- Slendertone Review - Does it Work?
- Get Hot and Sweaty at Home
- 5 Top Valentines Day Destinations
- We're Sociable - Say Hello!
- Gifts for People who Work at Home
- 5 Ingenious Ways to Shed the Christmas Pounds
- What to do with Unwanted Christmas Gifts
- 10 Free and Cheap Gift Ideas
- And they call it puppy love...
- 5 Christmas Shopping Tips
- Give Your Kids a Horrible Present
Slendertone Review - Does it Work? 03-01-2012
The world is full of promises of quick and easy fixes; from dropping 2 dress sizes in a month to making a million pounds over night. Very rarely do these promises ever amount to much, but according to many people, the Slendertone is one of those rare few that just might...
The Slendertone device, available for both men and women, is a piece of fitness equipment which literally tones your abdominal muscles all by itself. Literally, all you need to do is wear the thing. It sounds too good to be true, but the product is scientifically proven to help strengthen the stomach muscles, replicating many of the movements performed with exercise, and producing a more toned tummy.
Wear it while you work
The Slendertone belt is designed for use when you are doing anything other than exercise; it is aimed squarely at people with busy lifestyles, or those simply too lazy to exercise! It works by emitting an electrical charge into the abs, causing an intense vibration which tones the underlying muscle. You can see and feel it working.
You can wear the belt underneath normal clothing if you want to, and some users report that the Slendertone is even comfortable enough to wear in bed. This is the absolute closest you will get to losing weight while you sleep.
Use in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle
If you are truly seeking the easy way out, the Slendertone belt is not for you. You can't expect to live a lifestyle of beer, wine and takeaways, and wear the Slendertone in the vain hope of achieving a flat stomach. Like with most "convenience" products, the Slendertone needs to be used alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise in order to maximise its results.
About the belt
So that's the depressing news out of the way, let's get into the details of this innovative little product! The belt sits comfortably around the waist. It's easy to fit and holds securely, though if you use it for extended periods of time, you will need to adjust every now and again to make sure you are targeting the right muscles. If it slips down on one side, for example, you might end up with lopsided toning of your abs - not a good look!
The belt comes with 10 toning programmes of varying intensity. These are easy to select and get started with, and the LCD display tells you which programme you are running, your intensity level and how long you have been using the belt in that session. The Slendertone claims to "guarantee to strengthen and firm all abdominal muscles", with a 25% increase in strength after consistent usage of the belt.
The pros and cons
- Great to supplement a healthy lifestyle, but also useful to create definition if you're not trying to achieve the body of a Greek God
- Very easy to use and comfortable to wear
- Great for your posture and strengthening lower back muscles too
- Batteries last a long time
- It really does work!
- Don't use for extended periods of time immediately - this will hurt the next day!
- Needs adjustment from time to time to ensure the correct muscles are being targeted
- May result in some light mockery if worn in the office!
The Slendertone fitness belt is an incredibly piece of equipment if you want to see noticeable results, in a short amount of time, without a great deal of effort. What it isn't, is a worker of magic. For best results, you need to work this into a healthy lifestyle with a sensible diet and ideally a couple of gym sessions each week.
What this product can promise, is a guaranteed strengthening and toning of the abdominal muscles, so to answer our original question, the Slendertone does work!
Get Hot and Sweaty at Home 01-02-2012
We have a confession to make - the title of this article is a little misleading. Well, it is and it isn't. By reading this, you will indeed learn how to work up a sweat from the comfort of your home, but it might not be in quite the same way you were imagining...
We want to talk about the all-important topic of exercise. That dreaded subject which faces us all from time to time. The ever-haunting fear of getting out of shape (or trying to get into shape!); the notion of which can leave you breathless all by itself.
For many people, hitting the gym on a regular occasion isn't an option. Lifestyle, commitments and health issues make it almost impossible to sustain a routine, and the fact that most gyms are subscription based often means a lot of people are throwing away money each month; a double blow to those who don't visit the gym as often as they'd like.
Do it at home
At Gift Scoop, we're big believers that almost anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. You might think you need a gym subscription and a load of expensive workout gear to get into shape, but the truth is that with the right, low-cost equipment, you can do just as much at home.
The exercise ball
Exercise balls (or gym balls) are large, inflatable balls which can be used to tone various parts of the body. Lie on your back, suspending the ball in the air with your calf muscles, is a great way to strength the thighs and buttocks. Sitting on the ball and performing small sit-ups will strengthen your abdominal muscles, helping to trim belly fat and develop definition in that area.
Take a look at our review of the Reebok exercise ball and learn some workout routines here.
Ankle and wrist weights
Perfect for wearing when walking around the home or office, wrist and ankle weights create resistance which will help you make the most out of any movement you do. If you don't get chance to go out for a run, simply wear them with normal attire. Coupled with a long run, these innovative little weights can really make a difference to your fitness over time.
Check out our review of these Everlast wrist weights.
The exercise bike
Indoor cycling - the perfect alternative for those who live in cities or simply don't want to suffer the rough British elements. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of exercise bikes on the market, varying in hi-tech digital solutions through to the most rudimentary models which offer little over that of an old man's push bike!
We have reviewed a few select models of exercise bike right here.
Generally more of a male thing, weightlifting is suitable for both genders depending on what you are trying to achieve. To build muscle, you need heavy weights. Perform 5-10 reps 4-5 times, and repeat. If you simply want to tone up, get hold of some lighter weights and perform 10-20 reps 3 times and repeat.
Dumbbells are amongst the most affordable and effective ways to exercise from home. Take a look at our review of these York dumbbells here.
If all else fails...
Okay, so if the gym isn't an option, and you can't workout at home for whatever reason, what else is left? Go for a run! It really doesn't matter if you live in a city, suburbs or in the middle of nowhere; there is always the chance to run. If you own a smartphone, download an app to track your running distance and average speed, and use this to set yourself targets. Running is one of the best ways to burn calories and keep the fat from forming, and best of all its entirely free.
What are you waiting for? Get going!
5 Top Valentines Day Destinations 24-01-2012
Let's face it - Valentines Day in Britain comes at a bad time. Most people haven't fully recovered financially from the cost of Christmas and the weather is rubbish because it's still winter.
This makes Valentines Day a brilliant time to get away on holiday for a few days (or weeks, if funds allow!). In this article we look at 5 great places you can take your lover over the romantic period.
The city break
If, like most people, you are a little short on money recently, why not look at visiting another city for a long weekend? London offers everything from shows to shopping, but it also comes with its fair share of tourists and this makes it busy and expensive. Going north brings you to places like Manchester; a vibrant and modern city with lots to offer, and Leeds; an underrated city surrounded by lots of stunning Yorkshire scenery just outside the centre.
If you can spare a little extra cash, there are plenty of European cities to visit, from Barcelona to Amsterdam, each offering their own unique experience. Some great places to look for city breaks online include lastminute.com and travelsupermarket.com
Situated in the British Isles, Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. It offers a unique blend of English and French, with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars catering very much for both languages. Jersey is known for its affluent residents and visitors, so it isn't the cheapest place you can visit, but you do get what you pay for. Everything is of a high standard in Jersey - the service is friendly, people are polite and streets are kept very clean.
There's also plenty to see, from the exciting Durrell wildlife park to the rocky coasts battered by feisty waters. February is a great time to visit Jersey, and an excellent place to spend Valentines Day.
You can fly to Jersey from most major airports in the UK and the flight takes around 50 minutes.
Venice - Italy
Venice is a truly stunning city. Had you not known any better, you might confuse it with a purpose built little island designed purely for tourism.
Venice is only a couple of hours away from the UK by plane, and offers a huge range of things to see and do for couples. Along with the usual range of restaurants and bars, the city itself serves as a sight. You have to get lost in Venice - allow yourself to wander aimlessly, gazing at the tall walls, quaint bridges and fellow tourists enjoying a Gondola ride.
Browse the grand museums, walk around San Marco Square and take a shuttle boat to The Lido, the island where the famous Venice Film Festival is hosted. There are few places in the world which offer the same romantic experience.
Sharm El Sheikh - Egypt
Egypt has risen to become one of the top tourist destinations for Europeans over the past 15 years, and with good reason. Trips to Sharm El Sheikh are reasonably cheap and Brits will experience another world once they arrive! February isn't the best time to go; you will not experience the deep heat that would caress your skin in the summer, but you will feel temperatures of around 20c - definitely a welcome change to the British winter!
Sharm El Sheikh is a place for relaxation and exploration. Go snorkeling or diving in the clear blue waters, or relax in one of the many bars around the bay. Alternatively, for some real memory-making, why not take a domestic flight up to Cairo to see the Pyramids, and the incredible, buzzing city of Cairo itself?
Sharm is just over 5 hours flight from the UK, and holidays cost around £500 per person.
If you truly want to get away from it all, particularly if you lead a busy life in the city, a visit to Scotland might be right up your street. Renting a cottage in Scotland can be very inexpensive, and provide a true escape due to the secluded locations available.
If you choose to do this, you'll need a car because you might find yourself miles away from civilisation. This does mean you will need to spend the week entertaining yourselves (I'm sure you'll think of something!), so now might be the time to get a few new movies on DVD, board games and get the trainers out to go for some long, bracing walks.
Book your trip!
Have a browse of some of these websites to find your perfect getaway:
We're Sociable - Say Hello! 15-01-2012
Gift Scoop launched in late 2011 and we're happy to report it's been growing steadily since then. Along with our regular usage of Twitter, we decided to take the plunge and get into Facebook too!
Feel free to say hello - we will respond :~)
Gifts for People who Work at Home 12-01-2012
Working on your own from the comfort of your home office is something that many people dream of, yet few manage to achieve. On the surface it can seem like a cushy idea - no boss to answer to and you can manage your own time, but in reality it has it's troughs along with its peaks.
Thanks to many businesses allowing employees to work remotely, the army of people working from home is constantly growing. If you have a friend or loved one who is in this position and you are looking for something to buy them for their birthday, you could surprise them with a useful or entertaining gift for their home business lifestyle. Here's our guide to gifts for home workers.
Struggling for ideas? Start with the practicals...
What do most offices have which somebody who works at home does not, and would find useful? A printer? Pens? Paper?
By looking at the practical items first, and marrying up these requirements with their personality, you can draw up a few pretty comprehensive ideas. For example, you might have a friend who enjoys walking and works at home as a freelance accountant. A gift idea for somebody like this might be a nature inspired calendar or an illustrated document folder.
To help you with ideas, here is a list of the some of the core requirements of a homeworker:
- Printer paper and ink
- Filing facilities - cabinets, folders, dividers etc
- Pens, notepads and sticky notes
- A whiteboard
- Desk and monitor screen cleaner
- A diary and calendar
Get creative and combine the recipients personal interests with things they can put to practical usage - you'll uncover a world of gift ideas!
Practical ideas no good? Go glamorous!
Okay, so many people won't really appreciate a box of printing paper for their birthday - they want something more inspiring; more luxurious and heck, you want to spend a bit more on them!
Working from home can be tough if you lack the comforts of a modern office. Think about how you can make their life easier. Do they need a new office chair? A gel wrist rest to make typing more comfortable? Or perhaps even a cosy heated footrest for working in the winter!
Once again, we've compiled a list of gift ideas for those people who work at home:
- High quality speakers - because everybody needs some good music while they work!
- Heated footrest - as mentioned above, this is a real treat in the winter months, and good for posture too!
- A sleek business card holder for those important meetings and networking events
- An item of smart business clothing to impress prospects and clients
- Some software for accounting, office tasks, communication or design work
- An industry-specific book, or something about general business
- A fun office or desk toy
Give the gift of... friendship!
For many people working at home, the office can seem like a lonely place at times! As a friend or loved one, probably the best gift of all is that of love and morale support. Offer to meet for a coffee during office hours, or simply be there for them through the tough times - after all, that's what friends are for!