An end of an era…

*Warning!* Not only is this post tempting clichés, it is also incredibly likely to be rather long given that I’m updating you on just shy of a months worth of socialising (ha) and general shenanigans. But I think it’s allowed, given I’ve just moved home after finishing three years as an undergraduate at Liverpool Hope University.

After my last post at the start of the month, I had two weeks to revise for six hours of exams. I didn’t think the pressure would be too bad, given that it was a seen paper and I usually manage pretty well with exams. This time round though things got a little bit too stressful for my liking. I think it was because I knew that the exams could have a massive impact on my final grade. I didn’t want to throw it away at the last-minute and let myself down. Regardless, I knuckled down and I think, with hindsight, they actually went ok. Three hours was a long time to sit and write continuously, and my blood pressure acted up during both the exams, but stress can do that. I simply had to bite back the panic and use it to fuel my work. I’d still rather take essays over exams any day!

Within an hour of my last exam I was on route to Lime Street station for a weekend at home. It was a wonderful weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family without feeling guilty over not working. I spent Saturday acting as a Brownie leader at the North East regional event for the Brownie centenary. This was during the hottest day the North East has experienced so far in 2014. Doesn’t sound too bad as it is the North East of England, but we were melting. The event was outdoor and while we all had a great day, there wasn’t enough sunscreen to stop us burning. That evening I went out for a family meal with Mum’s side of the family as my aunt and uncle were visiting from Australia. We had a lovely meal and it was fab to see them but I was shattered by the end of the meal after a day in the sun as a Brownie leader! I got home only to be requested out by Mum to join them at the local pub where they were celebrating a birthday. I went because it was a chance to relax with Mum and my stepdad after months of uni commitments. We had a lazy day on Sunday, mainly dog walking and spending time at the allotment. On Monday I had an interview for my old summer job. I have since heard back that my interview was successful, but I won’t find out where or when I start until my medical and references are returned. I treated myself to a pamper at my local beauticians, including an eyelash perm, before I met Mum at the train station for a cuppa before my train home. The train was a direct one to Liverpool! About time Transpennine started that service up again, just as I’m leaving! Anyway, I left sunny Newcastle behind and arrived in Liverpool just in time for a huge thunderstorm. Terrifying. Honestly, they’re one of my biggest fears, so being on a bus did not help.

The week that followed my trip home was spent in placement during the day and socialising during the evening. Seriously, I went pretty much the whole of my undergraduate degree being a social hermit, only to spend just about every evening of my final two weeks in Liverpool out celebrating. I should however clarify that by ‘celebrating’, I actually mean going for a meal with friends and enjoying a glass of wine with it. That’s my ideal night out, second only to a cosy pub natter. One of the conditions for my September course is that I gain five days observation of key stage two. I currently have four days (due to the interview) and I am finalising the details of another similar placement back home to make up the missing hours. I was in a lovely primary school (I’m being totally honest here – the staff and majority of the students were gems) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It once again confirmed for me that while my heart is set on teaching, it is most definitely set on teaching secondary school history! I fully admire primary school teachers for the amount of knowledge they need, and I enjoyed acting as another teaching assistant when needed, but I’d want to rotate everything around history!

So the socialising. Well Tuesday night was the HisPol Society Ball. I opted to attend this event rather than the official Hope 2014 Grad Ball because frankly the majority of my classmates were going, it was slightly cheaper and looked far more entertaining. It was a cracking night. I have never enjoyed a night out at uni as much as I did that evening. The Ball had a 1920s theme and it was amusing to see how many stuck to it (about a handful, myself included, but I think every lass curled her hair!). Our ticket included a two course meal at Alma de Cuba (which I highly recommend a visit) and the rest of the evening was spent in a speakeasy! I admit, I squealed when we entered the speakeasy – it was behind a bookcase! How could I not?! The jazz band we had were fantastic and I danced the night away without a care in the world. Well apart from being conscious that I had to get the bus to school the next morning! From the speakeasy we went to one of the lads house for a house party, which admittedly flattened the atmosphere of the evening. I left about 1.15am and could have had a lie in the next morning as my first bus didn’t turn up! I was literally just in time for school, but it sure made me appreciate my car even more.

Over the course of the past two weeks I’ve had various leaving meals to thank everyone I’ve met over the three years. My Oxfam meal was cut short for me as I had to dash off to my final performance with Hope Concert Band (the date was changed for concert over Easter, by which point the meal had been booked) but I had a wonderful night out. I also had several meals out with my housemates before we respectfully moved out. We had a ‘girlie meal’ before we went to see Little Mix at the Echo (no surprise, they were AMAZING!) and we went for a house Mexican meal one lunch. I also attended a band BBQ, which despite the rain, was a hoot. I went for a Greek meal with my fellow guide leaders and later in the week pizza and cocktails, and I was treated by another friend to a two course, home-cooked, vegan meal which I thoroughly enjoyed (especially dessert!).

My grandparents visited me for a couple of days in my final week and we had a fantastic time. I thoroughly enjoyed showing them my adoptive city and sharing the places and knowledge I’ve gained. I’m considering doing a little tourist guide to Liverpool on here (alongside the beauty stuff, it will appear eventually I promise!) which will go more in-depth into my favourite areas of Liverpool.

Before the mayhem of packing occurred, I spent Saturday with my Scouse unit at the Big Gig at the Echo Arena. Big Gig is an amazing concert for members of GirlGuiding UK and I’ve been to a fair few over the years. The majority have been in London, and it just seemed like fate for my final Big Gig with 136th to be in Liverpool. It offers a variety of performers, some big names such as Pixie Lott, Lawson and Tinie Tempah (we’ve also had Sophie Ellis-Bexter, McFly, The Saturdays and Rizzle Kicks to name a few in previous years) and some new up-coming artists, including Loveable Rogues who were finalists in Britain’s Got Talent and Leah McFall from The Voice. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I treated it as a rehearsal for Isle of Wight festival (not long now!) and was raving away to Tinie Tempah and Kimberly Wyatt (much to the unit’s amusement!).

I’m typing this back at home as I moved back today. It took me just over a day to pack two years at Newcastle Road away. Even after filling the wheelie bin from empty, and taking a taxi to Oxfam with donations, it was still a close fit getting everything in, but we managed it. A huge thanks to my stepdad who left home at 4.20am to move me out. I was expecting him to arrive just before 8am, and I’m pleased I was up early and everything was sorted because 7.15am he knocked on my door! In less than fifteen minutes he’d played Tetris with my stuff and we were heading for home. By noon we’d arrived (after an incredibly posh service stop to stretch our legs) and I’ve done everything but unpack. Oops. I’ll get round to it tonight and tomorrow. So that’s you all up to speed, here’s some photos of some of the stuff I’ve mentioned and I pinky promise I’ll be better with the blogging for the near future!

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Fairtrade Fortnight: 24 February – 9 March

Now I am well aware that this is nearly over, but I want to mention this event to raise awareness of the vast quantity of fair trade products that available, particularly in the UK. The first two that usually spring to mind are chocolate and bananas – purely because they are the most commonly spoken about. The current campaign for this year is to Make bananas Fair – you can read about it and the Fairtrade Foundation here and sign the petition here. I’m going to sign the petition after work today – we need to make our voices, and the voices of the farmers, heard and acknowledged. I’ll admit I’m not all that snazzy when it comes to politics, but I truly believe that we need to do more to ensure that fairness is achieved for all.

Now I’m a student. I live on a tight budget. Yet I still try to buy fair trade products as often as I can. I am partly able to do this because I volunteer in Oxfam and our store in particular has a huge selection of fair trade products. It’s not just about food either. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get Fairtrade lip balms, hand creams, BB creams, condoms, shampoo, washing powder … the list goes on! It’s well worth having a browse online and seeing where you can buy fair trade items. Yes it can be a little bit more costly, but not by a substantial amount and treat it like your good deed of the day! Your hard work is improving someone else’s life and making a big difference to them, their family and community.

The photo contains just some of my favourite Fairtrade products that I regularly buy. The coffee is beautiful and the stem ginger biscuits are simply divine. I always buy a packet for Mum when I go home as they are a household favourite. The dark chocolate, orange and ginger chocolate is my little pick-me-up luxury. I also use some of the household products and the quality is exceptional. It’s worth paying the extra for.

Seeing as it is the start of Lent, instead of giving alms why not buy something Fairtrade every week? Even if you’ve given up sweet treats, there are still many other things you could buy. To make things a little more cost-effective, up until the end of Fairtrade Fortnight (9 March) you can get 20% all Fairtrade food products (excluding the Easter range – yes there’s Fairtrade Easter Eggs!) in Oxfam shops. Go on, make a difference and let’s get fair trading for all!

Flapjacks and surprises

I know it’s been a long time since I last did a Graze review, I’m going to combine the two boxes into one post again. Frankly I’d been saving some of the punnets to have as a special treat and then third year seemed to just sneak up. Even though I feel like I’ve severely neglected my dissertation research! That’s going to change once I get over this horrendous cold that has also snuck up on me. I’ve got a horrid barky cough and now my nose has decided it wants to bug me. By the time it gets to eight at night I’m exhausted. Thankfully I’ve managed to get plenty of sleep each night, but I’m taking today out to try to fully recoup. I’ve got a busy week ahead of me before I go home for the weekend and I want this cold gone.

This box arrived before I returned to uni, so I saved it until then because frankly I didn’t really need the snacks while I was home. I was very happy with what turned up because I’d already sampled the seeds and popcorn (but before I began reviewing them) and the other punnets looked to be just as tasty.

Cherry Fudge Sundae – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: chocolate fudge, blanched almonds, cherry infused raisins and cherries. Fudge and cherries. There was never going to truly be an issue with this punnet, unless the almonds tasted funny. They didn’t, so this punnet was an instant win. The cherries were lovely and tart, balanced out rather nicely by the fudge pieces and the slightly salted almonds. The raisins didn’t taste overtly cherry-like, but they were decent enough. I personally still don’t understand Graze’s love for infusing raisins with different flavours.

Apple and Cinnamon Flapjack – I can’t remember if I’ve already sampled these but they’re a firm ‘love’. Graze description: rustic rolled oat flapjack with apple and cinnamon. Part of me feels like I’ve had these flapjacks before, but I’m not complaining. I adore flapjacks and I will, before I graduate, make my own. These were pleasantly chewy, and the cinnamon wasn’t overpowering. I’d definitely try to make my own version of this punnet as the flavours were wonderful.

Natural Vanilla Seeds – a non-mover at ‘love’. Graze description: vanilla sunflower seeds and vanilla pumpkin seeds. I’m pleased I’d already sampled this punnet because when I had it as a snack at work, it got knocked and half the punnet ended up on the floor. The other half had fortunately been eaten. I was rather disappointed that my clumsiness had resulted in the loss, because it was really yummy. The seeds have a slightly candied feel about them, meaning that they are a little sticky. Possibly the worst punnet to knock over really. I look forward to getting them again and finishing the whole punnet!

Lightly Salted Popcorn – moved from ‘like’ to ‘love’. I love when I get some popping corn in my box! The amount of popcorn it yields is huge! It’s super quick in the microwave and tastes amazing. I had this last week with a glass of wine and it was a lovely treat. This was the punnet item that I had saved and I had it after a long and tiring day. It perked my evening up and put a smile on my face. More so because it was an incredibly healthy snack. It was the perfect savory snack and the salt was barely there, but enough to add flavour.

And now for the second box. I wasn’t quite quick enough to untick ‘Cherry Fudge Sundae’ as a ‘send soon’ so I received it again in the next delivery. I wasn’t complaining, but I was surprised that it turned up that quickly. I’ve also sampled the ‘Black Pepper Pistachios’ which you can read about through the link. This box didn’t last as long as the previous one, I’d finished it within a few days!

Applewood Smoked Beef Jerky – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: British beef jerky and smoky tomato relish. I was a little apprehensive about this punnet, which I had initially binned when I first joined Graze. I reminded myself that the whole point of getting Graze was to try new things so moved it to ‘try’ with ‘send soon’. I absolutely loved it and have opted to keep it on ‘send soon’, hoping that it will come next week like the Sundae punnet unintentionally did. It tasted just like a Pepperami stick, only healthier and the relish was delicious.

Jaffa Cake Flapjack – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: rustic rolled oat flapjack with chocolate and orange. Personally this tasted just like the ones I got in a GoodyBox. That review can be found here.

Jaffa and spice

Just before I returned home for Christmas break, I received my Graze delivery. It was predominantly spicy and all contained some form of nut, which I actually really liked. One punnet I’d already sampled – Jaffa Cake – but that appears to have been before I started this feature on the blog, so it’s featured here just to be sure.

Spicy Corn Taco – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: spicy chilli peanuts, edamame beans and roasted corn. Remember how I said I wasn’t one hundred percent certain on peanuts? Well this selection of punnets confirmed that as I’ve loved both sets of spicy chilli peanuts. I’m also getting use to corn, which is useful seeing as they’ve featured strongly in the past few deliveries. Edamame beans are also becoming a firm favourite – they have an unusual texture, as they aren’t as brittle as the corn, but they don’t feel as firm as peanuts. Regardless, I think they taste really nice and add a bit of balance between the corn and peanuts.

Texan Corn Salsa – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: corn chips, salsa almonds and roasted corn. The almonds really made this punnet. I loved the flavouring of them and as a nut they weren’t too strong, which was rather pleasant. The corn chips were a bit dry, but tasty nonetheless, and the roasted corn was the same as the other roasted corn I’ve sampled – a rather mild flavour, but enough to balance the almonds and chips.

El Picante – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: jumbo salted corn, spicy chilli peanuts and mini paprika breadsticks. A different flavour on the breadsticks, and they were just as delicious as previous samples. The peanuts were the same as the ones in Spicy Corn Taco and they went really well with the breadsticks. The jumbo corn was a little too salty for me, but it was alright in with the rest of the punnet. I still really enjoyed this punnet though.

[inspired by] Jaffa Cake – stayed at ‘love’. Graze description: roasted hazels, orange infused raisins and dark chocolate buttons. I ate the hazelnuts first because they were my least favourite bit. I’m not that keen on the taste of hazelnuts, but when eaten with a raisin, especially an orange infused one, they taste alright. The chocolate buttons were the best bits of this mix. I really appreciated this punnet when I had them as my train snack!

A double whammy of grazing

I’m back! This past fortnight has been manic but I’m going to be making up for my absence with plenty of posts that I’ve been desperate to write, but haven’t had the time to type them up. I’m going to start with Graze as I’m two deliveries behind and the next box has just arrived today.

The first box to get reviewed arrived the week before Berlin (which seems like an age now). I was a bit apprehensive about the yaki soba, given how much I disliked the last Japanese flavour combo, but that’s the fun of Graze – trying new things!

Sour Cream and Garlic Crostini – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: garlic crostini and sour cream and onion cashews. I put this into my cheese mug shot to liven up my lunch as it was essentially croutons and cashew nuts. I ate the cashews first and then tipped it in. The only flavour coming through really was the garlic, but then I think I was expecting something artificially overpowering (but still delicious) like Pringles. Regardless I would definitely enjoy this box again.

Cracking Black Peppercorn – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: black pepper rice crackers. Another lunch time addition and it was equally as delicious. They weren’t too spicy, but there was definitely some heat behind the black pepper, which I really liked. They did taste a little bit greasy, but I guess that’s just to do with how they were made. It didn’t stop them from being yummy, but I wouldn’t eat them as a stand alone snack.

Olive and Rosemary Bruschetta – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: mini tomato breadsticks, rosemary and garlic cashews and kalamata olive croutons. Most of this box I’d already sampled in other punnets, but it was lovely to have them all in one punnet together. The breadsticks were my favourite, followed by the cashews, and the croutons were surprisingly nice, not too brittle. I’d happily eat this many times.


Yaki Soba – moved from ‘try’ to ‘bin’. Graze description: soba peanut, edamame beans, chilli and lemon chickpea noodles and chilli broad beans. This punnet was just down right weird. I’m not particularly a fan of peanuts and I really disliked the soba flavouring. I also disliked the noodles, the texture didn’t feel right to me. The edamame and broad beans were really nice actually, it was a shame that the other two components didn’t appeal.

 

The second box arrived just after Berlin and it had a festive theme in the decorations, I’m going to make my robin this week, seeing as I don’t have essays to be writing. This box was another savory box, it feels like it’s been ages since I last got a sweet treat in my box! I can’t really complain though as it was very delicious.

Cheddar Gorge – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: cheese cashews, baked herb bites and salsa corn sticks. It’s almost like Graze have been reading all my box-related posts because I’ve had an abundance of cashew nuts, which of course I’ve since discovered I adore. This punnet was ideal for me as I am a complete cheese fiend. Cheese flavoured cashews was like the next level of yumminess. I was a very happy girl when I had this punnet. The baked bites were lovely, less oily than the rice crackers, but I was a bit unsure on the corn sticks. They were nice, but I only liked them because the flavouring added a nice contrast to the cheese.

Korean Chilli Rice Crackers – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: spicy chilli rice crackers. I ate these on the bus between jobs and it was a very pleasant snack, but I wish I’d eaten it at home because they did smell a bit strong and I don’t think the lady on the bus next to me was very impressed. The spice level was fairly hot, but not unbearably so. I thoroughly enjoyed them. They didn’t leave a greasy after-taste either like the other rice crackers.

Habas Tapas – moved from ‘try’ to ‘like’. Graze description: roasted corn, chilli broad beans and jumbo chilli corn. I really liked the chilli broad beans, but I found both variants of corn rather brittle. There’s just something about the texture. I didn’t mind them in with the broad beans, but I think they would be very dependent on what else they were in with as to whether I’d like them.

Smoky BBQ Corn – moved from ‘try’ to ‘like’. Graze description: jumbo salted corn and smoked cashews. Guess what. I loved the cashews and wasn’t that fussed on the corn. Hence why it’s been lowered from ‘love’ to ‘like’. The smoky flavour was pleasant but I didn’t like it being combined with the salted corn, as I found them too salty.

Advent and apologies

First off, I apologise for my silence – third year has well and truly struck! I was away last week on a fieldtrip to Berlin and have spent the remaining time on both my dictators essay and PGCE application. I handed in my essay this morning, collected some textbooks for my next one and I’m going to tackle my application again tonight. I had it already to send off last week before I went away, only for UCAS to decide to make the box for my personal statement tiny. While my characters were under the limit and I was on 47 lines, that box claims that it’s 7 lines too long. After spending a week culling it, I’m going to tackle it a fresh once more and see what I can do with it. I’ll be happier once it’s all handed in. Instead I’m taking a breather from all things academic to do a little blogging and I intend to have a full on pamper session tonight.

I’ll start with the weekend before I went to Berlin as it was a bit of a mixed two days. I was pulling my hair out in tears at UCAS in the morning (pathetic I know but I felt like I’d put my heart and soul into it for nothing) before participating in the fashion event at my Oxfam shop. We’d been planning the event for a couple of months and I’m really pleased with how the public responded. Several of the volunteers and I stood in the window for two hours in various party outfits chosen from the shop and we all had great fun waving at the public. Despite the let down from the local newspaper, we still received a fantastic response from the public and the shop was pretty busy for most of the day once the Darby match had finished.

My hair and make up for the window – I am wearing a lovely dress but I wasn’t 100% certain with the hair

The following day involved a trip into Liverpool centre to get some last-minute items for Berlin. Seeing as the washing machine was still out of action, I had to buy a towel and I ended up treating myself to a new outfit – high-waisted jeans that actually fit and a cosy jumper. I’d gone into town with one of my friends from my course as we had half price tickets to see Ed Byrne. After our shopping we had tea at Wagamama’s, which was a pleasant change, and then we went to the Empire for the show. It was well worth the money and we had an excellent time.

From Monday to Friday last week I was in Berlin with the history, politics and media departments from uni. I went to Madrid with them last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for this trip. I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Thankfully the majority of the trip was completely different to my last visit to the city, although it did help knowing where things were in the centre and how to use the public transport. So far Berlin is my favourite place in the EU that I’ve been to, and I’d happily visit it again, especially when the Advent markets are there. We went to several and had a fabulous time. I started on my Christmas shopping and sampled lots of yummy food. There was plenty of free time available alongside optional and mandatory trips during our stay and I definitely got what I wanted out of the trip. For me it was all about the history, seeing as that’s what I paid the money for, and I feel like I could go back and still learn more about the rich history Berlin is steeped with. I could go on and on about the trip, but that would probably take too long. Instead I’ll give you a couple of snap shots of my favourite parts of the trip.

As much as I would have liked to take the weekend off to fully recover from the trip, I had several promises to keep. The first was to attend panto with my guide unit on the Friday evening. I literally landed and jumped on the first bus into town. I adore pantomimes, have done ever since I was a kid, and every year my Scouse guide unit go to see the rock and roll panto. I couldn’t let a little thing like a flight stop me from seeing my final panto with them. It was very entertaining, especially as I still had to get some of the local phrases explained to me. I probably would have appreciated it more, had I not been shattered and a little travel sick, but beggars can’t be choosers. When I eventually got home, it was straight to bed and a well-earned kip!

I spent the majority of the weekend finishing my research and writing my dictators essay. Boy am I pleased to be able to forget about that for a while! It’s been a real struggle as I’ve not enjoyed the topic as much as I usually do when writing an essay, but I’ve done the best that I could on it. On Saturday evening I performed with my university concert band at the Creative Campus and it was such a fantastic concert. I enjoyed it so much and look forward to our next two performances – Christmas staff service and then the Mother’s Day concert at the Palm House. I spent Sunday morning out with several members of the Amnesty Society participating in the 10th Santa Dash around Liverpool. Despite having to get up ridiculously early in the morning, it was such an uplifting and hilarious morning. There were literally thousands of Santas jogging around Liverpool and I hope everyone else who participated enjoyed it as much as we did. For some more information/photos from our outing, have a nose here and you can still donate if you wish here. Many thanks for everyone who has already donated and for all the support we’ve received.

After the Santa Dash

Now the final thing I’d like to mention in this post is my happiness that advent has arrived, although how quickly the year has gone! Not surprisingly after spending the morning in a Santa suit, I was feeling incredibly festive yesterday. I love everything to do with Christmas, although not so much the time and hassle it takes to get gifts etc. Part of the homily yesterday was about it being the time of patience and calm as we wait for the birth of Christ, so I am going to try to relax as much as I can and just enjoy the festive season. There’s so much to enjoy over the next few weeks as Mum is coming to visit for an extended weekend on Friday, Christmas camp is the following week once my final essay of this term has been handed in, and then I have a week to chill and pack before I go back home. And every day I get to open another door on my Ciate advent calendar! Tis the season!

Two of my favourite things – Advent and nail varnish!

New nibbles!

This is actually the box that I got nearly a fortnight ago, it just takes me a while to get through a box now third year has well and truly kicked in. I’m taking a break out of my rather successful weekend of research to finally give my review on the NibbleBox (it’s been finished for nearly a week now) as I need to write about something other than Mussolini. After this week, I’m going back to just getting one box a fortnight as this weeks GoodyBox was a repeat of everything I’ve had before, and when I checked the website, there was only one thing I hadn’t tried yet. It didn’t seem worthwhile paying £3.89 when I only wanted one thing and I much prefer the treats available in the NibbleBox. Anyway, back to the NibbleBox. This time it contained some of the new punnets that have recently been added and I was really looking forward to sampling them.

New Chocolate Pretzel – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: chocolate sauce and poppyseed pretzels. Now I know that so far my track record with pretzels has been a bit hit and miss, however the chocolate sauce made all the difference. The sauce wasn’t sickly (and I ate every last drop of the stuff) and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the pretzels were when dipped in the sauce. I’m not a huge lover of sweet and savory combined, but this got a big thumbs up from me! It’s not one to eat in polite company though (at least not if you’re as messy as I am), the sauce is just too nice. Plus they’d probably want to sample it.

Mumbai Masala – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: baked curry bites, spicy chickpeas and masala cashews. As soon as I saw this in my box, I knew I was going to love it. I’ve loved the baked bites and cashews in every punnet they’ve previously featured, and they did not disappoint. If anyone knows of a place I can get different flavoured cashews, I will love you forever. I was intrigued by the chickpeas – I love them in curry etc, but I’ve never had them cold. They were also wonderful. Most definitely a winner from Graze!

New Banana Spilt – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: fudge pieces, honey almond slivers, pumpkin seeds and banana coins. I can safely say I’ve never had a banana split quite like this. I guess I’m boring and unimaginative, seeing as I’d settle for banana, ice cream and maybe some sauce. This was a delightful little snack that put a smile on my face as I was in the process of manic bread baking. The flavours were delicious. I wasn’t a hundred percent certain on the dried banana as I’ve always avoided it in the past. Mostly because I like fresh banana and the dried form looks rather pathetic. When eating a selection of the punnet together, it tastes lovely, so I may try it again in future. The rest of the punnet tipped the move into ‘love’ rather than a mere ‘like’ as the almond, pumpkin seeds and fudge pieces were very autumnal and refreshing.

New Apricotti Biscotti – moved from ‘try’ to ‘love’. Graze description: amaretti drops, dark chocolate coated apricots and green raisins. I took this punnet into lecture on Tuesday and it went down relatively well (with the ones who actually eat fruit). This was probably the most sophisticated punnet I’ve had from Graze – the dark chocolate and marzipan flavoured drops made it seem very luxurious. I did find that the chocolate masked the taste of the apricots, which was a bit of a disappointment, but I still really enjoyed the punnet.

Now when you compare the delights of this box, to some of the rather lack-luster punnets from the GoodyBox, it’s quite obvious why I opted to save some money, especially with my upcoming trip to Berlin and then the festive season begins in earnest! Despite my best efforts, I am getting more and more excited for Christmas, but that’s mainly because I can’t wait to spoil my loved ones and I’ve got a couple more markets planned. Also my mum is coming down for a festive girly weekend next month and I’m so excited for that. Well that’s my break up, now back to this essay…