New Year, New You: Top products to help with resolutions, Dry January and more - tried and tested
Struggling to stick to your New Year resolutions?
Whether it's to abide by Dry January, lose weight, learn a new language, be more organised, eat more healthily or give your home a make-over, we're got the top products for you.
Nutribullet 1200 Series 12-piece set - £129.99 - highstreettv.com
5 out of 5
Looking for a way to eat healthier, ensuring you get your five-a-day? A super simple way is with the Nutribullet.
This easy-to-use, effective tool extracts nutrients from the food you put in, with a strong, efficient blender which grinds down all the skin and tough parts of fruit and veg with the push of a button, due to the blade being made from durable Japanese Steel which turns at 25,000 RPM. This means you need not lose any of the essential fibre in fruits and veg by skinning the items before putting into the blender. It also crushes ice effectively, meaning making a smooth ice drink is stress-free.
What makes it even easier is the ‘smart technology’ that automatically shuts the grinding process down once the extraction process is complete.
The power base, though heavy, is attractive in a matt silver, and has suckers meaning it does not move when processing the shake.
It also comes with a recipe book, which shows what ingredients should go into a balanced shake, as well of offering a range of recipe ideas.
Included with the set are also two large plastic cups - one with a handle, one without - an insulated stainless steel cup, two flip-top lids (making them ideal for transporting to work), rubber grips and lip rings.
An excellent tool, making healthy eating simple and time efficient.
Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Tesco, Sainsbury’s and https://int.erdinger.de- £1.20 to £1.30 for 500ml
6 out of 5
This alcohol-free wheat beer is absolutely delicious and most certainly now a firm favourite of mine.
When poured, this golden drink gives the perfect head - and is delightfully bubbly without being overly gassy.
It has a full-bodied, yet divine wheat and hoppy taste and is wonderfully refreshing.
Not only is this drink non-alcoholic, but also energising and boosting, with isotonic properties and added B12 and folic acid - making it ideal for those in pregnancy or training.
It is made from entirely natural ingredients and is just 125 kcal per 0.5 litre.
Eisberg Alcohol Free Wines - Ocado and www.eisberg.co.uk - Sparkling £4 and still £3.50
4.5 out of 5
Tired of pop and cordial this Dry January? Eisberg alcohol-free wines are an excellent substitute for the real thing - and one of the closest I’ve tried.
Though they are fruity, they offer a great alternative to normal soft drinks - meaning you can enjoy the drinks, rather than feel like you’re missing out.
The fact they are refreshing also make them great either with food or on their own.
The different flavours on offer include sparkling rose, which is lovely, dry, and packed with just the right amount of sparkle; chardonnay, which is wonderfully fruity, without being overly sweet; rose, which is slightly sweeter, but juicy and refreshing; and sauvignon blanc, which is sweeter than expected, but still smooth and very enjoyable.
Other flavours include sparkling blanc and cabernet sauvignon.
Jim Jams (Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Chocolate) - RRP £2.60 per 350g jar - Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods, Booths, Ocado
5 out of 5
Created as a reduced-sugar alternative to Nutella and other similar chocolate spreads, Jim Jams are priced at around the same amount - and are absolutely delicious!
As a firm fan of Nutella, I must admit I was wary at first, but having sampled it I am now a definite convert.
Both the chocolate and the hazelnut chocolate products are bursting with flavour and are strong too, meaning a little goes a long way - much in the same way the conventional brands do.
They boast the same delicious taste, but amazingly contain 83 per cent less sugar, thanks to added sweeteners - great for the teeth and waistline.
The only strange thing about these spreads is that both contain small pieces of chocolate in them which melt in the mouth. I thought this to be lovely, but some people may find the strange texture off-putting.
If you’re a chocoholic trying to lose a little weight, or simply eat healthier this January, these are absolutely ideal.
Aio Aurajet Shower Handset (chrome) - £100.01 - www.methven.com
4 out of 5
This halo-style stylish headset is absolutely brilliant: extremely attractive, very efficient - and ideal for giving your bathroom an upgrade with very little effort.
Though perhaps a little more expensive than other headsets on the market, it is worth every penny as the unique chrome design and excellent power makes it more than worth the money.
Its design means the headset gives full-body coverage too, making it enjoyable and warming to use, while its design makes the added pressure massaging for sore, tired muscles and great for washing hair.
The only slightly negative point is that it's not variable, but it really doesn't matter with how well it works.
It fits on most shower sets too, meaning you need not fork out for a new pipe.
This is suitable for high pressure water systems only.
Babbel - free or unlimited from £4.75 per month for 12 months - available online here and from all major mobile device app stores
4.5 out of 5
Hailing from a multi-cultural family - I have always been slightly embarrassed that I have never tried to wrap my mouth around a foreign language.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finally rectify this and become somewhat fluent in a second language by the end of the year - something that Babbel made fun and easy.
Babbel is free to join and offers 14 different language for you to choose from, with upgrades available for a small fee so that you can unlock unlimited lessons.
The mini lessons are short, diverse and fun with a series of mini games that teach you brand new words in your chosen language.
The lessons gradually become more difficult as you begin to get to grips with the dialect, and allow you to see how you’re improving as the weeks progress.
I have only been using Babbel for three weeks - and already I have picked up basic phrases in my chosen language, Italian, and feel a vast sense of achievement whenever I realise that these phrases are now second nature to me.
Babbel is easy to use both on desktop and on-the-go on your mobile device, making lessons accessible wherever you go.
Don’t let January blues get you down, pick up Babbel and learn a brand new language today. It is easy, fast and most importantly, fun.
3 out of 5
This new organic alcohol-free craft beer is a refreshing, full-bodied drink - and ideal for those looking to get through Dry January.
It has a nice level of sparkle, but for me was a little too bitter.
It most certainly does not lack flavour, however, and boasts a great maltiness - all in an attractive, unique bottle.
Suffolk-based microbrewery St Peter’s also produces two other types of non-alcoholic beers: Original and Gold.
Trigg Life Mapper 2018 Page-A-Day Planner - £17.99 - thinktrigg.com
4 out of 5
For those looking to get more organised in 2018 - the Trigg Life Mapper is perfect.
The Life Mapper is more of a productivity companion that simply a planner, as it offers a bundle of unique little features that aim to uplift your day.
With inspirational quotes, self-help advice and prompts to promote self-care and goals - the Life Mapper aims not just to organise your life, but to help improve it.
Each day is laid out in a unique fashion that encompasses a variety of different categories - including must jobs and optional tasks, appointments and more that makes planning your day feel fun and look attractive on the page.
Trigg points are littered throughout the matter to make you think about how you spend your time and evaluate how you use the guide - another unique little feature that can innovate your daily life.
All of this comes in a small and easy to transport planner that is bound in attractive and engraved imitation leather.
The Trigg Life Mapper is set to transform your disorganisation into blissful organisation - in a fun and quirky way.
Belvoir non alcoholic wine (sparkling rose, chardonnay and shiraz) - around £2.99 per bottle - Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s
3.5 out of 5
These non-alcoholic wines were intriguing to try - and ideal for those looking to succeed in surviving a dry January.
The rose was my personal favourite, with what I found to be the ideal amount of fizz - delicate without being overpowering. Its fruity flavour comes from its rose, red and white grape juices, mixed with raspberry, orange blossom and jasmine extracts. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this flavour, and got through it very quickly, it must be said that it tasted more like a fruity pop than wine. Not that I minded.
The chardonnay, meanwhile, was a little sharp for my taste, while the shiraz was lacking body and depth. But it is worth pointing out, I’m a big fan of very full-bodied, heavy wines - so those who prefer lighter wines will no doubt find this to be a great alternative.
All are very refreshing, however, and I do have selective taste when it comes to wine.
Sodastream Fizzi white - £69.99 - www.sodastream.co.uk
4.5 out of 5
This handy tool is a great way to get you - and the whole family - drinking more water, without forking out for bottles of sparkling bottled water.
For the environmentally conscious, this handy tool also reduces waste that comes from drinks in cans and bottles - also making more room in your bin.
Flavours can be bought from the company’s website, ranging from cola, apple, cherry and cream soda, to cloudy lemonade and passion fruit and mango, but cordial can also be added to these, as well as fruit juices.
The set includes a water maker, a 60-litre CO2 cylinder and a one-litre reusable carbonating bottle.
It is a little pricey at first glance, but over time, the money saved on bottled drinks easily makes up for it.
As do the health benefits of drinking less high-sugar sodas.
Clipper Tea (Organic Decaf Green Tea and Jasmine with Lavender Dark Chocolate; Green Tea, Citrus and Aloe Vera with Mandarin and Ginger Chocolate; Chai Green Tea with Just Ginger Chocolate) - available from Clipper Online, Waitrose, Tesco and health food shops, RRP £2.19
5 out of 5
I’m usually not keen on green tea, due to how strong the flavour can sometimes be - but Clipper seems to have achieved exactly the right balance with these teas.
The Organic Decaf Green Tea and Jasmine is a delicate, floral tea; ideal for relaxing and sipping of an evening. Again, with previous experiences I’ve found some jasmine teas can be bitter and overly strong, but this is anything but. Clipper has teamed up with Seed and Bean chocolate company too, pairing their teas with different flavours of choccie - and this jasmine tea goes beautifully with the subtly floral and deliciously bittersweet Lavender Dark Chocolate bar.
The Green Tea, Citrus and Aloe Vera, meanwhile, is now a firm favourite of mine. Again, not overly strong but filled with a wonderful lemon taste, combined with the relaxing, mild taste of aloe vera. This tea is paired with the lovely Mandarin and Ginger - the fiery, bittersweet and orange taste complementing the tea perfectly.
Lastly, the Chai Green Tea is wonderfully spicy and sweet - and ideal to warm up in the colder months. This is paired perfectly with the fiery Just Ginger Chocolate.
The Duchess Virgin Gin and Tonic - £6.95 for four 275ml bottles - www.31dover.com
3.5 out of 5
This new alcohol-free alternative gives gin lovers another option - whether sticking to Dry January, trying to cut down on the booze or during pregnancy.
Crafted with aromatical botanical extracts, this low-sugar sparkling drink is reminiscent of the classic G&T, without the hangover.
The flavour comes from re-distilled juniper berrie and botanically-infused tonic water, blended with orange peel, all spice, star anise, cloves and cardamom.
This is shockingly close to a normal G&T and very enjoyable - the only reason it was awarded just 3.5 out of 5 was due to the high price; not that it isn’t consistent with the pricing of other non-alcoholic alternatives.
Flamingo Opium Notebook - £10 - www.thegiftednotebook.co.uk
4 out of 5
The opium collection of notebooks from The Gifted Notebooks features a variety of wildlife themed pads that are decadent and durable.
As a journalist, I always have a notebook fused to my body. Because of this, to brighten up my day, I always like to have an attractive book to scribble all my notes in.
I am a huge animal fan, so I was instantly attracted to the vibrant colours of the flamingo opium notebook on offer from The Gifted Notebooks.
The cover is printed on thick laminate card which prevents it from easy damage, and features an intricate flamingo design embellished with lavish gold foil.
One main drawing point of the A5 pad is that it is not ringbound - as these types of notepads usually get damaged in my bag and pages get ripped out - so that all of my notes are kept firmly together.
Though priced highly for a notepad, the exquisite design and high-quality card and paper used makes this a solid purchase for your desk at work.
Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirit (Garden 108 and Spice 94) - £21.95 per 70cl - www.31dover.com
3.5 out of 5
These incredibly low-calorie drinks (0.2 calories per 50ml) are lovely when mixed with tonic water. The combination makes for a tasty, botanical-flavoured long drink - ideal for curing your gin or spirit-craving blues during Dry January. They also make a lovely dry alternative to sweet pop drinks when cutting out the booze.
The drinks are made like gin, using botanicals which are distilled in copper pots.
Garden 108 is made from spearmint, rosemary, peas, hay, rosemary and thyme. The name 108 comes from the number of days it takes to sow, grow and hand-pick the peas it is made with.
Seedlip Spice 94, meanwhile, is named after the year Christopher Columbus discovered all spice berries in Jamaica, where the ones for this drink are exclusively sourced from. This drink is made from these berries, mixed with cardamom distillates, cascarilla bark, American oak, lemon and grapefruit.
Website www.31dover.com recommends mixing Garden 108 with elderflower tonic and a cucumber ribbon, and the Spice 94 with tonic water and a large citrus slice.
Though these drinks are lovely and go a long way, I thought £20 was a little steep for a bottle of something non-alcoholic - though a lot of work does go into making them.
Fullgreen Cauli Rice - £1.99 per 200g pouch - ASDA, Wholefoods Markets, Planet Organic
4 out of 5
Acting as a low calorie and low GI Rice Replacement, Fullgreen Cauli Rice is perfect for your New Year diet.
The substitute has 61% fewer calories than white rice, while still remaining tasty and filling.
They’re gluten free, additive-free and 100 percent vegan making it easy to cater to everyone’s tastes.
Original Cauli Rice goes great with any number of different sauces and spices because of its mild flavour and absorbent texture - yet there are multiple alternatives such as broccoli, sweet potato and tomato, garlic and herb CauliRice that can take any dish to the next level.
Each flavour of CauliRice takes only two and a half minutes to cook, making it easy to make a delicious dish when you’re in a hurry.
Fast, easy and bursting with flavour - CauliRice is a tasty and healthy diet food that is cheap and cheerful to boot.
Oppo Ice Cream - £5.99 per 500ml tub - Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Wholefoods, Budgens, Holland & Barret and Ocado
5 out of 5
Whenever I try to be healthy and stick to a diet, I always find myself being led astray as soon as I spot a tub of delicious ice cream.
At only 38 calories per scoop, Oppo ice cream is the perfect solution for those with a sweet tooth trying to stick to a New Year diet.
Oppo is made from fresh milk, virgin coconut oil and stevia leaf giving it a rich and creamy texture. The lack of additional sugar and additives does not give you the usual bloated and sick feeling that indulging on ice cream sometimes can, making it as moreish as ever.
The sweet treat is available in a variety of sumptuous flavours such as salted caramel, chocolate and hazelnut, mint choc swirls and Madagascan vanilla - all boasted a strong and delicious flavour.
Oppo is a temptation you never need to resist, and is perfect for those who still want to enjoy a treat while trying to be healthy.
FitBit Surge - £157.99 - www.powerhouse-fitness.co.uk
4 out of 5
This is a superb bit of kit: a smart watch, with GPS; a pulse tracker; a log of steps, distance covered, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, stationary time and more.
It also has the ability to track runs, workouts and has multi-sport modes.
The most impressive feature for us, however, was the sleep tracker which was simply fascinating. It logs restless sleep and how often you woke in the night.
It also has a great long-lasting battery life; especially considering it tracks so much throughout the day - particularly the heartbeat. We charged it overnight and, after three days, it had just under half its battery life left.
Considering FitBit are partnered with Pebble, the OS is very restrictive and not many applications are currently available with which to customise the device.
It is also not compatible with Spotify for music controls.
AfterShokz Sportz Titanium - £49.99 - https://aftershokz.co.uk
3 out of 5
These headphones are particularly useful for those who enjoy listening to music while running or walking outdoors, as the sound is actually heard through the cheek bones - meaning users are aware of the world around them; especially good for those running on the pavement and crossing roads.
We personally tend to use the gym, however, and as such enjoy being immersed in music - this is obviously not the case with these headphones. With this in mind, they also lack any great bass.
The sound is high quality, however - just lacking impact.
There is a chance the sound could be lost if used next to a very busy, noisy road.