Making my first smoothie did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. First, the blades will not cope with "hard foods", which means that ice cubes and frozen fruit are out – though it’s easy to work around this restriction. More important are the crucial directional instructions OFF and ON, which are embossed in black on a black background. Missing these almost-invisible markings can lead to leakage and/or failure to start when the blades are wrongly seated on the base. The Smoothie Maker is a victim of its own sleek black design, but now I’ve got the hang of it, my smoothies are delicious!