Saturday, 27 February 2016

Let's Help Izzy Walk

I would like to introduce my readers to a very special little girl. This is Izzy. She is 10 years old and is my partner Neil's niece.  




Izzy was born with cerebral palsy due to a premature birth which was a big shock to all the family. Despite this she has grown into a beautiful and bubbly little girl. Everyone who meets Izzy instantly falls in love with her because she is just such a sweetie. Sadly Izzy has never been able to walk unaided and mostly uses a wheelchair to get around but even so she has been so brave and got on with her life just like all her friends. Even though she is only 10 she is a huge inspiration to me and other family members because of her attitude to life. 

So imagine the scene. Dawn (Izzy's mum) and Izzy had an appointment with spine surgery consultant a few weeks back to discuss a life changing operation that would enable Izzy to walk. The 50 mile journey to the hospital was made with hope and excitement. When they got there the consultant told them that Izzy would benefit from the operation but it's no longer funded on the NHS and would cost £10,000 which us as a family would have to pay. As you can imagine Izzy is devastated. All she wants more than anything in the world is to be able to walk and run with her friends. As a family we do not have that kind of money but we will do everything we can to raise the funds to get Izzy walking. Neil is running a half marathon tomorrow and Dawn and her son Joshua are also doing a 10k run to help raise funds too. 

If any of my kind readers are touched by this story and would like to help us and donate even as little as £2 we would be so grateful. Dawn has set up a fundraising page and so far has raised £700 in a week which is absolutely amazing. We cannot thank everyone who is helping enough. This means the world to Izzy and all of us who love her. 

Donate to help Izzy Walk - Click here


Please share our story on social media using the buttons under this post to help spread the word too. 
Thanks so much everyone.  xxx

Friday, 19 February 2016

Tsum Tsum Squishies from The Entertainer and Competition

This week I am down in Midsomer Norton, Somerset visiting my sister and my niece Lilly. When I got here Lilly showed me her collection of Disney Tsum Tsum Squishies which she has bought from her local The Entertainer store here in Midsomer Norton.


Lilly with her collection


Tsum Tsum Squishies are cute little figures of Disney characters from their various films over the years. At the moment we are on series 1 and there are 50 to collect. They are so adorable and sweet. The Entertainer has a huge selection to choose from. You can buy two packs where you get to see one and get a mystery one or you can buy the bigger packs. I think it's great that you can see some of them so you can aim to get ones you haven't got and then you have a chance to get a surprise too. Of course like most collectables some of the figures are rarer then others. You can also get other Tsum Tsum toy sets for them from The Entertainer. Check out their range online here


In The Entertainer Midsomer Norton choosing a prize for our competition. 

What we love so much about The Entertainer store is that they really care about their customers by doing various extra things that a supermarket or other shops we shop at don't do. In the case of the Tsum Tsum's firstly they have three limited edition Squishies to collect which are gold, silver and bronze. When you buy any Tsum Tsum you get a stamp for each one you buy. When you reach 10 stamps you get a bronze Olaf, when you reach 25 stamps you get a silver Elsa and when you reach 50 stamps you get a golden Minnie Mouse. So it's fun collecting and knowing you get a bonus one when you reach a certain amount. The Entertainer also ran a swap day for collectors to go in and exchange Tsum Tsum's and meet other collectors. These little touches from The Entertainer makes our little collectors very happy. You can also join their collector's club online here to receive offers and information about competitions. 

I wrote to The Enterainer about Lilly's collection and this blog post and they kindly sent her some more Tsum Tsum Squishies for her collection. She was so surprised and pleased to receive them. Here are the ones they sent to her. Her favourites are the golden Minnie and Jessie from Toy Story.


Tsum Tsum's The Entertainer sent us and our collection card


*** COMPETITION ***


Lilly loves Tsum Tsum's Squishies so much that between us we decided it would be lovely to give one of our readers the chance to win her swaps (including a limited edition Bronze Olaf) and a pack from The Entertainer.

The prize for one lucky winner! 

Please enter through the rafflecopter widget below. This competition is only open to residents of the UK. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: The Entertainer sent us some Tsum Tsum Squishies for Lilly's collection. All opinions are my own. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Degustabox Review - December 2015

A knock on the door, a man with a box under his arm – it can only mean one thing. It's the arrival of our December Degustabox; so, with a, "Healthy New Year!" Let's crack it open and go ahead with the review.




As you can see - it's another wonderful selection from out friends at Degustabox,


Hip Pops - RRP £1.00 per pack




First out of the box is two packs of Hip Pops! These are healthier snacks than regular baked or fried snacks (we're talking about 98 Kcal per 25g bag and less than 11% fat). We were sent the Cheese and Onion and the sweet Chilli Flavour packs. (There are 6 different flavours available, 4 of which are gluten free).

I have to say – love the taste! They have a good balance with their flavours – the sweet chilli as an example having a bit of heat, but plenty of flavour. The fact that the snacks are 'popped' rather than fried or baked means they have a satisfying crunch to them too. Brilliant! Would love to try some of the other flavours in the future!


Fabulous Bakers Mango and Pineapple Bars - RRP £1.80 




These are nice! I wish there was more than four bars in the box! But wait, I've gotten ahead of myself. Next up we have a four pack of Mango and Pineapple bars from the Fabulous Bakers. These tasty bars are loaded with fruity flavours; texture-wise they feel a little like a popcorn bar – but made with real fruit and oats they are a high in fibre, slow energy releasing snack free of sugar or 'nasty' additives. Love them!


Nothing But - RRP £1.69 per pack




Next up – we have a couple of freeze-dried fruit snack packs from "Nothing But". One pack of Pineapple and Grape and one pack of strawberry and banana. Freeze drying seems to be in vogue at the moment (I'm sure I've said that before), but I'm not complaining! I'm a definite fan!

I've had freeze-dried strawberries and banana before; so obviously went straight for grape and pineapple. Obviously, you get a bit of a crunch (if you want to crunch it); but if you let it sit on your tongue and rehydrate a little you get that slight fizz and fruity flavour on your tongue.

Love these; and I think it isn't just for the novelty of it all either. I'm definitely a freeze-dried fan!


Barilla's Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce and Whole-Wheat Fusilli pasta 
- RRP £2.00 and £1.50 each


The Degustabox product of the month is next up; we have Mediterranean Vegetable sauce and whole wheat pasta from Barilla. We are pasta fans, but haven't gotten around to sampling this yet – it looks really tasty and a great combination – so we don't expect this to sit around of the shelf for long!!

The sauce is a combination of Italian tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine and sweet peppers with no added preservatives. The pasta gives you 20% of your daily fibre needs which is essential for body balance (I think that means it keeps you regular lol).


Crabbie's Light Ginger Beer and Red Square Toffee Vodka
- RRP £1.49 and £1.99 




Well, this is one of the first times we've actually attempted one of the Degustabox recipes; on the back of this months list was the "Crabbie's toffee mule" which combined ice, half the bottle of the red square toffee vodka and the majority of the Crabbie's light ginger beer to make Crabbie's Toffee Mule! Not bad (although probably better if I had ice to add).

The light Crabbie's is what you'd expect; a gentle ginger beer with an alcoholic kick. As a Ginger beer and alcohol fan I love it. The Red Square Toffee vodka though, that is something special. It's like a little bottle of alcoholic, liquid toffee. I can see why they only gave us a 5cl bottle – any more and this review would be a rambling drunken rant! Love it! (Probably far too much)!


Betavivo crispy oat heart cereal - RRP £1.00 




Almost every month in the Degustabox selection we get something breakfasty; this is a nice thing - it's good to have a little variation in our morning food selection. This month is no exception and we've been given a couple of packs of Betavivo crispy oat heart cereals. These heart shaped cereals are apparently good for reducing the cholesterol in your blood – so - it's a good healthy thing. I tried a pack with another of the Degustabox items, the KoKo coconut milk (which I'll talk about in a moment).

The cereal, it is heart-shaped; but I can't help but look at it and think "cat treats!" It keeps its crunch, even after sitting in the milk for a while; although, to be honest I don't see anything remarkable about the taste. To me, it tastes like it needs a little sugar adding – which probably would go against some of the good intentions. Saying that though, you would probably get used to it after a while...


Koko coconut milk - RRP £1.79


Now I know we've had a few milk alternatives in the past; and while some people are fans of them, a lot of people aren't. The problem I think you usually find is that you have pretty much a good idea of what milk should taste like, so when you see claims that "it tastes remarkably like cow's milk on breakfast cereals, cooking and hot drinks" you automatically have you sceptic's hat on.

In truth, this isn't bad. It is sweet enough. It is close to milk, but it isn't milk. You taste the coconut, which isn't bad; but it does taste coconutty. Which should be expected. You get both the sweet and that kind of dry taste that you get from dried coconut you'd use in a trail mix or recipe.

I don't mind it; it's probably an acquired taste – but – I could see for anyone wanting to have a healthy alternative to cow's milk – particularly for allergy related issues, this would be a viable alternative – and you would probably get used to it.


Love Kombucha Ginger - RRP £2.25




This is the Db discovery this month; it’s an organic drink filled with probiotics, organic enzymes and amino acids … and it's fermented... and I should like this... I should like this; I like ginger, and I like lime... but... this just does not do it for me. The problem I have with this is that the fermentation process leaves a bit of a "gone off cheese"-ness to the drink. The ginger isn't strong, and doesn't give it a nice kick or anything.

I managed to drink about half the bottle before giving up.

Which is a big shame, because this drink is packed so full of good stuff; there are three other flavours, Blueberry, Ginger and Lime and Original. It would be interesting to see how the others match up, but, for me – the ginger is a no-no. Sorry!


Complete Energy Bites - RRP £1.99 




These look really nice but Neil grabbed these for next time he does sports. There are two chocolate bites infused with 1 premium coffee's worth of caffeine in each.

I've not had any of these "energy things" before; so I was quite pleasantly surprised when I opened the packet and inside are two squares in a plastic seal. Ideal (I'd imagine) for keeping in a runner's pocket ready to munch on after a few miles.

Trying one square. It's a nice lemon/ chocolate mix. It's a little like a firm chocolate truffle, but not bad. Taste wise these can't be confused with chocolates you'd find in a box of milk tray; which is a good thing. The amount of caffeine might have made me a little hyper and a whole box might be disastrous!

Liked them though. Will consider using them next time I run a significant distance!


Drink me Skinny Chai Latte 




As a special gift, we have a sample sachet of "Drink Me" Chai Latte, Skinny Blend. Neil's a hot drink fan and really is a fan of chai – so I let him have this to try this.

He said that it had a pretty good taste; he needed to add a couple of sugars because he's got a bit of a sweet tooth; but it had a good chai taste. He'd have it again.

And there we have it – another Degustabox full of things; some of them have been added to our "new favourites" list – others – we have been glad to have the chance to try because it's something we probably wouldn't pick up. That's the beauty of these boxes – it is a selection of things you know and love, haven't heard of – but will love, and a few things you'll either love or hate. It gives you a chance to sample and expand your culinary range.

If you would like your own Degustabox, please go to their website. It costs £12.99 a box (including delivery) however Degustabox has given us a special offer code for our readers to get £6 off their first box. The code is:

BLDEG15


We are very happy to recommend the service and selection they provide.


Links: 
Disclaimer: The December 2015 Degustabox was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Japan Candy Box - December 2015 - Review and Giveaway

Here we are again with a nice little box of candy making its way to us from our friends at Japan Candy Box



Like our previous boxes, this is a marvellously cute box filled with candy and snacks from Japan - I could go on, but let's get straight onto the review...


Popin' Cookin' Cake and Ice Cream Shop DIY Kit 



Love these DIY kits. Okay, they take a little more work but there is something incredibly fun about mixing and making and then eating; although, admittedly a lot of my creations are a lot less fancy than those on the packet. Lots of fun! Creative and tasty! 


Yaokin Sour Paper Candy - Apple 



I'm a big "sour thing" fan, so this was the first thing I took out of the box. It's a thin, translucent, green, gummy candy - covered in sour sugar. Not unlike a fruit winder ... once you unwind it. Tasty and sour, but not suck-your-face-inside-out sour. 


Tohato Anpanman corn rings 



These are interesting. I'm not entirely sure how to describe these. There is a subtle sweetness to these tiny corn rings - that look - a little like cheerios in shape and size, but not texture. In texture they melt like a wotsit or something. I'm not sure about them, but I can't stop eating them. And the packaging, like everything in the box, is hyper cute! 


Abe Seika Abekko Ramune Candy 



These are nice! It's a tiny, little packet of tiny, little round candies. They're grape flavoured and - I was expecting something firm, but; you stick them on your tongue and they just melt away in a fizzy grape-taste explosion. 


Lotte Pokemon Ramune Candy 



Pika-pika! Pika-pika! This candy, in a little pikachu themed bag is small, round and cola flavoured. It looks a little similar to the Abe Seika Abekko Ramune Candy, but doesn't fizz and melt. Instead it sits a little longer on the tongue, tempting you to bite. 


UHA Lemon Gummy 



Now these are interesting. If you think of English Lemon candies, there's usually a sharpness with a sweetness. These lemon gummies are more bitter with the sour, than sweet. The sort of thing you think, "I shouldn't like..." but yet, can't stop eating! 


Puccho Chewy Candy - Pink Grapefruit 



We've had this Candy from Japan previously - and loved it. There's something about the way this candy feels. It looks like a starburst but feels less yielding, like plastic or something. And then there are little gummy balls that escape as you bite into it and chew. The grapefruit flavour is good too; not a usual "English" flavour for candy. Nice - and cute little wrappers! 


Kabaya Hello Kitty Cookie Sticks 


Now these you'll have seen before; there are a number of these "biscuit stick things with a flavour on one end" you get over here now; usually it's chocolate, or something similar (I'm thinking Mikado style) - but this one, it tastes a little like a biscuit with a tasty, strawberry yoghurt coating. Nice, and tasty! 


Meji Petit Bubble Gum 



Now these we've had before and loved (Wish I could remember when we had it before!). Very cute, and very tasty! Nice to have a returning favourite.


Yaokin Takoyaki Snack Stick 



This is an interesting one; I know, my word of the review appears to be 'interesting'. This is a savoury corn-snack that tastes a little like... I'm not entirely sure what. I'd say it's a bit like if you had a seafood, slightly spicy chow mein flavoured, giant wotsit. Or something. Tasty, but a little odd.

And that's it - our ten wonderfully Japanese candy snacks and candy. We loved it as always and would highly recommend their service. If you would like to get your own box check out the Japan Candy Box website or try your luck in our competition below. 

*** Competition *** 


Japan Candy Box has kindly given us a box to give away to one of our blog readers. Please enter through the  rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open worldwide. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: The December 2015 Japan Candy Box was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own. The competition is being run directly by Japan Candy Box.  

Monday, 18 January 2016

I'm dreaming of...

I knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to do a post about my dreams. I'm not sure if it's because I have chronic fatigue or my anti-depressants but from as long as I can remember I have had the great ability to wake up and remember my dreams. I can remember multiple dreams a day depending on how my sleep schedule is and whether I am napping in the day. I dream in colour and I remember every single little detail of what I dream. It's very rare for me to wake up and not remember my dream or if I don't remember it straight away it might come back to me in the day. So I thought it would be kind of cool to document some of my frequent dreams, spooky dreams, scary/awkward dreams and one of my most memorable dream. 

Frequent Dreams


There are two dreams I often have. Sometimes they change slightly but they both revolve around the same main points. 

My first is that I am at school. That I go to classes but I don't have to do Science, I skip English as much as possible and I don't do PE because the lesbian teacher fancies me and lets me off it. The weird part of this dream is that I am the same age as I am now. I am always chasing around after a teacher I fancy (this person can be teachers from my past, actors from shows I have watched or just random people). The whole of the dream is me trying to explain to them that I am not 16 but I am 36 and I am there because I am repeating my GCSE's every year to try and get a good grade. 

My thoughts on this dream: I would say 9/10 times my dreams revolve around romance. Whether it be fancying someone who fancies me in the dream or chasing someone who runs away from me. I think it's just because I have a lot of love to give and I adore romance. I love the excitement of romance. Sadly I rarely dream about my true love Neil and when I do it can be bad. More on that later. The whole still being at school/GCSE's I believe is because I moved schools half way through my GCSE's so I had to go back a year as I did different subjects. I think I dream about school because it was a big part of my life. I don't do science in my dreams because I was rubbish at it and got an E in my exams. Not sure why I skip English so much and PE no idea though at one of the four senior schools I went to there was a pervy female teacher. I never fancied any of my teachers when I was at school so find it bizarre to start fancying them in my dreams. I find it a bit gross when I wake up. As for actors having watched shows such as Waterloo Road, 90210 and Pretty Little Liars I just think the various actors just happen to be in my head at the time. Random people I have no idea its quite frustrating because I am sure I read somewhere that you can only dream about people you have seen/met. Sometimes people from school feature in the dreams too. People I haven't spoken to or thought about in years.


My second dream is about aeroplanes. I dream that I go to America to see my family in San Francisco and that I am too scared to get on the plane to come back. The dream has changed somewhat in the last year to that every time I fly I fall asleep and no one can wake me up until the flight has landed. I have also had dreams that I go on a plane to France and take the cat and dog with me and they aren't allowed in the hotel and so they have to stay outside and sometimes the cat goes missing and never comes back or I lose one of the pet carriers for the plane back and I have to spend ages running around shops trying to find one. 

My thoughts on this dream: I visited San Francisco in 1995 when I was 16 years old before my depression struck. Since then I have found it hard to travel. I am not scared of the plane crashing it's more a fear that I can't cope with being cooped up and getting claustrophobic and wanting to get off when I can't. I have no idea why I have started dreaming that I get knocked out and can't wake up. I also don't know why I dream that I take the animals on a trip to Disneyland Paris!

Spooky Dreams


There are two dreams I remember that still to this day freak me out a little bit. 

My first spooky dream is from way back when I was about 10 years old. I had a dream that an old man (not dissimilar to the old men with the beards that tried to fix the car in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) stuck his head through the window and poked my foot with his walking stick. 

My thoughts on this dream: I know it doesn't sound too spooky but it's when I tell you that I was in my sisters room, the window was wide open and my foot was hanging out the bed when I woke up that made it spooky for me. Below the window outside was a conservatory. I am not sure why I had this dream but maybe my foot got cold in the night and that's why I had a dream about it. I have had dreams that I have broken my arm before and woken up with a dead arm from sleeping on it. 

My second spooky dream is from when I lived in a Victorian B&B in Bath which I helped my mum run. I had a dream that a black man came right up to my face and shouted BOO! in my face. I woke up screaming and thought I briefly saw the man then he disappeared. 

My thoughts on this dream: It felt so real. I could still feel the breath and smell it when I woke up. That night I had fallen asleep with the light on. I am not sure what to make of this dream. All I know is that the room I was sleeping in was once the kitchen and was once the servants quarters so who knows. I am surprised my screams didn't wake the guests up but I told them at breakfast the next morning. 

Scary and Awkward Dreams


My scariest dream I have was in the past few years. I have spoken to Neil about including this dream because it involves him and he thinks I should because it freaked me out for days. 

I had a dream that I was laying in bed asleep and that Neil turned around and stabbed me in the back. I turned over and then he stabbed me in the chest and I was bleeding to death. 

My thoughts on this dream: It scared me because it felt so real. I woke up the next morning and I felt odd towards Neil. I told him about the dream that day. I also told my sister too because I just couldn't get over it. I knew that Neil would never hurt me but it felt so real. I found the next couple of days hard to shake the dream off and didn't sleep well. Now I just laugh about it because it's silly and the way I reacted was silly. 
 
My other dream that scares me is the dream that I can't wake up. That people are trying to wake me up and I can hear them but I just can't wake up. Or someone is breaking into the house but I can't wake up. 

My thoughts on this dream: I am very concious that I sleep a lot due to my fatigue. I think often about the fact that I spend most of my life sleeping and what a waste. Maybe it's something to do with that. For me dreaming I can't wake up or dreaming the obsessive bad thoughts are coming back are my worst fears. 

My awkward dreams usually revolve around dreaming about having arguments with members of my family. I wake up the next day and talk to them on the phone and feel bad for having an argument but it was in my dream. I love my family so much, we are a close family and it's very rare for us to have an argument. 
 

Dreaming of the dead


I dream about dead people. In particular I dream about my Nan's husband Uncle George. He died when I was 13 years old. He was a good, kind and caring man. I have fond memories of him. When he comes into my dream it's usually to say he is looking after my Nan and that everything is going to be okay. 

My thoughts on this dream: The thing I find odd about the dream is that my Nan is still here with us in the living world. She hasn't been very well for awhile now though. The distance between us makes it harder for me to see her and I worry a lot that I don't get to see her enough. It would be so lovely to think that Uncle George does visit me in my dreams because I admired and respected him so much but I can't see how it would be possible. It's nice to remember him and "see" him again even if it is in my dreams. 

Me having an afternoon nap with Uncle George (aged 3)

I also had a dream about Stephen Gately (from Boyzone) not long after his death. He said "hello" to me. I think it's because he was on my mind and I never got to meet him before. 

Memorable/Favourite Dream - Dream Island


There is this one dream I had a couple of years ago that I thought a lot about so I thought I would share it. It involves a guy who to save any embarrassments I am going to call "X" throughout my recollection of this dream. 

The dream actually starts in the bedroom. I walk to the window and instead of the street being out the front there is sand and in the distance I can see the sea. It's a bright sunny evening out there. I see this guy looking up at me and beckoning me to him. I look back at myself asleep on the bed. Then I look down and see the drop through the window. I look at the man and he shouts "you will be fine, come on." so I take the plunge and land softly on the sand. I walk over to the man. He looks at me and says "Welcome to Dream Island. You have been invited by someone to join him here. He is dreaming too and you can find him up the top of the hill in the shop...off you go and have fun." 
I walk up the hill to the shop. I look around the shop and down the couple of aisles. I don't see anyone. Then I walk to the shop counter and there he is X. I turn to him and say "what's going on why are you here?" and he says "ahh Ellen, I've been waiting for you for ages, so long in fact that I got bored and decided to get a job here in the shop. Wait there whilst I find someone out back to take over from me and then we will go for a little walk." 
I waited and we walked to this bench by the edge of the cliff overlooking the blue sea. The sun was just setting. I turned to him and said I didn't understand what was going on. He said "It takes some getting used to coming to Dream Island. You can only come if you are invited and I invited you here because I want to tell you something." I turned and looked into his eyes and he said "I love you Ellen but I can't be with you in real life. But now we have met here on Dream Island we can come here whenever we like and be together."We hugged, kissed, chatted and laughed with each other.  

I did return to Dream Island one more time in my dreams and again we mostly chatted and sat on that bench. Sadly I haven't been back there for well over a year now! 

My thoughts on this dream: It's on odd one. I knew I was dreaming in this dream. I know that there can't possibly be a "dream island" but it's a nice thought that this other world exists. 

I think I will leave it there...if I have any more interesting dreams I am sure I will share them in the future. Do you remember your dreams? feel free to share them. Or if you are a dream interpreter I would love to know what you think of my collection of dreams. 

 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Degustabox Review - November 2015

Our November Degustabox arrived at the beginning of December. With Christmas and New Year being hectic we have only just got around to finishing our review. 




The November box was full of delightful foodstuffs; from breakfast delights through to festive desserts. Lets have a look inside.

Butterkist popcorn - £1.49 / £0.55 per bag (156g/27g)




First thing that jumped out of the box at us was popcorn! We were sent two bags of Butterkist popcorn; one being the rather posh, share-sized 156g bag of Butterkist discoveries, salted caramel flavoured popcorn. The other, a smaller individual serving-sized 27g bag of Butterkist sweet and salted popcorn. 

The first thing I have to say is that I have always been a fan of Butterkist. As a child, if I was to think of popcorn, it would be a bag of Butterkist. Now these two bags are very different to the caramel covered corn I enjoyed as a child. First up, the sweet and salted popcorn. This 136 Kcal, 27g bag (with 60% less saturated fat and best ever recipe). It's simple, but not detractingly so. It's a good balance of sweet and salty; exactly what it says on the packet. 

Moving onto the Discoveries salted caramel. SOMEBODY TAKE THIS BAG AWAY FROM ME! I CAN'T STOP EATING IT! If heaven was popcorn, this would be it. The taste is similar to the butterkist of my youth, but, as if Heston Blumenthal was let loose on it and reinvented it and made it so much posher. This is divine popcorn. And although the recommended serving size is 20g, 81Kcal... I bet you can't but help shovel the whole lot in and munch like there's no tomorrow. LOVE IT. 

Divine 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries - RRP: £1.00




From divine tasting popcorn to Divine chocolate. I'm a fan of this. Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to win a chocolate hamper from Divine chocolate. There is something about them that is quality. Divine by name, divine by nature. The dark, velvety chocolate is complemented nicely by the raspberries. Fruit and chocolate – what is not to like? 

(For those that need a bit more of a reason to like Divine chocolate over other brands; they are fairtrade, suitable for vegetarians and free of palm oil). 

Nim's Pineapple and Mango Fruit Crisps - RRP. £0.99




Now these are an incredibly nice surprise. I was expecting thick chunks of dry fruit; but these are nothing like that. These are very thinly sliced. I think the thinnest slices of dried fruit I've ever encountered! And there is something definitely inspired about the Mango and Pineapple combination. Sweet and delicious, and counts as one of your five a day fruit-and-veg. They're high in fibre and Vitamin C and we love them! 

Tuckey's Proper Digestives - RRP £1.80 




Now this is a nice idea. The Db Discovery this month is a box of Tuckey's proper digestive biscuits. Proper? These 'demonstrably different' digestives are made from a 1950's original recipe. 

Inside the 240g box are four packs of four biscuits; ideal to take as a snack in your lunchbox. I have to say that these are quite nice. I am a digestive fan, and these do have a different taste to them than your regular digestive. It's like a subtle difference, but it is there. It would be definitely be good to try other biscuits in the range and see how they compare. 

I'm not just saying that because I like biscuits. Honest! 

We enjoyed these a lot. Not sure we picked up on the nostalgic "before all the good was taken out 10-15 years ago" vibe though; but maybe that's because today's digestives don't actually taste that bad. But I think it's a personal thing. We'd like to try other biscuits from the range though, definitely.


Bourne and Wallis pickled onions - RRP £1.40




Just the thing to accompany our boxing day meal of Turkey, Chips and Pickles. And these are delicious! Some of the best pickled onions I've ever tasted! A lot of it is the vinegar. The vinegar has a distinct sweetness to it, but with a gentle hint of spice. And it perfectly compliments the onions.

With the Tuckey's biscuits; the difference between the traditional and the current, I feel is slight. With these onions though, you can taste something definitely more traditional about them. Almost a handmade-ness to them. 

Like the jar lid says, "made with love and care" and they definitely taste like they are. 

Belvita Soft Bakes - RRP £2.79




Now we are already fans of Belvita; they are our "go to" for a quick breakfast bite in the morning on those days where the alarm doesn't go off on time and we have to eat on the run. But these soft bakes are new to us. 

Like other Belvita products, each box comes with a number of individually wrapped portions; 5 in the case of these soft bakes. Each portion contains a single, rather thick biscuit bar. 

There are three different flavours available, but we were sent the Red Berries this time. 

Sampling; they taste good. The soft baked bar has a slightly unexpected quality to it; I think being used to the firmer bars in the range didn't prepare us for how soft and chewy these are. There is a bit of a crunch to them though; which for some reason reminds me of a crumble. 

All in all. Loved them. The only problem is that although one bar is enough, they're a bit more-ish and it's hard to just have one bar. 

Teisseire gourmet flavour drops - RRP £2.79 each




Not necessarily just for breakfast, we were sent two little flavour drop, squirty pot... things. (I'm not entirely sure how you're meant to describe them); you've seen them before, usually adding cordial flavours to water bottles in the summer; these are for the coffee-shop connoisseur. We were given the vanilla and caramel flavour drop-pots; so set about using them right away. 

All I can really say is they do what you'd expect them to. They turn an ordinary coffee into a vanilla one; they make a hot chocolate a caramel hot chocolate... 

The flavours are good; they work well. 

What I might do is – next time I'm at the coffee shop – sneak a squirt into my plain latte and see if I can save on the 30p plus they always charge for these little additions. 

Cheddar and cracked black pepper Ryvita Thins - RRP: £1.89




Okay; you got me. How did you know my Achilles heel was cracker things I can dip into hummus (and similar things)? These are great. Alone you get a subtle cheddar flavour with the heat of the black pepper. 

But with a flavoursome dip, the cracker thin seems to compliment and not overpower. The only problem I have with these is that they are far too more-ish! I can't stop eating them. Great for a party platter or a buffet style meal thing. Very nice. 

Ryvita Green & Black Olive Crackers - RRP £1.29




A second cracker pack this month; whereas the other crackers were very much party dipping thins for sharing, these are individual packs of crackers for your packed lunch; or to help you with that all important portion control – or maybe, just maybe, to stop that annoying cracker malady that happens – the soggy, soft, open cracker disaster. 

These are thin, crispy, firm crackers. I'd compare them to water biscuits, but with a bit more of a crunch to them. They're available in a variety of flavours, but we were sent the green and black olive flavour – and you can definitely taste the olive in there. At first bite it throws you, but subsequent nibbles and you wonder what you were worrying about. 

Nice with stronger cheeses that would definitely compliment the cracker. 

Williamson Lemon Tea - RRP £4.00




In previous Degustaboxes we've been offered Williamson teas before – a few boxes back it was the ginger tea – which is a firm favourite in our house. However, lemon teas we approach with some trepidation. Lemon tea is one of those things that... well... I'd say it doesn't always tickle our tastebuds. 

First we tried the tea black; and it didn't do it for us. But, committing the heinous crime of adding a splash of milk and some sugar and it turned it around. There is a nice flavour there; the lemon is maybe a little subtle, but all in all, it's not bad. 

Very much a quality product with their nice little fabric pyramid bags. This ethical tea … well... because we're not lemon fans, we won't be picking it up – but we'll definitely be keeping an eye open for their other flavours. 

Branston Orchard Fruit Chutney - RRP £1.49




Unfortunately, we have so many open jars of chutney in the fridge at the moment, we didn't manage to get around to this one – however – it looks and sounds delicious! So we'll be looking forward to sampling it in a few months time when we throw away the last empty, open jar. 

We're a fan of Branston – so are expecting something tasty! 

Hartley's Jelly -  £1.29 




Another item we didn't manage to make up yet – but definitely will; we're Jelly fans! And the glitter sparkle jelly looks and sounds really cool. (We were sent Black Cherry Jelly and Strawberry Glitter Jelly). This one fell foul to us having too many mince pies, chocolate puds, Christmas puds, crumbles and other deserts to munch our way through... but... as most of those have now been eaten, these won't sit untouched for long! 

Jim Jam's no added sugar Hazelnut Chocolate spread




And one final item we haven't gotten around to yet; we have some 'other brand' hazelnut spread on the go as I write this – although I expect that we will be onto munching this very soon. It looks good! 

And that's it! That was the November Degustabox - another great value foodie box full of wonderful surprises. 

If you would like your own Degustabox, please go to their website. It costs £12.99 a box (including delivery) however Degustabox has given us a special offer code for our readers to get £6 off their first box. The code is:

BLDEG15


We are very happy to recommend the service and selection they provide.


Links: 
Disclaimer: The November 2015 Degustabox was sent to me for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Pretty Little Liars and the awesome Ian Harding

Last year I decided to go ahead and sign up to Netflix after spending some time down at my Mum's watching Once Upon A Time. Since then I have watched some other pretty cool series including The Tudors, Reign (highly recommend), 90210 and Life Unexpected. When I came to the end of Life Unexpected I chatted to my sister on the phone and she recommended I watched Pretty Little Liars. I wasn't sure if it would be my sort of thing but I thought I would give it a go and I am glad I did as I became hooked from the very first episode. 




I don't want to give two many spoilers away (and to be fair I am only currently on season 3 and I know there are going to be a lot of twists and turns in the story to come) but Pretty Little Liars is based around a group of four girls named Aria, Spencer, Hannah and Emily. Their best friend Alison has gone missing and they start getting random messages from an anonymous person named "A" who threatens to reveal all their deepest darkest secret. This brings the girls together as they try to figure out what happened to their friend Alison and who this mysterious A person really is.  The story is so well written that you actually are constantly thinking that every character could be A. One minute you are convinced it's one person and then the next minute it's on to someone else. 

Pretty Little Liars is loosely based on a series of books of the same name by Sara Shepard. I am actually hoping to get hold of some of these books in the future as I am a total book worm. I  love nothing more than relaxing with a good book.  

So I was watching the first ever episode of Pretty Little Liars and came across this amazing character called Erza Fitz who basically made me go "Wow!" out loud. I'm not going to say it wasn't his looks that attracted me to his character initially because that would be lying. I mean look at him....


Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz


Ezra is an English teacher played by the extremely talented actor. Ian Harding. Ezra comes into the story as he meets Aria in a bar one day and they end up making out. Aria lies and tells Ezra she is at college when really she is at high school and he ends up being surprised to find that he is her teacher. I don't want to give spoilers away but their is an ongoing storyline surrounding their relationship. I'm a bit of a romantic and love seeing them happy together but it's a bit of a bumpy ride for this couple and you never know what's around the corner (unless like me you have accidentally read a few spoilers here and there). 

Ezra is quite a mysterious character in a way. He doesn't really give much away about his life and I am just getting to learn more about his back story in season 3. I think one of the reasons I like Ezra is because he comes across as kind of awkward at times and he's a bit of a dork...just a very good looking one. He comes across as quiet, serious and shy at times. 

I really admire Ian Harding for the way he portrays Ezra so I decided to start following him on twitter (@IANMHARDING) and started looking through his old posts, pictures and various videos. I don't think many people know this about me but when I was in my early teens I wanted to be an actress and I studied drama at school and even took private speech and drama lessons. Sadly for me my anxiety got in the way and I didn't fulfil my dreams. However I know how hard it is to become an actor and how competitive it is especially in the States. I admire people like Ian who are living the dream and enjoying it. 

Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz


Whilst browsing around twitter I noticed that there was lots of fan accounts for Ian in various countries around Europe but there wasn't an "active" one for the UK. This got me thinking that there should be one as I know there are lots of fans of Pretty Little Liars in the UK. I have always been a bit of a fan girl and have ran online fan groups before - Schofield fans for Phillip Schofield fans (before his official site came about) and I continue to and enjoy running the Jules Hudson Fans  - so I thought I could do this. So a couple of days ago I set up Ian Harding Fans UK on twitter and Facebook. My main goal with this is for fans in the UK to follow so we can chat about Ian and his work, to make new friends and to share pictures and news. I think it will also be awesome to be able to show Ian that he has a group of fans here in the UK who appreciate his work. 

As already mentioned on my blog I  have been quite poorly with my chronic fatigue and I am at home at the moment so I have plenty of time but I also know that if I need help with running the fan pages that other fans will also help by sharing pictures and content. In fact on Facebook I have enlisted the help of a great loyal fan of Ian's called Sarah who has helped share some great pictures and videos. It's very early days at the moment but I am hoping that fans of Ian in the UK will eventually come across us and join in. 

Last night was a really awesome night for Pretty Little Liars as they won an award for best cable drama in the People's Choice Awards in the US. I am so pleased for the cast and crew as the show is really great and very gripping. Like I said I am totally hooked and can't wait to catch up with the rest of the world who will be tuning in next week for the second part of season 6 (which becomes available on Netflix here in the UK on the 13th January). This next part of the season will be 5 years on from the previous episodes so it will be very interesting for fans to see where the characters are in their lives. All I know is it's going to be good! 

And when Pretty Little Liars finishes I will be really interested to see what Ian does next in his career. I wonder what other roles he will take on. I think he will have a long career ahead of him and I wish him all the luck in the world. 

If you happen to come across this blog post and you are a Pretty Little Liars or Ian Harding fan please feel free to follow my pages and say hello:

@Ian_HardingUK on Twitter
Ian Harding Fans UK on Facebook

I am also interested to hear from other fans of Pretty Little Liars so if you are a fan please feel free to leave me a comment (no spoilers). Or if you decide to start watching after reading my post, come back and let me know how you get on. Be prepared to get the really catchy theme tune stuck in your head too! Enjoy!


Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Past, The Present and The Future (Goals for 2016)

It's 2:30am and I can't sleep. I have things on my mind that I need to get out in order to rest. This may be a long post. 

The Past

When you are around the age of 16 and you start choosing your path in life you get a rough idea in your head as to where you want to be. I always saw my life as follows by the age of 30, I thought I would have a good job in I.T., married to a lovely man with two children. However life really doesn't always turn out that way. 

Here I am at 36.....going on 37 and the only good things I have going in my life is my relationship with Neil and of course my lovely family.  When I was 18 I got glandular fever followed by depression and Chronic Fatigue (which wasn't formally diagnosed until this year) which changed my life forever.  Before I got hit by illness I had a good job in I.T. Support and was just moving on to become a web designer. Then boom....I got ill and never recovered. I know there are a lot of people worse off than me but that doesn't stop me from thinking wow I really did screw up my life.

I am not going to lie. I have never been confident about the way I look. Even at 18 when I was stick thin I didn't think I was pretty. In my early teens when I started liking boys I hung around with the local paper boys who I fancied and each one of them ridiculed me because I didn't have in their words "big tits." so they played around with my feelings and joked about me a lot. Things like that at a young age really affects you. I think it's just that some boys are immature and they probably didn't realise that it would go on to affect me. However despite this things were going good for me in other areas of my life. I was gaining some confidence whilst still suffering from a lot of my anxiety issues in certain situations that I had from a very early age (more info on this in my post about my mental health). 

So then I got the dreaded glandular fever and depression and it all pretty much went downhill from then. I put on a huge amount of weight (as in going from 8 stone to 18 stone in a matter of two years) which I continue to battle with constantly. As I was ill I couldn't work and was off for two years. Then my mum bought a B&B and I worked there until she sold it. After that I found a job working from home for an online B&B booking agency. The job was good for me in that my boss understood about my illness and I could sleep around my job. I met the love of my life Neil (our love story is here if you would like a feel good read), Three years ago I moved to Kidderminster to be with Neil and everything was looking good. Then sadly work dried up and I lost my job. It was a big blow to me. 

The Present

So for the last two years I have been jobless and I feel getting deeper and deeper into a state of depression. I think 2015 for me was my worst year mentally and physically. Firstly I found out that the stomach problems I have been suffering from is gallstones. Then after waiting for ages to see a consultant I found out that I am too fat to operate on so it's just another problem I have to live with until I lose enough weight to have it removed. So that;s another problem on top of chronic fatigue, depression and asthma. 

My fatigue is totally out of control, as in right at this moment I sleep better in the day than at night. My body clock is totally screwed up. Any energy I do have (which isn't much anyway) seems to be in the evening and at night I get into bed and I can't shut my brain down. This means during the day when normal human beings get everything they need to do done I am feeling worse than ever or sleeping and I don't think my neighbours want to hear a vacuum at two in the morning. 

My anxiety scared me really badly in 2015. In particular when Neil was away visiting his children in the states and I was at my mums I had a really bad anxiety attack. I haven't had one like that for about five years and now I just live in total fear of depression coming back which to me ever since I had depression has been my biggest fear. 

Other issues I currently have are money/job related because I suffer from chronic fatigue I don't feel at this present point I would be of any value to any employer. Hence why I haven't gone out and looked for a job. I really need to sort out my sleep pattern at least before I try that. As I am out of work and off sick I tried to claim some benefit, even if it was just £10 a week, just to help me out a little but sadly I am not entitled to a penny even though I have put in over the years I worked whereas some people get every benefit under the sun. I wrote a post about this before which you can read here as to why I'm not entitled. So I have to rely on Neil and bless him he is fine with this. He knows I am not like a lot of girls who go out on big spending sprees etc. In fact I haven't had my hair cut in a year and a half because I can't justify spending Neil's money on it. I am so thankful to Neil for helping me with my few bills I have. To have absolutely no money of your own is totally demoralising though. I feel worthless and constantly stressed and worried about things cropping up for example needing to go to the dentist or paying for the next prescription of inhalers and anti-depressants. 

Gosh this is sounding bad....like I said in the beginning the only good things that I feel I have going in my life is Neil and my family back in Somerset. So this brings me to my constant battle in my head about having a baby. It's so hard sometimes especially when you get to a certain age and you see everyone around you having beautiful babies and knowing you probably won't be having kids ever. I always thought I would be a mum but right now it's like having two little people whispering in my ear...one is saying "you want a kid, you won't feel complete if you never have a kid" and the other is saying "Neil can't have kids and do you really want a kid when you find it hard to cope with looking after yourself?". And so it goes on. Neil has kids already and after having his kid he made the decision to not have any more. I knew about it when we met but at the time we both fell madly in the love and we kind of said we would work it out in the future as there are some options. Now it's getting more and more unlikely that we will work it out or if we do in time (biological clock and all that). Sometimes it's quite hard for me listening to him chatting to his girls and laughing away and not really knowing them well either and feeling a little like he has this separate life away from me. I would never ever begrudge him the time he has to spend with his kids chatting or visiting them. It's not the way I am. I know how important they are to him and I just want him to be happy and I would like to one day meet them and hope that they would like me.

And so I bring it back to my self confidence issues. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and think "gosh look at yourself girl...when you was that skinny girl I bet you didn't think you would be like this....huge, broken and useless." In the last year I feel I have gone backwards to the stage where I feel like Neil is doing more and more and that I am not really good enough for him. I feel guilty that I am not giving enough all the time. I'm just surviving and I'm not living! 

I know some people would think I am being hard on myself and may even see this post as attention seeking but that isn't my intention. I find writing things down helps get it off my chest and I want to document this so that in the future I can look back on it and see how I have hopefully changed my view of myself. 

The Future

So I am sat here now writing this post and thinking that I need to make some BIG changes this year so that I can get out of this rut. So here are my goals for 2016. Some will be harder to achieve than others but I am going to give it a good go. 

1. Lose some weight - ultimately half my health problems aren't helped by me being overweight. So my first and ongoing goal will be to get back on my diet and lose the weight I have put back on. To get back off the diet Pepsi because I am convinced the sweeteners in them doesn't help at all and have read reports that people have suffered from MS type symptoms because of the sweeteners. So I will be going back to the formula that worked the last time I tried to lose weight of calorie counting so that I am not over eating. I will make sure that I walk the dog more often too (the last few weeks Neil has been off work for Christmas and doing a lot of the walks alone). I will make sure I drink plenty of water too and maybe try and go swimming once a month or so. 

2. Sort out my sleep - I am going to do my up best to try and sort out my body clock so that I am going to bed at a decent time and getting up at a good time in the morning. I know that it will be hard to battle the fatigue and that it will be a slow process making the changes but in the long run I am hoping that it will help me. Also as advised at a fatigue session not taking too many long naps. 

3. Work on my anxiety - I am going to try and work on my anxiety problems. The whole feeling sick in certain situations has been going on since I was 11 years old which is a long time so I know this might take a bit of work. I think I might talk to the doctor about getting some professional help. Maybe CBT would be a good idea for me. I am also going to make sure that I keep going to bingo each week despite the fact that I get anxiety every time I go. I think it does me good and I really enjoy going. It's a good evening out and in a way it challenges me with the anxiety issues. Maybe confronting the problems will help more than avoiding them.

4. Work on my self confidence - Like I said before, I have never thought highly of myself for one reason or another. The saying is that no one can love you unless you love yourself. Feeling negative about myself all the time isn't going to help me. I think I need to try to be a little less hard on myself with regards to being a failure. I need to try and work on my positives which is that I am a nice, caring and kind person. I have a lot of love to give to the people around me that I care about, even if that is all I feel I have right now. Maybe when I sort my sleep pattern out I might try and find a little volunteer job in a charity shop for a few hours a week which might help build my confidence. 

5. Make more of an effort - I know that because of my fatigue I don't get things done. I need to start making more of an effort to do the little things to help out. Even if it's just the washing up or something like that. I do these things now but only when I feel well enough to so I feel it's unfair on Neil. I want to give back even if it's just the little things. I do feel a lot of the time that he could do so much better than me but he always reassures me that he loves me and wants to be with  me. I know I am extremely lucky to have him and he is so patient and understanding. I am not the type of person who likes relying on other people all the time. I feel extremely guilty when I can't do certain things because of my fatigue. So whilst working on my fatigue I want to work on making sure I do more of the things that need doing around the house. 

I am sure there is more to add to my list. I need to stop worrying about life so much and enjoy it. You only live once and I don't want to hit 40 years of age and still feel like I am in a rut. I have been unlucky that I have been struck with chronic fatigue but it's not the end of my life. I need to learn to live with it and control it and not let it control me. I'm going to do this. I am going to take control of my life again and work through the problems and become the person I want to be and the person I know I am deep down! 


Thursday, 31 December 2015

Competition Wins 2015 - I won 179 prizes!

It's been another year of entering competitions and whilst it feels like it's becoming harder to win prizes at times (as more and more people are discovering the hobby) I have had another great year and won some lovely prizes. I usually I write a list of my wins in a note on Facebook but this year I thought it would be nice to have a round up of my wins here on my blog. 

Entering competitions has been my hobby since 2000. Some of the early years I entered less competitions but in the last ten years I would say I have entered more. I wrote a little guide to starting comping on my blog awhile back with a few of my tips on how to get into competitions. So if you are interested and would like some tips see my post here

I feel it's important to say that there is a new breed of compers (people who enter competitions) these days and the comping community is not what it used to be sadly. Whilst social media has seen an increase in competitions to enter and us being able to get closer to the brands we love it has also caused a lot of conflict with people going all out to win even the smallest prizes. This year has been sad in that we have seen more people using multiple accounts to enter competitions, people using bots to enter competitions automatically, people stealing other peoples images to win competitions and people using sob stories galore in order to try and get the sympathy of the person running the competition to let them win. This in my opinion is ruining the hobby. Whilst there are these bad people spoiling it for everyone else there is also a great community too and I have made many friends through the hobby. 

What I really want to say is that for me, for the most part, comping is just about luck. You win some, you lose some. I personally wouldn't be happy entering a competition knowing that I had cheated in some way in order to win that prize. Or that I had begged to used one of the sad stories in my life to win a prize. I keep it real and know that every prize I have won has been won fairly and if I don't win then that's life. I personally love reading about other compers wins. There are so many competitions out there for everyone to enjoy. So my hopes for the comping world for 2016 is for everyone to be a little nicer to each other and be fair. Sadly I know that there will always be cheats out there spoiling it for everyone else. 

There is also a bit of a negative feeling between some bloggers and compers too. Some bloggers feel that if you are a comper then you shouldn't be able to win their competitions. I'm not sure why. Some companies do the same too and it's sad because compers are just people who help bring awareness by sharing with their friends and also we do have a life away from comping and enjoy the same things every other human being enjoys. Also there is a new breed of bloggers who feel it's acceptable to use their blog as a way to win competitions by basically telling the company they are entering the competition for that they will do a review of their product on their blog if they win the prize. This in my opinion is just as bad as cheating. I would never use my blog to blag a prize. It's not fair on the people who don't have the time or inclination to blog. 

Anyway I think I've gone on enough about my views. I just want to say comping is a hobby. A fun hobby. Lets keep it real my friends! 

And without further a do. My wins of 2015.....

A Magners Beanie Hat, Christmas Pawsome box, Cushella Koala, Christmas hamper.... 


This Christmas hamper from Woman and Home magazine was amazing.
Lots of booze, condiments, chocolate and Christmas goodies and meat. 

Chicken dinner at the Harvester, Prince of Darkness blu-ray, Fingers & Tongues book, Bluebeard Revenge gift set, £10 Amazon voucher, £150 Joshua James Jewellery Voucher, The Equaliser DVD, Heart bowl and ladle, My Little Pony DVD, Looking (season 1) DVD, The Best of Me DVD, £95 Schuh voucher, Whole Earths 3nut butter and pancakes, Dog bed, Jordan's Granola, Hobgoblin t-shirt, 2 x nail varnishes, Bride In Bloom ebook, Tractor Ted book and DVD, The Vintage Guide To Love and Romance book, Dolphin's Tale 2 blu-ray, £300 Currys Voucher....

I won this £300 Currys voucher from Ace UK on Facebook...
we spent it on a new gas cooker which was very much needed

Atomicron, Fury goodies, Girls Will Be Girls book, Cheese voucher, Oxo good grip products, The Traitor's Mark book, a beauty bundle, Unfinished Business goodies, Broadchurch DVD, Tilda Basmati Hamper....

I couldn't believe how much rice I won....and we have already gotten
through most of it....there is also a Wok hidden in there too! lol! 

Scar Tissue DVD, Bahlsen biscuit hamper, 3 Drumond Park games, £150 cash, £10 Co-op voucher, Sunlife pen, Royal Family book and DVD, OPI nail varnish set, 3 bottles of Choc shots, Dolce Gusto coffee machine (with cups and After Eights), We Are All Made of Molecules signed book, Raised By Wolves DVD, Cricket Top Trumps, Dave mug, Secrets Of The Singer Girls book, Case of Toffee Crisp Honeycomb bars, 6 x packs of Chewits, £250 Joseph Joseph kitchen products....


I absolutely love these products I won from Onken, they are quality. 

Black Cherry Yankee candle, The Versions of Us book, Big Game goodies, I followed the Rules book, Unearthed food goodies, The Island Escape book, Border biscuits, Father's Day Kipling cakes...


I love winning personalised goodies and this one is no exception
for my Dad on Father's day...with a picture of us. Love it!

Into The Woods DVD, Horrid Henry DVD, Chocolate buttons, Monchhichi, keyring and goodies, Laimon Fresh memory stick, Pokey LaFarge CD, Nature Valley goodies, Head and Shoulders Shampoo/Conditioner, Safe House DVD, 30 degrees in February DVD, Pantene Shampoo/conditioner, Thrive on Five book, Apple Sports Watch...

I love winning gadgets and an Apple Sports Watch is a biggie! 

GoDoChoc Chocolates and Benefit goodies, Shiseido Zen shower gel, Thank you box of chocolates, A panoramic pod, bath bombs, Higher Ed book, Summertime book, Aquafresh Inside Out goodies, bundle of DVDs, This is Acoustic CD, 100 Bloody Acres DVD, Beyond The Lights DVD, Son of a Gun blu-ray, Accidental Love DVD, £20 Amazon voucher, Handmade Burger co voucher, Tealight holders, Emma signed book, adult colouring books, Personalised lip balm, £30 cash, Super Sweep toy, World of Warriors trading cards, Spongebob Movie blu-ray, Diesel Only The Brave aftershave, bath truffles, pizza voucher, £10 iTunes voucher, £15 Co-op voucher, P'tit Quinquin DVD, Scentiment candle, poodle mug, £20 The Works voucher, Zootfoods bars, 3 months subscription to Shaken Cocktails, £25 Amazon voucher, Crushed drinks, The Krays Kill Order DVD, The Martian goodies, Chocolate box, adult colouring book, lavender diffuser, £10 Amazon voucher, Third Time Lucky book, Let The Right One In book, Henry V CD, Hobgoblin gloves, Signed Cliff Richard calendar....

I love this win. I'm not a huge Cliff fan but my friend
Katie in Australia is. I made her day by sending her this.

Sanctuary Spa goodies, popcorn maker, Conor Couglan signed CD, Dogs of Courage book, Film book bundle, WKD and cauldron, 3 x deodorants, Boofle goodies, gingerbread advent calendar, case of Wicked Wyvern beer, Who's The Lucky Guy book, Senspa goodies, carbon monoxide alarm, 2 x She Who Dares fragrances, Cheerios personalised calendar, The Royal Secret book, case of Boost drinks, Snoopy wristband, box of Valley Mills wax melts, Steve Jobs book, bottle of Coldpress, adult toy, Partners in Crime DVD, A Cat called Alfie book, caricature of Shortie....

A bit of an unusual win but I love it. My dog
Shortie as a member of Gryffindor by Big Art Vinyl

Bottle of Shloer with limited edition bag, Decleor night balm, cinnamon snow candle, chocolate truffles, adult toy, 3 signed Sarah Morgan books and a tote bag, a bubbly santa, A Winterfold Christmas book, Dell Chromebook...

Another biggie, A Dell Chromebook....I think Neil might claim
this one :-)

Liz Earle goodies for my mum, Black mass goodies, 2 x Krispy Kreme doughnut tins, bundle of gadgets, Star Wars print, dog biscuits, fir tree bangle, bottle of wine, Big colouring book, Star Wars Rebels magazine, Harry Potter style kindle case, relaxing goodies from Sealy, Sue Perkins book, small bottle of gin, Beverly Hills toothpaste hamper and Michael Kors bracelet, chocolate cake for my niece Lilly and a chocolate cake card for me, bracelet, Football boot light, A Christmas star DVD, £10 Aldi voucher and my last win of the year that arrived today 3 x boxes of Fish "n" Chips....

Three boxes of Fish n Chips....yummy!!! 

And that is my list of my wins of the year. Some are small but I love them especially books and Neil always loves the foodie wins. My favourite wins though are the ones that I can give to members of my family or friends to  make them happy. 

I also have my Webkin's Poll competition still up and running to win a £25 Amazon voucher and more. It closes on the 10th January. I run the competition each year (though I missed a few years) for fun and to give back to others. Good luck if you decide to enter. 

All that's left to say now is to all my comper friends new and old - Happy New Year and may 2016 be very lucky for you! Good Luck my friends x