Emergency Chocolate – a great gift idea.

This year Shelter has come up with a brilliant idea to raise money for the homeless at Christmas with their Emergency Chocolate bars. They are available in £5 for the 100g bar and £10 for the 200g versions. They have a pop-up store at 72 Neal Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9PE and it should be available in selected Shelter shops around the country.

You can also buy these online at https://cardshop.shelter.org.uk/collections/christmas-gifts

I love this idea for raising money and I really do think this makes a great corporate gift, stocking filler or a perfect gift for those people who are hard to buy for and who you typically end up giving a card and a voucher to.

I take chocolate very seriously and I can tell you that once opened the rich milk chocolate really doesn’t disappoint at all and anyone I know would be very pleased to receive this as a gift.

Order now online at https://cardshop.shelter.org.uk/collections/christmas-gifts

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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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Great British Bake off stocking fillers

Whatever you think of Pru Leith (Or Pru Lethal) as I saw I referred to today in the British Press, the format of the Great British Bake Off proves as addictive as the bakes the contestants create.  What is nice about this show (if you ignore some of the Pru comments) is that it is good family viewing and there really aren’t that many shows on a weekday that the family can sit together and enjoy.  What’s more it does inspire a younger generation to have a go which is great as every childhood should have a memory of going round the sponge mix bowl to get every last delicious morsel of batter out – yummy!  I am constantly on the lookout for Christmas Presents during the year partly because I don’t want to struggle to think of what to buy everyone at once in November.  It is also a good way of spreading the cost.  So, if you have a budding star baker in your home or a more established cook who is always looking for a new take on an old favourite recipe, there is plenty of Bake Off presents to buy.

I particularly like this stylish Family Organiser Calendar for 2018

A fabulous recipe for each month

It is a bargin at under £10 and I do approve of the multiple columns for each day.  Afteralll it is a bit difficult to fit everybody’s whereabouts on a traditional calendar.  The delicious recipe each month will also be difficult to resist.





Other great stocking fillers in this star baker cup

This cup looks stylish and is a great compliment to give the recipient this Christmas.










Alternatively, there are many cook books to help you read your own master baker status.  Being slightly obsessed with chocolate, I particularly love the Bake it Better Chocolate cook book.  Yummy delicious as my equally chocolate obsessed daughter would say!


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Victoria Beckham and Estee Lauder – New Collection

After the runaway success of Victoria Beckham’s previous makeup collection.  She has added more products to her Autumn Winter collection which is delivered again in collaboration with Estee Lauder.  There are 5 looks in this collection from the smoldering London Look to the sophisticated New York look.  Each new collection contains 6 key pieces to recreate the look.  I particularly love the London Look eye pallette which is a gel creme formulation in different finishes from full on shimmer to soft matte.  I also think the double ended eye pencil in Black Saffron/Vanille should be in everyone’s makeup bag.  The vanille shade is for your water line to open up and brighten your eye and the soft black will create a smoky effect line.  This makeup will make a very luxurious addition to the woman in your life dressing table.  So, if you are one of the men whose Christmas shopping for their partner relies on the last minute dash to a department store while the very helpful lady behind the counter wraps the usual bottle of perfume, this maybe the purchase for you.  Instead of a 24th December purchase, it could be the ‘buy it online in September’ alternative.  I say September because much of Victoria Beckham’s makeup is sold out in a very short space of time.  So, no leaving this one until Christmas week.  Just don’t forget a wonderful gift box and some tissue paper to put it in.  John Lewis has a stunning selection of gift boxes like this one below from Sara Miller.



John Lewis Gift Box

Victoria Beckham London Look Collection


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Cookie Crumbles – yummy cake time!

I was delighted to receive a cake for one baking kit from Cookie Crumbles.  The mug was delivered in a presentation box with a sweet little spoon and cooking instructions (very important).


Looks simple enough!


All you have to do is pour your dry cake mix into the mug, add 2 tbsp of milk and 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, stir well and put it in the microwave.  A kind of magic that Disney himself would be proud of then happens.   I wouldn’t have thought possible with so little effort from me.  I only wish my children could have seen this coconut chocolate cake of goodness rising in its cup, they would have been spellbound.  After the microwave had gone ping, the difficult part!  I am not sure how I coped with the 2 minute wait before I could plunge my little spoon in but I did and it was worth wait – it was delicious.  Although it is a cake, it has the comforting warmth of a chocolate pudding too.  It was like a big chocolate hug as the weather is turning cooler in the run up to Christmas.

I am so pleased to see that the ingredients list has all things you would expect to find a cake and nothing more – wholemeal wheat, flour, sugar, desiccated coconut, plain chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and baking powder.  Not 2o additional ingredients that I cannot pronounce much less know what they are.  It is such a joy to find none of the artificialness usually associated with cake mixes.

I must admit, I am feeling slightly guilty now as my mug for my little cake of wonderfulness does say ‘Cake for One Special Dad’.  Oopps! Never mind,  I can still have the empty mug!   I think Cookie Crumbles Mug cakes are a great Christmas gift for a Dad or Mum (a pretty pink version is also available) as a different type of stocking filler or as an unexpected gift this Christmas

The finished or should that be half eaten cake!

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