food and drink

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Mother’s Day ideas: Brown and blonde brownies

Published March 20, 2017 by Bizzimummy

As it’s Mother’s Day in just a few days, I thought I would share some ideas of products I have tried recently and which I think would make great Mothers’s Day ideas.

The first one is Brownies and I think brownies would make a great alternative to the usual shop bought chocolates.

Of course brownie are one of those foods that need cooking correctly and to perfection or they just don’t taste good. (Did anyone have so called brownies served at school?). I have made them myself a few times and pleased to say they turned out just right, however nothing beats a baked bought brownie like the brownies from this place. 

So who are they? Well Brown and Blond are based in Leeds and they make delicious brownies like these. 


Brownies in lots of different flavours ans made with lots of nice things such as extra chocolate, nuts and peanut butter. These brownies were amazing and having just one is very filling so I would not advise eating lots of them at once. And just look how chunky they are too.  

Just amazingly delicious the way a brownie should be. 

I would much prefer brownies for Mother’s Day.  Or any day really. 

Cooking with Encona sauce

Published March 17, 2017 by Bizzimummy

Encona is the UKs number one best seller of  hot and spicy sauces. Their sauce bottles are infused with spices from all over the world. From the Caribbean to Asia there is a sauce for everyone as the sauces begin mild and go right up to extra hot. It’s just a matter of how hot one can handle. 

I guess I’m a slight whimp when it comes to hot sauce as I tend to stick to the medium or even mild ones. There is no way I could manage the extra hot products as I find some of the medium ones a little too hot. 

Encona sent me over these three sauces.


Smokey Jalapeño is the mild one, tho it still has a fairly mighty kick to it. It is of course Mexican inspired and great with tortillas, chilli and Mexican type food or even just dipping.

Then two medium sauce bottles – Amarillo chilli which is Peruvian inspired and made with Peruvian Amarillo chillis. It has a really sweet, almost like chutney aroma. The flavour is also sweet but certainly has some spice to it, hot hot hot for me. 

Thai chilli and garlic sauce obviously with Thailand inspirations and so a totally different type of spice compared to American or even Indian spices. This one is like a bright red/orangey colour. I’d say a little milder than the Amarillo chilli sauce with a more distinct flavour. 

Instructions on the back of the sauce bottles tell me how to best use the sauces, although the majority can be used in any way be it cooking with, drizzling, dipping etc. 

I had not made a fish dish in a while and with these new sauces from Encona I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try something new and totally made up (no reading recipes). 

I made a stuffed spicy sea bass with rice. 


After gutting and preparing the sea bass I placed onions, tomatoes and a good drizzle of the Amarillo chilli sauce inside the fish and wrapped in foil. 

Baked for approximately 25 minutes, unwrapped and drizzled with the Thai chilli and garlic sauce. 

Thus getting spices from both sides of the world as well as a lovely fillet of fish. The sauces strangely worked well together as one was used for cooking which gave the fish an overall infused flavour and even reduced the hotness of the sauce. The other sauce drizzled over bought the kick back.

Encona sauce can be found in all the main supermarkets and they have loads of them to choose from. Visit Encona to see the full range. 

The Pink mouse company:  Mother’s Day gift ideas

Published March 14, 2017 by Bizzimummy

If looking for a special Mother’s Day sweet treat this year, the head over to The pink mouse company website where you will find a whole host of yummy sweet treats.

Now I’ve been treated to a rather early Mother’s Day gift by The pink mouse company. First there was this yummy sweet tree. 

The one which I had; (and I sat had, as it’s all been eaten) is a chocolate m&ms tree but the sweet trees can be made with many other well known chocolates and sweets. They arrive presented in a lovely hamper style basket and wrapped with a big ribbon ready for gifting. 

The majority of these sweet trees even come in 3 size choices – small, medium and large. I think the large one would probably be too big as a solo gift and more suitable to parties or weddings, which The pink mouse company also cater for. 

Our M&ms tree was thoroughly enjoyed by us all. The sweets stay on the tree really well. I think the chocolate binds them together but once we managed to pick the first few off, the rest came off easy enough.

And if our sweet tree wasn’t enough of a chocolate fix, we also got this lovely Chocolate hot shots hamper.

This also arrives with beautiful presentation and contains a cup 6 chocolate hot shots and marshmallows. The hot shots and big blocks of chocolate attached to a wooden spoon. They get dipped and stirred into hot milk to melt into a hot chocolate drink. 

Add marshmallows which also melt in the milk and it’s just delicious and especially good just before bedtime.

Perfect chocolate gifts that any mum would love to receive. 

Greggs: Caffeine fueled taste test

Published March 11, 2017 by Bizzimummy

The fair trade fortnight began February 27th and ends this Sunday (March 12th). Fairtrade Fortnight is a fun-filled highlight of the year, when campaigners, businesses, schools and places of worship show their support for the farmers and workers who grow our food in developing countries.

I was asked to take part in a coffee taste challenge by Greggs, who are probably better known for their pies and cakes. The challenge involved being sent vouchers to buy coffee from Greggs and other well known coffee outlets and comparing them all, rating and seeing which I liked best.

I could choose any type of coffee I wanted and chose Latte at Greggs and three other coffee shops – Costa, Starbucks and Cafe Nero. Latte being my favourite coffee as it’s quite mild, and creamy. 

Starting with Greggs: I found a Greggs in my local town centre with a “sit in” option rather than taking it away. Greggs Latte costs £1.80 and contains 111 calories. There is an option of vanilla syrup for a small charge (which I had) 

Greggs Latte looks like a regular latte, creamy on top mixed with steamed coffee. It comes served in a throw away cup which is no doubt down to the fact that Greggs is more of a take away venues rather than eat in. Unfortunately this does let the drink down a little on the whole visual appearance. The aroma was fairly strong for a latte and I do drink a fair few of them. Now for taste – I did find this Latte a little on the strong side for my personal taste. I am sure that if you prefer a stronger coffee then this will be fine but I found I had to add extra sugar just to sweeten it up a little, even with the vanilla syrup. 

I thought the coffee was good value and seems reasonably priced at £1.80.

Each coffee bean from Greggs is 100% fair trade. The information van be found easily on their web page.


Costa – Caramel Latte. A while after Greggs I went to Costa and got myself one of their caramel lattes. 

Costa have both sit in and take away options. If you sit in, you get a latte glass and take away a cup like this! 

Yes I had one for the bus home too. Costa latte costs slightly more than Greggs. They do 3 sizes and for a medium latte which is a similar size to Greggs its £2.85. There are a few other flavour options here including amaretto and hazelnut. 

The latte does vary in appearance depending on whether you stay in or take it out but I did notice that the milk did not look quite as frothy as Greggs. 

The aroma was also fairly weak. The taste was much milder than Greggs and no sugar was needed but I thought it was perhaps a little too weak and flat for a proper latte.

Costa coffee is Rainforest alliance certified. Costa has its own independent charity – Costa foundation which aims to relieve poverty in coffee growing countries. Again this information was easy to find.


Cafe Nero – At cafe Nero I ordered their salted caramel latte. This cost £2.95 for a regular (stay in) cup. 

I really liked the whole appearance of this one. Although not in a tall latte glass, I do think this resembles how a proper Italian style latte should look. Very creamy with swirls of coffee on top and the creamy texture stays until the bottom. 

The aroma was fairly strong but the whole of Cafe Nero does have an overall coffee aroma in the air. 

Taste – I was slightly let down by the taste of this one. It was not awful and quite sweet whilst being a bit stronger than Costa. However it seemed to have an almost burnt type flavour and I’m not sure if this is down to the salted caramel flavour or not. 

I managed to find that Cafe Nero also works with Rainforst alliance but there does not seem to be much other information about their coffee.



Starbucks – Here I ordered one of their medium size burnt caramel lattes. 

Starbucks was the most expensive, costing £3.55. They also gave me the option of whipped cream on top which none of the other venues did. The coffee came served in a take away type cup, even tho I did state staying in so maybe this is just the norm.

The visual appeal of this one is extremely tempting, it looks very upmarket and even a little festive. 

Aroma – I could smell a lot of cream and caramel. The coffee aroma seemed mild.

Taste – I cannot fault this one at all. Perfect latte taste for me, not too strong and not too mild and the cream adds an extra layer of sweetness on top of the already sweet flavour. 

I really enjoyed this one but at £3.55 a go, it’s a dear do for one a day and also loaded with sweetness and sugar. 

Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced and accredited by Conservation International Their coffee is also accredited by Fairtrade and the information is easily found on the internet. 


Overall coffee ratings!

I am marking each coffee out of 5. 5 being the highest score (superb) and 1 being the lowest (poor).

Greggs – 3

Costa – 2

Cafe Nero – 3

Starbucks – 4

Therefore in my coffee taste challenge Starbucks wins it for me and would have been given a 5, had it not been the most expensive one. The coffee from Greggs was just a little too strong for my palate but I’m sure strong coffee lovers will enjoy it and it is the least expensive one. 


Robinson’s fruit drop

Published March 9, 2017 by Bizzimummy

Robinson’s (the well known drinks company) are piloting a new home delivery service called Fruit drop. This service is being designed to help families #EnjoyMoreWater. 

In the U.K. alone ,  85% of a cross section of adults reported they drink less than the recommended 8 glasses of fluid and 72% of 5-12 year olds don’t drink the recommended intakes of fluid. Whilst surveys show that 47% of parents worry their children don’t drink enough water during the day and yes I’m one of them. 

My children won’t drink water on its own, water is flavour less and a little boring, milk on the other hand; although healthy can fill them up to much if they have too much. I don’t let them have pop or sugary drinks often so I do find that Robinson’s range of no added sugar squashes work best. 

Robinson’s squash do contain real fruit and no added sugars. Only a small amount of squash is required with water so in a way it’s just like flavouring the water. The flavour obviously encourages my children to drink it more.


The fruit drop packages arrive in wooden crates and contain 3 x 1L bottles of Robinson’s squash in 3 different flavours and also 3 x 66ml Squash’d bottles. These are smaller bottles of juice and these can be taken on trips or days out as the bottles easily fit in handbags. Only a few drops is needed of these in a cup of water. 

Drinking Robinson’s juices has certainly increased the amount of water my kids normally drink and these bottles really do last ages. 

The delivery service seems to be in its very early stages so I don’t have any information on cost or when it may actually start properly. Keep an eye out on the Robinson’s website for more news.

February Degustabox Reveal 

Published March 8, 2017 by Bizzimummy

Well about two weeks ago came a knock at my door and the arrival of my monthly Degustabox snack box. As always packed full of delicious sweets, treats and goodies and oh; was this a great box!

Starting with a few of my favourites – the goodies (sweets, crisps and all that) 


Look at these sweet goodies I found tucked in the box –

 1) Willy Chase: apple cider vinegar popcorn – a very strange flavour of “fit” popcorn but very nice and a rather huge (movie share) bag too. 

Next two bags of sweets courtesy of Bebeto – cheesecake jelly type sweets and Candy crush soft candy mix which was a colourful sticky assortment of many sweets. These didn’t last long as you can see. 

Finally and one of my favourite products from the February box – 3) Maui & Sons chocolate coated banana chips. These were delicious. I don’t normally like dried fruits but dried banana is an exception and when it’s covered in chocolate it’s even better. This is certainly one product that I’ll be looking out for again. 

“And then even more snacks!”


4) Peppersmith are mints and chewing gum. Mints and gum are two  of the few things that I really dislike. However they did not go to waste because my children do like mints and my friend got the gum. 

5) Ameicanos – The label states perfect with coffee and that’s probably because these are coffee. Coffee beans with dark chocolate coating. They were okay but not really something I’d go out and buy. The coffee taste was slightly overpowering. 

“Moving on to the beverages”

Lots of refreshing beverages came in February’s box. 

6) Coldpress – A blend of fruity greens in a bottle – kiwi, banana, and a bit of celery  and kale all blended together. The taste wasn’t really for me but my 9 year old daughter loved it.

7) Just Bee – This one is honey water with blueberry flavour and a natural antioxidant. I did not taste any honey in this drink and the blueberry flavour was fairly weak but tasteable. The drink on the whole is extremely refreshing and seems to be a real thirst quencher so these would be good for Summer bbqs.

8) Double Dutch – Cucumber and watermelon sparkling tonic. There are other varieties of course and all come in glass bottles. They are designed as mixers to have with a gin or vodka or any other tipple. However once again my daughter Jordanna; spotted this drink and asked if she could try it (minus any added alcohol of course). I tried it too and for a drink which contains cucumber it isn’t too bad at all. The fizziness makes it all the more better. 

9) Blossom Hill – Oh the excitement when I pulled this bottle out of the box! It’s wine and fruity bubbly “rosé” type wine too, my absolute favourite. Their fruit bloom wine is just 5.5% and has hints of summer fruits. A sweet fruity refreshing taste.

10) Koko dairy free – Its a milk alternative aimed mainly at people who can’t; for whatever reason drink regular cows milk. This one is made from freshly pressed coconut milk. The overall taste isn’t too bad – I’ve certainly tried worse milk alternatives. It does however claim to be similar to cows milk and suitable for use in hot drinks such as coffee and tea. This is where I have to disagree: and it may just be my opinion, but! It just does not taste right in a hot drink or on a bowl of cereal. 

 

“And last but not least!”


These are what I call the “cupboard” items or if I’m being old fashioned – the “pantry” stock. Those tins and packets that can be stored for a while. I often find 2/3 items in most of my Degustaboxes, some great, some not so good and some that last ages.

11) Heinz – Yes its beans, love them or hate them but us Brits seem to go through millions of the tiny orange things. These mini tins are a new no added sugar recipe. I don’t mind the smaller tins, in fact I prefer them because the bigger tins end up being wasted as only my two girls really eat them in our house. 

12) Willy’s apple cider vinegar – This was an extra free sample item included in Feb’s box. If I’m being totally honest I have absolutely no idea how or on what to use this stuff. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing to shake onto my fish and chips. I have read somewhere on the internet that it has a fair few health benefits as well as perhaps being used in some sort of cooking. The brand “Willy’s” being William Chase.

13) Kabuto – Its noodles, rice noodles to be exact. One of those on the go type pots that gets filled with hot water. Slightly spicy, not really something I eat myself but my daughter loves them.

And that concludes my February Degustabox reveal. All those goodies for just £12.99 a month, full sized products too and no tiny samples. Postage is free so sign up today at Degustabox UK

Chewy moon snack box for kids

Published March 7, 2017 by Bizzimummy

Chewy moon is a weekly subscription snack box for kids. 

The boxes are created based on the child’s age and come packed full of healthy natural snacks for children ages 3 and over.

Each box contains many snacks, each of these snacks comes in its own colourful package which all have animal images on them. 

Now when I hear the words “healthy snacks” I immediately think – raisins, dates, prunes etc, all the things I dislike and my kids aren’t overly keen either, especially not prunes. As you can see there were many snack boxes to try and not one of them contained raisins or prunes. The majority of the snack boxes were actually really tasty with sweet berries or nuts and other fairly healthy items. 

A menu detailing what everything is and what the ingredients in each pack are, comes included as do a few kids activity sheets.

Chewymoon sends a box of snacks weekly for approximately £4.99. It’s a mixture of sweet and savoury snacks which we all enjoyed, none of us found any thaf we really disliked. 

Chewy moon differs from other similar subscription services because – 

Snacks are sampled and approved by kids

And made by nutritionists who are experts in children’s nutrition

100% natural: packed with goodness, not sugar or other additives

Tailored and addressed to the child

Stories, fact cards and totems in every pack, making snacking and learning a brilliant experience.

A reminder of my childhood with Unicorn sweets 

Published March 6, 2017 by Bizzimummy

If I was asked about things or products I remember from my childhood, one of them would be the variety of sweets available at the time. These days I don’t specifically go looking for sweets in shops   as I just let my children choose so I don’t really know what’s about, but some of the childhood sweets tasted so much better and seemed much bigger too.

Unicorn sweets sells old school type sweet hampers and a few other quirky sweet products.


We received one of these tempting looking hampers a few days ago and it’s packed full with everything you see on the picture.  It’s pretty much all my childhood favourites in one box. I remember the popping candy fizzing on my tongue and the urban legend about drinking fizzy pop and eating it. I think I was addicted to sherbert dips and dib dabs at one point and ohhh! Wham bars! We all loved them. There is even a black jack bar. I have not seen these in years, it wouldn’t surprise me if they got banned or renamed at some point like most other things. Then a pack of bubbly with love hearts, refreshers and even Parma violets (wow I loved that perfume). This hamper certainly bought back some memories.

Anyway that’s the sweet hamper which cost just less than £15.00 at Unicorn sweets, but that’s not all because I also got this tin. 

And even when the lid comes off, it looks like a regular tin which I had to open like this.

Now the inside of the tins are packed full of sweets, again lots of old favourites to choose from. We chose crocodiles for our tin. 

These tins are quite a novelty thing, which would be good for Xmas stocking fillers and even a nice addition to a kids party. The sweet tins cost just less than £6.00 each and as well as tins of sweets, they also have glass milk bottles full of sweets costing £7.45 each. 

It’s like being a kid all over again with these sweets! 

Clearance XL – groceries for less

Published March 2, 2017 by Bizzimummy

A good way to save money on shopping is to head over to a website such as Clearance XL.  They sell many items including groceries, toiletries, clothing and even toys. Their products are really low cost and include end of line, excess stock, damaged packaging, near date foods and past sell by date products. Best before datdiffers greatly to Use by dates and is simply a date when most stores need to sell the goods by, most foods stay fine way past their by date but cannot be sold at full price in regular shops and supermarkets. Places like Clearance XL are able to sell these type of products on line. 

I was quite impressed with the selection of products available and that they even include clothes, shoes and toys too. I spent approximately £25 on the online store and got a huge box of products for it.  

I found snack items such as crisps, popcorn and chocolates a real bargain. Many of the crisps are sold in multipacks just like the supermarkets but Clearance XL sell 2/3 multipacks for just a pound. 

All this for £4!

And chocs all less than a fiver!

All of these snack products are either near the sell by date or passed the date but all were fine and the same quality as stuff within the sell by dates.

I managed to grab two packets of the Old El Paso stand and stuff taco kits which my kids love. They usually cost upwards of £2.50 each in shops but I got two packets for just a pound. Along with the cereal costing under 50p. 


These cans are known as Dr Fruit and come from Europe. 

It was just £3.00 for a pack of 24 cans. I was a bit hesitant about getting them as it’s not a drink any of us have heard of, but they taste really nice. It’s just fruit juices blended together and they went down well with my kids.
Being almost pancake day, I got one of these too. They usually cost more than a fiver but much less here.

And also many non food items too. 

Sparkly jelly shoes for Jordanna just a pound, white heel shoes for me which cost about £3/£4 and a purple fleece for Izebella which I think cost just £1.99. Absolute bargains and of course clothes and shoes don’t exactly have sell by dates or go off. 

And even the cats didn’t get left out as I was able to get a big tray of cat food tins for just £1.00 along with the lenor fabric conditioner just a pound too.

It’s quite easy to get carried away as all the products are so low cost, I could easily do all my cupboard grocery shopping on this website and for probably less than half of what I usually pay in supermarkets and I will certainly be ordering again. The postage costs are fairly low cost too and especially if ordering multiple items together. This page shows delivery costs which start at just £3.99 per box. 

To place an order, I did need to register for an account which does not take long, however I did find that my order disappeared once the account was created and worried that I’d have to do it all again. However I found that clicking the back button allowed me back on the checkout page and my order was there whilst still logged in, but it may be a good idea to register the account first. 

It is a really good website and I am glad I came across it. I don’t mind buying products and snacks past their sell by date because I know they are still good enough to eat and obviously try everything first before giving it my children. 

Clearance XL is definitely worth a look.

Pancake day with Num noms

Published February 28, 2017 by Bizzimummy

Well incase you forgot, it is pancake day today or shrove Tuesday if you prefer. We do pancakes every year even tho I’m not a fan myself, my children love it.

This year we are taking part in a Num noms campaign “what’s your flavour” and it involves incorporating the new num noms series 3 with our pancake recipes. 

These are the new series 3!  With a lunchbox yet sweet theme.


So armed with a bottle of this stuff!  – (No I don’t even attempt them from scratch!) plus…..

A non stick frying pan too, along with an open door and working smoke alarm, off I went to make pancakes.

Oh and of course a few toppings too with a few inedible additions here. 


Attempt #1 – went totally wrong, the damn thing would not turn and stuck to the “non stick” frying pan! I don’t do flipping either, way too scary, I just use two pans and flip the pancake into the other one.

#Attempt 2 – a bit better, tho not round like it started out. Still Izebella didn’t mind what shape it was and was more than happy to decorate it. 


I think we have Sara strawberry Num nom here at the front along with two others. Izebella has a box full of hundreds of them and I only know a few of the foodie names.

Onto the third attempt and much better, I’m getting the hang of this now! Jordanna’s creation a little more basic with the ingredients but not so with the Num noms!

Yes she chose all the pink, white and chocolate coloured Num noms to represent her toppings – chocolate spread, marshmallow fluff and strawberries. 

I think Izebella got slightly carried away on the next attempt and covered the pancake with Num noms.

She did find Maya mallow, after a bit of digging in the box, and placed her proudly on top of the marshmallow. 
And Ryan doesn’t really do Num noms on his plate, however he can make an almost perfect round pancake his self, much better than my previous attempts. 

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