Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

At Christmas time I can’t get enough of mulled drinks. Mulled wine is a favourite but a few years ago I tried Mulled Cider and my head was turned. I’m more likely to drink Mulled Cider at home and it’s such a delicious and warming drink, it really sings Christmas to me.

When I mull at home, I usually use a ready-made spice sachet, usually one from Steenbergs because I can’t fault them. This Christmas I’ve been using the Spices for Spiced Cider and Apple Juice and they’ve really hit the spot. All you do is warm through a litre of cider or apple juice, tip one of the sachets in and after a few minutes it’s ready.

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

Sometimes, and this is not very often, I mull too much cider and I’ll have some left. Sure, I could heat it up again later, but I fancied making something different with it. I thought I’d make some Mulled Cider Jellies. It turns out they make a really interesting, different and delicious festive dessert. You could make them just as well with apple juice if you’re serving them to children or people who don’t drink alcohol. This recipe makes 4 good-sized jellies.

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

Mulled Cider Jellies


1 pint of mulled cider or mulled apple juice
2 tablespoons of sugar
A sachet of Dr Oetker Vege Gel

How to make Mulled Cider Jellies:

Take about 200mls of your cooled mulled cider and stir the Vege Gel into it, make sure all the powder dissolves.

Add the sugar and bring the remainder of the cider to the boil, once it’s boiling, add your 200mls of cider and Vege Gel into the pan and stir, stir, stir.

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

Make sure you have your moulds ready for your jelly as it will start to set really quite quickly. I used some small glass pyrex dishes and also a metal cake mould in the shape of a star. You could make one big jelly if you prefer.

Pour your jelly carefully into your serving dishes and put them in the fridge until it’s set properly. This took about two hours, but if you can it is probably worth leaving the jelly overnight in the fridge.

I turned my jelly mould out onto a serving plate, be careful when you do this so not to break the jelly.

Serve with good vanilla ice cream.

Be careful if you’re turning your jelly out of the moulds, I tried to move my jelly and ended up breaking a little piece off the corner which I then covered with ice cream, so it was all fine in the end.

It’s such a pretty little pudding, easy to do and something a bit different at Christmas.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like to try –

Christmas Recipe: Mulled Cider Jellies

I was sent some mulled cider spice by Steenbergs and decided to use in in this recipe. I have not been compensated for this post.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a lovely book by Lucy Reynolds and illustrated by Jenna Herman. It’s about a brother and sister, Archie and Grace,  who go on an autumnal walk and discover a little family of hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is a gorgeous nature trail of a book, with lots of wildlife tucked away on each page to spot. The pages are alive with autumnal colours, with brightly coloured leaves littering the book. The children and the buildings are somewhat grayer, and all the natural things are as colourful as nature allows.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don't Live in the City

The words are the understated star of this book. They’re gloriously descriptive; whipping winds, pounding footsteps and dancing leaves. Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City really draws you in and you can almost smell the mellow fruitfulness of autumn.

Towards the back of the book there are pages of hedgehog facts and pages about how you can help hedgehogs in your own garden. I find hedgehogs are well-loved little creatures and children really enjoy reading and learning all about them. This is a lovely book to give to a little one who loves hedgehogs and nature.

Book Review: Hedgehogs Don't Live in the City

Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City is suitable for ages 4-8. It is a lovely autumnal read and probably a great accompaniment to a nature trail too. The illustrations are beautiful, but for me, it’s a real joy of a book to read out loud, both for me and my son.

A Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City by Lucy Reynolds costs £7.99 in paperback. It is published by Doodles & Scribbles and it is available from a wide range of bookshops and to order directly from Doodles & Scribbles.

If you enjoyed this review of Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City, you might also be interested in The Hedgehog and her Hoglet.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Hedgehogs Don’t Live in the City for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Every year The Lowry in Salford Quays puts on a big family show. It’s not always Christmassy, but it’s always a good alternative to the traditional Panto. This year The Lowry are playing host to Doctor Dolittle The Musical and we went along to see if he really could talk to the animals.

Based on the popular 1967 film with Rex Harrison; this spectacular new stage show stars Mark Williams as the eccentric Doctor. In Doctor Dolittle, join him and his human companions and his exotic menagerie of animal friends on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail. With help from the Pushmi-Pullyu and his trusty sidekick Polynesia the Parrot, the good Doctor teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well!

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

Fans of the original film, or the Eddie Murphy re-make will spot a few changes to the original story, but the main characters and the most favourite songs survive. In this production there is more of a focus on Doctor Dolittle’s relationship with the animals rather than him falling in love. Matthew Muggs played by Patrick Sullivan instead falls in love with Emma Fairfax (Mollie Melia-Redgrave).

The production is lush and visually striking, with a versatile paper set designed by Tom Piper. Each scene is brought to life by the animal puppets. There are 39 animal puppets and each one moves authentically and you really start to see some of them as actual animals rather than puppets, especially Jip the dog who is just wonderful. There are two giant puppets – the Giant Pink Sea Snail and the Giant Lunar Moth who are especially well done. At the end the moth flutters over the front few rows holding Doctor Dolittle in its legs, it’s very well done.

Mark Williams as Doctor Dolittle is warm and just crotchety enough. He doesn’t dominate the stage, but gives the animals the space to shine. Matthew Muggs (Patrick Sullivan) is a charming, engaging everyman, whilst Mollie Melia-Redgrave as Emma Fairfax is by far the strongest vocalist in the show and leads us through a procession of songs.

Little Tommy Stubbins; the boy who escapes from the orphanage to go on a grand adventure with Doctor Dolittle; is ably and enthusiastically played by six young boys. I think Thomas Ryan played Tommy on the night we attended and he is someone to watch out for in the future.

Vicky Entwistle voices and is the co-puppeteer for Polynesia the parrot. It’s a large part but I found myself drawn to watching Vicky instead of Polynesia, which was quite distracting. Doctor Dolittle also stars Brian Capron as both Albert Blossom and Straight Arrow. As Albert Blossom (the circus owner) he was brilliantly bawdy and it took a moment for me to recognise him. I really did enjoy the colourful circus scenes which were a real highlight.

Review: Doctor Dolittle The Musical at The Lowry

I feel I must mention the Ensemble cast, who were superb. They really helped to move the story along and were all lively, engaging and great singers and puppeteers.

The production contains 24 songs, some of which you might remember from the films (Talk to the Animals; I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It; and My Friend The Doctor). Doctor Dolittle is two and a half hours long, including a 20 minute interval; there are a couple of parts where the action really slows, which is a shame in an otherwise colourful show.

Doctor Dolittle The Musical is a joyful, colourful, all singing and dancing family show. Fans of the film would really enjoy the musical; and as Albert Blossom would say, you’ve never seen anything like it in your life!

For more information about Doctor Dolittle The Musical, and to buy tickets, visit the website.

Check out our run down of family theatre shows in the region this Christmas.

We were invited guests of The Lowry, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries

Chocolate brownies are universally popular. I know my family absolutely adore them and whenever I make a batch, they usually disappear far too quickly. Brownies are the kind of thing you can easily adapt for different occasions or tastes.

This week I’ve decided to bake the classic – chocolate and cherry brownies, but I gave them a festive twist and baked them with Opies Black Cherries with Luxardo Kirsch. They were so gooey and good – the perfect brownie!

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries

Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries


250g milk chocolate
250g unsalted butter
4 medium eggs
250g sugar
60ml of vegetable oil
2 heaped tablespoons self raising flour
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
150g drained Opies Black Cherries with Luxardo Kirsch
2 shots of the Luxardo Kirsch which the cherries had been in

How to make your Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries:

Pre-heat your oven to 185° and line a deep sided baking dish with baking parchment.

In a bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter together until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and the eggs, whisk them until they’re light and fluffy.

Pass the flour, cocoa powder through a fine sieve and add to the eggs and sugar. Gently whisk the ingredients together until combined. Then mix in the melted chocolate and the vegetable oil to combine. Stir through the cherries and kirsch and pour the batter into the tin.

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries

Bake for 35-45 minutes until the brownies have lost their wobble but are still a bit gooey inside. Take out and leave to cool. You want to almost under bake them so it’s still soft in the centre.

Once they are cool, cut them into squares. I sprinkled my brownies with white chocolate stars and icing sugar to make them look a bit more festive.

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries

I did have plans to make cherry chocolate brownie sundaes with them; layering them up with ice cream, whipped cream and drizzling more kirsch and cherries over the top. But I went out to work and when I came home they’d all gone, so you’ll have to use your imagination instead. The sundae sounded pretty tasty in my imagination!

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies with Boozy Cherries

Note: We were sent a jar of Opies Black Cherries with Luxardo Kirsch and I decided to use them in this recipe. I’ve not been compensated for this post.

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

I’ve been playing around with some printing techniques I learned recently and together with my son we’ve made some fun Christmas cards with bubble wrap which are just a bit different to the usual. These Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards are simple to do, but really look the part.

A little while ago I went to a gelatine monotype printing workshop with my friend Sarah at Crafts and Makes in Didsbury. The workshop was run by John Pinder and he taught us some basic printing techniques. I really enjoyed the workshop, but I’ve not yet had the time to make a gelatine plate to print on.

At the workshop we played about printing with different textures. One thing I especially liked was bubble wrap, it makes such a pretty pattern that I knew I could create something similar at home with some poster paint and blank card. The results are pretty good and would be good fun for kids to do in the run up to Christmas. Imagine Uncle David’s face when he opens his Christmas card to see this masterpiece?

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

These Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards are really simple to do, you might need to help/supervise/stop smaller children painting their faces/walls/the cat, but you probably do that anyway when you do crafts.

Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

You will need:

Some blank greetings cards
Bubble wrap
Thick cardboard
Selection of post paints
A paintbrush

How to make your Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards:

Firstly, put newspaper down on the table you’re using, this could get messy. Cut a piece of bubble wrap to the size of the front of your greetings card. Squirt a blob of whatever paint colour you want for your background onto a plate and using the paintbrush apply an even layer of paint all over the bubbly side of the bubble wrap.

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

Carefully lay the painted side of the bubble wrap onto the card and press it down all over. Peel it back, there will be enough paint on it to print another one or two cards. Ideally, leave the cards to dry before printing the next stage. Mine took about 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting for your cards to dry, take your thick cardboard and draw some simple festive shapes. I did a wonky star and a Christmas Tree. Cut out your cardboard templates. Once your bubble wrap background is dry, liberally cover one side of your Christmas shapes with paint. Press the painted side of your shape on the front of the card, carefully removing it so the edge don’t smudge too much.

To print the next card you’ll need to add more paint to the shape. Leave your cards to dry. If you feel it needs it, you could touch up the shape with some extra paint. Leave them to dry properly, maybe overnight, and then write them and send them to your favourite person.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like to try making –

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

Children’s Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

A Hug is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler is a sweet, cosy book aimed at 3-5 year olds. This simple story is about love and affection and is a sweet way to look at nature and our surroundings.

Children's Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

In A Hug is for Holding Me, a little girl and her father go for a walk and spot all kinds of things which are like a hug; a speckled bird egg, a cocoon, a flower bud and a sea shell. They each hold something tight inside them and keep them safe, just like Dad! But who gives the best hugs in the world?

It is very soothingly written, with some rhythm to the text and teamed with the illustrations, A Hug is for Holding Me makes for a lovely bedtime book to share with a pre-schooler.

A Hug is for Holding Me is beautifully illustrated by Lisk Feng. Her colourful and eye-catching illustrations, particularly of flowers, butterflies and leaves are especially striking. The illustrations would make for interesting talking points with your child.

Children's Book Review: A Hug is for Holding Me

This lovely book is written for 3-5 year olds and is just the kind of book they would enjoy reading over and over again. The illustrations are striking and the words are perfectly pitched at that age group.

Published on 11th December 2018 in hardback, this book would make a lovely gift for a little one.

A Hug is for Holding Me by Lisa Wheeler costs £10.99 in hardback. It is published by Chronicle Books and it is available from a wide range of bookshops including Amazon.

If you enjoyed this review of A Hug is for Holding Me, you might also be interested in The Crocodile and the Dentist.

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of A Hug is for Holding Me for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

In a couple of weeks time families will be sitting down to enjoy Christmas dinner together. Christmas dinner is a real culinary highlight, it’s essentially the best roast dinner ever. Every family has their own favourites, some have beef or goose, most have turkey; I like Yorkshire puddings and several different types of stuffing. But one thing everyone has in common is Christmas dinner cooking nerves.

I take it in turns to host Christmas Day with my brother, this year is his turn, last year it was mine. I’ve been cooking Christmas dinner by myself since I was about 16. The two things that make it tricky are juggling everything for oven and hob space and getting everything cooked and ready at the same time.

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

Each year there are typically around 8 people sat around our table for Christmas dinner. Out of this number, two are vegetarians and one of those has a number of intolerances to take into account. The meat eaters are very traditional, but whatever number of chipolatas your family eats, we have to double it. There’s a lot to juggle.

Typically our Christmas dinner includes –
  • Turkey
  • Veggie alternative, often a pie of some sort
  • Yorkshire puddings
  • Roast potatoes
  • Roast parsnips or sweet potatoes
  • Sprouts (obviously)
  • Carrots
  • Red cabbage
  • Stuffing – two kinds
  • Meat gravy
  • Veggie Gravy
  • Bread sauce

That’s just for the main course. We usually have a starter of soup and bread rolls and pudding is a selection of options (because each one of us is fussy) including Christmas pudding, mince pies, chocolate pudding, ice cream, and a selection of boozy creams and sauces. We also offer a cheese board and mints. It’s a huge meal!

Last Christmas I sat down and thought about it. I didn’t want to spend my Christmas Day stuck in the kitchen peeling sprouts and being a skivvy for everyone. I wanted to enjoy Christmas morning with my family and not have too much stress. With a bit of forward planning and prep the day before I managed to pull off my most relaxed Christmas in years.

Here’s what I did. I looked at what food I would be serving and planned what I could cook the day before and what would be better cooked on the day. Most of the food could be cooked ahead of time and warmed through before serving, even the roast potatoes. So this is what I did.


This had to be cooked on the day, but that’s fine. Getting ahead of myself meant there was plenty of oven space for it. We also got a turkey crown from the butchers which cut down the cooking time by quite some margin.

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

Veggie alternative

Last year I served a nut roast, because I love nut roast. I found a nice ready made one and cooked that on Christmas Day.

Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshires really need to be made just before serving, there are no cheats here. Also, there’s no shame in buying the ready-made ones. Yorkshires can be tricky and who needs the added pressure on Christmas Day?

Roast Potatoes

I’ve been cooking my roast potatoes on Christmas Eve for years. Everyone has their own way of doing them, I like fluffy potatoes cooked in groundnut oil, but cook them however you prefer. Take them out of the oven when they’re starting to colour, remove them from the roasting tin and put them on a cooling rack with some kitchen towel underneath. Leave them to cool, once they’re cool, put them as they are on a plain baking tray with no extra oil. They’ll take an extra 20-30 minutes to warm through and crisp up on Christmas Day, but they’re really crisp, fluffy inside and because they’ve not sat in oil for too long they’re not as oily as they could be.

Roast parsnips or sweet potatoes

Just like the roast potatoes, you can pre-cook your parsnips or sweet potatoes ahead of time. They come out just as good as freshly cooked ones, just do what I did with the roast potatoes.


If you’ve not put these on to boil at the end of summer, you might as well cancel Christmas. Not really, but it’s the old joke. Sprouts aren’t great re-heated, so I leave them to cook on the hob on Christmas Day. It’s worth allowing a bit of extra time for them to cook because somehow vegetables always take much longer to cook when you’ve got guests waiting.


Carrots really lend themselves to re-heating. I did almost all of my veg prep on the morning of Christmas Eve, all the peeling and chopping and par boiling and roasting. I boiled up my carrots with a bay leaf and once they were almost cooked through, I drained them, put them in a microwavable dish with a knob of butter and covered them with cling-film. Just before serving, I gave them a 5 minute blast in the microwave, a stir to coat everything in the little knob of butter and we had perfect carrots.

Red cabbage

I generally cook my red cabbage in the slow cooker, but I follow this recipe. Instead of cooking it on the hob I use the slow cooker, yes it takes a few hours more, but it frees some precious kitchen space and it’s the kind of thing which can happily sit and more or less look after itself. Last year I made this on Christmas Eve, then turned my slow cooker on low on Christmas morning, by the time Christmas dinner was being served it was heated through and delicious.


I love a good stuffing and as a vegetarian they are a good filling addition to my plate. I have traditionally used packet bought stuffings and pimped them up by stirring a spoon or two of cranberry sauce though before baking, but last year I made two different stuffings from scratch. Yes, it did take a bit more time, but they were so much tastier and the texture was lighter and less gluey. I’d urge you to find some time to make your own if you can. It was remarkably simple, especially if you’ve got a food processor to do the chopping for you. I made my stuffings on Christmas Eve and they just needed baking in the oven on the day. I’m converted to homemade stuffing now.

Meat & Veggie Gravy

I am a big old cheat when it comes to gravy. Sometimes I make my own, but even with my plan-ahead precision, Christmas Day is too hectic for me to be faffing about too much. You can either make your gravy ahead of time and freeze it, or go to your local shop and buy a tub of fresh ready-made gravy and heat it up on the day.

Bread Sauce

Bread sauce is one of my favourite things about Christmas Dinner. Weirdly only my husband and me really like it, so it’s not something I devote too much time to. I’m happy to cheat, cheat, cheat with bread sauce. Buy a fresh tub of it from a good shop, bang it in the microwave and serve. Half the table will pull their face at it anyway, whether you’ve spent an hour stirring a pan or 2 minutes waiting for the mircowave to ping.

I think Christmas Dinner is all about picking your battles. For me, freshly made stuffing is really worth it, but I don’t need to stress of flat as a pancake Yorkshire puddings on Christmas Day. My stress-free Christmas dinner planning was noticed, gone were fraught scenes in the kitchen with me looking hot and bothered, instead I served a very good dinner with all the cool control of a northern Nigella.

Next year it’s my turn to cook Christmas Dinner and I know that I’ll do exactly the same again. Maybe I’ll cook my gravies from scratch and freeze them, but spending Christmas Eve morning doing all the prep and most of the cooking is time very well spent.

Do you have any top tops for an effortless Christmas dinner?

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

9 ideas for Christmas drinks for the whole family

If there’s one time of the year we all enjoy drinking something a little special, it’s Christmas. Whether you like a boozy tipple, or you’re after something non-alcoholic but still festive; I’ve pulled together a list of seasonal suggestions for Christmas drinks and there really is something for all the family to enjoy.

Alcoholic Christmas Drinks

From Snowballs with Grandma, fizz with friends and mulled wine round the fire; bring some Christmas cheer with this selection of boozy favourites.

Mix things up with some deliciously warming Mulled Apple Cider from Daisies and Pie. Mulled cider makes a real change from mulled wine; lighter, sweeter and you can swap the cider for apple juice if you’re mulling for the whole family.

9 ideas for Christmas drinks for the whole family

This Christmas Hot Punch from Susan Earlam is full of festive flavours, including cranberry, amaretto and spices. It’s a delicious sounding drink, perfect to drink in front of the fire.

Devotees of G&T might like to customise their gins by steeping their own, I’ve got recipes for Quince Gin and Parma Violet Gin on my blog, and very nice they are too.

If you want to jazz up a simple glass of festive fizz, we’ve been trying Pop A Ball which are little tubs of bursting bubbles and drink shimmers which you spoon into your fizz. Pop A Ball products are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs. They are also are also free from dairy, nuts, eggs and soya.

Non-Alcoholic Christmas Drinks

I’ve got lots of friends who don’t drink alcohol, but why should they miss out on Christmas drinks? I always think it’s nice to make something the whole family can enjoy too. Here are some suggestions for non-alcoholic Christmas drinks for all the family.

After a chilly day riding a sledge, or taking the dog on a winter walk, nothing warms you up like a nice steaming mug of hot chocolate, Daisies and Pie has created this delicious sounding recipe for Peanut butter hot chocolate, just the thing for peanut butter nuts like me!

9 ideas for Christmas drinks for the whole family

For mulled wine fans who are cutting down on their intake, this Vimto Mulled Wine recipe is a great way to still enjoy all the seasonal spices of mulled wine, but swerving the alcohol content. It’s also delicious because it’s based on Vimto.

Claire over at She-Eats is entirely alcohol-free these days and she’s got some great suggestions for booze free Christmas drinks over on her blog, as well as this delicious sounding Cranberry and Pomegranate Christmas Cocktail.

Fruity drinks, juices and cocktails are a great way to grab a winter vitamin boost, Jenny from The Brick Castle has got a selection of healthy juice recipes on her blog which would be a delicious and healthy way to start off your Christmas morning

Whatever you and your family like to drink over Christmas, there are lots of new and interesting ideas to try.

What’s your favourite festive tipple?

9 ideas for Christmas drinks for the whole family

Win a pair of Muppet Itty Bittys

It’s time to play the music
It’s time to light the lights
It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight…

If you’ve never met an itty bitty before, they are miniature sized cuddly toys and they make the perfect little gift. They may be small, but they’re still mighty! Today I have two Muppets Itty Bittys to give away on my blog – do you fancy winning Animal and Fozzie Bear? If you do, read on…

If you love itty bittys but the Muppets collection doesn’t float your boat? Fear not, you can also get Disney, Star Wars, DC Comics, Super Hero Girls, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Wizard of Oz, Peanuts Marvel and Wedding itty bittys.

Win a pair of Muppet Itty Bittys

These super cute itty bittys are available in Hallmarks shops and online. They cost just £6.99 each and are the perfect little gift for Muppet fans big and small!

WIN a pair of muppets ITTY BITTYS

To be in with a chance to win a pair of Muppets itty bittys simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent Animal and Fozzie Bear itty bittys.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 6th January 2019.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will not be shared with anyone.
11. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
12. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

I’ve been a vegetarian since 1989, which is quite a long time. One of the questions I get asked the most is what do I miss? I miss my Nan’s beef chilli and her corned beef hash. I also miss my Nan but that’s a subject for another day perhaps. One of the things I did miss was sweets, because back then a lot of sweets contained gelatine.

Thankfully in the last 30 years things have moved on. Sure, pop to your local sweet shop and their shelves will be heaving with cheap jelly sweets, but Swizzels Matlow have produced a range of their trademark sweets which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

Their Drumstick Choos and lollies contain five double flavour combinations which include peaches and cream and strawberry and banana. Their Refreshers Choos (my favourite) include pineapple and apple and have that fizzy sherbet centre which I love. Both kinds of Choos are vegetarian and vegan and are available in Tesco, Asda and Morrisons.

Other vegan sweets made by Swizzels Matlow which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans include Love Hearts, Fizzers, Fruity Pops, Double Lollies, Parma Violets and Rainbow Drops.

Some of these are among my favourite sweets. I adore Parma Violets and have used them to make Parma Violet shortbread biscuits. I also really love Rainbow Drops, which is a slightly less well-known sweet, but one I really love. They’re something about them, maybe it’s because they’re like a naughty breakfast cereal, but I love them.

Stocking Fillers: Vegetarian and Vegan Sweets

My husband isn’t a fan of chewy sweets (he fears for his teeth) but he can’t resist a packet of love hearts. My son who is 8 just likes sweets. He’s very good at sharing them, so it’s better if we choose veggie or vegan sweets.

Whatever sweets are your favourite, it’s reassuring to know that vegetarians and vegans in 2018 have considerably more choice in the sweet-shop than they did 30 years ago! Thanks Swizzels.

I was sent a selection of sweets in exchange for this blog post.