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I got to know jillian michaels during her time on biggest loser. I love her no nonsense approach, I would love (although prob hate at the time) to have her as my personal trainer.
She has a range of exercise DVDs but I was attracted to this one as it promises to help you lose weight, up to 20lbs in 30days through 20minute workouts. Like everyone else these days I have a busy life and a promise like that which requires only 20mins of my time was definitely appealing. I am quite sceptical of such promises but that said this is a good workout.
It might sound hard to believe but this 20mins routine is actually rather hard work. Just to give the review context, I am by no mean fit and to be honest often lack the dedication to stick to a regular workout routine, so I did this DVD from an coach potato starting point. That said I was really surprised that in 20mins I could get that worked out hard feeling. Also by how much i ached the next day after my first go-jillian defiantly makes sure you feel it!
Jillian divides her workout with her 3-2-1 interval system. Which translates into a strength interval, a cardio interval and an abs interval which are repeated throughout the workout. Jillian packs it in during the 20mins, stating quite rightly you can't work out for just 20mins and slack off. There are 3 different routines which get progressively harder on the DVD, the idea being that you work through them as you progress. I have done the first and second levels but haven't been brave enough to try the toughest just yet.
Her routines are simple and easy to follow. The cardio involves the old classic of the Jumping jack- which I forgot can really tire you and in jillians hands becomes rather tortuous! About half way through you do wonder how you could only have been doing this for 10mins! I am not good with complicated routines so like (and hate at the time) her more military style.
Overall, I think that this workout is challenging and you def feel it the next day. I have heard others describe it as torturous and I would not disagree but then no pain no gain as they say. Also has it is only 20mis it is easier to get our head round and force yourself through. I would recommend this DVD to a friend with a warning to be ready for sore muscles the next day.
I bought this product when I spotted that it offered the crackle effect pioneered by a well known nail brand for a fraction of the cost.
In terms of packaging it looks like any other Barry M nail polish, a rectangular clear bottle which shows of the colour and a black lid, which is decorated with a crackle effect. A small label around the bottles neck explains how the crackle polish should be used in a concise and clear manner.
Basically, the product aims to help you create a two toned nail colour. You just paint your nails as normal with a different polish and wait for it to dry. You then paint this product over the top in a single coat. I am not sure exactly how it works but some of the Barry M crackle painted on top disappears, allowing you to see the polish below, creating a crackled effect. To get the best result be careful not to go over the same bit of nail twice with the crackle coat as the effect is disturbed.
I was quite excited by this product but to be honest I don't really like the effect. I am not sure if this is products fault (as I have not tried another brand) or my personal taste. I just found that my nails looked messy and not like time and effort had gone into making them look nice. I bought the pink version of this product thinking it would add cool colour to black nails. Maybe a black crackle polish over colour would have looked better.
When I have worn it, I haven't been overly impressed by it's staying power. I am not one who can keep a manicure perfect for long but I found this products life on the nail was below average in comparison to others. Which given the price is maybe to be expected.
The price is this products key attraction mine was only a few pounds so it is great way to try crackle nail polishes without having to splash out on an expensive version. Barry M can be bought in Superdrug.
My cat came to me via a local rehoming centre which informed me she was an indoor only cat, I have offered the opportunity for her to head outside but she seems to prefer the security of four walls. As such I was attracted to the GoCat complete for indoor cats to make sure she wasn't missing out on anything she needed to be healthy. I feed this to my cat in addition to pouches of wet cat food and she nibbles on it throughout the day.
It is a dry catfood product which comes in a couple different flavours and a number of different size boxes/bags. I find the cardboard box easy to store and the packaging is fully recyclable which is always good.
It promises hairball control, litter odour control and weight control for indoor cats. I have found that on the whole it lives up to these promises. My cat does not really suffer from hairballs (although I don't know if this is just a result of the product) and I have found that her litter is less smelly when she eats this. Although it is by no means smell free!
In terms of weight control, I find it hard to comment as I tend to just pour some into her dish as needed rather than measure it out to the recommended guidelines which are clearly and helpfully marked on the box. That said my cat is not over weight and tends to just nibble of the dry food when hungry.
I like the product itself as it doesn't really have a strong smell and can easily be poured from an opening in on the side of the box. Although somethimes it pours a little too quickly, so would recommend caution when dishing out a newly opened box.
My cat loves this product and will not eat any other brand of dry catfood. It is not as cheap as the non-premium brands but I have found it is often on offer in the supermarkets so a good buy can usually be found. The bigger bags in particular are usually the best valuable, however I tend to stick with the 950g box as I worry my small cat won't get to the bottom of anything bigger before it goes stale.
When my last contract ran out I decided to make the move to a smart phone. I considered an Iphone but I was attracted to the Samsung Galaxy as it promised the same features for a fraction of the cost.
The phone itself is very sleak and much lighter than the newest iphone weighing only 116 grammes despite being bigger in dimension. The screen is large and fills almost the whole front of the phone, which is great for web surfing etc. It is a touch screen system with a few additional to support commonest functions, such as get you back to the home page, adjust the volume, lock the screen, bring up additional options and go back to the previous screen. There is also a camera lens on the front to compliment the 8.0meg camera on the back. I haven't printed any of the photos taken but they look of very good quality of the screen. Overall, I really like the way this phone looks and have had many complements.
It has the Android Gingerbread operating system which I have learned quickly and have found can be easily navigated. When you switch on the phone it offers a home screen which is made up of several pages which you can navigate between at the stroke of a finger. You can set what you like on each screen, allowing you to delete irrelevant standard apps and put you most used features on the first few pages. I have found this a great time saver.
You can do all the things you would expect likely easily check emails, facebook and the web. The phone even offers alerts when you receive a new email or facebook message in the way it alerts you to a new text message, which is useful, if in my opinion a tad overkill. It has wifi, GPS and Bluetooth and I am sure many more things, but I have used these three successfully and have no criticisms.
One feature I like is the buddy widget which is a button you can place on your home screen and program with the details of your contact. This allows you to quickly and easily text/call your favorite people without the need to go into the address book etc. It can even pull the photo from their facebook page through so you have a wee photo of them instead of the blank button. My only criticism of this feature is they have reset themselves to default a couple of times and I can't figure out why- which meaning I have to reset them to hold my contact details. I haven't yet figured out if this is a phone fault or my fault.
The Android store offers a huge array of apps which you can download to keep yourself amused.
One critiscism I have of the phone is that is that the battery life is not great, espciallly compared to my last non-smart phone mobile. That said I have found the power saving settings the phone offers useful in improving this slightly.
My drink of the year.
I discovered sloe gin on my 26th birthday when my friend and I decided we needed a new drink for a new year. The barmen suggested sloe gin and lemonade as one to try and I have been hooked ever since. Gordon's has always been the brand I have bought, not really sure why, tired it, liked it and decided to stick with it.
Firstly it is bottled on a simple clear glass bottle, the dark purple gin making it stand out from the other gins on the shelf next to it. Gordon's I'd written on the label and embossed/printed on to the glass bottle. The back gives you a bit of information about the liqueur and claims it is made from the finest sloe berries.
It is 26% alcohol so it is not the strongest spirit if that's important to you.
As for the taste it is lovely and fruity and not to heavy. I drink it with lemonade and it has a sweet fruity juice taste, with the taste of alcohol well masked, making it very easy to drink. It goes down very easily, too easily sometimes!
I found some quite nice cocktails in the gordons website recently and the sloe gin offers a different flavour to the cocktails then its clear counterparts. The sloe gin royal for example offering a simple way to mix up the classic glass of fizzy wine- just add sloe gin.
I picked up Rachel Allen' s book by chance in a book store having not seen her on tv and was intrigued by the recipes on offer. The book itself is soft (but quite sturdy) bound with a picture of Rachel Allen on the front standing in front of a giant mixer. The pink spine and lettering give it a feminine feel, although I am sure both sexes would enjoy the contents.
The book itself if divided into thirteen well titled sections which help guide the hungry reader to the right place. These include titles such as; 'easy entertaining', an indoor picnic, chilli night, Sunday brunch, boys lunch and children's birthday party. The recipes match the mood implied by the title rather nicely, for example boys lunch includes recipes such as steak sandwich, chicken wings and chocolate sauce,
The recipes in each section are listed in the contents page, which is handy feature when you want quick inspiration rather than having to flick through the whole book to find one recipe. One of my favourite sections is called 'vegetarian food for everyone' as it appeals to my desire to make a meal that everyone can eat rather than having to do a separate dish for veggie guests.
Each section is clearly marked with a coloured page which titles the section with a little cartoon/sketch and a quote from rachael setting the scene for the section. The coloured page aids easy navigation as they can be easily spotted when flicking through.
The recipes themselves are usually laid out one per page, the title of recipe titled in pink, the number served by the recipe in bold below. The recipe opens with a brief paragraph from Rachel telling you a bit about, offering serving suggestions etc. This is followed by a list of ingredients and then the method. I have on the whole found these recipes easy to follow and pretty successful. Not every recipe is pictured instead there are selection of pictures at the end of each section. I must say that those that are pictured do look rather yummy!
I won't bore with a list of ever recipe but to highlight a few:
~breadsticks- simple but good for a bit of impressing on the homemade party snack front. Includes lots of ideas for different flavours
~homemade burgers not that unusual but a nice recipe
~oriental broth. It really is simple comfort food.
None of the recipes are ideas totally new to me, but I like this book and it's recipes. I would recommend it.
I am a big fan of the Goodfood recipe website so picked up this book when I saw it. Firstly, the book itself is small, softbound with a glossy finish. It does not look as luxurious as the hardback recipe books produced by the celebrity chefs, but then this is a fraction of the price (£5) and you can't eat a fancy cover anyway.
The book opens with the usual conversion tables etc which some may find useful but I skip over, google is always there to answer such queries! The book is then divided into 6 sections entitled: simple suppers, main course, veggie-friendly dishes, pasta bakes, noodles and low-fat dishes. The sections are useful to a degree, although I usually prefer things to be divided by ingredient (eg Chicken/meat etc) for easy browsing and inspiration of what to do with contents of my cupboards- but the index does allow for this so it is not a major negative. Also although the page numbers of each section are listed in the contents page, the sections themselves are not clearly divided for easy flicking between them. In fact the only indication that you have reached a new section is a small note of the chapter title in the footer of this page. I guess this was done to squeeze all 101 recipes into the book, but does make it slightly clumsier to browse.
The recipes themselves are given a page each and accompanied by a picture on the page opposite setting a delicious standard of cooking I usually don't reach. The pictures are one of my favourite features of the book as I like to taste by looking and I sometimes think you can get a sense of if you will like something by how it looks.The recipes are headed up by a brief description of the dish or a tip to make it better which vary in usefulness but are nice all the same. Beneath this are a list of ingredients and the step by step recipe instructions numbered in order. The page concludes with the nutritional values per serving of each recipe including the calories, grams of protein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, fibre and salt. I found this helpful when using this recipe while on a diet or Weight Watchers as it helped you make wise choices or plan for the bad ones.
The recipes themselves are varied- all using pasta or noodles of course. I like the veggie-dish section, as although I am a meat eater myself I often cook for veggie friends and like having dishes I can cook for everyone, rather than needing to cook two main courses. It has things I haven't tried but am intrigued by Pumkin Pasta for example- think will save that for October. Of the ones I have cooked I enjoyed the Two Cheese Lasgane with pesto the most, it was my first ever lasagne and the easy to follow recipe made it turn out quite well. Other recipes which caught my eye (or should I say stomach) to give you a flavour of the book Asparagus and Pepper Noodles- simple but yum! Rigatoni Sausage Bake and Spicy Prawn noodle soup. The recipes are not necessarily revolutionary or something out of this world you couldn't have thought up on your own, but they are nice real food recipes that you could eat after work which don't demand to many expensive and unusual ingredients.
Overall, I have found the book to be a good source of inspiration as I always have pasta in the house and sometimes want to vary what I do with it. I haven't always followed the recipes but find it provides ideas of new things I can cook with my pasta or twists on my standard fare. That said as the Goodfood website is so good, I don't know if you need to purchase the book. Although pasta sauce on a cookbook is far less stressful that pasta sauce on the ipad- so messy cooks may prefer.
I am a massive fan of nigella's cookbooks, I find they provide delicious recipes in a simple and easy to follow way. The domestic goddess book offers all this while taking into account the time constraints imposed on the modern cook, providing fab recipes that are amazing and practical to produce.
The book is split into sections by food type for easy searching and quick inspiration. The sections are: cakes, biscuits, pies, puddings, chocolate,children, christmas, bread and yeast, and finally the domestic goddesses larder.
Each section is opened by a couple gold pages of nigella's musings. There are lots of recipes in each section which usually open with a brief introduction from nigella, for example how she came to create the recipe or when it is best eaten. The style is relaxed as if she is chatting to you over the kitchen table and I enjoy reading this part and taking ideas from it. Next there is a list of ingredients, followed by the recipe. The recipe is written in a prose style rather than numbered steps. However, I found them easy to follow as they are set out in a nonsense here's what you need to know fashion.
The recipes range from cupcakes, cheesecakes and key lime pie to savoury pies, mulled wine, brown bread and jams.
The back of the book hosts a convenient index which is useful and easy to use.
The proof of any cookbook must of course be in the pudding or the final creation and nigella really does deliver. Her chocolate brownies are divine and now by baking staple when I need to take cakes to work/parties etc. The recipe us easy to follow and the ingredients are all easily sourced at my local shop.
My only critiscism would be that there is not a picture of every recipe, I like having a visual image to aim for or a guide that it has all gone wrong!
I bought this product a while ago when I felt exfoliation was missing from my facial routi e. I was attracted to this product, firstly because it was cheap and I have had positive experiences with simple products in the past.
The product is packaged functionally in a sleek green tube which sits on the li, making the product easy to squeeze out. The lid snaps shut and I have had to product escaping at inconvenient moments.
It claims to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin bright. It is recommended to be used once a week for normal or dry skin and twice a week for oily skin. have dry skin so apply once a week and have been pleased with the result. I apply a small amount to my finger tips and rub on in circular motions. It needs to be washed off after application and I find it easiest to apply in the shower for easy wash off. The product itself is White in colour and contains small rice granules which feel effective in removing dead skin. It has no scent as advertised on the bottle. I enjoy the way it feels when I put it on my skin, I feel like I am removing the bad stuff with a nice product.
Since I have been using it I have noticed less dry patches on my skin. I have also had no adverse reaction to the product.
I would recommend this product to a friend.
I bought this moisturiser after trying it at a friends house and it is now my new staple. It is packaged simple in a White tube with blue lettering. I like the tube as it fits easily into my makeup bag. The lid is a flip clip which snaps securely and unlike screw top or pump action bottles I have never had any moisturising accidents after chucking it in my handbag.
The moisturiser itself is very effective, it claims to be refreshingly soft moisturising cream and I agree! I use just over a pea size amount, (maybe a pea and a half!) to cover my whole face. It smoothes over the face and relieves that dry tight feeling my skin sometimes has. It does take a few minutes to soak in, I tend to apply it, do something else then do my makeup. I have quite dry skin which this helps combat it creating a nice base for the application of my makeup. It contains vitamin e and jojoba oil. It does not have a strong smell, in fact it is almost scentless, which I like in a face cream.
Overall, this is a great product with a very attractive price tag! I can't think of any disadvantages....um... It does contain lots of artificial ingredients which might put some people may not like.
Bought this product as part of a no7 3 for 2 offer. I had never used a night cream before but was intrigued to try something that would improve my skin while I sleep.
It us in a simple glass pot with a light pastel green lid, with no7 printed on top in gold. The pot is not overly glamourous but I would nt be ashamed to have ut on my dressing table.
It is a light and creamy product which glides into the skin and gives quite good coverage with a small amount of product. It smells like standard moisturiser, so wins no extra points in that category. I will say it takes a while to sink not the skin and you can still feel the product on the surface a good few minutes after application.
No7 claim the product will be firming, replenishing to reveal younger looking skin. I did find the product moisturising and I liked the way it made my skin feel. It also helped my skin appear less dry and my makeup look better the next day. I am not sure if it made my skin feel younger though, but than as yet I don't have many wrinkles to hide. I do have quite sensitive skin and experienced no problems with this product.
I am usually a sucker for Highend makeup but picked this up recently after reading reviews and really like it and it's price tag!
The mascara is unique in that it has two caps, which unscrew individually to reveal two different kinds of mascara brushes. One brush which lengths the lashes and one which creates volume. The lengthening mascara creates a lovely defined eye lash which creates a day time eye. It does not lengthen to the extreme although no false lash effect here. The volume brush creates a more evening or dramatic eye. I loved this product while on holiday as it met all my mascara needs for day and night in one product. I also found if I used the volume brush followed by the lengthening one, I could create a really nice and 3rd mascara look.
The mascara lasts well, altho does fade throughout the day. It is easily removed with makeup remover.
the packaging is nice, but nothing special. A sleek black tube with a splash of pink on the lid.
Hand food is a great hand cream which really moustiurises and nourishes the skin. I discovered this after a recommendation from a YouTube beauty guru and am so glad I did. It is exceptionally well priced and comes in a variety of sizes, I have the 24ml which lives a happy life in my hand bag. I have mildly dry hands and I find this instantly hydrates and stops my hands feeling dry and tight. The packaging is pink and a wee but quirky like most soap and glory products.
The hand cream itself smells lovely, like the coco mademoiselle perfume. The label says it contains Shea butter (which you can feel when you put it on) macadamia oil and marshmallow. The ingredients list reveals the usual host of artificial ingredients and chemicals, but they create a product which really works and I will be buying again.
It is a thick and creamy consistency which rubs in easily and doesn't linger to long on the surface, so you avoid that lasting sticky feel. You don't need a lot of the product for soft hands and my little bottle has lasted ages.
As the bottle states it is fabulous!
I am officially in love with my iPad. Originally I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, but I am officially converted! It is a lovely sleek tablet that is expectionally easy to use. Anyone who has used an iPod or iPhone will instantly know how this works, those that haven't will learn quickly. The on screen keyboard is easy to use once you get use to it, although the autocorrect spell checker is a bit o proactive! The operating system utilises the best of apple with an array of apps available from iTunes providing lots of opportunities to have fun with it. The app sties also offers many practical apps for life essentials from banking to shopping.
The instant on is also a wonderful function, no more waiting for a pc to load or regretting switching your laptop off before you check that one last thing on the net. The battery life is long lasting and the charger itself is light for charging up on the move. The iPad is light and fits easily not my handbag.
There are two cameras one on the front and one on the back. Making video calling easy to use and set up. I will say the picture is not of the mos brilliant quality, the end result a bit grainy, but is useful for quick snaps to email on etc.
I think this is L'occitane's best selling product and it deserves its reputation. It come packaged in a simple silver tub and black screw top. It comes in varying sizes from 30ml travel size (ideal for handbags) to a big 150ml tube. Its made with 20% shea butter which is designed to nourish and soften.
To use simply squeeze some hand cream out (like toothpaste) and massage a small amount on to your hands. I read somewhere that you should apply to the backs of your hands first as your palms are better able to moisturise naturally. Its smells quite nice, not overtly feminine so I think a man could use this product.
I don't find you need a huge amount to coat your hands. It goes go on smoothly and I think feels rather nice during application. It soaks in quite quickly even though its a rather thick cream so doesn't leave you with a lasting greasy feeling. It has an instant effect in terms of sore dry hands and I have found if I use it regularly my hands remain lovely, soft and moisturised.
You seem to be able to buy this product everywhere and I have seen some good deals on QVC. I often include it as a wee extra gift for female/friends relatives and it is always well received.