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Last year I decided to get off my flabby, lazy backside and attempt to get a beach ready body, but having been a couch potato since pre-adolescence and too self-conscious to go to the gym or go jogging in public, I was very stuck for workout ideas. After browsing various healthy lifestyle websites and blogs, I noticed a lot of before and after photos were tagged with "30 Day Shred", so I went and researched it. I found Level 1 available (legally) for free on Youtube under the BeFit channel, got changed into my designated workout clothes and went for it. I was so impressed that I ended up getting the entire DVD, worked out everyday for 30 days, lost some weight and gained some toned biceps and buttocks! The 30 Day Shred workout involves doing a 20-30 minute workout everyday for 30 days. There are three Levels (1, 2, 3), each one harder and more intensive than the last, and you do each level for 10 days. The Levels all follow the same formula: There are 3 circuits per Level, each circuit cycles through a cardio, strength and abs exercise twice and there is a warm up and warm down at the beginning and end of the video. The idea behind cycling through the different exercises (muscle confusion) is to make different parts of your body work throughout the 30 days because if one part continually does the same exercise, the muscles there stop adapting as there is no change, thus training becomes ineffective and you see your results plateau (no more weight loss, less muscle building, etc.) The exercises vary from jumping jacks (cardio) to moving push ups (strength) to pike crunches (abs), each Level has something new to do and becomes increasingly gruelling to get through as it ramps up the difficulty to force your body to change in a short amount of time. It's advisable to have a bottle of water, a towel handy and no one to fight for washing facilities with afterwards. Hand weights are needed to complete the workout exercises and although I did end up with pretty nicely toned arms, I have knocked a star off for needing equipment as not everyone has a sister who never took all her stuff with her when she moved away. There are a lot of squats and jumping (called pylometrics, great for toning the thighs and bum), therefore it's not recommended for people with bad knees or bad backs and it is vital to listen to Jillian Michaels on how to use the correct form in order to prevent injury. Some of the movements are given alternative "easier" versions, such as doing push ups on the knees, but these aren't offered for knee breakers like the jump training. I felt my knees starting to go in Level 2 during the back and forth lunges with weights, with no alternative movement for that I had to either grit my teeth and hope my knees held or just stop and wait for the next exercise (mind you, I'm only twenty something with no prior physical problems), another reason for me to only give it 4 stars. After the first day, you will wake up aching all over but you're going to have to suck it up and continue working out. The muscle pain will disappear toward the end of Level 1, reappearing after you begin tackling Level 2 and same thing again with Level 3. The pain is good, the pain means you've been working hard! Doing the same workout 10 days in a row does get boring around day 7 but stay with it, the next Level is due soon. If you stick with it for 30 days and eat healthily (you can't out train a bad diet) all your hard work will pay dividends, not only in the form of fat loss and muscle toning, but being much fitter in general. You'll realise this next time when you aren't out of breath after running for the bus or feel just fine after climbing three flights of stairs because the lift isn't working. Best of all though, is when you revisit the first Level video and it isn't as difficult to get through as you remember, in fact you just breeze right through it and wonder if you should do another one simply because you aren't tired. When I'm too busy to do a full Insanity video, I don't mind doing a quick Shred instead just to keep in shape. It's so quick yet I feel like I've done a good workout every time. I recommend this as a starter workout for those looking to begin their healthy lifestyle.
Any guinea pig owner will come to realise that their beloved little furballs have food preferences just like us and this can cause a fair bit of frustration when we end up buying treats that they sniff and ultimately turn their backsides to. I found these treats when I was doing my bimonthly online shop at Pets at Home and I wanted to buy £30 worth of stuff in order to get free delivery. I typically round it up by buying a small treat for the fusspots to try (some of which the pigs never took to, sigh!) and I thought this one seemed pretty different. The price changes a lot, another review here says he got it for £1.39, the price currently listed on the site is £1.50, though of course it can be lower when there are promotions. The Rollinis are little hard balls that contain cereals, derivatives of vegetable origin, vegetables, sugar hawkbit, honey and 6% fruit. It also contains added Vitamin C but be mindful that Vitamin C degrades quickly in warm temperatures. The analytical contents as stated by P@H are: Protein 7.5%, Oils and Fat 2.5% (min), Fibre 4.4% (max), Ash 3% and Moisture 18% (max). As the above indicates, the rollinis are somewhat high in sugar and oils but free of dodgy additives, so I only share a treat between my pigs about once a month (I hold one between my thumb and forefinger as they eagerly nibble around my digits, it tickles and it's so cute! Plus I like to think I'm bonding with them when I do that.) I'm very happy with my purchase, I didn't expect my pigs to enjoy it so much considering all the other failed products that I wasted money on. I'll definitely be buying these whenever I need to fill up my basket and I'd recommend that you try them too if you're looking for something new for your wiggly pigs.
The skin on my body is very dry and can look like a cracked desert landscape at the end of the day, very unpleasant. Showers and baths also leave my skin feeling uncomfortably tight and to combat this I always moisterise my entire body after washing. As a result, I like to try different lotions to see which ones I find most effective. Endless Moisture is a range of lotions produced by E45, a company that I personally feel makes really good moisterisers that are sadly a little too thick, greasy and heavy for me. However, this is not the case with Endless Moisture Daily Care Fragrance Free Body Lotion (what a long name). On the back of the 300ml pump bottle it says "Light weight - Quickly absorbed - Non greasy - Hypoallergenic - Fragrance Free" in bold letters, and from my experience it is all true, thus making this one of the best lotions that I have ever had the pleasure to purchase and use. The lotion is like watered down milk (no fragrance at all), very unlike the usual E45 creams. It squirts out of the pump (get ready to catch) and if you're not careful it can spill everywhere as it is so watery. When I'm reaching down to do my legs one or two drops of the lotion splatter onto the floor, though not enough to feel that I'm wasting it. One squirt is enough to do both my arms and a little of my abdomen with two more squirts for the legs and whatever is left of my torso, so a little lotion can go quite far for me(I'm only little). It spreads easily and does not leave a smelly, greasy film on the skin. It is absolute luxury for me without the added cost of gimmicky vitamin E, etc, which I don't even believe works. After 24 hours my skin still feels and looks hydrated. No one will be mistaking my skin for a dry desert anymore! The price of it is about £5, I can't fully remember the price at which I bought it though I most likely bought it when it was on offer. However, since this is such a good product, I won't mind paying full price.
When presented with Japanese animation, the average person on the street tends to say something along the lines of, "Oh, it's like the Pokémon cartoons", which does a great disservice to the vast range of animated Japanese films, and to Tokyo Godfathers. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles available and rated 12 as it has a spattering of violence and a few bits that may be deemed inappropriate for children, such as transvestites and a couple of non-sexual nipple shots during breastfeeding scenes The director Satoshi Kon sadly died in 2010 and he was also the director of Paranoia Agent and Paprika (both intriguing and visually stunning animations). Keiko Nobumoto, who was behind much of Cowboy Bebop and Wolf's Rain (both of which are greatly lauded) co-wrote the script to this film. Just so you know, Tokyo Godfathers was not made by talentless nobodies. It may be animated, it may be humorous, and it may be touted as a Christmas film, but this masterpiece is absolutely not an idiotic cringefest (you know, the type associated with festive comedies). Interestingly, unlike Western seasonal films, it doesn't force random Christmas themed things at you (the setting is a snowy Tokyo but that just makes it more winter-themed) so it's a film that can be watched any time in the year. Don't be put off by the fact that it is animated, the artwork is among the best that I've ever seen, the backgrounds and characters are exquisitely detailed and coloured, and the movement of the characters are fluid and natural. In addition the voice acting (which is an actual profession in Japan) is believable as the true voices of the characters whilst the directing keeps the scenes dynamic and absorbing. All these work to make an immersive film that doesn't lose anything for not being live-action. The story follows three homeless people who have banded together: a crotchety alcoholic named Gin, a melodramatic transvestite called Hana, and Miyuki, a petulant young runaway. On Christmas Eve they discover a baby that has been abandoned in a rubbish heap along with a numbered key, which sparks the beginning of their adventure to restore the baby to its birth parents. Along the way, snippets and flashbacks of their past are revealed, developing these two dimensional drawings into emotive individuals that dare to hope despite their troubled pasts. I found myself irresistibly rooting for the characters throughout their many trials and upset by how the unimportant extras that make up the homeowners and shopkeepers of this animated Tokyo treat the homeless unfairly. However, the trio often banter with each other, thus retaining a lighthearted atmosphere that treats us to an intimate perspective of the strong bonds that keep the unlikely three together and keeping us this film from becoming a melancholy tale. A lot of things happen in the film, every step the protagonists take adds another layer to the plot as all sorts of themes such as regret, despair, hope and faith are subtly explored with each character. A lot of emotions will be elicited from the viewer since this film is not about the three stooges knocking on various houses and there aren't any slapstick "But I don't know how to change a nappy!" moments. I don't want to give any spoilers, but towards the ending the events take a very dramatic turn and there is more to simply returning the lost child than the homeless trio initially expect. It did make me holding my breath. It is such a great film that ultimately left warm, fuzzy feelings inside me that I regret not being articulate enough to write a better review. This film is available to watch for free (legally) on the free films channel on Youtube, it is (to my dismay) listed along with cheap B-movies and straight-to-DVD films, but of course, you can now expect nothing but good things from Tokyo Godfathers.
I found L'oreal Triple Active Day Multi-Protection Moisteriser on offer and decided to treat myself to this promising looking item instead of buying the cheapest product on the skincare shelves as I usually do. The box had soft, subtle colours, suggesting a moisteriser that would be gentle on the skin and I personally preferred the simple looking design as I felt that I wasn't paying more money for the packaging but for the quality product inside. A little to my disappointment, the little white jar inside the box only contained a measly 50ml of moisteriser, but of course, luxury goods like to come in small amounts. Triple Active Day is aimed towards normal and combination skin and although I consider myself to have oily skin, the product didn't cause any adverse effects nor did it exacerbate the problems that I have with my skin type. I always use a facial wash in the morning which leaves my face squeaky clean but a bit on the dry side, and I treat this with a moisteriser. The Triple Active Day absorbed quickly and left my skin feeling silky and hydrated in the mornings, I didn't even need to use a lot as it spread very smoothly over a lot of my face. I didn't find it heavy or greasy at all and it held eyeshadow and both kohl and liquid eyeliner very well, even without a foundation. The moisteriser was ever so lightly scented, which sat well with me as I'm not one for heavily fragranced creams, and I couldn't smell it at all after application. At the end of the day, I would still be able to feel the silky layer on my face, protecting my pores from the city pollution and it washed off easily without any need for soap. I didn't feel that I was anymore radiant with the added Vitamin E and ceramide, but I was glad for the UV filter as I'm quite concerned about the damaging effects of sun exposure. These extra ingredients clearly add to the price but I don't feel the radiant ones are justified since I didn't perceive any difference even after using the whole jar. Overall, I was happy with the quality and if I ever find it on offer again I would buy it; I'm just not prepared to pay full price for such a small jar. I gave it 3 stars here, but it's more of a 3.5.
I like to buy bags of Burgess Excel Herbage to complement the generic stuff supplied by pet stores because these Burgess packs contain Timothy Hay, which is thicker than the other hay types available and therefore better for guinea pigs to wear down their continually growing teeth. I'm sceptical about the claims for better urinary tract health and immune system with the added Dandelion and Marigold but one of my pigs absolutely adores eating the flowers and the fluffy green things, so for me the added benefit is her enjoyment of it. The quality can vary but it's generally good. If it's a good bag, the hay is a lovely verdant green and looks like an oasis when placed on the brown, stringy, everyday hay. There aren't 'bad' bags, but there are bags that aren't as green as the 'good' bags. Despite that, they're still an improvement on the cheap bedding hay and eagerly hoovered up by my pigs. I mostly get the packs in 1kg for £5.00 each and I can't find any reductions with bulk buying, the only times I can get a deal is when Pets At Home do rare 3 for 2 promotions, so the product can make a bit of a hole in the designated piggy fund. As a result, I ration out a handful or two 3-4 times a week but the pigs go wild once they hear the bag rustling so I'm not about to give up buying it.