Review of Lidl Mince Pies

On a recent trip to Lidl I found myself in their Christmas section. Now, if I’m honest I didn’t expect to find anything suitable for a dairy free diet. I was proved wrong as their own brand mince pies were indeed dairy free. There was only one thing for it accidentally place them in my shopping basket to try later on as a sweet treat.

I liked the simplicity of the white and gold colour of the packaging. To front of the packaging is a picture of the mince pies pies, one of which is open with the mincemeat cascading out. I just wanted to dive in and give them a try. Onto the ingredients list wheat, sodium metabisulphite, sulphur dioxide are barley are highlighted as allergens. There is also a may contain warning for nuts.

On opening the packaging I was greeted by an aroma that I associate with apple pies. I thought that this was little strange as they were mince pies. This did not change on my famous close up sniff test. I was the therefore a little confused as to what I was about to eat. The mince pies are a good size. To the top you have a slightly crunchy burnt looking short crust pastry topped with a little dusting of sugar. This becomes thinner towards the bottom. On checking underneath no soggy bottom was noted. I always check this as I don’t like a soggy bottom. So this was a positive.

On biting into the mince pie I got a slight crunch from the pastry followed by crumbliness then a slight doughiness as I reached the bottom of the pie. To be honest I would rather have a soggy bottom rather than the doughiness that I experienced. Onto the filling there was a good quantity of mincemeat coated in what I would describe as a slightly seasoned syrup. The mincemeat filling was slightly crunchy and worked well with the syrup. Sadly the flavour of the mincemeat filling was quiet bland. The only real flavour that I could distinguish was apple. The other flavours from the rest of the fruit and mixed spice just seemed to be lacking. It was not really the mincemeat flavour that I had hoped for.

So would I recommend these Lidl mince pies if you follow a dairy free diet? I am afraid not I just didn’t enjoy anything about these mince pies from their aroma through to the flavour and texture. Sorry Lidl but these mince pies just weren’t for me.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com

Review of Alpro Unroasted & Unsweetened Almond Milk

Well my mission to try some new dairy free milks has not been that successful. So I am trying really hard to find some new dairy free milks to try. One of my favourite milks is almond as I like it’s fairly neutral flavour and that it’s low in calories. So when I saw my regular almond milk was out of stock I decided to try Alpro’s unroasted and unsweetened almond milk instead.

I liked both the colour and design of the packaging. It’s cream background with almonds with the milk cascading outside. Onto the ingredients list with 2.1% almonds noted. The almond is clearly highlighted in bold as an allergen. There is a may contain warning for nuts. The milk is labelled as being milk free, gluten free and suitable for vegans.

On opening the carton there was a subtle marzipan like aroma to the milk. I’m personally not keen on milks that have a sweet artificial aroma but I was intrigued by this aroma. It poured easily into a glass it was cream/faint green in colour. It was slightly runny and wasn’t really creamy in consistency. On sipping the milk it was slightly smooth but not creamy in texture. There was a pleasant faint but subtle marzipan flavour to this milk. That said it didn’t taste artificially sweet compared to other brands that I have previously tried. I also warmed the milk for 90 seconds in the microwave ready for my famous Weetabix test. It microwaved well and did not separate or form a skin to the top of the milk. Its marzipan like aroma intensified slightly. It was absorbed easily by the Weetabix. On tasting the Weetabix the milk impacted on its flavour. This may sound a little strange but the Weetabix tasted a little like an almond based cake. The subtleness of the flavour was spot on and it added a great flavour to my Weetabix. It made for an enjoyable breakfast.

So would I recommend this almond milk? Yes I would. I liked everything about this milk from its aroma through to its flavour. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet why not give this almond milk a try. So thank you Alpro for producing an almond milk that I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
Le Coin de Mel

Review of Tea Tourist Hats & Scarves Selection Box

Now I am a girl who loves her cups of tea. Not a day goes by when I don’t help myself to a cup of tea. It’s fair to say I’m a bit of a tea addict. Blogging has enlightened my tea palate encouraging me to try a variety of new teas. I love tea subscription boxes as they are a great way to discover new teas. So when I was lucky enough to receive Tea Tourist October’s selection of teas I couldn’t wait to dive in. Tea Tourist is a Derbyshire based subscription service that sends you a selection of loose leaf teas that you might not find delivered to your door each month. They choose from a range of companies from around the UK.

Onto the contents within the box. You get six resealable packets of different teas which contain 3-4 cups worth of tea. You get a card detailing the information about the tea that you have received. Each tea has its own tasting card with details of the company, a little about the tea, how and when best to steep the tea and a section for you to add your own notes, creating a nice little reference guide.

Mazawattee Earl Grey Tea by Mazawattee


I choose this tea first as it is one of my favourite teas. It is described as delicate blend of Faitrade black teas infused with orange and lemon peel. The tea produces a zesty and aromatic brew that’s naturally high in antioxidants, making it great for boosting your mood and supporting healthy digestion.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list or no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a strong and very inviting citrus aroma, it reminded me of a quality bergamot. I added freshly boiled water to the tea and infused as instructed. The aroma was as I had anticipated that being of a strong quality black tea with fairly strong undertones of citrus noted. This intensified slightly on my famous close up sniff test. On sipping the tea it was fairly strong and well balanced and the subtle undertones the lemon and orange peel broke this up slightly resulting in a nice refreshing tea. I love a nice cup of earl grey and this certainly ticked all of the right boxes. It had the perfect balance of both aroma and flavour that I associate with a nice earl grey. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Mint Choc Royale By JollyBrew Tea Co


It is described as a peppermint blend infused with chocolatey flavours that delivers a truly mouth watering brew which tastes just like everyone’s favourite after dinner mint. It’s the ultimate guilt-free sweet treat, perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list and there is a warning that nuts are handled on-site.

On opening the packet a I was greeted with a fairly strong peppermint aroma with a fruity yet chocolatey twist. I added boiled water to the tea and infused as instructed. The aromas of the peppermint and fruity chocolate intensified resulting in the aroma from the black tea getting a little lost as a result. On sipping the tea I initially got hit with the taste of a good quality everyday black tea but this didn’t last long. The peppermint and fruity chocolatey flavours soon kicked in. It was like my taste buds were getting hit from all angles. If I am honest I found it a little overpowering although I think some one with a sweet tooth may think differently. Sorry Jolly Brew this tea just wasn’t for me.

Spiced Orange Pekoe Tea by Spice Kitchen


It is described as a black tea blend inspired by Eastern European and Russian cuisine that balance the zesty flavour of orange peel with the spice Ines of cinnamon and cloves to deliver a heart-warming brew that’s perfect on a cold winters day.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list or a may contain warning. On opening the packet I was greeted by a very pleasant aroma of citrus and cloves with a subtle hint of cinnamon noted.

I added freshly boiled water to the tea and infused as instructed. The first thing that I noticed was the colour of the tea it was slightly weaker and a lighter shade of brown than what I had expected. Don’t get me wrong it looked like the perfect colour to me. Then came the aroma the orange, cloves and cinnamon took centre stage and was very inviting. It reminded very much of a nice chai tea. On sipping the tea my experience was the same the strength of orange, cloves and cinnamon intensified with the flavour from the black tea taking second place. I enjoyed everything about this tea from its aroma through to its flavour. It was a comforting yet refreshing tea that would be perfect in the colder months. I would definitely recommend this tea.

Vika Tea by The Tea Expereince


To is described as A Scandivian-inspired black tea blend infused with sweet flavours of vanilla and floral notes of marigold blossom. Originally developed for Harrogate’s Nordic-themed cafe, Baltzersen’s it’s perfect to enjoy on a starry winter nights.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list or a may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a very pleasant aroma of vanilla, with a faint flora noted. I added freshly boiled water to the tea and infused as instructed. The aroma of the vanilla intensified slightly. It was clearly the predominant flavour to this tea yet it was not too strong or overpowering or artificially sweet. This intermingled with a subtle floral element from the marigold blossom. On sipping the tea it was a very mild black tea that had a subtle sweetness from the vanilla with a slight floral kick. The three elements to this tea complimented each other perfectly with the right balance to each ingredient. I enjoyed everything about this tea from its aroma through to its flavour. It is one of nicest vanilla teas that I have tried. I would definitely recommend this tea and purchase it in the future.

Turmeric Revival by MD Tea


It is described as a soothing herbal blend with sweet spice and soft citrus flavours that come together to creat a heart-warming brew with a smooth, creamy texture and fragrant aroma of autumnal nights around the fire.

Onto the ingredients list liquorice is listed and there is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I was immediately struck by the ginger and liquorice aroma. I was pleasant but I was a little disappointed by this I was hoping to be greeted by the turmeric and a hint of cinnamon. I added freshly boiled water and infused the tea as instructed. On doing so the aroma of the ginger and liquorice intensified and seemed to overpower the other aromas from this tea. On sipping the tea my tastebuds got hit by an even balance from the ginger and liquorice followed by a subtle floral aftertaste. I was disappointed that I was unable to distinguish the turmeric or cinnamon element to this tea. I am afraid that I really didn’t enjoy this tea I found that the aroma and flavour from the ginger and liquorice just overpowered the other ingredients in this tea. I’m sorry MDTea but this tea just wasn’t for me.

Time For Winter by Caley’s Apothecary


It is described as an organic herbal blend that balances the sweetness of liquorice, spicy zing of ginger and earthy floral notes of thyme and elderflower to deliver a soothing brew that will keep you cosy warm on cold winter evenings.

There are no allergens highlighted in the ingredients list and there is a warning that asteraceae.

On opening the packet the I immediately got hit by the delightful aroma from the sage. It was a little stronger than I had anticipated and slightly overpowered the aroma from the other ingredients from this tea. I added freshly boiled water and infused the tea as instructed. The sage aroma intensified and was intermingled with the liquorice. I was a little disappointed as I was unable to distinguish the elderflower of ginger root elements to this tea even on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea it tasted just like its aroma. The sage and liquorice were quiet strong and seemed to drown out the elderflower and ginger root. I am afraid that I really didn’t enjoy this tea. Whilst I loved the initial aroma from the thyme the combination of this with liquorice impacted on the other elements to this tea. A mixture of thyme and liquorice just isn’t for me.

So would I recommend this subscription box? Yes I would. I really enjoyed the opportunity to try a diverse range of teas that Tea Tourist offers. It allowed me discover a new variety of tea companies without having to hunt them down myself. It’s a great and convenient way to try new teas. I can’t wait to try the next box.

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Review of Chocologic Free From Christmas Chocolate Lollies

This year I decided that I should make it my mission to start my Christmas reviews early. So when I discovered that Tesco’s had launched their Christmas free from range I had to pop in store and find out more. Sadly, a lot of the section was already out of stock. However, there was chocolate and I love chocolate so I decided to grab some to try. The first festive chocolate I decided to try was Chocologic free from lollies.

I personally liked the packaging, simple clear cellophane which means you can tell exactly what you are going to eat. To the back is a white label with the ingredients list. It is clearly labelled as being dairy free and suitable for a vegan diet. Onto the ingredients list with regards to allergens soya is highlighted. There is a may contain warning for peanuts and nuts.


On opening the packaging I was immediately greeted by a subtle aroma of sweetness that I associate with free from the chocolate. I was looking forward to trying this chocolate Santa. The actual chocolate is made up of one piece which was impossible to break into pieces. On biting into the chocolate my taste buds were first hit by the sweetness from the chocolate. Onto the chocolates texture. The chocolate was slightly hard to initially bite into. This soon became smooth in texture and melted slightly in the mouth. I ate this chocolate in one sitting and confess to licking the stick it was on to make sure that nothing was left behind.

So would I recommend this chocolate Santa? Yes I would It is a great value festive chocolate with the right balance of flavour and texture. So if you like chocolate and follow a dairy free, gluten free and or vegan diet give this festive treat try. So thank you Chocologic for producing festive chocolate that I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
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Review of Lidl Bats & Webs Barbecue Snacks

With Halloween fast approaching I found myself in Lidl looking at their special buys section. Next to this I spotted a display of Halloween themed savoury snacks. I spotted a packet which was barbecue flavour and decided to grab a packet to take home to try.

I liked the simple orange packaging with a picture of a bat to the centre and a spider on a web to the bottom left of the front of the packet. In addition to this there is an accurate picture of the snacks inside and the phrase terrifyingly tasty to the top right corner. Onto the ingredients list no allergens are highlighted. No allergens are highlighted on the ingredients list and there is a may contain warning for gluten.

On opening the packet I was greeted by a fairly weak barbecue aroma. This aroma did not change on my famous close up sniff test. The snacks were of a varying sizzle and in the shape of webs and bats. They didn’t have an obvious scattering of the barbecue flavouring on them. On biting into the chips was a nice clean crunch was noted. The barbecue flavouring wasn’t scattered eveningly across the snacks and as a result it was hit and miss on the flavour front. After trying a few snacks there was a powdery residual left on my fingers from the flavouring. A little disappointing as the flavouring on the snacks were a little hit and miss in the first place. So loosing more of this may have impacted on the strength of the flavour which wasn’t that strong in the first place.

So would I recommend these barbecue snacks, no I wouldn’t. I liked the festive style of this savoury snack and enjoyed their crunchy texture. But their lack of flavour and powdery residual just outweighed this. So if you follow a dairy free, or a vegan diet I would give this Halloween treat a miss. Sorry Lidl but this festive savoury treat just wasn’t for me.

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Review of Marks & Spencer Lemon & S-Lime Popcorn

Whilst on a day out shopping at Bluewater my mum and we decided to pop into Marks & Spencer food hall to pick up some Halloween treats. I spotted a few packets of Halloween popcorn and decided to have a quick look just in case I could have it. To my utter surprise it was clearly labelled as being gluten free and suitable for vegans on the front of the packaging. It was therefore suitable for dairy free me so I just grabbed a packet to take home to try.

I loved the bright orange packaging of this popcorn with the popcorn looking like they were popping out of cauldron. I also liked the clever marketing of the popcorn’s name calling it s-lime instead of lime. Onto the ingredients list soya is highlighted in bold as an allergen in the ingredients list. It is labelled as not being suitable for nut and peanut allergy suffers due to the manufacturing process.

On opening the bag I was greeted by a slightly artificially sweet lemon aroma. I did my usual close sniff up test and this didn’t change. On closer inspection inside the bag the popcorn looked like popcorn with intermittent pieces having a slightly green colour. On biting into the popcorn I got a subtle taste of lemon the strength of this was spot on. This was intermingled with pieces of lime coated popcorn which actually turned out to be sharp and slightly sour. This was a surprise and worked really well with the lemon flavouring.The texture of the popcorn was just right. I experienced a combination of textures the softness from the lemon popcorn and the slight crunchiness from the lime pieces.

So would I recommend this Halloween themed popcorn? Gosh yes I would. It may not be the healthiest popcorn I have had, but who cares it just nice to have a sweet treat to enjoy at Halloween. I liked everything about this popcorn from its packaging, through to its flavour and textures. So if you follow a dairy free, gluten free or a vegan diet why not give this popcorn a try as a Halloween treat. So thank you Marks & Spencer for producing a nice packet of popcorn I can enjoy.

DIY Daddy
ethannevelyn.com
Le Coin de Mel

Review of Bigelow Constant Comment Black Tea

One of the teas that I like enjoy during the autumn and winter months is chai. I find it a comforting tea that I associate with Christmas. On a trip to America I found it quite difficult to get a cup of tea. So I have to admit being a little surprised when I was offered Bigelow Constant Comment tea as an option. It was completely different to any of the other teas that I had been offered so of course just I had to give it a try. Now the good thing I noticed about being in America was that you tended to get given two packets of tea. This meant one to have after my dinner and one to take home.

Now onto the tea itself I liked the simplicity of the packaging, with the bold red colour with a black strip scheme to the top with constant comment to the centre. I checked the back of the packet where the ingredients were listed as black tea, rind of orange, sweet spice and natural flavour. The tea is also labelled as being gluten free and there is no may contain warning.

On opening the packet I have to admit to being a tad surprised. There was a fairly strong sweet spice aroma coming from the teabag with a faint undertone of citrus noted. On undertaking my famous close up sniff test the sweet spice aroma remained the same but the citrus element intensified. I placed the teabag in my cup and added the hot water. It didn’t take long for the tea to infuse with the water resulting in a light/medium brown colour. On infusing the tea the predominant aroma was the black tea but both the sweet spice and orange were fairly strong. The aroma remained the same on my close up sniff test. On sipping the tea I have to confess to being surprised. It tasted like a nice every day black tea however the sweet spice and orange added a chai element to this tea. This impacted more on its flavour than I had anticipated and as a result made for a much nicer drinking experience. I gave the tea another try at home to ascertain if it tasted any different with freshly boiled water and in a nice teacup. It’s aroma and flavour were just the same as I remembered.

So would I recommend this tea? Yes I would it is nice to have an everyday black tea with a chai twist. The overall combinations of aromas and flavours complimented each other nicely. I liked everything about this tea which I have to admit being pleasantly surprised. So thank you Bigelow for producing a nice black tea.

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