Thursday, 23 October 2014

Halloween with Choc on Choc



Messing around with chocolate in the kitchen one day in 2003, talented inventor Kerr Dunlop and his then recently graduated daughter Flo Broughton was filling rubber moulds shaped as noughts and crosses. The idea was small, that the chocolate used in the moulds would create nice presents for the family. The pair soon devised a business plan and made enough chocolates to take to a trade show in Birmingham, to their surprise several shops made orders for their beautiful looking chocolate.


To stand out from other competitors, Flo and Kerr came up with the original, and now patented idea of layering chocolate on top of chocolate, creating unique and beautiful chocolate designs. It was then Choc on Choc was born.


In time for my Halloween press feature, I was kindly sent both bars of their Halloween themed chocolate the company sell, a spider bar and a ghost bar. Both bars weigh 120 grams and are gluten free, the bars also hold a shelf life of up to one year, but I can't imagine chocolate ever lasting that long, and my thoughts was only stronger when I sat down to review these bars myself.

I had received one bar of each design, and made the decision to not take these bars along to our press party. It may seem selfish, but I know the design would of caught the eyes of everyone, and just like a ghost, both bars would of vanished, leaving me clueless to what the chocolate tasted like!

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The Ghost Bar
Cost: £3.99 per 120g bar.

On first thoughts, the ghost bar looked more appealing to me, my favourite chocolate of all the kinds is white chocolate, and noticing a large area (the ghost itself) being white chocolate, I could only mentally taste the chocolate until I had time to try it out myself. Spud himself is not a keen chocolate fan at all, but does however enjoy a small amount of white chocolate every so often.

Overall, taste wise, this bar was both mine and Spud's favourite, with no dark chocolate in site, and no eight legged freaks it won hands down in our chocolate tasting evening.

Milk chocolate: 33.5% minimum. 
White chocolate: 28% minimum. 

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The Spider Bar
Cost: £3.99 per 120g bar.

Initially, I opened the box and tried to avoid looking at this bar, telling myself I'd try to eat a piece to sample with my eyes closed. It was only on closer inspection when I sat down to review the bars I noticed how cleverly designed it had been made. The web itself lays quite flat upon the solid background, however the spider gives off a 3D appearance making the spider look real, but just covered in chocolate.

I'm not a fan of dark chocolate what so ever, and try to avoid it at all cost, however with the main area of the chocolate bar being milk chocolate, I was pleasantly surprised to not have a overpowering taste of dark chocolate, but indeed a blend of the three main chocolates out there.

Dark chocolate: 53% minimum.
Milk chocolate: 33.5% minimum.
White chocolate: 28% minimum.

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The back of the both bars consist of imprinted square blocks, making it easier for you to break off pieces of chocolate, and it's also a great way to monitor a child's daily/weekly allowance. After all, the fantastic 12 month shelf life makes it possible for the bar to be consumed by eating just two squares a month! Not that chocolate would ever last that long in this household!


The Choc on Choc range is stocked in selected retailers including John Lewis, Boots, Harrods and Selfridges.

The complete range is available to view and purchase online with nationwide delivery from the official Choc on Choc website.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sainsbury's Back to School Review.

Last month, the lovely team from Sainsbury's sent Spud a large box full of fabulous back to school items to try out ready for not only a brand new school term, but also a whole new year. You may of read that first sentence and thought why are you writing this post now, in the middle of October? There is of course, a valid reason for this.

I'll be the first to throw my hands up and admit I am tired of replacing uniform and shoes only a few weeks into the start of a new school term, so I thought I would give this year's lot of school items a real thorough review, I wanted to see how long the shoes went un-scuffed, how long those beautifully white polo tops stayed white, and how long the jumpers would last for before they started bobbling!



The Facts:
  • Sainsbury's sell an amazing selection of clothing (available at selected stores) through their clothing label TU.
  • TU school uniform really does cater for children of all ages, the smallest sizes are from 2 years and the biggest 16 years.
  • The quality is brilliant, with every item from the TU uniform range having been rigorously trialed, ensuring garments will withstand the daily wear and tear of school life.
  • Sainsbury's cater for many school uniform colours, from shades of blue to grey, red to green, yellow to white and black.

What We Received;
Grey school trousers - pack of 2.
White polo tops - pack of 3.
Sweatshirt - pack of 2.
Socks - pack of 5 pairs.
Shoes.
Lunch box & bottle.
School Bag.
Stationary.
Snacks.


What We Thought;


TU school uniform; sweatshirt, polo top, trousers and shoes.

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School trousers:
I was pleased to see that the trousers we was sent was a pack of two, saving even more money then buying individual pairs. Spud is so tall, I have to order every pair of bottoms in a size bigger then his usual size, to ensure they fit him in length, but then I'm often left with him having too much room around his waist. Thank's to Sainsbury's smart technology, I had no worries with the trousers giving a nice snug fit.



Brand new with a perfect crease.
I hate ironing, and usually leave everything until the last minute, so when it comes to school trousers, my hatred of ironing is actually saved a little! If I hang the trousers straight onto the airer after a wash, nine out of 10 times, I'm lucky and will not need to iron the trousers with the crease staying in next to new good shape!


After a wash, and no iron.
I've washed these trousers so many times now, they're Spud's most comfortable school trousers and they've really impressed me with the overall performance and price!
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Sweatshirts:
The official school jumpers really do annoy me, not only do they cost a small fortune (£12.95 at Spud's school), but they're thin, fray easily and stain with the smallest bit of paint or ink! These sweatshirts have been brilliant with the colder weather settling in, they're thick, comfortable and a steal at just £4 for two!


Polo top and sweatshirt after a number of washes! No bobbling sweatshirts! 

I don't usually dry school jumpers in the tumble dryer but I had too when I forgot to wash the uniform one weekend and needed a quick wash and dry! I was dreading the thought of getting Spud's uniform out, but was really impressed when the jumpers appeared to be in perfect tact! I prefer these sweatshirts to the official school jumpers, and have already picked up another two myself.
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Polo tops still looking fresh and white after a month of school!
Polo tops:
I feel like I cant really ever complain about polo tops, as to be fair they're relatively cheap. However, cheap just isn't something that really occurs these days, every thing cost money and every penny does add up. These polo tops are unisex, so not targeted just for boys, or just for girls and have survived about seven washes so far.

TU sell a number of different polo tops, including styles for girls, a number of different multiple packs as well as a large range of colours as seen at the beginning of this post.


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Socks and shoes.

I was surprised to see a smart pair of school shoes tucked at the bottom of our box of school uniform items. When it comes to shoes, you automatically think of a shoe shop, so I'm impressed to see that you don't have to shop all over the place to complete your childs school look!



The shoes Spud was sent, Unfortunately, I decided to get the school shoes in a size bigger, and so can't give a real detailed review of the shoes themselves until Spud has put them through the test! However, they're slip ones, which are great for Spud as he's not learnt how to do laces properly just yet.

The socks have done us well, for five pairs costing £6, it does work out £1.20 per pair, so 60p a sock but the comfort and quality of the socks is worth the price. I don't like compromising with Spud's clothes, and make sure he is as comfortable as can be. The socks have started sadly to bobble a little bit, but what socks don't? Especially after being work for long school hours!

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Lunch box accessories.

As the above section, I'm pleased Sainsbury's sell a wide variety of goods and not just groceries. We was kindly sent a Transformers 4 lunch box with a matching sports/drinking bottle which put a big smile on Spud's face!




The lunch box has a shoulder strap, which Spud isn't finding any more harder then carrying a normal lunch box because mummy carries everything. I'm pleased to find the inside insulated helping to keep food and drinks fresher for longer and the bonus is it's easy wipe material! The amount of half eaten yogurts that get left in their on a regular basis means it's so easy to wipe off!

We've been using the bottle as Spud's main break time and lunch time bottle, filling it to the top with diluted squash. Spud's an active and healthy eight year old who does run around a lot, leading him to become thirsty. I use to pick Spud up from school and he would be thirsty and wanting a drink straight away, now he comes out of school with drink left over due to the decent bottle size!

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Snacks.

Sainsbury's is one of the top well known supermarkets here in the UK, we're lucky to have a few Sainsbury's in my town and I'm often popping into the smaller stores for smaller shops. We was sent a great selection of snacks, acceptable for school snacks and lunches!



These cereal bars sold in packs of five are great for not just breakfast time but also for snack or lunch times at school and even as an after school snack! A box of five cost just £1.40 and is available in both raspberry & yogurt, and strawberry & yogurt.




It's not always that easy getting the recommended five a day into your child, especially on school days, luckily Sainsbury's sell a selection of dried fruit and veg including these jumbo raisins & cranberries priced at just 60p for a handy 35g bag, or these corn thins sold in a multipack of four - with each pack containing four thins for just £1.


Spud is loving the corn thins and I've been asked to promise I'll get some more when I next visit our bigger Sainsbury's! These two items are just two of many dried snacks that Sainsburys sell, other dried fruits include apricots, mango's, prunes, figs and berries and cherries.




These fantastic little pots of fruit in jelly cost just 40p each and come in a large variety of flavours and fruits. They're great as a lunchtime treat in a lunch box, or as a after school snack at home! Spud's favourite is the diced peach in mango jelly as mango is his favourite fruit!




These fruit slurps contain 75% juice, and 25% water giving your child that little bit of extra goodness whilst also giving them a treat. Priced at just 95p for three cartons and available in two varieties (apple, raspberry and grape & apple and mango), these drinks are great for lunch boxes or for refreshing drinks at home!


Spud loves these smoothies, they was demolished within a few days and I've already re-stocked on these a number of times! Spud loves smoothies, and I think they're a great way to get good stuff into your children, but usually, they're from the chilled aisle and need refridgerating making them not the bestest of snacks for packed lunches.


However, these orange and mango smoothies, priced at £2.70 for five can be found down the usual grocery aisle making them great treats for home time and school time! They taste yummy, and don't need to take up fridge space, what more could a mum and child ask for?

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Stationary.

And if you think Sainsbury's has already covered all the back to school buys, think again. Sainsbury's sell a huge selection of stationary, and not just for children too! I always look down their home aisle when I visit our superstore and love the styles and brands of stationary they do.



Satisfying buys for the whole family, Sainsbury's sell a great selection of their own brand stationary as well as some top leading stationary brands such as Crayola and Stabilo.

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So there we have it, for all your back to school needs, all under one roof, do pop down to your local Sainsbury's to stock up on all those school related items.

That is another thing I love about Sainbury's, unlike the other well known supermarkets who seem to rush the school items out of the way once September has come, Sainsbury's are still selling the items now in October, I think school uniform should be sold all year round, you never know when that growth spurt is going to hit!

Until next time,
Jada x



Visit larger Sainsbury's stores or check the Store Locator at www.sainsburys.co.uk. For further information call 0800 328 1700.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Unfair Policies!

Now, I don't want to particularly slag off Spud's school as I have no major issues with them, however, I'm sat here quite angry right now to be perfectly honest with you. I dropped Spud off to school this morning as usual, I come home, made a drink and set the laptop up ready for the working day ahead of me.

Just before lunch time, I receive a text from the school that has gone to every parent saying in brief words; thank you for the interest in the Halloween party, all tickets have now been allocated. I'm pretty sure Spud had not mentioned this to me, nor do I believe we've received a letter or text about the party.

Spud's on a school trip today, so his book bag is here at home with me, before jumping to conclusions, I checked his book bag because there has been times in the past where I've missed a letter, but there wasn't nothing. I then went back through my text messages to see if a text was sent and somehow I had missed it, again there was nothing.

Before jumping the gun, I asked my neighbour who's little boy is in the same year as Spud to see if she was aware of the situation, just like me, she too had not knew anything about it until the text had arrived a short while ago. I then proceeded to call two friends of whom have children in the same year as Spud, one answered and said her child had got the letter yesterday, the other's phone is switched off but I'll be asking her at school this afternoon.

My friend who's child had been invited told me the Halloween party date and time, as I was not aware of any of the details as my child was not invited. My friend then went on to tell me it wasn't just for children in the school, but their whole families (if they wanted to attend) and how 170 tickets had gone.

So, to get this right, the school had 170 tickets, but my child, and my neighbours child was not invited. I've spoke to just two other parents, one who's child was invited, one who's child wasn't, but I'm guessing there is going to be other's, like me and my neighbour who have had no clue about this party until the text arrived not long ago.

Children have every right to be happy and excited, and this is where my problem lays. Children in school are going to be talking about the party, discussing ideas to who is coming along with them and what they're wearing, maybe teachers will be talking too. However, I will have to be the one who faces my child and see's him upset when he discovers tickets have been allocated to an event we didn't even know nothing about.

Spud loves Halloween, a quick search of Halloween in the search box to the right in my side bar will bring up lot's of post. This year, me and Spud are hosting our third annual Halloween blog party, and now after today's event's I'm so glad more then ever that I am. However, Spud is still going to be missing out on what could of potentially been his first school disco as the school doesn't do these thing's usually.

I'm extremely upset and would love to know how the children were chosen. At first, with a judgemental hat on, I presumed it was for children from benefit families, but then when I spoke to my friend and discovered her little girl had got the letter, I realised it couldn't of been this as she too works.

Then I thought maybe it was about behaviour, my Spud has never ever been in trouble once, I could take pictures of his reports and show you all how year after year I get the same feedback from his teachers, he's an ideal pupil, very quiet - sometimes too quiet, a pleasure to teach, a role model to other students etc.

Does anyone else think I am being stupid? All I can see right now is a upset little face when he discovers what's going on! I really don't see how any of it its fair and the last thing is, why on earth are families of these children being given spaces when other children who actually attend the school could be going?

Jada 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Letter To My Son On Your Discharge Day!

You was just a few months old when we had a routine check up with the health visitor that afternoon, you was born seven weeks premature at 33 weeks and had already seen the operating theatre and attended lots of hospital appointments. What I didn't know back then, when you was still a very tiny baby boy compared to other babies your age, you was referred to the eye department at our local hospital for a suspected squint.

We attended your first appointment and was told not to worry, these thing's are common and can disappear by themselves, but still the team wanted to check up on you every few months, and so we attended appointment after appointment.

So many people would ask about your squint, but I just couldn't see it, it's not that I refused to believe it, I just couldn't see it, until I looked back at photo's. I would take a photo of you on my phone or camera, and would view them and then I would notice it, but then I'd look straight at you, and I just couldn't see it.

In time you needed glasses, special eye exercises and even a eye patch a few times. We would play around and pretend we was pirates, never taking that smile off your face, even when a child at nursery pulled the patch off and ran off with it loosing it!

You attended so many appointments and had so many test, backwards and forwards between the specialist and the different eye related clinics, but at each and everyone you'd amaze me with your extremely good behaviour! You never moaned, you never complained.

When you was five and the squint had still not disappeared but actually got worse, talk of an operation started. It was then also at the age of five we found out you had astigmatisms in both eyes, another unique factor about a very special boy.

At the age of seven, it was time for the team looking after you at the eye department to make their decision, and they made the decision to go ahead with an operation. Operation number four for you. You was eight when you had your operation and it all went successfully.

Today on the 14th of October 2014, I picked you up early from school to attend yet another appointment. I watched as you played with the wooden kitchen, and gracefully accepted your pretend cups of tea, sipping from the little blue cup that you ever so kindly gave to me.

I reminisced the times of you being a baby in a buggy in the very same waiting room, the times when you was a waddling toddler, holding your hand we went to every seat and touched it - just because we could. I reminisced the times my small child was finally tall enough to reach the wooden kitchen's oven, you ''cooked'' me and other patients so much food, making us all smile!

I watched today, just as I do every time we attend the department, and I wonder what they're going to say. You didn't have lunch at school as I had to collect you before lunchtime had started to make sure we get to your appointment on time, so I brought a packed lunch with me for you to enjoy.

You was eating your cucumber and tuna sandwiches when the nurse called us through, and we went through as usual doing all the usual test. I was putting on your coat, ready to brace for the cold and rain outside, I was expecting it to still be raining, I was expecting it to still be cold, but what I wasn't expecting was the words ''we're happy to discharge Spud''.

I think I said pardon twice in dis-belief, did I really just hear that, or did I imagine it? Did another doctor say it to another patient next door, and I've overheard it.

BUT NO.

Today on the 14th of October, six months after your operation, and after numerous amounts of appointments and test, you was discharged from the eye department.

You make me smile beyond relief, the littlest things you do down to the biggest is utterly amazing. You wasn't sure of the word discharged, you had not heard it before, so waited for the lady to leave the room to get the discharge documents from the printer before you asked me what it meant. When I told you, that we didn't have to keep coming to the eye department any more, your little eyes lit up and a smile spread across your face.

I know you're not a fan of the hospital, I've witnessed the many tears your little eyes have dropped as you've been scared to attend, I've experienced the tightness of your little hand's hold when we're on the bus on our way to the hospital, but you done it baby, for eight years, hundreds (not literally) of appointments and a operation later - you've finally been discharged.

One down baby, another one to go!

Love your number one fan,
Mummy xx