Don’t miss Rick Stein – The Road to Mexico tonight

Just a quick post to alert you to the new Rich Stein series tonight at 9pm on BBC 2.  His shows are always an interesting mix of travel show and cookery and ideal viewing on these cold winter nights.  As you might expect he has a new book out to go with the series. 
Rich Stein Mexico

Update: I’ve spent a few hours this afternoon looking at various Rick Stein books and DVD’s and produced a Rick Stein Gift Ideas Guide.  If I’ve missed anything great please let me know and do leave a comment below on what you think of his new show tonight.

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New David Walliams Reading List and Gift Guide

Just a quick update to announce my new David Walliams Christmas Gift Guide:

It’s not often when David Walliams doesn’t have a book in the charts these days. His titles appeal to children and adults.  To save you time I’ve gone through reviews and Amazon and picked David’s top books to produce a helpful David Walliams Reading List and Gift Guide.  So if you’ve got children who have enjoyed one of David’s books, why not treat them to one of the other items on this list for Christmas.

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Christmas at Costa Coffee 2017

I popped into Costa on Wednesday (November 1st) and I suppose I was a little surprised to be greeted by the sound of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” as I walked through the door.  They really need to keep the Christmas music on pause until after bonfire night. Putting that aside, for now, it was good to get my latte served in this years Christmas cup design.

Costa Coffee Christmas 2017

Costa Coffee Christmas 2017 cup design

Costa Coffee Christmas 2017 cup design

Costa Coffee Christmas 2017 cup design


I take a photo of my first Christmas Latte each year as it’s interesting to track how the marketing and branding change over the years; you don’t notice if you can’t put current trends into context with what has been done previous years.

My personal favourite was the Father Christmas design from 2014:

Costa Coffee Christmas 2014 Branding

See previous years here:

Costa Christmas 2016

Costa Christmas 2015

Costa Christmas 2014


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WIN a Cookie Crumbles Cake in a Mug in our latest giveaway competition

You may remember me reviewing the brilliant cake in a mug.  I am delighted to announce that we have a cake in a mug to giveaway worth £10.  It will make a perfect Christmas gift/stocking filler especially for that hard to buy for person.  All you have to do to win this prize is like and share our blog.

Cake in a Mug

To win all you need to do is subscribe to my free weekly Christmas Planning Newsletter and follow us on Facebook – we will pick a winner at random from our combined list of Facebook followers and Newsletter subscribers – so if you do both you stand twice the chance of winning!

Click here to join my Christmas Planning Newsletter

Click here for our Facebook Page, then click like and follow

For more information about

Competition Rules:
By entering you grant us the right to publish your name in print and online, making minor corrections and edits as required.
The names of the winners will be published in a follow-up blog and in our newsletter in mid-November.
The closing date for entries is midnight on November 5th, 2017 – only people subscribed to our email newsletter or who follow us on Facebook as of this date will be eligible.
The editor’s decision is final and we will not enter into further correspondence.
No alternative prizes or cash alternatives are available.
The winner will be notified by e-mail or Facebook the week after the competition closes. – you will have 7 days to make contact with us and claim the prize. Prizes not claimed within 7 days will be placed into a second draw and offered to the runner-up.
Sorry, but we can only deliver the prize to locations within the UK via Royal Mail.
The name and address of the winner(s) will be passed to the sponsors who will make arrangements for getting the prize to you.
This competition is being run in good-faith and on a best endeavours basis, we cannot be held responsible for failure to receive prize claims or failure for the prize to be delivered by the sponsor.


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Delicious chocolate that changes lives

I must admit that I absolutely love chocolate.  I feel more reassured in life knowing that I have some chocolate hidden in the house that only I know about, so I was delighted to try chocolate from a company called Choc Affair.  I received the Library Collection which consists of four of their best selling bars in a smart presentation box.  Each bar was wrapped in gold paper complete with a beautiful paper sleeve design reflecting the taste combinations that lay inside.  I think this makes a brilliant Christmas present as it is not the standard box of supermarket chocolates which look terribly boring alongside the Choc Affair chocolate.

I started with the salted caramel.  This is largely because I am a fan of salted caramel I think a lot of people get this wrong and make the chocolate to salty.  I need not have worried the creamy caramel flavour melts in your mouth with a slight sea salt hit afterwards – perfect.  My children couldn’t get enough of this chocolate and they would usually shy away from the idea of anything being salted.  Next, I or should that be ‘we’ tried the peach and raspberry white chocolate. I don’t think I have ever had peach chocolate before but it is definitely my favourite now as it was very creamy and delicate with a fruits of the summer taste combined with the comforting hug of creamy chocolate.

The orange and geranium chocolate transported me back to my childhood as it just has a very subtle hint of Turkish delight flavour about it but with the smoothest chocolate, I have ever tasted.  Also a big hit with the children.

I have to say I am not naturally a dark chocolate fan but the dark chocolate infused with lime and sea salt has a sharpness that all dark chocolate fans will love and does go down particularly well with my morning coffee.

Not only do Choc Affair make the best and creamiest chocolate, I have an admiration for a company that can look at a very full and competitive marketplace that chocolate retail is and just go for it anyway!  Not only that, they are creating a better tasting chocolate bar than the large confectionary companies.   Through their initiatives in Colombia and Uganda, they know the origin of their cocoa beans and are making a real difference to the lives of the cocoa farmers they work with – fabulous!

Can I also just come back to the packaging?  I am a big fan those simple touches from the gold paper to the beautiful paper wrappers that create a such a luxurious feel to a £2.75 chocolate bar.   I would happily give this as a Christmas stocking filler or extra gift for Christmas as it looks special.  Not only that, all the Choc Affair packaging to made a few miles from their factory.  A great combination of supporting local British Businesses and improving lives in developing countries.

My children are now convinced I have a direct line to Willy Wonka and I think they will be looking for a bar of Choc Affair’s chocolate in their stocking on Christmas morning.  What could be better for a child on Christmas morning than a delicious treat of chocolate to fire their taste buds and maybe a Roald Dahl book to ignite their imagination?

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