You know that feeling when you stumble on a new product or service or show? And you want to tell people about it, because sharing is caring, and the people should know if it is good or bad or will change your life. Welcome to finds of the month, a monthly series where we share all the things we discovered and are enjoying. Pictured here is #5 Cotton On Bike Shorts.
#1: Soaring Free Superfoods Plant-Based Protein Superfood Mix
Protein powders have always been a difficult sell for me. I don’t like the taste of whey so I have always chosen plant-based protein powders. However, the majority of what I have tried have an unmistakable powdery feel and a taste that overpowers anything you put it in, making what would be a nice smoothie, unpleasant.
When I received the new Soaring Free Superfoods Plan-Based Protein Superfood Mix, I immediately fell for their packaging and ingredient list. They’ve repackaged their entire range beautifully. Their Plant-Based Protein Superfood Mix comes in a 500 gram midnight blue tub with a colourful geometric pattern. The tub is 100% biodegradable and reusable for refills. The actual protein powder inside the tub is packaged in compostable plastic bags, which you can purchase alone to refill the tub, minimising your waste.
As you may have noticed from our taste tests, I like to examine ingredient lists and see what I recognise. The protein used in this one, is a combination of hemp and rice proteins and gives you a nice 15g of protein per serving. The flavoured ingredients simply cinnamon and raw cacao powder. They have also added a host of superfoods and adaptogens – mesquite, chia seeds, Maca and Ashwagandha, adding to the nutritional benefit. The sweetener used is monk fruit – a small green melon that is naturally 150 times sweeter than sugar. It doesn’t spike blood sugars, making it ideal for diabetics and most enticingly, it doesn’t have a synthetic sweetener taste.
The Soaring Free Superfoods Plant-Based Protein Superfood Mix comes in two flavours – cinnamon and chocolate. We tried them both in smoothies, smoothie bowls and added to our favourite porridge mix – which are the things we are most likely to add a protein powder into. We loved the taste of them both, rating it as the best plant-based protein powder we’ve tried. The taste is purely the flavour on the tub (cinnamon / cocoa) and it leaves no aftertaste. I’m torn between what flavour I prefer but am leaning towards the cinnamon which has a really nice spiciness to it and is more subtle so you can create different smoothie flavour combinations. In terms of texture, there is a slight powdery feel on the first sip, but it somehow disappears as you continue sipping and this was a complete non-issue for me. I love the ingredients.
Overall, it’s a really good plant-based protein powder both in terms of the ingredients and taste.
Get it here (on sale for R230-R290 plus you get a bottle of Buttanut Nut Milk!)
#2: Not a Sponge Sponge
The not a sponge sponge is the newest product from String Greens, a local eco-conscious brand. It is designed to be a replacement for disposable foam and plastic sponges. The rectangle Not a Sponge Sponge is made from layers of fabric. The top cotton layer is for a gentle wash, while the bottom hessian layer is for removing those hard bits that need a scrub. In between the two layers are layers of absorbent fabric. They’re machine washable as well as biodegradable and compostable.
I was sceptical when I first saw them, after all the only resemblance to a sponge is their shape. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they worked. Firstly, they actually held on to the dishwashing liquid and created foam. They also clean really well. The hessian is particularly good for getting out tough bits of food without scratching. It won’t replace a scourer or steel wool for getting really tough bits out, but can replace a standard sponge. They’re also great at wiping counters. I will however add that their feel does take some time getting used to. They’re stiff even when wet and feel like you’re washing the dishes with a piece of jean.
If you’re on your way to reducing plastic consumption or living plastic free, these make an excellent addition to the kitchen as either a sponge or counter and appliance cloth.
To order email Shannon at [email protected] (R60 for a pack of 3)
#3: Alexa Lily Planners
After almost a year of using the Alexa Lily planners, we’ve loved them enough that when the 2021 planners were launched on September 9th, we bought them that day. Last year we both opted for daily planners (1 page per day), but for 2021 we wanted to try something different to create a better system of planning for us. We both got a weekly planner (full week spread on two pages) with a to-do list notebook and the new Alexa Lily gold pens. These planners are the best we’ve used (and we’ve tried a lot). Jen combines aesthetics with functionality so well and makes planners that are both stunning and functional. There are also so many options to choose from, from daily planners to weekly to monthly to desk calendars giving you enough options to suit your style of organisation.
They sell out fast (especially popular prints) so it’s not crazy to be getting a 2021 planner 3 months in advance, and quite frankly we recommend you do! If you’re unsure of what planner to get, follow @alexalily on Instagram. Jen goes through all the planners in detail and that has helped us to see exactly what each type of planner contains, to find what would work for us best.
#4: The Wintergreen™ range of topical analgesics and joint support products
The Wintergreen™ range of products was developed by ex-rugby player Justin Clohessy in consultation with sports therapy professionals. The range includes gels, creams, sprays and soaks with powerfully therapeutic active ingredients designed to support elite players during warm-up, match time, and recovery. Originally it was designed for Rugby players, but has recently been relaunched with new innovations to appeal to a broader health and wellness market.
The Wintergreen™ range of products comprise of:
- The new Magnesium replenishment products which help relax muscles, relieve cramps and reduce inflammation. They also promote energy production, mental clarity, and bone and muscle health.
- Heat therapy products which provide hot pain relief for muscles, joints, aches and sprains, while helping to soothe muscle tension and fatigue.
- Ice Therapy products which include icy Arnica Gel, Ice Spray and Menthol Hot Gel. They offer immediate, icy cold pain relief for inflammation associated with strains, sprains and bruises, and help speed up recovery.
- Joint support products which include Joint Support Spray and Arnica
I’ve been using Arnica and icy Arnica gel for years – Arnica is a must for healing bruises and strains, while icy Arnica gel has been the key to faster recovery after long runs. Icy Arnica massaged into your legs and a pair of compression tights is heaven on tired legs.
When Wintergreens sent me a box filled with all the new goods I was excited to try out the ones I wasn’t familiar with. I’m obsessed with the Magnesium soak and the ice spray settled a hamstring that felt pulled. The heat products, which are meant to be used to warm up your legs I’m neutral on – they do create a heat, but I didn’t feel like my legs were warmed up before a run. It’s also quite sticky, so only use if you’re going to be showering right after working out.
My top picks from the new and improved Wintergreens™ range is the Arnica, Arnic Ice Gel, Ice Spray and Magnesium Soak.
Get the full range here (R129 – R229)
#5: Cotton On bike shorts
It was a long journey to find the perfect bike short that involved many a try on and return. My list of requirements, albeit long, was perfectly reasonable ? I wanted:
– Something that I could wear every day, i.e. sporty but not in the typical spandex look of a sports legging.
– Something that was high wasted and longer length to allow me to wear both crop tops and oversized tops with plenty of short visible.
– Material that offered compression without feeling suffocated, and last but not least;
– Something that would pass the bend and squat test i.e. not be see-through in the rear.
These shorts from Cotton On ticked every box. The material is cotton, similar to an everyday black legging. They’re tight and have a smoothing effect without feeling restrictive, in fact they’re super comfy. They’re high wasted with a little pocket in the front waistband and are cut just above the knee (they do ride up a bit which is another reason I wanted a longer length – to allow for that). And they pass the bend and squat test so I can comfortably wear them with oversized tops and crop tops. If they’re not your perfect fit, Cotton On currently has quite a number of options, none of which exceed R249.
Get them here (R249)
#6: Buttanut Macadamia milk
Buttanut recently launched their range of nut and plant milks – starting with almond, macadamia and oat. I grabbed a bottle as soon as I saw it in store (the Macadamia Nut Milk), excited to see a locally made alternative milk.
Firstly, their price point in comparison to other nut milks is great. The bottle stands out – a white plastic fully recyclable bottle I love and the ingredient list good. The macadamia milk contains Water, gluten-free oats, macadamias (3%), salt, dipotassium phosphate and calcium carbonate. Only their oat milk contains canola oil. The macadamia milk is quite thin and light tasting with a subtle nuttiness. I use it mainly in smoothies, hot chocolate or with granola. As soon as I’ve finished my current stash, I plan on getting the mixed case so I can try all three.
#7: Woolworths Apple Syrup
I’ve started perusing grocery store shelves again in search of new thing to try. This apple syrup was picked up during a recent Woolies shop with Rosh Hashana and apples on my mind. It is a winner! It has the thickness of syrup and an intense apple flavour, absolutely delicious! Highly recommend getting some to drizzle over pancakes, yogurt and granola.
Get it here (R56.99 for 300g)