Saturday, 31 August 2019

Photo diary: week 35, project 365

The last day of summer is always a mix of sadness and relief. We're not quite ready to greet autumn, but by now I think we're all restless, and going back to school would definitely give me some personal time. I found the summer holidays too full-on. As I was telling my husband, who's away for the third time in the last month, that I haven't spent a single hour on my own these last few weeks, I'm always in someone's company, distracted from whatever I'm doing all the time.
Early mornings will be tough, but at least I will be able to have some time to myself, in peace and quiet, without being followed around and expected to answer one million questions.

A few weeks ago I asked someone to help me with the garden, as it's overgrown a lot in the summer. Along the weeds a small rose bush and a gooseberry plant were cut off, and I was left slightly fuming, as I thought it was pretty obvious they were not weeds. Thankfully, the little rose has recovered, and even produced a tiny red rosebud. The gooseberry, I'm afraid, hasn't come back to life.

garden rose

This summer we had a Marvel-films-marathon with Eddie, watching around 20 Marvels films. Last Monday it was the turn of Dr Strange. Not my favourite from the series. My top three would be Thor Ragnarok, Spiderman Far from Home and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. We can't wait for the Endgame DVD to arrive, which has been on pre-order for a while. Eddie still hasn't forgiven me for not taking him to the cinema to watch it.

Earlier in summer I had an email from an author, asking if I would like to read and review her book. I'm so glad I agreed (I had way too many book reviews lined up for several months in advance, that I wasn't sure I could do it). It's beautifully written. I just need a day or two to finish my review, as I want to give it justice.

books set in Victorian England

On Wednesday Sash had the last respite stay of the summer, and off he went, very happy. He had a great time. Eddie and I had a few errands in town. When I asked him what he'd like for dinner, he said he wanted chicken nuggets and chips. We did all the shopping, came back home, then I realised that we bought everything on the list except what he asked. Drat. We also collected Eddie's friend on the way home to spend the afternoon with us.
And so I ordered a takeaway pizza for the boys.

Leaving Eddie at home with the childminder, I ran into town to the pharmacy and a bit of grocery shopping. I enjoy walking by the Witney Mill.

Witney woolen blankets

Wild cyclamens bloom twice a year in my garden, in spring and in late summer/early autumn.

late summer flowers

I picked a few windfalls in the garden this morning and baked a cake.
After watching the first episode of GBBO, I really fancied a fruitcake, but none of my boys like proper fruitcakes, which are packed with dried fruit. This apple bundt cake is a compromise. I've grated one apple and chopped another one, and added a handful of chopped dried apricots.
Sasha ate two slices so it must be a good one, as he's a tricky customer when it comes to bakes.

what to do with apple glut

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Monday, 26 August 2019

Three-bean chilli

vegetarian dinners, vegan comfort food

Have you noticed that the leaves are beginning to turn rusty colours? September is just round the corner. And we are so not ready to say Good bye to the summer. Our Cornish holiday seems already a distant memory, and we don't want to go back to school.
While this Bank holiday weekend we are sweltering in the heat, just a few days ago it was definitely an autumn weather, chilly and cool. Exactly the kind of weather when you reach for a bowl of hot soup or a comforting stew.

A while ago, on a whim, I bought a bag of Birds Eye Italian three-bean mix, and it's been taking space in the freezer ever since. Last week I finally decided to use it.
Having googled which vegetarian dishes with three-bean mix you can cook, most of the suggestions are for a chilli. So, chilli it is. It is a simplified version, without any of the intricate sides.
The first time I've tried a chilli, we lived in the States, and our lovely neighbours invited us over for dinner. They had a huge pot of chilli bubbling on the stove, cooked with minced meat. There were lots of toppings, dips, corn chips, salads of all kinds to go with it.

Three-bean chilli
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped finely
3tbsp olive oil
1 sweet pepper
1/2 to 1 chili, deseeded and chopped finely
1tbsp chopped spring onions
1 clove of garlic
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2tsp paprika
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1 tin of peeled plum tomatoes (e.g. Cirio)
1 pack of three-bean mix (Birds eye)
1tbsp ketchup
1tsbp Smokey BBQ ketchup (optional)

Birds Eye Italian 3 Bean Mix (450g) is a mix of borlotti beans, cannellini beans, green beans and diced potatoes. If you don't have it, just use tinned mixed beans, rinsed and drained.

Add the finely chopped carrots and sweet pepper to the oil in a frying pan, on medium hot, and fry for about 5 minutes stirring. Add the deseeded and finely chopped chili pepper and spring onions, garlic and spices, and cook for another couple of minutes before adding tinned tomatoes.
Bring to simmer, add the beans and ketchup, cover the pan and leave simmering on low for about 20 minutes, stirring the chilli from time to time.
If the tomato sauce becomes a bit dry, add some hot water.
Serve with rice (and Doritos if you like). You might also add some grated cheese - a vegetarian one if that's what you prefer, or a hard cheese like parmesan or Cheddar, if you are not a vegetarian.

vegetarian meals

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Photo diary: week 34, project 365

Yesterday evening my guys were playing in the garden, and I was watering the potted flowers. It was relatively light one moment, then next moment the darkness suddenly sprang on us. Earlier sunsets are the sure sign of the approaching autumn.
The summer still clings on, it was so hot this afternoon, when we were shopping in town, and I was melting on the way home.

Last Sunday I fancied a slice of something sweet for tea. I cannot claim that I've baked this raspberry tart from scratch. It was a frozen tart which I bought in Ocado. The raspberries had just the right balance of sweet and tart.

French desserts in Ocado

Treasure Island by Stevenson was one of birthday gifts for Eddie. A family friend asked me if Eddie has read it before. We're reading it together this week. There are a lot of archaic words which we need to check out in the dictionary online.

Ankecher, chuck farthern on the blessed gravestones, holus-bolus anyone?

The picture in the photo is a sea print we bought while on our holiday in Cornwall, in the artist's studio in Perranuthnoe. Eddie has chosen it himself. I still need to frame it for his room.

classic books for children, books about pirates

While the evenings are warm and dry, we like to be in the garden.

Echinacea is still in bloom, but it looks like it won't last very long.

summer flowers

Thursday was an emotional heart-rending day. We attended a church service for the daughter of our friends. The church was packed full, so many people came to say Good bye, parents from the school, teachers, friends. I cried non-stop. Eddie was my pillar of support, sitting next to me and squeezing my hand at times.
Sash managed about 2/3rds of the service, and then my husband and he quietly left. E and Sash were class mates for many years. I don't know how much he understands about death and the finality of it.

river in summer

The sun was out, and the wildflowers were in full bloom, when we went to the local cemetery to lay E to rest. The cemetery is surrounded by trees and fields of flowers. It was a beautiful day to say Good bye to a beautiful child.

Windrush cemetery, Witney

A rather uneventful day for me, and I relish it. The previous two days were so emotionally-charged that I needed a mindless day of just a bit of shopping and reading a paperback, where I don't relate to any of the characters and don't care much as to what happens to them.
Eddie went to Oxford with his Dad to buy a new tablet for Sash, who has destroyed my ipad yet again. I told them to get the cheapest Amazon tablet.

They sent me the photo of Eddie zorbing in West Gate centre.

what to do with kids in summer holidays

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Friday, 23 August 2019

The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady #BlogTour

books set in pre-war and WWII England

 While escaping from her abusive husband, a terrified young woman runs through the rain, trying to reach the police station. "Help me! Help me! Save my little girl, my little girl!" The words reverberate in her head.
Panic-stricken, Alice Goddard doesn't notice a car ahead and is being hit.
When she awakes in the hospital after a coma, she has no recollection of her name or family. There is a distant half-memory of a little girl.

Thus begins The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady, an emotional, poignant and touching story.

The weeks pass, and Alice's memory slowly resurfaces. She finds out that she has a daughter called Daisy. Her own mother is evasive about the whereabouts of her child. In fact, the mother is responsible for Daisy's illegal adoption. When Alice's husband brought his crying child to his mother-in-law and claimed that Alice has left them for another man, she is distressed and doesn't know how to cope with yet another mouth to feed. She's already got two jobs and has Alice's siblings to take care of. She is determined to find a solution, and giving up her granddaughter for adoption seems like a good way out.

Only it's the 1930s, and the class system is very rigid, with the upper and middle classes believing in their superiority, morals and right to hold the power over the working class. The child is placed with a new "suitable" family, while her own family is cut off without any knowledge of where she is or any right to contact her.
Everyone conforms to the rules of their group and class, and the cruel arbitrary decisions of the upper class are not questioned or criticised.

When Alice tries to find out where her daughter is, she is easily dismissed as an unfit mother, since she has "abandoned" her child. Nobody blames the abusive husband. It's always the woman's fault. Sadly it often is still the case, almost a hundred years later.
Alice is homeless and penniless. She is lucky to get a position in the Faith House, which provides care for girls who "have faced a life of degrading hardship" to teach them skills to live a better life.

Dreaming of being reunited with her daughter, Alice hopes that she is safe and being cared for. She would give up everything she possesses to have her daughter back.
She is training to become a nurse, and a new romance is blossoming in her life.
But technically she is still a married woman, and the divorce is still pretty much uncommon in the 1930s and a cause of shame. Johnny, Alice's love, cannot even confide in his parents that he has a girlfriend, as they would disapprove and condemn Alice.

Themes of love, loss, friendship, family, trust, social issues of the pre-war and WWII England are tightly interwoven in this gritty historical saga.
The social history comes alive, in all its unfairness and gradual progress, especially once the WWII begins. The war brings terrible hardships and sacrifice, great loss and tragedy, but it also has a profound effect on the British society, with its social norms, values, and models of behaviour.
Women take a vital part on the home front, as well as join the forces. There are positive changes in the attitude towards women.

Alice is making a heartbreaking journey from being a victim to becoming a self-sufficient, confident woman, a survivor of great strength and wisdom.

The Lost Daughter is a riveting saga, it is well-researched and thoroughly absorbing.

Author Bio:
Sylvia Broady was born in Kingston upon Hull and has lived in the area all her life, though she loves to travel the world. It wasn't until she started to frequent her local library, after WWII, that her relationship with literature truly began and her memories of war influence her writing, as does her home town.
A member of the RNA, HNS, S of A and Beverley Writers, she has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and East Yorkshire Council Library Services, but is now a full-time writer.
Plus volunteering as a Welcomer at Beverley Minster to visitors from around the world, and raising money for local charities by singing in the choir of the Beverley Singers, both bringing colour and enrichment to her imagination and to her passion for writing.

You can visit the author's site and FB at and

This post if part of the blog tour for The Lost Daughter. To check out more reviews on the blog tour, please check out the following blogs.

novels set in pre-war and during WWII Britain

Many thanks to Sylvia Broady, Allison & Busby and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of the book!

family saga set in pre-war England and during WWII

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Photo dairy: week 33, project 365

There are signs and posters Back to school everywhere, but we are so not ready to greet the autumn. While summer holidays are long and challenging, we get used to our routine of later mornings and evenings, and the idea of going back to school doesn't appeal at all.
The last week was not the best weather-wise, it was raining almost every day.

Last Sunday Eddie and I were busy, tidying his bedside book shelf. There is not enough space for all of his books, for example, his Goosebumps collection is put somewhere else.
But this shelf contains a lot of our favourites, some of them we've read aloud together, some of them Eddie enjoyed on his own.
We've recently finished reading Wizards of once (book II) and can't wait for the latest instalment. I have already pre-booked it online.

How to train your dragon series

Monday afternoon was sunny, and my guys were playing football in the garden. Eddie likes to climb on the apple tree, though I keep telling him that the tree is old, and he has to be careful.

After several years this potted lime plant has finally produced one flower. I only noticed it, when I entered the greenhouse to water the tomatoes, and could smell a different delicate scent.
The lime was a freebie from one of the gardening magazines, where you only have to pay postage. 

It was a World Calligraphy Day, and I wanted to mark it, so I wrote one of my favourite words - tea - with tiny teacups inserted in the fonts.
And these are some of my china cups and sauces, which I buy in vintage and charity shops. 

On Thursday we went to Oxford, and visited the Waterstones, where we admired the poster with Cressida Cowell's quote, and we totally agree with her - Reading is magic.
Unfortunately, the trip home with Sash was extremely stressful, he got very upset because his brother stayed behind in Oxford with his father. I thought we'd be thrown out of the bus, and then what would we do, stranded in the middle of nowhere. It was a nightmare. I still shudder at the memory. 

In the last week Eddie and I have been playing Wizards Unite on my iPhone. It's a fun game, and keeps us entertained in the rainy weather.

Books, ipad, apps, walks into town and drawing, that's our activities of the week. Here is another of Eddie's recent drawings. We love Marvel characters.

Marvel characters, drawn by kids

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Friday, 16 August 2019

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

psychological thriller

Shari Lapena doesn't need any introductions. Her psychological thrillers are making big waves.
A few years ago The Couple Next Door was collecting praise and awards around the world. Her latest novel was out just last month.

While browsing the books at Waterstones in early July, looking for a gripping thriller to read on the train, I picked up An Unwanted Guest. I liked the sinister-looking cover and a blurb on the back.

As mentioned in one of my previous book reviews, I love novels set in secluded locations, remote hotels, manor houses etc, where the characters get cut off from the outside world.

Lapena's novel could be a homage to Agatha Christie. The setting is a remote Mitchell's Inn in the Catskill Mountains.

We meet Gwen and Riley as they drive towards the inn in the white blur of snow. It was Gwen who suggested a weekend getaway and a change of scenery. Gwen works as a PR in a small firm in NYC, while Riley is a war correspondent who's just back from Afghanistan and is struggling with her inner terrors.

"A small luxury hotel deep in the country, good food, no internet, pristine nature - it's exactly what they both need".

The other guests are arriving to the inn.  David Paley is a top criminal attorney, who needs a weekend without work to recharge his batteries.

Lauren and Ian seem to be a nice easy-going couple. Lauren had problems as a young teen, but she's turned her life around and found a charming partner.

Beverley's marriage to Henry is in disrepair, and she hopes a weekend away will be a start of their rejuvenated relationship. Her husband Henry, on the other hand, doesn't love her any more and already regrets coming to the remote inn.

Dana turns heads anywhere she goes. "She makes very other woman in the room feel second rate without even trying".
She is glamorous, beautiful and is happily engaged to Matthew. They are a well-heeled, successful couple.

And there's a reclusive writer Candice White who had to get away from her disabled mother to finish her manuscript. For almost two decades she eked out her living as an author of non-fiction. She is hoping her new book is going to make her a fortune.

The owner of the inn and his son are very welcoming, but due to the snow storm, they are understaffed and overwhelmed.

In the morning the first body is found at the bottom of the stairs, seemingly an accident.
The guests are trapped in the inn, as the snow storm rages outside. Nobody can get in or out, the power is cut off, and they cannot call for help.

As we slowly begin to know the guests better, it's clear they all have skeletons in the closet.
Any of them might be the killer who for some reason gets their revenge on the unsuspecting victims.
Or is there an outsider who managed to sneak into the inn?

There are plenty of red herrings, with some of the plotlines bringing you nowhere (in fact, I had wondered why some of them were uncovered for our attention at all). The killer's reasoning is not very convincing, and as the backstory is revealed almost at the end, there were hardly any clues to the identity of the killer.

An Unwanted Guest has menacing frightening undertones of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L.Sayers and P.D.James. This is an atmospheric page turner, the twist at the end will make you shift uncomfortably in your chair.

psychological thriller in Agatha Christie's style

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Newcomer by Fern Britton

Fern Britton's Pendruggan series

Come summer holidays and our trip to Cornwall, I rush to the bookshops to buy a paperback or two set in Cornwall.
For the last trip I picked up three paperbacks to take with me, and The Newcomer by Fern Britton was one of them.
I loved the idyllic postcard view on the cover, with the white-washed cottages on the steep road leading to the turquoise bright sea.
It so happened that I didn't have a chance to read it on a holiday, but enjoyed it after we returned home.

This novel is the latest in the Pendruggan series. It might help if you already know some of the characters living in the Cornish village, but the book reads perfectly well as a standalone.
I've read only one of the previous books in the series - The Postcard, which I found in the charity shop earlier this year. It is an enjoyable, feel-good novel and an easy read.

Fern Britton's style of writing is seemingly effortless and engaging. The descriptions of the coastal village are evocative and expressive.

The local vicar Simon is going away to Brazil with his family to work as a missionary. A new vicar arrives to cover his absence.
Reverend Angela Whitehorn is newly ordained and very keen to prove herself worthy of her vocation. It is her first post, and she is full of ideas.
Her husband Robert is a high profile political correspondent who gives up his job for a year to accompany Angela to Cornwall.
Their daughter Faith is resentful, she doesn't want to leave London, her friends and school.
And then there's a self-confident aunt Mamie, who believes her niece will make a difference in her new parish.

When they arrive, the parishioners are divided in their appraisal of the newcomer. They're united, however, in swooning over Robert, as apparently he's so handsome.

It might sound hard-hearted on my part but you don't see much of a spiritual side of the vicar. She is more of a social worker who thinks she could bring new developments to the village.
Angela appears to be full of ambition and even vanity to some extent, not in her personal appearance, but in the desire to bring the community together (was the village somehow lacking in the community spirit?). Not that ambitious vicars do not exist.

She gives a spiel to her audience: "I stand here and make my promise to you. Whatever happens over the next twelve months, I will do my best to help you. Build an even stronger community for Simon to return to. I'm particularly interested in empowering women. Show them the opportunities within their reach. A chance to fulfil their latent potential".
How very woke!

Seemingly Angela is a breath of fresh air. She organises a running club, a women's club, a blessing service for pets and gets to know the locals better. She also organises an old village pond dig which brings a lot of drama.
However, not everyone is happy about the latest changes. Angela starts to receive anonymous poison letters.

Is she going to find out who has penned these letters?

novels set in Cornwall

This book touches many themes - love, friendship, trust, understanding and ultimately forgiveness.

Given that the author was coping with the recent bereavement, some of the pages feel emotionally raw.
The book feels rather rushed at the end.
Without giving any spoilers, the culprit sending the poison letters gets off too easily. Knowing what they know, it is truly unpardonable and sadistic, even if they felt justified in their cruelty.

I also had some misgivings about Angela.
As a character, she is not without her flaws, being very insecure (both about her job and marriage) which is bordering on needy.
And while keeping everyone's confessions and secrets to herself and generally hating gossip, she doesn't think it inappropriate to divulge the personal details of her husband's medical history and telling the story how her daughter was conceived in the inaugural speech at the church service, thus embarrassing the said daughter in front of everyone.

There is a motely crew of local characters, from the elderly Queenie who knows everything about what's going on in the village to the head of WI Audrey Tipton, who is a pure caricature straight out of The Vicar of Dibley.

The two elder characters - Mamie and Queenie - are supposed to have a heart of gold, but in real life you would most likely try to avoid their company as much as possible.
Mamie's stories of perpetual conquests of the world-known celebrities are awfully cringeworthy, but are tolerated with good humour by her close family and everyone around, which could only happen in fiction.

With all that being said, I found the end quite emotional, and might have even wiped away a tear or two.
I will keep reading Fern Britton's Pendruggan series. In fact I've already bought an earlier book in the series - A Seaside Affair - and am looking forward to revisiting the village.

novels set in Cornwall

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Photo diary: week 32, project 365

You might be forgiven for thinking that the autumn has arrived early. It's been a shivery kind of a week, with lots of rain and blustery wind. Just yesterday, when Eddie and I were sitting on the sofa, watching TV, the wind was howling like a demented ghost. It was an eerie sound, not something you'd expect in August.
My husband, on the other hand, has been melting in the Italian heat. He's away for a week, and to say I'm struggling on my own with the guys is an understatement.

Eddie and I have been watching a lot of Marvel films in the last couple of weeks. I bought full sets of Thor and Iron-Man DVDs, and we've spent hours, biting our fingernails and rooting for the good guys.
Well, to be honest, it's the bad guy Loki who I find the most attractive. He also gets the best jokes.

There are not that many flowers in the garden at the moment. The phlox bloom is almost over, the echinacea is still holding, but probably not for much longer. And there are a few late roses.

garden in August

Eddie's been watching How to draw videos on YouTube and also doing step-by-step drawings from How to draw magazines. This is one of the drawings he did this week.

drawing dragons

A few days ago I finished reading An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena. It's the kind of psychological thrillers which I enjoy, with the setting following the classic Agatha Christie's books, where a group of strangers is stranded in a remote lodge on a getaway weekend. The snowstorm cuts them off from the rest of the world, and the guests are being killed off, one by one.

psychological thrillers set in a remote hotel, cut off by the bad weather

The wind (or birds' poo) bring all sorts of seeds in the garden, which then grow into weeds or pretty flowers. This chamomile is one of self-seeded, but I really like it.

On Thursday Sasha had another of his respite overnight stays. He was keen to go, and we also were looking forward to having a little break. He has not been sleeping well in the last week, and I'm a part-zombie too for being woken around 5am for several mornings in a row.
That evening I took Eddie and his friend out for an early dinner at Frankie and Benny's. We haven't been there in a while, and for a good reason, I think, as the food is very mediocre, but it was Eddie's choice.
We ordered a pizza for him from the children's menu, with ham and pineapple. When they brought it, I was surprised at the size of the supposedly Big eaters and the lack of any ham.
The staff were difficult to get hold of, we were waving and waving trying to alert their attention, but in the end my hungry child ate his pizza. Don't think we'll be going back to F&Bs any time soon.

eating out with kids in Witney

On Friday we had a visitor, and I took out a box of frozen custard tarts from the freezer. They are made in France, following the Portuguese recipe. They are not too sweet, but very runny.

One more book, which I've enjoyed recently is The Newcomer by Fern Britton. I took three books with me on our holiday to Cornwall, but didn't have a chance to actually read it, so brought it back with me to read at home. It's set in Cornwall, in a fictional village of Pendruggan. The eponymous newcomer is the vicar Angela Whitehorn, who comes to the Cornish village, while the resident vicar goes to Brazil as a missionary for a year. The welcome she receives is rather divided.
It's an entertaining, easy read, emotional at times, but not too deep.
(The Cornishman is not the latest copy, as I bought it on holidays and kept it as a photo prop for reviews of books set in Cornwall).

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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Picnic Degustabox

Grab your picnic rug, pack up a cooler bag and treat yourself to a summer feast in the great outdoors or just in your garden.
Picnic is the theme of the latest Degustabox.

This monthly food and drink subscription box is an excellent way to discover products which have only just appeared in the shops or those which might have been around for while, but you haven't had a chance to try them yet.
Thanks to Degustabox, I have found new favourites to add to our shopping list, including some products which I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.

Each time the box arrives, it's a total surprise. You get a good selection of foods and drinks.
If you haven't tried Degustabox subscription box yet and would like to have a go, I have a whopping £7 off discount from your first box (and you can unsubscribe any time) - just use a code 8EVI8 when you place an order.

What did we receive in the July'19 Degustabox? Let's have a look.

food box delivery

Deli Kitchen Greek Style Flatbreads (£1.35) are a new addition to the Deli Kitchen range. These easy to fold flatbreads are inspired by Mediterranean flavours. They are a perfect receptacle for all kinds of fillings, from meatballs and kebabs to falafel with hummus.

flatbreads for sandwiches

As it happened, the food box arrived just before our holidays, and I have made a few quick sandwiches to take with us on the train.
My younger son loved them, and I'm hoping to buy them, when I visit Sainsbury's next time.
These flatbreads are a great addition to any picnic.

Greek style flatbread

Mister Free'd Vegan Tortilla Chips with Beetroot (£1.99) are available from Wholefoods Market, As Nature Intended, Planet Organic, WH Smith and local independents.
Mister Free'd chips offer strong flavours and a good crunch. Beetroot combined with corn make pretty pink chips with plant-based goodness.
They are gluten-free, vegan, high in fibre and non-GMO.
Nutritional info: 114kcal per 25g.

vegan snacks

Rowntrees Randoms Squish'ems & Sours Sharing Bags (£1.29) are favourites with both children and grown-ups. "Let your random side out" with every pack of unpredictably-shaped multi-coloured sweets.
Randoms Squish'ems are a combination of squishy foam and fruity jelly.
Randoms Sours will make you pucker up, they are so delightfully sour.

sour sweets

Kallo Belgian Milk Chocolate Rice Cake Minis (£1.99) are tasty rice cakes for chocolate lovers.
One mini pack of rice cakes comes at 104kcal, so you don't feel guilty about treating yourself, while on a diet.
They are gluten free, vegetarian friendly, contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

low calorie chocolate snacks

Ape Snacks Coconut Bites Sesame Seed (£1.49) are a tasty combination of coconut and natural ingredients like cocoa and super seeds. These mini bites are baked to create a delicious and unique snack. With a satisfying crunch, they make a lovely snack to help fuel your day ahead.
They are gluten free, high in fibre, vegan friendly and have no added sugar.
You will receive 1 of the flavours.

healthy coconut snacks

It's a great snack for all coconut fans. Mini crunchy disks are absolutely delicious.

coconut-based snacks

Ravish Pineapple & Yuzu Salsa (£1.50) is a delectable tropical fruit relish. Zingy and sweet, it's lovely with grilled cheese or topped on burgers.
I had it in a goat's cheese and rocket salad sandwich.
This is a vegan product, made by English Provender Company.
Its ingredients include cider vinegar, pineapple puree, pineapple, onion, ginger puree, yuzu juice, dried apple, red chillies, spices etc.

vegan relish

Simply Cook Piri Piri Chicken 3 step meal kit (£2.50) allows you to cook a restaurant-quality meal at home in just 20 minutes. Just add the chef blended authentic flavour mix to your chosen fresh ingredients.
Discover the full range at

Current offer: choose 4 recipes for just £1 (including free letter-box friendly delivery) with code DGYUM at

I haven't tried this meal kit yet, still thinking of which vegetarian dish to prepare with it.

Simply Cook meal kits

New Ribena Frusion (£2) is a refreshing blackcurrant water, naturally infused with real fruit and crafted botanicals.
Frusion contains no sweeteners, is low in calories and rich in antioxidant Vitamin C.

My boys enjoyed this drink.

drinks for kids

Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne (£1.50) is made with a premium blend of aged cayenne peppers that will add a kick of heat to any dish.
Its great taste made it the secret ingredient in the original Buffalo wings created in Buffalo, NY, in 1964.

hot chilli sauce

MONIN Butterscotch coffee syrup (£3) allows you to recreate a coffee shop experience at home - just stir 2-3tsp of syrup into your cup of coffee.
Monin range of syrups has been used and trusted by many coffee shop chains around the world.
Butterscotch flavour is a limited edition which is available for a limited period of time in the hot beverage aisle of selected Sainsbury's stores.

flavoured syrup for coffee

If you prefer to have your coffee neat and unadorned, you can always use this syrup in desserts.
I made a batch of chocolate mousse with butterscotch syrup, and also baked a chocolate cake and added the syrup to chocolate frosting.

Monin coffee syrup