but considerably bigger, more rectangular and with edging.Fortune's Wrap Fortune's Wrap

After a huge amount of searching I finally found my dream glove pattern, the Super Easy Grunge Gloves. I made myself a pair, swiftly followed by a pair each for the girls.Super Easy Grunge Gloves Super Easy Grunge Gloves Super Easy Grunge Gloves

Naturally, I needed a hat to go with my gloves, and I’m so fussy it was hard work finding anything I liked, something not too crochet-y looking. The Caron Cable Twist Hat fit the bill. Learning to cable was a huge learning curve for me, but got there in the end!Caron Cable Twist Hat

Finally, using the cotton I made the girls gloves with, I’ve knocked up a couple of face cloths! So, there is a tenuous beauty link there after all!fancy flannel  And that is pretty much it! I have two blankets in progress at the moment and a list of things I want to make as long as your arm but thats everything I’ve made since March!

So please, if you are a fellow hooker and you’re on Ravelry, add me as a friend, I’m on there as JustCharlieG and I’d love more people to follow myself! And if you’re not already, do follow me on Instagram, I share most of my WIP’s on there!

EDIT: I don’t know how I forgot this one, but I made this Virus Shawl for my Mum’s Christmas Pressie too!

Virus Shawl

22. 04. 2016

I’ve always been slightly dismissive of mass public outpourings of grief, I remained largely unmoved when Princess Diana died, I was a little sad when Kurt Cobain died and very sad when Bowie left us. But yesterday, yesterday was the worst.

prince

I can’t think of many people who don’t like Prince, whether Grebo, Goth or Grunger, Pop Fan, Soul Fan or Blues fan. Nearly everyone I know liked him. Many passionately, but among those who weren’t fans in some way, there can’t be many who didn’t at least appreciate his genius, or his skill, particularly instrumentally. He was a phenomenal artist.

Growing up, Prince’s singles were favourites in our house, Kiss, Girls & Boys, Paisley Park, Raspberry Beret, Lets Go Crazy, 1999, Purple Rain to name but a few, but it wasn’t until I reached my teens and I started discovering his albums that I truly started to appreciate his talent. His lyrics were so filthy I don’t know how I managed to listen to the albums without getting into trouble but listen I did. I don’t know how such a small man in high heels and lurex could have such sex appeal but he did, by the bucket load. Just wow.

I have one particular memory of being in my friends bedroom, singing my heart out to Darling Nikki and the excruciating embarrassment as her older sister walked in and heard me singing

“I knew a girl named Nikki
I guess you could say she was a sex fiend
I met her in a hotel lobby
Masturbating with a magazine”

I can still feel my cheeks burn now! I lapped up every song I could find. I plastered the biggest Prince poster I could find on my tiny bedroom wall and I loved him. And I’ve always loved him. I’ve never stopped listening. He’s been part of the soundtrack to my whole life.

The thing about Prince was he was so prolific it’s nigh on impossible to choose a favourite. I wanted to share some songs on my Facebook page last night but I just couldn’t narrow my list down but ultimate favourites are Paisley Park, Gett Off, Sign of the Times, Alphabet St, Sometimes it Snows in April… I could go on and on. And then there are the songs he performed with or wrote for other artists including Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor, Manic Monday by the Bangles, The Belle of St Mark by Shelia E and U Got the Look featuring Sheena EastonI shed tears at several points last night and I woke up this morning and shed a few more and to quote my dear Dad

“Bowie and Prince gone. Two of the greatest talents and innovators. Leaves the world  a poorer place”

And so now I get it, now. I get these mass outpourings of grief in some way, it’s not bandwagon jumping in my case, it’s feeling the loss of an artist who impacted my life in a huge way. I just cannot believe he’s gone.

16. 03. 2016

Back in January I wrote about my new hobby of crochet, you can see my original post here. I thought I’d do a little update as the hobby is fast becoming an obsession.

If you’re contemplating starting crochet, I can’t recommend Attic24 highly enough. There are fabulous tutorials with crystal clear instructions and lots of photographs. A beginner’s dream!

So in my last post I’d started the Attic24 Granny Stripe blanket, which is now finished!

Attic24 Granny StripeI think the next projects were beanie hats for the girls. I followed HappyBerryCrochet‘s Tutorial on You Tube for the hats and used Attic24 flowers to embellish them!

12568902_1651942228398193_602649022_n12552304_1043145445742701_127223636_nThey were amazingly quick to make so next I moved onto bunting for each girl’s room. Again using Attic24 patterns.

12750129_1731688490380427_266261357_n P1020290Once they were done I moved onto my first more complicated item, a shawl called the Virus Shawl. After making those items for the girls I decided it was time to make something lovely for me. I’m so happy with it and wear it most days!

Virus ShawlVirus Shawl

Once this was finished I made another Attic24 project, the Happy Flower. A great way to use up left over yarn and a very quick make.

And now I’m working on another blanket, its again by Lucy from Attic24 and it’s called the Harmony Blanket. I think it might take me a while, it’s made of 126 beautiful granny squares… so far I’ve made 7…

Hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to and that it might be inspirational for anyone looking for a new hobby.

My only word of warning is that while crochet can indeed be an extremely cheap hobby, once it gets its claws into you, prepare to spend a fortune on new hooks, books, yarn, more hooks, more yarn, another book, blocking mats and pins, stick keepers, tape measures, sewing needles, scissors… it soon adds up, but you certainly can get by with just one hook and a cheap ball of yarn!

 


Collaborative Post

With Valentines just around the corner, its time to think about what present I’ll be getting for Graham, my husband. Not only that, now’s about the time he starts asking me what I’d like too. Well, while I’m a sucker for chocolates and flowers, I’ve actually got a little more extravagant wish list ready to go… isn’t that handy!

Top of my wish list was a camera. Graham obviously did his research into Compact Cameras and got me a Panasonic Lumix for Christmas.

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It’s actually brilliant, and I’m such a lucky girl. It has all the functionality I was looking for, but it’s really easy to use and the photographs it produces are fantastic! You can see some of mine here. These premium Panasonic Lumix cameras look pretty epic too.

I don’t know if Graham is still feeling so generous but I’m still after a few things and nothing too extravagant, but here’s hoping!

Next on my list, to help me deal with the copious amounts of chocolate I will be eating, is the Fitbit Surge. I already have a Fitbit but this one I found on Amazon is real upgrade thanks to its multisport function, heart rate tracker and music controls!

 

Obviously to go with my new Fitbit I could really do with the Fitbit Aria Scales. It measures your weight, body fat and BMI and of course syncs with your Fitbit stats!

My final dream piece of tech is the Apple iPhone 6S Plus in Rose Gold.

You either love Apple or you don’t. I just really do, I love how user-friendly and intuitive all my devices are and I’ve not been without an iPhone for years… this latest model is ticking all the boxes for me. It’s not only beautiful, but functional too with its top of the range camera, long life battery and amazing HD screen. I’m simplifying it of course, but all you need to know is I need this phone in my life!

I could actually go on for quite a long time with this wish list, but I don’t want to upset Graham so I’ll stop right here!

So, what are you hoping for and giving for Valentines? Do tech products feature anywhere?

This is a collaborative post on behalf of Panasonic. All opinions are my own.

The week before Christmas I had a hankering to teach myself to crochet. I’m not entirely sure where it came from but as in all things with me, once I decided to try it out, it had to be immediately. I took a trip to John Lewis, bought a set of crochet hooks, bamboo, and some wool, then headed over to Waterstones and bought a book.

Using the book I taught myself some basic stitches, they were far from perfect but I persevered, teaching myself the double crochet, the half treble crochet and the treble crochet. They were a bit messy, but it was really just a question of practising and working on my neatness.

12347819_10156565834365144_6552795418496402341_n (1)Having learned the treble crochet I was ready to have a go at a granny (or afghan) square. The first attempt was a little bit scruffy, but regardless, I did it!

920844_10156577567520144_1725253024929886983_oI’ve learned that not all yarn is equal. My mint green squares are always loose and floppy whatever I do, but other wools make a much neater, more substantial square.

10416610_10156588846720144_4298108473573220241_nSquares are really quite boring though, to me at least and I wanted to make something that would give me instant gratification. I’m not sure how I found her, but lucky for me I did, I found Attic24. Now this was more like it. I loved the things she made, the colours, and best of all her instructions looked simple and easy to follow. Getting ahead of myself only slightly I put in an order from Wool Warehouse for the yarn pack to make the Sunny Granny Stripe Blanket and when it arrived I couldn’t wait to get started. What a glorious selection of colours. I could feel a new passion growing.

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Making a single bed sized blanket maybe a bit ambitious but actually its really rather simple, well this pattern is, the colours are a dream, making it a joy to create each row, just to see how it looks with the previous row, its beautiful. The hardest part has been starting it off. I had to do the starting chain three times, and I unravelled and started again several more times until I’d created the following.

12314557_10156596362200144_6110306060534438555_oOnce this part, which I found tricky, was done, its just been a case of adding beautiful coloured row on top of beautiful coloured row.

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This is my current point. just shy of half way through. The sunlight has washed the photo out, and in reality the colours are somewhere between the photo below and the one above.P1020149More experienced crochet-ers will notice I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but its a very forgiving pattern. Several rows are back to front near the bottom, there’s one row near the middle where there are far too many trebles in some places and not enough enough others but overall, you can’t really tell. At this point I’m just over two fifths of the way through, minus the border but I can’t wait to finish it. I’ll be so proud!

I am however now having a terrible panic that I’ve added too many stitches so I’m off for a count!

I’d love to hear what you’ve been making lately, and if you have any retailers or blogs to recommend, please let me know!

29. 12. 2015

Hello!

I thought it was time I checked in and said hello to you all as Christmas has kept me rather busy this year.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year.

Christmas for us has been up and down, there have been wonderful presents, for myself and the rest of my family, as well as wonderful local food, but the excitement has proved too much for the kids and Chloe has had a couple of anxiety attacks, one of which resulted in the both of us having to leave the other two in a theatre to watch a panto without us, but overall, it hasn’t been too bad.

I treated myself to the most amazing pair of boots just before Christmas, Dr Martens Aimilita’s. They do up with ribbons, who could resist.

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Having been searching for new boots for some time these are just my ideal boot. I also had a suede pair for Christmas, knee highs with tassels so I’m fully booted up for 2016!

I especially loved my Christmas manicure this year, I used Sensationail shades Light Em Up (the glitter) and Red, Red Wine. I’m so impressed with Sensationail, my collection just keeps growing and growing!

12370965_10156591582615144_6497529333134384646_o

My other news, and I apologise if you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook (because you’re probably sick of hearing about it already) is that I’ve taken up crochet. I had a wish to give it a go, taught myself a few basic stitches, made a few granny squares and am now working on a blanket, its incredibly soothing to do, and I’m so impressed with myself, and I don’t get to say that very often. It’s going to be single bed size when its finished so I’ve got lots to do yet. I think I’ll do a separate post about it soon, but for now, here’s a sneak at what I’m working on. It’s far from perfect, a few rows are back to front, but I’m on top of that now.

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So this is really just a quick check in from me to say hi and wish everyone well, and I’ll be back soon with Mac Ellie Goulding reviews, Clarins Spring reviews, my crochet post and much more.

Hope Christmas was wonderful and in case I’m not back beforehand, Happy New Year!

Sub-heading: Dinovember and Expensive Advent Calenders can also sod off.

I’m going to preface this blog post with this picture…

4_1024x1024Looking at this creepy little fella gives me the heebie jeebies…imagine that watching your every move for the whole of December. I could just stop the post there because, y’know, nuff said. But why deprive myself of a much needed rant?

Elf On a Shelf. So for those who don’t know, Elf on a Shelf is concept to get your children to behave well over December, by putting this Elf around your house so he can watch what your kids are up to and report back to Santa, so that Santa can can get his Naughty and Nice lists ready.

Now leaving aside the fact that I threatened my kids with a lump of coal one particularly stressful December, this is a little creepy no? Not only does it look creepy with its Mona Lisa eyes that follow you around the room, but its sole purpose, spying, is creepy too. I also don’t want my kids to be good in December just because of an elf. I want them to be good all year please.

Then, there’s the issue of adding this new commercial tradition to our lives. Wasn’t Christmas traditional enough without this hideous new one? (See Also Advent Calenders Rant further down the Page).  And isn’t Christmas magical enough without this new piece of tat? It certainly was commercial enough.

And somehow, this Elf, oh how his behaviour has evolved. No, he doesn’t just sit on the shelf. No, in order for your kids to believe in the magic, he or she has to move each night while the kids are in bed. So the kids believe he’s real and alive and that he’s been to the North Pole to report back and then come back to your house! But this is where things escalate. While ‘lesser’ parents may just move the Elf from one shelf to the mantle piece, there are those who put a huge amount of effort in creating elaborate scenes to amaze and shock their children with when they get up in the morning. And for those too stupid (heavy sarcasm) to have their own ideas Pinterest is FULL of ideas you can copy. And the thing is, you have to do this every day. If you do something amazing on December the 1st, every day better be amazing and don’t even think about forgetting. Competitive and creative Mummies of course rise to the challenge, while the rest either don’t care or feel inadequate. And a lot of the ideas I’ve seen involve the Elf doing something a bit naughty or cheeky, like tipping something over…remind me what the point of the Elf is again? To encourage good behaviour (blurgh)…. I must give a special mention to those who have their elves doing rude or adult things because that is genuinely funny, and the sole reason I can see for having it. I particularly loved the Elf snorting a line of Cocoa powder and the various pictures of Elf caught in compromising positions with naked Barbies.

It’s a commercial venture, trying to create a new tradition…which makes them money, and its working. There’s the Elf, the book, the dvd and lo and behold, now there’s the Birthday Elf so you can blackmail your kids twice a year, what fun! It doesn’t even make sense. Santa’s Elves don’t give a crap what kids get up to in the month before they birthday. Fact.

And while this post is tongue in cheek, and I don’t really care what you do with your family in the run up to Christmas, there is the issue of your kids asking why they don’t have an Elf if their friends have one in their house, and how will Santa really know if they’ve been good. Frankly, I’ll tell them its just a toy and not to be sad. I’m not going to think up my own elaborate lies as to why the Elf is in their friends house, but not ours.

Christmas is already exciting, the build up in our house is ridiculous, advent calendars, Christmas Jumper days for charity and parties and discos at all their after school clubs and in school, along with a natural excitement mean that for me…in our house, its all quite exciting enough without causing me extra stress (trying to remember to move the damn thing, never mind constructing elaborate scenes with them). So you can stick your Elf on a Shelf “tradition” thanks.

Which leads me onto Dinovember…. a whole month devoted to your kids toy dinosaurs coming to life and getting up to mischief… see previously mentioned pinterest, competitive mummies, feelings of inadequacy and a general feeling of just why. Meh. Oh and the dinosaurs, pretty destructive. The idea is to feed your kids imagination and create a sense of wonder, I get that, and I’m sure that those things are true…but you know… the magic is all uploaded daily to Facebook, where the kids can’t see but all the other parents can go “wow you’re so amazing doing that and I’m so inadequate”. Again, its tongue in cheek and I don’t really care what you want to devote your evenings to, but once my kids are in bed, I’m thinking pyjamas, crap tv, slobbing out on the sofa, not arranging five dinosaurs around a destroyed loaf of bread and uploading it to Facebook. Personally, I think I’m living the after 8pm dream and as for feeding my kids imagination and giving them a sense of wonder, that’s what Minecraft is for no?

Finally… expensive advent calendars. For adults this is a yes from me. I haven’t got one, but I wish I did 🙁 But honestly. I remember my advent calendars as a child, they didn’t even have chocolate in them! You just opened them and all there was, was a poxy picture! But you know what, it was magic and it was wondrous because we were counting down to a huge event. I don’t mind the chocolate ones if I’m honest, and I don’t even mind the Lego or Playmobile ones really… they are just so unnecessary. I can’t even imagine presenting my kids with an Advent Calendar that didn’t have chocolate in it… because somewhere along the way, the point has been lost, its not a countdown to Christmas, its chocolate every single day in December!

I LOVE Christmas, I love that we don’t have long to wait, my kids are already excited, and it is undoubtedly magical. You couldn’t accuse me of being a Grinch in any way, but I really do hate that damn Elf.

Note: I honestly don’t care what y’all do in your family at Christmas, this entire post has been written with tongue firmly in cheek. Much love to you all, no matter how you celebrate, and Merry Christmas (it’s really still too far early for that particular greeting, but that’s another blog post entirely….)

24. 11. 2015

I just thought I’d do a little post because I’m really self concious about how little I’m blogging at the moment. My migraines have been awful and we’ve all been plagued with bugs, if it’s not been me, its been the kids. We just can’t seem to cut a break. As it is I’m expecting the school to call me today to go and collect Lola as she wasn’t too great when I dropped her off this morning.

So the last week or two has consisted of either me moping around feeling sorry for myself or running around after he kids who are moping around feeling sorry for themselves…the life of a mother!

We’ve managed to get out and about a little and we had a lovely walk with friends at the weekend when I snapped this photo. A visual reminder of how lucky we are to live in the most beautiful county, with this literally on our doorstep.

Devon Anyway, I hope to normal service will resume shortly.

<3

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Fireworks. So pretty to look at but the bane of my life during October and November. Near me, they started last weekend and I can expect them to keep going sporadically until after the 5th November. They wake up my kids, which is annoying, but worse than that, like many pet owners they terrify my dog. Poor Thor, its no fun but we do all we can to calm him. The first step in the process is getting a calming diffusers. As Thor is a sensitive doglet, we have had Adaptil diffusers on and off since he was a puppy.

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The Adaptil Diffuser is a discrete plug in which diffuses a pheromone that calms dogs. Its not just good for firework season, but also for settling puppies into their new homes as well as any other instances where your pooch is unsettled. The results are proven and we’ve personally found it an effective tool. It lasts about four weeks, but you can buy refills for them which is great. I would absolutely recommend any dog owner have one on hand, even if only for fireworks season.

And so I’m delighted to be teaming up with Petshop.co.uk again to offer a Adaptil Diffuser worth £26.10 for one reader. All you need to do is follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below.

Full Terms and Conditions can be found at the end of this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

• Entrants will be signed up to the PetShop.co.uk newsletter.
• The winner will be selected at random within Rafflecopter.
• The winner will be contacted by email after the closing date by PetShop.co.uk, if they haven’t heard from you within a week, then another winner will be chosen.
• The voucher code will be sent out by PetShop.co.uk directly to the winner.
• JustCharlieG cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go missing and if any issues occur then the winner should contact PetShop.co.uk directly.

Good luck!

I know this post is a little late in the day for Stoptober, but if it can help anyone at all thats great. As an ex smoker, electronic cigarettes have changed my life. I started with the VIP brand several years ago so its nice to have a look at some of their latest offerings.

VIP Electronic Cigarette  While VIP still offer simple e-cig starter kits, what I’m sharing with you today is a little more advanced but still not complicated.

lets Start with the VIP Skystorm AM30.

VIP Electronic Cigarette VIP Electronic Cigarette The Skystorm AM30 Base Unit is a variable voltage/wattage vaporiser featuring a  2,000 mAh integrated battery. It comes with a charger, as well as a converter to allow you to use your eGo tanks, if they are your tank of choice, standard connection is a 510 connection, which is compatible with most tanks.
VIP Electronic Cigarette I use (amongst others), Istick 30w’s and if you are familiar with those you’ll be familiar with these. Five clicks on or off, three clicks to change the wattage or volts. Its so simple, the display shows you the Ohms of the coil, the coil is a 1.8coil in my tank (we’ll talk about the tank in a moment). The volts and wattage are also displayed.  It also times your inhale, with a safety cut off at 10 seconds.

You can adjust the wattage in 0.1 increments from 2w to 30w, but in all honesty, I’ve not really gone over 10, that suits this coil and all the eliquids I’ve tried. If you prefer to adjust voltage, this can be increased in 0.1v increments, from 3.0 to 8.0. If you adjust the wattage, the voltage will adjust accordingly and vice versa. You will want to try various settings, but my only advice is start low and slowly increase until vapour product and flavour are just right for your tastes.

It works really well, the battery lasts a good 24 hours with heavy vaping, slightly over if I’m having a lighter day. The price is good at £49.95 but currently at £39.95.

It’s all well and good having your base unit, but you’ll need a tank to go with it and I was sent the Pro-Air BDC Glassomizer.

VIP Electronic Cigarette VIP Electronic Cigarette Sorry I left in the packaging for that second picture, it was just easier to photograph. This is a great little tank. It’s small at 2.5ml but its not the smallest I’ve used and to be honest I’m not concerned about size. This suits me well. The coils are Bottom Dual coils and there’s a good airflow system. It is designed to work best with variable voltage and variable wattage devices, especially the AM30 shown above and the two look nice together.

VIP Electronic Cigarette It’s incredibly easy to fill, you just unscrew the bottom, and screw in your coil, and fill the glass tank, then put it back together. Its really simple.  Coils last about 10-12 days depending on your usage and liquids used, some kill a coil quicker than others. The tank is £15.99 but currently £12.99. Replacement coils are £10.99 for five, currently on offer at £8.99. Which is in line with other brands.

Finally I received one of the new Arcadia Gran Reserva premium liquids to try, Aphrodite to be exact. Strawberry, Brown Sugar and Vanilla Custard. £16.

VIP Electronic Cigarette Available in three nicotine strengths, 12mg, 6mg and 3mg, I unfortunately received 6mg which is too strong for me. I think the price point on this is far too high also. I buy premium liquids a lot, and this is a little more than I’m willing to pay. I didn’t really enjoy it, it wasn’t terribly smooth, catching on my throat, but this is perhaps simply down to the fact that I am used to a much lower nicotine content now.

So I think the tank and base unit are a great kit for someone wanting something a bit more advanced that the basic ecig or tank kit. And they are reasonably and competitively priced. I am pleased to see my old favourite brand keeping up with whats going on. I’ve moved on a little from this sort of set up now, but would absolutely recommend to anyone in the market for the next step from the very basic.

It’s worth also looking at the various Kits available on the VIP site, to see if you can get any great deals. They are often more cost effective and if you’re quick there’s 20% off lots of the products  for Stoptober.

Head over and have a look at the VIP website.

*All products received free of charge for review purposes.