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Food & Drink Reviews

 

Popcorn Machine

Films and popcorn go together like Thelma and Louise, like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor… you get the idea. Unfortunately, when you try and get popcorn at the cinema these days you often end up paying more than you did for your ticket! Well you can have cinema style popcorn right at home thanks to this nifty little machine. All you have to do is pour some un-popped kernels into the classically designed machine and switch it on. Once the air is hot enough the kernels will begin to pop into your favourite crunchy treat, then all you have to do is take them out, pick your seasoning (we like salted, we're sweet enough already) and enjoy! RRP £29.99. Available at http://www.stocking-fillers.co.uk/popcorn-machine.

 

 

Maynards discovery Patch 'Body Bits' and 'Animals' sweets

These delicious new fruit flavoured jelly sweets have only recently launched and are the perfect alternative to Chocolate this Easter. They come in three different, exciting variants; Animals, Body Bits and Myths and Monsters and come wrapped up in a bag full of fun facts and quizzes perfect for the family to enjoy together, with plenty of fun and discovery. Furthermore, from the bag you can download the new Explore and Play app which allows families to enter into the world of augmented reality and delve into the depths of their imagination.

Sarah's review: The kids had great fun reading the fun facts on the packets, and identifying the ‘body bits’ and ‘animals’ as they ate. Each pack has a free Maynards App you can download, and when the front of the pack is scanned further fun facts can be accessed. Considering the all-natural flavours these were really pleasantly juicy and, unlike some other ‘natural’ sweets we have tried before, the consistency of the jelly was great too. We would definitely recommend them.

 

 New! Jubbly Smoothies

Calypso’s Jubbly Smoothies have proved so popular in schools, that 2014 now sees them in supermarkets. Made with 50% pure juice and crushed fruit, these new individual sorbet-like desserts, are ready to freeze at home and are fast becoming the ‘go to’ healthy, great tasting treat for parents.
Available in two delicious fruity combinations: Strawberry & Banana; and Orange, Mango & Passion fruit, they freeze into a luxurious sorbet like dessert providing a healthy and refreshing snack. With no artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners or preservatives, they are school approved and provide an ideal dessert at home.

Michelle's Review: Lovely Jubbly Smoothies! A frozen smoothie – what a lovely treat on a hot summer’s day! It is so nice to find a refreshing frozen treat that isn’t full of sugar or contain added colour, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. I have a feeling this product would even be suitable for vegans!
Well, we have tested them out and all loved them! My three year old son does not like cakes, chocolate or ice cream. But he loves Jubbly Smoothies! He keeps on asking for them - so I guess he knows what’s good for him!

Angela's Review: The packaging of the inner product is nice and neat perfect for filling all those wee gaps in your freezer. Perfect that can just freeze a couple at a time, rather than whole box. The Strawberry and banana one was my personal preferred choice, the consistency of this one felt smoother like a very tasty sorbet.  Good to have in the freezer on a hot summer’s day when a drink just doesn’t cut it and the fact they have decent fruit juice content in each little container is a big bonus. Also great for out and about due to the ability to rip open squeeze and eat creating very little mess for little hands and big hands alike. My Daughter loves these and just the right size for little ones and well the big ones can always have a few.

 

Crackers Drinks Company & 'Little Crackers'

If you’re looking to warm your winter taste buds with something other than the usual selection this Christmas, you’ll be pleased to know that The Cracker Drinks Co is bringing something different to the dinner table.  For more information visit http://www.crackerdrinks.com/ or like Cracker Juice Co. on Facebook.  Available in packs of three 200ml cartons with a straw, find out more about Little Crackers at www.littlecrackerdrinks.com.

Martina's Review: My whole family enjoyed drinking the juices from The Cracker Drinks Co. My toddler was given the child-friendly Pear & Vanilla flavoured juice and as soon as he finished, he asked for another one and finished it too. I didn't have to worry about the sugar content as there isn't any added sugar in them. We adults drank the Pineapple Guava & Lime flavour which has a more grown-up taste. It isn't overly sweet, the lime makes it very refreshing and thirst-quenching and so different from our usual orange or apple juices. The toddler asked for it too and wasn't put off by the distinctive taste, he asked for a top up. So the drinks are a winner for the whole family! And I have just read on the packet that the company gives 1% of their profits to Rainbow Trust Children's Charity so by buying it you would be supporting them too!

 

Ella's Kitchen: Dairy Range

Ella's Kitchen’s (www.ellaskitchen.co.uk) new range of fromage frais, yoghurts and desserts is now packed full of even more yummy, fruity goodness for tiny tummies! This dairylicious range is a scrummy fruity treat for babies, toddlers + big little people and contains NO added refined sugar and up to 20% real fruit per pot:

    • Super smooth + creamy Fromage Frais is made with 100% organic whole milk. It’s a great natural source of calcium and suitable for babies from 6 months +. (RRP £1.89)
    • Chilled out thick + smooth Yoghurt with 20% real organic fruit and whole milk! It’s thick, creamy and won?t fall off the spoon, making it perfect for babies and toddlers who are ready to start eating on their own from 6 months +. (RRP £1.79)
    • Stir me up Raspberry Rice Pudding is a 100% organic whole milk rice pudding with a tasty compote made from real squished raspberries, to make stirring in the fruity taste fun! (RRP £1.09)


Hannah's Review: Fromage Frais x 6 pots (x3 Mango & x3 Banana) - I even had a little try and I can say they are very nice; the texture is nice & smooth.  I did prefer the mango as I'm not a fan of banana but Millie loved them both. Ideal to put into your kids pack lunches. My 15 month old son also had a try and he sure woofed it down.  Chilled Out thick + smooth Yoghurt - Millie is a massive fan of yoghurts and she did like this so much!  Also, what I like about Ella's Kitchen is the texture is just right (I have found with a lot of other brands it can drop all over the place this one is a nice consistency).  Yes I must admit it's not as sweet as some other yoghurts but that's what I like as a mummy - and being a dental nurse I have been looking for less sugar and sweeteners. You could also add some into your kid's breakfast - sure would make it fun as well as getting a good amount of your 5 a day!  

 

The Top 100 Healthy Recipes for Babies & Toddlers:

Every parent wants the best for their child – and good nutrition enables them to grow up healthy and happy. Founder of the hugely successful chain of health food supermarkets, Planet Organic, Renée Elliott is here to help you give your child the best nutritional start possible. Whether you’re weaning your baby at 6 months, or cooking for your toddler or young child up to age 5, this collection will show you how to create fabulous nutritional meals your children will love. The recipes take you through the day, from nutritious breakfasts such as Dried Apricot Purée and Spelt Pancakes, to tasty lunches and dinners, such as Broad Bean & Pumpkin Purée and Chicken & Mushroom Pasta, as well as yummy snacks and desserts such as Mini Pitta Pizzas and Blueberry Bread. This book is designed for the whole family to enjoy and will inspire you to create easy, exciting and healthy meals for your children.

Gemma's Review: I love that it is colour-coded by age group (weaning stage) making it easy to follow. Also very useful for children with food intolerances as every meal suggestion was marked with an easy to understand key. Some very innovative recipes so perfect for introducing your baby to new food, flavours and textures. I would have liked to have seen pictures for every recipe but would recommend it as an easy reference guide for baby meal inspiration.

 

Gourmet Gadgetry Candy Floss Maker

Ever gazed in wonder at the candy floss makers at the fair and wished you could do the same at home? Well now you can with Find Me a Gift's home version! This stylish and easy to use machine uses granulated, caster or flavoured sugar to create fluffy candy floss. Imagine handing out candy floss at your daughter's Sweet 16 Birthday party, or perhaps you are having a vintage themed wedding and looking for quirky ideas? Put it on a stick, use it on cupcakes, create an edible beard...the uses are endless! Why not put some sugar in a jar with a sprinkle of lavender and vanilla pods and shake daily for 2 weeks to infuse the flavour and scent. Sieve the sugar and use it for beautifully fragrant cotton candy. These make fabulous Christmas or Birthday gifts for teenagers and women who love kitsch kitchen gadgets and sweet treats!

Sarah's Review: We tested out the Gourmet Gadgetry Candy Floss Maker. This is a neat and fairly compact product and the instructions were easy to follow. Just a word for preparation - unfortunately there are no candy floss sticks included in the pack, so we followed instructions online to make our own paper cones. Whilst this was a fun exercise for the kids it did delay us getting started and could be an issue if you had no access to the website instructions. Everything else went well though - the unit heated up within 3 minutes and we were all set to make our candy floss! The maker was simple to use and the kids (aged 6 and 12) could use it themsleves with an over-seeing eye to make sure they were safe with the heated element. The floss starts coming up from the bowl within a few seconds and it doesn't take long to get the hang of shaping the candy floss. It's possible to use coloured and flavoured sugars which can be bought online, so there are lots of possibilities for variations! We had great fun with it and the kids can't wait to use it again. Best of all, from Mum's point of view, it's a doddle to wipe clean and store for next time. Highly recommended!

 

Boc N Roll

Wasteful, expensive and unkind to the environment, cling wrap has become a necessary evil of modern living, but the new Boc N Roll from Gilberts means that cling’s days are numbered. Hygienic, convenient, endlessly reusable and machine-washable (wipe clean too), the Boc N Roll is a clever wrap designed to help you transport sandwiches and baguettes with ease. Doubling up as a place mat and folding away for simple storage after use, the Boc N Roll is an eco-friendly choice. Available in 4 colours, with a name tag, there is a wrap for every member of the family. It is available from www.topgourmet.co.uk, online and independent cook shops.

Adriana's Review of Boc N Roll: The product is a great alternative to cling wrap. I used it on a daily basis to pack my husband's sandwich and it looks good as new. I liked the fact that I can throw it in the washing machine when I'm in a hurry and it doesn't get ruined. All in all, a really great product, very nice looking and makes you feel good about yourself when you give up the nasty cling film and use an environmentally-friendly alternative. I would only wish I had a bigger one to pack more than one sandwich, as I use one Boc N Roll per sandwich!