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lindinha42

lindinha42
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Member since: 05.08.2010

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      11.07.2012 19:43
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      Not really the miracle I was hoping for

      I always love to try new cosmetic and skincare products. Despite having sensitive skin I can't help but try things when I should probably be using as little on my face as I can. When I saw this new product from Garnier in Boots, especially on an introductory offer, I had to try it--so many benefits in only one product seemed like a great idea.

      This Miracle Skin Perfector promises to pretty much be the only product you need. It is meant to luminate, protect skin with an SPF 15, moisturise, even skin tone and blur imperfections, and add a bit of mineral pigment. With a light texture it's meant to be usable on its own or as a primer for makeup and should improve the look of your skin instantly. Really, it's a tinted moisturiser with added benefits. It costs £9.99 at Boots, which is pretty reasonable since it serves so many different functions.

      I couldn't wait to try this product and put it on as soon as I got home. It comes in a plastic bottle with a flip top lid, and it's easy to dispense the right amount. The smell is fresh and lovely and I thought it felt great to apply. It goes on and blends really easily, and immediately my skin had a lovely glow without looking oily.

      For me, I have problem skin so it is definitely not enough coverage on its own. It's very, very sheer which is great for people wanting to enhance their good skin but not really for covering up very effectively. I decided, since it's mentioned that the product can be used as a primer, to add makeup over top.

      I let it try a bit and added liquid foundation, which I quickly decided wasn't the best way to go. With another primer I use, I find it gives a much better result with mineral powder foundation, so I figured I would try that the next time. When I did, I was definitely really happy with the result. I felt I looked really fresh and awake, and I was so pleased with how my skin looked.

      Unfortunately, my excitement over this product would definitely not last. By the end of the first day I wore it I had broken out a lot. I admit that plenty of products have this effect, but I was really hoping this would not be one of them as I had initially liked it so much.

      I then thought perhaps it was just layering it with makeup--maybe it was simply too much product on my face. So one day when I was going out shopping and didn't feel like bothering with full makeup, I tried this on its own. I only had it on for a couple of hours and in that time my skin broke out again, a lot. I have since obviously had to stop using this product, which is a real shame. It's also put me off using any BB creams (so many have come out since the launch of this one), as I fear they will all be irritating to my skin.

      I have since seen that Garnier has brought out a sensitive skin version of this product, so I can only imagine I am not the only person who has had this issue with the original version. I am thinking about trying this, as I use Garnier skincare and I also think the original worked really well. Hopefully the sensitive version will be as effective while also not irritating my skin.

      Overall, if you don't have sensitive skin, I would recommend this product as it had great results. I can only imagine that these would increase on using it regularly. However, people with sensitive skin should definitely avoid the original version, although with me it's hard to tell which products will affect my skin that way and which won't, so perhaps not everyone will be affected the same way as me.

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      11.07.2012 19:18
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      Reduce and remove hair with this easy to use device

      I hate shaving, can't bear the pain of waxing and epilating, but obviously don't want to be hairy so I have always wished for a solution that would mean I could shave less, and go through less pain. IPL treatment is really expensive at salons and so as soon as I saw this product in a magazine I wanted it desperately.

      Although probably worth it over time (multiple salon appointments for this treatment would definitely add up quickly), the original price of about £400 was definitely beyond my reach. I would check from time to time if the price had gone down, and when I saw it on offer for £250, at a time when I had some Amazon vouchers to use, I had to go for it. At the moment, though, it's £350 on Amazon, which is admittedly very expensive.

      The Philips Lumea works on the basis of intense pulsed light, which is supposed to make the hairs fall out and eventually grow back in thinner and finer. This means that after some time of using it, shaving should be necessary a lot less often, so I was really excited to try the product. It's a handheld, white machine with a lavender stripe down the front. It has an on button along with an up/ down button to control the strength of the pulses. There is an LED display showing which setting it's on, as well as a green light which flashes while charging, and remains still when charged. This light turns orange during use when the battery starts to run low. The device filters out UV light so this doesn't reach the skin during use. It comes in a box with a very nice little storage pouch, the charger, a cleaning cloth for the window, a user guide, and a how-to DVD (which I haven't watched).

      Preparing to use it for the first time, it's important to check the chart with different hair and skin colours. In fact, this should be looked into before purchasing as not everyone can use this--women whose skin is too dark or their hair too light should not use this as it won't work and could actually burn your skin. This apparently has to do with the light being attracted to the pigment in the hair, and if that's not different enough to your skin colour it won't work (it also says that men shouldn't use the product, although I am less clear on why). Luckily I fall in the category that can use this product, but the chart still should be checked as it advises what setting to use it on. The helpful instructions that come with the product advise doing a test with on three different settings, and then checking the area the next day. The highest setting you've used without irritation is the setting you should continue on for that body part.

      The product can be used on legs, underarms, bikini line, and apparently there's now an attachment that makes it usable on facial hair. The directions state that for the first two months, it should be used on legs, underarms and bikini line every two weeks. After this period, legs should be done only every four weeks, while continuing with every two weeks for underarms and bikini line. I can get a little forgetful about when I've done it, which is a little annoying but not a huge issue.

      Before use, it has to be fully charged, as you should not use it while it's charging. This takes over an hour, and it doesn't really hold the charge if you charge it ahead of time, so using it does require a bit of planning. Then, shave really well, making sure not to miss any hair, because it can be more uncomfortable and can damage the machine to use it if there's any hair remaining.

      Using it is fairly easy. Simply press the application window (where the light comes from) against the skin, and once it's pressed all the way down the light will hold steady so it's clear you can press the button for the flash. All the little pressure points around the window have to be depressed at once, which is a safety measure so you can't accidentally flash it in your eyes or anything. Once pressed, there is a bright flash (I tend to look away even though apparently it won't damage your eyes when pressed all the way down), and pretty much no pain. It's a bit like a pinch and a sudden heat, but it's over in an instant and there's no lasting feeling.

      It's a bit difficult to know for sure if you're missing a bit, since it's not actually removing any hair as it goes, but I try to overlap each time with the last flash, and go up and down my legs in straight lines to minimise the chance of missing out anything. I do feel a bit like a contortionist some of the time, as getting the device in the right position on the back of my legs can be a little difficult, but overall it is fairly simple to operate.

      The frustrating part, though, is that the battery doesn't last very long at all. I can do just over half a leg at a time before recharging, which usually means three goes to get everywhere done. This means I'm using it for about 20 minutes at a time, and then with over an hour of charging time in between, planning to get this done can be a little difficult and it takes me most of the day. Obviously I do other things while it's charging, but I have to remember that I have another session to go. It would be much better to be able to get it all done at once.

      The results are good but not necessarily all I was hoping for. I was hoping not to have to shave in between uses, and I do even after 6 months of use. However I think I missed out a week in the initial two months, which may have been a problem, so I would definitely say stick to the advised schedule. I also must say that the hair is much thinner, finer, and is a bit patchy rather than everywhere which is a huge improvement. It makes the times I do shave much more pleasant and I'm not left able to see the hair still in my skin, which I could before. The hair on my legs has always been pretty thick and grew back very quickly, so this is definitely a great result.

      I also love that you are supposed to shave before the treatment, as one of the (many) reasons I've never liked to wax or epilate is that you have to let the hair grow to a certain length. The fact that this is pretty much pain-free is also a fantastic bonus.

      Obviously it's a shame that this method of hair removal isn't suitable for everyone, but if you do have the right hair colour, it's a very good product which I am pleased I bought. Unlike the dusty epilator I bought and used a couple of times a few years ago, I have actually kept up with using this and see no reason to stop. For a pain-free way to reduce hair regrowth, I think this is a great product.

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      11.07.2012 18:33
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      If you suffer from headaches or migraines, this is a great product to try

      I have always had frequent headaches, just about every afternoon, which I think are caused mainly by being at a computer all day and the fluorescent lights in my office. I also normally get migraines every couple of months, which are horrible and seem to occur quite randomly, I've never been able to work out a trigger I should avoid.

      Some time ago I was told that magnesium deficiency is a huge cause of headaches and migraines, and started taking magnesium supplements. This did help a bit, and I get fewer migraines than I used to, but it definitely was nothing compared to the difference I noticed using magnesium oil. I heard a few months ago that this was highly recommended for headaches and thought it would be great to try.

      Magnesium helps with the absorption of calcium, and apparently many people are deficient in it. If calcium isn't absorbed it can result in a build up instead which can cause problems. I'm not hugely clear on all of the science of it, but I thought it was worth a try.

      The oil is meant to be the best way to get magnesium as it is very concentrated and is absorbed very quickly through your skin. The BetterYou Magnesium Oil is available at Boots for £8.99 and is part of their 3 for 2 on vitamins and minerals offer. It comes in a 100ml spray bottle (which they say contains about 800 sprays), with a cardboard sort of half-box. Both the box and the bottle have useful information about using it, and about the benefits of magnesium. There is also a night-time version, although I have not tried this yet.

      For general health benefits, it's recommended to spray it over wet or dry skin and rub it in morning and night. The label also suggests using it for joint and muscle pain, by rubbing it into the area and keeping it warm. It also suggests using it to boost oral health by spraying it into your mouth while brushing your teeth. 10 sprays is said to contain 60% of your recommended daily dose of magnesium.

      I have continued to take my magnesium supplements as they aren't a huge amount per dose, and magnesium isn't really a supplement that has ill effects if you take too much of it. Apparently you can get a bit of stomach trouble if you take too much, but I've had no negative effects from taking both the supplements and using the spray.

      In the morning, I usually spray a few sprays into my hand and rub it over the back of my neck, upper back, and shoulders, as this is where a lot of the tension that likely contributes to my headaches seems to be. I have also had some lower back pain and so apply it to my lower back as well.

      The difference is incredible. In the two and a half months that I have been using the oil, I haven't really had any instances of my usual daily headaches. I have had a couple of headaches but they have been obviously caused by too much caffeine or being really overtired. This is a huge relief compared to having them every afternoon without knowing the reason. I also haven't had a migraine, and I usually get these about every month and a half.

      The lower back pain is usually eased quite a bit by using it as well, and when I forgot to apply it one day recently I had a headache in the afternoon and quite a sore back--proof, to me, of the difference this is making to me. When I got home from work that day I put it on the back of my neck and also on my temples, and the headache faded--often once I get one it lasts the rest of the night unless I take some Nurofen or something.

      I have also started using it when brushing my teeth, as I have always had on and off problems with them and I thought it couldn't hurt. I have to say, I would not recommend following the advice to "spray it in your mouth" when brushing your teeth, as I sprayed it straight on my tongue the first time and it was truly disgusting. Instead I put the toothpaste on my brush and then spray it a couple of times on top. That way the taste is much more manageable and I have gotten much more used to it. It's hard to say if this is having an effect but it's worth a try.

      The last couple of weeks I've also been putting it on my knees as I have some issues with them being a bit sore sometimes. It has also really helped here, and I couldn't be more thrilled that one little product can do so much good.

      Apparently the uses for this product don't end with the suggestions on the bottle either. I've read that this is great to add to a bath for muscle soreness, and is a good foot soak too for hard skin. Also, I read that it can be used to help clear up eczema, which I used to have. I do still have occasional flare ups and will definitely be trying this next time I do. I definitely plan to try this product for these additional uses as it has been so effective so far for the things I have tried it to deal with.

      There isn't really a downside to this product. On first application, it stings a bit, but once your magnesium levels are more stable it doesn't really sting anymore. It's also got a slightly oily feel but once it dries and soaks in, there's no oily residue left over. It does feel slightly unpleasant on my hands after I rub it in though, but I just wash my hands afterwards always and so it's not really an issue. It doesn't leave clothing marked or oily either, so you can get dressed pretty much straight after use. While it's quite expensive, the bottle is meant to contain about 800 sprays and one lasted me about two months, so I think it's pretty good value as well.

      This product has truly made me feel so much healthier and happier, as the headaches were very frustrating to deal with. I've recommended it to quite a few people I know as well, who have used it for relief from sports injuries and headaches, and have had great reports back from them too. I really recommend this for anyone who has joint or muscle pain, or frequent headaches. It's hard to believe that something so simple as not having enough magnesium in my system was causing me so much discomfort, and that the problem is so easy to solve, without being stuck taking painkillers every day.

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        11.07.2012 18:03
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        If you want to try Zumba or upgrade from the first game, this is a great buy

        Wii Zumba Fitness 2

        I absolutely loved the first Zumba Fitness game, and used it really frequently. However, I was desperate to also get this one ever since it came out, if only to have some extra songs. I wondered if it was really worth having two though, and put off buying it for quite some time. Finally a friend bought it and was so positive about it that I had to go for it. I bought it from Amazon for about £25.

        I have to say I am so, so glad that I finally got it a few weeks ago. There is almost nothing about this version that isn't far superior to the original. Really, the difference is amazing. As soon as you turn on the game (after doing the required software update), the improvement is noticeable, as even the menu looks better. It's easy to read and navigate, and you move through the menu by pointing the remote at the screen rather than with the buttons as you do in the original Zumba game. A real frustration for me with the first game was the legibility of the menus, as I don't have a massive tv (although it's not exactly tiny, either), and the colours of the background and font, along with the text size, made the menus really difficult to read, so I was pleased about this improvement.

        There are different levels of classes, as in the first game, but you don't have to play through in order to unlock them, which is great. Since I've already used the first game I was happy that I could go straight to a medium-length or long class when I started to play this one. They've also done away with the two sections (Zumba Class and Zumba Party), which makes perfect sense to me as I never really understood the difference on the previous game anyway.

        Before playing, first you have to set up your profile. Then you put on the belt that comes with the game (I am really pleased to have two now, as I am desperate to try to convince others to play it with me!), sliding the remote into the pocket that goes over your right hip. For it to fit, you need to remove the remote jacket, and it's still a bit snug. Better than it flying out halfway through your workout though! Make sure the belt is quite tight, too, as otherwise it can sort of swivel round. I noticed the other day that suddenly it wasn't recognising me as doing the moves correctly, and when I looked down I realised that the belt had swung so the remote was no longer over my hip.

        Once ready, you can either choose to learn the moves, do a single routine, or do a full length class. If you choose a class, you have the option of Short, Medium and Long classes, or the Custom Playlist. There are 10 classes in each of the three levels. As you scroll through the class choices it plays a little preview of a song featured in the routine, and you can see which location the class takes place in (there are five venues). The routines are also classified as either Medium or High Intensity, so there's plenty of choice. Then you start, usually with a lower-intensity song, building up through much higher-intensity ones, and then a nice slow cooldown song to finish.

        This is where the most difference in the game is, in the playing. The graphics are so much better it's incredible. Since the instructor is bigger and more lifelike than in the first version, you can actually see the moves so much better and have more chance of getting it right. They have also added visual cues--a little box to the right of the instructor, showing a figure performing the move that's coming up next. This makes it so much easier to catch on to the routines than in the previous version, which just had arrows indicating the next move. Since the moves are more complicated than just going left or right, I didn't find the arrows helpful at all, so the visual cues are a great addition here. This means that there is far less frustration in trying to learn the dances, even for someone like me (I do not catch on quickly to this sort of thing!)

        The settings for the various classes are also so much better with the improved graphics. Instead of an empty backdrop until you've scored enough points as in the first game, the background is full of dancers and scenery the whole time. Throughout the dances, the angle of the point of view changes from time to time so it isn't just a static, boring shot of the instructor doing the dance. This adds to the fun of the game, as well as making certain moves easier to see, and the colourful settings are also a really nice extra.

        Throughout each dance, your moves are scored, and next to a little icon indicating your player number it will flash up "Nice", "Hot" or "Zumba" to show how well you've done the moves. After accumulating enough correct moves, something called "Euphoria" kicks off. There are fireworks that go off around the screen and then the graphics go a bit hazy. I found this really fun and enjoy when it happens. In addition, there are five little stars along the bottom and as you perform correct moves, you get another star, so you can keep track of how you are doing.

        The music is really great too, there are of course a couple of songs I don't like as much as others, but I really like most of them. A lot of them are very fast paced and I think the routines are more challenging overall than on the first game. They are fun to do, especially as it is so much easier to catch on with the visual cues. Even the cooldown songs are much better--on the first game there were only two, one for Expert routines and one for the rest, and I found them boring and got annoyed always having to do the same ones. There are more than two on here, and they are more like dances with some stretching incorporated and so much more enjoyable to do.

        In each routine, you switch between the three different instructors, another plus for me. I prefer the styles of the two girls than the guy (I prefer the proper dance moves to the "play air guitar" and "nod your head around" type things), and so it's nice to mix it up. On the first I felt like I had to choose between doing more challenging routines for a better workout, or doing routines I enjoyed more, so mixing it up this way is really great.

        Once the whole routine is finished, you are presented with your score, a percentage of moves you've done correctly, and how many calories you've burned. The old version only featured a score, so even though I know the calories burned figure is approximate, it's still nice to see. I think that since this is a fitness game, it's important to get an idea of the fitness results gained by doing it. In addition, on the original version there was no way to view your past scores so I could never really remember if I had done better before or not. On this version, you can go to Statistics from the main menu and see previous scores for the various routines.

        In addition, by completing routines various bonus material gets unlocked. There are 26 awards which you earn by completing routines well, and there are 11 extras to be unlocked by earning the awards. These are behind-the-scenes videos, and to be honest I'm not hugely interested, but it's still nice to have extras on the game, and some people might really enjoy these.

        To view the various awards you can go to Progress Tracker from the main menu. This section is also where to find your previous statistics, such as scores, percentages, time played, and calories burned. The graphs for these can be viewed by day, week or month. I find this kind of thing on a fitness game to be quite motivating.

        The learn the steps section is also much better. On the original game, I only used this for a couple of minutes before giving up because I didn't find it helpful at all. Also the loading time between the steps was super slow and it seemed like a waste of time. This has addressed these issues. There are four dance styles represented (Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton and Merengue) and for each of them there are four common steps to learn. Each step is shown slowly, but by pressing the up button you can change to normal speed to continue practicing. I've tried out all of the steps and it was quite helpful.

        My favourite feature, though, is Custom Playlist. With the first version I would often do a short routine and then add on a few Single Routines for songs I really like, and always wished I could make my own routine. The inclusion of this feature on the new game is a huge added bonus for me, and it's super easy to use as well. You can scroll through the song titles, and as you land on each one it plays the song. The square tells you the style of dance, the location, and the level of intensity for the song. Simply click add and it will be added to the playlist, with each song being represented by a dot at the bottom of the screen. You can edit the playlists at any time, adding more songs, so what I've been doing is trying to remember the songs I liked in each routine I play, and then add that song to a playlist straight after. Otherwise it can be difficult to remember which dances I really enjoyed. Once your playlist is finished, you can choose it from the menu to play any time.

        The only thing I find slightly annoying is that between songs during routines can get a bit annoying as the instructor comes out and spins around and sort of plays to the crowd for a bit before each song, and does a similar kind of thing after each song. This provides a good opportunity to get your breath back and drink some water, but I definitely think it drags on a bit.

        The only way in which I prefer the first game is that it was easier to know how long the routines go on for. They were labelled as 20 minutes, 45 minutes, or the one-hour Zumbathon, and as you play there was a timer so you know how long is left of the song you're on. On this one there's nothing like that. The short seem to be about 20 minutes, the medium seem to be a bit longer than 45, and the long ones seem to be over an hour, but there's no way to tell for sure how long it will go on for or how long you have left. I find this slightly irritating, but it's a minor flaw really.

        I loved the first game, but now that I have this version I am not really sure I will be able to play it any more. I love some of the songs and dances, but this one is just so much more fun to use. I think it's great how the makers of the game must have really listened to customers when creating this version, and addressed pretty much every issue there was with the first one.

        For me, I really dislike running and I find going on the cross trainer or bike in the gym really boring, so Zumba is a much more fun way to get a cardio workout. It definitely works your legs loads, you're twisting around which must be good for your waist, and I usually work up quite a sweat doing it. I am so much more motivated to exercise when it's something I really enjoy, and so for me this is the best cardio I can do. Having the two games has also made me a bit more confident about doing it, so I have also started going to a Zumba class at my gym, something I was quite nervous of doing before. Zumba is super popular at the moment for a very good reason; it's so fun and you really don't have to be perfect at it to have a great time and a great workout. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to work out without really feeling like that's what you're doing. I look forward to using playing this in a way I definitely don't with most exercise!

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          11.07.2012 17:41
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          A fun and convenient way to fit yoga into your day

          I have recently started going to a yoga class, despite always thinking it wasn't really for me. I'm not really that flexible, and the meditation aspect always put me off. I thought I would try it once at my new gym though, and have become a bit obsessed! There's actually a lot more strength involved than I ever realised and also, it would be great to improve my flexibility. I decided I would like to be able to do it more than once a week, and since I have enjoyed the rest of the 10 Minute Solution series so much, this DVD was the natural choice for me.

          Like the whole series, there are five 10 minute workouts on the DVD to be used together as one long class, or separately. I think this is a great idea, and while it's nice to use just one and still feel like you've had a workout, the DVDs are so enjoyable that I usually use more than one section every time I use it. This one, like a couple of other 10 Minute DVDs, is presented by Lara Hudson. She's upbeat without being irritating and is great at giving little modifications to exercises.

          This DVD features Yoga Basics, Yoga for Buns & Thighs, Yoga for Abs, Yoga Burn, and Yoga for Flexibility and Relaxation. You can choose one section, play the whole DVD, or choose the custom function to string them together in a different order if you prefer. That gives quite a bit of possible variations for a DVD that's only about £4.50 from Amazon!

          The first section is Yoga Basics, which explains a little about breathing and then starts off with the Sun Salutation, a really key yoga series. You go through the series a couple of times and then add on to it to try to get the feel of moving from one of the positions to another.

          Yoga for Buns & Thighs is quite difficult and uses a range of movements rather than just poses to work these parts of the body. I can really feel my legs working hard going through this section, and I find it really challenging even though I think my legs are my strongest part. It feels a lot longer than 10 minutes sometimes!

          I really enjoyed the abs section, which has quite a few exercises that I haven't seen on any other dvd, and that you can definitely feel it working out your abs. I like the inclusion of this section as I feel that I didn't really realise that yoga can be used to build strength as well as flexibility. With this DVD though it is obvious that yoga is great for all around fitness, and despite the fact that I do pilates pretty frequently this ab section definitely is a challenge.

          Yoga Burn goes back to the Sun Salutation and adds further aspects to it, before moving on to a series of quite challenging movements. Each series works on a flowing movement from one pose to another. The chair one at the end, I completely cannot do but it gives me something to work on! The only downside here is that I felt that since the sun salutation sections all go from upward facing dog to downward facing dog, the updog/ downdog flow could have been replaced with a different combination of movements. If you do the whole dvd it can seem slightly repetitive, and so using a different pair of movements for the flow section would have given more variety. However, they are two of the most used poses in yoga, so working on moving from one to the other certainly does make sense for that reason. Still, the "Burn" section of the other 10 Minute Solutions I have is usually my favourite as it's the most challenging, and I thought it could have been better on this DVD,

          Flexibility is what most people think of when they think of yoga, and the last section delivers what you'd expect. It's a relaxing series of stretches to round off your workout and work on flexibility. None of the poses are impossible to get into, though, just nice gentle stretches which feel great to do.

          If you are put off by too much relaxation or the more spiritual aspects of some yoga practice, this is a great DVD for you. It focuses on the movements themselves and what effect they can have on your body, and I find that simply doing the yoga itself really relaxes me. While some of it can be frustrating at first when it is difficult to get the poses right, it is really satisfying as you improve. As with all of the 10 Minute Solution DVDs I have tried, it is quite challenging and so I have been using it for quite some time. I prefer this rather than something I can do easily straight away, as I feel I'd then get bored of it quite quickly.

          Since the time is obviously limited in this format, it doesn't go hugely in depth regarding breathing, which I know is very important in yoga. The downside of a DVD is also that you don't have anyone correcting your position. However for anyone that has been to a few classes and understands the basic idea of yoga, and perhaps knows some postures already, it's a great way to add it into your home exercise routine. Personally I really enjoy being able to try to work on poses between classes to try to improve even more, and this DVD is a great way to do that without feeling like you have to do a long workout, while still making sure you feel worked.

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          20.06.2012 17:57
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          A fantastic option for an easy weeknight dinner

          I was in the supermarket one evening having decided I wanted something different and nothing I had in the house would do. After scouring shelves for inspiration I noticed a Spanish-inspired sauce for chicken (I can't remember the name of the range now, but it was in the fancy ingredient section and cost nearly £3). Even though it was expensive it became something I made fairly frequently. This then got discontinued from my local Sainsbury's and I have to say I was pretty upset--until I noticed the Chicken Tonight Spanish Chicken sauce. Turns out the other one getting discontinued was a blessing in disguise, as the Chicken Tonight version is just as delicious and half the price, usually costing around £1.80. It also regularly goes on offer at £1 or 2 for 1, which means I stock up since I know that it'll get eaten!

          The sauce is tomato-based, with peppers, garlic and thyme. It has a lovely, fresh flavour and makes a really delicious meal super easy and quick to make. The label suggests cooking it with chicken and then serving it with salad and potatoes, but I serve it with rice and add one extra ingredient that makes it all the more tasty and Spanish-flavoured: chorizo. I cook the chicken and chorizo until done, then add the sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes, which is perfect as that's how long the rice I serve with it takes to cook. It really is one of the simplest meals to make, and while I know ready-made sauce isn't always a great option, this one is quite low in calories, salt, and saturated fat. The chorizo obviously makes the meal slightly less healthy but it really adds to it. The sauce has no artificial ingredients, either, so while I'm sure I could manage to make this sauce fresh, it's much easier to use the jar and I don't have to feel too guilty about it.

          I now cook this once every couple of weeks and always look forward to it. This sauce is such an easy way to get some different flavours in a meal and is very filling. The jar is a great size (500g) and with a small pack of diced chicken breast and some chorizo, it makes plenty for four for dinner (or in my case, two for dinner and then lots of leftovers for a few lunches!). The leftovers are still very tasty the next day after being microwaved. The sauce itself also has a great consistency--it's not too thick but definitely not watery either.

          The great thing about this sauce is that it's quite flexible. I used to add fresh chilli but decided that the chorizo gives enough of a kick and there's not a huge difference when adding a chilli to it. Adding extra vegetables would probably be a good idea too, or having it with potatoes rather than rice. I always mean to experiment with it a bit more but it's just so good as I usually have it that I never bother to do so. Overall, though, I would highly recommend this sauce as an addition to anyone's dinner repertoire, especially on a busy weeknight when you just want to get cooking over with!

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          15.03.2012 16:35
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          The most fun you can have exercising at home!

          I have wanted to try Zumba ever since I first started hearing about it, but was always put off because I have a really hard time getting the hang of things like this. I can never really keep up and feel really stupid in aerobics classes, so I felt like this wasn't for me. Once I saw that this game had come out, I thought this would be a great way to try it out without worrying about embarrassing myself completely!

          The game comes with a belt that you wear around your hips, and then put the remote inside a little pocket. This means the Wii is able to track the movements of your hips to score you against the instructor. The remote will not fit in the little slot meant for it without taking off the remote jacket, but I guess a snug fit is necessary so it doesn't come flying out when you're hopping around the room. The game is about £20 from Amazon.

          There are a few different modes on the game, Zumba Classes, Zumba Party, Single Routine, and Multiplayer. If you're playing Multiplayer you will need to get another belt or the other player will need to put the remote in their pocket as the game only comes with one. There is also a tutorial, but I only used this once as I found it really annoying and just wanted to get on with playing. I thought that it didn't really teach the steps that well, and the loading time between learning the step and going back to the menu meant I didn't have patience to use this function. (I am particularly impatient though, other people might find this fine.)

          For both the Classes and the Party mode there are levels to work through. There is a 20 minute beginners routine, 20 and 45 minute Intermediate routines, 20 and 45 minute Expert routines, and the hour-long Zumbathon. You have to complete the earlier sections in order to unlock the next ones and progress. In the classes, there are a few to choose from at each level (except Zumbathon), and in the Party mode only one. This, however, is the only real difference between the modes that I can see, and the fact that for the classes you can choose the setting and you can't in the party mode. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get the point of having the two modes, to be honest. In order to unlock the Zumbathon in either mode you have to have completed all previous levels in both modes,

          Regardless of the mode or level, a progress bar appears at the bottom of the screen, and once it's filled up you move to the next stage. Each time you pass to the next stage more dancers are added, and there's cheering, and it gets generally a little more interesting to look at the screen. You progress by completing the moves correctly, and you know if you are by the colour of the instructor--they turn orange when you're doing something nearly correct and green when you're doing it exactly right. (Or at least in theory--you can set yourself up as easy, medium, or difficult level and the game is pickier about your moves the higher level you set. At the easy level, as long as your hips are sort of moving the right way, you get points.) Once you reach the bonus stage correct moves score double.

          Each routine is made up of songs which last between 3-4 minutes each, and there is a counter at the bottom to show you how long is remaining of the song. You can change the settings so you can't see it, but I usually leave it there. I do sort of wish that it also showed how much total time you have remaining of the class, though. There are lots of different songs on the game, so there is quite a lot of variety and I really enjoy most of them.

          The Beginner and Intermediate are taught by Gina, and the Expert by Beto. Personally, I prefer the Intermediate dances as the moves are more like proper dance moves. I find the Expert level too full of things like pretending to play air guitar, and weird head movements, instead of actual dancing. The Expert, to me, mostly seems more difficult as it's harder to follow--often the movements happen less times in a row and it's harder to know what's coming next. In general, there's little instruction to show what's coming next in the game. There are arrows on the floor onscreen that show point side to side or in a circle, but while that shows you the direction you have to have done the dance a few times to know what actual move it's referring to.

          Once you've finished the routine, you get a score and a rank (such as Zumba Pro). However, there doesn't seem to be anywhere on the game where your scores are saved, so you don't really know how you're improving, score-wise. Also since this is predominantly a fitness game, I would really like to have the approximate number of calories burned displayed. Apparently these two issues have been addressed on the new Zumba 2, from reviews I have read.

          The only other downside I have to this game is the fact that the cooldown routine is the same all the way through the beginner and intermediate sections, and I got really bored of it. It would be nice if there were a couple more to change it up, but that's not too much of an issue, especially as I quite often mix it up now by doing a 20-minute intermediate routine, skipping the cooldown, and then doing a 20-minute expert one. Sometimes I also add on single routines if the routines I've done haven't included my favourite songs (You Make Me Feel Like Dancing from Intermediate and Pa la Discoteka from Expert are really fun, both the songs and the dances themselves are great). This makes me think it would be great if you could put together custom routines to change it up.

          I haven't played the Multiplayer mode yet (my living room is pretty small to have two people dancing at once!) but there are a few different ways to play, and I think including it is a great idea.

          I also would say that the menu, while simple, is a bit difficult to read. My tv is medium size and I find it hard to read the small, white type on the pink background, especially when choosing single routines. This could also be improved.

          The minor issues with this game are really unimportant as overall I have really enjoyed having this game. The music's great, the dances are fun and doing them really is a great workout. The first time I did this my legs were nearly exhausted after about ten minutes! I can get all the way through even the Zumbathon now, but it still gets up a sweat and feels like a fantastic cardio workout. It's easy to forget that you're working out though, since it's so fun. I've even managed to be brave enough to drag myself to a real class after doing this. It's quite an addictive way to work out.

          I would recommend this game to anyone who likes to use their Wii for fitness, who likes to dance, or who is interested in the Zumba craze but not sure about joining a class. I am enjoying it so much I will definitely be buying the new version of the game as well.

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          22.08.2011 22:15
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          A great addition to the Wii collection of games

          Wii Sports Resort is another fun, simple game for the Wii. Like Wii Sports, it is made up of quite a few different sports, but the great thing about Sports Resort is that there are loads more sports on it. I got mine with my Wii console, and have played it more than I have played pretty much any of the games that I got at the time or since. It comes with a motion plus accessory, which plugs into the bottom of the Wii remote and is meant to make the movements of the remote even easier to pick up. This should make what is replicated in the game more accurate to the movements you are making.

          Just like the original Wii Sports, you play with your Mii in a variety of different games, set on a tropical island. I really like the majority of the games on here, although I find Frisbee, air sports and Cycling to be pretty boring. I also don't often play the bowling or golf, as I am much better at the versions on the original game. I particularly find the golf on this game to be much harder than on the original.

          I love the basketball, which you can play as a 3-point contest, where you try to make as many baskets as possible from different angles, or 3-on-3 against either the game or other players. The table tennis is also very fun, which again you can play against the game or against other people, or play the return challenge, which is really addictive. You simply have to return as many serves as possible in a row, knocking over cans on the table for additional points. It's simple but very fun.

          The archery is great as well, with different skill levels to choose from. The advanced level is really difficult, with various angles, moving objects, and distances to keep it challenging. The swordplay is another game I love to play, although I don't like the duel or speed slice modes. The showdown is very fun though, with waves of fighters coming at you that you have to knock down. You can only get hit three times before you die, so while I first liked to just swing wildly around, I soon figured out that blocking is also a necessary part of it! I find playing this a great way to get out a bit of aggression.

          Wakeboarding is also very fun, although I can't figure out how to actually perform the various tricks. I mostly just lift my arms up at roughly the same time and see what happens. I like this one because I seem to be able to rack up quite high scores a lot of the time. The other sports, which I have played a lot less, are power cruising and canoeing. I find the power cruising quite challenging as I have a hard time controlling the cruiser through the various checkpoints, but nevertheless it's a fun game to play. You can choose the slalom course or a race on this game. The canoeing is another which you can play as a race, or simply see how fast you can go in a speed challenge.

          Various milestones, such as particular scores or three bulls-eyes in a row in archery, can earn you stamps as well as your score affecting your skill level shown after each time you play. Trying to earn the stamps is another fun thing about this game. I think this is a great game for anyone, as it is very easy to pick up the necessary movements, the games are quite short, and there is a variety of activities for everyone.

          The only downside of this game for me is, of course, it only comes with one motion plus accessory, so you have to buy at least one more if you want to play against anyone else. Also, the accessory often needs to be recalibrated (by placing it on a flat surface), which would be fine if it didn't occasionally happen right in the middle of play. It's seriously frustrating when that happens, as it often messes up what you're doing.
          Aside from this minor glitch, I think this is a fun game that is great to play alone or with others.

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          22.08.2011 14:15
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          Another great Wii game

          I've never really been much of a Mario person, and haven't played any Mario games since I was a child, so when I was given Super Mario Galaxy 2 as a present, I wasn't really that excited to play it. It kind of felt like it was a kid's game and I wouldn't really enjoy it, but I have to say I could not have been more wrong.

          The game is average priced for a Wii game, going for £29.99 on Amazon at the moment, but I am thrilled I got this as a gift because I don't think it ever would have occurred to me to buy it.

          Super Mario Galaxy 2 is based on the usual Mario storyline--Mario must rescue Princess Peach, defeating various levels and monsters on the way. The game is set in space, and there are 6 worlds which each contain various planets. This is the first thing I loved about the game--the number of levels to play is great and means that the game lasts quite awhile. I also found that despite the number of levels and the recurring themes, the different planets did not become overly repetitive towards the end. The game can also be played with two players, one who is Mario and one who is his helper, a luna who can defeat enemies for him. While I didn't use the game this way, I thought it was a fun idea to make a game that is typically one-player open for two.

          The final planet of each world is always when you need to defeat a bad guy, and these levels are pretty tough. In fact, most of the game is pretty hard, which makes it very fun and addictive. It's hard enough to be a challenge without feeling impossible, as if it was too hard that would also put me off. I think this game really strikes a good balance in this way.

          Something else I really enjoyed was the graphics. They were bright, clear and fun and there was always so much going on in every level, both things you can interact with and the backgrounds. I loved the fact that Mario can move in all directions, as well, instead of simply in a straight line. This made it much more enjoyable to play than I thought it would be and also more challenging.

          I liked the controls as well--you hold the nunchuk in one hand and the Wii remote in the other, using the joystick to navigate and the A, B and arrow buttons on the remote to jump, change views, etc. I also thought the addition of shaking the Wii remote to have Mario spin was a great idea and there were so many uses for this. I think the violent shaking I was doing injured my wrist and messed up the nunchuk connection on my remote, but I suppose that's my own fault for going overboard with it! It was also pretty easy to move Mario around with the joystick, in all possible directions.

          Throughout the various worlds, there are so many different things that Mario can do, which continues to keep things interesting. Mario can become a bee, a rock, invisible, have the ability to spin clouds to jump on, shoot fire, and ride Yoshi, which also leads to extra possibilities of what can be done. There are also hidden extra levels, and collecting enough coins to reach these can be quite a challenge. Aside from collecting coins, there are also star bits which you can accumulate and then spend or shoot at certain enemies. In addition to this, you can also collect comet medals, of which there are one in each level. After collecting these, extra levels are then added which are super challenging. These are called prankster comets, and are usually repeats of other planets, with an extra challenge such as a time constraint. I found quite a few of these to be incredibly challenging and often frustrating!

          I've now beaten this game completely, which took me a few months of playing a couple times I week--I will admit that some of the times I played turned into pretty marathon sessions. Now I really miss it, and would like to get the first one even though I have heard it's not as good as this one. I really would not have thought that this game would end up being one that I became so addicted to, and enjoyed so much, but I really loved it. I think that it was really creative, and it's amazing the amount of different enemies, situations, special powers, and challenges that the makers managed to create in this game. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who likes Mario games, and even if you don't, give this a try and see if it changes your mind!

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          19.08.2011 14:06
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          If you have tried everything for your skin and don't know what's next, try this!

          I have had problems with my skin for as long as I can remember, and it is a constant search to find something that will address the problem without creating others, being discontinued, or only working for the first couple of months. I have tried prescription products, proactiv, and so many over-the-counter treatments and nothing has ever quite done enough. I had seen this product online and found it really interesting but due to the price (£149 on Amazon or the Lumie website) it took me a long time to work up the courage to actually buy it.

          The Lumie Clear claims to use light therapy to reduce moderate acne problems. Their website claims that the red and blue lights can help skin in two ways: killing bacteria that causes acne and soothing inflammation of the skin, and that results should start to be visible after about three weeks.

          The product is a small pod-like item, white with a green circle on top and a white handle. The lid then lifts up by the handle to reveal rows of alternating red and blue small lights in a panel. The product plugs into the wall for use. Once plugged in, here are two ways to use this product: leave it attached to the base, so you can set it down in front of the area you wish to treat, or pull up on the lifted lid to remove it, making the device hand-held for up-close use. The product also comes with yellow goggles, which protect your eyes if you are treating your face. The lights could otherwise damage your vision.

          There is also a helpful instruction booklet which advises safety information and a chart explaining treatment times. If you are treating a large area and therefore holding the product further away from you, it will be necessary to use it for a longer time than up close, so this chart is very useful. The product is to be used every day.

          I initially started off using the product at a distance to cover my whole face, while wearing the goggles. I was using it for half an hour every day in this way, and I felt that a difference was noticeable (if only to me) in far less than three weeks. In about a week or so I felt that less new spots were appearing, and that ones that did appear were clearing up faster, and without going through the horrible stage I usually experience, when they dry out and look even worse.

          However, I really didn't like using the light this way. While the lovely feeling of heat from the lamp was enjoyable, sitting for half an hour with yellow goggles on and my eyes closed was something I was finding really boring, and it was putting me off using it. Even with the goggles, the lights are very bright if right in front of your face so it made watching tv or reading while using the product impossible as I had to keep my eyes closed. After a couple of weeks I decided on close-up treatments on each part of my face individually.

          I realised that the spots that bother me most occur on my cheeks, outer parts of my chin, and forehead. The ones on my cheeks are the ones least easily controlled or prevented with my face wash and other treatments, so I decided to do 15 minutes on each cheek (the recommended time for holding the product next to your skin) every day. I have been detaching the lid, and holding it by the handle directly up against my skin. I also sometimes do my forehead, but not every day. This means I do still need the goggles, but can keep my eyes open so I can watch tv while using the product rather than just sitting around.

          The product warms up the skin quite a bit during use, which I find really relaxing and soothing. It switches off automatically after 15 minutes so you never have to worry about checking the time during using it, or if you fall asleep using it. I think this is a great feature as I always know when to switch sides, and if you need to use it for longer you simply switch it back on with the button on the side.

          This new method has definitely continued to help my skin. While my skin has not become completely clear, there is a big difference, and I am feeling much more confident about my skin than I was previously. While I aim to use it every day, I have missed days and missing one day doesn't seem to make a difference. I do occasionally use it for a little longer the next day to make up for it (although I'm not completely sure you're meant to do that). Since I've had it, I've also gone on holiday without it twice, and my skin stayed mostly under control with just face wash, rather than completely freaking out from not using the product, as I expected. I could definitely see the difference between using it and not using it, but it wasn't too severe, making me feel like the product is making a long-term difference to my skin problems.

          The only downside in its effects are that many of the spots which do appear end of going away, leaving a red mark in its place. While this is something I have experienced before using this product, the effect seems more pronounced since I have been using it. However it might perhaps be only that the marks are more noticeable than before, as my skin is so much clearer besides that. Additionally, I feel it is a small price to pay for my skin looking clearer and healthier, especially as I have a couple of very effective products to fade marks.

          Overall I would recommend this to anyone who is frustrated with their skin, and is having trouble finding a solution that works long-term. Of course it is expensive, so it's a bit more of a risk than a new face wash, but on looking at their website (which I did not do before I bought the product) have just seen that there is a 30-day home trial. As people should see results in 3 weeks, if you are unhappy after 30 days you can return it for a refund. You would have to pay shipping, and they take a £20 "refurbishment fee" out of your refund, but I think that knowing the product could be returned for at least some money back makes the risk much more worthwhile.

          I am delighted that I tried the product, and while I sometimes feel I can't be bothered to use it, half an hour a day is a small sacrifice to have improvements to my skin that nothing else I have ever tried has sustained for this long. I have been using this for just over three months now and I am so happy that I bought the product.

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          23.07.2011 13:13
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          Reduces and prevents spots, a great daily face wash for those with problem skin

          I decided to try Garnier Pure Active Blackhead Clearing scrub because it looked similar to L'Oreal Pure Zone, the best face wash I have ever found, which of course I can no longer find anywhere (this is the story of my life, basically). That wash was the only thing I ever found that really made a difference to my awful, spotty skin, so I was totally prepared to be disappointed by this one.

          This product is about £5, which is pretty much the price I expect for these types of products and a price I'm happy to pay for anything that will make a difference to my skin. The label claims that the product fights spots and fades marks, and has results from day one. It also contains something called Herba Soothe, to calm skin. The bottle is white with a red label with a target on it, typical packaging for this kind of product, and has a snap-open blue lid.

          The scrub is light blue, quite opaque which I was a bit surprised by, and has large blue scrubbing beads. The amount that comes out is very easy to control, but as it doesn't really lather up much you will need a larger amount than with some products of this kind. It has a fresh, menthol-type smell which I think is the Herba-Soothe. It reminds me a bit of Vicks rub, but not in a bad way.

          When applying this, rub it in all around, and gently to avoid irritating skin. It is quite creamy and pleasant to use. After I wash the product off, which has to be done quite thoroughly to avoid finding blue beads in random places afterwards, my skin feels very clean and sort of energised. It feels cool and refreshed, again the Herba-Soothe I think as it is quite a unique feeling. I really enjoy how cleansed my skin feels after using this, and once thoroughly dry it feels quite soft and smooth as well. Be careful though, because if you get this in your eyes by accident, the pain is quite amazing, much worse than with most face wash products!

          I certainly don't agree that it works from day one, and it doesn't really clean my pores as much as I would like, but it has definitely helped to control my break outs. Within about a week I noticed a difference, and I have now been using it for a couple of months. Many products I have tried help for awhile and then stop working, but so far so good with this one.

          I still have many problems with my skin, but using this twice a day has definitely helped and my skin feels very clean without feeling stripped. I don't really see the red marks left by previous spots fading at all though, I have been using another product for that (Clinique post blemish formula), and have been out of it for a couple of weeks now. In that time I have seen absolutely no further fading of the marks I had, so I wouldn't put much hope in this product to help with that. As a face wash though, it is brilliant and I will be continuing to use it to control my skin problems.

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            22.07.2011 17:03
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            A fantastic way to add pilates to your fitness regime

            This is the second dvd I have bought from the 10 Minute Solution series, and I think the concept is fantastic. Every dvd in the series is made up of 5 sections, 10 minutes each, which focus on specific areas of the body. You can therefore select just one if you don't have much time, or a couple of sections to do a bit more, or of course you can do the whole dvd at once for a really thorough workout. The dvds also has a feature whereby you can play the sections in a different order of your preference.

            This great dvd from the selection is another pilates one--there are quite a few in the series that focus on pilates, which is brilliant as it's my favourite type of exercise to do. I felt that I needed some variety in my pilates exercises, like you would get from attending regular classes, so thought adding another dvd to my routine might really help address this issue. This one is around £5 and is available from Amazon and lovefilm.

            The five sections are Pilates Perfect Arms, which you do with light handweights; Pilates Perfect Belly, which is a great core workout and also teaches proper pilates breathing and positioning; Pilates Perfect Buns and Thighs, which is really tough; Pilates Perfect Silhouette, which addresses the whole body; and Pilates Perfect Stretch, which is a great cool down and also necessary to shape muscles so they are long and lean.

            This is a different instructor from my other dvd, 10 Minute Solution Rapid Results Pilates, and therefore the style is very different. This is more of a classical pilates selection of exercises, and a lot of the moves are very related to dance as well. I really enjoy this dvd as it is very similar to classes I have taken before, and while you do not perform a huge variety of moves, each muscle is truly exhausted before moving onto the next, which I think is probably a very effective way to train. This is in particular true of the lower body exercises, which I often don't find as challenging as I have fairly strong legs. However on this particular dvd, these exercises are very difficult and are strung together well so that by the end of the section my legs feel shaky and as if they have been worked very hard. The core section is also classic pilates, showing how slow, small movements can be really tough and effective. There are times when I struggle to complete this section as certain exercises, while seemingly simple, are so challenging. The arm section also exhausts each muscle group before moving on, and I feel that the workout you get from this program is incredibly thorough. The stretching is the only section that moves quickly from one part of the body to the next, but obviously all parts need to be stretched in the ten minutes so I think this is why. Even so, this section is lovely and relaxing.

            I also like that proper positioning and breathing is addressed often, as this is really important to pilates training. It's also a sign of a great dvd that there are modifications mentioned for many of the exercises, either to challenge you more or less depending on your skill level. The instructor is lovely, enthusiastic and friendly-seeming, without being overly chirpy or irritating as some can be! Another great feature of the exercises in the program is that many of them, while mostly focusing on one area of the body, are often also making use of another, making them doubly helpful.

            I normally string together at least a couple of the sections, if not do the whole thing, but the ten-minute solution format is really great as there have been a few times where I have had very little time and so haev done just one. Even just ten minutes feels as if you have done some good work. As with anything fitness-related, I'm not great with consistency. So while I can't say categorically that this dvd would be hugely effective, I would certainly think it would be. While using it, and also the following day, I can really feel my muscles that the exercises have worked. I have noticed in a few weeks of going back to using this and my other pilates dvds that the definition is starting to come back in my upper abs, which is really exciting. Pilates in general is very effective, as a few years ago I used to practice regularly, and this dvd is a great way to fit it in to your exercise regime cheaply as classes can be very expensive.

            I love this dvd as it is very challenging, and I have yet to be able to keep up with it 100%. I have found that to be quite motivating as I am keen to improve and so want to use it again. I would suggest pilates for anyone looking for a challenging workout, that can help improve fitness and posture while also being quite relaxing. I always feel great after a pilates workout. A class is a great way to start to make sure your positioning and movements are correct, but once you have the basics down these dvds are a great way to keep up with it regularly, without breaking the bank!

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            22.07.2011 12:52
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            A foundation you can rely on to cover up and last!

            Rimmel has long been a favourite brand of mine. It is great value and the products are usually of high quality. When my foundation I loved was discontinued by Max Factor, and I then had a few disappointing experiences with other varieties from that company, I decided to go back to Rimmel which I used to use a few years ago. I tried a new product from them, Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation, and I have been very happy that I did.

            This foundation claims to have a transfer-proof finish and even coverage. It also claims to be long-lasting--up to 25 hours. Considering that recent foundations I have tried have had little to no coverage, and couldn't even last through the workday, I thought that this might be the perfect solution. Typically for Rimmel, it is very reasonably priced, at £6.99 for 30ml from Boots, and it comes in a range of six shades.

            The product comes in a tall clear glass bottle with a red top. The red top slides off easily to reveal a pump, which is very convenient for dispensing the foundation. It is easy to control the amount that comes out with this. There is a light scent to this which is only really noticeable during application. The foundation is fairly thick and therefore doesn't spread as easily as some--if my skin is dry I find it a bit of a struggle, so I make sure to use primer or that my skin is well moisturised before I apply. I apply this directly with my fingers and find that it results in an even finish, with no streaky marks where it is not properly blended. The coverage is very good even for my problematic skin, and I need a lot less concealer when using this than other foundations. Even though the coverage is very good, allowing hardly any skin problems to show through, it doesn't feel or look heavy and as if you're wearing loads of makeup.

            Throughout the day I find that it stays in place very well, and I feel confident that my makeup looks good all day long. It's not completely non-transfer, though, and I do still sometimes find that it has come off a bit on my hands or my mobile. Overall it is much better at staying in place and lasting than other foundations I have tried recently, such as Max Factor Colour Adapt foundation.

            My only criticism of this product is that, while it is quite lightweight, I am not really sure how much it allows my skin to breathe. I feel like my pores have been becoming slightly clogged with this product, but I try to use it as sparingly as possible and so this hasn't been a huge issue. It also has no SPF, which would be a great addition.

            I would recommend this product if you are looking for a foundation that will provide good, even coverage with lasting results.

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            22.07.2011 11:03
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            Claims to treat without damaging the skin, but causes severe drying

            I'm always on the hunt for products that can either prevent spots or make them disappear more quickly. This quick-drying gel claims to reduce size and redness of spots without damaging the skin, and as one feature of my acne is that it can last quite a long time I thought it was worth giving this treatment a try. Spots should be reduced within 48 hours of use.

            This comes in a small tube, with the distinctive orange, gray and blue Neutrogena colouring, and says it contains Derma-Naturals. It costs about £4.50 for 15ml, and a larger size is not really necessary as such a small amount is used each time. It has a white cap that you unscrew, then squeeze the tube and the gel comes out easily, without too much coming out at once. The gel is clear and has a fairly thick consistency so it is easy to apply it exactly where needed without the product running.

            The gel should be applied directly to clean skin where a spot is coming or is already there. Upon applying the gel, it stings quite a bit which I took to be a sign that it would work. This is probably the effect of the salicylic acid. It then dries quickly and does not affect the feel of the skin. It doesn't make the skin feel sticky or dried out immediately after use, which I again took as a good sign.

            It certainly did speed up the healing of spots, but it created a different problem. While the product claims not to be harsh on the skin or to over-dry, I found that the areas where I applied this gel became incredibly dry. The spot would turn into a patch of dry, flaky skin, which is then quite difficult to cover with concealer or foundation. This often happens to me anyway with spots but I found that this product made the dryness much more likely to occur. I certainly was not over-using this product, only applying it once a day when the tube recommends applying it morning and night.

            This product turned out not to be for me at all, which is a shame as it did quickly get rid of spots and stop ones that were on their way form fully forming. However this overdrying effect was, to me, just as bad as the original problem. I have read plenty of positive reviews for this product, so it is possible that it is useful for some people, but if your spots have any tendency to dry out in this way I feel that this product will simply exacerbate this problem for you.

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            15.07.2011 10:28
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            A really useful product in the fight for perfect skin

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