Review: Hotel Chocolat

Hotel Chocolat Packaging

Everyone likes chocolate – right? Well it’s especially tasty if it’s a gift and at this time of year, sometimes it is just what people need. It’s cold and gloomy outside, with the prospect of snow. What better way to make someone smile than sending them the most amazing chocolate. I am not a chocoholic but for some reason Hotel Chocolat chocolate really appeals to me. The milk chocolate is so creamy and melts in your mouth, whilst the champagne truffles are divine and a real treat. Not something you can gorge on. Well not me anyway, I know friends who would finish the lot in one sitting, this includes my husband!!

My Nana at 89 is extremely hard to buy for, but she loves dark chocolate, so I always get her some dark chocolate batons and she has one after her dinner every day. It’s lovely that I can get something that she enjoys so much.
Now for a luxury chocolatier, in my opinion they often miss a trick by not appealing to the younger generation, but not Hotel Chocolat, they cater for all. Yes at £5.50 for the chocolate reindeer people may think this is quite a high price point, but my word, when you taste this, you would never gift any other chocolate.

Father Christmas figuresAs part of this review, we received the pack of 8 chocolate reindeers and a pack of 3 Father Christmas figures, fantastic for any stocking fillers. My boys love them and I have to say, Grim and I have scoffed the rest. They really are my favourite chocolate and with the gift range they have this year from the stocking fillers right up to their grand gestures, there really is something for everyone. Perhaps if you are struggling to get something special for your loved one or a friend or family that seems to have everything, perhaps this is the way to go.Tiddly Reindeer

And that’s not all, they come in to most amazing packaging that is featured above, which just adds another dimension to an already beautiful gift.

Disclaimer: We were sent the chocolate from Hotel Chocolat in return for this review. All opinions are our own.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

Buddy with GrimlockMy children are 5 and 2 so getting them to focus on what they want for their Christmas list is quite hard. When they watch TV, I hear the cry ‘I want that!’ constantly, but they aren’t really focussing on what they want to put on their lists, they are just seeing the adverts and find them appealing, there is limited recall afterwards to get these items that they do want to ask Santa for.

the gangWe trialled the Argos Christmas Wishlist app and found this absolutely fantastic to use. Both boys chose their helper and looked at all of the pictures and clicked on them to add them to their wishlist. They found that they filled up really quickly so they worked out how to take things out and add new things in, so they were even prioritising which was really interesting to watch. There is also a list of the top toys so it can help you and your children to identify what they want to ask Santa for.

Parental ControlsYou can set all of the parameters too, so that your children can only set this within your budget and amount of toys you want them to select which I thought was fabulous. At the end they even send it off to Santa at the North Pole. We told Buddy when he was 2 that the sensors for the burglar alarm was Santa watching him making sure he was good, so when the light came on, that was Santa watching him. I overheard him telling Bubbles the other day about this and they both chatted about the fact they have sent off their lists now to Santa so this is him checking up on them. So funny!

Here is a video to show you how it works:

Disclaimer: This blog is part of the Markettiers4DC bloggers group.

What it would be to be old…..

My Granny Heron

It’s really interesting when you get older and you look at things that as a child you didn’t question. I mean, I remember my Granny Heron used to live in sheltered housing. As children we went their loads and spent lots of time with the other people who lived there. Granny Heron loved it cause it was company for her and she was always having social times with people.

When she eventually went into a home, as long as she was mobile she dealt with life in the same way and only recently did I think back to her in sheltered housing and think for those people it really was a nice place to live cause they could keep themselves to themselves when they wanted to but there was always someone on hand in similar circumstances to each other.

My nana still lives on her own at 89 and is struggling and I wonder that when she and granddad were still fit enough, rather than moving into a flat just the two of them, I think they should have bought a brand new McCarthy & Stone property. At the end of the day these are developments that are totally suited to people in their retirement. I think that over time they will become nice communities where people support each other. I’ve even noticed recently that they are being developed on smaller sites close to good amenities which means that as a retired person you have the best of both worlds, they are not massive developments but they are in great locations. As they say it’s all about the location.

On a night out some moons ago, me and my friends were chatting about just this and when it comes to our turn to look at what to do in retirement, the plan is to all club together and buy a large property to house us all, with staff and drink gin. That sounds like a fabulous plan ;)

Disclaimer: This is a featured post.

What I love about Edinburgh- Travelodge Competition

travelodge logoI’ve been brought up in and around Edinburgh all my life, it’s such a wonderful and interesting place. There is so much history and beautiful architecture, it’s fabulous to still be a stones throw away whilst I bring up my children. Best bit is that next Summer we’ll get a train that will connect us with the city with faster links. That was the one thing that I found hard whilst I was growing up in Balerno, it took 45 minutes to get into town on the bus which was a pain.
From the New Year celebrations to the Edinburgh International Festival, it really is a city that always has some reason to come and visit. We also have some amazing art galleries that hold exhibitions for one and all to come and see. Some of which are even free, so it’s worth a look.
In the centre of town you also have lots of interesting places to visit, such as Edinburgh Castle, The Scots Monument, Holyrood Palace. All of which is in walking distance of each other. A few years back we had people staying and we went on the sightseeing tour. My husband & I were laughing as we’d lived in Edinburgh for years, but even we learnt some things and it was great that you could hop off and on so you get around the whole city.
And of course, now we have the trams!! They have been controversial here in Edinburgh but now they are up and running, I do think they are fab even if they don’t service the whole of the city like they were meant to.
If you do get the chance to visit, here are some exciting things to do as a family:

  • National Museum for Scotland – This is free
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Royal Botanical Gardens

    To name but a few. If you are staying over, you could try this Travelodge They are good value for money and some very central so you can walk everywhere in the city, which is another reason I love the city. Here’s you chance to win a night’s stay in Travelodge.

    The competition is for a reader to win a night’s stay at Travelodge:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclaimer: This is a featured post.

  • Meal Planning Monday – 3rd November 2014

    Meal Planning Monday

    Nothing much to report this week, busy in evenings so dinners will be pretty much when we can fit them in. I also made it back to metafit this week so thinking about the health kick that needs to follow. But yeah, just in the thinking phase right now ;)

    This week as our meal plan for part of the Meal Planning Monday linky, here is our plan:

    chilli chicken wraps We’ve been sent some chilli chocolate sauce to review so we are having this with chicken, wraps & lettuce

    Ragu – This is a staple that we make monthly and then have once a week

    Meatloaf & onion gravy – So tasty but the gravy is made with beef dripping so we won’t have it too often

    Chicken fajitas – Really simple dinner, not much prep and totally fast food

    And that’s us for this week. If you have any suggestions on other things we should try, comment below and let us know, I love hearing what other people have it gives me real inspiration.


    Trust and loyalty – Key traits in life and business

    my boys

    Teaching your children good traits that will serve them well in the future is important. Sometimes life gets in the way and of course there is inherent things about our makeup that are a given, but when you think about the main things you want your children to take forward in their lives as values, what would you say are the most important?

    I firmly believe that it is trust and loyalty. If you are trusting of others, you will gain other people’s trust as long as you treat them with the respect they deserve. In teaching your children to be loyal, you are not only teaching them to be loyal to people, you are helping them build on trust too, hoping that one day this will help them to form loving and meaningful relationships with others.

    As a child I learnt this myself, through friendships, growing up and sometimes getting it wrong. But you know what, I know what it means now and I value it more than ever now that I have children. As the older sibling, sometimes you are expected to deal with the fact that you understand and a younger one gets what they want. I am trying so hard not to do this with my two just now, but it is so difficult sometimes as I’m not sure how much Bubbles understands at 2.5 years old. I’m sure he plays on this ;)

    So if these are things that we expect and instill in our families as they grow, then surely this is what we should respect of other things, like companies. That’s why RBS have developed their Hello / Goodbye campaign where they are saying goodbye to the best offers only being available to new customers and hello to loyal customers who can enjoy the same offers.

    Here is the very funny video that has been developed This video had me in stitches, but it’s so true isn’t it?

    Like anything, be it friendships, love, our supermarket that we like, the company we bank with, loyalty and trust is something that sometimes you take for granted until you unearth something that perhaps doesn’t seem quite fair, or everyone not being treated as an equal. My Granny used to say treat everyone the way you would like to be treated and you know, that should be not just a value we hold true to ourselves, but in all of our life – including the companies we decide to do business with.

    I’m working with BritMums and RBS on this project and have been compensated. All opinions are my own.

    Angel Delight Moments Challenge

    Bubblegum Angel Delight

    I love a challenge and as a child growing up on Angel Delight I was really excited to get involved and share some ideas of how we make desserts fun in our house. When we had Angel Delight I only ever recall having butterscotch, I am sure there were more flavours, but that’s what we always had. Well now Angel Delight have developed some new flavours, one of which is Bubblegum Angel Delight. My boys are too young for Bubblegum but I can vouch for the fact that this really does taste like Bubblegum. They ate enough for 4 servings in one sitting, so I have to take from that, that they liked it.

    I then challenged my two to come up with some ideas to make it even better! We talked about things going on just now, like Halloween and Fireworks Night and also had a look round our local supermarket for some inspiration. So this is what we came up with:

    Bubbles wanted ‘sparkles’ so we decided on a Fireworks theme for his. We made the Angel Delight and placed it in individual dishes and popped some popping candy on top to give them a bit of popping fun and serve with sparklers

    Fireworks Sparkly Angel Delight

    Then Buddy saw some fun jelly teeth and wanted to make a face, so we went with the pink and white theme from the Angel Delight and the teeth and came up with this.

    Angel Delight Funny Face

    Do you remember Angel Delight as a child? What was your favourite flavour? If Angel Delight were to make your ultimate flavour, what would it be? I wonder if they could make a salted caramel one for us adults to indulge ;)
    We loved the Bubblegum flavour and the boys will definitely be trying more from now on, it’s a great way to get them to have milky desserts and as it’s made with natural flavourings and suitable for vegetarians, I do think it is one of the better desserts for them.

    Disclaimer: We were sent some product for us to try. This post is an entry for the #AngelDelightMoments Linky Challenge.

    Meal Planning Monday – 26th October 2014

    Meal Planning Monday

    We’ve had a few quiet weeks again, things are just so busy with working full time and getting used to everyone having different routines. But we are getting there. We’ve got a blog due out every day this week, so that’s quite exciting.

    This week as our meal plan for part of the Meal Planning Monday linky, here is our plan:

    Baked potatoes with chilli I love this dinner, it’s so simple and I pop the potatoes in as soon as I get home and they are ready for us, perfectly cooked by the time the boys are in bed

    Ragu – This is a staple that we make monthly and then have once a week

    Chillipapas Vindaloo Chicken Curry – I’ve read a lot about these guys, but last weekend was the first time I had come across them. So looking forward to this dinner. I’ll post some pics of it.

    Cod wrapped in parma ham – Love this and really easy to make in the oven with roastie potatoes

    Pasta with chilli and pancetta – Grim has been off this week and he made a meal plan and this was a dish that we didn’t get round to last week. It looks really nice and I am so looking forward to this

    Meatloaf – G made a massive meatloaf last week and we cut it into portions and put them in the freezer for week night meals. Such a cheap dish and really easy to make

    And that’s us for this week. If you have any suggestions on other things we should try, comment below and let us know, I love hearing what other people have it gives me real inspiration.