Getting home from work and realising you need to sprint to the local supermarket to buy a last-minute dinner before Love Island starts is up there with one of life’s most mundane tasks.At least, it was until Sainsbury’s announced that it is now offering customers hot takeaways via Deliveroo.From Monday 22 July, Deliveroo users will be able to order freshly-baked sourdough pizzas, a range of sweet and savoury snacks, dips and soft drinks from selected Sainsbury’s shops in the UK straight to their door.Better yet, the prices of the products will be exactly the same as those customers would find if they bought them in the supermarket or online.The move, which marks the first time a supermarket has joined forces with the delivery app, is part of a two-month trial which is available in Cambridge, Selly Oak, West Hove, Pimlico and Hornsey.According to Deliveroo, customers will be able to choose from around 50 Sainsbury’s products on the app and more will be added during the trial.“With more and more shoppers looking for convenient and affordable meals delivered to their doors, our trial with Deliveroo brings our great value hot food direct to customers’ homes,” says Clodagh Moriarty, Sainsbury’s group chief digital officer.The news comes days after Sainsbury’s launched the UK’s first signing supermarket in an effort to support the hard-of-hearing community.The Bath branch – which was renamed “Signsbury’s” for the three-day project – took the step as part of the supermarket’s 150 Days of Community scheme to mark the company’s 150th anniversary.Staff communicated with customers both verbally and with sign language, signing common words and phrases such as the locations of food items.Children took part in a challenge that earned them a free snack if they learnt to sign basic words.To prepare for the project, more than 100 store staff took British sign language lessons, run by a local signing centre, I Can Sign.The lessons were supported by Sam Brook, a Sainsbury’s employee who is deaf, and Rachel Shenton, the actor who starred as Lily Summers in the film Switched at Birth.Earlier this month, Deliveroo announced the launch of a letterbox delivery service so that customers don't need to answer the door when indulging in a "duvet day".The new letterbox delivery service – named "Royal Meal" – is currently being trialled in Manchester with deliveries from cafe Katsouris.Breakfast sandwiches from the restaurant can now be delivered to customers in recyclable packaging slim enough to fit through a letterbox.
Looking for a gift for the person who has everything? Then they need a chocolate subscription – we really can’t think of a single person that wouldn’t appreciate a monthly sweet treat delivered to their door. Whether they prefer milk, white or dark, chocolate truffles, bars or ganaches, there’s a box for it.Channel your inner chocolate nerd and invest in a subscription that will teach you a thing or two, taking you on a cocoa tour around the world complete with tasting notes, or take things easier with sprinkles of jelly hearts and marshmallows.We were on the hunt for hand-crafted, artisan producers, exciting flavours and subscription perks. Most of these will fit through your letterbox but we’ve highlighted the ones that don’t, with all delivering nationwide. Choose from a monthly rolling subscription, or pay up front for a pre-determined amount of time, with easy cancellation policies should you change your mind (highly unlikely!).Of course, we wouldn’t judge if you signed up for your very own chocolate subscription, it’s a great way to ensure you’ve always got your favourite chocolate on standby, should the moment strike.So get ready to seriously upgrade your post, with our round up of the best chocolate subscription boxes. The Chocolate Society box of the month: £22.50, The Chocolate SocietyEach month, the team of chocolatiers at The Chocolate Society works hard to bring you a completely new set of flavours to enjoy. For July we were treated to six gelato and ice-cream inspired flavours including mint choc chip, pistachio and stracciatella – a dark chocolate with white chocolate ganache and chocolate chips. The stylish letter-box friendly grey box contains 18 chocolates in total which were a mixture of colourful speckled dome shapes and large squares and comes complete with a white fabric ribbon, which would make this an ideal gift. Choose from a one-off month, three, six or 12 month subscriptions. Absolutely delicious.Buy now Cocoa Runners monthly subscription: £19.95, Cocoa RunnersWith more than 120 chocolate makers and an online library of more than 1000 bars, Cocoa Runners promise to never repeat a bar in your subscription. You’ll receive four full-size single-estate bars each month, which you’re encouraged to try side by side to compare flavour profiles. In much the same way as we would describe wine, the reverse of the welcome letter provides helpful flavour prompts such as smoked, stone fruit, mineral or tobacco to help you describe what you’re experiencing. There’s even a resealable storage pouch to keep the chocolate fresh, should you not finish a bar. Choose to receive only dark or milk chocolate, a mixture of the two or exclusively 100 per ceny cocoa chocolate. We enjoyed a mellow Jamaican dark chocolate from Pump Street, a 75 per cent and 80 per cent Madagascan and an Original Beans smooth milk chocolate from Ecuador. A really great way to discover exciting, high-quality, artisan chocolate from around the world.Buy now Paul A Young: From £200 for a six-month subscription, Paul A YoungWe were absolutely delighted with the bonkers flavours in our box but if you’re looking for something a little more classic this might not be for you. Feeling adventurous? How does peach, pear and pink peppercorn, fizzy ginger beer, sourdough, buttermilk and sea salt, or salt and vinegar “chip shop” caramel sound? Flavours change every six-nine weeks so even if you’re not sold on some of the more experimental flavours, you’ll always have something new to try. Each of the purple and gold boxes contains 16 unique chocolates, which is delivered at the beginning of each month. Aside from the seasonal flavours, the box will always include a couple of Paul’s award-winning sea salted caramels. Be warned, you only have a seven-day window to enjoy as these chocs are super fresh.Buy now The Chocolatier monthly club: £24.95, The ChocolatierThe Lion King may not be the most obvious theme for a box of chocolates, but that’s exactly what inspired The Chocolatier’s July box. From Simba (a chocolate ganache with sesame tahini) to Hakuna Matata’ (a smooth praline with sumac) flavours were tasty but more subtle than we tried elsewhere. Available in just one size, the box contains 18 chocolates across six flavours (so expect repeats) and can be ordered as a classic or vegan version. We’re told next month’s theme is Matilda – we can’t wait to see what Bruce’s Cake and Miss Trunchbull tastes like. Buy now Chococo chocolate club subscription: From £44.75 for three months, ChococoThis picture-perfect chocolate box contains either nine, 16 or 25 individual chocolates and truffles made with fresh Dorset cream. Stunningly presented, with various coloured blobs, dustings and garnishes, many flavours are seasonal – including the summery rhubarb and vanilla – and they vary from month to month but may not be completely new each time, with many flavours winning awards over the years. Particular highlights included the melting milk chocolates, rolled in chocolate flakes; Bob’s Bees made with honey from a local farm and the Dorset Conker gin-infused milk chocolate ganache topped with a locally produced lime marmalade. Choose from three, six or 12 months subscriptions.Buy now Hotel Chocolat monthly subscription boxes: £22.95, Hotel ChocolatWhether you go for the classic tasting box which offers a little bit of everything, the boozy fortified collection, the high cocoa box full of dark chocolate lovelies, the mellow tasting box with the best of milk or the rare and vintage subscription, you’ll pay exactly the same price. Delivered once a month, members are encouraged to score their chocolate, thereby shaping future boxes. Expect a mix of new flavours and old classics, delivered for either three, six or 12 months.Buy now Love Cocoa British icons original gift collection: £22.50, Love CocoaCreated by the great-great-great grandson of Mr Cadbury, Love Cocoa chocolate bars are all made in the UK, are palm oil free and organic. The subscription is slightly weighted towards dark bars (you’ll receive four of those and two milk chocolate bars), with the box fitting through the letterbox. Flavours include their popular gin and tonic dark chocolate bar, the dark Maldon sea salt and earl grey milk chocolate. Available as a three, six or 12-month subscription, with 10 per cent of profits going to the Rainforest Foundation.Buy now Cocoba Chocolate Collection Box: £19.95, Cocoba ChocolateHot chocolate, made from slowly melting real Belgian chocolate was the original concept for Cocoba, which has since moved into offering chocolate bars, truffles and fudge among other sweet treats. The monthly chocolate collection box offers a nice mix of all these products: we received three types of truffles – dark chocolate, praline and caramel – as well as a large bar of milk chocolate, studded with jelly hearts. Aside from that we tucked into a bag of caramel sea salt fudge (which has been awarded a great taste 2018 award) and a marshmallow salted caramel hot chocolate spoon. Fitting through the letterbox, you’ll receive one box each month on a rolling subscription.Buy now Choc on Choc 3 month chocolate box subscription: £52.75, Virgin Experience DaysFather and daughter duo Kerr and Flo set up Choc on Choc back in 2003, hand-making everything in Somerset from Belgian chocolate. Although this chocolate wasn’t the best we tried taste-wise, it was certainly the most inventive when it came to presentation. Our selection included a white chocolate fruit selection – with everything from a banana, a bunch of grapes, apple, strawberry and an orange. A mini box of chocolates made to resemble well-known biscuits and a rather impressive box of “cheese and crackers” which had the most convincing oozing wedge of brie – all made out of chocolate. There was also a more conventional mini box of marc de champagne truffles with all subscriptions lasting three months – the ideal gift.Buy now Green & Black’s velvet edition chocolate club subscription: £36, Green & Black’sEverything in the Green & Black’s velvet edition collection is made with 70 per cent super smooth dark chocolate. It includes two 90g bars from the range, delivered once a month for six months. Flavours include mint dark chocolate, raspberry and hazelnut, orange and almond and our favourite – sea salt dark chocolate. With seven flavours in total, you will get some repeats but it’s a great way for dark chocolate lovers to ensure they never run out of their favourite bar.Buy now Wicked & Wonderful truffle club: From £32.95 for three months, Benjamin ChocolatierSmall and perfectly formed, each month you’ll receive one petite little box of nine chocolate truffles from Benjamin Chocolatier. Intensely rich, you’ll only need one or two to sate your chocolate craving though. Flavours vary from month to month but could include chilli milk chocolate, champagne white or sea salt dark. You’ll also get to play guinea pig, trying new exclusive flavours before they make it into the main range. Choose from either three, six, nine or 12 months subscriptions.Buy now The verdict: Chocolate subscriptions This was a particularly hard one to call, but if you’re in the market for a pretty box of chocolates we think The Chocolate Society box of the month was utterly delicious, good value and had plenty of flexibility. However, if bars of chocolate are more your thing. Cocoa Runners is truly unbeatable for its vast and premium selection.
If you love a freebie and regularly find yourself in need of an iced caffeinated beverage to quench your thirst, you’ll want to head down to Pret A Manger this week.On Friday, selected shops around the UK will be giving away free, yes free, iced coffees to its customers.The choices on offer include iced Americanos and iced lattes, made with organic coffee. Alternative milk options are available. Better yet, customers will also have the chance to try the stores’ new Cold Brew, which has been brewed for over 14 hours with coffee beans from Peru, for free.But, like the majority of things in life, there’s a catch for those wanting to nab this offer.To claim a free iced coffee, customers are instructed to head to their nearest participating Pret store and quote a not-so-secret password to a member of staff behind the counter.On Thursday, the eatery revealed the password is “ice to meet you”.However, you'll want to be quick as the promotion lasts just one hour, between 10 and 11am, and use of the password allows for only one free iced coffee per person.“Given we are set to see some sunshine this week, we wanted to ease our customers into the weekend with an iced coffee on us,” Briony Raven, head of coffee and packaging at Pret, said of the deal.Find out where your nearest participating Pret shop is here.
The task of buying thank you gifts for teachers is an annual piece of parental admin that enters your life when your first child is four or five and doesn’t go away for over a decade (or at least for the seven years of primary school if you decide to neglect those poor secondary teachers).It can be a chore, but good teachers are well worth thanking, and if you’re going to spend money on the person who has been educating your offspring for an academic year, you at least want to get them something they will appreciate.Teachers are of course a diverse bunch, and the same gift isn’t going to work for everyone, but here we have tried to gather a range of options that will appeal to different sorts.We’ve looked for a mixture of personalised, teacher-specific things and stuff that will work for those who would rather just have a little civilian luxury.We have included things that would be affordable for many parents to buy solo, and a couple of ideas for bigger things that could be bought as joint gifts between classmates.We have canvassed teachers and used our own experience as parents in a bid to avoid any duds, so hopefully there is something to appeal to even the pickiest person here.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. Moleskine 18 month planner: £17.62, AmazonOk, so there are probably some bog standard planners in the school stationery cupboard, but most people whose lives are governed by timetables and the academic year will recognise the nerdy delight that comes from having something a bit nicer with which to do their planning. This Moleskine journal is practical – a ruled A5 page per day gives plenty of room for lists without making it too big to carry around – but it also provides a touch of gift-worthy luxury. The paper is high quality, there are pockets at the back for stashing notes or receipts, and there are both a ribbon for marking the right page and elastic to keep it shut. A teacher-friendly gift that will surely get heaps of use, and should hopefully be a little daily pleasure for them to use and carry around.Buy now Hotel Chocolat simply thanks box: £8, Hotel ChocolatWhile the 1980s Cadbury’s advert might no longer be with us – “Thank you very much, thank you very, very much” – chocolates remain a sure fire and cost-effective way to demonstrate gratitude. Luckily for teachers, there are choices beyond the standard box of Roses these days, not least from the champions of quality high street chocolate, Hotel Chocolat. This little box, with a thank you message written in gold on its lid, contains eight delicious treats and zero duds. There are two each of four of Hotel Chocolat’s biggest hitters; our favourite was the rich dark truffle.Buy now ‘A Little, Aloud for Children’, edited by Angela MacMillan, published by Random House Children's Publishers: £11.34, The Book DepositoryThe luckiest of primary school children, including some of our mini-testers, still get story time at the end of each day. For teachers delivering these short sessions of shared reading pleasure, this book would be a welcome gift full of inspiration and time-saving, pre-packaged ideas. It is a lovely anthology of extracts from stories and poetry, complete with approximate reading times for each one. Not all are from children’s books – there’s the brief ‘Ariel’s Song’ from The Tempest, as well as bits of The Secret Garden, Wind in the Willows and others both familiar and not so. All the extracts have been chosen because they will appeal to and hopefully inspire young imaginations. If your teacher has their own children, in fact, you might find that they take it home to enjoy there too. All proceeds go to The Reader, a charity that promotes shared reading to improve well-being.Buy now The Literary Gift Company origami bird earrings: £12.99, The Literary Gift CompanyIf you’re looking for something a little more personal than wine or chocolates, but don’t want to break the bank, these little bird earrings could well be the answer. Made from upcycled pages of old books, they offer a nod to teacher’s day job, but are also a gift that will hopefully bring pleasure and get use outside the classroom too.Buy now Rock Design personalised rainbow print: £18.95, Not on the High StreetPrimary school teachers spend almost their entire working week in one classroom, so a gift that brightens up that space and offers a reminder that their work is appreciated is likely to be welcome. This fun rainbow print from a small new company, which comes installed in a white frame, can be personalised with the recipient’s name and also a brief message, for example: “Mrs Elm’s classroom. Play, learn, grow.” A lasting and thoughtful way of saying thank you.Buy now John Lewis & Partners vouchers: From £10, John Lewis & PartnersA teensy bit mercenary perhaps, but many teachers will tell you that they would far rather choose their own gift than receive 30 that they’re not so keen on. If your class is one of those that likes to club together for one big present, John Lewis & Partners gift cards are a good option as they can be spent on such a wide variety of things. Pupils could always add a human touch by hand-making a card or small gift at little cost to go alongside the vouchers.Buy now Rex London periodic table bamboo travel mug: £9.95, Rex LondonWe found at least one teachers’ forum on which debates about good thank you presents featured the sentiment: “Please God, no more mugs”. But a good travel mug is an altogether more useful thing now that we are all quite rightly trying to eschew single use cups. Better still, this one is made from bamboo and is both recyclable and biodegradable, so if a teacher really does have too many, they can turn it into something else. Which science teacher wouldn’t love the periodic table printed on their coffee receptacle?Buy now ‘The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands’, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones, published by Thames & Hudson Ltd: £18.05, WorderyThis is an absolutely gorgeous tome that would be a lovely gift for an English or drama teacher, or really anyone who loves literature or beautiful coffee table books. It features images of original maps drawn by authors to illustrate their works – such as CS Lewis’s drawings of Narnia – as well as lyrical essays on maps, landscapes and the creation of new worlds, by the likes of Robert Macfarlane and Chris Riddell. A lasting gift for a thoughtful teacher. Buy now Jackeraca personalised card: From £3.50, EtsySo this is a card rather than a gift, but it is a card that is nice enough to be framed as a keepsake of a particular year’s class, and is certainly among the most thoughtful of the endless personalised products we’ve scrolled through. One nice version of this card used the names of all the pupils in a given class, and one word that each child had chosen to describe their teacher, to make up the image of an apple.Buy now Jo Malone grapefruit home candle: £47, Jo MaloneThis is a level of gift that few families would purchase by themselves, unless a teacher needed some serious buttering up, but it also isn’t the sort of thing that many teachers would splash out on for themselves, which makes it a pleasingly indulgent way for a few parents to club together and say thank you. This refreshing grapefruit scent is perfect for summer and – while scented candles are admittedly a more common present for women – is unisex enough to work for anyone. The base can be engraved (£15) for those who like a personalised touch.Buy now The verdict: Gifts for teachersIf your budget can stretch to it, or you have someone to chip in with, the Moleskine planner is a lasting and useful gift. Failing that, you’re unlikely to go wrong with a thank you message atop some scrumptious Hotel Chocolat, and A Little, Aloud is a charming option for a teacher that does story-telling or has young kids of their own.
Trying to avoid the excesses of winter? We feel you. While the majority of new year’s resolutions are hard to stick to, a short, sharp juice cleanse might provide just the kick-start to a new health regime that your body is crying out for. So what exactly can you expect from a juice cleanse?The severe all-green juice cleanses you may remember celebs raving about in the early noughties have morphed into something a lot more manageable. Nowadays you can expect most plans to include more satisfying nut milks and even warming soups, which we found really helpful in terms of feeling satisfied and full. While we wouldn’t advocate juice cleansing for any prolonged amount of time, we can see the benefits of a one-off cleanse, especially if you have a big event coming up for which you’d like to lose the bloat and feel your best. Taking away any decision making, you’ll be sent a selection of drinks and an order in which to consume them to reap the biggest rewards. Very helpful, especially if like us, you tend to succumb to the first sign of a cheese toastie when in the queue at Pret.It’s important to note this is not about deprivation; the aim is to get more of the good stuff into your body, so you can function at your optimum levels. Clearer skin, better sleep and boosted immunity were all side effects promised from these cleanses. Our liver and kidneys are already effective at eliminating toxins, however, having a day or two without any junk food or alcohol can only be a good thing.We recommend preparing for the days pre- and post-cleanse. A last supper mentality is only going to make the first day that much harder, so scale back on the caffeine and have a light dinner the day before. There’s also little point in sticking to the juice only to binge on huge portions of fatty food washed down with glasses of wine the very next day. Instead, ease yourself back onto solid foods and be mindful of how they make you feel.While juicing, we’d recommend taking it easy on the exercise front. There’s often no need to skip it altogether (you might actually find you have more energy as your body isn’t busy digesting your food), but you probably won’t be able to bench-press your personal best either. Instead give your body a bit of TLC – energising walks, body brushing, face masks and meditation are all great cleanse activities.Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to cleanse. If you feel you need to supplement your chosen cleanse with light meals, go for it. Do what feels right for your body and enjoy.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. Purearth Medicinal Cleanse: From £58.33 (3 x 250ml, 5 x 500ml, plus Purearth’s superfood greens powder, herbal teas and Epsom salts baths), PurearthThis was the only cleanse that gave us two big bottles of deliciously creamy nut milk right in the middle of the day, which definitely helped to keep us full. As well as tasty green juices, there was also a berry and apple cider vinegar shot which put hairs on our chest and a bottle of medicinal tea which needed to be heated up before bed. To help support the digestive system, you’ll end your cleanse with a water-based kefir which contains 10 billion live cultures per ml (the good kind of bacteria). Nice added extras included Epsom bath salts for luxuriating in when we got home. Ingredients felt well considered, with a focus on using the roots, seeds and berries of various plants to support digestion.Buy now Presscription Signature Cleanse: From £65 for a one-day cleanse (5 x 500ml cold-pressed juices, 1 x 500ml nut milk, 2 x 30ml booster shots), PresscriptionPresscription don’t use HPP (high pressure pasteurisation) to extend the shelf-life of its juices, so if you order a five-day cleanse you’ll get two separate deliveries, meaning everything stays super-fresh. Glass bottles are numbered so you know which order to drink them in and they can be picked up and reused once you’re done. We really liked the medicinal style labels which detailed each juice’s health benefits.Supporting colon, liver and stomach health we woke up with the tangy Green Revive, a combination of cucumber, celery, apple, romaine, lemon, ginger and cayenne. Our niggly little cold was promptly nipped in the bud with the Amber Boost – a truly spicy hit of red chilli, softened out with sweet coconut blossom nectar. You’ll also receive a booklet with pre- and post-cleanse guidance, as well as a schedule for which to consume your juice. A great all-rounder with exciting ingredients that tasted delicious.Buy now Plenish Level 4 Cleanse: From £59 for a one-day cleanse (5 x 500ml juices, 1 x 500ml nut milk), PlenishOne of the first ever cold-pressed juice and juice cleanse companies to launch in the UK, Plenish has recently added a hardcore “Level 4” cleanse aimed at those wishing to lose weight. We say hardcore because this cleanse contains the least sugar – however we actually preferred this, as after a whole day of juicing we were craving something savoury. Being mindful of the environment, each cleanse comes with a glass straw so you’re not contributing to unnecessary single-use plastics (bottles are plastic but widely recyclable), as well as a handy booklet offering guidance.Each day you’ll have six large juices to consume, all weighing in at 500ml, which kept us full between meals. Plenish suggests starting your day with hot water and lemon at 6am, with juices spread out every couple of hours before an early dinner. One of our favourites was Elevate which contained turmeric, almonds, coconut nectar, ginger and pepper. Deliciously creamy and sweet tasting, it felt like a substantial meal. The full day’s cleanse clocks in at 790 calories, so it’s very much aimed at those wanting to kick-start weight loss.Buy now Botanic Lab The Clean Up: From £45 for a one-day cleanse (5 x 250ml juices, 1 x 250ml nut milk, 3 x 100ml shots), Botanic LabThe name of this says it all – it’s a one-day cleanse aimed to clean up your act and allow your body a break from all the heavy digestion it’s been doing – we’re looking at you, second helping of Christmas pudding. Whether as a one-off or more regularly as part of the 5:2 diet, the juices add up to 611 calories and can be drunk alone or alongside light food. There’s an order in which to drink your juices but no times are suggested, so it can fit around your routine. We found that the combination of juices, boosters and plant milks (who can resist chocolate milk) left us feeling satisfied.Buy now Daily Dose Colour Cleanse: From £45 for a one day cleanse (7 x 500ml juices, 1 x 330ml nut milk), Daily DoseThis cleanse is a rainbow of large juices varying from the bright green to the sweetest pink, ending with a smaller bottle of nut milk as a “treat” in the evening. All are vegan, raw and cold-pressed, some with a longer shelf life in case you can’t start immediately. Flavours were really delicious, the Zenzero being one of our favourites with apple, ginger, lemon and fragrant thyme, but overall we did find them on the sweeter side – ideal if you’re new to juicing. Bottles are plastic which makes transporting them easier, but they will need to be recycled accordingly.Buy now Juicy Tox 2 Day Platinum Cleanse: From £64.99 (12 x 250ml juices, 6 teabags, 2 x shots, 2 x lemons), Juicy ToxThis is another brand that only provides the freshest juice (no HPP here). As well as the selection of drinks we also received individually wrapped tea bags to drink in between juices, as well as fiery lemon and ginger shots to wake us up in the morning. Like many of the programmes, you’re encouraged to start the day with warm water and lemon, yet Juicy Tox was one of the only brands to actually provide the fresh lemons which was a nice touch. Packages do currently come with plastic straws, but you can request for these to be left out.Buy now Nosh Detox Juice Fast Diet: From £55 for a one-day cleanse (4 x 500ml juices, 1 x tonic), Nosh DetoxYou’ll start the cleanse with a lemon and ginger water before moving on to the larger juices. With names like the Rehydrator which contains orange, carrots, mango and flaxseeds for omega 3 and 6, and the protein-packed Eliminator with raspberry, grapes and acai, these juices mean business. Containing more pulp than other cleanses we tried, the Nosh Detox juices tasted more like a smoothie, increasing our fibre intake as a result. Despite containing plenty of fruit, we didn’t find any of them overly sweet. Each plastic bottle is printed with a time and a philosophy, providing helpful snippets and motivation to remind you what to expect from the cleanse.Buy now Juice Master Delivered 5:2 Juice Diet: From £94.99 for a two-week box (16 x 420ml drinks), Juice Master DeliveredJason Vale (or The Juice Master to those in the know) has helped many a celeb look and feel their best. He’s the (sometimes controversial) guy behind the Super Juice Me documentary and claims that his juices will not only help you lose weight, but will cure pretty much any other complaint you can think of. Juices are balanced, containing fresh ingredients (think fennel, ginger and lime) before being blitzed and frozen – they’ll last up to a month in the freezer.This particular plan contains enough juices for two weeks, based on you taking part two days of each week (with four juices a day). Juice flavours differ across the two days and can be split up to give you a rest, or drunk consecutively. Either way it’s a great option for those that would rather not count calories on their fasting days.Buy now The Verdict: Juice cleansesWith its innovative ingredients and bounty of added extras, we felt the Purearth Medicinal cleanse represents great value and left us feeling wonderfully refreshed.Stacey Smith is the founder of food and drink website Crummbs
You might think tea bags are just simply paper and tea, and that of course they decompose, and that you’re doing your bit by putting them in your home food waste to compost. But, you’re wrong – unless you use plastic free tea bags, that is.In actual fact, an estimated 96 per cent of the tea bags we buy contain polypropylene, which is what the tea bags are sealed with, so when you put in the used bags in your food waste, you’re actually putting toxic chemicals into your beautiful compost that will eventually seep into the ground.Some plastic free tea brands differ between being biodegradable and compostable, which is important to know about, so you can deal with your used tea bag correctly. The former means it will be broken down by a biological process, but it needs the right conditions which are most often at an industrial level that uses a higher heat than you can obtain in your garden. And the latter is able to break down in home garden composting conditions and will work as a fertilizer afterwards.There are lots of brands who champion making tea bags without these tiny plastic pieces, and there’s more that are changing to rid themselves of it too. But if you’re favourite brand doesn’t offer a plastic free bag of your favourite brew, you can also use loose leaf tea. We looked for brands that not only used alternative materials to plastic in the actual tea bag, but ones that also removed plastic from the packaging, reduced excess materials and tags, paid producers a fair wage, and of course, tasted excellent. Here’s our roundup of tea bags that are free of plastic.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent. Abel & Cole indubitably excellent organic earl grey: £4 for 15, Abel & Cole Coming in a brown paper bag style pouch this tea – sourced from Sri Lanka – is made by Alex Probyn, whom Abel & Cole call the tea whisperer. He began making tea as just a side project, and is now responsible for the brand’s signature blends. The pyramid bags – made from soilon, a bi-product of cornstarch that's best going in food waste – are large and give a well rounded, delicate but full-flavoured brew that’s organic, too. The entirety of the packaging is biodegradable, including the inner plastic-looking lining and reusable seal, made with Nature-flex – which is woodpulp – that’s also home compostable, and takes between three to six months to decompose at home.Buy now Brew Tea Co proper tea earl grey: £4.95 for 15, Brew Tea CoThis brand is all about as transparent and sustainable as it comes, and the brand makes it all fun too. Brew Tea – based in Manchester, uses whole leaves (not dust, it insists) from the Ethical Tea Partnership which supports small estate grower: this is a refreshing brew full of flavour mixing bergamot oil with ceylon black tea, orange peel and calendula petals. All the tea bags from the brand are made from cornstarch, the inner lining is made from Nature-flex and inside the box is a really useful card telling you what all the packing is made from and how it should be recycled: from the council food recycling (tea bags and inner lining) which decomposes at 45 days to the outer box which goes into the paper recycling. Buy now Clipper organic everyday tea: £3.49 for 80, ClipperIt might look most like an ordinary teabag, but this is far, far from it. Each teabag is unbleached (hence it’s more earthy colour), organic, fairtrade, plastic free and non GM. It was the world’s first pillow-shaped bag to meet this criteria and was launched in 2018. And if that’s not enough, it was even the world’s first fairtrade tea. The bag is made from abaca plants – a type of banana – and the plastic that sealed the bag is replaced with a material made from non-GM plants and it's become our new go-to every day tea. Just like it says.Buy now We Are Tea English breakfast tea: £2.49 for 15, OcadoThis whole-leaf tea company started in 2007, and was the first brand to remove the paper tags from teabags. In 2012, We Are Tea joined the Ethical Tea Partnership and moved from nylon bags to ones made from soilon. Each teabag is sealed by ultrasound instead of glue, which makes them biodegradable at an industrial level between three and six months, so make sure you put them in your council food waste bin. It can go in your home compost, but it will take much longer (at least 18 months). When the tea first launched, the plastic inner part of the packaging was not recyclable, but it's now made from Nature-flex, too.Buy now Eteaket royal earl grey tea bags: From £4.95 for 15, EteaketBased in Edinburgh, this ethically sourced tea specialist café, which opened in 2008, sells its own brews in tea bags and loose leaf and is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership. The tea bags are made from soilon, which isn’t bleached and is biodegradable. The tag is made from paper which is not laminated and is attached to the string via ultrasound, while the inner packaging, made from Nature-flex, is recyclable and can be composted at home. The brand is also working on making all its wholesale orders plastic free too. We love this as a weekend morning brew. And definitely go to the cafe when you're in town. Buy now Nemi Tea green tea : £4.50 for 15, NemiteasThe teabags at Nemi have always been plastic free, since launching in October 2017. The pyramid bags are made from soilon, are guaranteed GM free and are totally biodegradable at industrial level. There’s no glue used to attach the string and labels, instead it's joined by ultrasound and all the packaging is made with Natur-flex. What we love most about this that the brand also helps refugees integrate into the UK by employing them to run their tea stalls. Buy now T2 French earl grey teabag gift cube: £8 for 25, T2This Australian brand, born in 1996 in Melbourne, reached the UK in 2014 in London’s Shoreditch (and grew to 14 stores in the capital) and takes its sustainability seriously. The bags are made from cornstarch, but have a more opaque appearance than any of the others we tested. The bags will breakdown in home composting but it can take a long as 18-24 months so it’s best to put it into your local council food composting where it will be quicker. The inner plastic is not recyclable, but the brand is working on switching this to a plant based material by 2020. This is our favourite new tea for it's floral flavour that we love devouring from a pot at the weekends.Buy now Roqberry: £7 for 18, The Food MarketAfter launching in 2017, Roqberry prides itself on championing “blending the rules” by using classic flavours to create modern fusions such as “aromatic sushi and spice” and “black smoke”. These pyramid teabags, made from soilon, encase the single-source tea that comes in black, green, herbal, rooibos and oolong, and all are biodegradable. As it won’t breakdown in under a year, this tea bag should be thrown out with your council food waste as soilon composes at industrial standards (in six to eight weeks). The cube boxes are made from FSC paper that’s easily recyclable, too.Buy now Pukka Herbs: £2.45 for 20, Holland and BarrettLaunched in 2001 in Bristol, Pukka Tea’s bags differ from all others as each bag is wrapped in an individual envelope to ensure freshness – and it’s more environmentally friendly than you might think. It took four years of research to develop this new packaging, and it has removed more than 100 tonnes of plastic from the brand’s supply chain. The envelope contains only a very thin layer of BPA and PVC free plastic, but is still able to be recycled with paper. Since 2014 the brand stopped using a staple to connect the organic string and plastic-free label, and instead uses a little stitch to attach it.Buy now Good & Proper Tea: £5 for 15 teabags, Good & Proper TeaWhat began life as a mobile tea bar, has now found a permanent cafe in east London. The plastic free range was added in 2017 and is made from the non toxic material soilon (which needs to go in a collected food waste bin). These are the largest bags we tested and aside from Clipper’s pillow shaped bags, are the only one that comes in a flat large square shape, instead of the pyramid. Bags are packaged in a plastic alternative, the plant based material called Vegware which is also compostable, but at industrial levels..Buy now Twinings loose leaf pyramid bag: £6.50 for 15, TwiningsThe Twinings pyramid tea bags have always been plastic free since it was launched in October 2014. They are made from maize starch which is treated by an enzyme that allows it to be spun into filaments. The tea bags include loose leaf tea which makes an excellent brew, but each bag has a label attached that’s covered in a thin layer of plastic – so it won’t dissolve if it ends up in your brew, apparently – and will need to be removed before composting. The inner foil wrapper isn’t recyclable, but Twinings is the process of reviewing it’s range to finpukkd alternatives. Buy now Teapigs everyday brew tea bags: £3.99 for 15, Ocado Teapigs was the first brand to receive the world’s first plastic-free trust mark, created by the campaign group A Plastic Planet in May 2018. These biodegradable bags are made from cornstarch, while the paper tags use vegetable inks and are, you'll be glad to read, non-toxic. Don’t be dismayed when you open your box, as even the clear “plastic” inner bag (made from natureflex) is compostable. The bags can go in your home food recycling bin for compost, which may feel strange, but they will compost.Buy now The verdict: Plastic free tea bagsWe love the flavour and eco-packaging of Abel & Cole's indubitably excellent organic earl grey tea, which is our winner. While Clipper's every day tea ticks many boxes, as does Brew Tea with its approach to making recycling and saving the planet fun. We also like We Are Tea for removing the label and string.
The mixologists favourite, a good vodka is the backbone of any home bar, so it’s important to make it one to remember for all the right reasons. Super versatile, vodka is delicious served chilled and drunk neat as the Russians do, over ice with a slice of lemon or in a wide variety of cocktails. As such, we think it’s about time vodka shakes off its reputation as a bland, flavourless spirit.You can expect a good vodka to have a creamy mouthfeel, a balance of citrus notes and pepper or spice, and a clean, smooth finish (it shouldn’t burn the throat). And that’s just for starters. Many factors, from location to infusions will add something special and unique to each given vodka.Potato, rye, and even old grape skins have been utilised to impart their specific flavours but arguably a good vodka needs an exceptional water source and only the purest and freshest will do.We’ve included brands with long, rich histories, to new emerging small batch producers creating amazing spirits in tiny distilleries and found vodka from across the world, including the most obvious Russia and Poland, as well as ones from much closer to home – even right here in the UK.From breakfast bloody marys through to late night espresso martinis, vodka is at the heart of a wide range of cocktails. So when testing our vodka selection, we tried all of them neat, before mixing up a few classic cocktails to see how they blended with other ingredients. Reyka vodka, 70cl, 40%: £26.95, Master of MaltMade from a blend of wheat and barley, Reyka claims to be the world’s first green vodka. It utilises Icelandic’s pure glacial water and is distilled in a coastal village with air so clean C02 levels are actually falling. It’s made in small batches and the distillery is powered by geothermal energy from underground volcanoes. So far, so trendy. But it turns out all of that stuff makes for really tasty vodka. Clean, peppery and with the faintest touch of aniseed, it’s particularly impressive given the price. Buy now Chapel Down chardonnay vodka, 70cl, 40%: £32, Chapel DownNot content with being one of the leading names in English winemaking, Chapel Down have turned their attention to spirits, adding both gin and this vodka to the range. Utilising the previous year’s harvest, the vodka is made with leftover grape skins and has the same fresh, zingy profile as we’ve come to expect from the brand’s wine. Light and smooth with subtle vanilla and citrus notes along with an aniseed finish, this would work in all the classic cocktails. They recommend it in a winemaker’s martini: one-part Chapel Down vodka, one-part vermouth, shaken and strained, garnished with a chilled olive and a frozen grape. If it all goes wrong you could just pour yourself a glass of their wine. Buy now Absolut vodka limited edition ‘drop’ bottle, 1L, 40%: £26.95, AmazonTravelling to anti-LGBT+ and racist protests around the world, Absolut collected ink from the hateful signs they encountered and used it in the artwork for this limited edition bottle. Each vessel contains a drop of ink within the mint and pink bottle design, turning something awful into a positive message of love in celebration of LGBT+ History Month. Inside you’ll find the same Absolut vodka we’ve come to expect from the Swedish brand. Rich, with a full mouthfeel and notes of grain and vanilla. Buy now Kavka vodka, 70cl, 40%: £37.51, The Drink ShopThis Polish rye and wheat based vodka draws inspiration from the production methods used in the 18th and 19th century, a period in which vodka tasted truly flavoursome – according to Kavka. The antithesis of a neutral spirit which was designed to blend into the background of drinks, this has had a small amount of aged apple and plum spirits added to the mix, which delivers welcome complexity. The bottle depicts a jackdaw or “kawka” which is also the phrase people used during the prohibition when popping out for an illicit drink. Buy now Zubrowka bison grass vodka, 70cl, 40%: £16, Waitrose & PartnersWith each bottle containing a single blade of handpicked bison grass, this Polish grain-based vodka has a smooth, clean flavour profile, with distinctive herbaceous and vanilla notes. Emitting a green-tinged hue, the most popular way of serving in Poland is with cloudy apple juice, a suggestion we’d heartily second if you’re in the mood for a long, sweet drink.Buy now Belvedere vodka, 70cl, 40%: £32.95, The Whiskey ExchangeYou’ll probably be familiar with this bar cart staple, a smooth, crisp and precise vodka which works well in a multitude of cocktails. Quadruple-distilled and made from one particular strain of rye, the hard-working spirit has a creamy mouthfeel and notes of vanilla and white pepper. Consistently good, it’s the perfect base for a martini, straight up or with espresso. Buy now Beluga noble summer vodka, 70cl, 40%: £42, Harvey NicholsThis Russian vodka has been given a makeover for summer, with a new art deco-inspired bottling. It’s still a relative newbie in the world of vodka, first being released back in 2002, but in that time it’s garnered a legion of fans. Using Siberian water, it’s triple filtered through quartz and silver before being left to rest for 30 days which allows the spirit to mellow and develop a smooth, honeyed finish. You want to drink this ice cold, preferably straight from the freezer with a twist of lemon peel or shaken up in summery cocktails. Buy now Mamont vodka, 70cl, 40%: £34, OcadoWith a bottle shaped to resemble a mammoth’s tusk, this really is one for pride of place in your drinks cabinet. Created with both Siberian water and wheat, it’s triple filtered through birch charcoal for a crystal clear, extra smooth finish. The thick, creamy mouthfeel gives way to hints of liquorice and a lovely sweetness, particularly when served super cold. Buy now Pur vodka, 70cl, 46%: £46.99, SelfridgesThis exciting new Canadian vodka is picking up awards left, right and centre – it’s won World's Best Vodka an impressive five times. It’s said the quality of the Canadian water is what’s to thank for the fresh notes of mint and warming spice of cinnamon and ginger. We enjoyed it in a canada mule, a twist on the classic cocktail, made with fresh ginger and maple syrup. Buy now Konik’s Tail vodka, 70cl, 40%: £33.45, The Whiskey ExchangeMade in small batches from a combination of spelt, rye and wheat, this Polish vodka gets its name from the Polish horse depicted on the bottle. Again, silver birch charcoal is used for filtration which results in a fresh and balanced spirit. Creamy butterscotch notes make this particularly good in dessert cocktails but a dose of warm spice and black pepper add complexity. Buy now Chase original potato vodka, 70cl, 40%: £37, Chase DistilleryWhen they’re not turning their spuds into Tyrell's crisps, the Chase team are creating award-winning vodka, all from their Herefordshire, family owned farm. Each bottle contains a whopping 250 potatoes, and there is an unmistakable hint of the humble veg on the nose but overall this is a very clean, fresh spirit, albeit one with a creamy mouthfeel. Try in a ginger & honey collins by mixing vodka, lemon juice and honey with cubed ice before topping with ginger ale.Buy now Ketel One vodka, 70cl, 40%: £20, AmazonIf the only way you’re interested in drinking vodka is shaken up in a cocktail then there’s no point spending a fortune. Ketel One is a dependable base for a plethora of cocktails, thanks to its clean, mineral nose and citrusy, black pepper notes on the palate. With over 300 years under their belt, the Dutch brand consistently delivers when it comes to affordable vodka. Buy now Grey Goose vodka, 70cl, 40%: £30, SainsburysDistilled and bottled in France, Grey Goose vodka is made with just two simple ingredients, wheat from Picardie in northern France and spring water from a limestone well in Cognac. There’s a reason this premium vodka is so popular. Oh-so-creamy, it’s a delight drunk neat when well chilled but equally blends seamlessly with ingredients – we’d recommend trying it in a classic gimlet. Buy now The verdict: VodkasGiven the price, we feel that the Reyka vodka really over delivers. Not only is it making use of Iceland’s natural resources in a unique way, but it’s also super smooth, versatile and delicious. Kavka are also one to watch if you’re interested in trading in your neutral spirit for a flavoursome, traditional vodka.
Found in artisan wine bars and at industry fairs, orange wines were once only available to indie producers and trendy restaurant goers alike. However, slowly that’s changing, with many supermarkets now stocking a version. But what exactly is it?Don’t be fooled, no oranges are involved in the making of this wine. Orange wine (sometimes called skin-contact wine) is made with white grapes and left to ferment with the skins and seeds, which gives the liquid the deeper colour and textural complexity. Think of it as the red wine version of a white wine. However, rather confusingly, orange wine can vary dramatically in colour too. From cloudy lemon to dark amber, it’s a low intervention style of wine-making that’s a world away from mainstream white wines. Although recently seeing a resurgence, this style of wine making dates back thousands of years, with Georgia being a particularly big player. However, these skin-contact wines can be found all around the world, as our roundup below shows. The taste can vary considerably but generally you can expect a slightly sour and more intense flavour profile – and we find it can be quite the room divider. For that reason, orange wines can be hard to come by, with many wine merchants avoiding the tricky explanations they need to sell it to their customers. Often they could be considered as flawed. So why would we touch them? For their incredible structure, intense aromas, high tannins for starters. While these wines tend to surprise if you’re not expecting them, they are always exciting.And it’s precisely these big, bold flavours that make orange wines so incredibly food friendly. Pair it with equally strong flavours that are normally a nightmare with wine – spicy nutty curries, Moroccan spices & tagines, dishes heavy on the garlic or mustard, mature cheese, you name it, orange wine can manage it. We’ve tried to include a range of price points below, but for now, orange wines can be more on the steeper side. If you’re new to this style of wine, perhaps start with one of the entry price points and work your way up if you’re a fan – which we're confident you will be.You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. Tblvino qvevris 2016, 12%: £60 for case of six, Marks & SpencerThis orange-tinted dry wine is made from white rkatsiteli grapes and aged in Qveri, a traditional Georgian clay vessel. Pairing well with full flavoured chicken curries, thanks to its rich, textural complexity, it’s one of the darker orange wines we put to the test. Aromatic stone fruit comes to the fore, with an underlying savoury spice element that makes this disappear extremely quickly. Georgia produces excellent quality orange wines and this is no exception. We couldn’t ask for a better example at this price.Buy now Savage Grace orange gewurztraminer, 12.5%: £17.49, The Fizz CompanyNamed after winemaker Michael Savage and his wife Grace Hearn, Savage Grace comes from organic vines in America’s Washington state. Light amber in colour, this dry gewurztraminer has all the wonderfully aromatic lychee you’d expect, along with a distinctly spiced, herbal undertone. Created using sustainable farming practices in extremely small quantities, with natural yeast and minimal sulphur, it’s also suitable for vegans.Buy now Cramele Recas orange natural wine, 12.5%: £6, AsdaThe largest winery in Romania, Cramele Recas, have made their orange wine with the local, organic grape varieties of feteasca alba, tamaioasa romaneasca, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. These white grape skins have been left in contact with the juice for three weeks, in which time, complex flavours have developed which belie the price. Well structured with attractively fruity notes of pear and quince which provide freshness, this is a great introduction to orange wine if you’re new to the genre.Buy now Antonelli anteprima tonda, 2016: £24.95, JeroboamsSavoury, spicy and ever so moreish, this golden beauty dances with notes of lemon peel, plums and a touch of bitter almonds. Golden straw in colour, the wine is produced by one of the most renowned winemakers in Umbria, with 100 per cent trebbiano grapes. Well structured with refreshing acidity, it could be paired with a variety of red and white meat dishes, or equally drunk alone to enjoy its long, dry finish.Buy now Eschenhof Holzer invader orange, 2017, 12.5%: £19, WinebuyersMore wine bottles should have space invaders on the label in our opinion, however the contents doesn’t disappoint either. At just 22-years-old, Arnold Holzer took over the family vineyard and (perhaps unintentionally) left the skins on for a few weeks. Happily, it resulted in this wine with bite. Making waves in the Austrian wine scene, it’s unapologetically unusual, with a depth of earthy flavour, freshened up with orange peel and pepper. Try it with a spiced lamb dish or an equally earthy goats milk cheese with a similar tanginess.Buy now Renegade London wine bacchus on skins, 2017, 11.5%: £34, Harvey NicholsAlthough this wine is made under a railway arch in east London, the bacchus grapes themselves come from the Sixteen Ridges vineyard in Ledbury. Spending two months on skins, they’re treated to an extra four months in French oak during which time the sauvignon blanc-esque qualities will develop further, with floral, honeyed and herbaceous notes all being teased out. A big, memorable wine that’s worth the splurge.Buy now Le Soula la macération blanc no 16 vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes, 13.5%: £29.95, Berry Bros & RuddPredominantly made up of vermentino and macabeu grapes with just a touch of sauvignon blanc and malvoisie du roussillon, the biodynamic La Soula vineyard can be found in the foothills of the Pyrénées where the soil is poor and the climate extreme. As such the organic vineyard has to work hard, coming through with notes of aromatic apricot, orange skin and earl grey tea. Golden orange, it displays a wonderful minerality that lifts and refreshes.Buy now Remhoogte ‘free to be’ chenin blanc, 13%: £20.99, Wanderlust WineNot overly deep in colour, this hazy orange wine gets treated to two weeks skin contact before some time in oak where it matures before bottling. Fresh and smooth apricots and peaches pop out of the glass with notes of orange zest present on the palate. However, an underlying salinity and touch of spice keep this on the savoury side. For the price, we think it’s a real crowd-pleaser when it comes to skin-contact styles.Buy now Cullen Wines amber, 12.5%: £31, Bottle ApostleCulinary goddess Nigella Lawson is said to be a fan of this biodynamically produced orange wine, calling it “utterly fabulous” during a visit to Australia. Orange peel and honeysuckle come to the fore with an elegant minerality and structure. Deliciously complex, expect honeyed ripe oranges and a floral aroma backed up with grippy texture. Carbon neutral, the Cullen estate is naturally powered and one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in western Australia’s famous Margaret River region.Buy now Litmus orange, 11%: £17.50, Harvey NicholsBased here in the UK, Litmus are another English wine producer using bacchus grapes to create their gorgeous orange wines. Or should that be pale gold? Notes of liquorice, creamy hazelnuts and honeyed almonds contrast with a fresh grassy, citrus quality with great acidity and a decadent long finish. This happily holds its own against fatty duck, and spicy Thai dishes.Buy now The verdict: Orange winesTaking into consideration, price, complexity and drinkability, we think Marks & Spencer have hit the nail on the head with their Georgian Tblvino qvevris. Even those new to orange wines will be won over.