27 Oct 2017

Review: Jordan's Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice & Pumpkin Caramel

I've been looking for a decent pumpkin spice flavoured syrup to try to recreate my favourite Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte at home without much luck. So far I've tried the Pumpkin Spice Syrups from Monin and Sweetbirds which were both a total waste of money. The Sweetbirds one especially was so horrid it had to be thrown away. 

The Skinny Syrups brand is one that I've found a few times before in TK Maxx. I like their sugar free Vanilla and Gingerbread syrups and prefer them now to the full-on sugary kind. My husband bought me their Pumpkin Spice and Pumpkin Caramel varieties as a gift recently (I think he paid a fortune on Amazon) and thankfully I enjoyed both varieties more than the other brands I've tried.

The Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice has a nice amount of spices coming through with the sweet pumpkin, especially scentwise. It doesn't come through as much in the actual flavour although it does add plenty of sweetness - a little goes a long way with these. The Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Caramel variety is even sweeter and has a creamy undertone. As they're both sugar free they do have a bit of an artificial aftertaste, which might ruin the flavour for some - I found it especially noticeable in the Pumpkin Caramel variety.

Even though neither of these flavours is a patch on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice (why don't they just sell Pumpkin Spice syrups instore already?), I'm glad that I tried both these flavours. I would probably buy the Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice variety again next year. but I'm still waiting for a proper Pumpkin Spice syrup!

Grocery Gems Review: Skinny Syrups Pumpkin Spice

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition0 calories.
Purchased: Amazon.

Review: New Quaker Oats Pumpkin Spice (UK)

Pumpkin Spice seems to be gaining popularity in the UK and I was excited to finally find the new Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice flavoured oats from Quaker Oats. It's a microwaveable porridge with added pumpkin seeds, sugar and natural flavourings.

The pumpkin spice flavour itself is quite subtle and light. It's not heavily spiced at all (I couldn't really taste any cinnamon or nutmeg), but there's a lovely sweet pumpkin flavour coming through that I found delicious. The overall combination with the pumpkin seeds is both creamy and crunchy, and very satisfying. I have to point out that my fellow taste tester, the Pumpkin Spice Super-Fan Mr Grocery Gems, doesn't really agree with me about the flavour here. He thought the pumpkin spice was too weak and he wanted a  much stronger flavour. However, I like the fact that it's not too overpowering and it's obviously made with extra toppings in mind - get sprinkling some extra cinnamon on there!

At the moment these oats are on offer for £1 a box - I'll be stocking up on a few more boxes of this limited edition for myself. If you've tried the new Pumpkin Spice Quaker Oats then I'd love to know what you thought in the comments below!

Also Spotted is a limited edition Quaker Oats Toffee Apple flavour too - perfect for November!

Grocery Gems Review: Quaker Oats So Simple Pumpkin Spice

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per sachet with semi -skim milk ): 226 calories.
Price: £1.00p for 8 sachets.
Purchased: Asda.

15 Oct 2017

New York Bakery Co Maple Mini Bagels & Easy Halloween Bagel Ideas!

The new Maple Mini Bagels from the New York Bakery Co. are perfect for this time of year. These mini sized bagels can be popped into the toaster whole and used to 'rip and dip'! I could honestly get through a whole bag of these by myself because they're just so delicious.

I was delighted to be sent these bagels by New York Bakery Co. and asked to create some fun  (and in  my case easy!) Halloween treats with them. More about that after a quick review!

Firstly I have to review the actual bagel itself and show you the lovely golden colouring. There are actually little pockets of maple syrup but the flavour is surprisingly not too sweet. These bagels could definitely be used for sweet or savoury meals. My kids enjoyed them with peanut butter or chocolate fillings but I loved them just lightly toasted and buttered or for dipping in a pumpkin soup.

Anyway, onto my super easy peasy fun Halloween ideas!

Spooky Critters Halloween Bagel Ideas:

Cute Monster Bagel - okay so this one is more smiley than spooky. Simply cut out jagged teeth shapes into an apple slice and prop open a peanut butter filled Maple Mini Bagel. You could also cut out two fangs on the apple slice to make it a vampire bagel! I used Wilton candy eyes which look great (I got these on Ebay) but dark chocolate chips or simple white icing are also good. 

Spooky Spider Bagel - our spider bagel is simply made with chocolate spread and Matchmaker legs (you could also use chocolate dipped pretzel sticks). This one was my kids' favourite!

Petrified Mummy Bagel - I used cream cheese frosting (just cream cheese with icing sugar and a little vanilla) to pipe on a simple mummy design. Then I just added two dark chocolate chips for eyes. 

Gruesome Toothsome Duo - my son had the idea to use mini marshmallows for teeth and it's such a simple and cute idea. These two are definitely the goofballs of the bunch. We also had some teeth shaped sweets (which you can just see in the background) which would also be fun to use.

Batty Bagel - a bat bagel (or is it an owl?) made with chocolate spread and Oreo cookie wings - just separate the biscuit and cut each side in half to make the wings. Couldn't be easier! 

We had lots of fun creating these easy Halloween bagel ideas - imagine what you could do for Bonfire Night too!

Grocery Gems Review: New York Bakery Co Maple Mini Bagels

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy It again?: Yes - I'll be stocking up.
Nutrition (per mini bagel): 96 calories.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegetarians.
Price: £1.30p

PR Samples.

Review: Nakd Breakfast Bars including Apple Danish flavour

I was recently sent the delicious looking range from Nakd featuring four of their Breakfast Bars. The flavours are; Cocoa Twist, Berry Bliss, Banana Bread and Apple Danish. I was especially excited about the Apple Danish flavour! These Nakd Breakfast Bars are suitable for vegans and contain oats, dates, raisins, and cashews as the base ingredients. The addition of oats makes these really filling and delicious as a morning snack.

Nakd Apple Danish: This was my favourite flavour and is the most delicious Nakd bar I've ever had. As a cinnamon fan I appreciated just how gorgeously flavoured this bar is. The tart apple is delicious with the sweet cinnamon and nutmeg spices coming through perfectly. It tastes like an indulgent apple danish but all for under 100 calories. 

Nakd Banana Bread: This banana flavour is the classic Nakd bar flavour but I don't think I've ever reviewed it on the blog before. This is one flavour I always go for - it has such a strong banana flavour that I keep coming back to it.

Nakd Berry Bliss: The Berry Blast is another favourite flavour. It has a tangier taste that is delicious as a morning snack. It really does taste like it's packed full of raspberries and provides a real fruity hit.

Nakd Cocoa Twist: The Cocoa Twist flavour is not really for me but funnily enough it's one of my husband's faves. It has a very strong cocoa flavour but I just prefer the sweeter and tarter fruity flavours!

Overall I love the textures of all these Nakd bars, they're so soft and chewy without being cloying or crumbly. The Apple Danish flavour is definitely one I'll be buying again. Each of these bars is now under 100 calories, which I prefer, but they're also slightly smaller than their previous 35g bars. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Nakd Breakfast Bars

RATING: 9 out of 10 for the Apple Danish!
Buy It again?: Yes.
Nutrition (per 30g bar): Banana - 94cal, Berry Blast - 99cal, Cocoa - 99cal, Apple - 98cal.
Vegetarian: Suitable for vegans.

PR Samples. 

12 Oct 2017

Review: No&More Naturally Flavoured Water with No Junk

New no&more is a refreshing range of spring water drinks flavoured with natural extracts. Each bottle is free from sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. I get through lots of water each day but I have a few family members who won't drink water unless it's a flavoured variety or sweetened with squash. Thankfully the no&more range brings a subtle flavour without any of the hidden nasties or sugars.

I tried out three of the no&more flavours; Cucumber & Mint, Raspberry & Blueberry, and Tangerine & Mango.

Cucumber & Mint: I often make a refreshing water with mint leaves and cucumber slices so I couldn't resist adding some to my glass for the photo. However, it really isn't necessary! I tried the water before I added the ingredients and I was surprised by just how flavourful and natural tasting this water was - full of fresh cucumber flavour and with a delicious hint of mint. It's a favourite combination of mine anyway and I was pleased by just how well it works here.

Tangerine & Mango and Raspberry & Blueberry: These were both quite similar, providing a hint of fruity flavour to the water. The flavour combinations were excellent and I could taste all the different fuits even though the flavours are so light. They both very fresh tasting without any of the sugariness of a squash or flavoured water. 

Grocery Gems Verdict: no&more water

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes - especially the Cucumber & Mint.
Purchased: Available at Boots, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Planet Organic, Amazon/Whole Foods.
Price £1.29p.hole Foods for £1.29.

PR Samples sent for honest review.

New Review: Hello Kitty Kinder Surprise Eggs

Hello Kitty Kinder Surprise Eggs.  Enough said. I should just end the review here. Just look at the adorable photos. It's a cuteness overload that brings together two of my favourite things; Hello Kitty & chocolate. Of course, now the only downside is that I need to collect THEM ALL. I need all the Hello Kitty Kinder toys right now.

Each Hello Kitty Kinder Surprise toy comes with it's own scenic background that is decorated on both sides. The details are all so cute and well done. 

I've got three Hello Kitty figures in my collection so far, each with a unique themed background.

Zoom in to see the eight figures available - I NEED the reindeer kitty!

The Hello Kitty Kinder Surprise Eggs are part of a release with the Hot Wheels Kinder Surprise Eggs but honestly who cares about Hot Wheels? I bought just the one for my sons to fight over. Anyhoo, Hello Kitty is awesome! 

Grocery Gems Verdict: Kinder Surprise Hello Kitty

RATING: 10 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes!
Purchased: Asda.
Price £0.80p each.

11 Oct 2017

Degustabox September Box: Review & Discount Code!

A quick review of the latest surprise foodie box from Degustabox. These boxes are always packed full of new groceries and would make a wonderful gift for the foodie in your life. As always Degustabox have provided a discount code for my readers:

About Degustabox & Discount Code8TL75

Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. 

The discount code is a massive £7 off, making the first box only £5.99 delivered! Check out the Degustabox website below and enter the new discount code: 8TL75 

Here's a round up of all the products I received in the latest Degustabox:

Virtue Energy Water: Two cans of a brand I've never tried before - Virtue Sparkling Energy Water. Its a zero sugar, zero calorie drink that provides the same amount of natural caffeine as a cup of coffee. I received two flavours; Lemon & Lime and Berries. These have a subtle fruity flavour without any sweetness - it's definitely one for fans of sparkling water only.

Green's Egg Custard Mix: A little box of Green's Creamy Egg Custard Filling. The instructions are super easy and just need a pre-cooked pastry base and a little nutmeg to create a large custard tart. I'm looking forward to giving this a go!

San Miguel Gluten Free: Degustabox subscribers choose between an alcoholic or a non-alcoholic box. This bottle of San Miguel Gluten Free is included in the alcohol version only. It's a premium gluten free world lager and is now available at Tesco.

Miso Tasty: This Original Ramen Noodle Kit is included in the non-alcoholic version of the Degustabox only. Each kit contains 2 x noodle nests, 2x white miso paste and 2 x seaweed garnishes . I love noodles as a quick lunch and this ramen noodle kit was super easy and tasty.

Knorr Concentrated Stock: I usually just buy stock cubes so I was interested to find this bottle of concentrated Rich Beef Liquid Stock from Knorr. It's useful for just adding a few drops to sauces for an instant rich and meaty flavour.

Dream Rice Quinoa: A new plant based milk alternative with added calcium and vitamins. I always use dairy free products for adding to cereal and also for tea/coffee drinks. This Dream Rice Quinoa is perfect for cereal and has a creamy texture with a subtle rice flavour. Unfortunately I found it wasn't suitable for hot drinks as it mostly curdled straight away (I tried it cold from the fridge and room temperature).

Latin American Kitchen by Santa Maria: I've seen this new range in several supermarkets and it looks very appealing with a full range of Latin American flavours and meal ideas. I received the Coconut & Chilli Rice and a Peruvian Garlic Tomato Sauce. This is the Degustabox Product of the Month and there are five different rice flavours and five different sauces available!

Nestlé Cheerios Oat Crisp: A massive box of Cheerios Oat Crisp is also included in the September Degustabox. I reviewed the Cinnamon version of this cereal last year here- Cheerios Cinnamon Oat Crisp Review and it's since become on of our favourite cereals. We've both enjoyed this version too. It's just as delicious and we usually have it as a sweet topping to a plainer cereal like bran flakes.

Green & Black's Velvet Edition: A delicious looking new range from Green & Black's. The 70% Dark Chocolate variety is made using the finest Ghanian cocoa and is flavoured with Madagascan vanilla. I might save this one for baking as I don't usually enjoy dark chocolate on it's own.

Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna Steaks: This is ranked #1 in the US by Greenpeace for sustainability and is canned without any water or oil added. The tuna itself is much paler than the tinned tuna I'm used to and has a meatier and less 'fishy' flavour. It's absolutely delicious and I'll definitely be looking out for this brand in future.

Mentos Mints: A sharing pouch of Mentos sweets in Mint and Spearmint flavours. My son was excited to find this in the Degustabox as Mentos are his favourite!

Also included in the Degustabox was a 'fridge' voucher for a free pack of Seriously Spreadable Mature Cheddar Squares which are a fresh product and obviously couldn't be included in the box. Overall I was pleased with the wide selection of different products in the September Degustabox - there were plenty of useful groceries for my family. This month, I was especially pleased with the Wild Planet Tuna, Nestlé Cheerios and Latin American Kitchen. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

For more details:
Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

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