Tried and Tested – July 2018 Product Review
Here are four products we’ve been trying out this past month. Last month I wrote my first Tried and Tested monthly product review, you can read it here if you missed that one.
This month I have Hasbean Coffee, The Saucy Affair cooking sauces, a Wakebag rucksack style handbag and Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen.
I received these products for free in lieu of an honest review, all of the opinions in this post are mine and of my family. This post also contains an affiliate link, click here for my full disclosure policy.
I had this coffee in my cupboard for at least a week before I could taste it, not because we don’t love coffee, but because I was sent whole beans and we didn’t have a coffee grinder. I tried a pestle and mortar and then a handheld blender but let me warn you, if you spend ten minutes trying to grind coffee in the morning before your first cup, and then your first cup tastes like mild coffee flavoured water, pestles and mortars can potentially become lethal weapons.
Husbands may be dead.
My husband, however, has a strong survival instinct. He went out and bought a cheap grinder from Lidl. Now I have a few moments of calm each day enjoying the grinding, inhaling, brewing process that would possibly what you call ‘mindful’ coffee making.
So after a week of using the mug with traitor coffee, I finally got to open and taste my Hasbean. The two bags I was sent had this written on them: Milkyway, White Grape and Orange, and Hazelnut – Hot Chocolate and Jammy Dodger. The second pack appealed to me immediately, chocolate is not a word I can pass by, so I opened that one first.
I presumed this refers to the aromas and when we tried them my brother-in-law said he could pick up some of those. I don’t have a connoiseur’s nose but I could tell that the orangey one had citrussy tones and the chocolatey one seems smoother tasting. These are perfect coffee for everyday, all day!
(BTW I absolutely love the mug. What I can’t show you in a photo is the weight of it, the base is super solid and the bottom of the inside is a perfect half sphere. This is very satisfying for a spoon stirrer!)
This coffee company is based in the UK and sources beans from around the world. They create seasonal blends and really interesting, delicious sounding aroma combinations like those I mentioned above and also Dark chocolate, plum, dried currants orToffee, green apple, caramel. All the coffees are described with passion and enthusiam, the owner Stephen has travelled the world meeting local growers and creating beautiful flavours.
If you read their website you’ll see how passionate they are about their coffee and the growing, harvesting and manufacturing processes involved to create really lovely blends.
You can buy Hasbean coffee here off their website.
Saucy Affair – ‘Home Cooking from Scratch in a Bottle’
I have to say these sauces really impressed me. When it comes to cooking dinner, sauces are the things that wreck my head because they take time to make. However, they are so handy for a big family as they just make the meat stretch a bit further when you are operating from a tight budget and they just seem to make food taste nicer.
Very occasionally I’d buy a bottled sauce but have you ever looked at the contents of those things? Nine times out of ten there is added sugar and tonnes of salt, and then at the end of the list of ingredients, there is also a pile of scientific whatchamacallits I’ve never heard of and have no idea what they are.
Tanya, mum and founder of The Saucy Affair says:
“Dinner should be delightful…a little theatricality around the table can really bring families together, and it’s our mission to make that effortlessly easy”.
These Saucy Affair sauces are called raw because they are made from over 70% raw fruits and vegetables and they aren’t pasteurised. Because of this none of the nutritional value has been lost and the flavour and texture is as though you’ve taken a whole load of lovely fresh produce and blitzed them up to made them into a sauce. They need to be kept in the fridge and they can be frozen, they were delivered in a smart little cooler bag to keep them cool.
The Saucy Affair sauces come in six flavours: Teriyaki Malarky, Cucumber Blunder, Smokey Cokey, Beetroot Cahoot, Tarragon Shenanigan and Fiery Fiasco.
They are free from gluten, wheat, lactose, nuts, low in salt and are suitable for vegetarians. You can read more about them online here.
What did we think about Saucy Affair?
When I first opened them I loved the fresh smell and the fact that you can just dip your finger into the bottle as the ingredients are almost 100% pure fruit and veg. I found them so easy to use, you just pour them over your food and cook, but they can be eaten uncooked too as dipping sauces.
The Teriyaki, Smokey Cokey and Taragon ones were our favourites. I made a beef and veggie stirfry with the Teriyaki and it was delicious. The Smokey Cokey was perfect with meatballs and pasta. The Taragon was lovely with chicken and rice. The kids loved them all.
The Beetroot is an unusual choice for a sauce and it is a stunning bright pink colour. It is lovely with feta, pancetta and fresh baby spinach over pasta.
The kids weren’t too mad about the cucumber one (too vinegary tasting) but I thought it was great for cutting through the greasiness of the chips that I served with the cod and hake for this sauce.
The Fiery Fiasco is absolutley that – very fiery indeed!! I had added a tub of tomato passatta to dilute the sauce to make a curry and it was still too hot for me. Athol and my teens found it fine for them though.
The set came with a little recipe book of suggestions on how to use the sauces, with fish, meat or as a soup. Most of the recipes say the sauce feeds 2-4 but I found they were adequate for our family of six.
They are ideal with pasta and meatballs, with chicken and rice, stirfries, or as a sauce to pour over white fish fillets. If I found these on the supermarket shelves I would definitely buy our favourite four out of the six of them and keep a few in reserve in the freezer.
Global Wake Cup Handbag
When I first opened this parcel, I was captivated by the look of the bag – it’s so cool! It’s meant to look like a paper bag but it is made out of a tough poly paper waterproof material which feels as thick and tough as leather.
Then I found out a bit more about the company and I love their ethos. The company is called Global Wake Cup but they make bags too, they are environmentally conscious and their aim is to help reduce plastic waste by creating beautiful products which reduce the need for single use coffee cups and shopping bags.
They have this to say on their website:
“Every year 100 billion single-use coffee cups end up as landfill around the world. The UK Government estimates our total annual coffee cup waste equates to 30,000 tonnes and suggest that by 2025 more than 3.75 billion disposable cups could be used per year in the UK alone – staggering! What’s worse is that of those 3.75B disposable coffee cups currently used, just 0.25 % are recycled.”
My opinions on the WakeBag
The bag has two straps and is handy as a small rucksack, it has a padded inner pocket which would fit a tablet. There is one other small pocket on the inside and a zipped pocket situated just behind your back. There is also a zip entrance on one side of the bag which opens into the main central section.
My first reaction to the side zip was that it would be vulnerable to the prying fingers of pickpockets and/or children. I wouldn’t take this bag travelling.
However, one day in the supermarket I discovered the purpose of the side zip! I was at the till and had the bag slung over one shoulder like a regular handbag, without having to open up the top of the bag and rest it on a surface to take out my purse, I realised I could quickly open the zip (which was now facing upwards) and grab my purse through the opening. It’s also a quicker way to throw my car keys in while I’m walking from the car into the shop.
I have used it now exclusively as my handbag for the past 5 weeks and it has withstood the rough and tumble of family life pretty well. The photograph above shows what it looks like now, just as crumpled, no damage on the seams, straps or zips but the opening strap has split and curled a little.
I would like to see a small zipped pocket on the inside of the bag too and I think the popper as well as the opening strap could be a little more robust and chunky looking to match the feel and strength of the bag.
Available on the Global Wake Cup website
Here’s a short video about this bag taken the day I received it:
Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen
The Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen really couldn’t have come at a better time, we’ve had unprecedented heat and sunshine in Ireland so my four kids have been using it liberally. The cream is very light and non-greasy and has no odour.
What I love, apart from that, is the price! This is from their blurb:
This sunscreen has been formulated by two inspiring, ethically motivated altruists who teamed up to produce the finest quality UV protection, fo the lowest possible price, so that everyone can afford to be safer – and apply more.
Skin cancer specialist and Altruist founder Dr Birnie says this:
“Cost should never be a factor when deciding whether or not to wear sunscreen, or how much or how often to apply it. Everyone should have a basic right to take the necessary precautions to reduce risks of developing skin cancer”
RRP is an unbelievable £3.73 for 100ml. You can buy Altruist exclusively here on Amazon.
Here’s the link to Instagram for more of my reviews on these and other products.
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