Degustabox May 2017 Review

May 2017 products in box

This month’s Degustabox was very exciting for me because it was the first one to contain a fresh item. It also contained two products that I’ve wanted to try for quite a while.

Without further ado, here is a rundown of the products I received in the May 2017 Degustabox:

Deli Kitchen Skinni Wraps

Skinni Wraps

This pack of six wraps was the first fresh item that was ever included in the history of Degustabox. Each wrap contains only 90 calories and is in a unique shape to enable easy wrapping. I have filled these with tuna and fish fingers and have even made them into a quesadilla.

Rawbean Proper Coffee Bean Bags

Coffee in Bags

These bags with coffee inside them provide an interesting concept and were included in the non-alcoholic drink version of this month’s box. I prepared these as I would a cup of tea and the coffee had a rich taste and aroma.

Homepride Strong White Bread Flour

Hompride bread flour

Homepride has been a household name in British kitchens since 1920 for their flour and 1974 for their cooking sauces. Its famous mascot Fred was introduced in 1964. I was satisfied to receive this flour in this month’s box and I look forward to trying the basic crusty white loaf recipe that is printed on the back of the list of products.

Hippeas In Herbs We Trust Organic Chickpea Puffs

Hippeas

Hippeas are savoury snack puffs rather like Wotsits that are made from chick peas. They are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and have a minuscule calorie count of 91 per bag. These had a lovely strong herby flavour and a pleasing light texture. I’ve also tried the Sweet & Smokin’ variety and they had a delicious smoked paprika taste that wasn’t too spicy at all.

Portlebay Popcorn Sweet Thai Sriracha Crunchy Kracklecorn

Sriracha popcorn

This month’s Degustabox offered two varieties of this popcorn: Sweet Thai Sriracha and Wasabi & Sweet Ginger. I received the former. Despite my request not to receive any spicy food when I first signed up to Degustabox I tried one kernel and found it to be too hot for my liking so I gave the rest of the bag to my friend who loves spicy food and she liked it.

Candy Kittens Sour Watermelon sweets

Candy Kittens

I heard quite a bit about Candy Kittens before receiving this bag of sweets. Watermelon is one of my favourite fruity flavours of sweets and in my youth I remember buying hollow bubblegum balls that looked like and tasted like watermelons. They even had black hundreds and thousands inside that resembled watermelon seeds! Anyway back to Candy Kittens Sour Watermelon. While these tasted quite sour to begin with but are quite tame in comparison to the Sour Strawberry Millions I’m going to review next, they gradually became sweeter much like Sour Patch Kids. I would definitely like to try other varieties in the Candy Kittens range, especially the Eton Mess flavour.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Millions and Sour Strawberry Millions

Millions

Millions were other sweets I very much enjoyed in my youth, especially the strawberry, bubblegum and cola flavours. In this month’s Degustabox I received two packets of Chocolate Covered Strawberry Millions, which I’ve always wanted to try since I heard about them on social media ,and one packet of Sour Strawberry Millions. While I liked the chocolate covered ones the best despite the chocolate tasting somewhat cheap, the sour ones were unfortunately too sour for my tastes.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Peanut Caramel Crisp

Dairy Milk Big Taste Peanut Caramel

This is the other product in this box that I have wanted to try for quite a while after having already tried the other varieties in the Dairy Milk Big Taste range, my favourite being the Toffee Wholenut so far. I love chocolate, peanut and caramel combinations so I was thrilled to receive this bar. The filling was sweet and crunchy. Although this bar tasted pleasant, the Toffee Wholenut variety still remains my favourite.

Zeo Sparkling Peach and Grapefruit Drink

Zeo Peach and Grapefruit

I have previously tried the Cloudy Lemon variant of Zeo drinks and I quite like it. Although I’m not a fan of grapefruit (click or tap here to see my opinion of Fentimans Pink Grapefruit Tonic Water) I felt the drink had a good balance of peach and grapefruit flavours.

Cereal Lovers Crunch Time Nuggets (Forest flavour)

Crunch Time Nuggets

There were three flavours of this snacking granola on offer in this month’s Degustabox: Forest, Sunshine and Chocolate. I received the Forest variety, which was wholesome and had a hint of banana even though banana wasn’t listed in the ingredients.

Moma Gluten Free Raspberry & Coconut Bircher Muesli

MOMA Muesli

While I have tried Moma porridge pots before, I was happy to receive my second box of cereal from Degustabox overall since subscribing despite the box being slightly damaged. It contains raisins, apple, blackcurrants, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in addition to oats, raspberries and coconut. This was a lovely fruity muesli and while I didn’t use the method where milk or yoghurt and apple juice are added to it and it is left to soak for five minutes, I usually just ate it with milk but have added toppings to it in other servings such as Maui & Sons Dark Chocolate Coated Coconut Chips, fresh raspberries and Braham & Murray Good Hemp Hemp Seed Hearts from April’s Degustabox.

Muesli wirh rasperries

In conclusion I was pleased with this month’s selection of products in my Degustabox despite not liking the Sour Strawberry Millions or the sweet chilli Sriracha popcorn. I particularly enjoyed the Skinni Wraps, the Moma bircher muesli, the coffee in a bag and the Dairy Milk Big Taste Peanut Caramel Crisp bar.

May 2017 contents

You can watch my unboxing video of the May 2017 Degustabox below:

The Powerpuff Girls Emporium Pop-Up in Soho, London

A few days ago when I was browsing my Facebook I received a notification saying my friend Anna mentioned me in a comment. I tapped on the notification and I saw that she had tagged me in the comments on a video from Time Out London about a Powerpuff Girls pop-up place. I’m a huge fan of ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ and I remember watching the original series, which aired from 1998 – 2005, on Cartoon Network after school so I was thrilled to hear about the pop-up, which took place in Soho, London from 1st – 3rd June 2017. Bubbles has always been my favourite because she is sweet, sensitive and caring while Blossom is level-headed, mature and smart and Buttercup is tough, tomboyish and cool.

In 2016 a new series of ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ aired on Cartoon Network and since I no longer have this channel, I have watched some clips of it on YouTube and found it an okay reboot. While the Powerpuff Girls are designed as closely to their original appearances as possible despite the thinner outlines, the background characters look as if they are from other Cartoon Network shows such as ‘Clarence’ and ‘Steven Universe.’ The storylines are decent but since I could only watch short clips on YouTube, I couldn’t fully appreciate them. The original voice cast of the Powerpuff Girls has been replaced by a new cast whose voices for the girls are fine but not a patch on those from the original cast.

The queue to the pop-up; Buttercup, Bubbles and Blossom are more than happy to meet their visitors.

I visited the emporium on its last day of opening and visitors could meet Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. There were various activities inside the emporium such as nail and make up bars, a colouring wall, a Mojo Jojo punchbag and a petting room where people could handle rabbits and a snake as well as get free candy floss on light up sticks. The emporium was adorned with several features such as models, stickers, cushions and neon lights of the Powerpuff Girls plus potions and science equipment.

Several features inside the Emporium

Overall The Powerpuff Girls Emporium was a fun little pop-up. It was quite busy but I managed to cope well. While I chose not to have my nails and make up done since the waiting times were rather long and I was going to eat my lunch in the nearby Soho Square afterwards (having my nails painted would not have been practical for this matter), I had great experiences with holding a snake and a rabbit as well as colouring part of the wall. Later that night there was a terrorist attack on London Bridge so I was thankful I was in a different part of London at a different time. My thoughts, heart and prayers are with those who are affected by the attack and I hope everyone in London stays safe.

Miller & Carter Harrow Review

1. Miller & Carter Harrow

Exterior of Miller & Carter Harrow

After having heard good things about Miller & Carter Steakhouse, most notably from Brogan Tate through her YouTube channel, her Instagram and her blog as well as another blogger called Emma from Ellemmablog (both visited their local Miller & Carter in Bournemouth on separate occasions), I decided to give it a try myself upon finding that my nearest branch is in Harrow in spite of it being quite some distance and two bus rides from where I live. Since I moved to my own flat I have eaten out less often than I used to due to cooking more of my own meals but with my 30th birthday coming up I decided to treat myself and book a table for lunchtime to try their fixed price lunch menu (2 courses for £10.95 or 3 courses for £13.95).

2. Miller & Carter menu

The menu including the fixed price lunchtime selection

I arrived a few minutes late for my reservation due to having been shopping to kill some time but when I was greeted by a waitress and I informed her of my reservation, she said I could sit anywhere since the restaurant wasn’t too busy (due to the fact it was a Friday lunchtime). I sat at a small table opposite the kitchen where the food was being served from. Shortly after I was seated I was greeted by my waiter who was friendly and endearing if a little inattentive at first and almost immediately took my order. I opted for the baked cheddar mushrooms as my starter, the steak and melted cheese brioche (with a £2.00 supplement) as my main, the Silverpail ice cream and home baked cookie for dessert and Diet Coke to drink.

Left: The kitchen was opposite my table. Right: Me looking at the menu.

Clockwise from top left: Silver bull sculpture beside my table; framed prints of bulls; black bull sculpture; me inside the ladies’ toilets.

The decor of the restaurant was very stylish and I liked the cow and bull-themed sculptures and artwork that adorned it. Even the toilets looked smart and were also clean. The ambience was cosy but I could easily hear other people’s conversations and laughter due to my suspected hyperacousis (sensitive hearing) as part of my autism but the background music wasn’t too loud and my seat was more comfortable than I thought it would be. My Diet Coke was already on the table when I returned to my table from the toilets. While I waited for my food to arrive I opened my birthday card from my grandad (I know it said 17th May on the envelope but I opened it early so sorry Grandad!) and it came with a gift card from the Co-Op, which was super generous of him to give it to me since my flat is above a Co-Op so thank you Grandad.

Left: Me raising my own toast to my soon-to-be 30th birthday. Right: My birthday card and Co-Op gift card from my grandad.

My starter arrived shortly after my drink arrived. It was piping hot, the mushrooms were well cooked and the cheese and the sauce was very tasty although the garlic ciabatta it came with was slightly burnt on one end.

8. Baked cheddar mushrooms

Baked cheddar mushrooms

My main course also came quite quickly. I asked for the steak in my brioche to be cooked well done and although it was cooked to my liking there wasn’t as much of it in the brioche bun as I expected but at least it was delicious as were the onion loaf and the cheese. The skin-on fries were absolutely amazing but unfortunately my main cooled down quite quickly and I put it down to the air conditioning being on.

11. Steak brioche

Steak and melted cheese brioche

I waited quite a while for the waiter to take my dessert order but at least it gave me a chance for my starter and main to digest. When he took my order I was only going to have the double chocolate ice cream with my cookie but because he said the dessert came with a free scoop I opted for one scoop each of double chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. The cookie and double chocolate ice cream were very chocolatey while the vanilla ice cream was lovely and creamy; however the strawberry ice cream didn’t taste quite as nice. The dessert was also drizzled with chocolate sauce. After my meal it took quite a while for a server to to take my payment and he walked away while I had the card reader in hand but returned when my payment was complete

12. Cookie and ice cream.Cookie with Silverpail double chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams

Overall in spite of the service slowing down after finishing my main course, another waitress laughing as she randomly came to my table to check the candle holder on my table (I wasn’t best amused by this) and the other diners around me reporting missing side orders to servers I enjoyed my food for the most part as well as the ambience and the decor of the restaurant. I might visit this restaurant again in the future.

Brogan’s Miller & Carter review: http://www.brogantatexo.co.uk/2017/04/miller-carter-review-bh2-leisure.html

Emma’s Miller & Carter review: http://ellemma.com/beauty/raise-the-steaks-review-of-miller-and-carter-bournemouth/

Degustabox April 2017 Review

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In the April 2017 Degustabox I received the following products:

Nothing But Strawberry & Banana Snack and Pineapple and Grape Snack

1. Nothing But

These are the only products in the April box that I had tried before receiving it since I had previously bought them from the Whole Foods Market. I especially liked the strawberry and banana one because it’s one of my favourite fruit combinations but the pineapple and grape one was delicious too.

Doisy & Dam Quinoa, Smoked Tea and Vanilla Chocolate

2. Doisy and Dam

While I like the retro style packaging of this chocolate bar its flavour sounded unusual yet interesting to me. The most prominent taste was the smoked tea, which I wasn’t so keen on first but it was followed by the aftertaste of vanilla. The chocolate had bits of quinoa inside but unfortunately it was overpowered by the flavour of the smoked tea.

Braham & Murray Good Hemp Hemp Seed Hearts

3. Good Hemp

I hadn’t tried hemp seed before receiving the Degustabox so when I looked at the back of the packaging I was intrigued with what I could do with it in terms of using it as a topping on cereal, porridge, soups, salads, stir fries and yogurt. I tried some sprinkled on top of cereal and although it was bitter it had a nutty aftertaste.

Dorset Cereals Ultimate Adventures Machu Picchu Muesli

4. Dorset Cereals

Prior to receiving this month’s Degustabox, I’d already heard of Dorset Cereals but not yet tried any of their products so I was excited to receive the Machu Picchu Museli in my box. The other variety Degustabox offered was the American Road Trip Muesli. The Machu Picchu Museli consists of Brazil nuts, golden berries, dark chocolate curls and a hint of coffee. I thoroughly enjoyed this cereal, particularly the touch of coffee and the golden berries.

Fentimans Pink Grapefruit Tonic Water

5. Fentimans pink grapefruit

Besides Nothing But and Dorset Cereals, Fentimans is another brand I was familiar with before receiving my box. I had already tried their lemonade, which was refreshing at first but too acidic for my liking. I’m not a fan of pink grapefruit so it was no surprise that I didn’t like the tonic water when I tried it; however I tried it diluted with lemonade and it tasted more pleasant. The label suggests mixing the drink with gin or vodka but since I don’t drink alcohol I thought mixing it with lemonade would be the best option.

New York Delhi Hot Toffee ViPnuts

6. ViPnuts

There were two different types of ViPNuts on offer in the April Degustabox: Hot Chilli and Hot Toffee. I was given the Hot Toffee flavour because I have opted not to receive any food that was too spicy when I first signed up. Despite their claim of having “just a hint of chilli,” I found the taste of chilli to be too hot for my liking.

Polo Sugar Free

7. Polo Sugar Free

These come in a handy resealable pot much like certain brands of chewing gum. While I like this concept, the mints tasted like ordinary Polos to me.

Whitworths Full of Super Vanilla Maca-Roons

8. Full of super Maca-roons

I was pleased to have received another Whitworths Full of Super product in this month’s box after having previously received the Cacao Raw Bars in the March box. These macarons were moist and chewy with lovely hints of vanilla and coconut.

Garofalo Wholewheat Penne Pasta

9. Penne pasta

I much prefer wholewheat pasta to ordinary pasta so I was satisfied to receive this in my box. this pasta is organic and wholesome yet only takes 11 minutes to cook. The first dish I made with it had cooked vegetables, ham and garlic and herb soft cheese (see below) and I have used it to make other pasta dishes since.

11. Penne pasta dish

Seabrook Lattice Sea Salt & Black Pepper Crisps

10. Seabrook Lattice crisps

Seabrook is yet another brand I had heard of prior to receiving my April 2017 Degustsbox. These crisps come in a bag with a special opening at the front that makes them easy to share. They have a strong taste of pepper so I could eat these with some houmous or some sour cream and chive dip to cool down the peppery hint.

All in all while I was familiar with some of the brands before I receiving this box I was even more impressed with April’s selection in comparison to March’s selection. I also thought that there were more healthier options in this month’s box compared to the previous months, particularly the Nothing But fruit snacks and the hemp seed hearts.

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Below is my unboxing and review video of the April 2017 Degustabox:

Meeting Brogan Tate and Sam4G0d in Bournemouth

April and Brogan

Me with Brogan Tate on Bournemouth Beach

On Saturday 29th April 2017, Bournemouth-based YouTuber and blogger Brogan Tate hosted her first ever meet up for her YouTube subscribers, blog readers and social media followers to attend on Bournemouth Beach to commemorate her 100th weekly vlog. I started watching and subscribing to Brogan in August 2016 and have enjoyed her YouTube channel, which has a mixture of weekly vlogs; advice videos; beauty videos; travel vlogs; hauls of products from shops such as Primark and Home Bargains; and Disney-themed videos, ever since. Brogan is a lovely, genuine, down-to-earth and bubbly person. While her weekly vlogs are so real and honest, her advice videos are very informative, her travel vlogs are beautifully filmed, particularly those in Gran Canaria, Greece and Iceland, and her main channel videos such as those where she shares her favourite things in a particular month are appealing. I enjoy reading her blog as well and my favourite posts include 15 Ways To Lift Your Mood, which helped me with my anxieties at the time the post was written, and her review of her local Miller & Carter Steakhouse.

The first time I went to Bournemouth was in the summer of 2000 when I was 13 and with my family after a holiday in Butlins Bognor Regis. It was a bittersweet trip because we went on a boat ride and my grandad poured my grandma’s ashes (she passed away a month prior) onto the sea, which was a sentimental part of the trip, but it had a special place in my heart. I mentioned my first trip to Bournemouth to Brogan in the comments of one of her Life Chats videos that she did in place of her weekly vlogs for a little while and she replied to my comment giving her condolences to my grandad and me but she understood the special hold the trip had for me.

Just before I met Brogan, I was filming some footage from a platform near the beach and I very excitedly panned my iPad mini across as soon as I spotted some silver balloons that formed the number 100 to represent the number of weekly vlogs Brogan has made.

Bournemouth Pier and Bournemouth Beach

The meet up took place on the beach beside the pier, which was an ideal location because it was near toilets and places where people could buy snacks, drinks and ice creams. As I approached the group of people beside the balloons, Brogan got up and greeted me with open arms and I hugged her back. She sat me down beside a group of girls who I hadn’t met before and encouraged me to mingle with them but unfortunately I just sat there quietly for the most part because I might have had social anxiety. As part of my autism I find it difficult to speak to people I am unfamiliar with. Brogan asked me again if I was mingling with the girls and I explained to her that it’s hard for me to speak to unfamiliar people. She assured me that I didn’t have to speak to them if I didn’t want to and instead advised me to just eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. I found Brogan to be very understanding of me when I didn’t mingle with certain people because I was worried about coming across as rude and standoffish if I didn’t speak to anyone I was unfamiliar with. I also feel I could have been more generous with the food I brought down with me by offering it to people, especially if Brogan’s mum Julie offered me some Krispy Kremes, but I didn’t think about it and felt as if I were absorbed in the moment of the meet up. On the plus side I found it very easy to speak to Brogan because I am familiar with her in terms of watching her YouTube videos and having already communicated with her on social media. I especially liked the fact that she asked me about how I was settling into my own flat and I even showed her some pictures of the flats I looked at. I also spoke to Brogan and Julie about my first ever trip to Bournemouth. It was even cool of Brogan to point out my Fitbit that I mentioned in the comments on two of her videos and I was surprised to hear that she saw my video where my parents tried to guess who some of my favourite YouTubers were including herself. She also loved my Ariel-themed Minnie Mouse ears from an Etsy shop called Ears Ever After and she showed me her sparkly silver Minnie ears that she wore on her 22nd birthday at Disneyland Paris last year. Before I left the beach to explore Bournemouth Gardens and the town centre, I gave Brogan a piece of artwork made of cardboard, paper quilling strips and letter and number stickers to commemorate her 100th weekly vlog and she absolutely loved and appreciated it. She even complimented me on how creative I was and reminded me of the shrink plastic keyring I made for her 23rd birthday this year and sent to her PO Box alongside a rather funny Ariel card.

Left column: Brogan’s commemorative artwork I made her; Brogan’s shrink plastic keyring. Right: Brogan’s Ariel birthday card.

The other YouTuber I met at Brogan’s rendezvous was Sam from a YouTube channel called Sam4G0d. Sam’s channel consists of vlogs of trips to Disney Parks such as Walt  Disney World, Disneyland Paris and even Shanghai Disneyland as well as theatre vlogs and reviews. I also found Sam lovely and easy to talk to.

April and Sam

Me with Sam from Sam4G0d

Besides Brogan, Julie (who was very caring towards me, especially when I felt unwell as a result of nerves, the heat and maybe other possible factors) and Sam, other people who attended the meet up and I was familiar with were Brogan’s brother Fraser, her boyfriend Benji and her friends Megan, Georgie, Joe and Kalem, all of whom I unfortunately didn’t get to speak to because I was sitting quite far away from them. I also spoke to a lady called Paula who comments on Brogan’s videos and Instagram photos and participates in Brogan’s Instagram live streams.

Bournemouth Lower Gardens

Overall despite finding it hard to talk to certain people I was unfamiliar with, not getting around to sharing the snacks I brought and feeling under the weather (as well as getting sunburn!), I had a wonderful time at Brogan’s rendezvous and found it a pleasure to speak to her as well as Julie, Sam and Paula. I would definitely attend another meet up hosted by Brogan whether it’s in Bournemouth again or even in London where I live.

I have also made a vlog of my day in Bournemouth that you can watch below:

Brogan’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/brogantatexo

Brogan’s blog: http://www.brogantatexo.co.uk

Sam’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Sam4G0d

Ears Ever After Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EarsEverAfter?ref=shop_sugg

Degustabox March 2017 Review

In March 2017 I moved to my own flat. Doing so gave me the perfect opportunity to try a Degustabox, which is a monthly subscription box that contains a vast range of food and drink products. Most of the products are “completely new to the market.”

One day I was browsing my Facebook when I saw an offer that allowed me to buy my first Degustabox for £5.99 (it costs £12.99 a month or £35.97 for three months or £71.94 for six months thereafter) so I took advantage of the offer and received my box a week later. When you sign up for a Degustabox you can choose what options you would like and what you won’t like. For example I chose not to receive any alcoholic drinks or spicy food because I’m not a fan of these products. I also opted for vegetarian products (although I’m not vegetarian, I was interested in seeing what products they had to offer).

Upon opening the box I received the following products that I’m going to review individually :

Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo with Mint and Peanut Butter

Before I received my Degustabox, I had already tried these bars (there is also an original variety that I have also tried). While the mint one is my favourite since I am a big mint chocolate lover, the peanut butter one was okay but I found the flavour to be a little too sweet for my liking.

Whitworths Full of Super Cacao Raw Bars (pack of 2)

Full of Super bar

The concept of these bars reminded me of that of Nakd bars. These bars are packed with ‘superfoods’ such as almonds, chia seeds, quinoa and acai berries although the most prominent flavour for me was coconut. The bars were quite chewy as well.

Weetabix on The Go Breakfast Drinks  – Blueberry and Blackberry (with protein) and Vanilla

While I have tried the vanilla flavour, which tastes like UHT extra long life milk in my book, before receiving my box, I tried the blueberry and blackberry one and it had a lovely fruity flavour.

Heinz [Seriously Good] Creamy Pepper Sauce

Heinz pepper sauce

There were two varieties of Heinz [Seriously Good] on offer in the March 2017 Degustabox: the Creamy Tomato and Garlic variety and the Creamy Pepper variety. Although I would have preferred the former (I eventually purchased it in Morrisons alongside the Creamy Chive variant priced at £1.68 each) I received the latter. While its flavour was a little too peppery for my tastes, I still enjoyed it on some steak.

The Jelly Bean Factory Gourmet Jelly Beans

Jelly Bean Factory

These reminded me very much of Jelly Belly beans. The best thing about these beans is that they have 100% natural flavours and are fair trade. I liked the majority of flavours but I picked out the liquorice ones because I don’t like liquorice.

Pipers Crisp Co. Burrow Hill Cider Vinegar and Sea Salt Crisps

Pipers Crisps

While these crisps are reminiscent of other brands such as Tyrells and Kettle Chips, they were just as good. They had a tangy cider vinegar flavour followed by the sea salt aftertaste.

£Onepounders Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

£Onepounders is a brand of sweets that is ubiquitous in newsagents and off licences. These may have tasted like your everyday standard chocolate eclairs but they were still tasty.

Rebel Kitchen Dairy Free Chocolate Milk

Rebel Kitchen Chocolate Mylk

Despite the “dairy free” part of the label initially putting me off since I don’t like soya milk, I took a closer look at the packaging and it said it was made with coconut milk, which I prefer to soya milk. The drink had equal hints of chocolate and coconut but I wasn’t too keen on the lumpy texture I was met with when I nearly finished it.

Naturelly Jelly Juice – Apple and Blackcurrant Flavour

Naturelly Jelly Juice

This is another product I had tried before receiving my Degustabox because I had previously bought it alongside other flavours at the Love Natural Love You health and beauty show at the Kensington Olympia last summer. Although the packaging design is misleading in terms of having a blackberry instead of blackcurrants, this still had a pleasantly refreshing fruity taste.

Gusto Organic Lemon Energy Drink

Gusto Organic Energy Drink

Even though I hadn’t drunk any energy drinks for a while, I liked the citrus and herbal notes of this drink.

Maldon Smoked Sea Salt Crystals

Maldon Smoked Sea Salt Flakes

While I don’t normally add salt to my food I was still keen on giving this a try. I initially had no idea what to do with this salt besides using it to flavour certain meats but the first thing I made with it was a sauce where its other ingredients consisted of tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and garlic granules (see below) and it was delicious. I even added this salt to mashed sweet potato.

Sauce with Maldon Smoked Sea Salt

Overall despite having tried the Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo bars, the vanilla Weetabix On the Go Breakfast Drink and the Naturelly Jelly Juice before receiving my first Degustabox, I was satisfied with what I received on the whole and I look forward to receiving subsequent boxes in the future.

Degustabox March 17 contents

I have also made an unboxing and review video of the March 2017 Degustabox on my YouTube channel and I have elaborated more on some points in the video in this blog post.

If you would like to try the Degustabox why not sign up here: https://www.degustabox.com/en/

London Animation Club – 4th April 2017 with Various Guests

Note: I could not find YouTube or Vimeo video links to all films that were shown in the club so I embedded those that I could easily obtain.

Vivien Halas, Olly Brown, Jez Stewart, Emma Calder and Ged Haney were the guests of that evening’s London Animation Club.

The main animated film discussed in the club was Know Your Europeans (1994) by Bob Godfrey. He animated Roobarb (1974) and Henry’s Cat (1983 – 1993). He won an award for his film Great in 1976.

The guests discussed the production of Know Your Europeans. A box as part of the production of Know Your Europeans has a book that teaches people how to be European. There was an aim to make eleven 35-minute-long films for each country featured in the project.

Three notable storyboards consisted of two that were not good enough for the film and one for the Dutch entry. The budgets for the portions of each country varied.

A promo about Know Your Europeans was shown. It has a mixture of 2D hand drawn animation and stop-motion animation. By May 1994 the British, Irish and German entries were completed.

A small portion of the Dutch entry was shown as well as the German entry. Both consist of 2D hand drawn animation. It was claimed the team could not make a film accurately representing Germany without Hitler. The use of ” Dutch entry” etc made Martin Pickles, organiser of London Animation Club, think of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The United Kingdom entry was then shown. It contains a representation of Prince Charles as well as depictions of typical activities that British people partake in. The film consists of a mixture of hand drawn animations and still paintings.

The films shown during the club are the only ones that are currently available but the Portuguese entry might be available at one point.

More films with a European theme could be shown in future events of the club.

There was also a series of films revolving around a character called Charley about social security. A lot of viewers hated Charley possibly due to his floppy fringe. Part of one of the films, Charley in New Town, was shown. It covers concerns such as pollution and overcrowding.

An animation about the French Revolution entitled La révelution française was next shown. It has a combination of cut out animation and pixilation and was released in 1989 to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the French Revolution.

Happy Birthday Switzerland was then shown. It was made to mark the 700th anniversary of the founding of the country and contains stereotypes of what the Swiss were believed to introduce such as chocolate, timepieces and Swiss rolls.

During World War II Viven’s parents made films. After the war they made a film called The Shoemaker and the Hatter (1950). This was the last film shown in the club and has a similar animation style to that in Charley in New Town. Below is a short portion of the film.

All films as part of the Know Your Europeans series have stereotypical jokes where the natives of the countries make fun of themselves.

Overall this was an interesting and intriguing London Animation Club event to attend, especially if I had seen Charley In New Town before.