Yar, it be new Walkers Baked Hoops & Crosses…Yar!

Ahoy me hearties, did ye know that Walkers Crisps have launched them a fine new flavoured range of snacks!? No… then let me enlighten ye 🙂 for they be low in calories, high in wholegrains and taste fine with a bottle of grog!

I apologise for the above if you are not a fan of fictional pirate(ism) or if indeed you are a fictional pirate and you can see my obvious pirate lingo fails  🙂 The sillyness does make sense I assure you.

I was recently sent a packet of brand new Walkers Baked Hoops & Crosses in Roast Beef flavour to test out. It came nestled in the arms of a cuddly monkey, who was swiftly commandeered by my littlest Monkey who is currently somewhat pirate obsessed. So these yummy new snacks were eaten in the gardens of a Regency Townhouse by a Monkey cuddling Pirate 🙂

Walkers say they created these snacks because they understand that kids can be little monkeys when it comes to snacks in their lounchboxes. New Walkers Baked Hoops & Crosses are intended to be a great-tasting, low-fat and fun way for kids to boost their wholegrain intake.

My little pirate devoured these snacks so fast I didn’t get much of a chance to try them out myself, however I was informed (at the point of a foam sword!) that they were so delicious we had to buy some more. Here’s the all important info:

  • Each Bag contains just 85 calories, so they are a fairly guilt free treat. Plus they are baked not fried!
  • They are made from Wholegrains and have no artificial colours or preservatives.
  • They come in three flavours, all of which are suitable for vegetarians (Roast Beef, Prawn Cocktail and Salt & Vinegar).


We only tried out the Roast Beef flavour, but they were really quite yummy. They had a strong flavour but I wouldn’t call it overpowering. They were crispy and non greasy and enjoyed by all the family.

Would I buy them again?

As I have already that’s a resounding yes! I’m quite happy to give them to my kids as a slightly healthier alternative to traditional crisps as an afternoon snack. Also not to be forgotten, they are a fun shape!

Plus my children inform me that Land Lubbers and Pirates alike are actually allowed to eat them 🙂



Tate & Lyle Sugars Tasting House!

On Tuesday Anne and I were invited along to the fabulous Tate & Lyle Tasting House in London. If you can imagine Alice in Wonderland mixed with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you’ll have some approximation of the sweetness induced heaven we were in!

Tate & Lyle had created a Hansel & Gretel style wonderland of themed rooms and decadent staircases all baked with their brand new range of taste experience golden and brown cane sugars, inspired by regions around the world.

On entering a hallway decked with wooden spoons and macaroon covered walls we walked into the British inspired room.

A giant cake version of the Tate & Lyle lion laid on one table, while others were adorned with Jelly spoons, sugar cookies and a doughnut edifice to name just a few.

Everything was created using Tate & Lyle Sugars Golden Syrup sugar 🙂

Next we ventured to the Caribbean, a dimly lit cabin with a giant Vanilla Sponge chest at it’s centre.

We raided cupboards to find Gingerbread swords, doubloons and Belgian Chocolate cake pops.

A candle lit table held chocolate animal skulls and Orange Spice Cupcakes. All made with the brand new Taste Experience Light Muscovado sugar.

Next we climbed macaroon clad stairs, eating a few window cushions as we went 🙂 to the Mediterranean Inspired Bedroom.

A huge clawed bath was filled to the brim with sparkling popcorn, cupcakes and jams. Bath lilies (I ate one) floated on top.

The bed was festooned with cushions (that were really made of chocolate, lemon and vanilla cakes!)

Even the rug in front of the fire was made from 1081 meringues and the books weren’t just a good read, they were a good feast! All made using the new Taste Experience Light Soft Brown sugar.

Next came my favourite room, the Guyanese room using the new Taste Experience Demerara Sugar.

First we were introduced to a giant Sea Turtle made from vanilla sponge cake. She laid in a sand pit where she had buried her eggs. We were encouraged to route through the sand to find the eggs (poor turtle).

The eggs were in fact real duck eggs, but when we cracked them open they were filled with Vanilla Cake! I instantly felt a return to childhood, filled with wonder at this most amazing of marvels. I’m still marvelling two days later, I mean it was a cake in an egg, a real egg!

With huge goggle eyes we made our way into the Barbados inspired library. Books and maps galore stood on the shelves and I paused to admire the antique display of shells and coral. At this point I was informed with a smile that they were all in fact made from gingerbread!!!! Baked with the new Dark Muscovado sugar.

Up more macaroon stairs and we entered the Misissippi Room. A huge 5ft long rainbow cake with an slightly creepy golden babyhead stood proud in the room. The cake was decorated with Mardi Gras style beads and seriously delicious feathers. Made with the new Taste Experience Dark Soft Brown sugar.

Over the corridor to the South Pacific room where in the centre stood a huge Easter Island Mud cake head. I actually didn’t partake of any of this because I only realised it was a cake later on, I did however eat some Chocolate Rubble 🙂 Made with the new Golden Granulated sugar.

Finally we made our way downstairs to the basement where we entered an eery Mayan fantasy. Golden pots containing spiced cookie coins, tablet and Chocolate stood on pedestals. A chocolate skull, Tablet calendar and Sacrificial (chocolate) hearts stood to one side. The centre of the room was filled by a huge fudge temple. All made with the new Taste Experience Golden Caster sugar.

As you can probably tell we were more than a little amazed and inspired. The bakers involved in the creation of the house are obviously artists with amazing skill. I don’t think I’ll forget the experience in a hurry.

The premise of the new range of Taste Experience Sugars from Tate & Lyle is to make baking with sugar much more than just adding sweetness, it’s about adding flavour! Each bag of the new sugars gives hints and tips on how to use them and what food they best compliment. I came home with a few of the new flavours and I can’t wait to test them out. If the house is anything to go by they really do add a whole new depth of flavour to your cooking, really lifting it above the ordinary!

The whole house took 14 cake makers more than 2000 hours to bake, 900 hours to decorate and used more than 600 kilos of Taste experience sugar!

Now what ordinary household item shall I attempt to make into cake….

Croquembouche and Pirates!

Good afternoon everyone!

I’ve been going through my schedule and I do have a lot of yummy, interesting and crafty posts in the pipeline, but for today here are a couple of projects that have been keeping me busy.

It was recently my wedding anniversary which we’ve never really got around to celebrating. Year after year we promise to actually do something, but it never seems to happen. This time we both managed a card at least, so that’s a vast improvement. Anyway, at about 2pm on the day it suddenly struck me as a fantastic idea to recreate our wedding cake. I had no idea what was in the cupboards, but I improvised my way through and made a croquembouche! With more time and preparation I like to think it would have looked a bit grander.

Our actual wedding cake was significantly larger, filled with chocolate cake and obviously somewhat more professional. For my first croquembouche though, I think it’s pretty nifty 🙂 If you would like to have a go yourself I used the recipe from Lakeland Limited’s site. I sadly do not own their specially designed pan, I had to make do with a rather fiddly cardboard cone I constructed and covered in greaseproof paper. Overall I was very chuffed with this last minute effort.

In other news we have been redesigning our boys bedroom. Having heard an awful lot about pirates recently, it became easy to choose a theme. I’ve tried to take a few photos to show you the finished product.

We painted the bunks (which were originally white) using a homemade chalk paint. This was largely due to impatience on my part, the original plan had been to purchase some wonderful Annie Sloan paint, but it worked so I’m not going to complain. If you’d like to have a go at making your own chalk paint, it’s roughly two parts emulsion to one part plaster of paris.

I made the bed covers from wide stripe fabric. No fancy padding I’m afraid, they simply pull over the existing quilt.

The cushions are premade faux silk ones from Dunelm Mill. I then cut up an old sheet and appliqued the skull and crossbones.

The lampshade is a plain one from Ikea with gold braid glued in place (just realised this doesn’t feature in the photos but I swear it looks great lol). The clock and curtain fabric (which I forgot to photograph) are also from Ikea. The curtains are tied back using thick rope. We also have a jolly roger light switch cover.

A bit of a search about the internet found this amazing porthole from Wilson Graphics, it’s wonderful!

The ships wheel, toybox and fishing net were from various sellers. The shells were wound into place using beading thread.

The boys love their new room and I’m pleased with it too. If you want to know where I got anything from just send me a message or leave a comment here.

I’d love to say the projects are finished, but my little girl wants an Alice in Wonderland room next 🙂