September 29, 2016

Laundry days

Yes, this is another post in which I’ll be professing my love for all things Brabantia, but just to jazz it up a bit, I’m also including Vileda today.

Laundry might not seem like the most exciting topic in the world, but when it all goes smoothly, it can really knock a good few hours off your housekeeping chores in the week…and we all know that every minute counts!

I was recently sent the wonderful Brabantia Wallfix Rotary Dryer to try. It might be heading into the Autumn days now, but we’ve still been lucky to experience some fantastic sunny days (or hours), so I’m using this while I can to dry the laundry. Tumble dryers are great inventions, but when we’ve got the weather, why not let nature do the hard work!
brabantia-wallfixThe Wallfix is the perfect washing line for the UK weather. It is permanently fixed to the wall and can be pulled out to use whenever you need to. It’s a great space saver, doesn’t take up any room on the lawn for the 9 months you won’t be using it and looks lovely when tucked away. It opens easily and can take quite a weight of washing. It’s a really nifty gadget which I will make my husband take down and bring with us if we ever move house.

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If however, you find yourself battling with rain clouds and drizzle, why not try the Vileda Cascade (£31.99). This strong indoor 3-tier airer has 15m of drying space and has clothes hanger hooks on each corner. It has an easy opening and closing mechanism, three drying heights and foot protectors to prevent floor scratches. It can be closed up flat and stored away easily too. A great invention, that holds as many clothes as you want to dry!

Another laundry changer has been the Brabantia Laundry Bin.

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This stunner doesn’t look out of place in our hallway upstairs. Bright white, with a small hole in the middle, it hides your laundry away from prying eyes but also makes throwing something in a doddle. It literally just slides into the centre. Inside is a sack, which means you can carry the goods over your shoulder down the stairs (like a rather depressing Father Christmas figure, handing out smelly socks). It can also just pop in the washing machine, so I fling it in every time to make sure it’s sweet smelling. A real beauty of a laundry bin, which is also covered by the fantastic Brabantia 10 year guarantee, meaning this will see me through a LOT of laundry.

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Need something a little smaller in the kids bedrooms, or in our case in the bathroom, then why not pick up a stackable laundry box. Available in pretty much any colour going, it will fit in with any décor and can be opened from the top or from the front opening.

Brabantia and Vileda have made laundry a doddle.

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September 28, 2016

Jane Plan – the second week

To everyone out there wondering how my second week on Jane Plan went, it went incredibly well. In total I lost 3lbs over the week. Not as good as the first week, but not bad at all. You often lose more in the first week when starting a diet, so it was no surprise that I didn’t quite reach the same figure in the second week.

The second week featured more delicious meals packed with flavour and freshness. Here’s just a couple of examples. For more information on options, have a look at my last post.

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I would definitely do Jane Plan again. It’s a great diet which could work long term or just for a couple of weeks to get into a party dress. A great plan to do in the run up to Christmas.

For more information and to order, visit www.janeplan.com

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September 27, 2016

What I’m loving this month

As always, here’s my monthly round up of my favourite things, in no particular order 🙂

1 & 2 Kilner Coffee Grinder from Silver Mushroom and Origin Coffee

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I’m merging two items this month as one just wouldn’t be complete without the other. Everyone loves a good cup of coffee and Origin coffee certainly do some of the best. Origin source their beans from all over the world, with an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability. They are passionate about their product and carefully roast the beans so that the process enhances the individual flavour characteristics – the result of country, terroir, variety and processing. Also, if you are based in London, they’ve just opened a shop on Euston road, so pop in and say hello to the team. If you aren’t lucky enough to be nearby, then take a look at their brewing guides for some advice on making the perfect cup of coffee.

We received our coffee in bean format from Origin coffee so we could have a go at grinding our own coffee with the lovely Kilner Coffee Grinder from Silver Mushroom (£20.49). Kilner jars are a kitchen staple, but add a grinder on top and not only do you have a fantastic piece to put on display (ours is in pride of place with our cookbooks on our reclaimed wooden shelves) but it also does a fantastic job at making a great cup of coffee even fresher. If you’ve not visited Silver Mushroom before, do take a look, as they literally stock everything you could possibly want for your kitchen (I’ve done a few reviews in the past).

3. Lord & Berry

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I love make up, but more than anything I love make up that makes it look like you naturally woke up looking this gorgeous. So I was excited to try out a few items from Lord & Berry in their ‘natural’ range. They’ve got a great selection of items which do the job well and for a great price. Look them up on Asos to buy easily online. I’m a big fan of Bobbi Brown makeup, but I could honestly say that this collection does the job just as well. In the run up to Christmas, stock up for party nights ahead and stocking fillers. Why not use as a secret santa gift in your office – they’ll love you!

4. Charles Viancin

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These might be the most useful little things you’ll ever buy. Charles Viancin (available from Lakeland, John Lewis and Wayfair among others) make absolute genius cooking accessories including bottle stoppers, airtight lids, pan lids and pot holders among many many other things.

The pan lid has been such a revelation to us. They can be used in the microwave and oven and can take really high temperatures, however, due to the suction power of the silicon, they can also seal any dishes in the fridge. Great if you are tired of throwing away kitchen foil or clingfilm all the time. We’ve actually thrown away all our pan lids which take up a ridiculous amount of room in the cupboard and have replaced with the one lid from Charles Viancin. As well as being incredibly useful, the range is inspired by nature and includes beautiful poppy, sunflower and even vegetable designs. A must for any cook!

5. Everyday Good Teas from We Are Tea

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As you’ll no doubt have noticed by now, I’m a huge fan of tea – green, white, black or with lashings of milk. I love it (and coffee too). So anytime some tea arrives in the post for me to try, I’m genuinely excited. I’ve reviewed We Are Tea before and it’s some of my favourite. However, they’ve now upped the game even more by adding a range of ‘Everyday good teas’ which were produced in conjunction with nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. These three ‘healthy’ teas are not only beneficial for you, but they also taste great. Choose from Svelte – for body balance, Soothe – for tummy relief or Glow – for skin radiance. All available to purchase online now.

Thanks to everyone who sent me these products to review. Opinions are my own.

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September 27, 2016

My not very secret addiction…

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m an addict. I just can’t get enough of the lovely brand Brabantia. You name it, I’ve got it. Fantastically designed and built to last, all Brabantia products are a great addition to your home.

I was recently asked if I wanted to review one of the lovely 30L Touch Bins. Now you’d probably think there isn’t much to say about a bin…but you’d be wrong!

Probably one of the first items that comes to mind when thinking of Brabantia, these bins look fantastic in your kitchen and are available in 13 different varieties including new colours and limited editions from only £60 each.

I chose the Almond colour bin, as we’ve recently done up our kitchen, and our silver bin wasn’t fitting in with the colour scheme. Now everything looks perfect – sometimes it’s the little things!

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All Brabantia bins come with a 10 year guarantee, so should outlive most things in your kitchen. With a soft closing lid, fingerprint proofing technology and an easy lift out plastic bucket for removing waste easily, this really is the ‘king of bins’. I’m sure this bin will be with me for a long time to come!

Visit www.brabantia.com/uk for more information and to purchase.

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September 13, 2016

Jane Plan

September is one of those times of the year for a fresh start. As the seasons change, kids go back to school and the days get shorter, it’s a great time to focus on losing some weight in time for all the Christmas parties.

Which is why I’ve been trying out the fabulous Jane Plan.  I don’t know if you’ve seen the ads on TV or read about Jane Plan, but it’s a great diet that focuses on real food.

The beauty of Jane Plan is that everything is sent to you (without any postage charges) from options you select off the website. So easy.

I was sent a selection of breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners along with a guide to the diet and some sheets to log my food for the weeks I was doing the plan.

When the food arrived it looked great. Gorgeous packaging and as per my direction, no soups at all (I’ve done so many soup diets, I really can’t face soup anymore!)

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Breakfast options include granolas, branberry, mueslis and porridge oats. All you have to do is add your own milk or yoghurt for the perfect breakfast.

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The lunches I were sent included salads such as Salmon Salad, Couscous Salad, Tuna Salad. There were also hot options available such as a couple of hot pots and of course, a huge selection of soups.

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There was a huge variety of dinners including a beautiful Lasagne, a lentil cottage pie topped with mash, an Aloo Saag and absolutely tons of other options.

Snacks include biscuits, almonds and of course, chocolate bars.

The beauty of Jane Plan is that this is real correctly portioned food. Served with a side salad, the dishes are filling and satisfy that need for comfort food that often causes problems when dieting. It’s real food without any artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. They aim to provide you with 1,200 calories a day, no starvation, just good food.

Was I hungry? Not at all – you have plenty of food and can even have an afternoon biscuit with your tea. It’s the closest thing to real life eating you’ll get on a diet!

I would absolutely recommend this plan to anyone with weight to lose who just wants an easy life. They’ve done all the counting, all the preparing and even deliver it to your door, making weight loss a doddle.

Definitely order the lasagne – it’s amazing.

At the end of the first week I’ve lost a total of 6lbs. A great start and it was so easy to stick to. Pop by the blog next Tuesday for my second week update.

Visit www.janeplan.com to find out more about the plan and order your personalised plan today.

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September 9, 2016

Herman Ze German

Who doesn’t love a good bratwurst? Having spent a good deal of time in Germany, I’ve eaten quite a few and there’s literally nothing more comforting. Whether smothered in curry sauce as Currywurst or served up in a bun at a Christmas market, it’s my favourite sausage by far.

Every now and then I pop into the lovely Herman Ze German in London to get my fill of their lovely sausage, so I was incredibly enthusiastic to be invited along to review the new sausage on their menu…Ze Bratmeister.

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This is a novel approach to a wurst and features Herman’s signature Black Forrest Bratwurst, freshly roasted vegetables and aged feta as well as their homemade veal gravy. Lecker!

I absolutely, strangely, loved the combination of Bratwurst, gravy and feta. The roasted vegetables were a bit like ratatouille, so made me feel like I was at least getting a little of my five a day.

They’ve also got a new cocktail menu which is definitely worth checking out.

Fritz-Kola mixers add a refreshingly German twist to the Cuba Libre alongside premium Havana Club rum and fresh lime, while Wyborowa Vodka packs a sweet punch in the Apple and Elderflower Spritz. The Cherry Bomb is a fizzy flight through Herman’s home in the Black Forest, with an enchanting mix of Fritz-Cherry, chocolate liqueur and Asbach brandy. The Hugo adds a sophisticated sparkle to this list of scrumptious serves infusing prosecco with a dash of elderflower and mint – a firm favourite in the motherland. Aperol Spritz, Gin Melon, Margaritas, Jägerbombs and the Mish Mashed featuring rye whiskey, finish off the menu. However, due to the fact this was a lunchbreak during my working day, I just stuck to the Fritz-Kola. Definitely popping back to check out the array of drinks on offer though!
Visit www.herman-ze-german.co.uk to find out more.

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August 14, 2016

A taste of history with historic newspapers

I just love looking through old recipes. They tell a tale of times gone past and are an interesting read, which is why I was excited to see the new range of old recipe books from Historic Newspapers. They’ve taken the best recipes from the newspapers of the time and added in a few adverts and articles for colour and produced books which capture the essence of the decade in perfect detail.

The books are available from the 1930s through to the 1990s. I chose 1930s and 1970s from the group as I wanted to choose some eras which would make for great recipes!

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The 1930s book looks back on the economic challenges people faced during the period, and effectively dealt with surviving the aftermath of The Wall Street Crash of 1929. At the beginning of the decade, unemployment was widespread across the UK, but people with jobs saw a vast improvement in the home environment, meaning nourishing meals for the whole family.

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Featuring health advice for the industrious housewives, the recipes of this decade were aimed at the domestic goddess to create dashing meals. Create your own 1930s Food from recipes that made the decade iconic, like the popular ‘Lemon Bakewell Tart’.

70s Britain was a period of social progressive values. There was a growing awareness on the liberalisation of women, from figures like Margret Thatcher – the first female prime minster, as well as newspaper icons like Delia Smith. A women’s stability in the workplace was increasing, and with the majority of women in employment, it was essential for fast and tasty meals, featured in this 1970s Recipe Book.

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Thanks to the fridge-freezer revolution, recipes in this book reminisce those fast-paced days of the working mum. From well-known 1970 Recipes like Delia’s ‘Treacle Roley Poley’, to Penny’s ‘Bean and Rice Casserole’ – learn about the 1970s Dishes that meant quick and healthy foods for the busy family.

With tips to create enjoyable grub out of frozen veggies, the Family Food Guide column was vital for working mums and hungry mouths to produce quick, nutritious meals.

A great gift for any cook or anyone interested in history, or for yourself. I’m going to collect the whole series.

Visit www.historic-newspapers.co.uk for more information and to purchase. From £12.99 each, these can also be personalised.

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August 13, 2016

Robert Welch Signature knives Block Set

Following the great event I was invited to the other week to try out the Robert Welch knives and learn more about how they are produced, we were sent home to try the knives for ourselves.

I was lucky enough to receive the Robert Welch Signature Knives Block Set to take home and try for myself.

Set in a beautiful oak knife block, this classic, space-saving design is a great addition to any kitchen. Great for a country style kitchen, like mine. The set comes with four essential kitchen knives and a pair of Signature Household Scissors.

Designed in consultation with professional chefs, these multi-award winning kitchen knives feature fully forged German DIN 1.4116 stainless steel blades with a full tang for extra strength. The Japanese-style blade edges are hand applied at a 15° angle. The handles are made from tactile DuPont™ and ergonomically shaped for comfort, balance and to minimise fatigue.

Having tried the knives for the past few weeks, I can certainly vouch for their quality. I’ve honestly never used knives like this before. They cut through anything easily and maintain their sharpness. Definitely worth buying a set of knives like this, as they’ll last a lifetime and only cost £170 – which for a lifetime investment isn’t bad at all!

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Fancy winning a set for yourself? Visit Robert Welch to enter their competition. Entries must be in by the end of the month – so best get a move on!

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August 13, 2016

What I’m loving this month

July’s ‘what i’m loving this month’ is a little delayed, as it’s been a busy month or two. Here’s my top picks for the month.

1. Motion Nutrition

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Kickstart your metabolism and keep excess body fat in check with Slimline CLA. Each capsule contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), combined with a selection of complementary ingredients, in order to offer you complete support for your weight care goals.

Motion Nutrition’s Enhanced Motion Slimline CLA supplements are designed to:
•Enhance fat metabolism with CLA
•Increase fat burning with green tea extract
•Support your metabolism with wild harvested kelp
•Amplify the effects with piperine

Plus, these natural weight loss supplements are suitable for vegans and free from gelatine, additives, binders, preservatives and bulking agents.

I tried these for a month and while hard to say whether they had an effect or not in that short a time, I’m sure they helped!

Visit www.motionnutrition.com for more information and to buy. £29.99 for a 30 day supply.

2. LSQ Skin, Hair and Nails

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Whilst it can’t promise eternal youth, LQ Skin, Hair & Nails, may offer the next best thing. Heralded as the non-invasive answer to collagen fillers, the ‘super shot’ drink is the first of its kind to contain all three of the most effective skin anti-agers in one hit – collagen, resveratrol and hyaluronic acid – along with a broad spectrum of advanced antioxidants to fight off lines and wrinkles and loss of skin tone. (Holland and Barrett & www.lqliquidhealth.com) £29.99 Easy to drink, these are great little supplements to take daily.

3. London’s Best Brunches

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This book has inspired me to do a brunch tour of London. Just to make sure I’ve tried everywhere. A really great guide packed with fantastic suggestions. Want to know the best place near you for avocado on toast or some freshly baked granola? Or perhaps a fry-up and a bottomless jug of Bloody Mary? This book has the 50 best spots in London to enjoy our new favourite meal. From coffee and eggs in an art gallery (No67) to a toastie by the canal (Towpath café), waffles with views over London (Duck and Waffle), or a fry-up after a stroll in the park (The Pavilion Café), weve eaten, drunk, reordered and reviewed so that you can perfectly satisfy those mid-morning munchies.

Buy from Hive for £9.15

4. Vita Coco

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Everyone is going loco for coconut at the moment and Vita Coco is the best Coconut Butter as it’s 100& raw, cold pressed and organic. Use it to cook, slather it on your body as a moisturiser, use it to ‘oil pull’ or spread on your toast. Delicious in any dish.

£7.99 for 250ml. Visit www.vitacoco.com for more information

5. Ventus KISS 4000mAh Portable Charger from QVC

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This is a particularly cool little gadget from QVC. This portable charger is in the shape of a pair of lips and designed to re-charge most portable devices when you can’t get to a plug socket. Pop this in your handbag and never run out of charge on your mobile again or pop in your suitcase when you head away and don’t worry about packing chargers for all your Android and IPhone/IPad devices.

Comes with a 3 in 1 USB for charging.

£16.48 and available here: www.qvcuk.com

6. Cracker Drinks Company

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These tasty sugar-free juices are perfectly blended to create new and exciting flavours to tickle the tastebuds. Try Pineapple, Coconut & Lime or Mango and Passion Fruit or Still & Cloudy Lemonade or Apple, Raspberry & Sloe. Great on their own or with a dash of vodka 🙂

Available in most supermarkets. Find out more here: www.crackerdrinks.com

7.  Nature’s Finest

86065_Pineapple-in-Coconut-webNature’s Finest produce freshly packed fruit in fruit juice or water (or coconut water) which are great as an anytime snack, serving with yoghurt or of course, using in recipes. There’s so much you can do with these great tasting snack pots. Personally my favourite is the mandarin. I could literally eat them all day long. Delicious.

Visit www.naturesfinestfoods.co.uk for more information.

Note: All of the above were sent to me to try, but opinions are 100% my own and I am not required to write a positive review.

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July 15, 2016

One in a million with Robert Welch

This week I spent a great afternoon at the Good Housekeeping Institute in Central London with the team from Robert Welch, learning about the perfect knife and of course, having a go myself.

I love cooking, but knife skills are something I’m definitely lacking, so I was a little anxious about being left alone to tackle some chopping with these super sharp new knives. However, believe it or not, due to the fact they slice through food so easily, there really wasn’t much of a chance to cut yourself. Cutting was made incredibly easy!

Anyway, getting a little ahead of myself there….so now to catch you up.

We were welcomed by the team from Robert Welch who introduced us to their range of knives and showed us the process behind making a great quality knife. It really surprised me that there was such a process involved – I think I just assumed they were cut out of metal in a cookie cutter fashion…which Robert Welch knives really aren’t.

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Being shown the process of knife production. Each knife is forged from a single piece of stainless steel which makes it pretty much unbreakeable!

20160713_155021Here’s a picture showcasing the different areas of the actual process of creation

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Apparently the key to keeping your knives as sharp as they should be is using the knife sharpener before or after every time you use them. Just a couple of swipes back and forth in the attached sharpener and they’ll be as sharp as ever.

The next step of the class was to be shown a recipe by chef, Georgina Davies and then go off to our stations to replicate it.

20160713_144044The recipe Georgina demonstrated was a great one to showcase the best aspects of the knives as they sliced through fennel,radish,fig, courgette and garlic with ease.

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20160713_143606At each station we were given our own set of knives to use, along with all the key ingredients.

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Here’s a shot of my final dish….yum.

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It was a great event. So interesting to hear about Robert Welch knives and give them a go for myself.

To find out more about some of the best knives money can buy visit: www.robertwelch.com/signature

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July 7, 2016

Walk a mile in my shoes…

Over the last few years I’ve gone through various different trainers, from Nike to Adidas and Asics to Reebok, I’ve tried them all. I do gym classes such as Insanity and BodyAttack as well as hitting the gym and going for long walks with my dog.

All of these activities seem to require a different trainer, and none of them have been quite right.

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So I was excited to discover the Skechers Flex Appeal Next Generation Memory Foam Trainers. These are literally the best trainers I’ve ever had. So incredibly comfy as lined with a memory foam, brightly coloured to add some pop to your workout wear these are great for a variety of exercises or just throwing on with a pair of jeans one day. Absolutely the comfiest yet best looking trainers around!

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Here’s a lovely pic of me in my Skechers

If you are looking for a beautiful pair of trainers, why not visit Brantano? They’ve got a huge selection of trainers and even better…there’s a sale on at the moment. So it’s definitely time to treat yourself.

On my wishlist at the moment are:

The Nike Downshifter

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Skechers Flex Appeal – Cosmic Rays

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Thanks to Brantano for sending me the Skechers to try.

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June 20, 2016

What I’m loving this month

It’s time for my monthly round up of things i’m loving. This month, it’s about healthy eating and wellbeing, as we head towards (hopefully) a beautiful summer.

1. Pukka Herbs

Looking for high quality organic teas or supplements? Pukka Herbs has a huge range of incredible items to make healthy living a doddle.

They have a huge selection of teas which combine organic fruit and herbs to create delicious drinks with relaxing, detoxing or revitalising properties.

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Pukka Herbs also has a range of organic supplements including Clean Greens, Night Time, Vitalise and much much more. They’ve recently launched a range of Turmeric items (hot foodie/health trend at the moment) which are next on my list to try.Pukka2

2. Newton’s Apple Fizzics

Newton’s appl fizzics is a golden apple juice which is completely natural, with no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours. The best bit? There’s also no added sugar or sweeteners…just apple juice blended with sparkling water. A refreshing drink for the summer. I’ll be making sure to have my fridge stocked for BBQs this year.

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Available in 330ml bottles with an RRP of £1.29 and 750ml with an RRP of £2.49 from Amazon.co.uk, Harrods and independent grocers, farm shops and delis. The new sparkling juice is best served chilled and is a wonderfully thirst quenching drink when enjoyed straight from the bottle, or served over ice.

3.Ugly Drinks

Another new healthy drink is Ugly Drinks – a range of all-natural fruit infused sparkling waters (free from sugars, fat, sodium, artificial sweeteners, artificial colourings, artificial preservatives, artificial flavourings, soy, nuts, gluten, GMOs).

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These zero calorie drinks are literally just sparkling water infused with 100% natural fruit oils and essences and natural citric acid to act as preservative (available in 2 flavours, Lemon & Lime and Grapefruit & Pineapple, RRP 99p / 330ml can).

4.ICHAI

If you love Chai tea, you’ll love ICHAI – 8 different varieties of chai that have wellbeing benefits, created by an experienced plant biologist.

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The teas are created using specialist milling and blending techniques (which are unique to the brand) that ensure the best possible retention of taste & aroma after packaging. (£3.95 / 25g).

My favourite has to be the Vanilla Chai, but there’s plenty of others to try!

5. Organic Buko Jam

If you’ve never tried coconut jam before, then you are in for a real treat. This delicious spread has a velvety caramel like taste and texture which makes it ideal for adding to yoghurt, topping ice cream or just spreading thickly on toast.

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It has a unique flavour which will have you coming back for more…and there’s a rumour on the grapevine that they are launching an irresistible sounding chocolate version and there’s already one with a hint of sea salt.

Now available from Amazon and independent health stores

6. Ape Coconut Curls

Coming in at only 109 calories per bag, these are guilt-free snacks. Available in lightly salted or slightly peppered, these will have you throwing out your bags of crisps.

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Perfect for those following a Paleo diet or those just looking for a healthier snack alternative. These snacks are ridiculously addictive. Available from Morrison’s, Ocado, Planet Organic, Harvey Nics and many other places now.

7. Sprout Tasty Gardens

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There’s nothing healthier than freshly grown microgreens. Tasty Gardens makes growing your own microgreens simple with little waterproof boxes made from FSC certified cardboard and lined with hemp mats instead of soil. All you have to do is sprinkle the seeds on the mat and keep watered on your windowsill. Within a couple of weeks they’ll provide a harvest of microgreens.

Microgreens are the first, small leaves of a plant which are packed full of flavour and goodness. Microgreens are easy to grow on the window ledge all year round and when added to salads, sandwiches and other dishes they add bursts of flavour, texture, colour as well as nutrients.

Choose from Broccoli, Sunflower, Radish, Cress or Basil. Sprout Tasty Gardens start at £8.90 for a pack of 3 boxes. www.sproutworld.com

Thanks to everyone for sending me samples of the above to review 🙂 All opinions are my own and I wasn’t forced to write good reviews.

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