Posts filed under ‘reviews’

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks (a review)

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks - nipitinthebud.co.uk-10

We’ve been really enjoying the sunny weather and although we don’t have a garden at home we make the best of our small yard. On Saturday after visiting the allotment Euan and I collapsed on the bean bag in the yard with an ice lolly, chatted and then he had his weekly iPad time. When Luca woke later on I produced a small parcel that had arrived for them from Little Brian containing no-mess mini paint sticks. I taped large pieces of lining paper to the yard wall and my two little artists set to work trying the paint sticks out.

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks - nipitinthebud.co.uk-5

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks - nipitinthebud.co.uk-4

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks - nipitinthebud.co.uk-3

If you’ve not heard of Little Brian paint sticks don’t worry we hadn’t either until last week when Northumberland Mum Kim shared her review on #triedtested (where we’ve been sharing our blog reviews). I was genuinely intrigued about how something that looks like a glue stick and is dry and mess free could produce the beautiful painted results Northumberland Mum’s girls had created with their paintings.

How the paint sticks work
We received a pack of 12 mini-paint sticks which twist up and down exactly like a glue stick. They were perfect for toddler Luca’s little hands and for 6 year old Euan who wanted to write on his picture. When you draw with them they’re like a soft silky crayon that are momentarily wet like paint and then quickly dry. We’ve only used our paint sticks on paper so far but they’d also be great for using on windows as they’re water soluble and easily wipeable. We’ve not done that at home as we have sash windows so no large surfaces and I think L is too little to understand that these are special paints and the exception to our ”only on paper” drawing rule!

One of the best things about the Little Brian paint sticks is that there are no drips and no muddy blending of colours. Euan thought it was fab to paint standing up like a real artist and his arms remained entirely clean where normally elbows inevitably end up catching on the picture when painting at a table. Luca got quite messy hands in the course of his painting and while the front of his top remained spotless when he was pausing for thought he was standing back from his picture with his hands on his hips. The back of his top had some paint marks on it and the darker colours are still slightly visible after going through the wash. This doesn’t bother me as he wears hand me down clothes anyway and I think a messy child = lots of fun. If you do want your child’s clothes to remain stain free I’d err on the side of caution and use a painting overall or choose old clothes to paint in. Some of Luca’s creativity spread beyond the borders of his picture or onto the decking and this wiped off easily so I think the claim that the paint sticks are mess-free is a strong one.

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks

artists at work with Little Brian paint sticks

Luca also experimented with using the paint sticks on a canvas and we wanted to see how different they would be if he used a water bowl for dipping like you do with conventional paints. He liked the process of dabbing his stick in and out and enjoyed spotting his stick rather than just drawing with it. The canvas did get quite wet and as you’d expect the colours started to blur into a muddy brown colour. We tried painting his hands with the sticks to create hand prints but they were too dry for that (which is fine as they’re meant to be!). He liked giving it a go anyway and even though we experimented in this way it was a lot less messy than using ordinary paints with brushes. The next day the boys wanted to paint new pictures and these have been hanging in the yard ever since, undamaged by chilly nights and morning dew where conventional paints would have smudged I think.

I took a few video clips of my littlest artist at work and made it into a short video clip for you. As you can see he found them much easier to work with than a pen and taking the lids on and off himself was no trouble at all. These paint sticks are such a good buy at just £6 and I’d guess we still have at least half a stick of every colour left.

Disclosure: we were sent these paint sticks by Little Briaun to sample. We were not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own .

May 23, 2018 at 1:29 pm 10 comments

drink up (a review of the Tommee Tippee explora bottle)

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We’ve tried all sorts of drinking cups and bottles as you’ll know from previous reviews.  We still use E’s Tommee Tippee first cups for milk drinks in the bath to ensure E doesn’t end up wearing his milk (you know how toddlers love to pour!).  We didn’t ever try the 12m+ range from Tommee Tippee having fallen in love with our Oxo Tots water bottle by then.  When Tommee Tippee offered us an Explora Active tipper bottle we were happy to try it – you can never have too many non-spill water bottles afterall when friends come to play.

The Tommee Tippee Explora bottle claims to be truly non-spill and easy to drink from and it satisfies these claims unfailingly. Aimed at 12m+ it has no lid or fiddly push/pull spout; it just seals automatically thanks to the Easi-Flow technology inside the top. You don’t have to worry about accidents or your toddler needing to come and ask for a drink when thirsty at home. And for going out and about the sporty can be tossed into a bag without releasing a single drop.

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Truly non-spill.
E enjoys drinking from his sporty cup and it holds a good volume of fluid (360ml) but for my busy toddler he seems to tire of the effort it takes to suck up smaller quantities of drink than the gulps he’d get from an open cup (always the downside of non-spill spouts). Nevertheless it’s still a keeper as we find it brilliant for little pitstops while playing, drinking in the car and for playgroup where having an interesting picture on your bottle counts to a small boy!sporty cup

E is more inclined to sip little and often and then ask for a big drink when he really needs one so for encouraging independence and listening to his body we’re very happy to have the sporty cup in our cupboard. And for mooches in the stroller, when he has all the time in the world, he loves to sit back and chill while supping from it, chewing the spout, waving at passers by …wpid-img_20141123_203958.jpg

Disclosure: We were sent this bottle to try in 2014. We were not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

April 15, 2018 at 6:00 am 2 comments

5 reasons to love the OXO Tot twist top water bottle (a review with a pair of thirsty explorers)

boy drinking from OXO twist top water bottle on Selsley Common - nipitinthebud.co.ukIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know how much we love OXO kitchen tools and utensils.  If you’re a new visitor here thank you for taking the time to hang out with us – you might like to read our other OXO product reviews after you finish here.  We first reviewed the OXO Tot twist top bottle when Euan was 18 months old.  3 years later when his baby brother Luca was in need of his first drinking cup we returned to the OXO website and reviewed it again.   Luca was 9 months old in our second review but soon got the hang of drinking from the straw (the packaging recommends 18 months + but in our experience there are no safety issues for children younger than that, they just might find it tricky to hold the bottle or drink from the straw).  We wanted to try something a bit different for this review so we took our bottles out for an Easter Sunday bimble on Selsley common and this is the result.

If you already love these water bottles you’ll understand why we kept our video short.  It illustrates all you need to know really – that this water bottle is easy to drink from with or without hands, it’s lightweight and easy to carry and it’s strong enough to handle whatever a toddler may throw at it.  If you’re not familiar with the OXO Tot brand and need a little more persuading here are 5 reasons why we love their twist top bottle and think you will too:

1/  the flexible rubber drinking straw

There’s something about straws that just makes drinking easier.  I share Luca’s water bottle during the day and find it much easier for both of us to stay hydrated than drinking from a cup.  Luca likes drinking from it because we share it and he feels so grown up having the same bottle as his big brother.  Euan likes it because when he’s  drawing at the table he doesn’t even have to pick it up (did you spot Luca carrying it by the straw in his teeth in the video?).  It’s a brilliant water bottle for travelling as children can’t tip their head back in their car seat to drink from a normal cup or bottle.  Or when the boys are poorly or need a drink in the night it’s much less disturbing to their sleep to just turn them on their side and put the straw to their mouth for small sips than sitting them up to drink from a cup.  We all agree water just tastes better from a straw! If that’s not been your experience because of plastic mould growing straws the OXO designers have thought of that too.  Their rubber straw is in two sections and comes apart easily for cleaning.  If you do find it starts to deteriorate, gets lost or your toddler bites through it using it as a carry handle (the texture is quite appealling to teethy toddlers) you can buy a replacement (2 for £4) .  It makes good environmental sense to make sure a perfectly good water bottle doesn’t need to be discarded when the straw goes astray.
30-3-18- OXO Tot water bottles for review

2/  It doesn’t leak. 

This is like the holy grail of claims with baby/toddler food and drink storage.  The twist top design of the OXO water bottle means the straw disappears inside when the lid is closed creating an airtight seal.  There will be a few drips if the bottle is opened and shaken about as a little water from the last sip remains in the straw and even OXOs brilliant design can’t defy gravity! (as demonstrated by Luca below).  But I’d take a few drips over less effective designs any day.  Of course the clever design can’t account for user error so we have had leaks on the sofa or carpet when Luca has cast it aside unnoticed with the straw still out (he’s a wanderer afterall).  And I have had a leak in my bag when he helpfully posted the bottle into it upside down and I didn’t notice it was not shut properly.  To be really sure of no leaks you’ll want to take on responsibility of closure with smaller children.  Euan can be trusted to close it properly, Luca cannot and is not physically able to at under 2 years old.

3/  it’s easy to measure your fluid intake

This might sound obvious as it’s a see through bottle but it’s a really important feature for us.  At a glance Euan can see exactly how many fingers worth of water he’s drunk.   If I wanted to be really precise about how much he’s had from a full 300ml bottle there’s a measuring guage on the side.  Between losing his previous twist top bottle and receiving this new one Euan didn’t get on too well with staying hydrated at school.  He was taking in a plastic Lego water bottle which is opaque and every day it was coming home full.  At 6 years old he found it too hard to remember to drink from it when he didn’t have the visual prompt of seeing the water level inside the bottle.  It was such a relief when his replacement OXO bottle arrived!  When he has a cough or a cold I put cooled herbal tea in it as that also encourages him to pick up his bottle more when the drink inside is an interesting colour.  In the summer the nice wide opening at the top of the bottle means ice cubes can be added easily to keep drinks cooler.

4/ it has an easy grip handle for hands big or small

The bottle can hold 300ml so it’s not too heavy for children and is a nice clutchable size even for a toddler like Luca.  It’s easy to hook your finger through the carry handle on the top as shown by Euan running along after Luca in the video.  If you didn’t want to carry it by hand you can use a caribiner to clip it on to almost anything – a bag, on the buggy, through a coat button hole etc.
toddler holding OXO twist top water bottle on Selsley Common

5/ it’s strong, durable and made of BPA free plastic

Our bottle was unscathed by Luca’s ”kick, kick” experiment down the hill.  He’s heading towards 2 years old with throwing arms in full force and so far his bottle has shown no signs of distress being thrown down the stairs and launched down the slide at the park.  We’ve never know any OXO Tot products to break and unlike some other clear plastic items in our cupboard it doesn’t even look scratched or cloudy from daily use.
OXO Tot twist top water bottles on Selsley Common

Disclosure: I requested and was sent a replacement OXO Tot twist top water bottle to review.  I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

The OXO Tot twist top bottle is available to buy from the OXO website and costs £8

April 13, 2018 at 6:58 am 6 comments

an OXO stocking fillers gift guide

I’m feeling quite relieved that I’m on top of my Christmas preparations this year. I wanted to spread the cost by starting early and make sure I had time and energy for the 12 days of December when the kindness elves come to stay. So most presents have been purchased and stashed including the bits and pieces for the boys stockings from Santa. I’ve yet to make Luca a Christmas stocking (I’m not that organised!) and thankfully I wrote a blog post about how I made Euan’s Christmas stocking a few years ago so it should be simple enough to fashion a second one. With the extra time on my hands I’ve been able to have a rummage around the OXO elves Christmas sack to bring you a new stocking fillers gift guide for 2017. Some of the OXO items recommended in previous years are still available and some of those items continue to be our favourite kitchen gadgets (see links at the end of this post for a little reminder of further OXO gadgets). The gifts we’ve trialled for you this year are all under £15 and our absolute favourite is less than a tenner. Gift 1 – 9” tongs with heat reisistent silicone heads, £13.00
I’ve been meaning to add a pair of tongs to my utensils pot since attending a ”low carb, high veg” cookery class at the Foodworks Cookery School while pregnant with Luca. We made a vegetarian lasagne with cooked cabbage leaves instead of pasta sheets and the tongs saved scolded finger tips. I recreated the recipe to try out our new tongs and found them easy to use and they lock for convenient storage. Luca enjoyed playing with them too of course so what’s not to love about a kitchen utensil that doubles up as a toy! Gift 2 – Steel angled jigger, £8
This is my number 1 kitchen favourite this year. It’s been designed to measure small pourable amounts accurately and you can see the measurement markings, in ml and tbsp, while looking straight down into it. On the OXO website it’s advertised as a cocktail measure but we’ve found all sorts of other uses for it like making salad dressings or simply to help monitor the nutrient value of the fluids we use. I use an app called MyFitnessPal, a free diet and exercise tracker, to become more aware of the nutrient value of the food I eat. I’ve been reducing carbs and increasing fats and combined with walking more I’ve seen a gradual shedding of the last of my baby weight (google ‘Grain Brain’ or ‘Keto diet’ if interested in the science behind that). It’s great using the steel jigger to measure small amounts of fluids instead of guessing or counting in teaspoons. For example, I’d been estimating a 30ml measure of milk in my tea when in fact I take double that, a difference of 100+ calories across my 3-4 cups a day (that’s equivalent to a couple of biscuits added on or a 30 minute walk to take it off). It’s a really handy tool to have in the cutlery drawer and it even doubles up as the perfect toddler size clutchable snack pot. Gift 3 – Beak ice cream scoop, £13
My boys love ice cream, especially G who’s been instructed to eat it in secret so the little ones don’t develop his insatiable sweet tooth! Thankfully E and L love the novelty of anything yummy frozen and served nicely and happily tuck into whizzed up frozen fruit. Zero added sugar, zero fuss. The only effort comes in the having to remember to put the bananas in the freezer the night before. Our home made fruit ice cream provides the perfect challenge for this tough aluminium beak shaped scoop as being dairy free it’s harder and more icy. The curved side edges and pointed end made it easy and it has a non stick coating for easy release. By the time the kettle had boiled to dip the scoop into E had already served up his own helping, evidence enough that this scoop can handle anything. He liked the novelty of the lever that helps to flick the contents out but to be honest it wasn’t necessary as it slipped off into the bowl easily enough without using it. Gift 4 – 3 in 1 avocado slider, £8.75
”The avocado slider splits, pits, slices and scoops for safe and mess free preparation”. I’ve seen these before and wondered what all the fuss was about! I do get quite messy cutting and peeling my avocados but I figured a gadget wasn’t worth the bother. Turns out I was wrong and it brilliantly removes the stone without any damage or loss of avocado. OXO tried 700 different shaped avocados to perfect their design afterall. All of the avocados I’ve used it on have been a bit too brown and mushy for a nice picture so here’s a video clip of the avocado slicer in action. It really is as simple as it looks.

Gift 5 – Bakers dusting wand, £10. We reviewed the tea ball a few years ago and I find it’s always disappearing from the drawer only to be found in the boys room with jewels or lego treasures in it. OXO have come up with another use for it – as a dusting wand to neatly sprinkle flour, powdered sugar and spices onto drinks and food. The quick open and close twist of the half solid half perforated globe design, prevents clumps, dumps and powdery messes. It’s been sized to fit most flour containers for storage, a tactic I would have had to resort to if we only had one! Our favourite use of it is for sprinkling cinnamon on hot drinks and cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar on our pancakes. I’ve been using gluten free flour lately for baking and these pancakes made with chick pea flour and mashed bananas were topped off beautifully with a little dusting of cocoa. So there you have it, a few ideas to get you started on your Christmas shopping if you’ve not made it to the shops yet. Previous years OXO stocking filler suggestions are shown below and reviewed here and here.
All items are available from the OXO website. Enjoy x
Disclosure: I selected the OXO items in this guide to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

December 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm 3 comments

playing with the OXO mash maker food mill

When E was a baby the first foods he tried were strawberries, avocado and chickpeas. We hand fed them to him or mashed them lightly with a fork and gradually expanded his palatte with food from our plate (although he didn’t have meat or bread until he was well over one). We didn’t consider pureeing having read about the benefits of baby led weaning where baby learns to chomp and then swallow rather than getting used to spoon fed purees and then having to learn to chew more solid food. We started using Nom-Nom Kids pouches as he reached pre-school age as smoothies were a convenient way of getting fruit and veg into him (and keeping his packed lunch chilled) but that was the extent of my food blending.

Baby L has had a slightly different introduction to food, determined by the busy-ness of life as a second child, rather than any planning on my part. He started sucking frozen banana at 5 months of age to ease teething pain and quickly took to grabbing things straight from our plates. He’s quite the fruit monster and will happily try anything as long he gets to hold it himself. Apart from making smoothies to drink we’ve not really mashed his food too much for him.

It might seem odd therefore to accept the challenge of reviewing a product specifically aimed at pureeing food for babies. I thought it would be fun to see if the OXO mash maker baby food millwas a gadget with a longer shelf life than the first 6 months of baby’s food journey. Baby L is 18 months old and I immediately had thoughts of easy fruit sauce dressed yoghurt puddings, fruit pureed pancake fillings, and making all sorts of dips to encourage L to snack more on veg. We started simply, mashing single fruits and big brother E was thrilled to be able to help. The blade in the mill is neither sharp nor easily accessible for little fingers so we even let Luca have a go. To compare mashing results we took two avocado’s and hand mashed the first (top photos) with a fork for the same amount of time it took to mill mash the second avocado (bottom photos – that’s a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce in the second picture not a past-its-best avocado!).

The thing I love about the mash maker is its compact size. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that bulk making recipes is false economy when you grow tired of the same thing after 2 days or the flavour changes from being chilled in the fridge for too long. The Oxo mash maker is a small one cup amount and it takes little effort to use it as a feeding bowl that you just happen to turn the handle on to transform your own meal into mash. You can spoon feed baby straight from the food mill too so there’s no extra washing up created and it’s really portable for taking out to restaurants if eating out. We’ve always opted to give the kids food from our plate rather than buying a something-with-chips kids dinner. We played restaurants with last night’s dinner and a small portion of everything on E’s plate and this is how it turned out:

Amazingly having mashed this mini meal for the purposes of the review L just picked up a spoon and started eating it! (he’d already eaten some of his veg and had climbed down from the table). I was really surprised as he generally refuses when I attempt to give him food on a spoon – perhaps that’s more to do with wanting to do everything for himself rather than what I’m actually offering. And in a week where he’s hardly eaten anything chewy due to sore gums he happily finished off this mashed version of dinner. I wonder if he’ll feel the same way tomorrow when he trials the pureed peas we turned into dip with a sprinkling of mint and drizzle of cream (E found these tricky to work into a mash as we just defrost our peas to preserve the nutrients rather than boiling them). We used the OXO baby food freezer tray to save some portions safe in the knowledge that the silicone lid would prevent any freezer burn or altering of the flavour.

This is such a versatile item to have in the kitchen and not just for baby food. Whizzing up a few raspberries made a lovely, naturally sweet coulis for some Greek yoghurt which E then instantly turned into home made sugar-free raspberry yoghurt.

E’s verdict? “I loved my yoghurt and look I’ve licked the cup completely clean”. And he had because the OXO measuring cup I’d served it in was not only a perfect baby portion amount but a 125ml measuring cup shallow enough for a small tongue to reach the bottom of. He’s requested it for all future pudding eating!

As the OXO mash maker food mill was developed as a product for babies starting their adventures with food I thought I’d also ask a friend with a 6 month old baby what she thought of it. “I smooth pureed all of my daughters food when she was a baby and it seemed to create an aversion in her to try anything more lumpy and she seemed to gag a lot when she did eat chewy food well into toddlerhood. So with my son I read up on baby led weaning and liked the idea of that approach. The mash maker is a good middle ground for us as we can use it for first flavours and chewier foods and gradually adjust the smoothness to a slightly lumpier version by just not milling it so much”.

The possibilities are endless with this lovely little gadget.  We’ve also now made a chunky hummus with chickpeas and yoghurt and baby L’s current favourite is a beetroot dip.  It’s great to know I can just pop it in my bag when we go out and be pleasantly surprised by what he’s interested in trying out with the simple turn of a handle. It would make a terrific gift for first time parents, afterall babies grow out of baby clothes gifts so quickly and this would continue to be useful long after the weaning stage is finished.

Disclosure:  these products were sent to me by OXO UK to review.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own. 

November 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

a Lumie bedbug glow for bedtime (review)

I first bought a Lumie bodyclock long before I became a Mum. I liked their unique dawn simulation feature and the thought of being woken by a gradual sunrise in the room. And to be honest, in the midst of a long, long season of infertility, I was reaching desperation point and ready to try anything to reset my body’s natural rhythms. I had read an article by Dr Christine Northrup which talked about female menstrual cycles synchronising with the lunar cycle in bygone days before modern living, diet and stress contributed to hormonal cycles becoming erratic. So I purchased my Lumie bodyclock for my gentle sunrise wake up and twinned it with complete darkness for sleeping (we’re talking total blackout with bin liners taped to the window frame!). Thankfully the sum total of all the little things I changed, but mostly successful fertility treatment, resulted in our beloved Euan. Our Lumie clock then became invaluable for its dimmable light feature for peaceful night wakings and has not had a single night off since (ensuring safe passage to our room for night time visitors!)
We’ve now purchased a brilliant new multi-purpose bedtime light from Lumie for the boys which has been developed in consultation with Sarah Ockwell-Smith, an expert in infant sleep. The Lumie Bedbug is perfect for creating a calm atmosphere while getting ready for bed, for reading stories and can be left on overnight as a nightlight. Whether the Bedbug is dimmed down low for feeding, changing or sleeping or bright for bedtime stories the light emitted is white light which is less disturbing to natural rhythms than other red or blue nightlights on the market.
Our bedtime routine with E has always included dimming the main light to encourage the natural production of melatonin. We’ve then used a cat nightlight from IKEA for torch-like reading which emits a pale blue or green glow. I didn’t realise that this kind of light can be as stimulating as using screens right before bed! So cat light has now been relegated to lighting up dens and daytime play.
When it’s time to sleep the bedbug light can be turned off all together or set to gradually fade like a sunset, from white light to a soothing orange. It can be set to fade off after 15 minutes or fade to nightlight for a reassuring warm glow all night long. If you need to check on your baby in the night the light controls are silent so you can easily increase or decrease the amount of light without disturbing baby. For now Bedbug is in E’s room but we intend to swap bedrooms next year so the boys can share the larger bedroom. It’s good to know the Bedbug lighting will suit their need not to sleep in total darkness and that E’s later bedtime won’t disturb his little brother if he reads by the light of the Bedbug.

Update:. We’ve been staying at G’s folks this weekend and the Bedbug has been invaluable with us all sleeping in one room. The first night I faded it to off and I didn’t twig that each time L woke and cried (5 times by morning) it was because it was too dark for a room he’s not yet familiar with. Tonight he’s just woken to the pale orange glow of the sunset mode and between hearing the cry of “Mumma” over the monitor and walking upstairs to help him back to sleep I found him sat up on the mattress just quietly looking at his friendly Bedbug.

October 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm 5 comments

Pulsin power packed snack bars

Pulsin power packed snack bars. That’s quite a mouthful for a post header isn’t it!
It goes some way to describing the virtues of a great new range of snack bars we’ve discovered from Pulsin and Beond though. If you’re looking for a healthy, nutritious post-workout/after school/mid-afternoon slump snack there is something to suit everyone, even baby Luca.

When I say new I actually mean ”new to us” as Pulsin have been around for 10 years making snack bars that contain 100% natural ingredients and no refined sugar. Three University friends started experimenting with recipes for high energy protein balls and 15 years later their current range now includes Raw Chocolate Brownies, kids’ Fruit Oat bars, organic Beond fruit bars, Protein Boosters and a variety of protein powders. All Pulsin products have been designed with guilt-free snacking in mind and maintain energy levels througout the day. Pulsin bars are gluten free and vegan so it’s no wonder they’ve been winning awards since 2010 and are currently in the running for the occolade of Best Vegan Snacks at the VegfestUKAwards2017 (vote here until 1 October).
We first came across Pulsin’s Beond bars in Roots Coffee and Community, our favourite local cafe. Alongside the beautiful home-made cakes and delicious sugar laden brownies sit the Beond Organic fruit and nut bars. We do sometimes indulge in baked yummies but E always knows that if he wants an extra treat for the walk home he’ll receive a no to everything except a Beond fruit bar. When I looked more closely at the wrapper I was intrigued to see Pulsin and Beond is a Gloucester based company. So I contacted them to see if Chief Taster E could review their bars seeing as we’re practically neighbours {wink}. ”Of course, what would you like” came the reply and before we knew it an assortment of snack bars arrived at our door.
E eating Pulsin porridge oat bar_copy 4B

Porridge Oat fruit bars
E couldn’t believe it when I said yes to trying one of the Pulsin porridge oat bars straight after breakfast and before school. Especially as he’d chosen the Orange Choc chip bar (”can I really have chocolate at breakfast?’) he asked aghast. I explained it was a ok because Pulsin use no-added sugar chocolate chips and that a porridge oat bar was really like having a healthy, power packed second breakfast. As he ran off to call for his best friend on the way to school he did seem to have an added spring in his step!
Collage - brothers reviewing Pulsin porridge oat bars_copy 4B
What’s more 17 month old L was delighted (if not a little confused at first) when I allowed him to have a bar of his own. Pulsin porridge oat bars have 30% less sugar and double the fibre of other oat bars. They were nice and crumbly too so no worries about chokey oat bites for toddlers.
L eating Pulsin porridge oat bar_copy 4B

Raw chocolate brownies
”Can I have another Pulsin bar as my after school snack?’‘ E asked eagerly. He chose a Peanut choc chip brownie bar and stopped several times on the walk to school to check it was still in my pocket for later. The Pulsin brownies are pretty hearty for a 5 year old’s tum so E didn’t mind giving L a couple of nibbles. They tasted sweet and crumbly and treat-like despite all their healthy ingredients. The inventing of these vegan brownies is a complete mystery to me as they are free from gluten, dairy, soya, refined sugars and non GM yet taste great (contrary to any attempts I might make to re-create them).
Collage - brothers sharing Pulsin Raw Chocolate Brownie bar copy

The real measure of how nice the Raw Chocolate Brownies are is in getting my husband G to sample them. He generally rolls his eyes at my efforts in the kitchen to ”make cakes without any of the stuff cakes should have in them”. His verdict on the Pulsin brownies? – ”pretty nice, I like that slightly bitter dark chocolate taste. When brownies are really sweet I just want to keep eating them.  I felt satisfied after eating this.”.

Protein Booster bars
Of the three kinds of Pulsin bars we tried the Protein Boosters are my personal favourite. Partly because I know they’re so good for me as an after swim snack choice and as a low carb/high protein option when I’m feeling that mid afternoon slump. But mostly because I like their sweet, fudgy texture and flavour (Mint choc chip being my all time fave). Interestingly enough G was not so keen on the fudgy texture and described them as ”a bit powdery”. I put this down to his hungry scoffing of a whole bar post badminton training whereas E (who also loves them) and I prefer to chop the bar into nibble sized squares to share (sucking and savouring or chewing hungrily depending on how we’re feeling!). Anyway the couple of Protein Boosters we had were scoffed so quickly I don’t even have photographic evidence of us eating them. I do have this pic instagrammed from the pool after my visit on Tuesday though.
Collage - Pulsin protein booster bar
I was curious to see how the Pulsin Protein Boosters compared with other protein bars I’ve tried. They’re definitely a great choice for me after my weekly gym/swim trip and putting this little chart together is helpful for seeing just how sabotaging squares of my favourite mint chocolate are (albeit 72% dark chocolate) for curbing the carbs and keeping within a daily calorie range.  I’ve been keeping a food log using an app called Myfitnesspal and found it extremely helping for making me more aware of the nutrient levels of the food I eat.   I’ve finally shifted some of my post-baby weight just by starting the day with a protein rich egg based breakfast and not snacking in the evening.

I’m really interested in Pulsin’s range of protein powders too as I’m trying to eat a lower carb diet and increase my plant based protein intake. There are some gorgeous recipe ideas on their website which is helpfully broken down into vegetarian/vegan/snack/lunch/dinner options. Even if you’re not looking to order something the Pulsin website is well worth a browse.  I have pea protein powder and no-added sugar chocolate drops on my new recipes wish list and these simple chickpea and beetroot burgers are top of my recipes-to-try list as I usually have most of these ingredients in the house.  Hoorah for forthcoming food experiments.  I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!

Disclosure: I received free samples of the Pulsin bars to review. I was not required to right a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own (with a little help from E and G)

September 30, 2017 at 8:00 am 3 comments

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About Nip it in the bud


Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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