Posts tagged water
Following the experiences of a number of our motorbike trips over the years, being sent a completely waterproof pouch for my phone to review was incredibly useful – thanks Mobile Fun! And, as expected but not wanted, when we woke up on Tuesday last week and it was teeming it down I reached for my Beachbuoy, sealed my phone inside, and didn’t worry about it for the rest of the day.
This waterproof pouch is designed for taking your gadgets underwater – down to five metres. It is totally and completely waterproof thanks to the two grip seals, and you can use your touch screen phone while it’s inside. I’ve seen this sort of thing before and have always thought one would be useful.
Before you use your Beachbuoy to put your phone in the manufacturer advises you complete the tissue paper test… just to make sure. Basically you put a tissue inside the pouch, seal it up, and dunk it in water for a few minutes. Then you take the pouch out of the water, dry off the outside and your hands, and open it up to see the state of the tissue inside. Completely dry, very impressive. As long as I made sure the grip seals are done up properly, which was very easy to do, I could be confident my precious phone wouldn’t get water damage.
In real life use it worked too. Good job really! My phone was very safe inside the pouch even when the rest of me was slowly getting wet through (mmmmm damp pants…), and I could take the phone (in the pouch) out of my pocket and use it in the rain also without worrying about it – there was nothing to stop me tweeting even on that day! You can also use the phone camera through the pouch as it is clear front and back, a definite bonus for me.
There are a couple of negatives I have found. One is the size. To be fair this isn’t just designed for the iPhone and can accommodate all sorts of phones and compact cameras, but it is quite wide and so was a squeeze to get it in my bike jacket pocket. It does have a neck strap, though, so you can wear it around your neck or attach it to something else to make it easier to carry. The other is that while I can happily use my phone when it is inside the pouch, the completely sealed construction that makes it waterproof means making a call (hearing the person you are talking to) is not that easy – the sound is a bit muffled.
Those two small things aside, this is a great accessory for anyone who does anything that involves getting wet and really wants to take their phone with them. The fact that it is totally waterproof means it’s not just good for activities like walking, cycling, motorbiking etc in the rain – it can also be used for water sports like swimming, sailing and canoeing.
The Beachbuoy is just one of the iPhone5 covers available from Mobile Fun.
I do like a nice sea view.
When my grandad was alive (it’s still very raw saying that, I do miss him) he would take us for a drive to see the sea – to check it was still there. It’s something that’s stuck; I can’t go too many days without seeing the sea. I’ve mentioned my love of the sea on here before several times – there is just something about it – it’s peace, it’s power, it’s life.
Over the last week while on the Graham Homes Memorial Ride (I hoped you followed the ride blog while we were on our trip) I’ve seen loads of sea views all around the country. Every time we turned a corner and there was a bay or a view over a cliff or that smell of salt water I would smile. The nature of our challenge meant that I was guaranteed at least four sea views, one at each of the four compass points of mainland Great Britain, but there was no telling whether we’d have clear days or nice conditions. We were lucky with that for sure, even the brown murky waters and cloud filled skies of Lowestoft gave us a decent scene and made me smile.
Lowestoft Ness, most easterly point of mainland Great Britain (Saturday)
Lizard Point, most southerly point of mainland Great Britain (Sunday)
Ardnamurchan Point, most westerly point of mainland Great Britain (Wednesday)
Dunnet Head, most northerly point of mainland Great Britain (Thursday)
It wasn’t just the four compass points, we travelled along the Devon coast, and along the east coast of Scotland. The Northumberland coastline offered some lovely views on the way home too. We are so lucky here in the UK, we have some spectacular coastline scenes to look at, and even when right in the middle of the country we are not that far from a decent sea view.
East Coast of Scotland (Thursday)
From Holy Island, Northumberland (Friday)
I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to see so much of Great Britain over the last week, not least because I got to fulfil my everlasting craving for sea views and amazing scenery. It has been good for the soul, and has given me some images now stored in my memory to inspire me over the next months.
I hope it’s not too long before I get to see the sea again – just to make sure it is still there of course.
I was recently offered the chance to review an Easiyo Yogurt Maker. It is basically an insulated tub in which you use powdered mix to create yogurt in a variety of flavours.
Yogurt, or yoghurt, I’m never sure, has great health benefits. It is rich in protein, a great source of calcium, helps with synthesis of vitamins, is wheat and gluten free, is pretty low in calorie, provides natural fats, and is full of nutrients. Easiyo allows you to make your own at home very easily, 1kg at a time, so is perfect if you have a big family or eat a lot of yogurt at home.
This is the Easiyo yogurt maker. It’s a rather large white plastic insulated cylinder and a jar. The process is very easy. You half fill the yogurt jar with cool drinking water, add the contents of the sachet and shake to mix it all in. Then fill the jar to the top with more cool water and re-shake.
You poor boiling water into the large insulated cylinder, place the jar inside and leave it on your kitchen worktop for 8-12 hours until set. Once set the yogurt jar goes in the fridge to cool before you eat it. It’s quite a long process, but you need time for the yogurt cultures to do their work. Once it is done, though, you end up with 1kg of yogurt that will last up to couple of days in your fridge.
I tried the Greek n Coconut flavour sachet, which is a creamy yogurt with bits of coconut in it. It’s really easy, certainly not rocket science! I found after 12 hours my yogurt had mostly set but there was a bit of clear liquid on the top – I checked and this is apparently whey which you can either stir in or drain off to use in soups or drinks. The yoghurt was not solid, it still poured like a thick double cream, and so was ideal for eating over fruit or weetabix or having with meringue and ice cream. The morning after I made the yogurt I noticed it was more tangy; this is also normal as the flavour develops over time – if you eat it after six hours of chilling it will provide a mild flavour, if you wait 10 hours it will be more tangy. 1kg of yogurt is quite a lot for a couple to get through really, but you can get smaller jars if you don’t want to make quite as much at a time.
Making your own yogurt is a great idea if you use a lot at the breakfast table, for example, or if you like to drink yogurt based smoothies. It’s also great for cooking with – there are some savoury sauce and dressing recipe suggestions in the instruction booklet that comes with the yogurt maker. Ideal for home use… it doesn’t travel as well as little pots of yogurt for packed lunches or picnics, unless you have some yogurt pot sized tupperware tubs.
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.
During February I was challenged by SIGG to ditch the plastic – a challenge for which they sent me one of their metal bottles with an active top.
When I first agreed to the challenge, before I wrote my post introducing it to you, I thought it would be no problem at all – easy even. I hardly ever buy bottles of water, I am more than happy to drink water from the tap; at home I have a water filter on my tap in the kitchen and a water filter in my fridge, at work we have a mains fed water cooler, and I use a sports bottle when exercising. Times I do purchase or drink from single use bottles of water include when on long car journeys, when away from home, and when at work events.
I realised when writing my introductory post that ditching single use plastic bottles of water should be pretty easy, it’s other things that are a problem for me; Coca Cola, Fanta, Lilt, Lucozade, Innocent Smoothies, Copella Apple Juice, that sort of thing. These are drinks I will happily have daily – think Boots Meal Deal, or simply popping to the Spar because I fancy something cold and full of flavour to drink during the afternoon. When I think about it all those bottles cost me a fortune; at least a pound at a time.
I also drink a lot of cordials. I enjoy water on its own but it’s even better with some flavour, and is a great way to supress my incredibly sweet tooth (did you see that BBC Bang Goes the Theory on Sugar the other day – eek!!). And then of course when I did share my challenge with you, a friend quite rightly commented, simply, “don’t forget milk”. And yes, milk comes in plastic bottles too doesn’t it? And I drink a lot of milk – in tea, on its own, on cereal.
So, as you know, I chose to limit the challenge to individual sized bottles – 500ml/600ml/.75l or so – the sort of thing that I could replace like for like with my SIGG reusable bottle. I thought that was me being fair to myself. I thought that was enough.
Did I Manage It?
Yes I did! I can honestly say that during February I purchased a grand total of zero individual bottles of water, Coke, juice, and anything else that counts. I stuck rigidly to using my SIGG bottle or from a glass/mug/paper cup. I got used to carrying the large SIGG bottle with its Active Top around with me everywhere, and made good use of it everywhere I went. I refilled it from the tap or water filter, and even in Lush in Lincoln where you can refill a reusable bottle for free (see my tapwater.org post).
Actually it’s been totally fine. There was more than one occasion when at about 3pm I opened my bag, removed my purse, took out a couple of quid and was about to leave for the corner shop to get come Coke when I spotted the SIGG bottle on my desk and remembered I wasn’t supposed to be doing that. I probably saved a good £20 over the month on that sort of thing, although I’m not sure what I did with it because I don’t seem to have any cash left over.
It wasn’t easy all of the time. If you go into a café (or the canteen at work) and want a cold drink rather than a cup of tea or coffee, everything comes in a plastic bottle. Or a plastic cup. Think about it – Starbucks, Costa, Café Nero etc have iced drinks in plastic cups or bottles of juice, squash, water, Coke etc. In bars and restaurants it’s fine as Coke comes in a glass… but in coffee shops and even in the work canteen it’s a hot drink in a paper cup or nothing. Some places provide tap water with no problem, but it’s never obvious. I also noticed that nowhere seems to sell cans any more. In fact I noticed in Tesco that Coke now tell 330ml Coke in plastic bottles rather than cans. I found that very surprising. I wonder why? I guess it’s because it is resealable with the bottle cap, making it more convenient.
As a result of this challenge I’ve drunk loads more water than usual, which is saying something as drinking enough has never been a problem of mine! I noticed a couple of things that may or may not be completely related such as my skin improving and my energy levels increasing… I say may or may not as I also upped my exercise levels in February and also ate far more fresh fruit and vegetables too, so those will have had an effect too.
Since the end of February I’ve not done badly either. That SIGG bottle is very well used and my water intake is still much higher than it has been in the past. I admit I have succumbed to plastic bottles on a couple, maybe three or four occasions. All for convenience. One was when I was away for work for a couple of nights and ended up purchasing a milkshake in a plastic bottle (a Bounty one, new to me and really rather nice!) because I really wanted something that wasn’t water and I wasn’t up for sitting in a very noisy busy bar on my own. The second was earlier today – I had a Boots Meal Deal after a couple of months off; I stood in the shop looking at the options and the prices and realised it was cheaper for me to buy my chosen wrap and bag of crisps with a drink rather than without. So I had an Innocent Smoothie, and I enjoyed it after not having them for so long. But a couple of bottles in nearly two months isn’t bad is it? As long as I don’t get back into the habit again.
Now the Challenge is Done
SIGG have converted me; I have every intention of continuing to avoid buying individual plastic bottles wherever possible. That bottle they sent is pretty much permanently with me when I’m somewhere where no glass will be available. It feels good to have got into a positive habit – good for me, good for my purse, good for the environment.
Ditching the plastic when it is individual bottles is fine. I might have been a bit tempted by nice looking drinks but it was fairly easy to stick to using my SIGG bottle and not give in. But if I was to ditch the plastic properly and get rid of 2l bottles of Coke and lemonade, bottles of cordial, bottles of milk, large bottles of nice apple juice, and anything and everything else, I would seriously struggle. And forget drinks, what about fabric conditioner, toilet bleach, tomato ketchup, slide oil for my trombone, washing up liquid, and all those other necessary things that come in plastic bottles or not at all? Things I need come in plastic bottles. Things that are not quite so easy to avoid as bottled water.
And of course I am not completely naïve; I realise that deciding to ditch the plastic myself makes hardly any difference to the Earth. It would take a great movement to reduce the demand for plastic bottles, they are a part of everyday life for many. There are also other things like plastic bottles that cause as much damage to our world, and I am probably equally as guilty of using those.
Those things aside, I feel good thanks to the SIGG Ditch the Plastic challenge, and I am very pleased that I was invited to take part. Thanks SIGG, you’ve made me realise once again that tap water is great (filtered and chilled is better!), and that I don’t need to spend money on single use plastic bottles that just end up in the bin.
I’ll let you know how I’ve got on with my ditch the plastic challenge in a few days, but first I wanted to give the SIGG bottle I was given a proper review post.
This is the SIGG Active Top 0.75l Performance Purple bottle. It is a 750ml metal bottle with a plastic lid and straw that twists to open/close. To get liquid flowing up the straw simply sucking isn’t enough, you have to give the top a little bite where the ridges are marked, which means this is ideal for using wherever you might tip the bottle – so walking, cycling, running, in the car, in your work bag – anywhere where you’ll be on the move. This little video explains…
The bottle looks fab and it’s so useful. I’ve used it very nearly every day – at work when sat at my desk, when I have meetings all over and don’t get back to my desk in between, at home on the exercise bike, when doing my exercise DVD, when at band rehearsals, when on long journeys in the car. I fill it with water from the tap, squash, juice, lemonade. Since I’ve had it I’ve drunk even more water than before, not that I ever need persuading to have a drink, but because it is there, because it is accessible, I have drunk extra.
I am totally sold on metal bottles. The problem with plastic ones is two fold. The first is that they scratch, dent, and get misshapen fairly easily. Ok so metal bottles can be scratched and dented too but after four weeks of constant use my SIGG bottle is as good as new. The second is that they get stained with both colour and flavour – that is, if you fill one with blackcurrant squash and leave it for a day you end up with a slightly purpled bottle that tastes a little of blackcurrant forever. You don’t have that problem with metal bottles, they are much more easily cleaned.
The lid on this bottle is genius. I did wonder at first – it’s really only a straw after all – but I really like it. It’s great if you’re clumsy like me and are liable to knock over your bottle; even in the open position the was barely any leakage in my bag when it fell over and got jiggled around, and it doesn’t spill when you’re walking and drinking at the same time. And I much prefer this straw like action to the traditional sports tops – this gives you a really good flow of water, you can drink in satisfying mouthfuls, where as I have always found traditional sports tops leave me wanting more and quite often getting a mouthful of air rather than water.
This is actually a massive bottle. It’s biggest downside is that when full it’s very heavy. But I get through the 750ml quickly so it’s not heavy for long! I think, I know, if I was to buy a second one – and I am tempted – I would buy either the 0.5l or the 0.6l version, and refill it more often. I think for carrying around, something a bit smaller would be more appropriate.
I took my bottle when we went to visit our God Daughter earlier I’m February. She “found” it in my bag and as a result of the conversation that followed her mum, my friend Bec, ordered one. Hows that for recommendation?! She said:
Having seen Splodz’s SIGG bottle and then looked at them online I decided despite the cost I needed to get one. I would be the first to admit I usually drink nowhere near enough liquid during the day and so I figured if I spent out on a bottle I would feel like I had to use it!
I have been using my Active Top bottle 600ml for over a week now and on day one noted that I drank nearly four pints across the day (in addition to my coffee intake!), and by my reckoning that’s at least three pints more than usual. I have to say I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my energy levels which I’ve very much welcomed.
The design itself is fab; the “notches” in the lid for Close, Air, Open, Clean makes it, in my opinion, perfectly designed, and with its “bite to open” seal even when I don’t remember to click to close it is yet to leak or spill.
I thought it would be safe from my 19 month old (I’m used to sharing all my drinks), but even just a week in she is already beginning to get some drink out of it. Once she has got the hang of it I will be investing in a bottle for her too.
It could be said that this is just a sports bottle and a very expensive one at that, but I have to say I’m thoroughly impressed with it and it definitely helps me drink throughout the day. It’s fit for all purposes in my opinion.
As you can see the SIGG Active Top bottle is a hit. I think it’s one of those things you need to see or try to get a feel for the quality, the great design, and the incredibly useful top.
I really like my SIGG Active Top Performance Purple bottle, it’s well used and has become part of my routine when leaving the house. There’s a massive range of styles, colours and sizes, and I keep having a look on the website considering a second one. I think I at least need to get one for LincsGeek so he’s got a decent one too. They are not cheap, though, but considering the money saved on disposable bottles and the health gained thanks to drinking loads more I’d say it’s money well spent.