Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake: a review

The New Year brings new challenges and having already undertaken the Veganuary challenge I decided to try a weight loss challenge as well. I used Nutribuddy’s breakfast shakes for 14 days to see what effect they would have on me and my body and this review is all about that experience.

I chose a 14 day supply of Nutribuddy’s Vanilla Breakfast Shake and with it came a glass jar to store the shake powder, a bottle to drink from, and the shake itself. Nutribuddy kindly sent me this package to review their breakfast shake and I was already expecting to enjoy it because there’s so much I like about the brand and their standards, but I was surprised to find that the shake is also really tasty and filling and it’s so convenient for me to just make this for breakfast before rushing off in the mornings.

So what do I love about the brand? Let me list the ways.

  1. Vegan friendly and gluten free
  2. Soy free & sugar free
  3. 121 calories per shake
  4. Source of fibre
  5. Organic, natural ingredients
  6. 31 day happiness guarantee
  7. Recyclable glass packaging

This breakfast shake contains oats, seeds and coconut and is completely organic and vegan friendly. It’s free from preservatives, emulsifiers and stabilisers, so no nasties to be found here.

When I received this product in the post, I found the glass jar was wrapped in the most impressively sturdy bubble wrap I have ever seen – I’m going to save it for future house moves for sure. Also, can I just take a moment to congratulate Nutribuddy on using glass as a storage jar – in this plastic-frenzied dystopian world, it’s so reassuring to see a company taking the effort to send fragile glass jars in the post because they recognise that we need to move away from plastic storage and embrace recyclable packaging. Plus, it’s a great storage jar, so if you don’t replenish your stock of Nutribuddy shake (why wouldn’t you?) then you can reuse it to store pasta, rice, grains, etc.

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What about the taste?

I’ve used a well-known weight loss shake before and using their powder forms I had a lot of trouble shaking it enough to make it all mix in – I would always get unpleasant lumps of powder, no matter how vigorously I shook the damn thing. Not so with Nutribuddy – it blends in instantly, and because it’s made with oats, you do get flakes of oaks as you drink so it feels like real food but it’s part of the drink and not a horrible lump. The vanilla flavour I used is really nice, very subtle and not too sweet (I don’t always like sweet things in the early mornings.)

What I loved most about Nutribuddy is the convenience – their breakfast shakes have given me an extra 20 minutes in bed every morning. I cannot understate how valuable this is to me. To be able to prepare and drink my breakfast 5 minutes before I need to leave the house for work is an absolute godsend.

So thanks, Nutribuddy, for sending me your delicious vegan breakfast shakes, helping me to lose a little bit of weight after my festive indulgences, and thanks so much for giving me a lie in.

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Pure Pet Food for my cat – a review

Pure Pet Food for my cat – a review

I had heard good things about Pure Pet Food‘s innovative dog food (they were featured on Dragon’s Den) so when they got in touch to ask me to review their new range of freeze-dried cat food, I was very excited.

First, let me introduce you to my cat: Lyra. We got her over a year ago from the Cat’s Protection and she had been living rough on the local allotments and bringing up her babies in such adversity. She’s the friendliest cat I’ve ever known (clearly a valuable skill on the allotments) and she integrated herself into our home very well. She’s always been a bit of a fussy eater – she’s so petite and only eats small amounts in one go, usually taking most of the day to get through her breakfast. So any new food type we are excited to try to see if it will encourage her to eat a bit more regularly.

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Pure Pet Food source their ingredients from human-grade farms – so you can eat it too, if you really want. The concept of freeze-drying pet food is that it retains and preserves more of the nutrients than wet food, and it lasts a hell of a lot longer because it comes in powder form and you just add warm water to re-hydrate it. I’m expecting that this will turn out to be really convenient for us as Lyra seems to have such a small stomach and only eats small amounts, meaning that a lot of wet food gets wasted; so, dry food that we re-hydrate will be less wasteful as we can choose the amount to feed her based on how much she tends to get through.

What’s it all about?

  • No wheat, corn, or soya, sweeteners or other unnecessary additives.
  • Higher nutrient value than wet food
  • 6 wholesome natural ingredients
  • Good for improving skin condition
  • Good for digestion
  • Suitable for fussy eaters

The ingredients

Surf & Turf: *

  • Chicken & chicken liver (75%)
  • White fish (10%)
  • Carrot
  • Minerals
  • Apple
  • Celery
  • Salmon oil

Whisker Lickin’ Chicken: *

  • Chicken & chicken liver (85%)
  • Egg (5%)
  • Carrot
  • Minerals
  • Salmon Oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Spinach

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The verdict: As soon as I added the warm water to the dried food, Lyra must have caught a whiff of it and was extremely eager to try it. But I had to keep her waiting for up to 5 minutes for the food to soak up the water and re-hydrate and expand, which sadly I could not explain to my hungry, pestering kitty.

When I finally put the bowl down, she gobbled it up like it was a roast dinner. Clearly, this food was a winner and we will certainly be looking at stocking up. It’s good to introduce your cat to this type of food gradually as it’s a change in diet, so the advice is to try a little bit in her normal wet food and increase it gradually. The only off-putting aspect of this product is that it seems expensive; howeverwhen you consider that this 200g pack of dried food equates to 800g of fresh food when you re-hydrate it, the price seems much more reasonable and affordable, considering all the benefits.

* I was gifted these products but all opinions are my own and I always give honest reviews.

Cute Vegan Organic Skincare – Christmas Gift Set

Fair Squared are one of my favourite organic, natural skincare and beauty brands, and their products are all vegan and Fair Trade. They never test their products on animals – so they are right up my street. Fair Squared are one of those companies that have so many certifications that they can barely fit them all on the packaging; Vegan Society, Fair Trade, Peta, Natrue, and Fair Rubber.

They sent me this lovely Christmas gift set to try out.

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Fair Squared Christmas Gift Set *

4 cute mini skincare essentials, all certified vegan and Fair Trade, using natural ingredients. At £8.95 this is a really good idea as a Christmas gift set for a friend or family member who likes organic, natural, vegan, cruelty-free products, and a good introduction for someone looking to get to know an organic brand like this but doesn’t know where to start. I really love the simple packaging on these bottles.

  • Green Tea Body Lotion: containing the finest Fair Trade green tea from India. I love body lotions as I do get very dry skin, especially in winter. This bitesize bottle is perfect for handbags or leaving by the kitchen sink.
  • Vanilla Shower Gel: contains Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine. A cute sample of a classic in their range and convenient for taking to the gym for the post-workout shower.
  • Apricot Shampoo: contains Fair Trade apricot kernel oil from Pakistan. A lovely lather and a beautiful smell of apricots, which is not an ingredient I would immediately think to put on my hair, but the smell is so good that I would definitely use this again.
  • Olive Hand Soap: contains Fair Trade olive oil from Palestine. A really nice and supple soap, left my hands very soft.

 

You can buy more of Fair Squared’s range here.

 

* Denotes a gift I received. My opinions are nevertheless my own and I always give honest reviews.

ORGANii: Soap & Shower Gel Review

ORGANii: Soap & Shower Gel Review

I’ve been delving deeper into vegan & organic natural skincare recently and on my hunt for ethical, organic products I have come across a really great brand called ORGANii; their range includes shower gels, body wash, soaps, and sun cream, and they are all about natural, organic ingredients – and everything is suitable for vegans!

Today I have two products to review, which ORGANii have kindly sent to me to try out. They are both suitable for vegans and certified by organisations that guarantee organic ingredients; you can find out more about the Ecocert and Ecogarantie certifications here and here.

ORGANii Everyday Organics Shea Butter Shower Gel

I really like the cute packaging on this product – it looks like a little bottle of milk! It claims to be “delicately fragranced” with shea butter so the scent is mild and slightly nutty. This shower gel is so wonderfully gentle on the skin – perfect for sensitive skin and children – and lathers up nicely. Shea butter is known to be a great nourisher for the skin as it contains natural vitamins and fatty acids and this product really leaves my skin soft and re-hydrated – very impressive for a product designed for everyday use with no claims to spa-standards. It’s particularly impressive that they’ve made such a great everyday shower gel without all the usual stuff & nonsense that non-organic or non-natural brands feel it necessary to put in.

I’ve used it a few times so far and it feels like this 300ml bottle will last a lot longer than I’m used to, which makes it good value for money. Other scents include: aloe vera and bamboo, strawberry, argan, and liquorice, which I am really intrigued to try!

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ORGANii Everyday Organics Lavender Liquid Soap

Lavender is one of my favourite scents; in soap, in creams, in cakes, in my garden. So I was already pretty certain this soap would be a winner and I wasn’t wrong. I love the packaging again – it’s got cute little colourful hands and there is a little sprig of lavender on it as well. Again, this product is completely vegan, natural and organic, so it ticks plenty of boxes for the ethical consumer. It’s also full of organic olive oil so it creates a really nice moisturized effect, which I was very impressed with as I always feel like with other soaps I need to moisturize after washing my hands as many soap brands dry out my skin. My hands have always been quite dry and are the skin is prone to cracking in winter so this soap has come to me at the right time.

The liquid soap also comes in rose, citrus, and a neutral aroma-free – I can’t wait to try the rest!

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Both products:

  • Are tested on humans, not animals
  • Contain no animal ingredients
  • Suitable for vegans
  • No added colourants
  • No synthetic scents
  • No parabens, SLS, Phenoxyethonol, or PEG
  • 100% natural origin perfumes

ORGANii is a small independent British brand with products available in health stores and online at: www.organii.uk. You can read more about their ethos here and you can track down your nearest stockist here.

I cannot recommend this range enough – all cruelty-free, natural, organic, and vegan, with beautiful mild and gentle aromas. Both products come in at around a fiver so they are pretty affordable for a vegan organic brand. The natural/organic certifications are very reassuring because it means that I can be certain when using these products that they are sourced from organic, natural ingredients from sustainable sources; they are therefore cruelty free, better for the environment, and better for your skin.

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Autumn skin and hair care

1st of September and the weather changes and I need to dig out my scarves and winter boots. Rain, wind, and it’s all got a bit gloomy. As seasons change, I find different skin products assemble themselves in my cupboards and I need something more substantial to get through the cold, dark months.

This is the time of year I started noticing my skin drying out and my hair getting dull. So I’m looking into some pre-emptive product buying as I’m bored of all my other stuff. These are a few that I’m looking at experimenting with; all vegan, all cruelty free and natural. I found the Alba Botanica range in town and sampled a few things so I’ve narrowed it down to these.

Alba Botanica Deep Sea Facial Mask

 

I’m really into clay masks. They’re pretty much the only type of mask that truly refreshes my skin. This one uses Chinese kaolin clay and contains aloe vera and a blend of sea enzymes (which sounds intriguing). I’ve heard great things about the Alba Botanica brand as a whole and have come across people who use only their products.

Alba Botanica Anti-Frizz Serum – Haiwaiin – So Smooth Gardenia

My hair is always a monster of frizz and nothing ever, ever seems to work. I’ve tried so much and virtually given up but the good reviews of this product have made me optimistic.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hair Conditioner Coconut Milk

I do like my coconut products. They smell so great and natural and I dislike products that smell too floral or sweet so coconut is perfect for me – it has a certain neutrality. Coconuts are just amazingly beneficial for our health in general but coconut milk has so much in the way of nutrients and vitamins that it probably makes all the other fruit jealous. (Note: coconuts are not, in fact, a fruit; nor are they are a seed – they are a drupe. Whatever that is.)

Maybe you’re wondering why I’m so focused on cruelty free products? Am I just a self-righteous snob? Or is it actually really important – and easy – to make ethical consumer choices every day that make a difference? I don’t want to go into too much depth today and have already expressed my views here. There’s also a detailed article on the merits of going cruelty free on the Cruelty Free Kitty site that explains the position succinctly.

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Homemade Cleaning Products

Finding household cleaning products that don’t test on animals, though much easier these days, is still difficult and time-consuming and requires a lot of research. Sometimes we forget that human beings actually managed to survive relatively free from disease in decent hygiene for centuries before supermarkets appeared.

So how did they do it? Mother Nature provided.

Plus they were probably a little less anal about cooking in a germ-free kitchen.

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Here’s my quick guide to homemade household cleaning products that are natural, cruelty free, fairly cheap, easy to make and readily available.

  1. Vinegar cleaner: white vinegar cleans pretty much everything successfully. Mix with a bit of baking soda and lemon or lavender to scent and essential oils (they disinfect.) You need nothing more than this to clean basically anything.
  2. Scrub: slice a lemon and dip it in Borax. Scrub those hard, baked-on or rusty stains off then rinse clean.
  3. Brass cleaner: dampen sponge with white vinegar or lemon then sprinkle on table salt. Scrub lightly then rinse and dry with a clean cloth.
  4. Deodorizer: for bins, use lemon or orange peel; for carpets, sprinkle baking soda before hoovering; for garages/basements/cellars, leave a sliced onion on a plate for a day.
  5. Drain cleaner: 1/2 cup of salt in 4 litres of warm water and pour down drain. For a stronger reaction, try pouring 1/2 baking soda and and then 1/2 cup vinegar. After 15 minutes pour down boiling water to clear.
  6. Oven cleaner: wet surfaces inside with water. Use 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 salt, 1/4 water, mixed into a thick paste applied throughout oven interior. Leave on overnight and remove with a spatula and wipe clean. Use steel wool for tough grease.
  7. Rust remover: salt sprinkled on rusty area, squeeze a lime over the salt until wet. Leave for a few hours then scrub off.
  8. Shoe Polish: mix olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice, apply to shoes with thick cloth. Leave for a few minutes, wipe clean, buff with clean cloth.

 

Happy cleaning!

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