Thursday, 28 July 2016

Marks & Spencer After Dinner Coffee Trio Box Review


Phew, two M&S reviews in just over a week and I still have more in the archives! I don't actually shop at M&S regularly, but when I do I keep my eye out for those reduced price yellow stickers, you never know what products are going to get the yellow sticker treatment!


One of the latest to catch my eye was this box of After Dinner Coffee chocolates, which were reduced to £1.35. It's a box of white, milk and dark chocolates with coffee truffle fillings. I love coffee and chocolate so I was very excited to see how these would taste...


I started off with the ehite chocolate one, because white chocolate and coffee is usually a winning combination. It tasted okay, the white chocolate was a bit basic but the filling had a strong coffee flavour, but somehow it didn't work as well as I'd hoped, maybe because these were close to the sell by date...I'm not sure, but it seemed a little unexciting fot a coffee chocolate.


The milk chocolate one was a bit better...the milk chocolate distracted more from the coffee filling, but it was still a bit bland overall.

The dark chocolate one was just as disappointing as the others...a little one dimensional and boring. In fact I ended up giving them away...something I hardly ever do with chocolate!

Overall, this is a rather bland collection of chocolates from M&S, and at the regular price it's way over priced...I'd recommend one of their mixed chocolate collections instead.

6 out of 10.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hippeas Pepper Power Chickpea Puffs Review


Healthier foods really are the "hip" thing at the moment, unfortunately though peas have never been that hip...but it looks like one company wants to change that...so they've called their new chickpea based snacks Hippeas. Genius! The credentials for these Chickpea Puffs are very impressive indeed: they're organic, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, contain no MSG and are high in fibre and protein to boot. As well as that they're on a social mission to give back for every bag of Hippeas sold.

I found this particular variety "Pepper Power" in Wh Smiths...there's other flavours but this one appealed to me the most. It contains 90 calories per bag, 4g fat, 10.9g carbohydrates, 1.6g fibre and 2.8g protein. They're made with a blend of chickpeas, whole rice, sunflower oil and pepper seasoning.


Opening the pack revealed some Wotsit-shaped puffs...they certainly had a nice peppery aroma.


And they tasted great! They were crunchy, light and moreish, with a good dose of peppery flavouring. Pepper doesn't always work with crisp style snacks, but here it does perfectly. They felt very satisfying to eat, they're more robust and filling than regular crisps, and don't taste too salty or over-seasoned.

Overall, if you're looking for a healthier snacking option that has actual nutritional benefits, you can't go wrong with these! Look out for them in the likes of WH Smiths, Boots etc.

8.5 out of 10. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

NEW Nakd Peanut Delight Bar Review


Nakd Wholefoods have released three new bars onto the healthy snacks market, one being the Carrot Cake Limited Edition I reviewed yesterday, and the others being Apricot Crunch (I'm yet to find one...boo!) and this, Peanut Delight. Like all Nakd bars it's vegan and paleo friendly, as well as gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, raw and vegetarian. This bar contains 149 calories, 7.5g fat and 14.6g carbs (13.6g of which is sugars). The bars cost 75p in Asda's Free From sections.

Unlike most Nakd bars, this doesn't contain cashew nuts as one of the main ingredients...instead it contains...can you guess?...go on, try!


Peanuts of course! Yes, surprisingly this Peanut Delight bar contains peanuts as the only nut ingredient (which technically isn't actually a nut...but let's not go there!) as well as dates, sea salt and a hint of mysterious, unspecified natural flavouring.

Now I'm a big lover of all things peanutty, so I had high expectations of this from the get go. But sadly, it wasn't quite what I'd hoped and expected. It's a nice enough bar, with plenty of chunky peanutty goodness, but somehow it doesn't blend very well with the dates...the flavours clash. I wanted to like it, I really did...but it just wasn't working for me. I can't help but think using some actual peanut butter might have been nicer, but I'm guessing that since Nakd bars are "raw" and never heated, they used unroasted peanuts...which let's be honest, don't taste as nice, even if they're healthier.

Overall, I was very surprised this bar wasn't as great as I'd expected; I enjoyed the Carrot Cake one a lot more, but in hindsight I can see why this was never going to live up to my expectations - raw peanuts just don't taste that nice. Who agrees? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

7 out of 10.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Nakd Carrot Cake Bar Limited Edition


I've been after this new Limited Edition Nakd bar ever since it came out...sad I know, but I do love me some uniquely flavoured healthy snacks! I've been steadily trying everything Nakd make now for a good while and most of it I've enjoyed, but this new flavour as well as the Peanut Delight and Apricot Crunch have eluded me...it took a trip to one of the larger Asdas in my area to finally obtain one!

This cost 75p, which is about standard for a Nakd bar, and was situated in the Free From section alongside the new Peanut Delight (review of that one due shortly!) Sadly they didn't have Apricot Crunch...boo :(

It's vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, 1 of your 5 a day, contains no added sugars and is completely raw. The specific ingredients comprise of dates, walnuts, raisins, almonds, cashews, carrots, cinnamon and a hint of natural flavouring; pretty much all the things that make carrot cake unique. For once the cashews were lower on the list at 5%, with the walnuts at 20%, which makes a nice change for a Nakd bar since cashews are usually most predominant. The bar contains 148 calories, 7.6g fat and 16.2g carbs (15.6 of which are sugars).


Onto the most important thing, then...the taste! As you can see in the pic above there were actual carrot pieces visible in the bar, making it look as authentic as it tasted. And it did taste of carrot cake! It was pretty much the same dense, fudgey, nutty, spicy amalgamation as a regular carrot cake in bar form, which is quite the achievement! I loved it, and soon scoffed the whole bar whislt wishing I had another one...

Overall, I have to say Nakd have really struck gold with this new flavour...it's the nicest I've tried in a while, and such a unique flavour that I think it deserves to be more than just a limited edition. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a very high demand for it...stock up while you can! (It's available on their website at eatnakd.com if you can't find it in Asda).

8.5 out of 10. 

Friday, 22 July 2016

M&S Made Without Wheat Blackcurrant Ripple Cake

marks and spencer made without wheat blackcurrant ripple cake

When this Made Without Wheat Blackcurrant Ripple Cake appeared in M&S recently I was practically elbowing people out of the way to buy one...okay, not really, but I was in spirit! It's mighty hard to get good gluten free cakes but this one looked and sounded amazing...it's a moist gluten free loaf cake with Blackcurrant sauce running through it, topped off with buttercream and extra Blackcurrant ripples. What could be better?

marks and spencer made without wheat blackcurrant ripple cake

I must admit I do find it odd that M&S chose Blackcurrant as the main flavour for this cake, after all it's not a very common or popular flavour...raspberry or lemon are usually the go to cake fillings with good reason. I guess they wanted something that would stand out!

marks and spencer gluten free blackcurrant ripple cake

And stand out it does! This is a very rich, heavy going cake. The buttercream is sweet and buttery, but it was almost a bit too much for me. The Blackcurrant sauce gives a nice fruity kick but to be honest, combined with the rich buttercream it was all just a bit too much. Something lighter like raspberry or even passionfruit might have been more appropriate. The cake itself was just okay...it wasn't as dry as some gluten free cakes but it wasn't brimming with moisture and lightness either. I can't help but suspect the heavy buttercream and strong Blackcurrant flavour were meant to deflect attention from it.

Overall, I really don't mean this to come off as a negative review because as it stands, this is a tasty gluten free cake compared to what most supermarkets are offering. But it could be much better, and I hope to see yet more innovation in the Free From world...us gluten free folks demand cake, and we demand it now! I hope to see a gluten free Red Velvet cake one day...please consider it, M&S!

7.5 out of 10. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Tesco Free From Creamy Iced Vanilla Dessert Review


It's Summer, so ice cream season is officially upon us! If you're vegan or allergic to dairy however it can be mighty hard to find a decent ice cream alternative...I mean there's the Dairy Free Swedish Glacé desserts, but if you're allergic to soya they may also be off the table. Luckily there's Tesco to the rescue (perfect advertising slogan right there, they really should pay me!) with their legume-based lupin protein iced dessert. I do enjoy Tescos Free From cones, and have always wondered what the filling might be like in a tub of its own.


This is a simple vanilla flavoured iced dessert, and so far is the only tub version I'm aware of that Tesco produce. I do think it'd have been better with some raspberry ripples running through it, but it was very delicious all by itself. These cost £2 a tub although according to Tesco's website, this product is currently not available.


The dessert melts very easily and has a great creamy texture, it's very similar to regular vanilla soft scoop ice cream in fact. And it's very yummy! It melts in the mouth and is just the perfect texture. It does seem a little boring after a few mouthfuls, so it's definitely meant to be jazzed up with extras such as berries, syrup, sprinkles, biscuits or whatever you fancy. But as it stands it's the perfect creamy base for a tasty dessert.

Strangely, these have been absent from my local Tesco since I initially purchased this tub, and even Tesco's website states they're not available...either they're very popular or they've stopped producing it...if anyone knows please do leave a comment!

8 out of 10. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

M&S The Milk One Chocolate Bar Review


M&S have been reducing a lot of bars in their chocolate range recently, and thanks to this I've had the chance to try a few I otherwise wouldn't bother with due to the high prices. This week, it's the turn of The Milk One and The Dark One to get reductions; they're down to 30p rather than 60p. I actually wanted to turn to the Dark Side and try The Dark One but alas, The Force was strong and prevented me from indulging on this occasion...(aka there weren't any left!)

This bar is described as simply a "Solid Creamy Milk Chocolate bar" and weighs in at 32 grams. Opening the wrapper, it has curved shape blocks, a bit like the new Dairy Milk block design (they're clearly copying the same idea), with the last block helpfully saying "the last one"...perhaps propesizing the fact that I won't be buying another one of these bars!


I've tried "The White One" before which I thought was quite nice, so I had hopes this one would be good but alas, it left me disappointed. It's okay, it's sweet and creamy and what you'd expect from milk chocolate, but it's hardly mind blowing. In fact it's rather boring and I didn't feel it differed in taste much from Tesco's Value branded milk chocolate bars, which are also 30p. It was perhaps a tad creamier, but that's about all.

Overall, I'm glad I only paid 30p for this because I'd feel a bit shortchanged paying any more. It's an ok bar of chocolate, but it's not really upto the perceived quality standards M&S would like us to have of their products.

7 out of 10.