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I recently bought a new laptop after my PC finally gave up the ghost after 12 years. I wasn't too sure what exactly I wanted, but I did like having a mouse with my PC so once I decided on a laptop, I knew I wanted to have a mouse with it, rather than just use the touch pad.
I decided to get a wireless mouse, and as I got my laptop from Argos, I decided to get my mouse from there too. They had a general selection of mice, but I picked the cheapest, wireless one, as I don't need anything fancy and this one was the Hewlett Packard Wireless Mobile Mouse.
This is a basic, wireless mouse which is in the general mouse shape we all know. It has click-able buttons, and a scroll wheel. The mouse I have is in black and grey, although it may be available in other colours, but I have not looked into this.
To connect it to the computer, there is a small USB dongle which just slides into a spare USB port on the computer, and that's all I had to do. Straight away the mouse worked with my computer, no need to install anything or do anything complicated. The mouse is battery powered by an AA battery, and the first one is supplied with the mouse. There is an on/off switch on the bottom of the mouse, which is pretty self explanatory. There is also a connect button on the bottom of the mouse, which I guess would be used if you lost connection to the USB port, but I did not have to use this, so I am not sure.
The mouse comes with a full set of instructions for setting up, use and troubleshooting, so should there be any problems, you should easily be able to resolve it. I personally have had no problems what so ever, and I find it really easy to use this mouse. The mouse is lightweight and simple, it is pretty much all I need from a mouse, and I could not think of any way to make it any better.
I am unsure whether this mouse can be converted to a left hand use, but I am sure this could easily be found out should you need to know this information. To change the battery in the mouse, all you have to do is pop the top cover off, take out the old battery, insert the new one and pop the top back on. This takes less than a minute to do, and the top pops on and off easily. The battery compartment shows you which way to insert the battery, so you should have no problems with this at all.
I got this mouse in Argos for less than £10 I believe, but you can buy it in other places, but prices do seem to vary quite widely. It is best to look around for a good price. This can be used with any PC or laptop that has USB ports, so if you are looking for a decent wireless mouse at a good price, this is one I definitely recommend.
I really like this mouse and it does me well, I would happily recommend this to anyone and I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.
I recently decided to upgrade my printer, as my last one was 12 years old, and was starting to need a lot more TLC just to get things to print. I decided I wanted my new one to be a wireless printer, so that I could print from my iPhone as well as computers, laptops, etc. My partner has an Android phone, so I wanted to make sure that any printer I purchased would be compatible with both phones.
I did my research online and I settled my mind on the Epson Stylus Sx235W. This is an all-in-one printer, scanner and copier with high speed wireless connection using a wifi network. I actually made the purchase in my local Ryman store as I saw they had it on a special offer, and it was what gave me the final push into buying it.
The printer is a black, slim, light unit which actually is quite surprising as I have always known the all-in-ones to be quite large and bulky. This fits nicely in the space where my old printer used to sit, and it has a lot more space around it than my old one did.
When I opened the box, I initially had a nightmare trying to get the printer out of the box, as it was so well packed and protected. Once you get the printer out, you will find all the parts and pieces you need, which include the main unit, the power cable, installation CD and 4 inks, along with the general paperwork you get with most printers.
The instructions that come with the printer are really simple to follow and I found this was a really quick and simple set up process for this printer. To use it with my laptop, I had to install the drivers from the supplied disc, but this is simple, as it pretty much does it itself once you let the program run. There is no USB cable supplied with this printer as you are meant to be using it wirelessly but there is a connection port for USB, should you wish to use it this way.
After peeling off all the protective tape and layers of plastic coating, you will find the power cable is in the front of the printer. I panicked at first as I did not think that the cable was in the box, but I soon found it just inside the front of the printer. To install the inks is quite simple, and I was actually impressed with the fact that the seperate cartridges will only go into the slot they are meant for. There is 4 different colour cartridges and these all click easily into place.
When you plug the printer in and turn it on for the first time, follow the simple instructions to start up the printer and charge the inks. This took about 5 minutes to finish the process and then it was all set and ready to go. Once the ink charging and set up process is complete, the printer will automatically print the test page to show you that the cartridges are charged and lined up properly.
I found it really easy to link my computer with the printer as the disc does the whole job for you, you just have to click yes once in a while! When it comes to printing, the printer responds really quickly to the printer and it is almost an instant start from clicking print. The speed of the printing is really fast too, and the quality is just amazing. I have printed general documents, and photos on special photo paper, and both have come out beautifully.
The scanning and copying functions are simple 1 touch processes and these are just as quick as the printing. You can even scan wirelessly through the iPhone or Android app. The app is official from Epson and it is called the Epson iPrint for iPhone and Android. From here you can print documents, photos and webpages straight from your phone. Android phones do not really even need the app, as they can connect to the wireless printer without it, but as the Epson one is not Airprint compatible yet, iPhone does need the app to use the wireless printing option.
I am actually very impressed with this printer, and I am very pleased that I decided to buy it. After looking around online, the best price I could find was around the £45 mark. Thanks to the sale in Rymans and a bit of student discount, I managed to get mine for £35 and I think I have paid a brilliant price for it, and it is well worth the money.
I totally recommend this printer, and if you are looking to get a wireless printer for your home, this one is a great one to get. It is simple to use and quick to set up, with a brilliant print quality and it won't cost you the earth to buy, or to replace the ink. I do not think you should even wonder about other ones, get one of these and I am sure you will love it as much as I do.
I give the Epson Stylus Sx235W a 5 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend it to everyone.
*This review is also on Ciao*
For the past two years, I have been the proud and happy owner of the iPhone 4. It finally became time to upgrade my phone, and I loved the phone I had so much, I didn't want to get rid of it. Sadly small problems were becoming apparent with the phone and I knew that it was time to change, although I didn't change far. I upgraded to the Apple iPhone 4S.
There are a couple of different versions of this phone model available, with different colours and memory amounts. I picked a black one with a 16GB memory capacity, as this is what my old iPhone had, and this was plenty for me, no point in going over the top.
The iPhone 4S looks and feels just like iPhone 4 at first, and honestly, people could not tell that I had a different phone, as it even fit in the same cases as the iPhone 4. The main differences are inside the phone and can only really be seen by the user.
The first difference I knew of was with the camera quality. Where as the iPhone 4 had a 5mp camera, the 4S has an 8mp camera, and when you take photos you really can see the difference this makes to the quality of your photos. These photos look even better on the 4S, because the screen is so much clearer and sharper, like an HD version of the iPhone 4.
The colours on the screen look brighter, there is more definition of the apps and icons, text is even clearer to read than before and the whole thing just looks brighter. The sound appears to be of better quality too, my music plays much louder then it did on the iPhone 4, and that is without being attached to a speaker dock or headphones. You can hear more definition in the music too, which makes for a much better listening experience and it does seem that the iPhone 4S is more equipped to deal with heavier basslines and dirtier beats than any of the previous iPhone models, much less distortion.
I also noticed that the 4S seems to be faster than the 4. Not by much, but it does seem to respond slightly quicker and things load up quicker than they did before. I have much less problems with apps too, occasionally on the 4, one would free or flicker, but this does not happen on the iPhone 4S.
The big difference between the 4 and the 4S is of course Siri. This is the iPhone speech recognition system which can easily be accessed at the touch of one button, whatever you are doing on your phone. This is brilliant for things like typing out long items, as you can just say the items to your phone, and it will do the hard work for you. It can write out texts, check the weather, remind you of birthdays and appointments, and even check your emails for you. It is almost endless what Siri can do, and once you start to learn the possibilities, I am sure you will be as impressed as I am with it.
Of course Siri isn't always the best of things, it won't always quite understand me right, and there have been times where I have had a couple of arguments with it, which it seemed to answer quite well, suspiciously!! lol. The main problem I have with Siri is the business finder option, it can only find US business's and places for you, when you are in America!!! This is all fine for when I go to America on trips or holidays, but I do live in the UK and it is not exactly hard to make the software a bit more country friendly for more than America. Surely Apple should have thought about this when they made and released Siri?
The screen is very responsive, so there is no delay in tapping on an app and it starting up. There is no lagging what soever, and this makes me very happy as I can be a tad impatient most of the time. The 16GB storage I have is still plenty, even with a large selection of music and photos alongside all my apps, I am still only just over 8GB and this is easily lowered again if needed. I can easily back my photos up to my computer and change songs around, so storage amounts should never be a problem. The iPhone 4S is also available in 32GB for those who would like to store a lot of music, video, photos or apps. You can also get this phone in white, but I opted for black as I prefer the darker look for a phone.
The phone is able to use 3G and you can easily have access to the internet wherever you go, and it is also easy to use WIFI on this phone. It is as simple, if not even easier, than logging your own computer into a WIFI network, and you can even store network details on the phone, so that next time you are in range of the same WIFI, you will automatically be connected to it. You can do this with an infinite amount of WIFI's, so no need to worry about remembering passwords again. You can also easily go into the settings and remove data for certain WIFI networks, should you no longer need them.
If you have owned any of the previous iPhones, then the iPhone 4 is something you will love just as much, if not more as any of its predecessors. It still has the same user friendly, general layout and ways of working which we have all come to learn and love. If you are new to the iPhone, then there really could not be a better way to start than right here with the iPhone 4S. Easy to use and learn, you will quickly fall in love with it, and wonder why it took you so long to come round to the apple way of thinking.
I did not think I could love any other smartphone more than I did my iPhone 4, but the 4S has become my new love. I use it for almost everything and there seems to be nothing it can not do that I need it to do. It is a brilliant phone, and other than Siri being Americanized a bit too much, there is nothing that I could say is wrong with the iPhone 4S. Even my 2 year old niece loves this phone, and can use it a bit too easily for my liking, but kids these days seem to be able to use everything with the greatest of ease don't they!?
The iPhone 4S charges up relativley quickly from the wall charger, and I have had no problems with battery life being low, nor have I had any problems with the signal. Of course there is still no Adobe Flash with the Apple products, so some websites will not work on the Safari web browser, but so far this has caused me no worries. I am still able to do what I need to do.
Personally I love this phone, and if you have an older model of the iPhone and are thinking of upgrading, stop thinking and do it right now, trust me you will not regret this decision. If you have never had an iPhone before, then start with this one. Apple have done a FANTASTIC job with this one, and it really is the best smartphone on the market right now, in my opinion and I think everyone should at least give it a trial run.
The iPhone 4S is available through all phone store retailers, like Orange, Vodafone, Phones 4 U and carphone warehouse. You can also buy it from many stores online (please use caution when doing so!) and from Apple themselves. I got mine as a phone contract, which means I do not have to pay out for the phone, as these are a tad expensive to buy outright at over £800!!
I personally very much so recommend the iPhone 4S. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars, although I would love to give it so many more stars than this. I totally recommend everyone get one of these, and they will wonder why they didn't do it so much earlier.
*This review is also on Ciao under the username of Hailee*
I recently went on holiday to Florida, and I was told by the hotel/holiday rep to try out the Orlando Premium Shopping Outlets, as I mentioned that I love shopping. There are actually two of these Premium Outlets, one located at each end of International Drive, Orlando.
I was staying on International Drive, so it was quite simple to get to the outlets, and there is actually a bus called the I-Ride which takes you to both Outlets and is only $1.25 a ride, or you can buy passes from your hotel.
I was expecting the Outlets to be a smallish place, but it was amazingly huge and it did take a little while to work out where everything was. It is an outdoor mall, with some parts under cover, and the food court is located inside. There were quite a few signs and maps around to help you find the stores you wanted, or just to help you find the way out!!
As well as stores there were stalls located all around the outlets too, which sold all kinds of things ranging from phone covers to kids toys. There is also a massive array of outlet stores, and you can find pretty much anything you need here.
The stores include Ed Hardy, Bath and Body Works, Fuzzywigs Candy Store, Claires, Starbucks, Victoria's Secret, Juicy Couture, Dickies and DKNY. There is a massive collection of other stores, where you can buy clothes, gifts, shopping, cookery items, shoes, accessories and home furnishings.
Weekdays the outlets are open from 10am until 11pm, and on Sunday's they are open from 10am until 9pm. These times may vary throughout seasons and holidays so please try to check before you go.
I had a great time shopping at the Outlets, and I spent a fair few hours there and good few dollars. I got everything at amazingly great prices and I was really pleased with how much I got for the money I spent.
All the stores were tidy and well presented, and all of the staff in each store were polite, helpful and friendly. I can not say anything bad about this shopping trip at all.
If you were to drive to the Outlets there is a massive car park, which is free to park in whilst you are shopping in the Outlets. There are plenty of spaces, including disabled access spaces and spaces for larger vehicles, like mini-vans etc. There is a bus stop directly outside for Lynx buses and the I-Ride bus, so transport is not a problem, no matter where you are staying or how much shopping you have.
If you get the chance to visit International Drive, I would say that The Premium Outlets is a must go-to place, especially for those who love to shop. You really can get some brilliant deals on amazing items and it is a very pleasant and relaxed shopping experience.
I give the Orlando Premium Shopping Outlets a 5 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend this mall to everyone.
*this review is also on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*
I am quite a lover of cereal and always have a bowl for breakfast, and sometimes a bowl for a snack. I like to keep a different selection of cereals in my kitchen, so I always have a choice of which ones to eat, as the same thing can get boring after a while.
One of the usuals in my kitchen is Tesco's own Fruit and Fibre cereal. This is just the usual cereal of wheat flakes and fruits, such as sultanas and coconut, as well as dried banana. At first glance this does not look like it will be very tasty, and it was some time before I tried this one.
Once I did try this cereal, I loved it. It may be a basic cereal, but the fruits that have been combined in it are perfect together and they make for a great taste, as well as a great texture. None of the cereal goes soggy when the milk is added, which is a bonus for me, as I really do hate soggy cereal with a passion!
The recommended serving size of this cereal is 30grams, which is a perfect sized serving for me, and without milk, this serving is only 125 calories. I am on a calorie controlled diet, so a good sized serving with great taste is just what I need and this supplies that perfectly.
This cereal comes in a standard sized box or a slightly larger sized box. I usually get the larger one for just under £2 a box, and this will give me about 15-18 servings, which I think is great value for money. My partner also likes this cereal, which is handy, as I do not have to buy many different types just to keep everyone happy.
I don't think there is anything bad I can say about this cereal, and if you are a fan of fruit and fibre, there is no point in spending out extra money on brand named cereals when this one is just as good, if not better. You can buy this in Tesco stores and on Tesco.com - I have not seen it in any Tesco Express stores as these seem to only stock Brand name cereals.
I really recommend the Tesco Own Fruit and Fibre cereal and I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.
For the past 6 months or so, I have the occasional problem with sensitive teeth, especially when drinking something cold. I mentioned this problem to my dentist on my last check up appointment, and she gave me some samples of Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpaste to see if that helped to fix or at least some what relieve the problem.
After working out how to open the toothpaste, I finally got to try it. There is a cap with a strange shape in the top which you have to turn round use to pierce open the tube, which is something I had not seen on toothpaste before so this confused me a little bit lol.
The toothpaste, like most others before it, is white and thick, and has a minty smell and taste to it. It is not as minty as other toothpastes I have tried, but it is still a generally pleasant flavour and I able to brush my teeth without gagging at the taste, so I assume this to be a good thing.
The toothpaste froths up quite well when brushing, but does not go overboard so that you end up with a face full of bubbles. The thickness of the toothpaste means it spread quite well around the mouth, and one toothbrush full is all I need to brush my teeth.
I found that this toothbrush cleaned my teeth well, and definatley better than some toothpastes I have tried in the past, but there is one slight problem. Being a sensitive toothpaste this is of course meant to add at least some relief to the problem, but alas, this seems to have made mine worse. I have had sharper pains from cold drinks and food since using this toothpaste than I ever have before.
I have seen the adverts that show how well this is supposed to work, but after trying it, I personally believe it to be some what fabricated. I do not know others who have tried this toothpaste, so I can not say if this bad experience is just personal to me. It may be worth a try for you if you have sensitive teeth, but do not put your hopes into it. Also make sure you get a sample toothpaste, do not spend money on it, as it would be a waste if it was not to work for you either.
In terms of taste and cleaning, this is a good toothpaste, but for the sensitivity issue it is specifically made to address, it is no good and for this problem I give it a 2 out of 5 stars. Not recommended.
I drink protein every now and then after the gym to help build and recover my muscles, and I usually bring my own powder from home and mix with water at the gym after a workout. I recently forgot to bring said powder to the gym with me and I had to resort to buying one of the protein shakes the gym have in stock. The ones they have are the Multipower Fit Protein.
Multipower is a generally well known brand in the sports and fitness industry which make sports supplemtens, bars and drinks among other items. Their fit protein is their basic, ready mixed protein drink which is designed for after workout use to help rebuild and restore the muscles you have used. They come in a variety of flavours but I only had a choice between vanilla and strawberry. I opted for vanilla.
The shake comes in a generally large glass bottle, with a white, metallic screwtop lid which I found easy enough to remove. The bottle was a little difficult to hold as it is quite big, but then I suppose it is made for muscly, big handed men, not little women like me lol. There is a wraparound label on the bottle which explains what the shake does and what is in it in the way of carbohydrates, fat, protein etc.
I found the shake to be ok tasting, but not the greatest. I have come to know that most protein shakes do not have a nice taste to them, but this was not up the top of the chain. It was a bearable taste, but given the option I do not think I would drink it again. The texture of the shake is quite thick, a little bit thicker than my own mixed shake, but was still easy enough to swallow.
There is quite a lot in the bottle, and it made me a bit bloated drinking it, as I think this one is actually bigger than the usual one I drink. It sat quite heavily in my stomach and was still there, being heavy, quite a while later.
I paid £2.50 for the bottle, which is a general price for a pre made protein shake these days, but I think that is a bit too expensive and I won't be paying that for one of these again. I always make sure I have my own now as I did not like this one compared to my own brand I usually use.
Whilst this drink does have the right nutrients etc in it for muscle repair after a workout, I did not like the taste or the horribly heavy feeling it left in my stomach afterwards and I do not think I will be drinking this again. I would may be tempted to try some of their other flavours, but I believe they would all give me the same heavy stomach feelin.
Some people I know say that this the perfect shake for them, so I suppose it all depends on personal preference, but I will be steering clear of this one in the future. I give this shake a 3 out of 5 stars, and I some what recommend it, for the nutrients, but not the taste or texture.
I have combination skin on my face, so trying to find a good face wash or scrub can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare. I recently recieved a sample of St. Ives Apricot Scrub and thought I would give it a try. I have only heard good things about St. Ives and if it did not work well for me, I had not wasted any money as it was a free sample.
Inside the tube, the scrub is a biege colour with slightly darker scrubbing particles, which are almost the same colour of brown sugar. The scrub has a thick texture, which feels creamy and smooth to the touch. As soon as you open the tube you can smell a lovely, gentle smell of apricots, which seems just perfect, not too feint and not too strong either.
When I put this scrub on my face, I could feel the scrubbing particles, but they did not feel too harsh. You can definatley feel them working, and just a small blob of the scrub goes a long way, and my sample tube has lasted me 2 weeks so far, with use every other day. The scrub is easy to rinse off, and it leaves my skin looking, and feeling, beautiful.
My skin looks glowing straight away after use, and it is very soft and smooth to the touch. My face feels very clean and even though my skin is combination and has been known to be a nightmare, it looks beautiful after using this scrub. The apricot smell still gently lingers on the skin throughout the day too, which is quite a nice smell to be carrying with you.
My skin stays looking and feeling good after use too, the next day my skin is still great, and I use a normal, non exfoliating face wash on these days. I use this every other day, and my skin looks fantastic since I started using this. I have found that it does not dry out my face, or excacerbate oil production of any type. If only I had found this face scrub when I was an acne plagued teenager!!
Personally, I am very impressed with the face scrub, and I totally recommend it to anyone, whether they have problem skin or not. You can buy this scrub in quite a wide range of places, including, Boots, Superdrug, Large Supermarkets and online at places like Amazon etc. Prices vary depending on where you will buy it from, but Boots do have this on special offer every know and then, so this is worth keeping your eyes open for.
I believe this is great value for money, as it works well and it is long lasting. If you have not yet tried it, please do, as I do not think you will be disappointed. I give this face scrub a 5 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend it.
*This review is also on Ciao under the username of Hailee*
I was recently sent a free sample bottle of the new Dove Damage Therapy Intense Repair Conditioner. I was quite excited to try it as I have pretty dry, damaged hair from coloring and heat styling over the years. I had used some Dove hair products in the past and found them to be of good quality, so I was expecting only good things from this new product.
The conditioner inside the bottle is a creamy, white substance and it is silky to the touch. It is quite thick, but has a slight watery-likeness to it, which makes it a little unstable in your hand. There is not much of a scent to it, and I couldn't really put a name to the faint smell that I did notice.
The conditioner does spread quite far, and a small blob in my palm covered a good section of my hair. My hair is quite long and thick, so I usually end up using loads of products just to get the effect I am going for.
After leaving the conditioner to soak into my hair for a short while, I rinsed it out and I found that it came out of my hair quite easily with minimal effort. My hair instantly felt softer and smoother, and this was when it was still wet. After rinsing and drying my hair, I found that it was indeed quite soft and smooth, but it still had quite a dryness to it. It didn't add much extra shine to my hair, although it was easier to style it.
The results of this conditioner lasted about as long as my usual conditioner does, so I am not singing any extra praises on this account either. Personally I was expecting a bit better from this conditioner. I am not saying it is a bad conditioner, as it does the basic job, but I would not say it is an Intense Repair Conditioner at all. I did try it a few more times after the first time, to see if the effect would be better, but I had the same results every time.
If I was given this conditioner again for free, I would use it again, but I would not spend my money on it, when there is other products out there that will do a better job for around the same price. I give this conditioner a 4 out of 5 stars, and I somewhat recommend it.
I recently won a competition which awarded me with a brand new kettle and toaster, from the new Kenwood Kmix Boutique Range.
The toaster that I recieved is the Kenwood TTMO24 in bright yellow. This also comes in other bright colours like blue and green, as well as your basic kitchen colours like white and grey.
The TTM024 is a two slice toaster and it comes with a toast rack, and a crumb tray. The crumb tray is built in, amd it slides out easily to enable you to empty it. This is much better than the old toaster I had, which seemed to just dump the crumbs on the kitchen counter at random intervals. The toast rack is made from metal and it fits perfectly on top of the toaster, so you can keep your toast warm, whilst making more toast if needed, or you can just pop it on the table or counter.
Other than the awesome colour of this toaster, my favourite function is the "toast checker" which enables you to lift the bread out of the toaster, whilst it is cooking to check on the progress, and it does this without disturbing the cooking time or heat of the toaster, so you can just pop it back down and allow it to continue cooking should the need be. I personally found this amazing, as I like my toast a certain way, and it means even the fussiest of toast eaters can make their toast perfectly as to how they would like it.
There is a heat setting on this toaster, which goes from Defrost to 5 and means you can set your toaster to certain heats and times. I have found my perfect toasting setting to be a 4, but everyone is different and it may take a little trial and error to see which numbered setting works better for you personally.
The cancel button on this toaster is actually the centre of the heat setting dial, and it is easily depressed when needed, so your toast pops straight up and the cooking cycle is stopped. It is pretty much instant when you press the button. When the toast pops, you get the usual popping toaster sound, which is always fun, and the toast jumps up a little, but not so high that it flys out and hits the floor. I find it easy to get toast out of the toaster, no matter what the thickness or type of bread (within reason of course!!) and personally I have no means to complain about this toaster what so ever.
The power cable is a perfect length for me to move this around my kitchen should I need to, and the whole toaster itself seems pretty sturdy and good quality. The colour is vibrant and pretty, and it adds a nice brightness to my kitchen, which is especially welcome in this grey, gloomy weather we have at the moment.
All in all, I think this is a brilliant toaster and I am very pleased I won it. I have a matching kettle and there is a choice of colours so you can get something to match your kitchen with ease. Had I been paying for this toaster myself, the price would have probably but me off. On Amazon these Toasters cost £47.99 and I have not dared to look anywhere else as I found this to be a high enough price!!
If you are looking to spend that much on a toaster, then I would say that this is money well spent, but there are many other toasters out there that do the same thing for much a lower price than this one. I do love the colours and features of this toaster, but I would not have paid the price for it myself.
I give this toaster a 5 out of 5 and I recommend it.
I am not usually big on drinking protein shakes, but my partner seems to use a lot of them, and he had me try them for a short while as I go to the gym with him a lot. He gave me one of his spare shakers so I would have one of my own, and this was one of the Maximuscle branded ones.
Maximusle is a big name in the protein and sports supplements world, so I assumed this would be a very good quality shaker for the protein shakes. The lid is red (does come in other colours I believe) and it is coned up, which some what reminds me of a muffin (all about food lol!!) Inside the lid is a plastic circle grating, which is to help the protein powder disperse and disolve properly.
The cup itself is made from a thickened plastic and is clear, with the Maximuscle logo printed on the sides. The lid is easy to remove and put back on the cup when needed, and it screws on, so you can tighten it as much as you need to. The drinking spout is easy to open and the opening part is still attached to the lid, so you can never lose it.
I found that to start with, this cup was good to use, as it did everything I needed it to. It mixed the protein powder well, and it was easy to drink from. After a while though, I noticed it was not as great as I initally believed.
Soon, the lid tightening starts to drop, and you find that it may start to leak occasionally, with the leak getting worse over time. I also found that the cup held upto the smell of the protein shake really easily, and no matter how many times I scrubbed it or ran it through the dishwasher, it still had a dank, mouldy smell, which just seemed to get worse everytime I used it. The smell soon became a taste, and I had to throw away the cup.
I thought this may have been a one off, but when I spoke to others about the situation, they too said they have found the leaking and smell problem, and they had to replace theirs every other month or so, sometimes sooner if they used theirs more often.
At £4.99 a shaker cup, it is not such a cheap thing to keep replacing, but I partially think they have been designed this way so people keep having to replace them and spending more on them means more money for Maximuscle, who make the shakers.
I have tried some other brands of shakers since, and most have been about the same as the Maximuscle one, with only the occasional few being any better. I am no longer using protein shakes, so I am no longer using the shakers, but my partner is and he has found a different brand that works much better for him now.
Personally, I found that these Maximuscle shakers were good for a few weeks at the most, but I do not think they are worth the money you have to pay for them, and I would not use them again. I give these shakers a 3 out of 5, and I only recommend them to people who use them very sparingly, or who like to replace their stuff and waste their money.
*This review is also on Ciao under the username of Hailee*
Many women I know have a problem with their legs or butt, and I know I am one of those women. I decided I wanted to tone my legs up and my butt too, so I went in search of some help.
I found Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs on Amazon. I had seen Jillian on The Biggest loser USA and I must say, as scary as she is, she really does get results and I wanted to give this one a go. I ordered the DVD and I was quite excited to give it a go.
The DVD case has Jillian herself on the front, and you can see she has a great figure herself, which I think is a good bit of inspiration to get you started.
The DVD has 3 difficulty levels, and most normal people will start on Level 1, which includes beginner modifications for those who are just starting out in this programme. Level 2 is intermediate and level 3 is just damn crazy lol!!
I of course started with level 1, and I am glad I did, it is hard enough to start with!! The Level 1 workout is approximatley 35 minutes long, with warm-up and cool down, so it does not take a whole chunk of your day to do this, which I think is really great as life does seem to get busier every single day.
Jillian is joined by 2 women in this workout, one which is doing the beginner versions of the moves, and one who is doing the advanced. This is great for those who need to work at a different level, as we are not all the same.
The moves in this workout are varied between basic and tough, but I would not say that any part of this workout is easy. You really feel it working, which is what I like from a workout, and it is not so tough that I fail to keep up. Jillian ensures that you know the correct form and postures throughout the workout, so as not to get injured, and this is something that I find is lacking from a lot of fitness DVD's currently on the market.
There is a set of circuits in the workout, so you work through each move twice, but you do not stay on one move long enough to find it boring or too much. Each move in the circuits works with the others, so you get a great workout which tones your body, and it also includes cardio intervals, so you can burn the fat and tone the muscle.
Every one will take a different amount of time to move up in the levels, and once you can comfortably do the advanced moves in Level 1, it may well be time to try and move on up to level 2. You only need (should you wish to use them) hand weights for one move in Level 1, but then you do not have to have them at all should you not wish to for any of the DVD. Remember, you are the one in charge of your own workout.
I love this DVD and I have noticed a difference in my butt and my thighs, and I personally recommend this to everyone. A few of my friends are now using this DVD due to my recommendation and although they also find it tough, they love it as much as I do.
You can buy this DVD on Amazon, which is the cheapest place I could find it, at less than £5. It is also available in places like HMV but this will cost you more and personally, I am a bit of a skinflint, so I always try to find the better deal.
If you do not have a lot of time in the day, but you want a workout that will really work and deliver results, then Jillian Michaels Killer Buns and Thighs is the workout for you. 5 out of stars from me.
*This review is also on Ciao under the username of Hailee*
as part of my fitness and health routine, I have recently started a Yoga programme, which I do at home in my living room. I have quite thick carpet and a rug in my home, which has caused me a few carpet burns on my feet, legs and arms during the Yoga DVD's and I decided that it would be a good idea to invest in a new Yoga mat, as my old one had disappeared!!
I bought a new Pineapple Yoga Mat from Amazon, and it only cost me £10, which I thought was a good price as Pineapple is known to be a good quality brand. For those who have not heard of Pineapple before, they are a well known Dancewear brand that also make sports wear and accessories.
The Mat comes in a stow-away bag, which is a light pink and has the black Pineapple logo on it. The bag has a long, sturdy handle, which makes it easy and simple to carry the mat over your shoulder, so you can take it anywhere that you need to have it. I have taken mine to the gym to do some of their classes, as the ones supplied in the gym are getting a bit thin.
Inside the bag, you will find a rolled up Yoga mat which is the same pink color as the bag, and it also has the Pineapple logo on it, but it is white, not black like the bag. I assume you could maybe buy this in other colours but I have not looked into this. The pink is a nice soft shade, and it compliments the white from the logo quite well.
The mat itself is made from a sort of plasticated foam, as most Yoga mats tend to be, and is of a good thickness. It is not so thin that it feels like you may as well lay on the floor, but it is not so thick that it will hamper your workout. The mat is soft to touch, but sturdy to use and this is just how I expect a Yoga mat to be.
I have used this mat on both carpet, and the laminated floor in the gym studio and I am happy to say that it has stayed in place every time I have used it. I have had no problems with it slipping and sliding around, and I have managed to stay in place on top of the mat too. The mat is actually slightly longer than the other yoga mats I have used, but I find this is better as I can stretch out a little bit more.
It is comfortable to use, and you can wipe it clean easily and quickly, so no matter how sweaty or dirty your workout gets, you can always be sure that there is no hassle in cleaning this yoga mat. The mat rolls back up really easily and I have never had a problem storing it back in the bag, ready for the next use. Sadly the bag is not as easily cleanable as the mat and I do have a few stains on it, but it is nothing major and it is machine washable, just not safe for the tumble dryer.
I have had this mat a couple of months now, and even after multiple uses, it still looks brand new and it is still as good as the day I bought it. I believe it will have plenty of uses left in it, and I am glad that I have bought this. It is good quality for a good price, and it does every thing you would expect it to do.
You can buy this mat on Amazon like I did, or you can also buy them in selected JJB Sports stores, but the price may differ. I give this Pineapple Yoga Mat a 5 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend it.
*This review is also posted on Ciao under the user name of Hailee*
I am a bit of a fitness freak, and I have used a lot of different pieces of equipment over my time and one of the pieces that I have used as of late is the Reebok Deck Performance.
We have about 20 of these at my gym for use by all members, and it has become a great part of my usual workouts in many different ways. I always just thought that these decks were just steps for aerobics, but when I was introduced to them by a personal trainer at the gym, I realised just how much they could actually be used for.
The decks are made from a reinforced plastic, and are quite thick, but still quite light and easy to move around, should you need to put them somewhere else. They have a textured top, which I have found helps amazingly with grip when jumping and standing on it for different workouts.
These decks are actually adjustable too, so they double up as workout benches. You can make it so the deck is lower to the ground, or you can make it so that the top part is at an angle so you can sit up, or sit at an angle and use the deck as a workout bench for things like muscle workouts.
There is a handy slot at each end of the deck for you to carry it around should you need to move it, and as it is quite light weight, it is easy to transport around. The colours of these decks do vary, and the ones at the gym are two different shades of grey, but I have also seen these in blue & White, Grey & yellow and Blue & Green.
I have used these decks as aerobic steps, and as centres for jumping on and over during resistance workouts. I have also used them as weights benches, when the main ones in the gym have all been in use and I have found it to be perfectly sturdy and comfortable to use for this purpose. I have seen quite heavy people using these, and there seemed to be no problem with the deck supporting their weight, so I do not see people having a problem with this supporting larger people during a workout.
A friend of mine uses one of these decks to do pilates and yoga poses that involve lying down as she does not like lying on the floor. She says this works really well for her and it has helped her gain some extra core strength. She swears by one of these decks and won't use anything else.
Personally, I think that these are great little pieces of equipment and they can be used for so many different things during a workout, no matter of weight, height or workout style. They are very sturdy and supportive, and easily transported around.
If you have these at your gym, I would recommend that you use them during your workouts, or you can buy these for home personal use, but they are not cheap. The lowest price I have seen them for is £119 which I think is good value for this, but I personally would not pay that out for a piece of fitness equipment.
You may be able to find a second hand one online for a much cheaper price, so it may be worth having a look around for something and see what you can find. I think these are great, and if you can use or own one of them, it is totally a good idea.
I give these Reebok Performance Decks a 5 out of 5 and I recommend them.
I am a chocolate lover, and although I try to be good with my diet, occasionally, I will allow myself a chocolate bar and one my current favourites is the Wispa Gold.
The Wispa Gold used to be a seasonal chocolate bar that would be limited edition and I was always quite sad when it stopped being sold everytime, but rumour has it that this time, it is here to stay for at least a year and this makes me very happy, although I have stocked up on a few in my kitchen, just in case!!
Wispa Gold is made by Cadbury and it is basically their normal Wispa bar, with a layer of caramel through the middle. The chocolate is soft and bubbly, and it melts in your mouth in a really smooth way. The caramel is of the perfect consistency, not too thick that it sticks to the roof of your mouth, but not so thin it is like you're drinking it.
The bar is nice and thick, so you get a good bite every time, and it just tastes oh so good. The bar comes in a foil wrapper, which is gold in colour and has the Wispa Gold logo on the front of it.
Like other chocolate bars, this one is high in sugar, fats and calories, which is why I only allow myself to eat one once in a while. One bar of Wispa Gold will provide your body with 265 calories!! It is worth treating yourself with one of these from time to time, I think.
You can buy Wispa Gold pretty much any where chocolate is sold, including Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Boots, Superdrug, Newsagents and Petrol Stations, amongst many other places. The price will vary depending on where you are buying it from, but it will cost somewhere between 65p and 89p. Some places are doing deals when you buy 2 of these bars, so this could be good to look out for.
I love Wispa Gold and it is a chocolate bar I totally recommend to everyone. I give this a 5 out of 5 stars. Enjoy!!