Tag Archives: ME time

Almost Easter.

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Now Mothers Day has passed, it is a rapid downhill to Easter.     With the kids breaking up on Friday – for some reason they go back to school on Easter Monday but don’t get me started on that one, I am busily making preparations for the holidays.

We will be away the second week of the break, but home for the first so I have been preparing things to keep the occupied during that time.

I have also turned my thoughts to Easter proper, being away for the immediate run up, means I need to have sorted it sooner rather than later.

If you are anything like me, you will have been moaning for the last three months that the shops have had Easter eggs on display since boxing day, but now it’s almost Easter and time to get organised for it, there is increasingly less choice in the shops.

I was lucky enough to be asked to take a look at the Easter range on offer from Hotel Chocolat.     Now, anyone who has read anything I have written before knows how much I love chocolate, proper chocolate, and not the stuff that comes in the purple wrapper – although that has its place if you like it overly sweet, I don’t!         I was lucky enough to try a product from their Christmas range – http://wp.me/p3tFtX-et, and I loved it.   So, when the chance came to review an item from their Easter range, I was more than happy to do so.

For those of you that haven’t been blessed with trying the chocolate, it is a touch of luxury.     It is rich and creamy, not too sweet and yet not bitter either.    Trying to describe the magic feeling you get when eating chocolate is impossible, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself, and I strongly recommend that you do!

The Easter range from Hotel Chocolat has something for everyone, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have a shop near you, their website could have you spending hours just deciding what you want as the choice is amazing!    I know I could easily spend a small fortune on there!

I must admit to being a bit of a traditionalist where Easter gifts are concerned as I like the symbolism of what the egg represents, but when I was asked to choose something from the range to try, I decided to move out of my comfort zone a little.       I asked the boys to look at the products on the site with me, and choose what they thought looked the most interesting.      There was a lot of “I wanting” as every product we looked at had something going for it, but every one agreed with me on my final choice, of Egg and chips – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/easter-eggs/egg-and-chips

Egg & Chips

It just looked brilliant, and who doesn’t love egg and chips?!!!

The box arrived, the packaging is beautiful making it into a special gift,  and there was total excitement in the house as we sat down to share the chocolate.     The fried egg is white chocolate – proper white chocolate with vanilla bean, and not set condensed milk, with a soft caramel yolk, under a crispy shell.      The chips are pure indulgence with smooth milk chocolate filled with amazing runny caramel and decorated with yellow coloured white chocolate – I think it would have looked better decorated in red to look like ketchup but then I am a ketchup fiend!        It was really rich, but that was a good thing, because it meant the flavour was savoured and not just rammed in.    It also meant that although there were 4 of us trying in, we only devoured half of it and saved the rest for the next day!

D was so enamoured by it, he said I was to get his Easter egg from them as the chocolate was so much nicer than “normal” Easter eggs.    That is praise from a hard to please wee man, but I believe I must be raising my children properly if they prefer real chocolate!

I would say something like this is for that special someone as are all the products from Hotel Chocolat as they aren’t your cheapy chocolate you buy in every other shop.      This is a high quality product and you are therefore paying for such.   The Egg and chips is £14, so not cheap, but definitely value for money, because it is chocolate that adds the touch of luxury to your day.     There are products in their range that are specifically for the kids – I love the egg on toast on a stick which is just £2, but there are also eggs of all sizes and designs that would make a lovely gift for anyone.     I know I would never complain about receiving something from their range – yes that is a major hint if Hubby is reading this!!!!

I think in future I make sure I hide my Hotel Chocolat stash from everyone else as they say its good to share, I say, that’s a lovely thought but chocolate is MINE!

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11 down 39 to go!

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Yesterday was mine and Hubbys wedding anniversary as he wrote about – https://jas2jar.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/anniversary-time/     We had a lovely day out, and one of the few times during the year when we have the day to ourselves.     We long ago gave up trying to go out in the evening, as neither boy will settle for anyone, including the Old people – lets face the truth, we have enough problems getting D into bed, let alone getting him to stay there.     It is one of the joys of being a parent of 2 boys on the spectrum, you soon learn the things you can’t do as well as those you have to!

Anyway, as usual, I digress.

When Hubby and I got together all those years ago, we had such different lives that it seems hard to imagine them now.    I think we all have dreams of how things will be, but they rarely are that way, and you muddle along.   It’s then on this one day a year, that you reflect on what you as a couple have achieved during that time.

Hubby and I met on the internet.   These days, there is nothing unusual about that, but 12 years ago, it was a different story.     We were both on a Star Trek forum, and started chatting.     We both were Sci-Fi nerds, and had a love of things Canadian, especially Toronto, so we had a lot in common that meant we soon “chatted” online on a regular basis.    The one problem was, we lived over 500 miles apart, so neither of us assumed we would ever become more than online buddies.    We were soon communicating every day, and eventually we had exchanged phoned number and talked for endless hours on the phone – one of my worries before we spoke for the first time was if I would understand his accent, there was no problem there as he has a very gentle one.    I suppose the one good thing about starting a relationship without any physical contact is that you actually spend time getting to know each other.     We soon realised there was something between us, and decided we either needed to move it forward or end it before it became too difficult.     It was a no brainer.     We had talked about our future together, and the name of our first-born before we had actually met face to face.     We never actually mentioned getting married openly, but we talked about “the question”, and this became butter or margarine – there was an advert around that time about if you preferred one or the other, –  or the Flora question!

The day arrived for him to fly down to London to meet me – 3 days after my birthday, as he couldn’t miss the first game of the season.    I was SO nervous.    All types of negative thoughts go through your mind as you wait in the terminal for the plane to land.     We just clicked though.   We were good friends by this point, and it was just a case of where we were going with it.      The next day, he produced a ring, and we got engaged.      When he went back home I was devastated.     A few weeks later I came to Aberdeen to meet his Mum – the frosty reception I got as I went to hug her should have warned me about the relationship we were going to have!

We had a few more visits up and down the country before we decided a long distant relationship wasn’t going to work – it was too expensive if nothing else!!    I handed in my notice, and called Hubby to say I was putting my house on the market!     The decision was made, and it was just a case of making it happen.

Hubby viewed several houses, and eventually found one he knew I would like – we still live here, and I am still trying to do it up!       I packed up my house, and my mother – who we shipped off to my brothers who was a half way point, just before the removal men arrived, and then I was off!

Hubby came down and we had a VERY full car for the trek up the country.     Hubby was too scared to drive on the M25 so I took the first part of the journey despite being in floods of tears as I said goodbye to my old life.

We picked up Old Person en route, and two days later arrived at our new home and new life together.

The was in the November, I started my new job in the January, and so had time to get the house sorted before the long hours kicked in!

Hubby had organised most of the wedding before I moved up.    It was great to not have to do anything!     I think if it had been up to us, we would have just gone off and got married and then told people, but with it just being our Mums we couldn’t do that to them, so we opted for as small as we could.    It was just the Old people, Hubbys, Brother, Aunt & Uncle & Cousin, his other Aunt, then my brother, sister-in-law and there wee boy.   We were married in the hotel, and then had a meal before kicking everyone out so we could get to bed – for the early flight to a very frozen Toronto!      One good memory I have of that day, was that we had only been married about an hour before I over ruled my MIL.    Hubbys garters were digging in, so he rolled down his socks at the dinner table – she was horrified and told him to pull them up, I told him to be comfortable!!!   He did as I told him!

Well, 11 years later, he is still doing as he is told – most of the time!

If you are wondering about the title of this posting, it refers to the length of our marriage.     When I agree to marry him I said forever sounded scary so we would call it 50 years, and see how we were getting on!       I have said I will feed him sprouts for our 50th, so its his decision to leave!

So until sprout day, it is 11 down and 39 to go!

 

A little luxury.

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Our lives are so hectic at the best of time, but at this time of year, they just go ridiculous.

I think with a week and a half to go until Christmas, I am at the stage that if I am not organised, I don’t really care! Now, you know I don’t mean I don’t care, but I’m at saturation point with planning and organising. Most of the jobs left to do are things for much closer to the day. I just think if one more person asks me if I am ready for Christmas, I just might scream – VERY loudly!

It is therefore quite important we take the odd moment in between our headless chicken acts to think about ourselves. Now, this is an area of my life that I admit I do neglect, and therefore I have had my problems as a result. I decided this time last year, that every day, I was going to do something, just for me. Now, these somethings are nothing major, and definitely not revolutionary. The types of things I mean, are taking the time to put a bit of lippy on before the school run, saying to the kids I am having 5 minutes to solve the level of Candy crush I’ve been stuck on for 6 weeks – and then handing it to M who does it in 2 seconds, the most financially indulgent I probably have got is buying my dye to disguise the white highlights in my hair. They are all things for me! Just a moment every day to breathe and shut out the screaming and fighting, can stop me trying to join in with it.

There is of course, the biggest treat of all, and that is chocolate! Who doesn’t feel better after a piece of chocolate – Ok, I know there are some very strange people in the world who just don’t understand the medicinal qualities but they can’t possibly be anyone I know or would be capable of being friends with!

Earlier this week, I received an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing a product from the Christmas range from Hotel Chocolat – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop  Now, who in their right minds is going to say no to something like this? I am already a huge fan of theirs, and it truly is an indulgent treat, so I was more than happy to take a look at the items available. This was the hardest thing though choosing what item to try!

The Festive Wreath looks amazing – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/christmas/the-festive-wreath-large, but im not a dried fruit person. I do however think it would be a fabulous gift to receive.

The Christmas Goodie Bag was really tempting – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/christmas/xmas-gifts/christmas-goody-bag The presentation just makes me think if I received that I would be totally made up – and hiding it immediately!

What I plumped for though was The Mingles and Jingles Bag – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/christmas/xmas-gifts/mingles-and-jingles-bag Now, the presentation might look a little plain compared to some of the other products, but the cloth sack contains a little touch of heaven all individually wrapped!

For those of you who haven’t tried Hotel Chocolat chocolate, you are really missing out on an important part of your life education. I always believed I didn’t like milk chocolate, because I find the common chocolate in this country, you know the one in the purple wrapper, is just too sweet for me, just one square, and I’m rushing for my tooth-brush! I therefore enjoyed plain chocolate growing up – luckily my Dad was a dark chocolate eater so I was able to get some! This though was in the days before dark chocolate became trendy, and you have to know the cocoa solid percentages, and getting just a bog standard bar wasn’t easy. Then, I discovered Hotel Chocolat, and as they say life was never the same again!

Their milk chocolate isn’t sweet, but it’s not bitter either. I can only describe it as – perfect! For those of you who do want to know about cocoa solids, its 40%. It is a perfect mid-point on the sweetness scale. I should go and swallow a thesaurus at this point to rave about it fully, but I think you are getting my drift!

In the bag there are three kinds of chocolate in individually wrapped Christmas shapes – a white chocolate bell with flecks of vanilla seed, a milk chocolate penguin, and a caramel chocolate angel. Each one is labelled with its contents or just dip in for a surprise.

I suppose one reason I chose this was its ability to share. Posh chocolates aren’t really child friendly, and while it is a treat for me, I am a Mum through and through so I’m always thinking of the ratbags first. When the box arrived, I opened it to see the sack inside. The boys instantly wanted it, and were grabbing, but I said, it was my chocolate so I had to try it first! I found one of each and took a bite before passing around! I know, mean aren’t I that I made them share a chocolate, but it is rich, and I wanted them to see they liked it before wasting them. All five of us were transported somewhere nice as we tasted.    If I can educate the boys on such an important aspect of life, my duty is done!

Hubby liked the white chocolate best. Old person who hates white chocolate even said it was so much better than the set condensed milk style white chocolate you usually get!

The boys loved the caramel best, and I’m not surprised as it was slightly sweeter.   It is solid chocolate with a caramel flavour.

For me though, it has to be the milk chocolate. Eat to slowly to enjoy each moment of it.    It is just a perfect chocolate.

The bag has been hidden from everyone! It is my stash. I will share, but definitely on my terms. These are not for the boys to wolf down without my say so, as these are for my ME moment.

If you haven’t tried Hotel Chocolat before, I would highly recommend them. They may be slightly more expensive than you’re bog standard chocolates, but the standard is in a different league all together.

I was asked to try this, and to blog about what I thought, but when it is a product you already love, then that really isn’t any hardship!