Category Archives: Review
I had a tweet from a friend about 10 days ago who said something along the lines of – I tried This Water today and looked on your blog to see if you’d reviewed it yet because I always look there when I try something new. Thanks Jade Well I hadn’t reviewed it yet, although I have drunk the stuff before. Then, when I was at Gatwick last weekend and fancied something to drink, my other half got me a bottle of the very same drink – a sign I should write about it perhaps? So here goes!
This Water came from developments at Innocent (the smoothie company), and as such the companies have very similar visions and beliefs. It’s about making natural products, using the best ingredients, being careful how the world is impacted, and of course having fun. What they have created is four spring water based drinks blended with fruit.
It was This Water with apples and raspberries that I tried at some ungodly hour at the airport – and I was really impressed. It was certainly refreshing. The taste of raspberries and apples was quite subtle – definitely a water based drink – but it did have a sweetness and a lovely flavour. They are very good at pointing out that this is real fruit here, not concentrates or artificial anythings, which is good to know. And it does notice in the flavour – I mean, it tastes natural and it is the colour you’d expect something raspberry-tinted to be.
I do wonder why it’s a 420ml bottle and not the more standard 500ml bottle. Possibly to keep the price point down? I bought mine in an airport so it was expensive anyway. Whatever the reason I do feel I missed out on that 80ml. Shame.
And if you’re conscious of corporate responsibly and the need to help others then you’ll be pleased that each bottle of This Water gives one person in Malawi clean drinking water for a month through the Pump Aid scheme. You’ll need to drink a lot of This Water to sort the country’s water problems out, but it’s a start.
Overall, This Water is absolutely refreshing and I plan on trying the other flavours sometime soon.
A little while ago I reviewed Heat Holders Socks here on Splodz Blogz.
I loved how cosy and comfy they were and said that I enjoyed wearing them around the house as well as out and about, but later commented on twitter that they were a bit slippery on my wooden floors. So Heat Holders sent me a couple of pairs of their slipper socks to try out (I think they were trying to prevent me from hurting myself!).
They have the same 2.3 tog brushed fluffy inside which is seriously comfy and cosy for your feet. The only difference between these and the ones I’ve already reviewed is the rubbery bits which give these a non-slip bottom. Whereas I could easily slide from one side of my kitchen to the other (on purpose and by accident), the bits on these mean I can walk normally. Phew!
Once again Heat Holders get the thumbs up from Splodz Blogz – they are a joy to wear and now I won’t fall over in my kitchen!
I received an email not so long ago offering me the chance to review a pair of Whooga ugg boots. Whooga ugg boots? Never heard of them… so I naturally had a look into them and discovered that they are one of a seemingly large number of companies making the popular Australian ugg style boots. So I said yes, and received a pair of “classic tall” boots in chestnut in double quick time direct from Australia.
As you can see the boots really only just fit my larger than average calf size. As such they are a little squished around the ankle. I am sad to say I’ve always had big calf muscles, it used to be because I was a hockey player and triple jumper as a teenager but it’s no longer muscle that causes the problem! But these are not uncomfortable and I think I just about get away with them. If I had bought my own I think, I know, I would have gone for the shorts to be on the safe side – I would hate to have to send something back because my legs were too fat!!
Apart from the narrowness of the boots the fit is great. I ordered my actual size and they are perfect, there was no need to go up or down.
Whooga say right from the off on the home page of their website that there are a lot of misconceptions about ugg boots and which are “real” and what are “fake”. Much of that is marketing talk, of course, but they make some valid points, and it’s sad they feel they have to in order not to be considered as fakes. Whooga uggs boots are of course the real thing – they are not “fuggs”, they are not rip off UGG Australia boots as the term “ugg” refers to a style of sheepskin boot not a brand, and you get the impression from the Whooga website that they feel very strongly about that! EMU and other brands are in the same position, and actually I reckon I’ve seen loads of other brands become better known – still top end prices and good quality products, but not the market leading brand.
Anyway… Whooga ugg boots are made with a thick inner fleece which wrap and blanket your feet in clouds of warm air. They work by trapping and circulating air in amongst the fibres, keeping feet warm in winter and cool in summer. Obviously I’ve only done the winter bit at the moment, and I can definitely testify to them being warm. These boots are made from twin faced leathers and are hand stitched and very light.
They seem to be made really well. The stitching is sound, the uppers are brushed evenly, and the thick liner is plush and soft and goes all the way down to the toe end of the boot. Whooga recommend you wear these with no socks – I tried them on with socks straight from the box but since then have happily gone bare foot when wearing them. It’s something to do with the thick shearling and how it traps the air, and the fleece does feel nice!
Now I admit that the only other pair of ugg style boots I own is a £30 pair I bought from River Island a couple of years ago. And I love those. They are shorts and are nice and wide – I wear them a fair amount under and over jeans. Like those, I would never wear these in the rain and definitely never in the snow. Those are thin though, not furry inside like these; these are much more cosy on the feet and while I will happily wear these with no socks, the River Island ones definitely require a pair between my toes and the inners. But I can’t compare these to the infamous UGG Australia boots that appear to be the market leader. For one I would never be able to spend £180 or there abouts on a pair of boots that you can’t go out in the rain in – not when I live in the UK!
The thing with this style of boots is the sole. My husband commented that you see girls wandering around walking on the side of the boot. He’s right – it looks terrible and must be awful for their feet. They are designed with soft uppers and light soles and as such collapse after not very much wear really. So far so good with these ones, and I would always be careful to walk properly anyway. The sole does seem pretty solid and has some grip on the bottom. I’ll let you know.
To be completely honest the jury is still out on whether I consider these fashionable or not. Ok so a lot of the fashion magazines say they are, but I wonder if that’s more to do with label rather than style. I don’t know. I mean, I’m no fashionista. But I do know that these are comfortable and very warm and that is what counts most of the time, and for that reason I’m giving these a virtual thumbs up. I shan’t be power walking miles in them but they are great for putting on after a long walk for my feet to relax in for sure. I like them.
These classic tall Whooga ugg boots come in at £89 (half the price of an equivalent UGG Australia boot).
A few days ago I reviewed the Dermalogica Body Hydrating Cream here on Splodz Blogz – I’ve also been testing the “Power Duo” Exfoliation Kit by Dermalogica recently, also sent to me by John and Ginger Beauty.
This limited edition twin pack of Dermalogica exfoliation products is designed to give you the best of daily and occasional exfoliation products.
The Daily Microfoliant is just that – a daily use product that gently lifts surface debris (I hate that phrase – “surface debris” – makes my face sound like a building site!) to give you brighter skin.
It’s a bit of an odd product in my opinion – not a cream or a lotion or a gel but a powder. You sprinkle some of the powder into your hands and once it’s mixed with water it turns into a cream. My sister, who also trialled this with me, said “odd but nice” and I’d agree with her totally on that. We both used too much the first time and ended up having to rinse over and over again (oops), but once we got the quantity right (you only need a little bit – this isn’t a cleanser you do this after cleansing) it felt nice on the face and rinsed off easily. This product hasn’t helped my spot prone skin (I’ve still got as many spots as ever) but it does make my skin feel nice and smooth and like all that “debris” is gone. Yes, odd, but nice.
The other product is the Gentle Cream Exfoliant, which is a once or twice weekly product. I assumed I was supposed to use this instead of the Microfoliant product, and so that’s what I did. A more traditional exfoliation product, I found this easiest to use in the shower where it’s dead easy to rinse it off. I liked this creamy face product, I did feel it was doing my face good.
John and Ginger Beauty currently have this twin pack of products for £12.50.
I saw these first on a fab surfer’s blog (Ashleigh Bennetts) and as I was already looking around for the perfect pair of slippers to replace my worn out Animal boots I decided to investigate. And I feel in love. And I treated myself.
The North Face Nuptse Tent Mules are slippers designed for the coldest of feet. With 450 fill down insulation they are warm and cosy, just like the traditional down jackets and vests The North Face are known for. I have them in the ivory colour, which is light and feminine. My size 7 feet fit into the small just right – they are a snug fit but a close fit is the idea and there is some give in the material (the small is for 6.5-8).
I have no intention of trying these out at the top of a mountain or at the North Pole (just yet – anyone want to sponsor me to go on a massive expedition?!) but I like to think that these would keep my feet warm there too. Apparently they’re also water resistant and durable and so can be worn outside as well as in – mine will absolutely be kept indoors though! In fact they may be the first slippers I pack to take on holiday, I’ve never done that before, is that normal?!
Oh and the green factor – the upper is made from recycled plastic bottles. Nice touch.
Price wise these are on the expensive side at £35 (I got mine for £24.50 from Two Seasons, making them more affordable) but from the second I put them on I would say they are worth every penny. Sometimes it’s just worth spending a little extra.
I’ve heard loads of good and loads of bad comments about these Colman’s Season and Shake packets. So the obvious thing to do was buy one and try it out for myself. I went for the 49p Cajun Chicken version.
Oh that’s blurred isn’t it? Apologies!
The idea of this product is for mess free easy cooking with fresh ingredients. The recipe was chicken, onion, pepper, cherry tomatoes, rice, water and the included seasoning mix. It took a couple of minutes to prepare (you have to chop up the chicken and veg etc), but nothing too taxing, and then it’s just a case of putting it all in the bag, mixing it all together, and sticking it in the oven.
You then just walk away and leave it to cook like you would a casserole (but being small pieces it doesn’t take an age).
As you can see the bag expands – the instructions say that you can’t risk the bag touching the sides of the oven, so I took one of my trays out to make sure it didn’t.
The comments I’ve seen from others include that the suggested time on the packet isn’t long enough – in some cases the chicken has still been raw and the vegetables rock hard. The recommendation for this one was 35 mins and the meat, veg and rice were cooked perfectly. Well most of it was – there was a bit of rice very stuck to the bottom of the bag, I should probably have “stirred” the food half way through the cooking time to prevent this. Having said that, there wasn’t much waste, a very small amount of rice.
Another comment I have seen more than once over on twitter is that the bag can split, which would be incredibly annoying as the meal wouldn’t cook in steam like it is designed to do (and it would be a mess!). I found the bag was fine, with no leakage, but it’s worth checking the bag is all ok before putting your food in.
I can understand why the instructions suggest to put the meal into a serving dish – it’s pretty impossible to serve this onto individual plates using a spoon in the bag, but it was easy to tip it all out (with the help of some gloves) and serve it from there. Of course with the preparation and serving dish the suggestion that there’s no washing up is of course a stretch, that is probably not a claim Colman’s should be making.
Taste wise this was excellent. The Cajun seasoning turned a normal chicken and rice dish into something very yummy. Portion size was good too – there was plenty of food.
Overall this was easy and very tasty – a great idea and I am confident to try others in the range. It’s a very lazy way of cooking but it’s all fresh and decent ingredients so it’s not so bad, and sometimes lazy is necessary as it means you can get on with stuff while dinner is cooking.
Apparently I managed to choose a flavour that isn’t on the Colman’s website so I can’t link to it – I guess it’s being phased out (hence the 49p price tag). But you can see the range here.
My name is Zoe and I am a tea-aholic. Ok so I’m a lot of other things-aholic too, but mainly, and honestly, I am addicted to tea. It probably comes from being brought up in the Salvation Army (Sings: Oh there’s nothing like an Army cup of tea……..) – ever since I can remember tea has been for every occasion going.
Cosy Tea is an organic tea range of black, green and fruit teas. Beyond the Bean sent me the full range of nine teas to try, and oh how I’ve enjoyed this one.
I always like to comment on the look of things I review. Tea bags are tea bags though, right? Not here. The thing I love about Cosy Tea (and I have bought this brand of tea myself before) is that the little cardboard cubes look really nice sat on the side or stacked up in the cupboard. The design of each is based on a different knitting stitch or pattern – and the packs tell you which one it is and why it was picked to go with that particular tea. Nice touch. These aren’t boxes of tea bags to unpack and put in your tea caddy. Each box contains 20 tea bags in little individual paper wrappers, and the boxes are designed as dispenses so you get that coffee shop look at home. Packaging overload? Perhaps. But it looks good and is all recyclable.
The tea bags themselves are unbleached and so look a little brown, but that’s ok, don’t panic, it’s just another way Cosy Tea are trying to make their tea better than any other… the organic leaves inside are very well looked after in the bag and that paper wrapping helps to preserve the flavour too.
Unfortunately, I seem to have, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, a problem with fruit and green teas. As someone who doesn’t have much caffeine at all (I drink mostly decaf tea and buy decaf coke) you would think I’d have mastered the idea of sissy teas by now, but the fact is I just haven’t. I find they smell amazing, really gorgeous, and exactly like you expect them too based on the title or ingredients. But when it comes to the taste test it all goes pear shaped… the taste is just not nice. In my head I imagine the smell and the name and hope every time that when I sip it I will get what I imagined, but I don’t. I just can’t drink it.
In the interest of this review I did, of course, try every single tea I was sent. But I’m afraid my opinion hasn’t changed. I want to like them, I really do, but the fact is I don’t. That’s not a criticism of these teas though, as I gave some to friends and they assure me they are great. In fact I had quite a conversation with one person who only buys Cosy Tea because “they make the best Peppermint Tea around”. I have not given them all away though, I will be trying them again soon (and would welcome any comments on how to learn to love them like I do black tea)!
But… the Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea and Decaf Tea are just lovely. Not just organic but fairtrade too, and with loads of flavour. It’s nice to find a really decent decaffeinated tea actually, it’s got the same taste as the Breakfast Tea but without the caffeine which is a must in our house. The website says you should brew each of these teas for 2-4 minutes and I would absolutely agree with that. These tea bags aren’t for quick cuppas, they are for properly brewed and flavoured hot drinks to sit and relax with. Pour over the water and wait – it really does make a difference.
Oh, and I have a competition to win two sets of these teas going on this week too – check it out.