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The humble mince pie has been eaten and enjoyed in millions of households for centuries. Hundreds of years ago the little pies contained a mixture of fruit and meat but today we tend to eat the traditional version of the tartlet which is a pastry case filled with sweet mincemeat and spices. Our forefathers knew the tasty tarts as Christmas pies, shrid pie or mutton pie but today the Christmas treats are always referred to as mince pies and I have to admit that Mr Kipling makes a very decent offering.
In general cake of any kind goes down well, if the baking trays have a holiday then Mr Kipling cakes come in handy. The large supermarkets have great offers on the boxed cakes and the selection is varied and interesting. Little visitors love to raid the colourful cake boxes to see what they can find to go with their juice and nine times out of ten Mr Kipling comes up trumps. But..there is a but...put a mince pie box in front of those tiny fingers and the smiles soon start to vanish, those delicate pastry tartlets that are topped with sugar are seen as `adult pies`.
All of Mr Kipling's cakes are dressed well, the box is attractive to the eye and they almost force you into buying them. The deep red cardboard box contains six deep shortcrust pastry cases that are filled to the brim with the sweetest mincemeat and they are topped off with a tight fitting lid of short pastry. The pastry on top of the tarts is cooked until golden brown, it looks good and it smells heavenly. Each of the pastries has been given a little decoration and a sprinkling of caster sugar for good measure.
Mr Kipling says on the box that his pies are exceedingly merry and I for one believe him. Sainsburys have a great offer on at the moment, buy two packets for £2.60p which has to be a good deal. Each tart sits in its own little silver foil case, some would say that this is a waste of resources but the soft pastry would soon crush and fall to pieces if the foil case wasn't there to hold it together. These Christmas treats contain no artificial colours and the flavourings are natural. The soft buttery pastry contains no hydrogenated fat and the pies can be consumed by festive vegetarians.
The pastries can be served cold or they can be warmed for a minute and served with custard, cream or brandy cream if you are feeling under pressure. If you are trying to lose a few pounds then steer clear, one of these pies contains in excess of 252 calories and they are high in sugar. If your resolve fails then take comfort in the fact that all of the packaging can be recycled.
As you bite into the soft shortcrust pastry the sweet filling starts to ooze out so it is advisable to use a napkin, if you are out of napkins then a sheet of kitchen paper will suffice. The pie crust is soft and crumbly and the pastry melts in your mouth. Many store bought mincemeat pies leave an after taste but these are pure luxury. The filling in the tart is deep and generous and it looks and smells delicious. The mince meat is a mixture of fruit, peel and spices that are held together with a fragrant and sticky syrup.
The fruit is plentiful and one pie is usually sufficient but under duress I can manage two! Granted you could pay more to indulge in a pie that is deemed as a gourmet experience but I find that these pies are gourmet enough for me. Everywhere you look there are boxes of pies and pastries that claim to be the best but why pay more when Mr Kipling can offer these.
Try the pies and see for yourself. Warm a pie in the oven or the microwave, top it with double cream, brandy butter or custard and see if you can resist it.
Like many women I love to try out new cosmetics and perfumes. My make up bag is full of lotions and potions that I have purchased and some have been more successful than others. In general the Boots No 7 range is fairly decent, the range offers good quality cosmetics at affordable prices. I had seen the No 7 Essentially natural foundation in the chemist but decided not to buy it before using up other foundation creams that I have already bought. My niece loves her skin creams and facial products, she had already purchased some of this No 7 foundation and had decided it wasn't for her.
I know that we should never judge a book by it's cover but this foundation cream does not come in the prettiest of packaging. The grey plastic tube is basic, it has a screw on top and the product information is imprinted in gold lettering. Some would say that the packaging is classic but in my books it is pretty uninteresting. The tube holds 40ml of the No 7 Essentially natural mineral foundation cream and if you were to buy that it would cost in the region of £13.50. The mineral foundation cream claims to offer lightweight hydration for a healthy looking finish.
The cream comes in six shades, my tube is 225 beige. The cream is fairly fluid and it flows easily from the tube. The foundation cream is light and soft to the touch and it doesn't feel powdery. The silky lotion smells pleasant too. If anything the cream flows a bit too easily, making it a bit difficult to squeeze out the right amount without wasting. I always apply my foundation cream using my fingertips and this lotion is so light that it glides onto the skin.
After applying a layer of moisturiser I add a few dabs of the No 7 mineral cream. The foundation is cream in colour but it looks dark against my skin. I have pale dry skin and this cream looks positively muddy. As I start to smooth the foundation cream into my skin the `muddiness` clears, the foundation is easy to apply and it blends into the skin within seconds. After applying one light coat of cream and blending it in it would seem that the Boots No 7 mineral foundation has all but vanished.
The cream contains a ceramide complex and sodium hyaluronate to help keep the skin moist. Many facial products make the surface of the skin feel taut and dry but this is not one of them, after applying a layer of the mineral cream my skin feels moist, soft and supple and the light perfume from the cream is pleasing. A second look in the mirror tells me that the coverage is not all that it should be, my face looks a bit patchy. The mineral foundation cream is still moist enough to move around so I try to smooth out the patches using my fingertips. The cream refuses to co-operate until I use a make up sponge to blend it in and the end result is good.
One layer of the mineral foundation cream offers a very light coverage that does nothing for my skin so I apply another layer. The second layer makes all the difference, the coverage is good and my skin looks fine. The cream has semi-covered some minor skin imperfections and small veins. This foundation leaves the skin looking fresh and natural not clogged and dull. My face doesn't feel taut, dry or uncomfortable either.
The Boots No 7 mineral foundation cream is fine although it maybe not my number one choice. I have found that the foundation rubs off easily and leaves the collars of my tops quite marked but those marks seem to wash away easily. The cream is easy to remove at the end of the day too, it washes away with ease. Boots state that the cream is hypo-allergenic and that it will not block skin pores. The cream contains a semi-precious gem complex ( this includes a mixture of Ruby, Sapphire and Amethyst, these minerals help to create a natural finish. The foundation also contains SPF 15 to help protect the skin from sunlight.
The Boots No 7 mineral foundation cream is fine, having tried this foundation I maybe wouldn't rush out to buy a second tube but a 40 ml tube is going to go a very long way.
Sheringham is situated on the North coast of Norfolk and we have frequently visited the bustling town, sometimes just for the day but we have also spent holidays there. If you choose to visit Sheringham for the day then be prepared to travel early, parking space is limited.
If you listen to the locals they will tell you that Sheringham is `Twixt pine and sea` and in layman's terms that means that Sheringham lays between the countryside and the coast.
The picturesque coastal town is quite enchanting and it is not overly commercialised as some seaside towns can be.
We stayed for a week in a small but well cared for cottage that was tucked away in the backwaters and we enjoyed very minute of it. The town is quite spread out and there is quite a steep climb up into the marketplace, along the way the route is lined with gift shops, ice cream parlours, tea-rooms and restaurants.
We were overjoyed to find that the local theatre was staging a play which we were able to go and watch. Sheringham Little theatre shows films, it stages piano recitals and concerts, it has quite a busy agenda and there is a comprehensive website if you want to check what is on if you intend visiting the area.
The local ice cream is delicious as are the afternoon cream teas and some of the gift shops are delightful.
There are various pubs along the way, we found that The Crown ( on the seafront) provided us with a good hearty meal, plain but good `pub grub` that was well within budget.
We also dined at The Wyndham Arms , excellent food, real ales and a lovely atmosphere. After we had eaten we discovered that the local male voice choir were holding their rehearsals in the pub outhouse. It was a honour to be asked to listen in, the `Sheringham Shantymen` were fabulous and we came away very happy bunnies after buying their latest CD which is sold in aid of the RNLI.
Although the relatively small town was busy during our peak season visit it was still enjoyable and very bearable. Each morning we were able to walk down to the sea and stroll along the front, there is a well constructed promenade that runs along the front of the water and periodically there are benches where you can sit down and have a breather.
The beach is super-clean and very well cared for, the spacious beach is patrolled by lifeguards and First -aid is always at hand. The RNLI play a big part in the town and undoubtedly you will notice some lifeboat men during your visit.
Dogs are allowed on the beach at certain times of the year but otherwise they have to be kept on their leads.
The sea can look quite menacing, I took a walk when the waves were thrashing on the rocks, the water looked mysterious yet magical.
The beach is sandy but the shail that gathers at the top is fascinating to explore, I enjoyed searching for unusual pebbles, it always seems essential to take home just that one pebble as a souvenier.
Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy a walk, the Beach Hut Cafe is open early, you can buy a cuppa and sit outside and watch the sea while you enjoy drinking it.
We may not always have a huge amount of sunshine here in the UK but we do have areas of outstanding natural beauty and sitting on Sherringham promenade watching the world go by is about as relaxing as it gets.
At the top of the town on Station Approach there is a good putting green, to the rear of the putting green is the North Norfolk railway and you will hear the steam trains running in the background.
The RNLI have a museum in the town and we paid them a visit, there were ex-lifeboatmen there who were only too happy to tell us anything that we wanted to know.
There is also an RNLI gift shop in the High street, they have some charming gifts and the money all goes to a very worthwhile cause.
In a little lane leading off of the High street I came across a small shop that was filled with second-hand jewellery and of course I was fascinated.
I stayed and passed the time of day with the owner, Rose was a remarkable saleswoman and I came out the proud owner of a new dress ring !
On Sunday morning when we idly wandered down to the beach front we were in for a real surprise, there was a vintage car rally in the car park. The men were all flocking to examine the motors and to drool over them.
We came across a wonderful art gallery that was holding an exhibition, in we went - no intention of purchasing but the paintings were superb.
A good rummage in the local antique shop turned up a good copper lustre jug as a present for my Mum.
Our visits to Sheringham have always been enjoyable, we may have had to pack a jersey and a mac but we can live with that. The town is friendly, go into the shops and you will soon see that for yourselves. Sheringham is well situated for visiting other attractions, we enjoyed a day out at Sandringham and another at the Muckleburgh Millitary museum.
Sheringham is an ideal place for family holidays or days out, it may be slightly different to other seaside towns but it still has a Penny Arcade ( every seaside has to have one!)
Check it out - a good place to go.
Moss cottage is situated on the Nottingham Road as you are entering Ripley in Derbyshire. Over a number of years we have often visited the restaurant for the Sunday carvery lunch as we have been passing through, on the whole most of our visits have been successful but there has been the odd blot on the landscape.
If you are not familiar with the area there is every chance that you would pass by without even realising that Moss Cottage existed. The building is not an architectural wonder but it is tidy and well maintained with plenty of parking space. Within the last couple of years they have added guest rooms to the rear of the building and when I have been dining there I have walked past a smart conference room.
The main front entrance has two doors leading off of it, the left-hand entrance door will take you straight into the restaurant, choose the right hand door and you will find yourself in the compact bar area.
We have only ever called in for a meal on the off chance and we have always been accommodated, though you can book in advance.
The bar area is small and there are a few tables and chairs where you can sit and enjoy a drink before you eat. Once you are seated for your meal then the waiting staff will bring you any other drinks that you need.
The bar area may be small but the the restaurant is bright and spacious and very clean, the décor would not appeal to everyone but the best way to describe it is homely. The central part of the dining room is filled with tables and to the sides there are booths that mean you can dine in relative privacy.
The furnishings are modest and functional and we have always enjoyed our meal in good clean surroundings, served by courteous staff. The tables are covered with crisp white tablecloths, the place mats are spotlessly clean and the cutlery shines.
The restaurant caters for all ages and it does have special rates for pensioners ( on certain days)
There are high chairs and the restaurant welcomes families. Both the bar and the restaurant are wheelchair friendly.
Locally the restaurant is respected as a good place to enjoy an early evening meal.
Moss Cottage have an A la carte menu and some other `specials` advertised on a chalk board. On our last visit we took Mum with us who is a vegetarian and to be honest the choice for her was slightly limited but she in the end she thoroughly enjoyed a salmon dish.
We both chose the carvery meal, my husband had the large carvery and I had the smaller serving. All three of our meals were under £8 a head which if you enjoy what you eat has to be good value for money.
The carvery area is small and if the restaurant is busy then you do have to be prepared to queue to get your meal. The nicely crisped roast potatoes were in big demand that day and although the chef insisted he was running short my husband was adamant that he needed more than one large roast potato on his plate and he was duly given three super `roasties`. Yorkshire pudding and stuffing is freely available and then the chef asks you which meat you would prefer, on offer that day was beef, lamb and pork. All of the meat looked and smelled delicious and we both enjoyed a plentiful helping of roast pork.
The vegetables are kept warm in a Bain-Marie and I do feel that the selection and presentation of the vegetables could be bettered.
Carrots are a mainstay, cabbage is often served but it is a green vegetable that doesn't take kindly to being kept warm for long periods, invariably the cabbage tends to soften a little bit too much.
On past visits we have enjoyed hot new potatoes, complete with skins but there have been times when they have been replaced by plain boiled potatoes which can look a bit unappetising. There is a good choice of basic vegetables which usually include swede, parsnip, cauliflower and leeks ( often in white sauce)
The plates are always hot, so your food stays warm for you to enjoy and once your meat, roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding are on the hot white china plate then you can hep yourselves to as many vegetables as you can eat.
The gravy is tasty and hot and you ladle it out onto your meal yourself.
The desserts are delicious, although on the whole they are ready prepared frozen desserts never the less they are very indulgent. The large creamy cheesecakes, chocolate gateaux and fruity puds are housed in a smart dessert counter and the jug of cream is always at hand.
The restaurant also offers hot puddings but we find them too filling after a large lunch.
The staff bring your bill at the end of your meal and I have to say that we have never felt rushed in fact there have been times when we have stayed on and had an extra cup of coffee.
There are facilities to pay by card if you wish.
If you are visiting the area then Moss cottage is worth a visit, the meals are not extravagant or expensive and I feel that the restaurant lends itself toward family dining. There is no need for best bib and tucker, if you are wearing your jeans and a tee shirt you will not feel out of place.
Moss cottage is well situated if you are visiting Derbyshire, a stones throw away from many attractive small towns and villages.
It would be hard to guess that in between the old mining towns of Ilkeston and Heanor lay 600 acres of unspoilt countryside that is completely free for all to explore.
Shipley Park is one of those places that can have a lot of appeal to families who have to entertain children during the school holidays and the only cost that you incur is a 50p parking charge which is paid via an Honesty box that sits at the entrance to the park.
Other than that you could pack a picnic and take the whole family for an outing without ever opening your wallet, that has to be a rarity !
Shipley Park is a popular place for dog walkers, ramblers, nature lovers, birdwatchers and families alike. I must say that the park is very well maintained and I have never yet had the misfortune to step in anything left behind by pooches in too much of a hurry.
As the Spring approaches the park will soon start to come to life and it is good to walk and pass the time of day with other wanderers.
The park is frequented by avid anglers who often compete in organised Angling competitions, if you enjoy watching our feathered friends then there are many `bird hides` throughout the park.
A bridleway runs along the edge of the park too and there are many horse riders who make good use of the facility.
In one particular area of the park there is a beautiful lake but be aware that before you realise it you have rounded the corner and the lake is straight in front of you - time to hold on to those curious little folk . Take some of that stale loaf of bread because the ducks are ready and waiting.
Shipley Park has a good sized visitor centre which is used for many purposes, the Countryside Rangers hold their meetings there and the community use it to hold meetings in.
If you are a cricket fanatic then you may well be able to watch a match during the season as the park is home to a very pretty cricket ground.
The visitor centre has a shop and you can buy drinks, ice creams and snacks in there too, we normally take along whatever we are going to eat so this is an area that we have never explored to any great extent.
Inside of the Visitor centre you will find on site information and there are heaps of leaflets if you love to look what is going in the area.
The Visitor centre and the toilets have disabled access and the majority of the park can be enjoyed by all. Of course there may be a few odd paths that would be difficult to push a wheelchair or a pushchair through but that applies to many places.
We visit the park to enjoy the brisk walk, if we are fortunate the weather is kind and if we are not then we just don our macs and get on with it ! The fresh air is clear, clean and often bracing, once you start to walk along the man made paths you can wander until your hearts content.
Do make sure to keep a look out for the grey squirrels and listen to see how many different birds you can hear singing.
If you have taken a picnic and a drink then there are picnic tables provided, large family sized wooden tables with benches attached .
Everywhere you go there are well appointed waste bins and dog bins, after all why would anyone want to litter up such a wonderful place.
As you walk along the many pathways see how many outdoor sculptures you can see, some of the sculptures are huge and quite unusual too. If one or another of you needs to sit down for the odd few minutes then there are plenty of benches lining the routes.
If you or your family are keen on the outdoor life then Shipley Park will undoubtedly be a good place for you to visit. As a visitor you have to make your own entertainment and I appreciate that the park is not going to be to everyone's taste.
Take a look on the Derbyshire County Councils website and you can download the 2010 events list, the events include children's Treasure Hunts ( Entrance fee £1 ), Teaser trails, with clues along the way ( again £1 entrance fee ), organised rambles, map reading meetings, fungi hunts, a family art day and a family craft day, ( both are free).
Nature trails and Nature festivals are on the cards, jogging for beginners ( again all free ) and a very important Easter egg hunt .
If you look at the downloaded sheet it gives you lots of useful information about the forthcoming events, last year I went to the Art day and it was great so I will be going back this year.
If you by any chance lived within driving distance of Shipley Park then it could prove to be a very valuable place to visit during the long school holidays, take a football or some cricket bats, a bite to eat and a drink and the kids can let off their steam.
If you can manage to take the kids bicycles then there are acres to cycle around and you often see whole families enjoying a cycle ride.
If you are happy with the simple life then you will enjoy Shipley Park.
Shirley Country Park,
Telephone - 01773 719961
Easter is only just around the corner, I have already nipped into Sainsbury's to take advantage of the three chocolate Easter eggs for a fiver but I usually buy Mia and Nathan an extra little gift too.
I had no intentions of spending a fortune on another toy that would be thrown into the toy box after an hour but I wanted to find a toy that they could share and enjoy.
When I saw the Chad Valley cash register on the Argos website I knew that the present wouldn't last until Easter, I was longing to hand it over to them to have some fun with.
Mia is the elder child and she loves to be in charge, Mia really enjoys playing shops and the game always seems to involve her little brother Nathan in some way or another.
They have a fair collection of toy `food` and their Mum saves all of the empty cardboard boxes and plastic tubs reseals them and they are an essential part of their `shop`.
It can be good fun to listen in when Mia and her friends ( with Nathan in tow ) start to play shops, the banter is hilarious. All of them want to be the shopkeeper so there is a bit of a fight at the beginning of the game!
At the moment they have been using an old chocolate finger tin as their cash register and they are allowed to have some brass coinage as well as some old Monopoly money that acts as notes.
I saw the Chad Valley cash register and quickly realised that this had to be the ideal Easter gift and at £9.99 it was not out of my price range either.
Chad Valley recommend that the toy is for ages three and above. I must add though that the cash register is not that large, the box looks bigger but when you open it you realise that the bits and pieces are packed on top of the cash register.
The cash register is really funky looking, the main part of the durable plastic casing is a bright daffodil yellow and the keypad on the front is blue with bright yellow buttons, in fact the whole set up looks really eye catching. The cash register has an inbuilt scanning unit that sits to the left of the keypad the scanner does have a red light on it )and the actual drawer for the cash is in green plastic, the drawer has three sections, one for notes and two for coins. The coin sections are fine but the larger drawer at the back for the notes would have been better if it was a little larger, the notes are a bit crammed in.
Chad Valley have had the forethought and they have included a bit of plastic play money and a few notes, a few items of food for the customers and a little plastic basket for the customers to put their shopping into. The thing that made me really giggle was the plastic credit card that was in the pack ! And believe it or not there is a swipe mechanism on the till just to make it all the more realistic.
The cash register needs two AA batteries, now these do not come supplied so make sure that you have a couple to hand, the batteries are essential because they activate the noises of the scanner as it `beeps` and when you swipe the credit card the machine plays a little tune.
We were more than happy to be invited to the first shopping session and of course Mia was the checkout girl. I feel that Chad Valley have designed this toy really well, the sounds are so realistic. I was next in the queue and Mia calculated my bill by adding it up on the keypad, which then realistically calculates it and shows the sum total on the digital display unit above the keypad.
The whole scenario was quite `real`, the checkout girl took my money, she was looking very serious until I said to her that girls who worked on tills were supposed to smile !, then she took my paper money, pressed the till open button and her face was a picture and the drawer went `bring` and popped open. To her credit she did take some time to examine the numbers on the keypad before she took my money but the inbuilt calculator could make a useful maths tool.
In a very professional manner Mia dealt with my transaction and gave me my change then it was on to the next customer who just happened to be Nathan who was hanging onto Mum wailing that he wanted a go!
So Chad Valley have created a very realistic toy that is fabulous for role play, the cash register is quite durable and it needs to be if it is going to stand the test of time.
The bleeping, pinging and the melodies that it plays enable the game to be even more realistic. I am going to find some more plastic money for them because the coins seem to go `walkies` quite easily and if they have shopping outing that involve friends then they will need some more coinage.
For the cashier there are some valuable lessons to be learned, as I have already said I said to Mia that cashiers have to be pleasant to their customers ( how long that idea will last I do not know ) and the of course the cashier is in charge and that gives them certain responsibilities.
I asked if I could have my goods `on tick`, of course Mia had no idea what I was talking about but when I fully explained that I wanted to pay later she was quite indignant.
A brilliant toy for the imagination, the kids can have great fun and games ( so can the adults!)
Playing shops involves developing social skills, you need to be a patient `queuer`, you may have to pass the time of day with others in the queue, the cashier needs to keep a level head and a smile on his/her face and of course there may be the odd customer that you refuse to serve !
All in all a wonderful toy, the one and only small hitch is that you can only have the one cashier and they just have to take turns.
This basic Chad Valley toy is well worth the money and it is such good fun.
Bobbi Brown has a great philosophy, she feels that we all ought to love ourselves just the way we are. I agree with her wholeheartedly, there are so many of us who strive to be something that we will never be ( at different times throughout my life that included me !).
Have you ever seen a photo of Bobbi Brown, she is a very attractive woman who has carved herself a successful career as a make up artist.
Love her cosmetics and her way of thinking is really upbeat, in fact her positive outlook is pretty inspirational. Bobbi is a great believer in exercise, healthy eating, drinking gallons of water, not smoking, telling the truth, not giving in, reading to broaden the horizons, being nice to others and last but not least being punctual.
Good standards to maintain although I have to confess that I would fall at the first fence with a few of them.
Debenhams stock quite a range of the Bobbi Brown cosmetics and fragrances and I have to admit that they are not the cheapest of the bunch. But to a certain extent good make-up, make-up removers and moisturisers are a wise buy. The different phases in our life command different types of cosmetics and for me each decade seems to have brought about skin changes that need dealing with in very different ways.
Removing waterproof eye make-up can be tough. Waterproof mascara is great, I find it works well for me. My drawer is like a walking advertisement for mascara's, if there is a new kid on the block then I do like to try it out.
All in all I find that the non waterproof mascara's seem to smudge underneath my eyes causing the smudgy black mascara to find its way into the creases under my lower lids, so I prefer to use a waterproof mascara to try to avoid this annoying problem.
The only down side of waterproof mascara is removing it, it can be stubborn and it can take more pressure to remove it. If you use extra pressure on the skin underneath your eyes then the chances are that the papery thin skin will object to the extra pressure and after a while it can have an adverse affect, so the gentler the cleaner the better.
Must admit that I baulked a little at the price of the Bobbi Brown waterproof eye make up remover but I know that one small bottle will last for months, so it economic in the long run.
The small bottle costs just over £14 ( 100mls ) but considering that you are literally using a spot on a cotton wool ball to clean one eye then logic tells you that it is not really extravagant.
Bobbi Brown likes the simple approach and that's reflected in her style of packaging. The waterproof eye make-up remover comes in a clear glass bottle with a plain black plastic screw top.
On the bottle there is the Bobbi Brown logo and then above that is her name, information printed on the bottle tells you that the remover is to remove long wear make-up.
The eye make-up remover is not really much to write home about, it is clear, it feels slightly oily and it has very little smell attached to it.
The remover does contain Jojoba oil ( this is a natural oil that is extracted from the evergreen bush seeds, Jojoba oil has great moisturising powers and the oil itself is quite silky, if you use Olive oil then the Jojoba oil is not as thick as Olive oil.
Jojoba oil also helps to protect delicate skin - apparently it makes a very good hair oil too.
I always use cotton wool balls to remove my eye make-up, the soft cotton fibres go easy on the under eye area.
You only need a tiny spot of the Bobbi Brown eye make-up remover, don't be tempted to flood the cotton wool because you will be throwing your hard earned money in the bin once you have cleaned your mascara off. Just a spot of the oil is sufficient to clean away the remains of the day.
I don't know how you work but I always start off at the inside and work out, so I glide the ready prepared cotton wool ball along the length of my eye and then repeat as necessary.
The Jojoba oil leaves tired eyes feeling good and it has a soothing and calming effect, I have never experienced any problems whilst using the eye make-up remover.
Once you start to clean the mascara away you are moisturising your eyelashes too.
The remover is not an irritant, in fact it is the opposite, it soothes as it cleans.
Once all of the mascara has been removed - and it comes off with ease then you need to rinse off the skin with lukewarm water.
Bobbi Brown has tested the long wear eye make-up remover ( dermatologist and ophthalmologist ) and it is suitable for contact lens wearers.
It's good and it works really well but it would be very much appreciated if the price was a bit lower.
Patchwork is a fascinating hobby, it can be a very inexpensive hobby or on the other hand you can go to the other extreme and make it a very expensive hobby. I prefer to stay somewhere in the middle using new and recycled pieces of fabric working side by side to create plenty of interest.
If you are turning out a few drawers then that can be the ideal time to recycle some fabric, I know that many articles of cotton clothing have ended up being cut down and reused for patching.
But I feel that it is good to incorporate different types of fabric in a piece of work, fine woollen material works well beside cotton fibres and in general if the fabric looks good and works in well with the flow of the colour scheme then I will use it. There could be some who would say that makes life difficult when it comes to washing the finished article but on the whole I have found that as long as the fabric is washed in cool water it comes to no harm.
I love going to household auctions and jumble sales and these type of venues seem to throw up some interesting fabric that can set the creative juices flowing. Often a piece of patchwork can be inspired by colour, you start off using two or three random colours and before you know it you are eagerly dipping your hand into your scrap bag to find a piece of fabric that co-ordinates and that starts the whole ball rolling.
I enjoy random patchwork, I love to feel the texture of the different fabric and I never follow the rule book. In my eyes the piece of work is solely for my enjoyment and I want to maximise the pleasure by using my artistic license. Over the years I have even started to add fabric inserts from vintage greetings cards, pieces that have been cut from lavish head scarves, Victorian lace that has come from the auction houses, squares of damask table napkins or fabric that has come from favourite out of date clothing.
If you are a regular charity shop hunter then look out for the old embroidered tablecloths, the embroidered sections can make extremely interesting additions to any piece of work.
Some quilters love to work to a set pattern, take a look on the Internet and you will see some spectacular patchwork quilts, some of the old American patchwork is worked into wonderful patterns and the colours are really vibrant.
The style and the design can vary according to the region and one of the oldest pieces of quilted patchwork - dated 1708, sits on a bed at Levens Hall, Cumbria. This piece of patchwork was lavish, it was created from pieces of Indian chintz.
If you think about it there was much class distinction even in the world of patchwork, the wealthy had decorative quilts that were elaborately worked and these quilts were seen as befitting of their status. The working class poor had to make do and mend and patchwork was seen as a way of making do, cloth that still had life in it was never discarded, it was reworked into a bed cover.
In the past I have sold some of my quilts, some have been sold here in the UK and others have gone abroad, so I am no different to the women of yesteryear who in the 1920's and 1930's formed sewing circles to produce quilts to sell on to the wealthy in order to make ends meet.
The amount of equipment needed is minimal, you will need a good sharp pair of scissors, a card of sewing needles, some reels of thread and some oddments of fabric. The initial outlay is peanuts and that is why patchwork is such an attractive proposition. If you start a new hobby and spend hundreds of pounds on new equipment only to find that the hobby is not quite what you thought it was going to be then you have made a heavy financial loss but there is virtually next to no loss if you find that patchwork is not for you.
You need no special tuition, you can follow your instinct and you can let your creative juices run riot. I like to make it fun, if I feel that a pink square slots in between a blue and a yellow square and looks good then that is my decision, I am in charge of my own destiny !
My home has no craft room, I have to work in my lounge and that room is by no means very large. I work on my lap in the comfort of my armchair whilst I listen to the radio or the television.
It used to be fashionable to use paper piecings in between the layers - I will explain myself.
Once the square ( or shape) of fabric had been cut to the correct size it was then lined with a piece of paper, the paper stayed in place and when the backing was sewn onto the quilt that paper acted as a form of insulation. Years ago they used whatever paper was to hand so you can imagine there there have been some wonderful finds as the ancient quilts have been examined. Some have contained pieces of personal paperwork, there have been linings made from diary pages and old newspapers, I would have loved to have been there when the historian examined them.
My quilts starts life as four central squares, I love to work in three inch squares, the finished effect is pleasing. I prefer not to work to a uniform fabric pattern, this encourages colour exploration and you soon get used to harmonising the colours.
I only ever hand stitch my quilts, I see them as a complete labour of love and some of the quilts have taken many, many hours to work. The larger quilts can take months to complete but even when you have assembled the face of the quilt you still have the backing to stitch on.
If you want to you can use a lightweight wadding in between the face of the quilt and the backing, if you choose to do this you will have a heavy but warm winter cover for your bed.
If you feel daunted at the thought of constructing a full size quilt or you feel it is far too big a project to take on for a first time venture then kick off by making a patchwork miniature, maybe a purse or a key fob. This will be a taster for you as well as being a challenge and you will soon know if patchwork is for you.
You can buy ready made patchwork templates but I prefer to cut my own, all you need is a sheet of card and a tape measure. The size and shape that you want to work with is in your hands but remember it could be easier to start off with simple shapes to begin with.
Just a half an hours drive away from us we have a little shop that would be paradise for many patchworkers, they stock the bolts of printed cotton fabric that has become so popular but that fabric works out on average about £10 a metre. In my opinion that would make the hobby an expensive game.
Going back to the year 2000, many groups and communities enjoyed creating a special Millennium quilt to commemorate the year 2000. I know that our local Women's Institute exhibited the quilt that they had made in the local library and it was stunning.
If I had to pick one of the most unusual quilts that I have ever encountered then I would have to say that it would be the Yo-yo quilt ( otherwise known as the Suffolk Puff quilt).
This pattern is quite bizarre yet intriguing, the quilt consists of hand shirred circles that are joined together at the edges, Yo-yo quilts are more often than not really colourful and as the name intimates they are meant to be fun.
During the 1920's the women used to carry fabric, needle and thread in their pockets and in spare moments they would sew a Yo-yo circle to add to their ever growing quilt.
Vintage patchwork quilts are highly desirable and the original Victorian patchwork quilts can command high prices. I can see the attraction of owning a Victorian quilt but they are above and beyond what I am willing to pay.
A patchwork quilt can be a very personal thing to own and if you make one yourself then you can make sure that it is as personal as you want it to be.
Just imagine a quilt that contains fabric that is full of good memories, instead of parting with clothing that has been outgrown use it to work with and make your family an heirloom quilt.
If you are expecting a baby then a patchworker cot or pram quilt looks lovely, plus they don't take very long to make. If you are interested in learning more about the hobby then there are plenty of books in the local libraries and they cost nothing to borrow.
Patchwork is a relaxing but productive hobby and I have always enjoyed sitting quilting.
Seeing as I have just been singing the praises of Benefit cosmetics I have been rifling though my make-up drawer to see what else I could find to tell you about!
I pulled out one of the tubes of Benefit Silky lipstick that I had bought from Boots quite some time ago and maybe this is one of their products that I had mixed feelings about.
The casing is really nice, the slimline black twist mechanism casing is really shiny, as always Benefit have thought long and hard about the design of the case and they have incorporated that retro look into it. The major part of the casing is shiny black then at the very base of the casing there are a few good sized white swirls, underneath the part where the casing twists to allow the lipstick to be screwed up Benefit have stamped their logo on in white lettering to match the swirls.
Benefit chose to make the lipstick in two different formats, there are some shades in pearlised colours and the remainder are just in creamy colours.
When I was younger pearly colours were fine but as I have matured I find that pearlised lippy just looks so wrong, the shimmer starts to bleed into the creases and the whole effect is not for me.
If I am applying lipstick from a case then I will usually use a brush to put it on, if I apply it straight from the tube it never seems to last very long.
First of all I brush one light coat into place and then seal it in with a matching lip liner, after that has sat for a minute or two then I like to apply a second coat to make sure that the colour stays for as long as possible.
Benefit have definitely made sure that the lipstick is really enriched with moisturiser and as you apply it the lipstick feels a little bit oily. I don't find that a major problem because my skin is always glad of anything that moisturises.
But the problem comes when you are trying to let the first layer settle enough to apply an outline. I know that a lot of women like to apply the lip liner first and then add the lipstick after the liner is in place but I find it far easier to work the other way around. It does take a little bit of patience to wait for the first layer to dry off sufficiently to let you apply the second layer but you can speed up the whole process by blotting it lightly with a clean tissue.
Once the first layer is on you will notice that the skin on your lips develops a good hint of colour so when you begin to apply the second layer then you can see the colour really start to build.
My tube of Benefit silky finish lipstick is called `My Treat` and that is one of the cream lipsticks.
Once the two layers are in place the effect is quite good but there is only one small problem, if you want that creamy, lush look to last then you need to keep topping it up.
On a day to day basis I would always look for a lip colour that has staying power and that is why I own so many lip colour pencils, they seem to have a far longer lasting effect.
If you are going out for the evening and you only want the effect to last a short while then the Benefit Silky Finish is lovely. I found that the creamy lipstick didn't bleed and it didn't work its way into the corners of my mouth as some can do.
The colour range is wide and contemporary but there are a few colours that are fine for mature skin.
The lipstick comes in at about £12 a time, so it is not cheap but then again you can expect to pay a lot more for some ranges.
Colour ? Ten out of ten.
Finished effect ? Ten out of ten.
Staying power ? Needs to be reapplied frequently.
Once the initial application has worn off I found that the colour that was left on my lips looked flat and uninteresting, if Benefit could make this longer lasting then it would be a five star product.
Some of the cheaper kitchen roll can often turn out to be false economy, only last month I bought a pack of four kitchen rolls for £1 and Boy, did I rue the day.
The kitchen rolls were a brand that I had never come across before and when I picked the packet up the actual paper felt quite strong, but how wrong can you be, the kitchen roll was totally useless and I have donated it to the Other Half to use in his shed.
I am not a fusspot when it comes down to choosing my kitchen roll, I don't have to have lemons dancing around the edge of each sheet and I am not particularly concerned if the paper is a tad thinner but it does need to be absorbent to a point.
How many times when you are working away in the kitchen do you reach out for a sheet of kitchen roll to wipe the work surface or soak up a spillage or just to wipe your hands, well for me the answer to that is easy, I would be lost without any kitchen roll.
I often stuff a couple of sheets into my handbag to use as tissues as I am heading towards the front door to go out.
The Asda Smartprice jumbo kitchen rolls are a reasonably smart buy, there is nothing remotely fancy about the product and they work out at about £1.10 for a twin pack.
So, if you are in search of a super model kitchen roll that will do your holder justice then this is not the one for you.
You pay a plain price and Asda give you a plain and simple product that is functional and the sheets are large which pleases me no end.
The outer plastic wrapper is just clear plastic that can be recycled and the inner cardboard tubes can also be stuck into the recycling bin.
The jumbo sized roll of paper probably looks to hold far more than it actually does, the paper is loosely rolled and that can give the impression that you are getting more than your moneys worth. But having said that there is still a very decent amount of kitchen roll on each cardboard tube.
Adsa have used recycled paper and that always seems to be a little bit coarser but given that the kitchen roll is only going to be used and then in many cases disposed of straight after use then it would be silly to worry too much about the texture of the paper.
The paper is not pure white, it is slightly tinged and it does feel a little bit coarser but that does not affect the powers of absorbency.
The Asda Smartprice kitchen roll can cope with spilt drinks, mucky work surfaces and floor spillages. It absorbs the moisture quite quickly but if you are expecting the paper to cope with a heavy spillage then you might need to use three or four sheets rolled together.
Once the Asda kitchen roll is wet it is still strong enough to stay in one piece, there is nothing more frustrating than getting half way to the kitchen bin and finding that the wet kitchen roll has broken apart and half of it is laying in soggy lumps on the floor!
If you are having a snack then a sheet of the paper towel makes an very good makeshift napkin and if you are going to be out and about with the little ones then it can be excellent for dealing with `chocolate chops`.
It can be handy to keep a spare kitchen roll in the car too.
I personally don't find that the Asda Smartprice kitchen roll is very good for buffing household appliances because the recycled paper seems to be a bit too rough to leave a good shine in its wake but apart from that the product is fine.
Oh the weather has been unkind to us all lately and I have found myself turning to the store cupboard rather than venture out in the freezing cold winds ( having said that we are very lucky compared to some ).
Now, this packet of Wright's premium white bread mix has been sat idling in the larder for a couple of months, the bread bin was looking decidedly empty, so the packet of bread mix seemed an easy way out. I have been quite curious about the mix, would it work? Would the bread be edible? And now was as good a time as any to try it out.
The 500g packet of Wright's premium white bread mix has step by step instructions written on the back of the packet and those instructions are clear as a bell, they cover using the bread mix in a bread machine, making the bread by hand and there is also a recipe for a pizza base.
Good to see that Wright's have packed the bread mix straight into a thick paper bag that can be recycled and the bag is quite stylish too.
I fancied making my bread by hand, if you bake bread in the conventional way using flour and fresh yeast it is an enjoyable but labour intensive process and I feel that many would avoid it at all costs simply because it is too time consuming.
The method could not be easier, you just tip the contents of the bag into a bowl and add 320mls of lukewarm water, then you take a wooden spoon and work the bread mix and flour in together until it forms a ball. I found that this only took a couple of minutes and the process was easy.
The next step is to leave the ball of dough to relax on the work surface for five minutes. Then flour the same surface and give the dough a good knead through for a few minutes. The dough is a good creamy colour and it feels very soft and pliable as you work it.
Once you have finished kneading then leave the ball of dough to rest again for a further five minutes.
The next step is the important one, the dough needs to prove, so you put the ball of soft creamy dough into a greased loaf tin, cover it with a damp tea towel or cling film if you prefer and then put it in a warm place for about half an hour.
I covered my dough with a damp tea towel and put it down beside the radiator, at that stage you can really smell the yeast and that smell is very good.
The dough will start to rise and after thirty minutes you will see a significant change in the size of the ball of dough. About thirty minutes later the ball of dough will have about doubled in size and then it is ready to go into the pre-heated oven. ( 210 Celsius )
Once the dough went into the oven I could soon smell the bread baking, although the smell is not as strong as when you bake bread from scratch.
I put nothing on the crust before I baked it but the crust browned really well and when the loaf was removed from the oven it looked delicious. The outer crust was crunchy and it was hard not to take the bread knife to the loaf there and then.
As the bread cooled the crust started to soften slightly but it still remained inviting.
My loaf sliced really well, I was able to cut a neat slice and the texture of the bread was excellent. The bread had plenty of air but the air was well distributed, the crust was just as it should be and the butter spread well.
The bread is highly moreish and in my opinion it is equally as good as any that you would buy from the bakery.
I always store my bread in the larder, it is cool and I find that the bread stays fresh for that little bit longer. Come the next day there was little left of the loaf and I can truly say that it was highly appreciated.
The ingredients contain a mixture of dried yeast, wheat flour, oils, vegetable fat, chickpea flour and some preservatives.An average slice of the bread contains108 calories.
There are allergy warnings and they include yeast, wheat gluten and sesame seeds. Wrights bread is suitable for vegetarians.
Would I buy it again? I most certainly will be buying it again. The 500g packet of bread flour cost me around 80p, it had a six month shelf life which means that it could be bought and stored.
Once the bread has been baked it can be frozen and it is really simple to produce.
I appreciate that you can buy a two pound loaf of bakery bread from the supermarket for around £1 and there is no work attached to it but the loaf of bread that you can bake from the 500g bag of Wright's bread flour is very good and it is bread that can be baked within the hour if you ever needed to.
If we listen to the birdsong it is official, Spring is around the corner. I for one cannot wait to see the lighter brighter days and the thought of spending some time in the garden is wonderful.
Like most, my garden tools have been redundant over the winter months, they have been hanging in the shed cleaned, oiled and raring to go.
My favourite hand trowel is one that belonged to my Mother, it is ancient and a bit battered to say the very least but it is still functional after all these years.
In readiness for the Spring I like to look at all of the new garden equipment, that is advertised on the Internet and if there is something that I fancy I usually buy it, providing that it is just a basic tool. I am so not into all the garden gadgetry that you see on offer on the shops . If any of you have ever purchased one of those supposedly magical garden claws I would love to know how you get on with it !
So this years gift from me to me was decided upon, a new hand trowel. Now, Draper make quite a few different shape and sizes so you need to take a good look at what you are ordering and study the details carefully before placing your order. Trowels come in so many different shapes and sizes and they are designed especially to cope with different tasks.
I found this Draper heavy duty hand trowel with a plastic handle and the self same hand trowel with a nice sturdy Ash handle. The trowel with the plastic handle was cheaper but I am afraid that it didn't appeal to me, I would far rather pay a little bit extra and have the wooden handle.
The Draper heavy duty hand trowel is 31 cms long, or twelve inches if your brain works like mine!
So the length is just about right for me, if the handle is too long I always find the head of the trowel a bit unwieldy.
I do not seem to think that it makes one iota of difference but the trowel is quite a smart looking `bit of kit`, Draper have used a combination of Ash and mirror polished stainless steel.
The handle of the hand trowel looks strong and sturdy and the handle is securely fixed to the shaft.
At the end of the Ash handle there is a hanging hole, so if you thread a cord through that hole then you can hang the trowel up in the shed when it is not in use.
The head of the trowel has a good sized scoop, the tip of the trowel head is well rounded and the polished stainless steel looks good.
When the gardening season starts then I find that a strong hand trowel is an essential, there is nothing worse than having a hand trowel with a handle that bends under strain.
You can go to Poundland and buy a trowel for next to nothing but I very much doubt if it will be as durable as anything that Draper or any other well known manufacturer produce.
I found my Draper heavy duty hand trowel on the Internet and it cost me £8.95 plus pp.
I know full well that it will be a very useful tool and that as time goes on I will get my moneys worth from it.
Draper have been producing top quality tools since 1919 and they are based in the UK.
Draper have a very comprehensive website where you can view all of the latest tools available, they have tools for every job imaginable. You can also order tools directly from the Draper website if you wish.
Now all I need is a few good dry days to set my new hand trowel to work.
Our local Sainsbury's is only ten minutes walk away from me and although I would never consider doing my weekly shopping there I do pay a regular visit to pick up some of the Basic range items that I use constantly. When I go into the store I have to steel myself and make sure that I don't start looking in the direction of all of the luxury goods that they have on their shelves. I admit that there is a huge temptation to find a few `goodies` that you may not normally buy.
But the store is super to walk around, I enjoy looking at the clothing, the homeware and the electricals.
Plain biscuits are a must, the biscuit barrel is always filled to the gunnels with plain biscuits that can be enjoyed with elevenses. It all depends where I am at the given time as to what gets put into the biscuit barrel.
I noticed the Sainsbury's Basic shortbread fingers and I had to admit that I thought the price was amazing. 12P a packet ? How on earth can they bake and pack a packet of shortbread fingers and put them on the supermarket shelves for that price.
Before we all get carried away the packet is not that large, for the grand sum of 12p you get 160g of shortbread. This equals ten fair sized finger biscuits and if you compare it to some of the brand named shortbread then 160g of brand named shortbread will cost you upwards of £1.
The packaging is very basic and as far as I am led to belive the PP film that is used can be recycled after you have finished with it.
The ten shortbread fingers are just slipped into the one layer of PP film and they are then heat sealed to keep the biscuits fresh.
The Sainsbury's basics shortbread fingers do contain butter and that is quite evident when you open the packet, I didn't expect the shortbread to smell of anything much at just 12p a packet so I was pleasantly surprised.
The shortbread finger biscuits are neat and look good, they look traditional owing to the rows of little holes that are running along the tops of them.
The shortbread is crisp to the bite but as softer when you reach the inside of the thick finger, they are sweet but not overpoweringly so and the texture is close - just as shortbread should be.
I feel that the Basics shortbread fingers are a good colour, they are a very pale golden colour and if you offered them to guests I don't feel that there would be any objections - not from my lot anyway!
Vegetarians can enjoy these biscuits but if you suffer from a milk, wheat gluten or nut allergy then that rules them out for you.
The ingredients are as basic as the product and each shortbread finger contains 81 calories, so try not to get too carried away !
Once you have emptied the packet then make sure that the remainder of the shortbread fingers are stored in an airtight container/ biscuit barrel, if the air gets to the they will soon become soft and soft shortbread is a no- go area for me.
While I was in Sainsbury's I picked up another packet of the Basics shortbread fingers for my Mum, she loves the buttery biscuit. I had a thought that she would tell me to take that rubbish home with me - she is a big fan of Walkers shortbread but she agreed that the biscuits offered very good value for money.
If you happen to be passing the Basics biscuits then pick up a packet of the shortbread fingers and try them for yourself - I think that you may well be pleased with your purchase.
Just lately I seem to be ten paces behind everyone else when it comes to tasting new chocolate bars, maybe part of the reason is that I will wait to see if they hit the shelves at a vastly reduced price in the local discount store, that it a very good indicator as to whether the product has been a hit or a miss.
When a company introduces a new chocolate bar it is all too easy to rush out and buy it before weighing up the pro's and the con's and I mean that in every sense of the word.
Some of them have far too much wrapping and not enough chocolate which means that you are paying a high price for the product to `look pretty`, when in fact you could have bought a plainly wrapped bar of chocolate that offers you very good value for your money.
But the review sites are loaded with opinions concerning the Galaxy Cookie Crumble and in fact a while ago I noticed it was product of the week on the Ciao site so I felt quite compelled to go out and buy one to sample.
I bought my bar in Sainsbury and I paid 99p for it, the first thing that struck me was how thin the bar was. It seems that this is becoming very common, long gone are some of the lovely chunky chocolate bars that you have to bite right into to break a chunk off of, instead we are presented with `streamline` chocolate bars which of course in the long run are far better for us - less risk of overindulging, as all are keen to point out as a nation we are gaining too much weight.
The wrapper is pleasant and the only thing that makes the Galaxy Cookie crumble appear any different to the ordinary Galaxy is that there is a mauve coloured flash towards the end of the wrapper and the foil that covers the chocolate is mauve rather than gold. Oh, I must not forget, there is a picture of a couple of cookies printed on the wrapper too.
The bar weighs 119g, so it is not what I would call a large bar. Once you have removed the foil wrapper you will notice that the bar is marked with squares to help you to break it apart. Now those who designed the bar must have minuscule appetites because the marked off squares are quite titchy. I would say that most of us would manage two squares at once without any bother. But I have to give them top marks for the way in which they have decorated the top of the chocolate bar, the swirls and furrow on top of each small square look very elegant.
Put the entire bar into your hand and it feels so light ! As I held the bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble up to the light to examine it I immediately knew that it had met its fate.
The name of the chocolate bar is fairly self-explanatory but the words Galaxy Cookie Crumble do roll off of the tongue quite well so we will let them off with that.
A 125g of ordinary Galaxy chocolate costs £1 and the 119g bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble costs much the same so I wondered why the bar weighed 6g less - just me being pedantic!
The bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble is as I suspected a little bit on the slim side but the chocolate is awash with small pieces of chocolate cookie. I studied my bar and decided that the surface of it was quite like a `crater`. Mars have not scrimped on the cookie pieces that's for sure.
The bar breaks apart very easily because there is no substance to the chocolate and the squares are easily parted from their pals.
On the front of the wrapper there are a few wise words - `For maximum pleasure enjoy in complete peace and quiet`.
Galaxy chocolate has a very unique taste, in the past I have found that it can be sickly sweet to the point where I fail to really enjoy it but the bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble is more than acceptable.
The masses of small cookie pieces have stayed nice and crunchy within the bar of chocolate and it is maybe those that tone down that normally ultra sweet Galaxy chocolate.
I found that I was concentrating far more on enjoying the crunchy pieces of chocolate cookie than I was tasting the chocolate. But the small squares make it difficult to get the whole picture, place a couple of squares into your mouth together and the picture becomes far more clear.
The Galaxy Cookie Crumble bar is sweet but not too sweet, the pieces of cookie have retained their `crunchiness` and I enjoyed my bar.
The 119g bar vanished systematically, square by square, if that had been a bar of the ordinary Galaxy I would have felt sick! But the 119g bar of Cookie crunch went down a treat - and I didn't feel a drop of guilt afterwards.
We all have very different tastes and it is a good job that we do to ensure that all of the new products on the supermarket shelves get a taste trial. Long gone are the days when we could only buy milk or plain chocolate, nowadays the market is flooded with luxurious chocolate covered products to tempt our taste buds, never mind expand our already expanding waistlines !
Cadbury have always been just one step ahead in my opinion, that is not to say that there are not many other brands of chocolate that I love but Cadbury produce a sweet, milky chocolate that is neither too rich nor too sweet. When I learned that Kraft had won their takeover bid for the Cadbury company I remarked to The Other Half that I hoped they would keep the winning Cadbury chocolate recipe unchanged.
Cadbury Signature biscuits are the Chanel No 5 of the biscuit world, they are unashamedly posh, loaded with calories, they have more chocolate than biscuit and they are very much an adult playground. Put it this way, I don't think you would ever just tip a packet of the Cadbury Signature biscuits into your biscuit barrel. Each chocolate creation demands admiration and respect
before being devoured.
The product is packaged in the distinctive colours of Cadbury, to a certain extent the packaging is eye-catching simply because you know that it contains goodies produced by Cadbury.
Even though the chocolate biscuits are luxurious the packaging has been kept fairly simple, the decadent biscuits lay in a brown plastic tray and then they are covered over with a shiny plastic cover and heat sealed to keep them fresh.
Both the tray and the cover can be recycled so Cadbury can take top marks for this.
Inside of the packet there is a selection of thickly coated chocolate biscuits, in total there are nine different types of biscuit.
They include the coconut triangle, the orange segment, the praline cream cup, the double chocolate cookie, the vanilla triangle, the chocolate experience, the ginger crunch, a lemon cream cup and some white chocolate fingers.
The biscuits vary in shape and size, some are covered in dark chocolate, some are dipped into thick, rich milk chocolate and there are a few that are covered in white chocolate - so Cadbury are aiming to cater for all tastes.
The Cadbury Signature biscuits are exceptionally well presented, as soon as you open the packet you know that they are some of Cadbury's finest.
I have to be honest and say that there appears to be more chocolate than biscuit but I have a very sweet tooth so that suits me down to the ground.
Even with a tooth as sweet as mine I would be very hard pushed to eat too many of the biscuits in one go, they are extremely rich and usually two or three at a time is enough.
Like everyone I have my favourites and there are even one or two in the packet that I find a little too rich. In particular the praline cream cup does not really appeal to me, the combination of biscuit, covered with a thick layer of praline then coated in an extra thick layer of Cadbury's milk chocolate is just far too rich.
The whole attraction of these biscuits is the huge amount of Cadbury's milk chocolate that they have been dipped into, the biscuits inside of the layer of chocolate tends to get ignored, you are far too busy enjoying the layer of chocolate.
I must say that one of my personal favourites is the orange segment, I love the combination of milk chocolate and orange.
If someone were to ask me to compare the Cadbury's signature biscuits against their rivals the Victoria assortment then I would tell them that the Signature collection would win hands down. We had a tin of the Victoria assorted at Christmas and I will say that I was not overly impressed with them. We also had a box of Marks and Spencer's posh biscuits and I would still put the Signature collection way out in front of any of them.
But the Cadbury Signature collection does have it's drawbacks, for a starter they are expensive, a 300g packet costs nearly £3, so you are not going to add these to your weekly shopping list.
The biscuits are calorie laden and 100g provides 530 calories.
If you managed to consume a half of the packet ( which some could easily do) you would have eaten in excess of 750 calories, more calories than a good meal contains.
Bear in mind that the biscuits may contain nuts but the packaging clearly states that they are fine for vegetarians to enjoy.
For an extra special treat I feel that they are smashing but the price has to be a major drawback. But on the other hand you could never expect any company to produce such an extravagant biscuit for much less.
I would not buy them as an everyday biscuit, there are so many delicious biscuits that offer far better value if you are going to buy them to enjoy regularly. But for high days and holidays they are a wonderfully indulgent treat.