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As most of you know from my frequent reviews of Weight Watchers and other diet related foods, I am trying to lose a bit of weight. So far it is going very well and this has been helped by amazing products such as this Weight Watchers Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce.
The sauce comes in a recyclable glass jar with a screw top lid. It contains 350 grams which is enough sauce for two reasonably sized portions of pasta. I always cook it with pasta shells and meatballs but you can put it with anything. The sauce is very easy to cook and will heat up in just a few minutes on the hob.
The sauce is described as 'Inspired by Italian recipes, this pasta sauce combines roasted garlic and onion with delicious vine ripened tomatoes.' The tomatoes really are delicious and there are some good sized chunks in there so it is very satisfying. The garlic is not very strong so if you are hoping for something really garlicky you will be disappointed. The good part of that is that you won't get garlic breath!
The jar costs £1.19 from Asda which is not too bad. I have seen it on offer once for £1 and if it comes up at that price again I will be stocking up!
Half a jar contains only 60 calories, 0.7 grams of fat and NO saturates! A serving has only 1 Weight Watchers point so you can have this as often as you like really! I will definitely be having it again!
I asked for this perfume for my birthday this year. I was seduced by its adorable packaging and lovely scent. However I have mostly been disappointed.
The DKNY apples range has been around for years. It started with the green Delicious apple perfume and since then has branched out into a red apple scent, a pink blossom scent, male scents and most recently the Candy Apples range.
All of the perfumes come in apple shaped bottles, and the Candy Apple range have a lolly style stick sticking into the top of them to make them look more like the sort of candy apples you would buy from fairs and carnivals. The packaging really is cute and looks very sweet on your dressing table. This juicy berry one is a lovely bright purple colour and it always cheers me up to see it.
The smell of the perfume is lovely. It smells like sweet, sugary blackberries and raspberries and has a very fresh, fruity smell that is quite girly and young.
However the longevity of the scent is extremely disappointing. After only a few minutes the smell has decreased considerably and after a couple of hours you are lucky if you can smell it at all. This isn't a cheap perfume so I really think it should have a lot more staying power. I put three squirts of it on at a time - one on my wrists and two on my neck - but the smell still fades quickly.
The perfume is quite pricey and will set you back around £35 for 30ml, though of course that depends entirely on where you buy it from. It is available in most places, from Boots to Duty Free.
As much as I love the smell, though, I don't think I will be asking for or buying this perfume again.
I love Lindt chocolate but it is so expensive that I rarely treat myself to it. However after Easter this year I noticed that Asda were selling off certain products for 25 per cent of their original price. Because of this I managed to pick up a packet of these Mini Lindt Eggs for just 54 pence, whereas usually they would cost over £2.
The red plastic packet contains lots of little chocolate eggs that are individually wrapped in red and white foil. Supposedly they should taste just like Lindt Lindor truffles, as they have a hard chocolate outer shell, and chocolate truffle inside.
However I didn't particularly enjoy the eggs. There is very little truffle inside and even though the eggs are tiny, if you bite into one you will find a big gap which should really be filled with truffle, next to a tiny little blob of truffle!
The chocolate itself also doesn't seem as tasty as the usually Lindt chocolate and for some reason has a bit of a cheap tang to it. Of course I still managed to finish off the packet in a couple of sessions, but I didn't particularly enjoy the eggs and even at 75 per cent off I wouldn't buy them again!
As usual with Lindt there is no nutritional information on the packet so I am unable to tell you much aside from the fact that I am sure the eggs are filled with fat, saturates, sugar and calories!
I have never been a fan of so called 'healthy' or 'diet' cereal or snack bars which are marketed as a replacement to chocolate bars but which often actually include a ton of sugar and a surprising amount of fat. So I was pleasantly surprised when I absent mindedly picked up these Alpen Light Chocolate and Fudge bars and found that the nutritional values were very impressive.
Each bar contains less than 70 calories, and in 100 grams there are only 6.4 grams of fat, 2.6 grams of saturates and 21.5 grams of sugar, which works out as less than 2 grams of fat and around 5 grams of sugar per 21 gram bar.
I did wonder though, if a bar that was described as a 'mixed cereal bar with plain chocolate, fudge and a plain chocolate drizzle' could pack in much taste for less than 70 calories. But again I was pleasantly surprised. The bar is quite tasty. It has a moist, chewy texture and the chocolate taste is definitely noticable. I struggled to locate much of a fudge taste, but overall the bar is quite enjoyable and definitely more indulgent than many of the other, more sugary, cereal bars out there.
The bars come in packs of five, which are individually wrapped and stored inside a recyclable cardboard box. A pack of five will cost you £1.64 in Asda which is not too bad. They are currently on a 2 for £3 offer so stock up while you can if you enjoy them!
I wouldn't say these bars are filling enough to replace breakfast, but for a quick sweet treat or a snack to tide you over til the next meal they are more than acceptable, and I will be buying them again.
Like most women I love lipglosses. Having previously bought a pink lipgloss from Avon's Glazewear range, I was recently tempted by this clear version with added SPF 15.
The lipgloss has an RRP of £5.50 but is currently selling for £5, and I got it as part of a '2 for £6' offer which I thought was reasonable value.
The gloss comes in a clear tube so that you can see how much gloss you've used, which I think is always useful. It has a black screw top and a sponge applicator inside attached to the lid. It maybe looks a little cheap but that's not a big problem.
The Avon website describes the gloss as 'Super high gloss clear finish with added sun protection for everyday wear. Glides on smooth, feels comfortable. Non-sticky.'
I found that the gloss was a little hard to apply over lipliner or lipstick because it didn't glide on very easily and it tended to take off a bit of the liner/lipstick. It was hard to get much gloss on the brush which added to the problem.
However once the gloss was on it looked quite nice and although it gave a very pleasant shine, it wasn't over the top and looked reasonably natural. It wasn't too thick or gloopy either. With regards to durability, I found that it lasted about the same length of time as most of my other glosses, which is not a particularly long time. You'll probably have to reapply it every hour or so but I've yet to find a gloss where this isn't the case.
I think this is a reasonable lipgloss and the SPF is very handy. However it's certainly not the best gloss in the world and at full price I think it's too expensive for what it is. I might pick it up again if it's ever on a great offer!
I always look in the markdowns cabinet at Asda, and recently when I was looking for bargains I saw this pack of Southern Fried Chicken reduced to £1.19. Normally it costs £2.97, or can be bought on offer for 2 for £5, which also includes other items in the Fresh Tastes range. I thought that it was a bargain at its reduced price and took it home to pop in the freezer.
The chicken comes in a metal tray with a cellophane layer over the top, and a cardboard slip around it which gives the nutritional details. The slip describes the product as '2 chicken breasts in a spicy southern style crumb with bourbon barbecue sauce'.
Inside the tray you find the two chicken breasts and a separate packet of barbecue sauce. This is useful as it means that if you don't want much or any sauce then you don't have to use it.
The chicken needs to be defrosted before use if you have frozen it like me. You then put the chicken in the oven for 25-30 minutes, and just before it's ready, you put the sauce in a bowl and put it in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. I found that this was not a good time for the sauce as it seemed to burn a bit and also splattered all over the microwave, so I would recommend putting it on for less. I also found the chicken needed much longer in the oven and even after 40 minutes it wasn't quite done.
Once the chicken was out of the oven it looked alright but quite small considering the price it usually goes for. I put it out with some chips and beans and it just about filled the plate then. I thought the taste was a bit bland and certainly nothing like the tastier southern fried chicken you get at KFC. It was a bit dry too. The sauce was unpleasant and didn't taste like either bourbon or bbq sauce, it just tasted very tomatoey.
Half a pack of chicken and sauce contains 283 calories, 7.9 grams of sugar, 7.7 grams of fat, 1.1 grams of saturates and 1.1 grams of fat so at least it is not too bad for you.
I wasn't impressed with this product and can't believe that anyone pays full price for it. I wouldn't buy it again even if it was reduced.
I am trying to save money at the moment and resent spending my cash on skincare essentials that are necessary to maintain a good skintone but are neither luxurious nor exciting. I especially dislike spending on toner, as it is surely the most boring of the skincare products!
So I was pleased to see a bargain toner for sale at Asda, costing just 72 pence for 150 ml. This is a lot less than any other toner I have seen, as even Avon charges around £2 for a toner, and most low or mid range brands such as Simple can charge around £3-£4 for the same amount.
The Vitamin E toner by Asda comes in a clear plastic bottle that looks very cheap and will not be appreciated by anyone who likes their dressing table to look glamourous! Disaster struck immediately with the bottle as the screw top lid is not very tight and it leaked on the way home from the supermarket. Whenever I travel with it now it leaks so I assume there is a design flaw, unless I just happened to pick up a dodgy bottle.
The toner states that it 'Removes excess oils for a clearer complexion'. It is alcohol free unlike most toners so it doesn't sting when it is applied. It is also fragrance free so probably fine for sensitive skins. It has a thin, watery texture and doesn't really smell of anything.
When I put it on my skin it doesn't really refresh, tighten or cool my skin the way most other toners do. It is really very gentle and doesn't appear to do very much. I have found my skin slightly more prone to spots since I started using it so I guess it doesn't absorb as much oil as other toners.
This toner doesn't appear to be very effective but if you are looking for a very cheap product that won't irritate your skin then it might be for you. However I think in future I will pay a bit more for something that works!
Before last week it was years since I'd had a Babybel. However last week at a family picnic I was offered one and was quite excited, as I remember that I used to really enjoy them. However obviously my tastes have changed over time, as I wasn't very impressed!
Regular mini Babybels are small, thick, round circles of cheese. They are packaged inside a red wax like protective layer which is easily pulled off. Over the top of this is a cellophane layer, and then the Babybels come in a net package, so there's quite a lot of packaging to get through before you find your way to the cheese!
The cheese is quite light in colour and has a plasticky, rubbery texture. It is easy to bite into and as it is only small and can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, it only takes two or three bites to consume it. The taste is very mild and a little bit like Edam cheese, but not as strong. It is pretty tasteless in my opinion and I didn't feel satisfied like I do after a piece of mature cheddar.
I think due to the bland taste, these are not great for adults. However they are very convenient for children's lunchboxes, schoolbags or picnics, and they are a good way of getting calcium into your kids. There is 160 ml of milk in each mini Babybel, so that's a good amount of nutrients.
A pack of 12 Babybels weighing 240 grams usually costs £2.87 from Asda but is currently on offer for £2.00. This is still a bit expensive but worth it if you are looking for the convenience factor.
These are free from artificial colours, artificial preservatives and artificial flavours, so I think they are quite safe to give to children.
There are 315 calories and 25 grams of fat in each 100 grams of Babybel. If I've worked it out correctly, each Babybel is 20 grams and therefore there are 63 calories and 5 grams of fat in each little Babybel. This is a lot of fat for such a small snack which is gone in three bites!
I was recently at a family buffet tea and noticed a bowl of Butterkist Toffee popcorn on the table. I have never been much of a fan of this but I do like popcorn in general and I couldn't resist popping a few kernels on my plate. I persuaded myself that it was worth the extra calories, because after reminding myself of the taste, I could of course review the popcorn on Dooyoo!
Butterkist is probably the best know brand of popcorn and the toffee packaging is quite iconic, being bright red with a picture of the popcorn at the bottom and the large, brightly coloured Butterkist heart logo at the top.
Inside the bag you will find popcorn pieces that are around the same size as normal sweet or salted popcorn, or perhaps slightly bigger. Each piece is covered in toffee which ranges between being a thin layer on some parts and quite thick in some places such as the dips in the corn. The toffee makes the popcorn very sweet and caramel-y but it also makes it stick to your teeth. It can become quite sickly after a while and is not as more-ish as salted popcorn.
A 200 gram bag of this popcorn costs £1.30 from Asda. Alternatively you can buy it as six 30 gram snack packs for the same price, which is handy for taking out with you for the day or for car journeys.
A 30 gram serving of this popcorn has 125 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1.1 grams of saturates and a huge 16.5 grams of sugar. I was surprised by this as I thought popcorn was supposed to be a reasonably healthy snack. However the reasons behind these values became clear when I looked at the list of ingredients. Toffee comes first and accounts for 80 per cent of the product, with maize only accounting for 20 per cent. And of course the main ingredients in toffee are glucose syrup, sugar and butter, so it's not surprising that this snack isn't too good for you or for your waistline!
Recently I had decided to cook a stir fry. Usually I do rice as an accompaniment to my stir fries, but I was in the mood for something different and thought I would try noodles instead. I came across these Quick Wok Noodles by Blue Dragon and thought I would give them a go.
The Quick Wok Noodles come in various types, including plain medium, coriander infused, infused with chilli, whole-wheat, and wide. I chose Wide as I am not keen on skinny little noodles and like mine to have a bit of oomph and substance to them!
The noodles come in a brightly coloured packet. Inside the packet are two portions of noodles each packaged separately in cellophane. This is really useful as it means you don't always have to cook for two people. The packet contains 300 grams of noodles which works out at two 150 gram portions.
The noodles are incredibly easy to cook. You rinse them in cold water to separate them, then pop them in a heated wok and stir fry for one to two minutes. I had a lot of meat and vegetables in the wok I was using and so I gave the noodles around 3 minutes in there to ensure that they were cooked well enough.
Once I had cooked the noodles it was time to taste them. They had a really nice consistency, not too slippery or slimy like some noodles, and really tasted quite thick and substantial. They didn't have much flavour to them but most noodles don't!
I thought these made a lovely and very convenient accompaniment to my stir fry and I will definitely buy these again. They cost £1 per packet which works out at 50p per serving and I think this is quite reasonable, though obviously it is pricier than just cooking some rice out of a large packet.
I no longer have the packet so I cannot give you the exact nutritional information, however I can remember that they had just under 300 calories per serving and that there was hardly any sugar, fat or saturates in them, so they are not too bad for you at all!
I suffer from indigestion and heartburn and so I get through quite a lot of the tablets designed to counter this. Usually I purchase Gaviscon tablets, which I find to be reasonably effective. However, Gaviscon is quite expensive and so in an effort to save money I looked around for a cheaper alternative, and found these Asda Antacid Tablets.
Asda Antacid Tablets are available in two flavours, fruit or peppermint. I chose peppermint so those are the ones I will be reviewing. The tablets come in a blue and white box containing 4 rolls of 20 tablets. There are therefore 80 tablets in one box which should keep you going for a while!
The box of 80 tablets costs £1.97 from Asds stores. This is very cheap when you consider that a 32 pack of Gaviscon, which is the cheapest way to buy it, is £3. That means that 80 Gaviscon tablets would cost you £7.50!
The Asda Antacid Tablets are apparantly for 'the relief of indigestion, heartburn, dyspepsia, acidity and flatulence'. They contain 500 mg of calcium carbonate.
The tablets are small, round and white. They have an acceptable taste which is more chalky than pepperminty, and is quite sweet. They don't taste or feel as nice as Gaviscon but I'd be happy to put up with that if they worked.
Unfortunately they don't work. I didn't find that they had much effect on my indigestion at all. At the most, they may have alleviated it very slightly, but certainly not as much as Gaviscon do. I didn't find much difference between taking them and not taking them, which seems a bit of a waste of time and money to me.
Another disadvantage to these tablets is that they are not sugarfree like Gaviscon. If you are taking two tablets several times a day or at night then this is a big consideration for the sake of your teeth.
I wouldn't bother buying these again. If they worked they would save me a lot of money, but unfortunately they don't!
I often find myself fancying some soup and bread on Sunday lunchtimes, so the last couple of Sundays I have popped to Asda to see what soups have been on offer. Both times I have come back with this Asda's Minestrone Soup.
The soup comes in a clear plastic tub which contains 600 grams of soup. It costs £1.50 although the first time I purchased it, it was on offer for £1 which I thought was quite a bargain. Obviously it is only available at Asda!
The pot states that this is a 'Rich and chunky soup with vegetables, haricot beans, spaghetti and herbs'. The soup is easily cooked, either by emptying it into a saucepan and putting it on the hob, or by leaving it inside the pot and popping it inside the microwave. I cook it in the microwave and it is very simple, and takes only a few minutes. Afterwards you aren't left with yucky pans to wash up, and you just have to rinse and recycle the pot!
The soup has an orangey brown colour and is very thick, crammed full with vegetables. It looks very attractive when put into bowls, especially if you guide the vegetables into the centre as they then gather in a little mound in the middle of the bowl and look very pretty.
The soup has a distinct tomato-ey taste to it that is a bit strong in my opinion, but very pleasant if you enjoy tomatoes. The amount of beans, spaghetti, carrots and peppers is very impressive and means that the soup really feels like a meal and is very chunky and satisfying. I always have a thick slice of bread with the soup and this makes it even more filling.
Half a pot or 300 grams of this soup contains 138 calories, 8.4 grams of sugar, 2.1 grams of fat, 0.3 grams of saturated fat and 1.1 grams of salt. I think this is really low in fats and saturated and although the salt is a bit high, it is still lower than most canned soups.
The pot does not say whether or not it contains one of your five a day fruit and vegetable portions, but by the looks of how many vegetables are in a bowl containing half the pot, I would estimate that each half pot contains at least one portion, if not two.
This is a yummy soup which I would recommend and will definitely be buying again. Asda do some other soups in the same range, including a curry soup and a leek and vegetable soup, so they may be worth a try too.
I don't often purchase duck as I have a perception of it as being very expensive, so rather than cooking it for myself I tend to only eat it if I am going out to dinner and can order it in a restaurant. However recently my other half asked for a duck stir fry and so I found myself buying raw duck in Asda. Asda sell whole ducks, duck legs or duck breast fillets, and I chose the latter.
The duck breast came in the form of two fillets in a clear plastic tray. The pack weighed 340 grams and cost £5.50. At first I thought that was quite pricey considering two chicken breast fillets would cost less than half that. However once I had cut up the first fillet, I found that it was more than enough for two of us in a stir fry and so I was able to freeze the second fillet and thus make the pack stretch to two meals, which made it much more financially acceptable and has encouraged me to view it as less of a luxury and more of a regular buy.
When I started to cut up the duck breasts it was immediately obvious that the meat was of very good quality. The fillets were thick and had hardly any fat or gristle on them. As such they were easy to chop up. The only problem with them was that they had a very thick layer of skin on. This meant that the skin had to be sliced off which can be a bit of a hard job. It also means you are paying for excess weight that you're not using, unless of course you actually do eat the skin.
The duck cooked very quickly and easily in the wok and it tasted really nice. It was tender and juicy and very satisfying. It wasn't at all chewy or tough. I found it went lovely with the vegetables and noodles in the stir fry but I am sure it would also be nice cooked whole and then just sliced and eaten with potatoes and roast vegetables.
These duck breasts are lovely quality and I would recommend them. I will buy them again though obviously not as frequently as other meats as they are a bit pricey. However they are not outrageously expensive and I think they are worth the extra pennies now and again.
This weekend the weather was gorgeous and I had the pleasure of going to a BBQ. However I also had the distinct lack of pleasure of eating one of these Tesco Value Cheese Singles.
The cheese slices come in packs of ten which weigh 200 grams. They are only available from Tesco and one packet costs 58 pence. The packet is of course unattractive and is made of just thin white coloured cellophane with the well known blue band across and the blue and red Tesco Value logo.
Inside the packet each cheese slice has its own plastic covering which is easily ripped off to leave a yellow rubbery slice of cheese. This slice can be put on top of burgers, in sandwiches or eaten by itself.
The slice has a plasticky texture but I expect that from a cheese slice so I wasn't too bothered by it. However I was disappointed when I tasted the cheese and found that there was absolutely no flavour to it. I could barely tell that I was eating anything. It was completely tasteless and so in my view was a waste of time, money and calories.
The cheese slices are not very healthy as each single small piece contains 55 calories, 0.9 grams of sugar, and a very high 4.5 grams of fat, 2.1 grams of saturates and 0.6 grams of salt. These last three values are very high for such a small product.
I thought these cheese slices were awful and even though they are cheap and convenient I would never buy them or recommend them.
I really like Asda's Good For You range which promises to be free of 'nasties' and low in fats and calories. I often buy ready meals from it and so when I was looking in the markdowns cabinet the other day I was pleased to see this Spicy Tomato Chicken reduced from its normal price of £2.50 to £1.17. If you don't want to pay full price for it then it is usually available as part of a 3 for £4 special offer on the chilled Good For You meals.
The meal comes in a plastic tray covered in film, inside a recyclable cardboard sleeve. According to the sleeve it consists of 'Tender chicken breast topped with a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, served with baby new potatoes and broccoli'.
The meal is bought chilled but in can be frozen if you so wish. However after freezing it has to be defrosted fully before cooking which makes it a bit less convenient for me than the meals which can be cooked straight from frozen. You can cook the meal in either the oven or the microwave. I chose the microwave and it took only around six minutes, which makes it fantastically quick for a full, balanced meal.
After I'd cooked it I put it on the plate and was quite impressed at the size. There were about six small potatoes, one very large stick of broccoli and a large chicken breast. There was a lot of sauce too, which was full of vegetables and could be spread around so that the meal just about took up a whole dinner plate.
I was really surprised at the taste of the chicken. I expected it to be chewy and rubbery as ready meal chicken often is, but this was really juicy and lovely, better even that if I'd cooked it myself, I have to admit! The portion was more than enough too. The sauce was also impressive. I am not keen on tomato sauces normally as I find them a bit bland and sugary, but this had a bit of spice to it and the added vegetables gave it a lovely texture.
The broccoli and potatoes were not so good. They were soft and well cooked but also quite watery and tasteless. Still they were not offensive and they rounded the meal out.
Shockingly the whole meal contains only 277 calories, 9.2 grams of sugar, 4.8 grams of fat, 1.6 grams of saturates and 1.2 grams of salt. It contains no artificial colours or flavours and no hydrogenated fats. It also provides one of your 5 a day fruit and vegetables.
This probably isn't my favourite product from the Good For You range but it is nevertheless a nice, healthy meal and I will no doubt be buying it again as part of the 3 for £4 offer. I can see it being a regular inhabitant of my freezer!