Posts tagged green
You all know that I cannot resist a nice cup of tea. I am a) British and b) brought up in the Salvation Army – tea was inevitably going to be a very important part of my life! But one thing I have never been able to do is enjoy herbal or fruit tea. I simply can’t drink it. Smells amazing. Tastes horrible.
So when Twinings sent me some of their Everyday Tea blends to try, I was intrigued. On the box it says…
…sounds like these teas are exactly what I’ve been looking for! Traditional black tea that you serve with milk, with a hint of redbush, peppermint, green tea, or echinacea. You get the benefits of drinking herbal, with just a hint of flavour in amongst the Everyday tea. Sounded intriguing. And as Twinings even sent me a mug with which to test the tea out, I put the kettle on immediately!
The Everyday Tea by Twinings is designed to put a smile on your face. It is a bright and refreshing blend of fine tea leaves from around the world, great for any time of the day. It is a tea I buy regularly because I enjoy it, although normally in the decaffeinated version – it is the best decaf black tea blend I have found so far (and I drink a lot of it!).
The three “with a little extra” Everyday Tea blends I received were the Peppermint Blend, Echinacea Blend, and Green Tea Blend. Each has the same full bodied rich and vibrant flavour of Twinings standard Everyday Tea but with the benefits associated with the additions on top. All three had slightly different flavours, but the blends were subtle and not overpowering at all. You can’t really smell the added extras until the tea is brewing, and you can then taste them in the background. All work very well as combinations; they are a great alternative to “ordinary” black tea.
Apart from tasting really lovely there are also added benefits by using these three different ingredients inside a teabag. Peppermint is associated with digestion, echinacea with your body’s defences and immune system, and green tea is said to have healing properties. Twinings saw the addition of these things to their classic tea as something of a tea challenge, to help those of us who really can’t stand herbal teas to benefit from these things too. I think they succeeded. Assuming there is enough of the relevant ingredient to help my insides, then Twinings have done a great thing here.
And if you’re wondering – all the teas look the same when brewed… tea with milk coloured!
Of the three I have found the peppermint blend to be the most satisfying, I am genuinely enjoying drinking that particular tea. It has a fresh and clean taste; the peppermint is there in the background giving the tea a palette cleansing and refreshing after taste. It is perfect for drinking in the afternoon as a bit of a pick-me-up. The echinacea has the least extra flavouring in my opinion, and the green tea has a background note that I recognise from trying (and trying) to like proper green tea. They are all nice, and I would recommend that anyone who is like me and always prefers tea with milk over anything else gives them a try – you don’t even have to be that brave because they’re just like normal tea.
I’ve mentioned drinking water a lot on here lately, but the people at Vita Coco think they’ve got something better to keep you hydrated – coconut water.
Vita Coco’s all-natural, super-hydrating, fat-free, cholesterol-free, nutrient-packed, potassium-stacked, mega-electrolyte coconut water!
I love coconut and coconut flavoured things but until now I’d never tried coconut water. I think I was expecting it to be a bit like coconut milk, which is of course not, or at least a bit thicker than water, which it isn’t either. It is of course that cloudy liquid that spills all over the kitchen when you take to one with a hammer (probably why I’ve never tried it!). Vita coco claim that the drink is incredibly hydrating and very good for you; with no colourings or preservatives, and being full of naturally occurring electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium this is a very popular drink for athletes.
The great thing here is that there is just one ingredient. We’ve all seen how packaging can lie to us over recent weeks, but here we have 100% coconut water in a carton. There are also some flavours such as coconut water with pineapple, orange, acai and pomegranate, peach and mango and passion fruit, and these are also limited in their ingredients list. The drink comes directly from the inside of young green coconuts; they say it’s just like sticking a straw in a coconut – so naturally I found myself a straw and sat back to relax and imagine I was sat on a white sandy beach looking out over the clear blue sea!
Loads of celebrities have been seen drinking this “cool” drinks… Sienna Miller, Halle Berry, Madaonna, Demi Moore, Rihanna. I’m obviously not quite as cool because I’m afraid to say I prefer normal boring water. This didn’t make me screw my face up or anything, but it wasn’t something that I could see myself sit and relax and sip for pleasure.
The flavoured ones faired better for me. The peach and mango one was the best of the ones I had here to try. I’ve seen lots of people use Vita Coco in smoothies and shakes instead of water, but that isn’t something I’ve tried (I’d drunk them all before spotting that idea!) and that is a great idea – mixing this with whizzed up fruit and other bits and bobs does appeal, I think that would work really well.
The fact that it’s got the same kind of properties as popular sports drinks but without any of the chemicals, sugars, flavourings and other such things means I am likely to buy this again. But not for every day drinking.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! A perfect opportunity to stereotypically post about my favourite colour – green! And my favourite topic… shoes!
Naturally I will start with a pair of Dr Martens. I’m not sure I’ll ever get tired of their timeless style. I love wearing them and love seeing people style them.
As the weather is supposed to be getting warmer how about some comfy pumps to keep our feet cooler but that will still look grand with a pair of socks?! I think between these Vans and Converse I prefer the Converse – they appear brighter and chunkier.
I am not at all sure about these weird and wonderful Eject shoes. I kind of like the styling – inspired by rock climbing shoes – but I don’t think I could wear them. They are the sort of thing that get a second look from me because they are so unusual. Maybe if they didn’t have the daisies? No, I don’t think I could.
Have a great St Patrick’s Day!
I was recently invited to review my choice of case from Ideal Cases, an online company who specialise in customisable cases for your phones, tablets and other gadgets.
There are a wide range of cases to choose from on Ideal Case. Naturally I went for a case for my iPad 2, and I chose the leather/canvas folio style case which offers full protection front and back, a flip front and an integral stand.
There are so many options. To start with you simply choose whether to personalise or not. Naturally I wanted something bespoke; and when prompted I chose the freestyle design option, giving me the most freedom to create whatever I wanted.
I didn’t want a photograph, or clipart, or a drawing; I just wanted it bright green and to say “Splodz Blogz Life is all about the journey” just like the header for my blog. I started by choosing the background colour. I chose a nice and punchy green which would be bright and colourful against the black spine and back of the case (you can only customise the front). Then I used the text tool to add my chosen words, and took to deciding which font to use. I just couldn’t get that right. There are quite a number of fonts to choose from, but most are fancy – scripts, blocks, that sort of thing. In the “basic” category there are about ten to pick from, but none worked quite as I wanted. What I wanted, what I had envisaged, was Calibri, the font I used for my header image on here. So I changed tack and deleted the text layer from my case and instead uploaded an image. I uploaded a large 2000 pixel square image – I knew this should be plenty big enough for about half the height of the case. It was difficult to tell as you can’t zoom in on your design to check, and you don’t get a proof, so it was a bit of a risk.
Once I was happy with my very simple design I ordered it. The following morning I received an email from Ideal Case who informed me that there had been a problem with their system and my design had not saved properly – the thumbnail used in the checkout phase had but not the full design. They offered to create the design for me if I sent them over the image but I decided it was ok, it didn’t take me long and wouldn’t take me many minutes to re-do my design. Actually it gave me opportunity to rethink my design and tweak it slightly, I didn’t mind. I changed the background colour of both my case and my image so they matched, which I thought would work better. But I was worried that the colours wouldn’t match completely when they printed – having worked in print I understand that colours on screen and colours of different files can differ; and if they differed, even a little bit, the case would look odd and it would annoy me. So when I submitted my design I emailed Si at Ideal Cases (replied to his email about the original problem with my order) and asked him very nicely to check that the colours matched when it was produced.
What followed was a day of incredibly helpful emails getting the colour right and also helping to sharpen up the edges of my text (I think the design software on the Ideal Cases website must compress images massively when you upload them as I know my image was totally sharp and high resolution). Si was so helpful, I simply cannot fault the customer service – we discussed the colour, they tweaked it so it was exactly what I had in mind, adding some yellow to it as they understood how it would appear when printed onto canvas. They turned around my case so it went out that very evening and I received it the next morning.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the case was the colour. Absolutely perfect, exactly what I had imagined. The text in the corner was clear and just the right place. Brilliant. Do you like it? Not very fancy, I know, I could have been much more imaginative no doubt, but I like it. And I’ve been receiving some lovely comments from people who’ve seen it too.
The case itself completely surrounds the iPad. It is a book style case with a big flap that opens to reveal the screen, and also incorporates a three-angle stand (plus flat!) so you can use the iPad at the most comfortable angle. You can still get to all the buttons and connectors perfectly, including the camera. The front is a canvas, the spine is suede, and the back is faux leather – the stitching is neat and well done, and the materials appear good quality. I think the green I chose looks fabulous against the black of the rest of the case (thanks again Si), and the design works well.
The flap of the case does have a magnet in it to lock and unlock your screen as you close/open it, however this doesn’t always line up perfectly and so doesn’t always engage (I know this isn’t a problem solely with this case – LincsGeek finds this with his Targus case). It could probably also do with an elasticated strap or similar to keep the case closed, as it does have a tendency to open it if you’re not holding it right. Oh and the printing only goes to the edge of the canvas – this means there is a small white border around the outside of the case where the canvas wraps around – it would be nice if that wasn’t there, but it’s no big deal for me. Apart from those little niggles this is a really nicely made case that I’m very happy to use.
Of course with this new case I can’t use either my Smart Cover or my Golla slip case, both of which I love. I think it’s going to depend on what I’m doing and where I am going with my iPad as to which case I take with me. It’s nice to have the choice!
I would absolutely recommend Ideal Cases. The design process was very easy, the following customer service was faultless, and the product is good quality and looks great.
It’s nice to be able to offer you a discount on a product I really like. I’ve been given a 40% off voucher to share with you – put splodz40 in when purchasing from Ideal Cases and you’ll save a good sum on your chosen case. Let me know if you get one!
LincsGeek and I are fairly new to the skiing game. We went on our first ski holiday just three years ago after some ski lessons at snozone. Before that first holiday we kitted ourselves up as cheaply as we could – we wanted good quality at low cost, and so bought coat, pants, gloves, socks and thermals in the sales and at discount stores. Skiing is expensive, and you can spend a fortune on kit if you wanted to. I want to, there is so much fabulous kit about, but can’t warrant it.
So when The North Face offered me one this season’s jackets for our trip to Finland I was delighted. You already know I like The North Face as a brand, I find their clothing fits me nicely and their shoes are comfortable. And I love my down slippers! But they are a technical brand with very high price points.
This is the Honee Snugs Delux Parka, and as soon as I saw it I knew that this was exactly my kind of coat. Just look at the colour for a start, the muted green (Boyce Green) is just lovely, so much better than the (boring) black of my existing ski coat. And it just looks comfortable and warm. I couldn’t wait to try it out.
A military-style parka offering skiers and boarders serious protection from the elements. This longer-length jacket is built with Heatseeker™ synthetic insulation, ensuring a warm ride whatever the weather. An adjustable hem system, adjustable cuffs and powder skirt provide a secure and comfortable fit. When the holiday is over, convert the parka into street wear by removing the powder skirt and unzipping the hood down the centre to reveal long-pile fleece lining. Core zip-vents help to prevent overheating when pounding the hill or park. Chest, hand, wrist and media pockets provide ample storage for all necessities. Created to look effortlessly stylish, The North Face Women’s Honee Snugs Delux Parka is street cool for the mountain and beyond.
I was a little worried about the length – this is a long line ski coat – and as I am short it could have looked silly and restricted my movement. I think you’ll agree though that it looks great on (I hope you agree!) and thanks to the shorter front and longer back I can move my legs about with no trouble at all. Actually that lower bit at the back is genius – it was just right to sit on when I was on chair lifts, which made a big difference to keeping me warm on the way up to the top of the slopes. There was plenty of room under the coat for me to layer up (I had the medium); while this coat has a feminine cut it isn’t tight.
I could tell this coat had been designed for winter sports. The large goggle pocket, the internal phone/mp3 player pocket with hole for the headphone wires, the powder skirt, the sleeve pocket in exactly the right place for your lift pass – all make this coat very useful on the slopes. That sleeve pocket even has a glasses cloth attached, which was a very useful feature, and the long toggles on the zips mean you can use them with gloves on. The two pockets at the front are massive – I could easily fit my wallet and some chocolate in one and my camera in its case in the other – and those little hand warmer pockets half way up were also useful for my poor cold fingers.
All the pockets aside, the whole point of a ski coat is for it to keep you warm and dry. And it did. Thankfully. The insulation did its job and I stayed totally dry for the whole holiday and in all the weather conditions Finland threw at us. The main zip has a flap over the top to stop wind and moisture getting through, and it does right up over your chin which helped keep my neck warm and dry. I think it goes without saying that I wore this coat over the required thermal layers, and needed a neck tube too, but it definitely went a long way to keeping my body warm and comfortable. I was very thankful for such a good quality coat when it was -22 and blowing a gale in the middle of the day. I wonder if the addition of comfort cuffs would have helped keep my hands any warmer – LincsGeek has them on his ski coat and I like the idea, they stop snow going up the sleeves and fit underneath his gloves adding a layer to his wrists.
[I will never make a model, but we had a great laugh taking these photos at the bottom of the Ski Jump in Ruka, Finland... below shows what happens when you run in the snow and it suddenly gets a lot deeper!]
This coat isn’t just for wearing on the slopes. The North Face has designed this for casual wear at home too, and you may have seen me sporting around and about quite a lot since we got home. The powder skirt comes out, the hood zips down the middle leaving it flat on your back, and you are left with a very nice parka style coat for everyday winter wear. The double zip is also very useful when wearing this coat casually – it means you can unzip it a little bit when you’re sat in the car driving.
I think you can tell that I really like this coat. I love the style, I really love the colour, and the fact that it’s great for the slopes and in town is perfect. It also fits well and is flattering – it’s not too bulky. This has become my “go everywhere” jacket, fit for all my winter activities. As for whether it’s worth the £260 price tag to be honest I really don’t know – I am not and probably will never be in the position to spend that much on any item of clothing, and so have nothing to compare it to. I know that with outdoors gear you get what you pay for and it is certainly superior to the ski coat I bought a few years ago, as well as my other winter coat. It has immediately become my coat of choice when heading out in the cold, wet and snow, and I think that is down to the design and quality.
I am not very good at wearing nice pretty dainty bracelets. I like them very much for going out but for normal wear they just get in the way, tap constantly on the desk while I’m typing, get stuck on my clothing, you know the sort of thing. I much prefer fitted bangles or wristbands that are more “surfy” in style – they fit with me better anyway – because they sit nicely on my arm without making any noise.
Wayvebands are leather wristbands that are unique to you – you design them yourself from a range of colours, designs, fonts to make something totally bespoke. I was given the opportunity to design my own so I could tell you about them.
I knew exactly what I wanted; a green wristband with my tagline “life is all about the journey” on it. You can upload photos or use funky backgrounds, but I just wanted something pretty plain that would remind me of my mantra. Do you like it? Getting my design done was really quick and simple, the interface is a doddle to use and you get a picture of what your wristband will look like.
It fits just right. Well of course it does, you can adjust the stud to any of four points, and there are two larger holes to fit over the top. There is also a leather thong supplied if you’d rather fit it that way. Quality wise I’m impressed too. The leather a couple of millimetres thick and the stud fastening screws on so you know it’s secure. The packaging does say that you should expect the colours to fade over time, but with leather products you expect them to soften up, they don’t stay pristine and that is part of the charm.
If I had paid for mine it would have been £7.00 (this is the price for a “text Wayveband” – the different types vary in price). Delivery is £1.95 and mine arrived the next day (it was sent first class). For a personalised leather wristband I think this is good value for money – I can see me getting addicted to these (I am about to order another one… I think in orange!). They might work as invitations/tickets for a party or event, or to celebrate something with your friends. Or how about sticking your name and phone number on one for your kids when on days out just in case they get lost? The bespoke nature of these is what appeals to me though, they are a fantastic little idea and everyone should have their own!
If you would like to design your own Wayveband then you’re in luck – I have a discount code that is good for 20% off. Simply add SPLODZ20 at the checkout on the Wayveband website to apply the discount. The code is live now and doesn’t run out until 30th March 2013 so you’ve got time to design and order many!