Turning a Sporting Hobby Into a Healthy Fitness Routine

Most people have some kind of sporting passion. Perhaps they like watching a bit of footie on the television, or maybe they have a soft spot for volleyball whenever they go out to the beach with their friends.

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It doesn’t matter who you are–you’ve probably got some sport in your mind that you like.

Now despite that, a lot of people in the country are still kind of worried about enjoying their sport. Maybe they enjoy something that needs a team and they’re a bit shy about playing with random people, or perhaps they just don’t have the space for a certain sport. Whatever the case is, having some kind of sporting hobby is a great entryway into a healthy fitness routine.

So if you’re looking to introduce a bit more activity into your day, here are a couple of tips to turn your sporting hobby into a fitness routine.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/0NaQQsLWLkA (CC0)

Playing your sport more often

The most obvious way to turn your favourite sport into a fitness routine is to just play it! You can do this fairly easily with common sports like football or tennis, but it usually does involve joining a team, a group, or even paying for a membership to something like a tennis court. Whatever the case is, you’ve got to actually play your sport if you want to enjoy it!

But remember that there are a number of different ways to enjoy a sport. If you like basketball, then you could always play one-versus-one against a friend or family member instead of getting a team of five players. The goal is just to engage in your favourite sport a little more, not to take it seriously!

Finding people to enjoy your sport

If you really can’t enjoy your favorite sport with smaller teams, then why not look around for clubs and groups? There are loads of people who have local football clubs where they play with shuffled teams every few days. You can even go the extra mile and order rugby kits for your entire team. There are loads of ways to bring people together to enjoy sports, and this turns it into a fun activity instead of just being for fitness and workout purposes.

Enjoying a sport that doesn’t require a lot of people

Sure, sports can take a lot of people to fully enjoy, but there are a few which don’t require others! For example, cycling is a popular sport, but it doesn’t require you to race against others. Cycling more is convenient, simple, and a great way to add more activity into your days. You can always enjoy it with others, but that’s not really necessary if you’re just cruising and enjoying yourself.

Remember you have to recover too

No matter how much you enjoy a sport, you’ve got to remember to recover as well. Make sure you give your body some time to heal and don't overdo it! Doing so could easily lead to an injury, and that’s the last thing you want when turning a sport into a fitness routine.


Freeze Your Way to Faster Recovery: The Icy Secret Every Mountain Biker Needs to Know!

Mountain biking down trails, conquering challenging terrains, and feeling the adrenaline rush is all part and parcel of the reason we all love mountain biking Right?  But, as every mountain biker knows, this fun often comes with its share of muscle aches and pains and the occasional injury. Enter the reason I have started doing ice baths - the chilly remedy that many are swearing by. I have succumbed to the hype. Let’s explore why, after a long day on the trails, you might want to consider hopping into this frosty tub with me. mmm metaphorically that is the tubs are definitely not built for two.  Most of my friends think I have lost my mind but here is my research into why we all need to be hopping into an ice bath. 

1. Alleviating Trail-Induced Muscle Soreness

Tackling steep mountain bike trails and navigating rocky paths demand a lot from our muscles. This exertion can lead to the dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), that all-too-familiar stiffness after an intense ride. 

How ice baths can help with DOMS- Ice baths constrict blood vessels, effectively flushing out waste products from muscles and reducing swelling. Once you're out and warming up, increased blood flow speeds up recovery, prepping us for our next biking adventure.

2. Combatting Inflammation

Mountain biking can strain joints and muscles, leading to inflammation. We all know this we ride hard and our bodies know this. Ice baths temper the body's inflammatory response post-ride. By curbing excessive inflammation, you're in a better and more recovered position for your next ride.

3. Promoting Healthy Circulation

Enduring the cold of an ice bath challenges the body, drawing blood to the core. Once the chilly ordeal is over, oxygen-rich blood surges back to your muscles, revitalizing them and speeding up the recovery process. This is great training for winter rides. Especially here in the Scottish highland when riding in minus figures is the norm. If you don't your wont ride much in the winter. 

4. Building Mental Grit

Mastering mountain biking trails requires a lot of mental power, and so does diving into a tub of icy water. This practice can bolster mental resilience, aiding you in pushing through challenging parts of your rides. when your mind is strong your body is strong right? 

5. Upping Immunity

Being an all-weather mountain bike rider you need a robust immune system, especially if you are biking in varying weather conditions like we have here in the UK. Cold exposure, like ice baths, can stimulate the immune system. Over time, this might mean fewer sick days and more days on the trails. win-win

6. Deep Sleep for Deep Rides

Quality rest is essential after intense rides to rejuvenate and recover the body. The soothing after-effects of an ice bath can lead to a restful night's sleep, ensuring you're energized for the next day's biking challenges.

7. Refreshing Skin After a Muddy Ride

Beyond muscle recovery, there's a bonus! After a muddy ride, an ice bath can cleanse and tighten skin, giving you that post-trail glow. It also benefits the scalp, making hair appear shinier. We all know how biking in all weather can affect your skin hair and nail so why not give it a try. 

Taking the Cold Trail

If the idea of an ice bath feels as daunting as a tricky downhill tail, start with baby steps. Gradually lower temperatures and begin with shorter durations in the tub. As with any new regimen take it slowly and if you have any medical conditions check with your GP that ice baths are ok for you. 

We all know that to be a good mountain bike we also need to take health and ensure efficient recovery is paramount to keep the adventure going. So, after conquering those challenging trails, consider giving your body the icy treat of an ice bath I have been and it's working for you. Your muscles, mind, and body will thank you. If you would like to hear more about my personal journey with ice baths let me know. 


Beyond Biking: Fun Fitness Routines Every Mountain Biker Should Try

We all know the thrill of hitting a hard techy mountain bike trail for the first time, feeling the wind against our faces, knowing we rode it well and it just felt good there is nothing better right? That buzz of adrenaline. But did you ever consider sprinkling a little variety into your mountain bike fitness routine? Not only can this be a blast, but it can also enhance your biking skills and overall well-being. There a reason you see all the professionals hitting the gym and gym classes. It is there job to know what to do to find the gain on the bike. 

Let's dive into some exciting exercises that every mountain biker should give a go!

1. Yoga 

Before you laugh and skip ahead, hear me out! Yoga isn’t just about finding your inner zen; it's fantastic for flexibility and core strength. Imagine gliding over those rough roots or making sharp turns with enhanced agility. Plus, the relaxation techniques can help with post-ride muscle recovery. Namaste to that!

2. Swimming 

Swap the rugged trails for some refreshing laps in the pool. Swimming offers an excellent full-body workout, emphasizing cardiovascular endurance and upper-body strength. It's the perfect complement to your leg-intensive biking sessions and can help balance out muscle development.

3. Rock Climbing 

Want to keep the adrenaline flowing? Rock climbing will surely get your heart racing! Not only does it provide an intense upper body workout, but it also enhances grip strength and problem-solving skills as you figure out your best path up the wall. Trust me this one is a good all-round strength gainer. 

4. Pilates 

For mountain bikers keen on enhancing core strength and posture, Pilates is your new best friend. Those intricate moves and holds can seem deceptively simple, but you'll soon discover they pack a punch. A strong core can translate to better bike control and reduced fatigue during long rides. win win win right? 

5. Trail Running 

If you love the outdoors, but your bike's in the shop or you fancy a change of pace, trail running is a fabulous alternative. You'll still enjoy nature, navigate varied terrains, and give those legs a different kind of challenge. 

6. Jump Rope 

This isn't just a childhood pastime! Jump roping is fantastic for boosting agility, footwork, and coordination. Just 10 minutes can get your heart pumping and work on those calf muscles, giving you an edge during your next biking adventure. if it's good enough for Tyson Fury its good enough for you. 

7. Dance Classes

Yes, you read that right! Whether it's salsa, hip-hop, pole, or ballroom, dancing can be an exhilarating way to stay fit. It aids in coordination, rhythm, and balance - all essential skills for navigating mountain trails. 

8. CrossFit 

For those who crave high-intensity workouts, CrossFit combines weightlifting, aerobic exercises, and high-intensity functional movements. It's all about building strength, flexibility, and stamina, a potent combination for serious mountain bikers. You will see a lot of the professionals hitting the cross-fit classes in the off-season.

So, while mountain biking will always be our first and forever love, it's both fun and beneficial to mix things up occasionally. Trying out different fitness routines can offer fresh challenges, prevent burnout, and address different muscle groups. Who knows? You might discover a new passion or at the very least, return to your bike feeling rejuvenated and stronger than ever! being stronger on your bike helps you stay on the trails longer and there is nothing better than being on the trails right? 


Building Confidence to Tackle Mountain Bike trails with Roots Like a Pro

if you are reading this you already have the mountain biking bug? like me, you are hooked on the wonderful world of MTB.  The wind and rain on your face, the trail beneath your tyres, and oh no there a, a  massive slippery root ahead! If you've ever been taken by surprise by a tangle of roots on your trail, you know they can be a bit tricky and some people are really scared to ride over them.  But fear not! I am here to show you how to build confidence and conquer those pesky roots in no time. 

1. See it, Believe it, think it? 

This will sound cheesy bit bear with me here Before going back to the trail you struggled on. even try visualizing a successful run. Picture yourself riding and navigating those roots with confidence, agility and skill. Visualization is a powerful tool that many professional athletes use. So grab a cup of coffee, close your eyes, and see yourself dominating those roots or be like me I like to do it just as I fall asleep Goon, give it a go. 

2. Gear Up and Warm-Up

Get the right kit. Your kit is really important. You all know I rate all Endura Products so I recommend getting at least a good helmet knee pads gloves and glasses. Don't underestimate the power of the right kit and a good warm-up. I always like to start on an easy trail to get me back in the riding frame of mind before hitting the harder stuff. 

Ensure you have a well-maintained bike with appropriate tyre pressure for the conditions and suspension setup. I mean I could not have a better set you on either of my Hope Tech bikes. 

3. Know Your Line

When you're out on the trail,  Look ahead you need to be planning your line in advance. As you approach a rooty section, look for the smoothest line - often, this means aiming for gaps between the roots. or of course, you might need to go over roots, and that's okay too. The key is to anticipate and stay in control.

4. Loosen Up!

Now here's the fun part! You're about to tackle those roots. Get into a neutral riding position and keep your weight centred. Loosen your grip a little and let your bike move beneath you - think of it like dancing with your bike over the roots. You lead, and the bike follows! This is where Hope Tech breaks shine they have the perfect about of modulation to help you get over the roots whilst having the power to stop you too. 

5. Keep the Momentum

It's tempting to hit the brakes when faced with an obstacle,  and roots can be scary but with roots, momentum is your friend. Keep pedalling and maintain a steady speed. Remember, you have more control when you're moving forward. 

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

And finally, the best way to build confidence is through practice. Start with smaller, less intimidating roots in dry conditions and work your way up.  helping your gain confidence and skills. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small, and remember that every rider has been exactly where you are now. we all had to learn from the start just like you are. 

With these tips, I hope this gives you the confidence to move forward and start tackling the scary roots section and building confidence. 

You got this. 


Mastering Your Cycling Comeback: Top Tips for Regaining Cycling Fitness

So you have been away from your two-wheeled friend for a bit? Whether life's been extra busy, or you've been on a cycling hiatus, there's no better time to hit the pedals again. Here's your simple guide to getting back to cycling fitness. Sometimes finding the motivation to get back in the saddle can be hard but I promise the benefits of cycling is worth the first struggle. 

Step 1: Start with a Bang but at Your Pace

Remember, every cycling journey begins with a single pedal stroke. Cheesy but true.  Kick off with light, fun-filled rides. Don't rush! make it something really fun like going to your local cafe.  Gradually stretch your cycling miles and soak in the fun of each ride.

Step 2: Set Goals and Crush 'Em

Bring some excitement to your rides by setting fun, realistic goals. The key here is being realistic to start with. It could be conquering that pesky hill or cycling a certain distance. Celebrate every milestone with cake ha ok maybe not but that's what I do. Whether they are big or small. You're doing great! Just pushing those pedals is doing something wonderful for your body and mind. 

Step 3: Consistency is Cool

Regular rides are your ticket to regaining your cycling prowess. So, get into the groove and make cycling a part of your daily or weekly routine. The result? Enhanced stamina, powerful leg muscles, and impeccable cycling form. as well as being one of the best stress busters out there too. Cycling in any form is win win win. 

Step 4: Mix it Up

Who said fitness is all about cycling? Incorporate diverse exercises like strength training, yoga, or swimming into your routine. This will boost your overall fitness, making your rides smoother and more enjoyable and help you hit those Personal records or PRs. 

Step 5: Eat, Drink, Cycle, Repeat

Your nutrition fuels your rides. Keep your meals balanced and your hydration levels optimal. And don’t forget a protein-carb combo after each ride to refuel those hard-working muscles! It might seem very obvious but fuel is the road to perfection. A car can't run without it and neither can you. 

Step 6: Rest and Revive

Repeat after me rest days are important! 
Hey, even cycling professionals need some rest. Your muscles crave recovery time to adapt to the new challenges you're throwing their way. Ensure you include some downtime in your routine for rejuvenation and to avoid burnout. Your body will thank you I promise. 

Step 7: Keep the Fun Rolling

Staying motivated can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, see what I did there?  but here's where the fun part comes in. Join a cycling group or community, participate in friendly competitions, or simply take time to admire nature as you pedal. Remind yourself why you love cycling, and the ride will become a breeze.

Jumping back into cycling fitness is more of a fun-filled journey than a race. Revel in every ride, pay attention to your body's signals, and stay consistent.  You can do this. Your patience and efforts will soon have you cycling like a pro, leaving no trail unexplored. So, get set and go. 


Essential Tips for Bouncing Back After a Mountain Bike Crash

We all know that mountain biking is a thrilling yet challenging sport and adventure, and it comes with its fair share of offs, bumps and bruises. If you've recently had a tumble, big or small don't worry you're not alone. We all have them if you're not filing you're not trying, right? 

Here's a helpful guide to help you dust yourself off, pick up your bike, after you have checked it right?  and get back on the trail with confidence and with less fear. 

First Things First - Addressing the Ouchies

After a crash, it's important to check yourself for injuries. This might be a bit obvious, but hey, adrenaline can sometimes make us forget the basics! Do a head-to-toe scan to ensure you're okay. If you're in doubt or it's more than just a scrape, always seek medical advice.  Concussions are not a joke remember, even minor injuries need proper care. Clean any cuts and use a good antiseptic to ward off any potential infection.

Concussions are a big risk with mountain biking taking care of your brain is paramount if you think you might have one seek medical attention straight away. Just look at our top-performing athletes Concussions can be serious so take it seriously. 

Get Back On (When You're Ready)

Biking is all about balance, both physically and mentally. After a crash, it's essential to get back on your bike when you're ready no rush, no pressure. Start off with an easy green or blue trail or even a gravel ride. You don't have to conquer the most challenging terrain right away. The goal is to regain your confidence, bit by bit. So take it easy. 

Take it as a Learning Curve

Hey, even the best riders have had their share of spills! Just pop on the downhill and you will see some epic crashes. Even Pros eat dirt just like us. Take this opportunity to learn from what happened. Was it a sharp turn you misjudged? Or maybe a lack of concentration?  slippy root?  handling a jump wrong? 
Whatever it was, identifying the cause can help you prevent similar situations in the future. Remember, every fall teaches us something new. 

Equip Yourself

Crashes can sometimes happen because of a lack of proper equipment. Make sure your helmet is up to standard and that your bike is in good working order.  Wear knee pads gloves and a helmet as a minimum. If your crash was due to mechanical failure, rectify it before getting back on the saddle. Dont do a me and check your bike before you get on it. I forgot last year and ended up 6 miles from the car with no brake pads. This was 100% my fault and it was a hard lesson to learn on the 6-mile pushback. 

Investing in quality safety gear and maintaining your bike is not just sensible - it’s a crucial part of your biking journey. I recommend Endura for all your kit. They are the best around.  

Stay Positive

Keeping your spirits up after a crash is just as important as physical healing. Surround yourself with supportive mates, share your experiences (the good, the bad, the ugly and the funny!), and remember to keep your sense of humour. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine!

Mindful Riding

After a crash, it's important to focus on mindful riding. Be aware of your body, your movements, and the trail ahead. Don’t zone out maintaining concentration is the key to confidence on the trails. Remember, riding is not just about speed, but also about being in control of your bike and the environment and gauging the trail ahead. 

Seek Support

Consider joining a mountain biking group or community if you haven’t already. They can provide great support, tips, and camaraderie. You'll learn from their experiences and build your confidence faster.

Mountain biking is the best adventure filled with highs, lows, and everything in between. A crash might knock you down, but it won't keep you down. So, put on that helmet, and check your brakes, I, of course, recommend Hope Tech for brakes and get ready to ride the trails with renewed vigour and confidence. After all, it's the bumps along the way that make the ride worth it! 


Endura Women's Xtract Lite Short Review The best Zwift padded shorts

I spend a lot of time on the saddle. I averaged 120 miles a week last year on the bikes. So you could say padding is very important to me. I mix my riding between mountain biking and zwifting. I can spend hours on Zwift so getting the right padding for the turbo is a very important thing. No one wants sore girl bits lets face it. We have all been there right? 

I have put lots of different padding to the test over the years and I think I have finally found the holy grail of zwift shorts The Endura Women's Xtract Lite Short. I have a lot of wants in a zwift shorts. I want them to be comfortable enough to keep me on the saddle for hour and hours They need to be lightweight and cooling and or course look and feel good. 

The design 
The Endura women's Xtract Lite Short is made from lightweight yet supportive Lycra® fabric with Thermoregulation in mind as it was designed for wearing on road rides in warmer climates or hot days here in Scotland. The Xtract Lite short has been designed to move sweat away from your skin to help keep your core cool. It also included a UPF50+ treatment on the fabric. But let's talk about what's really Important The Women's 500 series pad.

The Women's Xtract Lite Short has been designed with temperature regulation and comfort in mind. When you are getting hot and sweating when riding temperature regulation is super important. This pad is where we can gather a lot of heat. Which in turn raise our core body temperature. Which is not what we want on a long ride. 

So Endura put a lot of research and design in to this problem. This resulted in a new generation of water expelling foam called Dispersefoam™. Dispersefoam™ features a foam cell construction which has been proven to provide superior drying and it also improves air permeability compared to coventail PU foams. 

The Women's 500 Series Pad is smooth with a low profile and provides high stretch properties which in turn helps prevent chafing and discomfort in the saddle. It also has Silver yarm fabric with cooling touch and rapid drying and antibacterial properties. 

The extra features 
Endura Women's Xtract Lite Short has double layer direct silicone printed on the hem for extra comfort. The short have a soft double layer waistband and selected seams flatlock for comfort and extra toughness. They also feature reflective trims if you want to wear them outside. 

The Endura Women's Xtract Lite Shorts comes in two lengths there are also the Endura Women's Xtract Lite shorty Short. These are the longer version I am talking about. 

The sizing
Endura Women's Xtract Lite Shorts come in XXS to XL. Endura womens sizing in these are XXS is a UK 6/8 and XL UK 16/18. I am a UK 6 and I am wearing a size XS. These are really stretchy and I think I could go for a XXS in these. I am an hourglass shape. I have a small waist and bigger hips bum and boobs.  I hope that helps with your sizing. 

I wear size XS in all my endura MTB gear if that is an indicator of sizing too. If you do need help give me a shout. I am always happy to help. DM me on instagram if I don't respond on here. 

My review 

I have been using these Endura Women's Xtract Lite Short for about a year. Before this I tried so many different options for Zwift padded shorts and spend hundreds of pounds on kit. Here is my strava if you want to see how many miles I do. This will give you an insight how many hours I spend on a saddle. 

I think I am a really good person to review padding as I put it through its paces. I can honestly say I have never found a better pair of womens zwift shorts. I really struggled to find womens padding that was light weight could keep me cool and keep me comfortable enough to spend hours on the bike. They are pull on style with no adjustments or pockets. Which is perfect for zwift or summer rides. 

Before I found the Endura Womens Xtract Lite Shorts I would have to swap padding half way though some of the big badges on Zwift. But I have found with these I can spin for hours and just forget I am wearing them which is exactly what I want in a Zwift short. I want to be comfortable enough to completely forget about the shorts. I mean it hard enough struggling on a 100km route let alone thinking about having to stop because you are uncomfortable. 

I personally prefer the longer version of these Endura Women's Xtract Lite Shorts as I find the shorty short version a little too short for me. But I am not really a booty short kinda gal. But that option is there if you like that style. I really feel endura is really putting thought and energy in to the women's road biking market and they are making kit we want and need to keep us on the saddle for longer. I love these shorts and completely recommend them. They just work and that is so hard to find in zwift padding.


What GPS tracker I use on my Traildog

I get asked a lot about Mylo. I have had Mylo's dog since he was a puppy and we put a lot of work into training him to be the trail dog he is today. Mylo is a dalmatian. Yes, that seems strange to point out looking at him but I have been asked about him. Mylo loves to come biking with us and he loves nothing more than following bikes in the mountains with his humans. 

As soon as the bikes come out Mylo gets excited. I wouldn't have it any other way. But it is along road to training a good trail dog. 

I will write a full post on what we did to train Mylo But in a quick run thought.
  • Worked endlessly on recall
  • Did long leash training without bikes
  • Made sure to modify voice tones in commands so he can distinguish the commands with ease.  
  • Made him feel safe and confident around bikes
  • Made sure he knows commands for drinking. Ours is drink drink drink with hand gestures. He can get excited and not want to stop for a drink or snack so this is imperative for Mylo. 
  • Hand gestures for some commands 
  • Spoke to our vets for help and information
  • Started very small with very short trails. 
  • Understood his boundaries
We are very lucky with Mylo is what is known as a velcro dog. He wants to know where myself and my husband are at all times. 

But now after years of training, he does have the freedom on trails to follow us.  He will know to take his time on the trails if he likes. I trust Mylo I know I can he is a very well-trained dog but he is a timid dog and can be a bit fearful at times. So I am always close by him. 

With this in mind, I want to talk about a new PAJ GPS PET Finder 4G I have been using for Mylo whilst out and about. 

The PAJ GPS Pet finder 4G is small and fits on any collar but does come with a collar if you like. It is £29.99 for the device and to use PET Finder you also need a subscription to the pet finder portal. This is £4.58 per month or £54.99 for a year's subscription. You just download the app which is available on apple and google play. Other payment options are available with bigger discounts for longer contracts. 

How to use The PAJ PET Finder 4G

The PAJ PET finder 4G is super simple to use. After you have registered your device with PAJ Portal and paid the subscription. Just charge the device with the charger provided and you are ready to get started. 

You just press the on/off button for 5 seconds until the green and blue lights come on. This shows the tracker is on and receiving the GPS signal and you are ready to go.

Log on to the portal and you can start tracking your dog in real-time. It's as easy as that. 

What is special about the PAJ PET Finder 4G

  • Suitable for all dogs, as it is lightweight and comfortable to have on a collar.
  • Simple to attach to your dog's collar.
  • Robust device.
  • Live location update indoors and outdoors. 
  • Alarms via e-mail and push messages.
  • You can view all your dogs routes from the last year.
  • Waterproof so no matter how wet your dog gets you will find them .
  • GPS accuracy of 5-10 metres depending on the GPS reception of the finder.
  • Radius alert letting you know you are near your dog.
  • Speed alert this will let you know when your dog reaches a certain speed Ie they are in a car.
  • Long battery standby mode last 5 days, and in tracking mode 9 hours of GPS tracking. 
  • Battery alert so you know how long you have left and when to recharge.
  • 2 g and 4g network coverage.
  • Geozone Alert You are will be able to set a geo zone or "safe area" around your tracker. Should the tracker enter or leave this predefined area.
  • Sound function: you can make the tracker emit a sound to help you find your pup or use it in training your pup. 
  • Light function (incl. light sensor): Activate the tracker LEDs will light up if it is dark enough you can turn these off also.

My thoughts 
As you can see this is one helpful piece of kit to have for your trail dog training. This really can help if you lose your dog when you are out on your bikes Or if your dog is liable to run away. 

This can save your dog's life. There is nothing scarier than losing your beloved dog and with PAJ PET Finder you will know where to find your dog if the worst does happen. It really does give you peace of mind when you are out with your dog and it is so simple to use and gives you your dog's location from your phone. 

I can not recommend this enough if you have a trail dog. It is lightweight and simple to use and will become second nature to have when hitting the trails with your pup. Plus it gives you complete peace of mind you know where your dog is at all times. Plus it is really affordable too.