HAD a bad cold lately? Able to breathe yet? No, neither can the rest of us. Rotten, isn't it? The cold has gone, but the malady lingers on, making you still feel horrible and blocked up. We swear that central heating makes it worse, but aren't tough enough to turn the radiators off yet.

And what makes it worse is all those cheery adverts promising to make you breathe more easily or un block stuffed-up noses. Do they work? Are they worth the money? We've been sniffing around...


OLBAS Inhaler £2.35 and VICKS Sinex Inhaler £3.49

Absolute "must-haves" by the bedside when you wake up in the night unable to breathe. One squirt up the nose and it's instantly better. The Olbas had a nicer smell - lovely whiff of eucalyptus. The only drawback with Vicks Sinex is that if you squirt too much it can go down the wrong tubes and you end up with a nasty taste in your mouth. But for instant temporary relief, these are the best. Olbas also do a nice oil which you can sprinkle on the pillow, not desperately effective, but it smells nice.

BOOTS Breathe Easy Pastilles, £1.65

Once the thin coating of sugar has worn off these, they tasted absolutely disgusting. Rock hard pastilles with the consistency and flavour of old welly boots. But they blast open the airwaves pretty effectively.

HALLS Mentholyptus, 44p

Good strong sweet which gave a little bit of temporary relief.

LOCKETS Extra Strength, 50p

Another sweet which gives good, if short-lived, relief. The soft centre is nice for tickly throats.



Very strong. An acquired taste though as they've made their director a millionaire, lots of people must have acquired it. Taste of liquorice and probably burn your airwaves into submission.

HALLS Cherry Soothers, 49p

Taste like a menthol version of gloopy cherry pie filling. But not very effective.

TUNES Strawberry, 43p

More like sweeties. Nice if you have a sweet tooth but don't do much for a blocked nose.

WRIGLEYS Air Waves, 35p

Powerful stuff, considering it's chewing gum. The initial blast of menthol is quite effective.


BOOTS Catarrh Tablets, £4.85

Certainly looked the right sort of colour. But tasteless. Not for immediate relief. Like all herbal remedies, probably need to be taken over a long period, by which time we would have given up and got some antibiotics.


Another long-term remedy, but we tried these for a week with no discernible difference at all.



Boiled sweets containing nice tangy orange and Echinacea - that's supposed to boost the immune system. They probably didn't do much good, but they tasted so nice that they cheered us up, which, when you're feeling lousy, is half the battle.

ONCE upon a time, Mother's Day was so simple - you bought your mum a bunch of flowers or a box of chocs and that was that. Now Mother's Day is getting much more ambitious and expensive.

The latest craze is for adventures. So you can send your mother whitewater rafting (£49) or driving a Ferrarri round a Grand Prix circuit (£99, both from Red Letter Days). Maybe she would prefer a Champneys midweek escape (£399, RLD), an Indian head massage (£49, WH Smith) or a fashion shopping experience (£99, WHS). Or powerboat driving (£175, RKLD).

But a bunch of flowers and a box of chocs seem a lot less complicated....

Red Letter Days: tel: 0870 444 7000. E-mail: enquiries 0845 601 2235.