Showing posts with label Secret Santa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Secret Santa. Show all posts

Monday, 5 December 2016

My Secret Santa Gift Ideas

As you may have seen from some of my recent reviews, my family and I have been trying out some products over the last few weeks, to try and find some great gift ideas to include in our Secret Santa Gift Guide. I think that we have chosen a great selection to feature, and they are all under £20 so won't cost a small fortune either.

1) Morse Toad Chocolate Cards - Give the gift of personalised chocolate this Christmas, with a range of pre-selected wording, or text of your own choosing. This chocolate not only looks great but also tastes delicious and is sure to be a lovely and tasty surprise for the recipient. Stocking fillers are available too from only £2.75. Enter code HappyToadmas at the checkout to enjoy a 10% discount off your order. (Code expires Christmas Day 25/12/16).

2) Letterbox cakes by bakerdays - I absolutely love this concept, and the cake that we sampled, was not only delivered quickly but was a joy to eat too. They offer such an extensive range of designs that there is bound to be something to suit all tastes, with the added bonus that you can also personalise them. This is an ideal secret santa gift for the workplace, family member, or to simply send to someone as a fun festive treat.

3) Jelly Belly Bean Boozled - A great fun game to give as a Secret Santa gift, which is sure to make the gift recipient love you (or maybe hate you depending on how their taste buds are haha). You can't help yourself but laugh through this game, and at only £10 including a refill box, its a great unique gift that won't break the bank.

4) Biscuiteers have an amazing selection of gifts on their website, ranging from biscuits to cakes which all look visually fantastic. They even have a page that is dedicated to Secret Santa ideas. Their handmade Christmas biscuits look delicious, and the site features products to suit all price ranges. My favourite is the Santa Jolly Ginger which costs £6.

5) Gift Card- The ideal gift for the person who has everything. If you are really stuck for that Secret Santa gift, then you can't really go wrong with an Amazon Gift Card. These are available as physical gift cards, or can even be sent via email if you have left your gift right to the last minute.


Disclaimer - Whilst some of these products have been reviewed by us previously, they have been chosen by myself to feature in my Secret Santa gift guide. I have received no additional payment from any of the companies to include them other than the product for my original individual review. The link to Amazon however is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission payment for any referrals. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Brilliant & Bizarre Jelly Belly Bean Boozled Game - A Review

Whilst we were brainstorming for our Secret Santa gift ideas, my son mentioned a fun game that some of his friends had recently played. We had already selected 4 great presents to feature, but wanted something fun and little bit different to fill the fifth spot.

The game in question was Bean Boozled Jelly Beans by Jelly Belly, and I immediately thought how fantastic, a game involving sweets, who wouldn't like that? However, my son then went on to explain that these weren't just any jelly beans, and that the game featured some very weird and wonderful flavours.

Keen to discover more about this intriguing game, Jelly Belly kindly sent us a sample to try out for ourselves. When the product arrived, I was both excited and very nervous in equal measures.

The box is really bright and colourful, and immediately my eyes were drawn to the obvious Caution sign at the bottom of the box that said "Caution, contains weird and wild flavours". I was still keen to try it out however and began looking at all the surrounding images on the box which explained the different colours and flavours inside. They were:

  • Multi coloured - Tutti Fruitti flavour or.......Stinky Socks
  • Green - This could be Lime or.....................Lawn Clippings
  • Yellow - Buttered popcorn or.......................Rotten Egg
  • Blue - Berry Blue or.....................................Toothpaste
  • Peach - Peach or...........................................Vomit (This was the one I was most scared of).
  • Brown - Chocolate Pudding or.....................Canned dog food
  • Green - Juicy Pear or....................................Booger
  • White - Coconut or.......................................Baby wipes
The aim of the game is to take a turn on the spinner and see which colour it lands on. Each of the players then pick the corresponding coloured jelly bean. If you choose the tasty flavour then you win a point, but if you choose the bad tasting flavour then you lose a point. If you want to be really skillful then you could try and practice your best poker face and pretend that you are happily munching on buttered popcorn when really its Rotten Egg, but it is definitely not easy to try and pretend that your rotten egg flavour was delicious. Not easy at all! I did try to cheat a little and smell them beforehand to see if you could tell before tasting, and you couldn't smell a thing until it was bitten into, then it became quite obvious.

The great thing about this game, is that it isn't limited on players, so whether there are only 2 of you ready to play or 10, it is an inclusive game for all, the only danger being that you may run out of jelly beans, but you can buy them separately in order to keep them topped up.

We watched a few funny videos on YouTube prior to playing, though I'm not sure whether this was a good idea or not, as one minute I was laughing and the next I was filled with dread as to what they may taste like, but after building myself up to it, I was ready to play!

We sat down in the evening a couple of hours after eating our dinner, and the kids were already laughing before we had even began. My husband was confident that none of the flavours would bother him, and I was merely sat there wondering what on earth I had let myself in for. My son chose to spin first and it landed on blue. I was somewhat relieved by this, as the thought of a toothpaste jelly bean didn't bother me too much, but miraculously we all had correct Berry Blue flavour.

Next up my daughter took her turn to spin and it landed on brown, I was quite looking forward to trying a chocolate pudding jelly bean, but oh no, as soon as I bit into it, it tasted just how dog food smells and despite my best efforts to keep my disgusted face hidden, I just couldn't do it. I quickly ran to the kitchen to grab a drink, which in hindsight I should have made sure we all had before playing. The kids were all laughing hysterically at my panicked face, which was then making me giggle too whilst desperately trying to remove the dog food flavour from my tongue. I swear I can still taste it now.

I will hold my hand up at this point and admit that I excluded myself from the game when it landed on the peach colour, I just could not bring myself to try a vomit flavour jelly bean. Yes I am a total wimp, and either my kids are extremely good at lying, or they totally swerved this one and all managed to pick the correct flavour of peach again, so as of yet, none of us have had the unfortunate displeasure of tasting this one. The only one that didn't bother me too much was the toothpaste flavour as this just tasted like the pink drink you have at the dentist, although it was rather strange having it in sweet form!

The game is great fun both for families or groups of adults and although some of the jelly beans may taste vile, they don't actually contain any vomit or dog food, and I checked the ingredients on numerous occasions just to make sure. We are planning on playing this again over Christmas when all the family come round, and I am looking forward to seeing all their faces. I played this with my eldest children who are 8 & 10, which I felt was just about the right age for children to enjoy playing but obviously this is down to parent discretion.

If I was to change anything it would be to remove the vomit flavour and replace it with something less disgusting. I have a fear of being sick as it is, and so no matter how hard I tried to participate fully in the game, there was no way I could bring myself to try this one. Our version of the game was the 3rd edition, so it would seem that they change the flavours occasionally, so I would be interested to find out what flavours may be on the next edition.

Jelly Belly have a great combination offer on their UK site at present for a 100g box with spinner and a 45g refill pack for only £10. This can be found here: Jelly Belly Bean Boozled

Disclaimer: I was provided with this product free of charge, for the purpose of providing an honest opinion and review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Morse Toad's Messaging Service - A Review

Whilst beginning to prepare my guide to Secret Santa gifts this year, the kids and I sat down and had a little brainstorming session about the kind of gifts that we might like to receive when taking part in "Secret Santa". Needless to say Chocolate was a popular choice, and is likely to bring a smile to most faces, but I wanted to find something that was a bit more individual to a person than just your average box of chocolates.

I began my search and it wasn't long before I came across Morse Toad's Messaging Service, a company that specialise in the production of Chocolate Cards and gifts. I found the website very appealing, and the home page featured a variety of different designs that immediately grabbed my attention.

I had a good browse through the website, and found that they offered a wide range of gifts suitable for all occasions, along with a section dedicated to Christmas where you could purchase Christmas Cards & Stocking fillers. They also featured a handy gift guide that gives you some great ideas for gifts for family members, teachers, Santa himself, or even for that grumpy Scrooge in your life.

The website was very user friendly, and visually appealing. The text and graphics are all nicely displayed and none of the pages seemed too crowded which made it enjoyable to have a good look through the site.

In addition to ordering pre-designed Chocolate Cards, I noticed that there was an option for personalised gifts, so I headed over to this part of the site to find out exactly how it works. The instructions were very simple, and it was just an easy three step process.

Step one is to write your chosen message, using the four boxes provided. Each box represents a different row and you are allowed up to a maximum of 11 characters per line. After you are happy with your message, then you can add a personalised message which is printed on the card insert, this can be up to 180 characters in length. In this step you also have the option of adding a photo. There are several free Morse Toad images available, or you can pay an additional £1 to upload your own photo. The third and final step is to simply send your gift and place your order. It is so easy!

The cards and stocking fillers on the site are all individually priced, but the personalised Chocolate Cards have a very simple pricing structure which is:

1 row = £11
2 rows = £14
3 rows = £17
4 rows = £19

with an additional £1 charge if you choose to use your own photo.

I loved the fact that there is a simple price list, so that you know exactly what you will pay before designing your chocolate card, which is perfect if you are shopping on a budget or have a particular price range in mind.

It was also pleasing to see that orders placed before 1pm are dispatched the same day, which is great if you have left your gift to the last minute (which admittedly I sometimes do). The postage is free for UK orders over £10, so there are no nasty added surprises when you go to check out, but if you are in a rush and need urgent next day delivery then this can also be arranged for a cost of £4.95 per address. International delivery is also available for an additional charge and this is calculated based on the size and weight of your package.

I placed my order at 3pm on Monday, and a few minutes later I received email confirmation. The email stated exactly what I had requested for the card, and so it gave me another chance to double check that I had done it all correctly. The following day I received a further message confirming that my order had been shipped and my chocolate card then arrived with me on the Wednesday. I was so happy and surprised that it had taken less than 48 hours from ordering to the point of delivery.

The product fitted through my letterbox, which is great as I have to do three school runs a day and so it can be frustrating when I then miss a parcel and have to wait until the next day to collect it.

On opening the box, I found my chocolate card beautifully presented in tissue paper. I quickly opened it up to see my chosen design and the personalised photo I had selected. The photo print slots into the top of the card and it can be pulled out and kept. The message I had chosen to write was printed on the reverse, and I was especially pleased that the print was the perfect size to fit in my purse, which in effect actually made it two gifts in one.

The reverse of the box provides information on the ingredients, the best before date, the weight, and the companies contact details. There is also an advisory notice that the product is manufactured in a Nut environment, so this is something you may need to consider if purchasing for someone with allergies.

Despite travelling quite a long way in the post, I was delighted that all the chocolate was completely intact and there were no chocolate marks on the plastic casing that covers the treat. The card is so nicely presented it almost seemed a shame to open it, but I soon got over that, and within minutes I was enjoying the delicious chocolate inside.

It was Belgian Milk chocolate and it tasted absolutely divine. Each piece was a bite sized solid block that was of an excellent quality and taste. As I mentioned previously it is manufactured in a nut environment, however three big plus points about the chocolate is that it is Gluten Free and also it does not contain eggs or alcohol. The tasty treat literally melted in my mouth, and I begrudgingly then shared it with the rest of the family who enjoyed it just as much as me.

Overall I was really pleased with the service from start to finish. I found the whole process not only easy, but also really enjoyable and I was impressed with the speed of delivery. The chocolate was of great quality, and the presentation makes it a lovely unique gift and I will definitely be featuring this product in my Secret Santa gift guide at the beginning of December.

In the future it would be great to see some additional chocolate flavours being added such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, and an organic option for example. However from reading the FAQ's this is something that the company is already working on and they are hoping to introduce further choices for their customers very soon which is great to hear!

If you would like to try out Morse Toad's Messaging Service for yourself then they have kindly provided me with a code for my readers to enjoy 10% off their orders. Simply enter HappyToadmas at the checkout. (Code expires Christmas Day 25/12/16).

*Disclaimer - Morse Toad kindly provided me with this product in exchange for an honest review and opinion of their service/product.