Blogging is Tough Sometimes. Like Having to Eat a Whole Box of Hotel Chocolat Luxury Chocs in Order to Review Them

I know, I make such sacrifices for you. When Hotel Chocolat offered me a Christmas Wreath to give away to you readers, it wouldn't have been fair for me to accept without testing some of their treats first, right? To make sure they were good, of course. So I tirelessly ate my way through this exquisite box of Classic Chocolates and I can happily report they are beautiful. 

Pistachio, port-infused, mini-eton messes, each sweet has a flavour that explodes in your mouth. If you're looking for a last minute thoughtful, romantic present, or something for someone who fancies themselves a bit of a foodie, then the Hotel Chocolat web store is a great place to click through to now. 

If you're already sold on Hotel Chocolat from a previous gift, then there are half price bargains to be had with their advent calendars packed with chocs on 50% off. Click on any of the following photographs to be taken to the page to buy.

Last day for postage is 23rd Decemeber, so you've plenty of time.

Alternative Mince Pie £1.95

Alternative Mince Pie £1.95

The Gingerbread Crew £7

The Gingerbread Crew £7

The Deluxe Christmas Hamper £150

The Deluxe Christmas Hamper £150

Advent Calendar on half price sale at £6.25 Dark Chocolate variety also available 

Advent Calendar on half price sale at £6.25 Dark Chocolate variety also available 

The H-Box Everything Selection £12.50

The H-Box Everything Selection £12.50

The Rather Large Christmas Cracker £40

The Rather Large Christmas Cracker £40

Win a Curious Candy Hamper

I hope you guys realise the sacrifice I am going through, by letting you know about this competition I'm pretty sure it means I can't win, BUT, maybe one of my lovely readers will win. Curious Candy is our local, proper, old fashioned sweet shop, here in Bangor Northern Ireland. As well as the classics, they import American candy, chocolate and sodas for us grown ups. To win their hamper, it's a simple Facebook like & share competition which you can find here. Good luck. 

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A Thorntons' Tea Party on a Sunday Afternoon

Thorntons Continental chocolates always have happy memories for me. When I was a young teenager, my Mum would take me shopping for the day in Belfast and we would always get a little bag of cappuccino delights from Thorntons.  It always felt a bit grown up, rather than getting a bar of chocolate from the shop on the way home.

When Thorntons offered some delicious treats from their online gift selection for me to try, I instantly thought of sharing them with my Mum. These days though, my Mum is on a low sugar diet, due to finding out she had diabetes a few years ago. Worry not, the lovely folks at Thorntons replied, and they showed me their equally tempting No Added Sugar Selection Box!

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Their gift boxes and hampers make ideal gifts for any occasion, and they offer a service of personalising a chocolate box with your own photograph.

I decided that I definitely couldn't eat all these by myself, although I could have given it a good try. Instead I brought the selections round for dessert after Sunday Lunch at my parents' house. It was a lot of fun choosing and tasting the different chocolatey concoctions, especially with the Continental Chocolatiers Tasting Selection and my brother reading out the colourful descriptions from the box. A lovely and interesting alternative to a cake or regular Sunday lunch dessert, Maybe you could try it next time you have a family gathering too.

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WIN A Huge Gift Box of Refreshers Sweets from The World of Kitsch

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How do you fancy winning a huge hamper of Refreshers Bars? The chewiest, zingiest, lemonade flavour bar from Swizzels Matlow is still going strong in 2013, but I remember them being a favourite when I was growing up.

The Lovehearts Store has lots of retro sweet action for us nostalgic grown ups. You can also order personalised mini-rolls of Lovehearts for weddings or corporate events.

Swizzels Matlow sent me my own Refreshers Gift Box. My son was just excited by that many sweets, but I was keen to try the new Refreshers products. The Refreshers Rope and Refreshers Squashies in the Ultimate Refreshment Box have the same sharp, tang as the original chews.

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So, I have another Ultimate Refreshment Box to giveaway to my readers, and to win you just have to email me the answer to the question :

Which band currently have their own range of Loveheart Sweets? The answer can be found on the Swizzels homepage.

As always, email addresses will only be used for contacting the winner, and won't be passed on to a third party. Competition is open until 11pm on 29th of April. Open to UK residents.

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Swizzels Matlow also have a monthly competition running to win an even bigger hamper of retro sweets including Double Dips, Rainbow Drops and Drumstick Lollies.

To try your luck to win their competition just follow this link. Good luck with both comps!

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Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

I stumbled upon Mr Stanley's online sweet shop pre-Christmas. The virtual rows of tempting classic treats made lovely little presents for our neighbours & our son's school teachers.

I ended up having a box of gourmet dark chocolate violet creams left over, and well, it would have been rude NOT to eat them. This was my folly, as I was quickly hooked. Imagine Parma Violet fondant dipped in dark chocolate, heaven.

The confection experts at www.MrStanleys.com were kind enough to send me a hamper of their finest wares to try out, and being that these are classic, old favourites, I took them to share with my classic old favourites, my parents!

Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

After Sunday lunch we had a sampling session. My parents, my husband & myself, and my five year old son. Three generations worth of taste testing!

We got to try the Rose variety of the Creams, which tasted like Turkish Delight, fragrant and exotic.

Two varieties of Mr Stanley's fudge were also happily gobbled up. It's PROPER fudge, not like in a fudge bar, but the kind that crumbles a little & melts in your mouth. The Maple Fudge was my favourite, so sweet & buttery.

Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

We also had Coconut Delight, which came in a wooden box, a very cool retro touch for gifting. These were coconut delicacies beautifully rolled with various flavours of Turkish Delight.

Visit www.MrStanley.com and have your own little vintage tasting party yourself. Let them know which are your favourites at http://www.facebook.com/MrStanleys and http://www.twitter.com/MrStanleys

Afternoon Delights from Mr Stanley's Classic Confectionery get the The Three Generation Taste Test

Win a Trip to California with Jelly Belly's Hunt for the Great British Flavour

Win a Trip to California with Jelly Belly's Hunt for the Great British Flavour

Jelly Belly lab coat. That's right.

This being such a patriotic year has got the undisputed King of the Jelly Bean brands, Jelly Belly, pondering. They are pondering and wondering, what would be the Great British Jelly Belly Flavour?

God love them though, with their American ways, they are a bit confused about us Brits. They do enjoy things that taste like Root Beer after all- which our UK tastebuds recoil in terror from screaming, "WHY ARE YOU DRINKING DEEP HEAT MUSCLE RUB?!".


I donned my lab coat and got experimenting, well, in my mind. I suppose if we are being honest a Great British Bean might be Donner Kebab, or if you're thinking more posh a roast beef and mustard jelly bean? Of course that's a horrible thought, but Jelly Belly in the States aren't shy of straying to unusual flavours. A few years ago I ordered some imported Jelly Belly which were sold as a 'Russian roulette' pack. Half were delicious regular beans, half had flavours like pencil shavings & ear wax. So, hit them with your oddest suggestions, because we know Jelly Belly have the technology to make a bean taste like anything!

Here's the most exciting part- if you suggest a flavour on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/jellybellyUK and they pick your invention, they will fly you out to Jelly Belly HQ in California to oversee them making your bean! Get on it!

Win a Trip to California with Jelly Belly's Hunt for the Great British Flavour

The Best Thing Ever Just Happened. Cherry Lips & Floral Gums.

The other night I was getting stuck into some of my retro favourites, Squirrel Floral Gums, and I fired an email off to Tangerine who manufacture them. I was wondering if they had any cool retro merch, a bit like the Tunnocks Tea Cake cushions & t-shirts, only based on these gummy classics.

They didn't, but they said they'd send me something anyway and OH MY GOD LOOK WHAT JUST ARRIVED. I don't know who is more excited by the sweet shop sized jars, me or my son (me). Thanks, Tangerine.

http://www.tangerineuk.net/