Christmas Pudding BonBons

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Hello Christmas Elves! If you are after a really easy recipe or a great activity to do with the kids then I’ve got just the thing for you! In fact it isn’t really a recipe at all – it’s just a case of cobbling a few bits together – but they do look really effective!

Here’s the ingredients you will need:

-Pre-made chocolate cake (preferably with buttercream centre and topping)

-Red ready rolled icing

-Green ready rolled icing

-100g white chocolate (I use  white chocolate chips)

You will also need one of these little leaf shape icing plungers. I think mine was from Lakeland but you should also be able to find one in places like Amazon or eBay – I saw some in Wilkinson’s the other day too.

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Ok, so to get started, put your cake into a bowl and break it up into crumbs and then re-shape them into twelve little pudding sized balls. I use a cake which has buttercream on top and in the middle because when you are re-shaping it into little pudding balls, the mixture holds its shape a lot better. When you’ve made twelve round little balls, pop them in the fridge to reset whilst you get on with the rest.

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Roll out your green ready made icing and then use your leaf plunger to make holly leaves (you need two per pudding so twenty-four in total).

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Then cut off some tiny little chunks of red ready rolled icing and roll them into tiny little berries. You will need three of these per pudding so thirty-six in total.

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Pop your icing leaves and berries in the fridge for a few minutes (so they don’t melt too much whilst you are placing them on top of the melted white chocolate).

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Add your chocolate drops to a bowl and melt in the microwave (melt them in thirty second bursts and stir before melting even more – it’s very easy to over melt and burn chocolate if you aren’t careful!)

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Stir the white chocolate so there are no lumps and then leave to cool for about ten minutes so the chocolate is just starting to re-thicken slightly.

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Once it is cooler but still runny and thick, start adding your white chocolate to one pudding. Once the white chocolate is on the pudding, add your holly leaves followed by your red berries, then move on to the next pudding. Don’t do all the white chocolate in one go as it will have set by the time you add your holly leaves and berries to the first one, and they won’t stick to the pudding properly.

Let your puddings set for around ten minutes and then they are ready to eat! If you want to store them they should be fine in an airtight container for around five days (if you can resist them for that long! I ate FOUR in one sitting – they are only small after all!).

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Happy pudding bonbon making!

Rocky Road Christmas Bars

 

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My sister absolutely adores these and they are incredibly simple to make! This recipe will make you around 24 delicious squares.

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Ingredients

-125g soft butter

-300g dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa solids)

-3 tablespoons golden syrup

-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

-200g biscuits (rich tea, digestive, amaretti, whatever you fancy!)

-100g mini marshmallows

-2 teaspoons icing sugar for dusting

-Edible glitter for dusting

-Snowflake (or other!) sprinkles

Instructions

-Firstly, melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy based saucepan. When the mixture is melted, add your cinnamon and stir then scoop out about 125ml of this melted mixture and put to one side.

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-Put the biscuits into a large sandwich bag and then bash them with a rolling pin.

-Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan and then pour in your marshmallows.

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-Tip the mixture into a tin which had been lined with greaseproof paper. Flatten the mixture as much as you can and then pour the remaining 125g of mixture over the mixture in the tray and smooth over the top.

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-Put the mixture in the fridge for at least two hours.

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-When the mixture is completely set, take it out of the tray and cut the mixture into around 24 squares.

-Sprinkle the icing sugar, edible glitter and snowflake sprinkles over the cake bars and viola! They are ready to be devoured!

They are brilliant to put into Christmas themed cellophane bags to give away as presents, or for stocking and Christmas Eve box gifts!

Happy scoffing peeps! xx

CocoChlo’s Christmas Countdown!

Ok so it’s official! Silly season has begun! You officially won’t get any sense out of me for at least the next 25 days!

In case you haven’t already guessed – Christmas is my most favourite time of year! I look forward to it months in advance and am severely down and depressed once it is over and we move into the long dark cold month of January. I know my love for Christmas annoys people but, in my view, you need to have something to look forward to, and holidays and Christmas are the two things which give me something to look forward to throughout the year!

Christmas for me mainly centres around the fantastic traditions that myself and my family have developed over the years – after all, knowing what you have to look forward to makes you look forward to it even more!

Here are some of the Christmas traditions my family and I partake in year after year and all the other little Christmassy/wintery things which I love about this time of the year!

Advent Calendars:

Hopefully you will have seen my two blogs on how to make the two different types of Advent Calendars we have in the family. If not, you can read about these here and here.

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They take a LOT of time and effort to make but come out again and again year after year and make everyone very happy – all my family members look forward to opening their daily treats out of their Christmas Advent Calendars.

The calendars are filled during November with everyone’s favourite treats and then dropped off a few days before the beginning of December. In the past few years I have had to wrap up some of the treats (not fun! Twenty five presents times six people!), due to prying eyes and pokey fingers! And yes, all Advent Calendar recipients are adults!

Most of the days are filled with the likes of Cadbury’s chocolate mousse snowmen, Malteaser reindeers and tiny Lindt bears, and then an extra special gift awaits everyone for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (past years include baubles for the tree and personalised snow globes).

The perfect start to December!

Elf on the Shelf

Love him or hate him (hubby hates him!) Buddy will always make his annual appearance on the 1st December (apart from those days he is kidnapped and held hostage by hubby! Not joking!)

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Buddy plays a big part in helping to build the anticipation of the festive season, and often has some really good jokes and treats in store. This year Buddy has a particularly amazing surprise for the Evans’ which you can read about in Buddy’s very own blog which is being published in the next couple of days! #sorrynotsorry to all you Elf haters!

Buying our Christmas tree

We always had a real tree when we were growing up – my Mum, my two Sisters, the dog and I would walk miles to go and get one from the garden centre up the road (Mum can’t drive) and we would carry it all the way home, alternating between carrying the tree and walking the dog! When hubby and I first moved out and into our new home, I was over the top obsessed with keeping it clean and tidy and so, for fear of getting pine needles everywhere, I insisted on having a plastic tree for the first couple of years.

After a couple of years with this awful cheap plastic tree I decided enough was enough and we agreed we would buy a real tree the following Christmas. I was pleased to learn at this stage that there were a lot more trees around which didn’t drop their needles, so I was a double happy bunny!

We always get our tree the first weekend of December, which is usually around my Sisters Birthday. We usually buy it the Saturday morning and then get it home and set it up, and let the branches drop and the tree take shape for the next 24 hours.

Then on the Sunday we spend the day decorating it, listening to Christmas tunes and having hot chocolate and other Christmas themed treats! The trees usually get named at some point too….

Christmas shopping

My work organise an annual coach trip to London on the first Wednesday of December which is absolutely brilliant. The coach drops off at two places – Harrods (also ideal for visiting the Museums) and the corner of Hyde Park.

I usually go with my Sister and Mum and we’ve done all sorts during these trips – we took Mum to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland one year, and visited the Ice Bar and Ice Sculpture display, the following year we spent a couple of hours in Harrods food hall and then popped over the road and spent the rest of the day in the Natural History Museum (which we concluded you would need to spend a week in in order to see everything!) followed by a couple of years of good old retail therapy down good old Oxford Street! I always pop into Primark as well to see if I can find any last minute stocking fillers or bits to go in my Christmas Eve boxes!

The beautiful London department store windows are another one of the highlights! My two favourites are Harrods and Selfridges – the designers must spend months in advance coming up with these amazingly creative ideas! Good luck getting a photo of some of them though – they obviously attract an awful lot of people so get in there quick to catch a glimpse!

Festive Days Out

Sudeley Castle Spectacle of Light, Longleat Safari Park, Prinknash Abbey, and a ride on The Polar Express – you name it we have probably been there and partaken in their Christmas-themed festivities!

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Christmas Markets

I really love Christmas markets and the family and I have been to several over the years! I don’t go to them to do my main Christmas shopping but to try the amazing food and drink and check out the brilliant arts and crafts people make – some people are so creative!

At Gloucester Quays Christmas Markets last year they opened an ice skating rink and lots of little wooden huts around the outside which served mulled wine, hot apple cider, hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts! Just what you need to get into the Christmas spirit, although I do get there very early so I can get around quickly before the crowds arrive! Some places become unbearable at peak times!

Festive Drinks – Coffees, Hot Chocolate and Eggnog!

Most days in December usually feature a trip to Starbucks, Costa or Café Nero to sample this year’s Festive coffee and hot chocolate flavours! Yes, a blog on these is to follow too! Sorry!

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Obviously hot chocolates can be consumed throughout the year but there’s something different about a Christmas hot chocolate! Perhaps it is the lack of guilt you feel when you spray on mounds of whipped cream and tip half a box of marshmallows on top!

A favourite of mine is to add a tiny bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to really make it taste like Christmas in a mug! I buy all my hot chocolates from Whittards – they are the best by far in my opinion! This years flavours I invested in are Dark Hot Chocolate, Praline White Hot Chocolate, Rocky Road Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate! Delicious!

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I am also absolutely obsessed with eggnog! Is there a more Christmassy drink than eggnog!? If Starbucks ever stopped producing their eggnog lattes I don’t know what I would do!

Monin Syrups

If you want to make your own flavoured coffees or hot chocolates, I recommend you take a look at the collection of flavours Monin Syrups have to offer – there aren’t many flavours you can’t get hold of, and every year I struggle to choose which to buy next! I finally decided on Donut, Maple Spice, Amaretto and Macaron flavours!

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Christmas Adverts

Am I the only one who cries at these flipping adverts??? Lost Snowman looking for their partner….in tears, Buster the Boxer jumping on a trampoline…..in tears, Monty the penguin – so cute (in tears), the Sainsburys WW1 truce between British and German soldiers for Christmas Day….hysterical. I really do need to stop watching them to be fair! Anyway, every year they get more and more amazing and more and more heartfelt, it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Choosing the Christmas menu!

By the end of October I will have picked up several copies of each supermarkets festive food catalogues! I usually pick them up from Marks and Spencers, Asda, Tescos and Morrisons so we can all look at the full range everyone has to offer!

The family all meet in late October/early November to decide what food we are going to have on the days we are all going to be together (usually Christmas Day and Boxing Day or both). Everyone in my family has different tastes so it is quite difficult to choose things which most people will like!

You can read more about what is on the Christmas menu this year in my “what’s on the menu this Christmas” blog which is published on the 23rd December, but these will give you an idea…

Christmas Jumpers

Since Christmas jumpers came back into fashion a couple of years ago (the cheesier the better it seems!) I somehow now have an array of seasonal knitwear! It would seem I am a bit addicted, as every year they bring out better and sillier designs! Hubby had a jumper last year with actual flashing lights on! Amazing!

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Visits to the Cinema

What better way to get into the seasonal spirit than by visiting the cinema to watch a Christmassy film!!! Past cinema visits have included to watch Frozen, Bad Santa, Black Christmas and Krampus (ok so a couple of them are horror films, but still Christmassy!) This year I already have my sights set on two films – Bad Mom’s Christmas and Pitch Perfect 3! Can’t wait!

If I don’t have time to get to the cinema as I am spending my free weekends wrapping up the mounds of presents, I’ll always have some classic Christmas films on in the background whilst drinking my Christmassy hot chocolate! A blog on my favourite Christmas films will follow in a few days time!

Gingerbread Making

Gingerbread Houses – I love gingerbread but only the home made stuff which is lovely and fluffy and soft – not the hard shop bought stuff that you nearly break your teeth on!

For the first few years I was buying the shop bought sets (basically it was easier because all the pieces were pre-made so I could spend more time decorating them!) but I realised after making them that they didn’t get eaten because the gingerbread was rock hard! So my mother in law bought me a cookie cutter set which meant I could make proper gingerbread and cut out the pieces I needed to make my gingerbread house!

This year I spent the afternoon making gingerbread houses with my Sister and it was absolutely brilliant! We really enjoyed ourselves and it really got us into the Christmas spirit! I hope we make it an annual event from now on!

Christmas Yankee Candles

My family and I always buy Christmas themed Yankee Candles to burn throughout the festive season and I also put one in everyone’s Christmas Eve boxes for them to burn the night before the big day. Check out some of this years scents –

Nutcracker Dolls

An obsession of mine! If you are intrigued, a separate blog on these little guys is coming out in the next couple of days….

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Christmas Eve boxes

Unfortunately I am one of those annoying people who has usually bought all of the main Christmas presents and got them wrapped up before December even starts as this frees me up the time to do all of these other amazing things throughout December! I do tend to leave buying little things like stocking fillers until December though.

In December I will also start buying bits and pieces to go in everyone’s Christmas Eve boxes! Hopefully you will have read my blogs I released last year on how to make them and what you can put in them – if not you can read about them here and here.

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Last year was the first time I unveiled the Christmas Eve boxes but they were so popular and loved by everyone that I promised I would make them a regular thing. The only thing is, I went a bit mental last year with it being the first year and so everyone got a lot in their boxes in addition to their normal pressies, so this year I asked everyone what their favourite bits were and I have limited it to four or five items, and a few sweets and treats.

Now December is here I will start looking for some good surprises to sneak into people’s Christmas Eve boxes to make Christmas Eve that little bit more special! This year’s box contents will be revealed in my Christmas Eve blog so watch this space!

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Post-Christmas themed parties

The family and I are all very lucky in that we all tend to get at least a week off over the Christmas period. As we are all avid Christmas fans, once Boxing Day has come and gone and we are in the few days between Christmas and New Year, the post-Christmas blues start to set in.

To cheer us up after the main event has come and gone, and to give us something else to look forward to (and OCD organiser Chloe to organise!), I usually throw a small family themed party for my Mum, my Sisters and myself. Past themes have included Harry Potter, Frozen and The Polar Express! This year’s theme is Beauty and the Beast, so I have been scouring eBay and Primark for months and months looking for ideas and treats to go in everyone’s goody bags!

Yes it’s cheesy/corny/childish but it cheers us all up and gives us the chance to spend some time together over Christmas without the added pressure of running around to check the turkey, prepare the veg and grab someone another drink. Plus my older sister Lindsey, who has autism, really looks forward to the parties (and the opportunity to get some more presents, even after Christmas is over!) I’ll do a separate blog about this year’s party so you can see what a great time we had this year!!!

Time off

What could be better than some time off work to celebrate and then rest and re-cooperate?? By the time my Christmas leave comes around I’ve usually got huge lists of bits and pieces I want to get done during my time off! The first few days off are usually Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but after clearing up after these celebrations I always feel really down that Christmas has come and gone for another year, so I like to keep myself busy!

One of the regular tasks which appears this time of year includes sorting through mine and hubby’s wardrobes – throwing out/giving to charity the old stuff, putting aside stuff which needs repairing or dry cleaning, eBay-ing any unwanted valuable stuff and making space for the new stuff we got for Christmas or during the sales! The rest of the time hubby and I spend watching DVD’s or Netflix whilst eating the left over Christmas goodies! I’m afraid the majority of this time off is spent in my pyjamas!

Anyway, this just about wraps up my plans for December! No wonder it flies by so quickly!! And no wonder they call it the most wonderful time of the year!

Enjoy everyone!

The Naked Marshmallow Company

If you are looking for a lovely Winter treat then check out this amazing idea!

I love all the American programmes which show everyone sitting round the camp fire toasting marshmallows and making S’mores, but unfortunately, living in the UK with such unpredictable weather all year round, its a risk trying to partake in marshmallow toasting even in the Summer!

Anyway, now you can toast marshmallows all year round with this amazing Marshmallow Toasting Kit from The Naked Marshmallow Company!

The kit costs £19 and includes any two packs of their gourmet marshmallows, with each pack containing eight marshmallows.

You can choose from five different flavours – Vanilla Bean, Candy Floss, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Orange and Salted Caramel (if you want to order additional flavours you can add more boxes at £4.25 each). They have even got a Christmas range of flavours out at the moment too, such as Gingerbread and Candy Cane!

The marshmallows are made in the UK and are made from fair-trade sugar and have no artificial colours or flavours in them.

We tried four out of the five regular flavours (no-one likes chocolate orange in our family unfortunately!) and all of them were AMAZING! I have honestly never tasted more delicious marshmallows, even those I’ve bought from food festivals and markets!

Each kit comes with eight bamboo sticks and a non-toxic, odourless, smokeless gel burner which will burn constantly for two hours. If you don’t burn it all at once you can simply pop the lid back on to extinguish the flame and then use again whenever you fancy!

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The kit also comes in a gift box with a little printed guide on “how to toast the perfect marshmallow”, so is ideal to give as a present – if you are giving as gifts you can pay an additional £2 to have the burner label personalised as well!

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My favourite flavour was the candy floss one (closely followed by the salted caramel!) but the vanilla bean and strawberry cream were favoured by other guests so the flavours obviously cater for all different tastes too!

Even better, when I placed my order, standard delivery was free! I’ve gone to checkout on several online bakeries and food websites to find that the delivery costs are extortionate, so this was a real added bonus!

The family and I really enjoyed using the kit and I would definitely buy it again, and buy it for family and friends as presents – it’s certainly something a little bit different!

Just don’t forget to put your burner on a heat-proof surface! The last thing you want is to leave burn marks on your furniture!

If you want to take the toasting marshmallows kit one stage further, you can also order their marshmallow S’more’s kit! The kit contains eight marshmallows, eight Graham Crackers, three Hershey chocolate bars and of course your gel burner, eight bamboo sticks and a guide on how to make the perfect S’more!

I’ll definitely have to try this kit next time I put an order in!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I assume you all did most of your celebrating over the weekend seeing as Halloween awkwardly falls on a Tuesday this year!

We didn’t celebrate this year as much as we normally do – we are all packed up and ready to move house! We were hoping to be moved out well in advance of Halloween but unfortunately everything (including all my Halloween decor!) is still packed away in boxes eagerly awaiting our moving date….

I found it really depressing that we couldn’t decorate or throw a big party like we normally do every year, but I still had a great time having a small Halloween celebration with my Mum and Sister’s over the weekend!

We carved pumpkins and made apple tea light candles which was really messy but good fun! I made a puking pumpkin which Mum wasn’t very happy with!! Sorry Mum!

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We then watched Hocus Pocus! What a brilliant family Halloween film!

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Whilst we were watching Hocus Locus we toasted marshmallows! Yes, indoors! I bought us this amazing toasting marshmallow kit from the Naked Marshmallow Company! I’m not going to talk too much about it or post too many photos because I think a separate blog is in order for this brilliant kit! Watch this space….

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I also did my yearly goody bags for family and friends and treated myself to some fantastic Halloween treats!

The Pumpkin and Frankenstein goody bags were from good old Marks and Spencer’s! They were also in the three for two offer! Bonus!

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Our family love Yankee Candles so it would have been wrong not to include some lovely autumnal scents in this years goody bags! The scents I used this year were Crackling Wood Fire, Autumn Night and Fireside Treats! Perfect to light on a cold, wet autumnal evening! The Autumn Night one is burning away on the hall shelf as I write this.

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I used good old Marks and Spencer’s again for the Goody Bag sweets – check out these Percy Pumpkins, Freaky Frogs, Zombie Owls and Scary Spiders!

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For the adult recipients I thought these Crystal Skull Vodkas were brilliant! You can get them in several places but the cheapest place I found them were from the Drink Shop as they were in the sale!

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The vodka is made by Dan Ackroyd and contains no additives, sugar, or citrus oils – the emphasis on this product is its purity. Was I sold by this? Not really – I literally bought them because they are in an amazing skull bottle which is perfect for Halloween!

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These little guys have been in our Halloween gift bags for as long as I can remember!

Plus I also found these great chocolate lollipops from Marks and Spencer’s (again on the three for two offer).

I got these amazing cake pops and other treats from Popadoodledo! They were so well made and so tasty I think I will do a separate blog on this brilliant company too! I can’t wait for her Christmas range to come out!

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Check out these white chocolate fingers with white chocolate “blood dip”! Brilliant!

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and these little guys, believe it or not, are mini Oreos covered in white chocolate!

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I also treated myself to these extra special treats from The Whimsical Cake Company through Not On The High Street, aren’t they stunning? Almost too good too eat…. almost.

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Some lucky people had some extra special chocolate from Hotel Chocolat because they will only eat dark chocolate (you know who you are!)

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I especially loved this Hotel Chocolat Yumpkin! Tasty dark chocolate and vegan friendly!

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How cute are these tiddly little dark chocolate vampires??

Plus some lucky recipients also got some Halloween themed Lush Cosmetics products! You can read more about these in my “A Lush Halloween” blog which was published on Sunday!

So as you can see we were all a little bit spoilt over the Halloween weekend! Sort of makes up for not being able to decorate the house properly and have a big party, but not quite!

We should be in our new house for next Halloween so I’ll have to push the boat out on next years party instead! I’m thinking something along the lines of this amazing house I found on Pinterest

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Not sure we would get many lovely Trick or Treaters though!

 

Halloween in the Evans’ house!

Wow I really love the autumnal season! Yes the days get cooler but you still have the occasional bright sunny day with that fresh autumnal breeze, ideal for going for long walks with the dogs, and the best part of autumn of course, has to be Halloween!

Now I don’t ever need an excuse to have a party and to celebrate with friends and family, so needless to say, Halloween is always a big event in the Evans’ household! The celebrations usually continue over the entire Halloween weekend, with the first event being a good old trip to the cinema on the Friday evening of Halloween weekend to watch the latest scary horror film! Past films include Insidious and Paranormal Activity – several evenings of no sleep and jumping at every sound the house makes usually follow this!

On the Saturday of Halloween weekend I spend the day decorating the house with all the spooky decs! I have a LOT because every year I come across more decorations I like and I just can’t resist adding them to my collection!

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The real focus of the decorating is the dinner table! Sometimes I host three course dinner parties and other years I just set the table up with buffet food so people can help themselves if we have a lot of party guests!

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Every year I also make up goody bags for family and party guests – these boxes I came across on eBay are brilliant! I bought a load in orange and black and just printed off some spooky pictures, add the persons name and they are ready to be filled with sweets and treats!

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Aside from sweets, I also buy other bits and pieces to go with the goody bags, such as these brilliant spooky balloons (99p each from Clinton Cards) and these great orange flowers complete with Scary witch (from Morrisons).

You can read about what appeared in this years goody bags in my Happy Halloween blog which is being published on Tuesday! I can’t give the game away before everyone has had theirs and ruin the surprise!

If we are having guests over for Halloween parties we usually insist on them wearing Halloween outfits! Some of the outfits we’ve seen over the years have been absolutely amazing! So much time, effort and money has gone into them – so most years I will award a trophy to the best dressed guest! Check out some of these scary characters!

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To keep the guests entertained we usually do a few games and activities – we tried apple bobbing one year – it didn’t end well so we scrapped that! Yearly activities usually now include pumpkin carving and the standard party drinking games!

After our normal yearly Halloween parties, most of the day after is spent clearing up and rescuing the earrings out of the toilet and trying to get the red wine out of the curtains (yes – really!!) but we usually put aside some time to finish off our Halloween weekend with something spooky such as a visit to Frightmare. Frightmare takes place a few miles away and has become so popular over the last few years that the tickets sell out within hours for some of the most popular dates! Each year is a different theme and each ticket gets you entry to five different attractions including the Haunted Hayride, Séance, the Offering, and Caged!

I highly recommend getting tickets if you can – it’s a brilliant event which is really well planned and of course is absolutely terrifying! If you are a bit nervous and think you might not be able to take part in the full experience, they also offer Slightmare, which is a toned down version of the main event!

Have a great Halloween weekend everyone!!!

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Halloween Eats!

Hooray! It’s finally Halloween weekend! I’ve got some great things planned for this weekend but it wouldn’t be a real Halloween celebration without my favourite Halloween recipes I make year after year!

Ghost Cakes

All you need for these is your normal cupcake recipe (vanilla, chocolate, whatever you fancy) and a set of dariole moulds (usually sold in a set of six). Dariole moulds are quite difficult to get hold of in everyday shops, so try somewhere like eBay or Lakeland.

Make sure the dariole moulds are greased and lined and fill to about two-thirds full to allow the cakes space to rise. Once the cakes are cooked, allow them to cool and then carefully remove from the moulds (you might need to cut a bit off the base so that the cakes can stand upright) then all you need to do is roll out some pre-made royal icing and fold it over the top of the cakes so that it looks ghost-like! Add two raisins or dots of black icing for the eyes and voila!

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Welsh-rarebit Ghosts

These are so easy!

Just buy yourself a ghost-shaped cookie cutter and cut ghost shapes out of any type of bread. In a saucepan add 225g of strong cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 2 teaspoons of plain flour and cook over a low heat until melted. At this point you can even add a couple of tablespoons of your favourite beer if you like! Stir the ingredients until they become paste-like.

Toast the one side of the bread, then spread the rarebit over the non-toasted side and brown off under the grill. Only down-side to these are they do need eating straight away after they have been served, but they go down brilliantly as a drunken party goers midnight snack! Delicious!

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Chocolate Frogs

Easy-peasy! Buy the mould from Ebay, choose what chocolate you want to turn into frogs (I use dark chocolate, milk chocolate and cookies and cream chocolate), melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave (do 30 seconds then stir and repeat until all the chocolate is melted) and then pour into the moulds and leave to set.

Hint: do these a couple of days in advance a few at a time, don’t rush them and don’t put them into the fridge to get them to set – changing the temperature too quickly will make the chocolate go white and although it doesn’t do you any harm to eat, it doesn’t look very appetising and your frogs will look mouldy!

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Shattered Glass Cupcakes

These are really popular at my parties, people always comment at how great they look!

Take your normal cupcake recipe, again any flavour you like, and make the cupcakes as normal. When you go to ice the cakes, use a plain vanilla buttercream or cream cheese as these look the most effective.

A couple of hours before the guests are due to arrive, begin making the shattered glass. The glass needs to be made last minute as when it is left on the cakes for long periods of time, the glass begins to melt and doesn’t look anywhere near as effective. The recipe for making the glass is basically the same as for making caramel, you just don’t leave it cooking as long so the liquid stays clear.

Put 275g of granulated sugar and 175ml of water in a small saucepan with high sides and bring to the boil whilst stirring to make sure all the sugar has dissolved (keep kids well away from this!). Reduce the heat to medium/high and leave to cook until the mixture starts to go golden brown around the edges. This can take a while – around 15 to 20 minutes but keep an eye on it at all times! As soon as this happens, remove the mixture from the heat and pour onto a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the baking sheet slightly as you pour so it spreads evenly and makes a thin layer. Be REALLY careful at this stage – this mixture is incredibly hot!!

Let the mixture cool so it hardens (around 30 minutes). Once the mixture has set, twist the baking sheet slightly and hit the mixture with a rolling pin to crack it like glass (again be careful, these shards can be as sharp as glass) and start adding the shards to the cupcakes.

To finish off, drizzle a blood like mixture over the top of the cupcakes (I make runny icing using royal icing sugar, water and red food colouring, but you can also use jam or cherry preserves etc – I even found pre-made red runny icing in the supermarket last year).

Serve up the cupcakes straight away and watch jaws drop! Oh and teeth break if they don’t go steady on the hardened sugar!

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Mummy Hotdogs

Love these! I could eat the whole lot!

Again so simple to make! Buy a tin of hotdogs, buy a pre-made pack of croissant dough, unroll the dough and cut into thin slices to use as the “bandages”, wrap the dough around the hotdogs to look like mummys and put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the dough starts going golden brown and the hotdogs are cooked. For the eyes, add two dots of mustard! Really tasty!

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Rice Krispie Pumpkins

I’ve only made these once and they didn’t turn out quite as expected (I didn’t use enough orange food colouring!) but again they are very easy to make and are quite effective! Make up your normal batch of Rice Krispie cakes, add orange food colouring, shape into a ball shape and decorate the eyes, nose, mouth and stalks with black and green ready rolled icing.

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Witches Fingers

There are a couple of recipes for Witches Fingers on the internet – both sweet (Almond Witches Fingers) and savoury (Cheesy Witches Fingers). Both are really effective and very tasty!

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Almond Witches Fingers

Peanut Butter Eyeballs

These are quite easy to make but take bloody ages to decorate so be warned!!! I took a batch of them into work for my work colleagues a couple of years ago and they went down really well though! The recipe does make a lot, which is probably why they take so long to decorate! Find the recipe here.
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I hope this has given you some ideas of some easy but effective Halloween treats! I’m off to start working my way through the bowl of sweets we put aside for the trick or treaters!

Have a great Halloween weekend!

Monkey Cookies!

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Hello fellow Cookie Monsters!

I came across Monkey Cookies whilst shopping in Selfridges a few months ago and those of you who know me well will know that I do have a bit of a thing for cookies, so it would have been incredibly wrong not to try them!

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Monkey Cookies began as a home baking trial by Abdullah Al Ansari in 2012 but quickly evolved into a full blown business operation. The Monkey Cookies idea was inspired by “Mr Al Ansari’s passion for combining various ingredients to create unique and novel cookies that are all freshly baked.”

Monkey Cookies say to make their cookies even more enjoyable you can warm them up in the microwave for ten seconds – fresh warm cookies – amazing!

The first thing I found quite surprising about Monkey Cookies was that they don’t do a lot of different flavours when compared to other cookie producers – so far they produce six flavours in total:

Original

An original flavoured cookie with milk chocolate chips. Sounds boring? They aren’t! They’ve got an almost cinnamon like taste which makes them the ultimate comfort food cookie! Stick them in the microwave for ten seconds and you will be in cookie heaven!

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Monkey Mallow

An original cookie with a dollop of marshmallow on with a square of milk chocolate Hershey’s plonked on top.

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After it has been in the microwave for ten seconds the marshmallow begins to warm and go fluffy and the chocolate begins to melt so you have a s’more like combination – delicious!

Monkey Hershey’s

An original cookie with a square of white chocolate and milk chocolate Hershey’s on top. Pop it in the microwave so the chocolate just starts to melt…

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Monkey Cookies produce three types of these little “bites”, which are small round cookies with delicious fillings:

Monkey K-Bites

The Monkey K Bites are my favourite of the three – the K in Monkey K Bites stands for Kinder (as in Kinder Chocolate), so when these bites are put in the microwave, the middle is melted and warm and absolutely yummy!

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Monkey N-Bites

The N Bites both have Nutella centres – the Monkey N Bites are original cookies with a Nutella centre. I’m afraid I am not a fan of Nutella but I gave both of the flavours a try – the taste is not overwhelmingly hazelnut so I still really enjoyed them!

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Monkey N-Brown

The Monkey N Brown also has Nutella in the centre, except the cookie is a double chocolate cookie instead of an original cookie. Again, not my favourite as I am not a fan of Nutella but for all you Nutella fans out there, stick these in the microwave for ten seconds to warm them and you will be in heaven!

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Cookies are around £1.29 each for the larger cookies or you can buy them in the tin sets as shown in the picture for £15.99. The tin set gets you two each of the original, Monkey Mallow and Monkey Hershey and three each of the Monkey K Bites, Monkey N Bites and Monkey N Brown Bites – and of course you get to keep the rather fetching tin as well – the brother in law uses his to take his sandwiches to work – bless!

The cookies are available to order online in other countries but not yet in the UK, fingers crossed they will let you order them online very soon! They are definitely on the shopping list next time I can get into a Selfridges!

Check out Monkey Cookies at their website here.

Desserts Delivered Bakery

For all you cake lovers out there – this is the blog for you! Let me introduce you to one of the best online finds I have come across so far!

Desserts Delivered Bakery is a fantastic online bakery which delivers a variety of amazing cakes all over the UK. They even guarantee to deliver your selected cakes within 24 hours and offer next day delivery as standard!

Here’s a selection of some of the great cakes they have on offer:

The Rainbow Cake

The first cake I ordered from Desserts Delivered Bakery was the amazing Rainbow Cake. I was slightly disappointed when it first arrived as it turns out they have recently changed the design, and I actually preferred the original one, but as soon as I tried the first slice I was so pleased I had ordered it – especially after a particularly rubbish week!

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The colourful Rainbow Cake is a plain vanilla sponge with multicoloured vanilla flavoured buttercream and decorated with white chocolate jazzies, coloured fizzy sweets and a stick of multicoloured rock!

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This cake is one of the best sponge cakes I have ever eaten! It is incredibly light and very, very tasty! As soon as I ate my first slice I knew I would be ordering more cakes for Birthdays and special events from this company!

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The Bubblegum Cake

The next cake I ordered was the bubblegum cake for hubby’s Birthday!

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This is a really unusual one – I think people will either love it or hate it but I absolutely loved it and it was a real hit with family and friends – even with those who you wouldn’t have thought would like it!

A delicious light fluffy bubblegum flavoured sponge with bubblegum flavoured icing and pink and blue bonbons on top!

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This is another top seller at the Desserts Delivered Bakery and it’s easy to see why! I’ve never tasted another cake like it!

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The Cookie Cake

If you like cookies then this cake is for you! And as I am basically a cookie monster myself, I couldn’t wait to try this cake!

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A vanilla sponge cake with a butter cream centre which is topped off with milk chocolate and broken cookies on top! Perfect for those who have a sweet tooth but who find chocolate cake too heavy and sickly! Will definitely be ordering this one again!

The only thing I would say is it would have been a nice touch if the buttercream was cookie flavoured or had cookies in the mix – just to separate it a little bit from a plain vanilla cake with vanilla sponge. Again, the sponge was incredibly light and very delicious, a definite second favourite after the Rainbow cake!

The Cookies and Cream Cake

If you like milk and cookies then the cookie and cream cake is definitely for you!

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The cookies and cream cake is a lovely light chocolate sponge cake with a buttercream centre, which is then topped off with cookie and cream biscuits. Amazing. I thought it would be really heavy and sickly but the sponge is so light, it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve had!

The Peanut Butter Cake

Here is the perfect cake for you Peanut Butter lovers! I love peanut butter but have never tried a peanut butter cake before!

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This cake is a rich smooth peanut butter flavour chocolate sponge cake topped with a variety of Peanut butter chocolates such as mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Reeses Pieces!

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I thought this would be the least popular out of all the cakes I ordered but our guests loved it and it was the flavour which went the most quickly when we ordered a few of the cakes for a family celebration! I only got one slice out of it in the end!

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There are also other cakes available from the Desserts Delivered Bakery if none of these other cakes tickle your fancy! These include the chocolate hazelnut truffle cake (perfect for those Ferrero Rocher fans like my brother in law!), the chocolate junkyard cake, and the jammy biscuit cake!

They have also recently released a red velvet cake which looks incredible! I can’t wait to try that one!

Order your cakes from Desserts Delivered Bakery here. Prices are £20.00 per cake and each cake serves ten people, delivery starts at £4.95, and extras such as candles and balloons are also available to add to your order.

Every cake is delivered in a strong corrugated cardboard box to ensure your cake isn’t damaged when you receive it. The parcel includes dry ice as the cakes are sent frozen to retain the freshness and quality of the cake. Fear not though – you only need to defrost the cake for four to five hours and the cake is then ready to eat! You do not need to refrigerate the cake either, it can be left in its box for up to a week and it will still be perfect to eat!

On one occasion I ordered three cakes together and was really pleased to find out that the next day delivery cost was still only £4.95! The cakes arrive well packaged and secure and with dry ice in the boxes to keep them cool – fantastic service!! Some online bakeries charge a fortune for their items to be delivered so the cost of delivery was brilliant in my opinion!

Get stuck in!

Popalicious Cake Pops!

Hello fellow Unicorn fans! Have I got the perfect blog for you!!

Check out these beautiful Unicorn Cake Pops from Popalicious Cake Pops – an incredible find which I came across on Instagram! I couldn’t believe the amazing detail on them, they looked such good quality!  I was even more over the moon when I visited their website and found I could order them online and have them delivered – one of the things I’ve found so disappointing with some online bakeries is that they advertise all their lovely products but then won’t deliver or will only deliver in the London area!!

As soon as I saw pictures of the amazing Unicorn Cake Pops I knew I had to try them! They sell a range of lovely treats so here’s what I have sampled from their delightful range so far:

Unicorns Rock Cake Pops

Look at the detail which goes into each and every one! The cake pops are beautifully designed, and absolutely flawless, it must take ages to decorate each of these! I wish I was this creative!

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Unicorn Cake Pops

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You’ll be pleased to hear that they taste just as good as they look!

Inside these two types of beautiful candy covered cake pops (if you can bring yourself to eat such a lovely creation!) is a lovely moist chocolate cake.

Rainbow Sprinkle Cake Pops

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I couldn’t wait to try these! Outside they look like a straightforward pastel coloured cake pop but inside is an amazing moist rainbow cake! I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I ate nearly all of these in one sitting – for research purposes obviously!

Other treats aside from cake pops are also available including –

Unicorn cakelets

The cakelets are also made up of moist chocolate cake covered in a candy coating, hand decorated and finished with a sprinkle of glitter – ideal to give as gifts, I bought a set of these for my sister as a present – I knew she would love them!

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Vanilla Rainbow Cakelets

Amazing moist rainbow cake surrounded by a candy coating with sparkle and sprinkles!

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Chocolate Sprinkle Cakelets

These have the same moist chocolate cake inside as the Unicorn Cakelets and are covered in a candy coating with sparkle and sprinkles on top!

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Some of these incredible goodies are even available in gluten free options. The range is ideal for childrens’ parties and although the online shop is only showing the unicorn range at the moment, if you check out their gallery you will see all of the other brilliant designs they have completed for their customers including My Little Pony, Mr Men, and my absolute favourite which I hope they bring back this Christmas – Elf On The Shelf cake pops!

All the items I ordered arrived quickly and safely packaged so they wouldn’t get damaged, I’ve ordered from some online bakeries and the “protective” packaging certainly leaves a lot to be desired!

You can follow Popalicious cake pops on Instagram (popaliciouscakepops) and on Twitter  (@popaliciouscake) and their cake pops are also available to purchase through Not On The High Street.I’m hoping this means they are inundated with orders – they certainly deserve to be!

I already can’t wait to put in my next order!

CocoChlo loves Cookie Doe

***Update 11/09/2017***

I’ve managed to get hold of Cookie Doe’s latest limited edition flavours! I couldn’t wait to try these!

Fairy Dust Cookie Doe

A pink coloured cookie dough with round and star shaped white chocolate chips and pink sugar sprinkles! I think I would have called it Unicorn cookie dough personally but Fairy Dust works too! Yum!

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Oops…

Mermaid “Un-Doe the Sea” Cookie Doe

A bluey-green coloured cookie dough mixed with chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff to give it the “waves” effect and then topped with gold sprinkles! Amazing! This cookie dough looks far better in real life and tastes just as good!

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Grab both of these limited edition Cookie Doe’s whilst you can!

Continue reading below for my original blog and for details of Cookie Doe’s regular flavours!

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Breaking news!!! Heaven comes in little tubs and can be ordered online!!

I don’t even know how I came across this amazing website but as soon as I came across Cookie Doe London I knew I had to put an order in!!!

I bought a few different flavours to sample over the Easter break (makes a change from Easter eggs!) and stuck them in the freezer to avoid eating them all at once!

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Cookie Doe has been specially made to eat raw and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients such as raw egg. The Cookie Doe needs to be kept in the fridge and will last for five weeks or can be frozen in which case it will last up to three months.

There are a wide range of flavours available on the website and new and seasonal flavours are added on a regular basis. Here are the flavours I have sampled:

Milk Chocolate Chip

Plain cookie dough mixed with milk chocolate chips.

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Salted Caramel 

My absolute favourite! Cookie dough mixed with dark chocolate chips and a salted caramel sauce! Perfect!

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Cookies and Cream

Cookie dough mixed with crushed cookies and cream.

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White Chocolate Delight

Cookie dough mixed with white chocolate chips and topped with multi-coloured sugar strands.

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And two Easter specials:

Cream Egg

Cookie dough mixed up with crushed Cadbury’s cream egg – sugar overload!

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Chocolate Nest

Cookie dough topped with crumbled flake to give a “nest” effect and topped with a couple of mini chocolate eggs.

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Other flavours available are Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Hazelnut and Strawberries and Cream.

Two sizes are available for all the flavours – an 8oz tub and 16oz tub. The 8oz tubs range from £4.85 to £4.99 and the 16oz tubs range from £7.50 to £7.80 so you get more value for money for the larger ones (although it means you will probably eat 16oz in one sitting rather than eight so I stuck with the smaller tubs on this occasion!) Variety and multipacks are also available…..

The ONLY downside to ordering a little piece of heaven online – due to the weight of the tubs and the fact they have to be delivered with an ice pack to keep the cookie dough cool and fresh, the postage and packing is rather pricey. For the order I placed the postage and packing was £7.95, so I ordered enough to keep in the freezer to make the postage cost more worth while. Although, having said that, my most recent order in August 2017 was for four pots of the 8oz and postage was only £4.95 on this occasion which is far more reasonable.

This website is an absolute must for Cookie dough fans! The Cookie Doe is a lot smoother than home-baked cookie dough and it doesn’t have that gritty texture (which I actually like!) but the flavour is amazing and it’s fantastic to know that its completely safe to eat as opposed to the raw egg contained cookie dough you are eating out of the bowl at home!

I will definitely be looking out for new flavours to try in the near future once I have worked my way through my last bulk order!

Merangz by Flower and White

I first came across these amazing meringues by Flower and White at the same time I came across their amazing Tweener cakes at the Gloucester Quays Victorian Market.

Merangz are Meringues with a crisp shell and an amazing flavour! They are made to a Swiss recipe and can be eaten as it comes or crushed with cream and fruit. Even better, Merangz are gluten free, low fat and selected flavours are suitable for vegetarians!

I’ve bought both the giant Merangz and Merangz Bites and both are show-stopping and extremely tasty! We ordered 60 Merangz bites for my Mum’s 60th Birthday party and they went down a treat!

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Merangz come in the following flavours:

  • Lemon
  • Pistachio
  • Chocolate
  • White Chocolate and Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla

and two new flavours (which I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to try yet!) – Mocha and Caramel and they are always adding limited edition flavours (at the moment they are chocolate strawberry and white chocolate and passionfruit).

Over Christmas they were also doing limited edition glitter giant Merangz so I bought several packs to give to family on Christmas Day.

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As well as the giant Merangz and Merangz bites, they have recently launched a new product called Merangz Pavs – little pavlovas which can be bought in single portions or in medium size. I haven’t had the chance to try these yet but will definitely add some to my next order!

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The great news is they are all available to order online. You can order the giant Merangz in packs of two (the same flavour) and the Merangz Bites come in packs of five or twelve (all different flavours including black cherry, strawberry, lime, lemon, passionfruit and chocolate orange). Giant Merangz are £3.95 per pack of two and the Merangz bites are £3.95 for a pack of five or £8.95 for the twelve pack.

Postage and packing is £3.75 irrespective of how much you order which is brilliant – also a great excuse to stock up when you place an order!

***UPDATE 10th September***

Have you tried the two new meringue products from Flower and White?? I have! Here’s the details –

Meringue Drops

Flower and White have also brought out their lovely meringues in a new “meringue drops” variety!

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They come in boxes of chocolate flavour, white chocolate and raspberry flavour and rainbow fruit flavour which consists of strawberry, lemon, passion fruit and black cherry.

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The meringue drops are colourful and full of flavour – use them with fruit and double cream, as cake toppers or just on their own with double cream like I do!

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All meringue drops are fat free and suitable for vegetarians! Delicious!

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Meringue Truffles

I was so excited to get an email from Flower and White about the release of these! I couldn’t wait to try them! What a brilliant idea – Swiss baked meringues filled with a chocolate truffle!

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Meringue Truffles come in boxes of 9 and in the following flavours – white chocolate and strawberry, white chocolate and vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut praline, Irish coffee, mint chocolate, rum raisin, mocha and chocolate orange. Delicious and a great alternative to a boring box of chocolates!

The website says they are limited edition but I hope they prove so popular they make them a permanent edition to the collection!

I noticed on a recent shopping trip in Birmingham that they stock Flower and White products in Selfridges now as well as online through Not On the High Street! Just goes to show how good they taste!

Tweeners by Flower and White

I first came across these amazing little cakes when I went along to the Gloucester Quays Victorian Market a few years ago – they looked absolutely fantastic so my family and I bought a couple of boxes to try them out!

Tweeners are gorgeous round mini cakes made from the lightest sponge and a mound of tasty “in-between” compotes and curds and then topped with mounds of buttercream! Designed originally to be shared, but I have been known to demolish a whole one on more than one occasion!

Tweeners come in the following tasty flavours:

Caramel Latte

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Chocolate Caramel

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Lemon Curd

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Triple Chocolate

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White Chocolate and Raspberry

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Best of all – Tweeners are available to order online to have delivered right to your door! The minimum order is a box of four which costs £9.00 (£2.25 per cake which I think is an excellent price – I’ve paid nearly double that for a cupcake half the size!) and postage and packing is an additional £3.75 on top (again, compared to other places I order goods from and considering the weight of the cakes, I think this is really reasonable.) You can mix and match the flavours as well so you can have any combination of flavours you want which is brilliant. I usually order a couple of boxes, leave a couple out for me and the hubby and then freeze the remainder so they are there when the next craving for one comes around!

You can order your Tweeners from the Flower and White website along with their other amazing products – Merangz and Muffinz. The other week the amazing Tweeners even made an appearance on QVC and they are now available to order from the amazing gift finder website Not On The High Street.

I think they are destined for great things! Watch this space!

***Update 11/09/2017***

Flower and White have released some new limited edition flavours! Check these out:

Banoffee Pie

Hubby ate this one! When I asked him whether he enjoyed it so I could add the details to my blog he described it as “banging”! I think he liked it!!

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Eton Mess

I squashed this one getting it out of the box so it really was an Eton Mess in the end!! Still tasted absolutely delicious though!

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Hopefully they will make these new flavours part of the permanent range! They’ve also released a Summer Berries Cheesecake flavour which I will need to add to my next order!

Sweet Trees for my sweets!

I mentioned in my Easter blog that I hadn’t bought traditional Easter treats for my family this year and had decided I wanted to do something a little bit different! I eventually decided on these fabulous Sweet Trees from Sweet Tree by Browns – aren’t they brilliant??

All of the sweet trees are made with edible centres and the trees will stay edible for four to six months if kept in its packaging.

They have a huge range to choose from (over 100 different designs) and because a member of my family only likes dark chocolate they made the dark chocolate Lindt one for me specially!

These are the trees I ordered:

Malteaser and Malteaser Bunny

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Ferrero Rocher 

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Licorice Allsorts

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Mixed Truffles (milk, white and dark Lindt truffles and Ferrero Rocher and Raffaello truffles)

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Mini Egg and Malteaser Bunny 

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Galaxy Golden Egg

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Dark Lindt Truffle

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The trees come in four sizes – 25cm (the ones I ordered), 35cm, 50cm and 65cm and are delivered in glass vases full of sweets. The glass vase can also be personalised with a message.

Prices start from around £19.99 for a 25cm Licorice Allsorts tree and increase to around £24.99 for the mixed truffles tree. For the next size tree up (35cm) you are looking at around £35.

Delivery is free and I found that all of my orders were delivered within three days. As they looked pretty fragile I was worried by the time I had got them that they may have been damaged but they were all really well packaged and not a single one was damaged or had any of the sweets fall off the tree so I was very impressed!

They proved to be very popular Easter gifts and I’ve already decided I am going to buy some more for my friends for their Birthdays!

Sweet Trees by Browns also sell chocolate plaques and chocolate scotch eggs which, judging from their Twitter account have also proved to be very popular!

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Easter time fun!

Even though Easter is probably my third favourite annual event after Christmas and Halloween, it is still one of the best times of the year – the warmer weather is (usually!) arriving by now, Springtime is underway and fluffy bunnies and Bank Holidays come to mind!

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Of course then theres also the large amount of Easter Eggs, Hot Cross Buns and other Easter goodies such as Easter Biscuits and Simnel Cake which make this holiday worth waiting for!

Each year I arrange a three course family lunch on Easter Sunday and there’s usually around 8 to 10 of us. I try and do a different menu each year (which is proving harder and harder with everyone’s different tastes!) and I try and arrange some Easter fun and games as well. A few years back I made everyone their very own Easter baskets with their names on and from that year onwards I sent them off into the back garden to fill their Easter baskets with chocolate. Although the family loved their Easter Egg hunts, everyone had so much in their Easter Baskets that they still had some left over months later! So this year I thought it was best to try something a little bit different!

This year I came across these lovely little Easter Bunnies from Lidl! They were only £3.99 each and each one has a yellow, white or orange flower in it. Everyone had their very own bunny with their name on it and an Easter trail clue which told them how to find this years Easter surprise! Each bunny is slightly different which made me like them even more!

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The Easter bunnies held a clue which took everyone to the hiding place of their Easter treat – instead of Easter Eggs this year I bought everyone their very own fantastic Sweet Tree! How amazing are these?? I’m so impressed with them I’m going to give them a blog all on their own so watch this space!

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As part of the Easter celebrations, every place setting has its very own obligatory set of bunny ears in pink, blue or yellow, and each year I buy everyone an Easter table favour to match.

This year I found these amazing Wax Amaryllis bulbs in matching blue, pink and yellow – perfect Easter pastels! They don’t need to be watered and will sprout in only a couple of weeks – I found them in the flower section of my local Marks and Spencer’s!

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A couple of weeks later they flowered beautifully!

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Anyway, onto the best bit – dessert!! I am not going to be particularly surprising here as I stuck with my old faithful friend – The English Cheesecake Company to sort out our incredible dessert! I went for the Fruit Fantasy Variety cake as it had 4 different flavours of cheesecake to choose from – Mango Passionate, Raspberry Split, Summer Fruits, and Sicilian Lemon, and I also ordered a Butterscotch Caramel Crunch for the chocolate lovers of the family so there was something for everyone. You can have the cheesecakes delivered pre-portioned so you can keep them in the freezer and then just take out however many you need to defrost for a couple of hours before serving!

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As I was feeling especially greedy at the time of ordering, I also ordered their special edition Easter Cheesecake Minis!! Ooops!

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English Cheesecake Company really are amazing, I’ve been using them for a while now – check out my blog about them here.

As usually happens at times like Christmas and Easter, after most people had gone home for the day my sister and brother in law stayed for the evening so we could eat and drink some more!

I had a few bottles of Prosecco we could work our way through this evening and bought some amazing additions from Popaball to go with it! Check out their amazing new product Shimmer for Prosecco! People’s faces light up when you serve them a glass of Prosecco with this added in – it makes the Prosecco go a Rose Gold colour with little gold hearts floating in it – it looks amazing and tastes like raspberry! The Shimmer for Prosecco is £6.99 a pot and one pot will be enough for around 14 glasses of Prosecco.

When we finally got over our sugar rush from earlier, and after sinking a Amaretto Sours and Strawberry Daiquiri’s we then tucked into several varieties of “Cookie Doe”! This product is an absolute must for cookie dough lovers! A separate blog on this great product is to follow!

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And of course it wouldn’t be Easter without Hot Cross Buns! This year I stocked up on Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chip (a la Tesco’s) and Toffee Fudge and Belgian Chocolate from Marks and Spencer’s just as a change from the normal fruity flavours that are available!

Another amazing Easter celebration full of fun, family, food and drink!! Still working my way through the washing up though!!

Happy Easter everyone!

CocoChlo’s London Adventure – Day Two

We got up early this morning as we have a busy day ahead, the Hutton’s Hotel cooked breakfast this morning was brilliant, we had a choice of eggs (scrambled or fried), sausages, bacon, baked beans, hash browns, cheese, fruit, cornflakes, muesli, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and orange juice – just what we needed to start us off for day two!

First thing this morning we walked over to Harrods to visit the food hall – I have been several times before but the items you find in there still never cease to amaze me! There are cakes and pastries and bread and biscuits and macarons…. the list goes on.

 

 

 

Whilst we were there I bought a (very expensive!) bumper sized pack of La Duree macarons as they are my absolute favourite and all other macarons I have tried just do not compare to these! You can order them online however be aware because they are fresh and very fragile, shipping is expensive so bumps the price up even more!

 

I also bought some amazing Unicorn cupcakes! How cute are these??

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After spending way too much time (and money!) in the Harrods food hall, we wandered down to the Science Museum. The museum opens at 10am and closes at 6pm and is free entry. We spent a couple of hours here, the museum is not as big as we had imagined but is full of really interesting sections such as the energy hall, exploring space, agriculture and atmosphere. We didn’t spend as long here as we thought we would and in all honesty we didn’t enjoy it as much as previous visits we had paid to the Natural History Museum and the British Museum, but I have friends who have been here and have really enjoyed it. The other thing to bear in mind, if you go during the week, the museum will be chokka with school kids which makes it difficult getting close to some of the exhibits!

After over-working our brains at the science museum for a few hours, we caught an Uber over to the place I have really been looking forward to during our visit – Camden Market!

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There really are so many amazing places to visit and eat at that we couldn’t possibly visit (and eat at!) them all, but here are a few of the places you can try:

Chin Chin Nitro Icecream – AMAZING ice cream which is frozen using liquid nitrogen. We had cream cheese flavoured ice cream on top of a warm red velvet cake with cinnamon crunch toast – it was the best ice cream I have EVER had! Follow them on Instagram @Chin Chin Ice Cream.

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La Churrerialdn – I have always loved churros so this was one of the must visit places on my list! We bought 6 large warm churros rings with caramel sauce and tiny marshmallow sprinkles – delicious! Follow them on Instagram @lachurrerialdn.

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The Mac Factory – THE BEST mac and cheese I have ever tried!! All three of us had the “Nostalgic” which consisted of a blend of mature cheddar and mozzarella with a thyme and parmesan crumble topping. There are also lots of other choices including the “Super Mario” which includes sautéed portobello mushrooms, truffle oil and wild garlic and the “Lobster Mac” which includes lobster poached in a garlic and parsley butter with a lemon garnish. Yum! More info is available on their website.

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Hallumi Fries – One of the main reasons we visited Camden Market is to sample these amazing things!! I spotted them ages ago on Instagram and have been looking forward to trying them ever since! £5 a box is well worth it – pieces of hallumi are deep fried and then covered in za’atar yogurt, pomegranate molasses, mint, sumac, turkish chilli and pomegranate seeds. Incredible.

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Half Hitch Gin – I am not a gin drinker but my Mum and sister love it so they bought a bottle each. Although I didn’t try any, the small of it was delicious! The key botanicals for Half Hitch Gin is black tea, bergamot, wood, hay and pepper. For more information, visit their webpage here where you can also order bottles online.

 

South East Cakery – Award winning brownie bars including Oreo and Honeycomb, I settled for the Salted Caramel version! I took mine away for later but you can have them made up then and there to include whipped cream, salted caramel popcorn and pretzels too!

Also well worth a visit whilst you are here – the statue in tribute to the amazing Amy Winehouse. The statue is a really beautiful tribute to her as she stands amongst the market crowds.

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I ate way, way too much today! Could really do with going on a long, long run tomorrow morning to burn off just some of today’s calories!!

Later in the evening we visited the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to go and watch Thriller Live – what an amazing show! Every singer and dancer and musician was outstanding and we were lucky enough to get seats only 5 rows back! What a brilliant day and evening!

English Cheesecake Company

I’ve been placing orders through the English Cheesecake Company for well over a year now, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to write about how amazing they are! I can’t even remember how I came across them in the first place, I think it may have just been a good old google search….

Anyway, I came across their website. They have hundreds of amazing cakes to choose from and do seasonal versions for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Any flavour cheesecake you can think of, it’s likely that English Cheesecake Company have it; and more! From After Dinner Mint to Pina Colada to Pecan Pie to Salted Caramel Toffee Swirl, you are bound to come across several flavours you can’t resist giving a try!

Aside from cheesecakes, they also sell delicious fudge cakes and these amazing little inventions called cupcake cheesecakes which are regular sized sponge cupcakes with a cheesecake centre and topping – you must try them! My favourite of the cheesecake cupcakes are the Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake Minis.

If cheesecake really is your thing, they also stock humungous cheesecakes for weddings and parties which serve up to 60 people. Flavours include chocolate fudge profiterole, chocolate cookie mudslide and chocolate truffle strawberry shortbread.

Here are some of the delicious flavours my family and I have sampled over the past year or so:

The Gold Digger – Vanilla cheesecake covered with Dulce De Leche toffee on a chocolate biscuit base, one half is covered with crunchy chocolate honeycomb and the other half is covered with shortbread chunks drizzled in chocolate! Both halves were amazing but the chocolate honeycomb side was my favourite!

Cinnamon Bun Streusel cheesecake – This one is my husbands favourite so we have ordered this one a couple of times and it’s unlike any other cheesecake I have tried! On the bottom is cinnamon sponge topped with vanilla cheesecake covered with cinnamon streusel crumble and then drizzled with white icing!

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Butterscotch caramel crunch – This is one of my brother in law’s favourites – a chocolate cookie base topped with vanilla cheesecake, Dulce De Leche toffee and LOTS of dime bars then drizzled with a chocolate fudge sauce!!

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Cookie Dough Collision – This one is my absolute favourite as I am obsessed with cookie dough! In the middle of the vanilla cheesecake is a huge chunk of cookie dough! The cheesecake is then topped with cookie chunks and dark chocolate chips and then drizzled in chocolate sauce – IT IS AMAZING!!!

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12 Cheesecake minis – 12 little cheesecakes of all different flavours – ideal for dinner parties as everyone is bound to find a flavour they like!! The selection consists of: Toffee Pecan, Raspberry White Chocolate, Toffee Crunch Daim Bar, Chocolate Profiterole Smash, Oreo Cookie’s and Cream, Honeycomb Golden Nugget, New York Baked Vanilla, Millionaire’s Shortbread, Alphonso Mango Passionate, Blueberry White Chocolate, Sicilian Lemon and Strawberries and Queen Cheesecake.

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Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake Minis – These were the first cheesecakes I ordered from English Cheesecake Company. My sister and I were having the day off together and I ordered these as a surprise for us to scoff our faces whilst enjoying our duvet day together – they did not disappoint! When they turned up we unpackaged them and struggled to wait until they had defrosted until we started eating them! This selection box consists of 6 cheesecake filled Lotus biscuit topped cupcakes and 6 cheesecake minis. I would definitely order them again! Really tasty! My sister asked me about them again the other day as she remembered how good they were!

Rocky Road Cheesecake – I wanted to give this one a go as my sister loves Rocky Road! It’s a chocolate cookie base, covered with a layer of chocolate fudge, vanilla cheesecake and chocolate crumb. On top there’s loads of shortbread chunks, malted chocolate balls and marshmallows all with a chocolate drizzle on top!

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12 Christmas Cheesecake minis – I ordered these for over Christmas for when people are popping over so I always had a dessert on hand just in case and with this selection box I would have every taste catered for! This selection box is a Christmas edition so unfortunately it’s not available on the website anymore – the flavours were Luxury Mince Pie, Red Velvet, Salted Caramel, Honeycomb Smash, Profiterole Snowball, Mandarin Mayhem, Rasberry Pavlova, Peppermint Bark, Festive Chocolate Log Truffle, Gingerbread Man, Cranberry and Lime and Christmas Chocolate Star.

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Valentine’s Red Velvet Cheesecake – This was my most recent purchase – my husband and I started this for our dessert on Valentine’s Day and I have still got around half left in the freezer! This one is another one of my favourites so far – The vanilla cheesecake is filled with cocoa filled red velvet sponge and topped with a layer of chocolate fudge. On the top are lovely red and black chocolate hearts, mini chocolate heart pieces and red and white sprinkles. Definitely one to try!! Although it is a Valentine’s Day edition, they do also offer the regular Simply….Red Velvet Cheesecake as an alternative.

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Easter Cheesecake Mini’s

A lovely selection of 12 mini’s – 6 mini cheesecakes and 6 mini cheesecake cupcakes. Ideal for serving to guests over Easter and can be kept in the freezer until you need them! The cheesecake cupcakes are delicious!

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Prices range from £25 to £36 depending on whether you go for a traditional 12 slice cheesecake or 12 mini cheesecakes – keep an eye open for any of their “Cake of the moment”offers as when you buy a cheesecake with this offer, you get a free cheesecake added to your order! Flavours depend on what is being prepared on that day, I got a free one with my Christmas Cheesecake Minis order and the flavour I got was Raspberry and pomegranate. I gave this one to my Mum to enjoy over Christmas and unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it before I sent it on its way!

When you place your order you can add personalised chocolate discs to the order (milk or white chocolate in round or heart shaped discs) and gift boxes and gift cards. You can also add “pre-portioning” to your order which means they will cut up the cheesecake into sections for you – this makes it much, much easier if you are freezing the majority of the cake and then just getting a few pieces out at a time. It is almost impossible to cut the cheesecake when it is frozen and you should not defrost it in order to cut it and then re-freeze it for obvious reasons. So I always add the pre-portioning to my order – it cost’s £1.99 and is more than worth it in my opinion.

Another thing I love about English Cheesecake is that delivery is included in the price (unless you want it delivered on a Saturday). You can select your nominated delivery date (they don’t deliver on Sunday’s or Monday’s though) and if you order early enough you can even get next day delivery! (An additional charge of £1.99 applies). The Cheesecakes are really well packaged in a polystyrene container and are delivered frozen with dry ice to keep them cool.

A highly recommended company with amazing products and brilliant customer service! Check out their website and drool away!!