Saturday, 30 April 2011

Get Busy with the Fizzy!! - Sodastream Review

When I was offered the chance to review a Sodastream, I jumped at it!  I had fond memories of the Sodastream we had when I was a child - we weren't allowed fizzy pop much (too expensive I think, and bad for you!) but my mum loves gadgets so of course we had a Sodastream.  I couldn't wait to see if the new models still made the same rude noise that the old ones did, and which, as a child, I obviously found amusing!

If you've never come across a Sodastream, the idea is to be able to make fresh, carbonated drinks at home.  You fill a reusable bottle with tap water, place it in the Sodastream, press the button a few times which 'fizzes' the water and then add a concentrate for flavour.  The carbonate comes from a gas cylinder in the back of the machine.  When the cylinder is empty you take it to your nearest stockist to purchase a replacement.  The cylinders are £19.99, or £9.99 if you take your old cylinder back.

I received the 'World Without Bottles Jet' version of the Sodastream which retails at about £59.99.  It comes supplied with a gas cylinder and a reusable plastic bottle.  Each bottle has a average lifespan of 3 years and is BPA-free.  Hopefully by reusing bottles in a Sodastream, this should cut down on the number of bottles produced when buying fizzy drinks from a shop.  I also received 3 different flavours of concentrate to try with my Sodastream.

World Without Bottles Jet model
Fitting the gas cylinder into the Sodastream was very easy and thats all you need to do to set the machine up.  The plastic bottle is filled with water (and placed in the fridge beforehand for a really cold drink) and on the Jet model you push the green top of the drinks holder in, thus allowing you access to screw the water bottle into place.  Personally I find this a little bit awkward but maybe I'm just a bit cackhanded!  Then press and hold the grey button at the top down until it makes a raspberry sound and do this 3 times.  Of course, you can add more or less fizz as you require.  Then unscrew the bottle, add a cap full of concentrate, put the lid on the bottle and give it a slight shake to mix the concentrate and the water and then enjoy your fizzy drink!

What I love about the Sodastream is that you don't have bottles of pop in your fridge going flat - you make your fizzy drink when you want it so it is still really fizzy (and they are really really fizzy!)  Of course the kids love the noise it makes and the fact they can make their own fizzy pop.  The concentrates are between £2.99 - £3.99 depending on where you buy them from but you could just add squash or if you like sparkling water drink it as it is.  There is a huge range of concentrates, from cola, cream soda and tonic water, to sugar free and clear versions, through to energy drinks.

The one complaint I did have was that I found it quite hard to find concentrates to purchase in my area - I couldn't find them in Tesco or Sainsburys.  Maplin does stock the concentrates but unfortunately my Maplin didn't have any in stock.  In the end I ordered mine from Argos, who sell them for £2.99 and offer free delivery, so this is quite an easy option.  They don't stock the full range but enough for what I wanted.  You can also buy sample packs, and up until 15th May, Sodastream are offering 8 bottles for £20.

I would thoroughly recommend purchasing a Sodastream.  Its a great product, helps the environment, is fun to use and is quite a talking piece!

I received a Sodastream and 3 bottles of concentrate for the purpose of this review but the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Better empty the fridge before I start my diet...

So as I've not lost any baby weight despite breastfeeding and none of my summer clothes are going to fit I've decided to bite the bullet and join Slimming World on Wednesday.  I've done it loads of times before and it does work, its me that doesn't! I get to 10lbs and get bored.  So my goal is to lose a stone and see how it goes from there.  My mum and sister are going so it will be nice to get out with them for a little bit and leave the kids behind!

Unfortunately I'm one of those who has a binge just before starting a diet!  Well there's all this lovely food in the kitchen and it will annoy me if I see it sitting there once I'm paying a diet club.  So I need to eat it all now so that its not there when I start.  And I might just have to have one last McDonalds before I start too!

I know it seems a bit silly eating junk before I start my diet but I want all my weight loss to show on the scales at fat class, not to lose a few lbs before I go and it not count lol!

My meals are mostly healthy but its the chocolate in the evenings that gets me!  And the odd can of lager or glass of wine.  I've not been putting on weight but I haven't been losing it, and I know it will go on again when I stop breastfeeding (which isn't going to happen any time soon by the looks of it!).

How do you prepare to diet...?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sweet Junkie Sugar Free Sweets - Review

While tweeting I came across a company called Sweet Junkie.  After we established that the tweeter was actually a man and not a woman (for some reason we comping tweeters seem to assume that all tweeters are female, I don't know why but we do) we welcomed him as a great addition to twitter, especially as he offered a competition for sweets!!  Which I won!!!  Yay me!!

Within a couple of days a huge box of sweets arrived including 2 packets of sugar free sweets, Rhubarb & Custard and Cough Candy Twists.

Cough Candy Twists

Rhubarb & Custard
To be honest I was wary of trying the sugar free sweets at first because my experience of sugar free sweets is that they tend to have a chemical aftertaste.  I was very pleasantly surprised!  The sweets tasted like the traditional version, although they weren't overly sweet.  There was only a slight aftertaste, barely noticeable compared to other sugar free sweets I've had.  They were scrumptious and even my hubby enjoyed them!

Sweet Junkie have a huge variety of sugar free sweets which would be well worth trying.

If you're not after sugar free sweets then they have a massive range of 'normal' sweets and a great selection of liquorice and aniseed flavoured sweets.  Although not sugar free I have to recommend Willetts Liquorice & Aniseed.  They were absolutely gorgeous, in fact I had to rescue them from my father in law before he ate them all!

The sweets are amazing and the company is really friendly, and the delivery is very fast.  If you are looking to buy sweets I would thoroughly recommend Sweet Junkie!

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Things They Say...

I was playing with Girl this afternoon and after she'd said she liked me she stopped and looked at her hands.

Girl: "I like my hands."

Me:  "Why?"

Girl: "Because they can hold things."

Me:  "What things?"

Girl: "Juice.  And beer."

I swear I do not give my 4 year old daughter beer to drink - honest!  Goodness knows what they think of me at school...

Sainsburys 5 Family Meals for £20

Let's face it, we're all feeling the pinch a little bit at the moment.

When we were really feeling it him indoors suggested trying the Sainsburys 5 Family Meals for £20 as a way of controlling the budget.  I have to admit, it's been one of his better ideas!

One of the best things about using their planner is that it gives you a shopping list.  If you've ever had to go shopping with 2 small children and a baby in tow you'll know how impossible it is to do the necessary working out of what quantities you need, which is cheapest, what you are going to cook with it and whether you will use it all!  It has taken the hassle out of food shopping.  I follow that list and then I don't have to worry about buying food for dinners, just breakfast and lunch.  It's so much easier!

Another bonus is not having to sit there at 4pm wondering what to cook for dinner!  Instead of having to search through the cupboards and fridge deciding what to cook, I have it all laid out for me.

All the recipes are really simple to follow and don't require weird ingredients which is always a bonus as I really can't spend more than half an hour preparing food with a breastfeeding baby and the aforementioned monsters.  I mean children!  The recipes also have sneaky ideas for including vegetables - one week asks for frozen spinach which is included in 2 or 3 of the meals and sort of disintegrates into the dinner so the children don't know they're eating veg!

He himself has liked all the meals I've cooked from the plan so far, which is amazing as I've done well if I get an "it's alright" from him most days!  The kids also seem to enjoy the meals.

Something else I've found really good is that although the recipes call for ingredients I may not have used before the ingredients will be used in different ways across 2 or 3 different meals.  So instead of buying something and using it once and then not knowing what to do with the rest, all of it gets used within the week, so nothing is wasted.

And of course the best bit is you've fed the family 5 meals for just £20!!  Of course, store cupboard ingredients aren't included, such as oil or stock cubes etc, but if you usually cook from scratch that shouldn't be an issue.

I've really enjoyed cooking from them and because I have I really wanted to share my experience with other mums struggling to work out what to feed a hungry family!  I've been able to add to my repertoire and it means we've had something different from my staple meals of Chilli, Spag Bog and Curry! 

This post wasn't sponsored by Sainsburys, and in fact I usually take my list to Tesco and buy the equivalent there.  But it's a handy thing to have!