Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Easy Like Sunday Morning

At the moment our boy is testing my sanity.

He screams, he rages, he throws things.

I find myself arguing with a 3 year old as if he's an adult (me and Hubbie rarely argue, he doesn't join in, so it's pointless)

It makes me feel like I'm rubbish as a parent. 

Then on Sunday morning we left Hubbie to lie in and came downstairs to give him some peace.

The boy sat on my lap on the sofa and we cuddled while watching TV. 

It made me so very happy :) 

This post is part of Mummy Never Sleeps linky "All the small things" 

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Why my friend Penny wishes she had breast cancer.

You may have seen this poster - it has been in papers and magazines and is also now on the walls of tube stations too. Hubbie came home from work last week and said, "did you know Penny is in the Evening Standard ?" This was the poster he was referring to.

The woman in the poster was one of our midwives. On the morning of 30th September 2010 she took over from the Glenis and Rosie who had been sweltering in the birth room with me since the previous afternoon. We had met Penny a few times and during the pre-natal checks we had talked about yoga, being healthy and how she loved her job - helping women to give birth as naturally as possible. By the time we got to the day our son was born we felt we knew her pretty well. As things didn't go to plan in the birth (when do they ever ?) she was calm and - more importantly - a calming influence. It's this calmness and the smile she had on her face as she told Hubbie our son was born and she'd stay with me as he went to meet our boy that I remember vividly. Penny took the most beautiful photos of us all as a family within minutes and the image of my Hubbie joyful at the sight of our much longed for newborn, healthy son is one that I am forever grateful to her for capturing for us.

We stayed in touch and shared photos on Facebook and were delighted when she announced she was getting married to her wonderful partner Terry. Beautiful photos of their special day followed. Then last year she dropped a bombshell when she told us all that she had inoperable pancreatic cancer. It was very serious and the prognosis was not good. This was a woman who was healthy, fit and took care of herself. It turns out it had taken months of going back and forth to get that diagnosis even though Penny's father had pancreatic cancer. Her own children are similarly at risk.

I interviewed Penny on my radio show last year - you can listen to the interview here. Since she was diagnosed she has been determined to increase awareness of pancreatic cancer and how serious it is. She has been interviewed in magazines, on television and on radio. As she says she wants something good to come out of this and if people get tested and know what to look out for then maybe their chances of surviving will be better than the current shockingly low rate of 3%. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth biggest cancer killer in the UK and yet so few people know anything about it.

So we come to the controversy caused by the words, "I wish I had breast cancer." There has been all manner of hand-wringing and media sorts claiming it's immoral and terrible to wish to have any cancer. The people featured in the campaign have spoken on TV and radio about why they took part and they have even been asked if they regret the sentiment of the poster. Considering that Penny and the others featured in the campaign all have Pancreatic Cancer and know their chances of surviving would be much better if they had breast cancer I think they have a right to express how they feel in any way they choose. None of this takes away from the pain and anguish of breast cancer - this isn't a competition.

The lovely folks at Pancreatic Cancer Action have sent me this handy infographic to share with you. They are keen to see more people being diagnosed early enough to increase their chances of surviving.

I hope that Penny's amazing progress continues in a positive direction. She has been tireless in campaigning all the while undergoing gruelling treatment that has left her feeling sick and exhausted. The hope is that after this latest round of radiotherapy she will be able to have an operation to increase her life chances.

Kerry Harvey also appeared in the posters and TV advertising and she gave interviews passionately defending her decision to take part in such a controversial campaign. Sadly Kerry passed away on Saturday morning.  I would like to dedicate this post to her memory and to Penny for her amazing strength. They are both genuinely an inspiration.

Thanks to Pancreatic Cancer Action for giving permission to use these images.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Flowers, fruit and fun - a garden for all seasons

I always feel guilty for neglecting my garden in the early part of the year as it's such an austere time anyway and the garden could probably do with some love - couldn't we all ? As I wandered round in the fine drizzle this morning taking photos wearing my oversized t-shirt bearing the legend 'idiot' (from a wonderstuff song - not high level and public self-loathing) I observed how much it's changed.

In the front the bulbs we planted last year are starting to poke through the ground - they're a bit subtle still, but the colours are lovely and vibrant.
The crocus revolution
Our daffodils are always early and they really are quite hardy - in previous years they've survived show and ice. These chaps are an inspiration !
My hardy daffodils
I had a lot of these plants taken out of the ground last year as I don't like their 'cabbage-y' appearance. The lovely pink flowers that they've sprouted have given these ones a reprieve for this year. They still look like cabbages though.

Unloved 'cabbage flowers' 
The far end of our garden - or 'the woods' as our boy calls them - are the reason we bought the house. When it's sunny this place provides shade and hiding places and in the winter it's a playground with a lovely soft floor and amazing trees and branches to climb over.
A pair of wellies and waterproofs and this is a playground !
I often call our garden the 'pudding garden' as we have apples, blackberries and - as I discovered last year - quince growing in it. The glut of apples last year had me handing out bags of them to anyone who came to our house, this included delivery drivers, Jehovahs Witnesses and random strangers. It's sad that they've all gone now and it's hard to believe these trees were covered in apples only a few months ago.
Not long ago these trees were heavy with apples 
We are so lucky to have such a diverse garden with so many different functions and facets. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and enjoying it again this year. 

This post is part of the epic Mammasaurus's How does your garden grow linky 

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Review: Nakd bits and Trek bars

In my attempts to get fitter and healthier I've been avoiding fattening, processed, sugary foods and alcohol. It's not a bundle of laughs to be honest. I allow myself one dessert a week and have had one glass of wine per month so far. I'm glad I enjoy fruit and vegetables otherwise my diet would be woeful, however, even the most satisfying plate of green leaves is no match for the occasional treat.

I long ago gave up on cereal bars as an alternative to chocolate, they either have the texture of sawdust and the taste of saccharine or they are covered in chocolate or yoghurt to add flavour which also adds on calories. Either way they are a mimicry of food and an abomination. I'm not a fan.

At the last yoga show I went to I found a stand selling Nakd wholefood bars. I had heard of Nakd, but hadn't tried them so I took them up on the kind offer of samples - having missed lunch. They were so good I bought one in every flavour and the lovely man behind the stall even gave me a few extra and some flavoured raisins to try too.

The bars contain only raw fruit and nuts and are gluten free, wheat free and contain no added fat or sugar. There are fruit flavours including berry delight, strawberry crunch and banana crunch. Then there are the cake flavours including banana bread, pecan pie and ginger bread. to give you an idea of nutritional content the apple pie flavour is 7% fat and contains under 100 calories.

If you're after something more substantial they also do Trek protein bars which are larger and contain gluten free oats. They also contain wholefood ingredients and are very filling indeed. I keep one of these for days when I might be out of the house for a while and need a meal replacement as they contain around 250 calories and come in some lovely flavours including cocoa coconut - think healthy Bounty bar - and cocoa brownie as well as the fruit ones.

Now - in the words of the Vanessa Williams song - I've saved the best for last. The cocoa bars. I may have mentioned before that I love chocolate. I also gave it up in January and it didn't kill me. Partly thanks to the Nakd cocoa orange bar. There are no words to describe how incredible this bar is, it tastes like actual chocolate with a hint of orange and the mouth-feel is *whisper it* better than chocolate. These ones are still under 150 calories, but they are 20% fat so more of a treat than the fruit varieties. When Waitrose had these on offer recently I admit I went a little crazy and have stockpiled them. Suffice it to say that I'm not about to run out of cocoa orange bars any time soon.

As if having a range that includes caffe mocha, cocoa mint and cocoa orange wasn't enough they have now introduced Nakd bits. They're little nibs instead of bars and you can add them to drinks or pop them like little sweets - this packet is still closed as they are so moreish I daren't risk opening it !

If you are trying to eat healthier, but have a sweet tooth these bars are worth a try. They come in a variety of flavours and are a great alternative to chocolate bars as they have no added sugar or fat and are suitable for vegans. Best of all, the nakd cocoa varieties actually taste like chocolate !!!

Disclosure: I was sent some Trek bars and Nakd bars and bits to write an honest review, however, most of the bars shown here were bought by me.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

He eats marmite and I'm the Crazy Cat Lady ?

I love my cat.

partners in crime
The way he wanders into a room and miaows "Hello" and when he is fed he miaows "thank you"

The way he has trained the boy to pilfer biscuits for him when we've said no

The way he twitches his nose when someone is eating marmite - he licked Hubbie's toast the other morning

The way he sits on the stairs staring at us when we look like we're going away

The way he comes running downstairs when we get home from being away then pretends not to care that we're back

The way he comes in wet from the rain and then miaows to be dried off with his warm towel

Most of all I love him because when I couldn't find him yesterday afternoon and I looked everywhere for him:

I looked in the garden

I looked on his bed

I looked on our bed


I found him on the boy's bed, snuggled up with a toy dog and a teeny tiny teddy bear.

This is why I love my cat :)

There's cute, then there's my cat :)

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

This post is part of Mummy Never Sleeps linky All the small things

Sunday, 16 February 2014

"Only Daddies can do that." Oh really son ?

On a visit to Grandma and Grandpa this weekend my boy was playing with an aeroplane that they bought him on holiday. He was showing Hubbie's Aunt Sue how to put all the seats and luggage and people inside the plane and they had seated the (male) pilot and the passengers when she asked what the (female) air stewardess was supposed to have in her hand. I joked that only the coffee pot would fit in her hand as being a woman she wouldn't be trusted with flying the plane. Sue said, "Well I don't agree with equality." I laughed. Later while Hubbie was putting our boy to bed and I was sitting with the old folks she mentioned how horrified she was at hearing about some parents who were "raising their child as a transvestite." When I asked what they were doing it amounted to, "letting him wear a tutu if he wants." Again, I laughed. It was when she started to make remarks about female Chinese students coming to the UK to study and why didn't they just stay at home that I cracked. "Well, better to come here and study than stay in a country where girls are still left to die for being female." I was starting to get a bit peeved.

I rarely agree with my father-in-law on matters of equality, or immigration or indeed anything contentious, but his sister makes him seem pretty moderate. I fear it may be rubbing off on my boy. The other day I was trying to open the garage door (with the wrong key as it turned out) and my son announced that, "Daddies can do it, not Mummies." I was horrified that he seemed to have such unreconstructed ideas of masculinity and femininity then I remembered that he's only ever seen Daddy open the garage door so he probably does think he's the only person who can do it. In the same way that he knows only Daddies pee standing up. Mostly, however, he sees equality. His experience of every day chores is that both Mummy and Daddy do the washing up, cooking, hang clothes out to dry and vacuum. We both drive the car, do the shopping (although Daddy goes to Sainsburys and Mummy prefers Waitrose) and either of us can dress him.
toys for all children in our house
We don't discriminate in our house - all toys are welcome.
When he first went to playgroups he used to love playing in the home corner and early on we got him a gorgeous pink Disney kitchen to play with which my lovely cousin gave us as she was emigrating and couldn't take it with her even though her daughter loved it. Even now our boy has a pink buggy he pushes around the ground at football and his favourite toys include a vacuum cleaner and washing machine which my Mum gave him for Christmas. The way I see it when he is a grown man he will be able to live away from home and look after himself.

It was Hubbie who asked me to get the boy a buggy as he was always pushing his full size buggy around at football and it was a bit unwieldy. I phoned him from the shop and said, "they only have pink ones, you have to promise that he won't get picked on or teased at the football." Hubbie assured me he wouldn't and over a year later it doesn't appear to have been an issue for anyone. My boy always loved buggies and once when I took him to a church playgroup I popped him down by my feet as I asked for a tea and he immediately started to push a buggy. An older, bald man (who I mistook for someone's Grandad) was standing there and proceeded to tell me he would shudder if his boy played with buggies. I ignored him. He carried on giving me his (unasked for) opinions that culminated in the phrase, "I'd turn in my grave if that was my son, but I'm just quirky like that." I picked up my tea, looked at him holding his baby boy like a rugby ball and took a deep breath before replying, "No, actually I think you are sadly very traditional and not at all quirky." One of the other mums told me she knew his grown up children and he had left his wife, married a Russian teenager and was now playing, "Dad of the year" in his new family set-up. Not so much quirky then, as a pathetic cliche mate. 

Today a friend shared this photo on Facebook. Shiloh Jolie-Pitt has short hair and is wearing combats and a Ramones t-shirt and Gwen Stefani's son is wearing a tutu over his trousers. Shiloh has 3 brothers - does anyone mention what they wear ? - and Daddy Brad has a penchant for combats and I'm pretty sure I've seen Mum Angelina wearing rock t shirts in her youth. A few years back when Maharishi combats were all the rage even hard bodied yoginis like Aniston and Madonna were rocking that look so why is it considered 'masculine' ? If Rossdale Jnr (ok I admit I don't know if it's Kingston or Zumba or whatever his name is) wants to wear a tutu so what ? 

My son was invited to a superheros or princesses party recently and when someone asked what superhero he was going as I pointed out he might choose to go as a princess. You see it doesn't matter. He's a child. What he wears and plays with is all part of exploration and finding his identity. Sometimes it's just fun. My boy has a pink t-shirt with a dinosaur on it that he loves to wear. He doesn't have a tutu, but he does point his toes and say, "look Mummy I'm doing ballet." I'm not all liberal or loony for being ok with that. 

Oh and he went to the party in a Spiderman jumper in the end. Over his favourite Stone Roses t-shirt.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Love is... music, chocolate and sarcasm

Now as I type this me and Hubbie are on the radio presenting our Valentine's Day show - we do our show every two weeks and we pick a theme and choose alternate songs based on that theme. We joke that it's the only time we actually talk to each other, but the truth is we love to banter between songs and it's a chance to share our passion for music and bizarre facts with whoever is interested in listening to our ramblings.

I know not everyone is into Valentine's Day. Yes it's very commercial and a made up holiday and an excuse to sell cards and flowers and chocolates and to charge more for a set meal in a restaurant because you just have to go out and if you are still in a new relationship it's a minefield (and breathe). If you are single it can be a hellish thing much like the scene in Sex and the City the movie which typifies the miserable singleton experience of Valentine's Day. However, it is a thing and there are more songs written about love than almost anything else so it seemed an apt theme for our show - so there !

Besides which I'm married and we've been together almost ten years so we're supposed to be in the 'romance ? what's that ?' stage of life. I don't really get why you're supposed to celebrate being cynical about being in love when actually I genuinely do love Hubbie and my son and our cat. It's not just humans who get all loved up on this day either, 3% of all pet owners will give their cat a gift on this day. Neo got a kiss and cuddle from our boy, but he did wander off with disdain that it wasn't accompanied with a shake of biscuits in his food bowl.

If you are quite old or into cartoons you may recall that in the seventies there was a thing called "Love is..." with two slightly chubby characters who were pretty much naked all the time. Each one signified something that was supposedly typical of love and it was usually something twee like, "giving her the moon," or "kisses on a park bench."  I was never really into them if I'm honest. They were always a bit too schmaltzy for me, but inspired by this retro romanticism I've compiled my own signifiers of love - just for you this Valentine's Day.

You are welcome :)
Love mugs, elephant teapot and roses

Love is... Hubbie remembering the elephant teapot I mentioned that time we went past that shop in town

my boy at lunch today

Love is... going out with my son and Hubbie for lunch instead of for dinner in the evening, because we love our boy's company - even if he prefers to watch Alphablocks on Daddy's phone.

my cat

Love is... Neo putting a paw on my leg to stop me getting up from the sofa because he's so comfy lying on me

chocolate dessert pasta with strawberries and chocolate sauce

Love is... me saving up all my calories for weeks so that we could splurge on a chocolate dessert pasta only for it to be really disappointing actually

and finally
Mrs Perfect badge

Love is... Hubbie giving me this badge - even though I suspect he was being sarcastic !!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Review: Nothing But & Fru Snax

As you probably know I'm trying to get back into fitness right now so I'm watching what I eat and exercising every day. In order to not spoil all the good work I also need to keep drinking lots of water and find that while eating balanced meals is all well and good it's nice to have a little something to nibble on when I get hunger pangs between meals.

The problem is snacks like crisps (too much salt) or dried fruit (too much sugar) can be laden with calories and don't really hit the spot that well. I've tried various options, but unless you prepare your own pots of fresh fruit and veg every day it's a bit of a faff to find low fat and healthy snacks that aren't processed.

I was sent some of the dried vegetable snacks from Nothing But to try and I'll admit at first glance these snacks do resemble pot pourri. I've tried vegetable chips before, but they're fried and salted so they aren't exactly a healthy option. The vegetables in Nothing But are dehydrated and packed so they are not only completely free of fat or added salt they're also very low in calories with each pack coming in at well under 50 calories so I can have them as a 'power snack' on my diet.

The varieties I was sent were beetroot and parsnip and pepper and mange tout - they also do a sweetcorn and pea one - and they do taste good. I prefer the beetroot and parsnip personally, but they are both quite nice. These are nothing like vegetable chips as they are a lot drier and the mouth feel is a proper crunch, but without the greasiness.

I was also sent some Fru Snax which are dried fruit and 'yoghurt melts.' These are available in peach and vanilla and fig and sour cherry flavours. These taste delicious and are slightly higher in fat and calories, but still far fewer than a chocolate or cereal bar. It's a small snack and I'd be happy to give this to my toddler as it's easy to handle and tasty too. With a lot less sugar than a packet of raisins it's also a better option for his teeth.  

It's not always easy to find healthy food on the move so having a snack in your bag is often the only option. I carry fruit and water most of the time to ensure I am not tempted to buy something unhealthy to eat when I'm out. These bags are around the same size as a packet of crisps so they'd also be ideal for packed lunches or picnics. When we go on days out I like to have a few things to offer my boy in case he gets bored or hungry while we're out and it's not time for a meal yet. These would do the trick for that as well.

I would suggest having a drink handy as they can be a bit dry, but otherwise the Nothing But and Fru Snax range are a nice addition to the already burgeoning 'healthy food' market and for a change they actually are what they say.

Disclosure: We were sent samples of Nothing But and Fru Snax in order to write an honest review. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

All of your five a day... in a pen !!

Ok so I get a lot of boring post. The usual junk mail, menus for food I am not allowed to eat on a diet and offers to buy private healthcare or to change broadband supplier. It's not an inspiring array of items to open - especially as the run up to Christmas was mostly exciting parcels. 

In the last few days though I got an envelope which was a bit bumpy and I didn't know who it was from. Then I opened it and inside was this beauty !!
Ella's kitchen fruit pen
The lovely folks at Ella's Kitchen sent it as thanks for completing a survey for them. Come on, you can't tell me a fruit pen didn't raise a smile on a miserable February day :) 

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

This post is part of Mummy Never Sleeps linky All the small things 

Disclosure: Ella's Kitchen sent me this pen out of kindness and not for promotional purposes

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Easy like Sunday

 I'm so very, very tired that I'm just going to share this pic with you today.

Taking the lead from my boys I'm just taking it easy. 

Business as usual will resume this week *yawns*

Friday, 7 February 2014

Thank Honk it's Friday !!

I've never bought into this idea that Friday night is for going out and getting hammered. When I was a single lady (oh oh oh, oh oh oh... thanks Beyonce) I used to spend Friday evening in the gym as it was quiet and I could watch telly while on the treadmill and not have to deal with sweaty people working at a maddening pace to achieve the body beautiful. If that sounds a bit sad to you please be assured that I did really enjoy it and preferred to not wake up with a massive hangover on a Saturday morning.
Beyonce - all the single ladies

Of course now I'm a parent my Friday evenings are spent at home bathing the boy and getting us ready for a weekend of toddler activities. Often I'm preparing for my radio show - Are We Nearly There Yet ? - that is live on Saturday morning or talking to listeners during His & Hers - the radio show that me and Hubbie do together that goes out every other Friday evening. This is what we consider to be a Friday night in our house.

The new thing that we do on a Friday night is swimming. Since we joined the pool just down the road I've been swimming 4-5 times a week and often me and Hubbie take it in turns to have a swim when he's back from work. I used to go swimming with my siblings on a Friday evening when we were kids so the exercise on a Friday night thing is pretty traditional in my family. Tonight, however I was paddling up and down the pool in serenity and bliss ie. no one else was in there so I could pretend it was my private pool. I often do this and in my head I'm singing Julia Fordham 'Happy Ever After.' I recall she gave an interview where she said she swam every day and it helped her stay happy. It makes me happy too.

As I swam tonight though I was very aware of how much my body ached and hurt from walking all day on Wednesday for the Team Honk Baton Relay. It was a wet, windy, cold day and at one point when I stopped to get a cuppa at St Pancras with the lovely Gretta from Mumsdotravel I saw flashing lights in front of my eyes - this is not a good sign is it ? By the time I arrived in Fleet to handover the baton to Mummy Barrow I was very tired and hungry and my phone was down to 2% battery. I sent Hubbie a text saying what time I'd expect to get home and settled back in the quiet carriage with the half filled pizza box for the long journey back home. As I arrived at my station I saw my bus leaving so I took the tram instead and in a last flourish of energy scootered back home.

hashtag honkopoly trending on twitter
So you can imagine how chuffed I was to catch up with social media - once I'd charge up my phone -  to find out that while we were making our way around the Monopoly board in real life the hashtag #honkopoly was trending !! A few of us were taking photos and posting them as we went round and there was an army of social media helpers making sure that the attention was firmly on our efforts.

And if that wasn't brilliant enough we've also found out that not only are Team Honk top of the team fundraisers for Sport Relief, but our London team are top of the Freestyle Fundraiser category too !!
Sport Relief top fundraisers

Totally worth it to ache all over, have bruises on my ankles and getting a bit wet and cold.

Now that's my happy ever after :)

Thanks again to micro-scooters for kindly providing scooters to so many member of Team Honk. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Sunny Sunday Scooter School

If you've been living in a cupboard under the stairs without internet access you probably haven't heard that I'm taking part in Honkopoly as part of the Team Honk Baton Relay on Wed 5th February. I asked the nice folks at Micro-scooters if they would help me out and they sent me an adult scooter to help me whizz round London with my fellow bloggers visiting points on the Monopoly board.

So last weekend my boy (who is three) took me and Hubbie out to practice riding a scooter. He took the lead and we followed in his (very fast and accomplished) wake. We live on a very steep hill and when we got back home I was very, very tired indeed.

A grown woman on a scooter. Honestly, that has to be worth sponsoring ? Sponsor me

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

This post is part of Mummy Never Sleeps All The Small Things linky :)

Monday, 3 February 2014

February is the month of chocolate :)

I love chocolate. I don't mean anything as naff as 'I'm a chocaholic' (to be consigned to the same vocabulary bin as the word 'shopaholic' thank you) I mean I have a basic need and desire for chocolate. The name of this blog is probably a big clue, so it may come as a surprise to learn that I had not eaten any chocolate this year until Saturday just gone. I set myself a challenge to stop eating chocolate for the whole of January and it was actually fine. I put away all the chocolate we got for Christmas. I rationed the mini chocolate fingers and the mini chocolate animal biscuits for my son and I asked Hubbie to eat chocolate in another room from me to avoid temptation.

Del Ugo chocolate dessert pasta I didn't even feel any pangs of longing, then two days before the end of my self-inflicted deprivation I started to really crave chocolate again. My boy was talking to our lovely neighbour last Tuesday evening and he told her that 'Mummy loves chocolate pasta' which he has actually made up as I've never eaten it or mentioned it. Then the following day I saw this in Waitrose - chocolate pasta filled with chocolate creme. It's like they are inside my brain !!! I'm saving it for Valentine's Day and as it is so sinfully calorific I suspect it's going to be my actual dinner rather than a dessert as it's intended.

We still have a house full of treats and I'm trying very hard to resist even though the month of no chocolate is over so I've asked Hubbie not to get me any chocolate for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day or any other celebration for the foreseeable future. It's meant we have to be creative, but he's been getting me lovely things like a a spa day or some beauty treatments instead which is much more of a pampering treat and won't make me feel frumpy and fat :)

I joked with friends that I was going to eat all the chocolate in the house on the 1st February then spend the 2nd of February in a diabetic coma from the sugar overload. The thing is as I've not been eating chocolate for a month, now when I do it just tastes far too sweet and I feel a bit ill afterwards - don't worry it won't last I'm sure I'll get over it before too long !

Cocoa Boutique artisan truffles So, we established the new order where chocolate as a gift is no longer allowed. Then the lovely folks at Cocoa Boutique sent me these. I won a Twitter competition and these were my prize. I may just sneak the hazelnut ones into Hubbie's Valentine treats as I'm not really into pralines or nuts and chocolate generally. The others I might just have to enjoy myself.

Well it's rude not to isn't it ?