March 10, 2011
Maybe I’ve been out of the loop but I didn’t know such amazing things as these existed – build your own speakers. Well you don’t actually really need to build much as the electronics are done for you but these Eco Speakers are great.
I received them as a present so no idea where they came from but it was like a nod back to my childhood. With the complicated bits done all for you, all that’s left for you to do is put the cardboard backing together in a box shape and then decorate it to your heart’s content.
Which I haven’t done yet but I will when artistic inspiration hits me. The speakers are powered by the mp3 player, iPod or laptop you connect it to so you don’t need another power source. They’re probably useful as travel speakers but as they’re made of cardboard you’ll have to be careful not to rip them as they’ll be difficult to repair easily.
Fun as a gift and quite useful round the house, have found myself using them more than I would have thought. Available online from places like Amazon, Eco Nation Universal Eco Speakers cost between £7-20.00 depending on what type you get.
March 3, 2011
While I’ve reviewed Bulldog’s moisturiser before (the Fairtrade version, the sensitive version and the original Hydrate version), it’s time to revisit it. Why? Well not only is it growing in popularity and available in more and more outlets, but it’s got a fresh new look and may have changed in the two years since the last review.
As I get sent a lot of free grooming products I haven’t bought one in a while but if I did I would seriously give Bulldog a go. Just opening the bottle reminds me of why I liked it so much in the other reviews, it has a lovely fresh smell which I’m told is now throughout it’s whole range – I’ll let you know what I think of the others soon.
The moisturiser contains eight essential oils, green tea, green algae, something called Konjac Mannan and vitamin E and doesn’t contain things like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate or synthetic fragrances. You can find out more about its ingredients at Meet the Bulldog.
It’s actually a little oiler on first use than I remember and I was worried that would be transferred to the skin but I needn’t have, it rubs in nicely with no oily residue. You don’t need to use too much of it and my skin lapped it up. I really like it.
Looking back at my other reviews, there’s not much more to add apart from suggest you should try it out yourself.
you can now but it directly from Bulldog for £6.99 for a 100ml bottle or it’s available in supermarkets.
January 5, 2011
The first I’d heard of Montezuma’s was when I wandered past a new shop and was intrigued by the display in the window. And when I went in I wasn’t disappointed, there’s a lot of nice, unusual and interesting chocolate creations in there. And I’m not really a big fan of chocolate.
On that first visit I didn’t take much notice of whether they had any organic chocolate but when I was sent some beer to review by Organic Roots, they send me a nice little free gift of Montezuma’s 54% Coca: Milk Chocolate Butterscotch Organic Chocolate.
Just a 30g bar of it but that’s all you need really, it’s a heavy, rich chocolate that hits you with flavour as soon as you take a bite. Despite it being milk chocolate, the concentration of cocoa makes it more like a dark chocolate. In fact I found the strength of the cocoa a little overpowering so the actual taste of the butterscotch gets a little lost.
Still it’s an interesting blend and something a little different from the other chocolate out there. Montezuma’s has other organic chocolate in its collection such as Orange & Geranium Dark Chocolate, Very Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Chilli, and its 54% Milk Chocolate – all organic.
Montezuma’s 54% Coca: Milk Chocolate Butterscotch Organic Chocolate costs around 75p for a 30g bar and available instore or online.
December 1, 2010
I recently reviewed Santa Cruz’s Mountain Brewing’s Organic Amber Ale and liked it – after I got used to it. So another trip to Bev Mo! and I bought the brewery’s India Pale Ale, or IPA, which is also organic.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing inscribes the phrase ‘Think Organic, Drink Organic’ on its labels and serves its beers in a big 22oz glass bottles.
This India Pale Ale is a whopping 7.5% abv so I was expecting a hefty taste but it was surprisingly subtle. It was hoppy, but again not as much as I expected and actually found it smoother and more drinkable than the Amber Ale. It’s a little lighter in colour too, still quite cloudy though. Looking back at that review it’s probably hard to decide which I liked best, both are easy drinking and I think if you decide to go with an organic ale you can’t go far wrong with choosing one of these two.
Certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, nothing in its Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery is automated.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic India Pale Ale costs $4.59 from Bev Mo!.
November 24, 2010
With the phrase, ‘Think Organic, Drink Organic’, this Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic Amber Ale was impossible to resit at BevMov! So I didn’t.
In a large bottle (a pint in the UK or a pint and six fluid ounces in the US), it pours with a slight head and is a dark, cloudy brown.
As with a lot of American handcrafted beers, it has a taste which takes a little getting used to, the first sip hits you in the back of the throat but then the flavour comes through and it settles down.
I like to drink my beers cold but you shouldn’t have this too cold, I found the flavours, hoppy and slightly fruity, came through much better when it warmed up and I’d got used to it. In fact I found it really easy drinking and was pleased it came in such a big bottle, but disappointed I’d opted to only buy one.
Brewed by Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing in California, the company calls it “the official Party Beer of the brewery”. Certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, nothing in its brewery is automated, and the beer is a blend of organic malts with a primary base of Gambrinus pale malt.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Organic Amber Ale costs $4.59 from BevMov!
November 17, 2010
This is a guest post by my wife Sarah: My husband knows me well. After receiving a copy of Laurie David’s new hot-off-the-press book, The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids, one meal at a time, he immediately handed it over to me as he knew I’d enjoy anything about food and kids. Upon first glance, I thought it was a ‘green’ cookbook with some information about how to connect with your family, but as I started turning the pages, I realized it was quite the opposite. I became engrossed immediately and ended up reading the entire book cover to cover, which I definitely was NOT planning on originally doing!
Perhaps the best way I can describe this book is to call it the must-have manual or bible for anyone who wants to raise well-adjusted children and foster a loving and connected family atmosphere (and who doesn’t?). Definitely not your average cookbook. Laurie David, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, author of Stop Global Warming and former wife of Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David, is a passionate parent who strongly believes that simply by consistently having one meal a day together, today’s overwhelmed, busy, technology-addicted families can learn how to engage and converse with one another, feel more connected as a family unit, and eat healthier and help the planet to boot.
David shares that research consistently proves that everything we worry about as parents – from drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, to obesity, academic achievement and just good old nutrition – can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table. The book is divided into themed chapters to cover everything well-meaning (but busy) parents need to know, including easy steps and rules to having a successful dinner, setting the scene, involving everyone in the cooking and preparing, ways to express gratitude, conversation starters and inspirational ideas from the news, books, and poetry.
There are over 75 fantastic recipes submitted by the family’s Danish friend and personal chef, Kirstin Uhrenholdt, including tips on getting kids involved. There’s also a great section about how to keep the family dinner ritual intact in the months and years following a divorce or family change.
The book also focuses on how family dinners offer an opportunity to help sustain our planet in addition to our family connectedness. There are plenty of green tips, including composting, growing your own vegetables and herbs, eating less meat (there’s a whole chapter on “Meatless Mondays” including plenty of veggie recipes) and using organic and local produce in your everyday cooking.
As if that weren’t enough, Laurie has incorporated personal stories, words of wisdom, tips and advice from a wide range of well-known chefs, restaurateurs, celebrities, authors, poets, academics, doctors, food activists, and family and parenting experts, which add credibility, interest and inspiration to this gem of a book. These contributions are scattered throughout the book amongst the recipes, text, and beautiful photos, making the whole thing very visually appealing and easy to read.
Perhaps the only criticism I have of The Family Dinner is how the recipes are organized. They are included within certain chapters by theme; for example, vegetarian recipes can be found in the Meatless Mondays chapter, easy and fast recipes are to be found in the Fast Recipes section, recipes that the kids will have fun helping out with are in the Cook Together chapter, etc. It makes sense as you read the book straight through but when it comes down to finding a recipe to cook for tonight’s dinner, you’ll have to do a bit of searching and flipping pages to find the one you want.
Aside from that, I found this book to be incredibly powerful. I am pregnant with our first child and already have visions of our happy little family sitting around the dinner table, playing games, talking and laughing, eating healthy and nutritious food, and simply being together. Thanks to this book, it’s not simply a pie in the sky notion now, it is an easily obtainable dream.
The Family Dinner will be making itself a permanent home on our kitchen shelf and every time I find myself needing pointers on how to engage everyone in a productive conversation (I’m sure we’ll reach those teenage years before we know it!), fun word games, thought-provoking readings, ideas for saying grace, how to get kids involved in the process of preparing and enjoying food, or just simple inspiration on how to stay connected in today’s harried world, there is no doubt I will be reaching for this book again and again.
Available now from Amazon.
November 10, 2010
Trying organic ales from around the world brings some exciting flavours to the tastebuds. I often approach them with excitement but also trepidation – will this Bison Organic India Pale Ale from California delight or disappoint?
Bison Brewing is not a brewery I’d heard of before, but I was intrigued after reading the bottle. Certified organic, this IPA is part of its Single Hop Series, which means each time they brew it they try it with different hops, seeing which one they like the most and drinkers favour.
This one was made with Willamette hops, which is “a mid alpha hop bred decades ago from Fuggles”. It has “woody or grassy tones and a smooth bitterness”.
And it certainly is smooth. There’s not real sharp flavour or bitternesss to it which makes it very drinkable and a nice beer if you’re just starting with bitter or IPA. It has a nice head once poured and remains cloudy even when settled.
I liked the smoothness and subtle flavours, but at 6% alc/vol the only concern is drinking too much of it!
Bison Organic India Pale Ale is available from BevMo! costing around $3.99 for a 650ml (one pint, six fl. oz.) bottle.