Tried & Tested: Three products this week

Tried & Tested: Three products this week

Well this years got off to a slow start for me. I know it’s only natural, but I tend to want to hibernate and with a working day and my events work on the side, I don’t get a huge amount of time to get ‘stuff’ done in between this and feeling the need to hibernate like a small field mouse.

However, what I have done is eat! I know against the rules when it’s “New Year New Me” month. I did try to go to an ab class and then body attack but they cancelled the class…! I have also sniffed at the idea of getting my jogging gear back on but no joy yet. I blame the house buying process, it’s all consuming of any spare brain power. On a brighter note there; I’m promised to see a flood of new houses on the market, so it won’t be too long until I can share the good news that I’ve actually bought a house! My first home! Woo!

OK so these products:

Panda Liquorice Softie Bars
Strawberry Flavour
– Vege and Vegan but not gluten free.

I’ve always been a fan of flavoured liquorice, particularly Panda liquorice. My mum used to give it to my brothers and I as a treat alongside sesame snaps (which I now incidentally HATE) when we went shopping as it was a healthier option.

Well I picked these up in Sainsbury’s and grabbed them in a hurry not really noticing that they are not my usual faves. They are a new product in their range of yummy items. Quite expensive at £1.30 a pack of four. These, rather than my usual faves of just the raspberry flavoured liquorice, are liquorice sticks with a strawberry flavoured centre. It’s pretty obvious from the packet but in a mad dash I just didn’t notice the detail. My bad.

Obviously as soon as I got home I tore one open to ‘test’ them for poison and whatnot. Just in case. I was not THAT impressed. Partly because I was expecting to taste a strong strawberry flavour and the gooey middle put me off a bit. Just due to the fact I wasn’t expecting it really. I ate the bar in two seconds flat so I clearly liked it!

The ingredients are pretty good. Molasses syrup is a healthier alternative to refined sugar, as its naturally occurring and is touted to contain antioxidants and all sorts of goodness. Wheat flour for those who can’t eat wheat or gluten is going to put a lot of people off. I’m not even sure why there is wheat in there?! Sugar, well it’s the master of ageing and fattening us up nicely. There is a lot in there too.. you can tell as it is the second listed ingredient so its quite a sugar fest. However they do not use bleached sugar which is a bonus – good for them as its not necessary. The acidity regulators are citric acid which is commercially made using corn, beet sugar or molasses. The gelling agent is made using pectin from fruit so no harm done. Over all a product I would buy again based on its ingredients. A good choice I’d say for children too, as a wee treat.  Also, these are low fat and low calorie too!

I will not buy these particular bars again. However I will keep my eye out for my favourite raspberry flavoured treats and I am keen to try their blueberry flavoured liquorice to.


Find out more about their yummy products here.

 

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Product Two
Heath & Heather Honey & Camomile Tea
– Good for everyone

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I am lucky enough to have lovely, lovely friends. One of them got me this AMAZING tea. It is honestly the most beautifully scented, calmingly yummy tea, to date. I believe she got it from a health food shop and it was a good find. I am still getting the occasional waft of light fruity honey loveliness from the finished cup beside me.

Chamomile is known for its calming properties and I often will have a tea in the evening to wind down. I feel super relaxed and enjoyed every sip. Especially as it tasted so smooth and smelt so so yummy.

The ingredients are simple; chamomile, honey flavour and honey. Yum.

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The company are based in the UK, which is good. It’s nice to support local businesses, especially when the product is so lovely.

You can find Heath&Heather on Facebook if you fancy finding out more or see more of their products here.

I will definitely be purchasing again and I am keen to try their organic fennel tea which sounds equally as amazing.

Product Three
Charbonnel et Walker; Dark Marc de Champagne Truffles
– Vege but not vegan

A seriously strong contender on the chocolate front. Dark, rich and dangerously delicious. These are for you if you love chocolate, but more importantly, Champagne!

A hard outer shell cases a soft champagne infused truffle filling. One truffle for me is satisfyingly enough which is a good thing as there are quite a few calories in chocolate.

However don’t be put of entirely because of a high calorie count. Ingredients wise; 77% dark chocolate, which is full of powerful antioxidants – way more than most other foods. It also contains nutrients such as fibre, iron and magnesium which are just a few of the nutrients found. There are a lot of health benefits to good quality dark chocolate but be warned that a lot of the chocolate on the market is rubbish. Look for organic, dark chocolate that is 70% or higher in cocoa content. The darker the chocolate the less sugar.

These dark chocolate truffles contain about 60% cocoa solids so not one to buy for the complete health benefits.

Soy lecithin; For me this is an ingredient I do not like to see listed. Its a controversial ingredient as it is a GMO product and GMO means bad news. Unless stated as ‘organic’, soy lecithin is something to avoid if you can. For those of you whom check ingredients you will know this will be tricky. Generally speaking if you avoid processed foods you will be OK and the odd little bit here or there is not the end of the world.

I can’t help but noticing that they are expensive at £12.95 a box for 8 truffles and the ingredients are not high end so you are essentially paying for the fancy packaging. I can’t deny that it is pretty, however I would rather have a really good quality product.

Having looked further into what goes into making these, I will not be buying them again but rather looking out for a better, less expensive alternative.

See their other products here, there are quite a few!

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I am a vegetarian, but beef is still out

I am a vegetarian, but beef is still out

Today I read a post on The Independent about Bruno Loubet, the Michelin-starred French chef – see that here. I was super pleased to read it as it was a breath of fresh air (sorry – cliché to say I know). For those people who know me, I have been a vegetarian all my life. I am not a ‘preaching’ kind of vegetarian, but a ‘loving’ kind (hippy alert) and by this I mean I love the planet and I like to treat it with respect and I also love my health and my body and, you guessed it, I like to respect it. So I go about my daily life enjoying both of these things and that’s cool.

Let me tell you the single most repetitive question any vegetarian receives –

“Why? Why are you a vegetarian?”

Now of course there are several angles to this question and many are completely innocent. However some times people ask me and I want to ask right back “Why are you a meat eater?” “Why do you eat baby lambs?” “Why do you eat beef?” and maybe most importantly “Why do you ask me, as though I should not be a vegetarian?”

Freedom to be who we want to be is so so important and to do so with as little judgement as possible is a utopian reality I am not sure we will ever reach. Bruno Loubet’s article only backs up for me why I am vegetarian. Its a personal choice but its nice to know that is also a fair choice, fair to the planet that I reside on.

In the same way I do not choose to preach being a vegetarian or judge people for not being, I do not judge or preach anyone for how sustainable their lifestyle is. I just do my little bit and hope that it helps. I am excited by Bruno’s ideas and will definitely be visiting Bruno’s restaurant to support his efforts.

It’s the eighth day of 2015.. resolutions!

It’s the eighth day of 2015.. resolutions!

Who else is gob smacked, other than me, that it is now over a week into the New Year? Nothing reminds me to savour the moment as much as Christmas. Enjoying the company of friends and family and holding no bars when it comes to luxurious food and drink leaves a lasting impression on my love of life.

The New Year inspires a tonne of people from around the world to sort of refresh and turn out a few of their bad habits and I am feeling the same. I spent some time clearing out some cupboards at home, sending stuff off to charity and re organising the ‘stuff’. After Christmas has been, all the new presents need to go somewhere and it’s increasingly hard to find space as all my stuff spills out of cupboards and infringes on space that is technically not mine (sorry Angus!).  I’m getting all my thoughts and plans aligned now the fuzz of Christmas is over. Work, wardrobes, holidays, healthy food and exciting adventures are on my mind! Oh and my first home – with lots… and lots of storage!

I took some time to write my resolutions for the year. I plan to do one each month, more like a bucket list, so I have picked my favourite 12! Woop!

These shiny resolutions are:
uno. Watch less T.V/less screen time in general. •IN PROGRESS•
We are all very tech orientated these days and you can’t get away from it. One of the ways I plan to achieve this is to have a tech free night each week.
dos. Be vegan for a month.
As some of you will know, I am a lifelong vegetarian so that habit ‘aint going away any time soon. Despite some desperate attempts to try to convince me to enjoy a bacon butty.
tres. Do one-act of kindness each month (bonus points if it’s for a stranger!) •IN PROGRESS•
I like to think I’m quite kind, but it doesn’t hurt anybody to be even kinder.
cuatro. Make a video montage of all the hilarious things my cat does (as you do) •IN PROGRESS•
cinco. Run twice weekly and beat my personal best for the mile (currently 09’09”)
This will likely take me a little time as I haven’t been running since September (Its been FREEZING.. plus, well its just been very cold….. and erm… dark?)
seis. Try something new: Join a Yoga class with mother.
Technically I have done this before. I have done hot yoga (loved it but made me ill) and anti-gravity yoga which I also loved but it was expensive and I prefer the original back to basics yoga. I have done yoga in a huge, beautiful park in India, thanks to my adopted Indian family. That was amazing. The ‘new’ part of this resolution is to join a class and stick to it but more importantly, go with my lovely mummy.
siete. Clear out my wardrobe and hold a charity clothes swap event.
I’ve wanted to hold one for ages but I’ve never got around to it. Inspired by a friend, I’d like to make it a reality this year. Keep an eye out as it may be near you (it’s a small world?) and you can come and join the fun!
ocho. Reach 20 subscribers/followers on YouTube and my blog.  ACHIEVED ♥ 
Self explanatory. I don’t mind writing for myself, in fact I love my blog. I can’t wait to read it back in years to come. However, some friendly followers to share it with, are welcome.
nueve. Carry out some volunteer work at home or abroad.
Again a strong ambition of mine. I plan to do lots more volunteering.
diez. Be sugar-free for a month.
This ones a tough one, but a good one. My brother recently cut out caffeine, refined sugars and alcohol out for two months. I was inspired by this self control but also from the benefits he felt from doing so.
once. Read/listen to 5 new books this year. •IN PROGRESS•
I have and love Audible. It’s great for long journeys or sleepy evenings and perfect for holidays. I get a book a month with my subscription. I do also try to read as much as I can but I would like to read more!
doce. Put together a box for Operation Christmas Child.
I love the idea of providing a small box of wonder for a child who is less fortunate than most. I will pick things up throughout the year and I can’t wait to send it off. First, a shoebox.

So to sum up, I’m giving myself quite a few resolutions this year and I’m excited!

What are your resolutions? I’d love to see what everyone else is aiming to achieve this year.

An achievement for the end of 2014: perfect, perfect poached eggs 😊

I also want to add another two resolutions. One, try and new food. No matter what it is. Two, complete my photography course with a top mark!