Shorts: Slim chance

Herbal diet pills, teas that claim to help you lose weight, crisps that promise to melt away your fat? If any of these have featured in your shopping basket, then Slim Mist (from Indigo Health, 0871 871 8192) is probably aimed at you. It's a new oral spray that is said to reduce your appetite and hence your clothes size. Now, I could bore you with the maker's claims, but why insult your intelligence? Suffice to say, it tastes horrid and I still managed a chocolate bar half an hour later. And at £14.99 for a small bottle, the one thing that'll be definitely lighter is your wallet.

Style and substance

When the dotcom bubble burst, someone forgot to tell the natural health industry. Could it be the forbidding and often smug nature of many a healthfood shop that makes internet sites selling holistic body care products so successful? It's such an ordeal venturing into my own local organic store (run by slightly too friendly Buddhists) that I tend to wait until I've run out of everything and then go in only when I've got plenty of time to spare. Annoyingly, many of the websites end up being as stuffy and forbidding as the shops, though at least you can't see the staff eyeing up your leather shoes. Not so, whose new organic apothecary site is suitably chic and sells only the most stylish organic beauty brands. The latest addition to the site is Healing Calendula gel (£15,, by Harley Street Cosmetics, which launches next month. A sort of organic eight-hour cream, this gel is an all-round miracle product that works on everything from nappy rash to chapped lips.

All for One

Gym fanatics are a nightmare to buy gifts for. Sports socks don't really say I love you, while anything made from Lycra gives out 'You need to lose a few pounds' vibes. And if they're a real fitness buff, they will turn up their noses at anything fun like cake, chocolate or wine. So instead of a crate of vino tinto, how about one of mineral water instead? Not a crate of regular Evian, obviously - that would be grounds for instant dismissal - but a crate of One water. It's a new mineral water from deep in the Radnor Hills, mid-Wales, that's both healthy and ethical - all profits go to Roundabout pumps, which provide free, clean drinking water in South Africa. One water, £5.88 for a crate of 24 500ml bottles; call 01707 320274 for stockists (or go to

Put your foot down

Yoga purists look away now - Nike's new yoga shoe will only raise your blood pressure and ruin chi. You've had to put up with the Gucci yoga bags and the celebrity endorsements, but this might be a commercialisation too far. The Nike Stretch, made of 'stretch mesh', is for those whose downward dog is ruined by the sight of their own feet - or, more probably, by the embarrassment of getting their scraggy toenails out in public. Yes, they are snug and comfortable, and they don't get hot and slippy like real feet. They're also quite warm, which is a bonus given the propensity for yoga classes to be held in draughty spaces. But there's a serious design flaw: you can't separate your toes, which means you can't grab hold of them, which is essential for many an asana. Practising in them is not unlike having a bath with your socks on. Nike Stretch shoe, £40, 0800 056 1640 for stockists.

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