Product Review: Bessie Mohair Scarf And Your Chance To Win One!

This competition is now closed, check our competitions page for open competitions.

Our latest product review (check out the Review Centre for more) is of a Bessie Mohair scarf. Becoming more and more popular, we thought we’d check out what all the fuss is about.


In November, the Bessie scarf was product of the month at, which supplied it for us (thanks Louisa) and it’s easy to see why. It’s soft and lovely to touch, giving it a luxurious feel and the sheer size of it means it could be used as a shawl as well as a scarf.

And it has some good fair trade credentials. Hand dyed and loomed in Darling, South Africa, the Bessie is the eponymous product from Bessie Visser’s farm. For the past 25 years, Bessie has raised her family alongside her farm workers, a community now on its third generation. Part of farm life involves the production of Bessie’s luxury mohair wraps and comforters. Every product is hand dyed and woven on traditional wooden looms, using skills passed down from mother to daughter. The continued stability of community life through innovative employment has enabled a school to be privately funded, ensuring all children at the farm have access to an education.


It’s ideal as a present this festive season, you should have seen my girlfriend’s eyes when she first saw it, and all she could say was: “Big, pink, woolly, lovely”. Not quite as eloquent as normal. The scarf is nice and warm and looks gorgeous. It did take a little getting used to though as she found the mohair slightly rough and a bit itchy around the neck to begin with but it’s worth the effort.

And you have the chance to win one! All you have to do is answer this question:
What is the NORMAL price of the scarf at Adila?

This will also sign you up for our free, short weekly newsletter (you can unsubscribe easily at any time, but must be subscribed when the competition winners are drawn to be in with a chance). If you are already a newsletter reader, then you still need to enter the form below to be in with a chance.

This competition is now closed, check our competitions page for open competitions.

The closing date is Wednesday 19 December.

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Product Review: BadBuster Browser Plugin

BadBuster is two things – an online search engine and a browser plugin. The difference is that is scores companies on their environmental credentials. I downloaded the free browser plugin which works in a similar way to the website. Instead of you entering a company’s name in the search box, the plugin underlines certain words on your web page – either in green, yellow or red – highlighting that there is an environmental rating for that company.


Hovering over the underlining brings up a box giving an environmental score out of 100 for that company and clicking the box leads you to the BadBuster website to find out more.

Simple stuff and pretty neat. It was easy to download and I didn’t even need to restart Internet Explorer, never mind my computer, for it to start working. It works for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 on Windows XP or Vista when I tested it but by the time you read this there should be a Firefox version and more in 2008.


The system works pretty unobtrusively, it does take some getting used to at first, having words underlined all over the place, but the traffic light colour coding is effective (red=bad, green=good, yellow=hmmm) and I found myself hovering and clicking through to find out more. BadBuster uses a 0-100 scale rankings based upon various sources include Climate Counts, BusinessWeek, KnowMore, and the Carbon Disclosure Project and also lets you compare the particular company with similar firms in the field.

All well and good. I found it quite nice, but not something I can’t live without. There’s the novelty concept and the fact I’m interested in the environment, however I’m not sure how useful it would be for the average user. The BadBuster website is a handy resource for people who want to find out more about a company to make their business/shopping choices based on their environmental rating so having it on every webpage only saves a bit of time. For the moment I’ve left it on my computer to see if I don’t mind all the colours and pop-ups, otherwise I’m taking it off and will just search using the website if I want to learn more.

Product Review: Recycline Preserve Razors

To give them their correct (and unweildly) title – Preserve Razor Recyclable by Recycline – are recycled razors. While with their bright colours and plastic handles they look like disposable razors, they are in fact anti-disposable razors and while light and similar to say a Bic razor, the blade pops off and you can add a replacement. In fact you can buy just the blades separately here as well which fit some other manufacturers’ handles.

The come in a pack of four which may seem over the top, but I know how grubby handles can get over time so I’ve just stored the rest away from when I need them. Well, two of them – the other has gone to my girlfriend (see later).


So what’s different about these razors? Well the handles are made from 100% recycled plastic – mainly from yoghurt (or yogurt if you like) pots and once you’ve finished with it you can recycle it again. The manufacturer says anywhere who takes type 5 plastics will recycle it or they will do it themselves, provides address labels or you can request envelopes to send them back in and they’ll make them into picnic tables. Lovely. Same with their toothbrushes and tongue cleaners (my tongue is fine thank you very much). No mention of the actual blades though.

But the important thing with a razor is whether it works or not. And here’s the thing, I have a beard. It’s only a short one though so I considered shaving it off to test it. I have only had the beard for 18 months and have shaved it off twice so do have considerable experience in shaving, but there’s the itchiness involved with growing it back and I didn’t fancy it. So I cheated instead.

The test for men
Well not cheated exactly, but shared the wealth and asked someone else to do it. Rob duly obliged. Happy to have something for free and willing to give almost anything a go, he shaved to his heart’s content. And you know what? He loved it. Shaving is a solitary pursuit but I was there before and after his first shave. He has two razors he uses normally – a flashy one with a metal handle and expensive blades, and a rigid disposable one which he uses more often. While the Preserve razor looked more like the disposable one but bigger, it was much lighter than the ‘proper’ razor so I was interested to see which he preferred. And I was surprised with the results.

He loved the Preserve one. In fact, he said it was the nicest shave he had ever had! And “I only cut myself once, and that was my fault”. Not sure what he was doing but it’s good to hear. Despite being made of one piece of (recycled) plastic, the Preserve razor offers a lot of flexibility and comfort. Even disposables have the soothing strip on these days, but this seemed a bit better and cut with ease.

After five minutes of Rob talking about it, I thought maybe he’d had too much and was tempted to take it away from him. But razors need to be used over and over so I left it with him to get a longer-term opinion. And he still likes it a few weeks later. One happy customer.

The test for women
Legs this time. While I could have tested this myself, I’m not a cross-dresser or a cyclist, so left this to the girlfriend. Sadly she wouldn’t let me take pictures to put up but I assure you she did use it. I know this because she cut her knee open and I had to get up off the sofa to see what all the noise was about. However it turns out it was user error, rather than the razor’s fault, and the rest of her legs were silky smooth.

She’s used it a few times since and likes the fact it’s light and shaves as well as her well-known brand multi bladed razor and as it’s better for the environment she’ll be using the other wones too.

Thanks again goes to Nigel’s Eco Store for supplying them, you can buy the razor and spare blades here and just the blades here if you’re in the EU. For the rest of the world, try

Product Review: Simply Sensitive Non Biological Washing Powder


I’ve recently been testing Aquados’ Simply Sensitive Non Biological Washing Powder – a new detergent and the first in the UK to be awarded the EU Eco Label (there’s a bio version too). A box of 30 tablets was sent to me by Emma from Nigel’s Eco Store (more on them later) and I was promised a nicer smell to my washing than Ecover which I normally use along with their softener (I have a five litre tub of the stuff).

The immediate advantage over Ecover which will appeal to many people is that it’s in tablet form. Two tabs in each wash uses “50 per cent less than a typical big box equivalent, and 36 per cent less than ordinary washing powder”. All the ingredients are biodegradable and even though they come in a plastic tub, it is recyclable.

So onto the washing. I resisted writing this after doing the first wash as according to the other half I’m a bad clothes washer as I put too many clothes in (although I disagree). But the two tablets coped remarkably well, everything was nice and clean – a job well done.

However, I was looking forward to a nicer smell, so the second wash involved less clothes. Two tablets are far smaller than the amount of powder I normally use so I was already happy. But along with the smaller wash, came the nicer smell – lovely.


There’s no much else you can write about a washing machine powder, the important thing is whether it works or not and it certainly does. I do like Ecover, but it’s nice to have an alternative and the convenience of the tablets make it a winner.

A tub of 30 tablets costs £3.49 and is available at If you don’t know anything about the store and are wondering what it’s all about, I’ve copied some details below:

About Nigel’s Eco Store
We set up Nigel’s Eco Store because we wanted to do something positive.
We were, and continue to be, inspired by eco friendly products and ideas that solve environmental challenges, and yet are still fun, functional and desirable.
In our searches for new eco products to add to our range, we love things that use less energy, re-use materials, don’t pollute, or that are natural and organic, and compared to non-eco alternatives, do the same job, and look and feel just as great – or better!

When you choose something eco friendly, you get a double benefit; you love it (we hope) and you’re moving towards sustainability, which means it’s better for everyone, and the planet.

We’re constantly looking for new and innovative, environmentally friendly, natural and organic and feel-good products, and make them easier for you to have and own, so we can all make this move towards environmental sustainability.

And so Nigel’s Eco Store was born: the stuff we sell means that you can choose to live in a more sustainable way, and so make a positive contribution to a better and brighter future.
This is what Nigel’s Eco Store actually does:
• We provide practical, functional and beautiful eco friendly, natural and organic products that you can buy right now, at reasonable prices
• We make eco choices easier
• We carefully select the eco products we offer from the best of what’s available
• We give you ideas, information and inspiration to be more eco-friendly
• We help you make good buying decisions
• We make it easy to shop and buy environmentally friendly

Lovely eh? We’ve started a Review Centre where we’ll be adding all our reviews, so if you want something reviewed, or have something you want us to take a look at, let us know.