Hi I'm 30, live in N. London, England.. When I first started shaving in my teens I used a Wilkinson Sword protector cartridge for about a fortnight and then, realising how overpriced they are, various disposables (Bic orange handle single, Gillette Blue II, mostly various supermarket bic copies) for another 15 years. So for all of my adult life a swivel head .15p tesco disposable was my gold standard. I normally shave every third day, and used one disposable for each shave - normally thinning out with last times blade first and then a second pass with the new fresh disposable. I would normally make the lather out of shower gel in my hand. Recently the hairs have been getting thicker and the process feels more like hacking than shaving and my face has been irritated and raw particularly around the jaw and neck. I sometimes get dry bumps on the neck and this has been happening more and more, esp this winter. In the end, on thursday having known that its my shaving routine thats responsible for a long time I decided to plan.. Id never heard of DE shaving.. my Dad uses an electric which I tried and ruled out years ago and had never taken the time to use the internet to look into this ever before. Googling the product descriptions of some of the traditional shaving kit on amazon soon led me here. After a bit of look see I had my latest purchase and potential rough face solution narrowed down to either an EJ89 or a 34C... Though the only razor that I saw which jumped out at me and made we want to zoom in and admire was the merkur 1904 nickel gillette replica. I liked the handle a lot and it looked comfortable to hold, realising it was a similar price to the EJ but heavier, and by the manufacturer of the other one I considered -- I ordered it. Did consider getting a blade sample pack but having read these forums a fair bit and already erring towards getting just one good blade and then perfecting my technique before entering an experimental phase, I went for 100 med prep personna from westcoast. £25 shipped and from the honest sounding testimonials these seem like the shiz as some would say may as well benefit from others trial and error is my philosophy. One question - has anyone else in the UK or EU ordering blades from the US been asked to pay duty? Seems like a small package even 100 as they are so thin but if the value is marked on the declaration maybe they will try and get another 20% from me.. Anyway to the shave.... The postman rang my buzzer and the merkur 1904 arrives at 10, good job theres 2 days growth waiting to be seen to. I'm using a palmolive shaving stick (palmolive euro as you would say) and a cheap synthetic brush from a local chemist, razor loaded with the merkur sample blade from the box. Wow! I washed the 3 pieces, put the blade on and soaked the whole apparatus in hot water. The handle feels great and the whole object is so sturdy and there is so little to go wrong this feels like it will last 100 years. Did 2 passes in just about the same order and directions as I would with a bic, taking into account the different hair patterns - and trying to follow the general advice from here and elsewhere about technique, using the weight etc. So close and comfortable its amazing, took me a few mins to get my confidence but this is so much better than what I was doing before!! I love it. No nicks but on my neck there is a touch of rawness where I held the blade at a silly angle but thats how you learn. My face feels so fresh! So converted for life basically. Queued up ready to go in amazon is a badger-boar 404, mitchells lambfat soap block, and a cold pressed castor oil 100ml as I'm going to try the OCM as this forum has convinced me this along with my new shaving set up will solve my rough scratcy face problem once and for all. so thank you so much!!