Tuesday, 23 September 2014

CaféPod Friends Makeover & win a trip to New York!

It's hard to believe the the first episode of the iconic TV show Friends aired 20 years ago this week. CaféPod are celebrating by teaming up with Friends as their official coffee partner and have released a great looking range of limited edition Friends themed boxes. 

If you're near Westfield Stratford this week, then make sure to visit the touring Friends Sofa from Central Perk, which will be there from 22-29 September. You can have a coffee and get your photo taken on the sofa where it all began! More details HERE

I was lucky enough to recently be chosen as a CaféPod Ambassador and you can read my original review of the four CaféPod blends; Ristretto, Intense, Arabica Lungo and Smooth HERE


CaféPod are also running a competition for a chance to win a trip to New York. It's an easy to enter competition - just fill in your details here: http://cafepod.com/friends. There's also the chance to win some coffee via CaféPod on Twitter - check out the #Friends20th hashtag and @CafePodTweets.

PR Samples.

Monday, 22 September 2014

New Instore Round Up - Cakes, Christmas & More

A quick post today with a few new and limited edition products that I've spotted instore recently. Considering the time of year I was disappointed at the lack of autumnal themed products in the supermarkets. It would be great to see just a few pumpkin spice or cinnamon spice limited editions. As always let me know in the comments if you've spotted anything new instore or if you've tried any of the products I've featured below.

Toblerone Merry Christmas Tablet: I might as well start with a couple of Christmas products since most supermarkets seem to jump straight from summer to Christmas, ignoring Autumn altogether. This Toblerone Merry Christmas tablet features a new format for Toblerone, it's a large flat chocolate with snapable triangle shaped segments. £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Gingergread Whirls: Even though I dislike Christmas products appearing in the supermarket so early, and usually refrain from buying any until at least late October, I have to admit I'm really tempted by these Gingerbread Whirls! I might have to give these an early try. £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Festive Bakewells: These Festive Bakewells aren't exactly new, but they do have a new look for 2014. Instead of a little Christmas trees on the icing, these are covered in "festive sprinkles". £1.00 at Tesco.

Mr Kipling Chocolate & Slime Slices: I've only spotted one new Halloween themed product instore, these Mr Kipling Chocolate & Lime Slices. I expect there will be more Halloween products hitting the shelves in a few weeks time. £1.00 at Asda.

Philadephia Lactose Free: I know that the Lactofree brand already make a cream cheese spread but I was still pleased to see this version from Philadephia. There was also a half fat version too. £1.99 at Tesco.

Kinder Surprise Barbie Fashionistas: The Kinder Disney Princesses range from earlier this year was incredibly popular and it's a shame that these surprise eggs are now Barbie themed again. Good news for Disney fans though is that there is a Disney Fairies Kinder range coming soon. £1.89 at Tesco.

Kinder Surprise Transformers: These are a worthy follow up to the previous Marvels Heroes theme. I know my kids would like to collect these (and probably my husband too!) but I'll wait until I see the individual eggs rather than these Triple Packs as they only contain one Transformers toy out of the three eggs. £1.89 at Tesco.

Nestlé Gluten Free Cornflakes: Interesting to see a major brand offering a gluten free version. There was also a Nestlé Gluten Free Cornflakes with Honey variety available. £2.00 at Asda.

Nutella Limited Edition 1kg: Anyone with willpower issues look away now! I know this massive Nutella jar has been available before but I personally haven't seen it in my local supermarkets. Anyway, I don't think I could be trusted with a 1kg jar of Nutella in the house! £5.00 at Asda.

Asda Bourbon Biscuit Spread: I wonder if this means Asda will also be selling a Custard Cream spread like Tesco? £1.30 at Asda.

Reese's Peanut Butter: I was quite tempted by this one! £3.49 at Asda.

Gale's Honey with Cinnamon: At least I managed to find one new cinnamon product. I love the idea of this Gale's Honey with Cinnamon on porridge during the winter months. £2.99 at Asda.

Gale's Honey with Vanilla: This vanilla flavoured honey also sounds delicious. I'll probably try these at some point, especially the cinnamon variety. £2.99 at Asda.

Febreze Winter Collection Vanilla Latte: A solitary non-food item for this round-up, but I was quite surprised by this offering from Febreze. Vanilla Latte seems like such an unusual scent for an air freshener. £2.00 at Asda.

Tesco Smoky Bacon Weirdoughs: Bacon flavoured doughnuts? Even though these bacon flavoured mini doughnuts sound more appealing than the other flavours in the Tesco Weirdoughs range (cheese & onion and salt & vinegar), I'm still going to take a pass on giving these a try. £1.00 at Tesco.

Ben & Jerry's Satisfy My Bowl: If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you've probably seen my enthusiastic posts about this new ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. Inspired by Bob Marley, it's a combination of banana (yes!!) ice cream, caramel and cookie swirls, and chocolate peace signs. The good news is that it's currently on a half price offer at Tesco for £2.24. Review coming soon.

And to finish here are a few celebration cakes at Asda that are new since the last time I blogged about their cakes (in May).

Despicable Me Minion Dave Celebration Cake: This is such a great looking cake, perfect for fans of the Despicable Me films. £10.00 at Asda.

Muppets Kermit Cake: This cake also looks good - I'm a real fan of the last few Muppets films! £10.00 at Asda.

Swizzels Squashies 2 Tier Cake: A cake for anyone with a seriously sweet tooth! Asda (not sure about exact price).

Charlie the Chocolate Gingerbread Man Cake: I'm not sure if this large cake is actually gingerbread flavoured or just a chocolate cake in the shape of a gingerbread man. Either way it's an adorable looking cake. £10.00 at Asda.

Disney Frozen Celebration Cake: A pretty cake for any Disney Frozen themed birthday party. £10.00 at Asda.

There were also a few other new cakes that were sold out, including a Mankini Cake, an M&Ms Sofa Cake and of course the new Asda Piñata Cake (see my review HERE). Let me know if you spot any interesting new products instore in any of the supermarkets - I love hearing about them! grocerygems@gmail.com

Thursday, 18 September 2014

New Snickers More Choc Limited Edition (UK)

Early last year Snickers released two Limited Edition chocolate bars; the More Caramel and More Nuts bars - see my previous review HERE. As those names suggest, they were Snickers with either more caramel or more nuts included in the bar. They were obviously popular as they have been released again this year, only this time they're joined by a new addition; the More Choc. Since a Snickers bar is only made up of caramel, nuts, chocolate and nougat, I fully expect that next year there will a More Nougat edition to join in the range - it makes sense!

According to Choc Mission, who keeps an awesome record of these things, the new Snickers Limited Editions are smaller than the ones released last year. This Snickers More Choc for example is 48g compared to 54g for the More Caramel last year. To be honest without having read Choc Mission's review I doubt I would have noticed, it looks pretty much the same to me, although I'm not a regular eater of Snickers (last time was for the More Caramel and More Nuts reviews in Jan 2013). It makes me wonder though just how small they can go with the Snickers' size before it starts to look like a snack bar? 

The new bar contains 'more chocolate' in the form of a new chocolate flavoured layer. It's not the most innovative idea ever to grace the world of chocolate but I was eager to give it a try nonetheless. For some reason I had assumed that MORE Choc also meant that the outer layer of chocolate would be super thick, so I was a bit disappointed to see a regular amount of coating. In terms of overall flavour this is pretty similar to a regular Snickers, but for me, the layer of chocolate nougat makes this More Choc even sweeter than the classic bar. The original Snickiers nougat is of course very sweet itself, but it also has a malty flavour and slightly salty edge that balances out the sweetness of the chocolate. Having more chocolate makes the More Choc bar a little sweeter, and also a bit blander, in comparison. 

Mr. Grocery Gems, who is more of a Snickers fan than me, said: "It tastes exactly the same as a regular Snickers bar but in a blue wrapper". He's so insightful.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Snickers More Choc

RATING: 7 out of 10
Buy them again?: Snickers, we'll meet again at your next limited edition.
Nutrition (48g bar): 241 calories, 
21.1g sugars, 13.1g fat.
Purchased: Local newsagents.
Price: £0.70p. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

New Asda Surprise Piñata Cake!

Asda has long been my favourite supermarket for party cakes, and I suspect I'm not alone in my enthusiasm - my post on Asda's celebration cake range from last year HERE has consistently been my most viewed post week after week. Not only do Asda already have an extensive range of different cake styles and themes, but they also have a habit of releasing exciting new cakes, such as this stunning new Asda Chosen By You Piñata Surprise Cake! 

I was lucky enough to be sent the Asda Piñata cake to review and it really is as gorgeous as all the promotional photos suggested. This is a real showstopper of a cake and it's a complete bargain at only £10.00. Piñata cakes have been popular on baking sites and magazines for a little while now and there are plenty of excellent recipes online if you fancy taking on the challenge. However, I appreciate that there is this alternative for anyone who isn't so keen on baking, or let's face it, doesn't have the time to put such a cake together.

The idea behind a piñata cake is simply that it's been filled with lots of sweets in the centre, creating a wonderful surprise once the cake is cut into. The Asda Piñata Cake is fabulously decorated - I love the rainbow coloured swirls that cover the entire cake. They're so bright and appealing.

Once I cut a rather large! slice of the cake, lots of little chocolate beans were revealed. Even though I knew they were in there it was still exciting and my kids were enthralled by the whole thing. The chocolate beans have the same colour scheme as the outer icing which is a lovely touch too.

The rainbow swirls look so pretty on each slice!

Inside the cake is a three-layered vanilla sponge with sweet plum and raspberry jam filling. There is no buttercream in between the layers but I expect that is because there is so much frosting on the outside of the cake. The cake itself is fairly simple but it's a still a tasty vanilla sponge, nice and moist with the jam adding plenty of extra sweetness. The rainbow buttercream is super sweet and thick -  perhaps a little too sweet but perfect for a celebration cake.

It really is a stunner of a cake, especially for the great value price. I expect it will be extremely popular and I hope it will still be around in November/December when I have lots of family birthdays to celebrate!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Asda Piñata Surprise Cake

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy it again?: Yes!
Purchased: Available at Asda - check out their party cake range HERE.
Price: £10.00p.

Products sent for an honest review.

Review: Goody Good Stuff - Vegetarian Sweets

Goody Good Stuff is an all natural range of vegetarian gummy sweets which are also free from artificial colours or flavourings. There are eight varieties available in their range and I was sent six different sweets to review; Summer Peaches, Strawberry Cream, Tropical Fruit, Koala Gummy Bears, Cheery Cherries, and Cola Breeze. Several of these varieties are also suitable for vegans! The whole range is also gelatin free, fat free, nut free, soy free, dairy free and gluten free. 

Summer Peaches - These are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. They're based on traditional Fizzy Peaches sweets which were my favourite sweets when I was younger I still have a weakness for peach flavoured sweets but it's actually quite hard to find a bag of them on their own (without having to get a pick 'n' mix bag). 

The Summer Peaches sweets have a lovely appearance, quite plump and with a great peachy colour. The texture is excellent too, I wouldn't have guessed that these were vegetarian from the jelly like soft consistency. But the best part is the peach flavour itself, it's super sweet with a perfect fruity flavour. These are a 10 out of 10 from me and I'm sure I'll be buying these again in the future!

Cola Breeze: Classic cola bottle sweets that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

The Goody Good Stuff Cola Breeze sweets also have a great texture, very similar to traditional cola bottles but with a slightly softer chew. I actually prefer this texture compared to the usual gelatin based type. The flavour here is very good too, with a sweet cola taste balanced by the slightly sour coating (not too sour which is just the way I like them!). I really can't fault these either and alongside the Summer Peaches these are my personal favourite from the range. 10 out of 10.

Strawberry Cream, Cheery Cherries and Tropical Fruit are all suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans) and are also made with all natural flavours and colours.

Cheery Cherries: Don't these look adorable? I think they're perfectly named as cheery cherries! The texture of these is quite jelly like, and is slightly softer and less chewy than traditional gelatin sweets. The cherry flavour here is very strong and sweet, so much so that I would have assumed these were artificially flavoured. They have that classic cherry candy taste. I enjoy this type of cherry sweet so I liked the strong flavour here. 8 out of 10.

Strawberry Cream: These are very small sweets with a really cute shape - they look like little jelly puddings to me! They have a similar texture to the Cheery Cherries, quite soft and easy to eat. The flavour here is quite light, especially in the strawberry sweets. I could taste the creamy sweets more than the fruity ones. The combination is still very tasty and I think these would look great as cupcake toppers. 7 out of 10.

Tropical Fruit: This is such an interesting mix of sweets with a variety of unusual flavours (here in the UK at least). The texture is much firmer than the other sweets in the range with a chewier consistency. The flavours here are all excellent and very fruity especially the watermelon, banana, and pineapple. The two red ones tasted like a cross between citrus and berries, whilst the orange looking one had quite a peachy flavour. 8 out of 10.

Sour Koala Gummy Bears: I was also sent two little packs (25g) of Sour Koala Gummy Bears. Goody Good Stuff are known for their gummy koala shaped sweets but I didn't know they did a sour variety. 

They look like little bears! My kids were very keen to try out these Sour Koala gummy bears, as they like sour sweets a lot more than me, and sure enough, they both enjoyed the tangy flavour of the coating here. The flavour of the actual gummy bears is slightly sour too with a tropical fruitiness. 7 out of 10.

Overall the Goody Good Stuff range offers a great vegetarian alternative to traditional sweets. Although they're obviously not healthy as such, it's still good to have a range of sweets without any of the usual artificial nasties! 

The range is available at Tesco, Waitrose, Superdrug and local health food stores. Check out their website for all your local stockists: http://goodygoodstuff.com

Grocery Gems Verdict: Goody Good Stuff Range

RATING: See each description above.
Buy them again?: Yes, especially the Cola Breeze and Summer Peaches.
Vegetarians: Suitable for vegetarians.

Products sent for an honest review.

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