The great orange chocolate hysteria of 2019

If you’ve read my blog from somewhere near the start (throwing it back to the Curious Alice Loves… days folks) you’ll know I’m a sucker for a trend a lot of the time, so I want to stay true to that aesthetic.

I’m also a sucker for chocolate.

Naturally, when a noteable combining both of these topics arose a few weeks ago, it peaked my interest. I think you know the one I’m talking about…

Cadbury Orange Twirl.

It was announced, the suspense built, the tabloids reported where it could be bought, my twitter feed was flooded with people trying in vain to get hold of a single bar to try, suspense and desire built for it more, Cadbury released more ample stocks into the wild to satiate people before the supply dwindled and again people were left hangry for the taste of what appeared to be the white tiger of the chocolate world.

For me – I had family members on the lookout, I mentioned this is every single group chat I was part of, I even changed the name of my work group chat to ‘Orange Twirl Watch Society’. Eventually, thanks to my pestering of everyone in my life, I got my hands on one (I say one, I actually mean one box. No, really.)

Well played Cadbury marketing team, well played. You created a hype, withheld supply to increase demand/limited edition-ness and didn’t have to spend mega bucks to do so.

So, this whole thing poses two questions. 1, does it live up to the hype in comparison to other orange chocolate products and 2, what is a good substitute if you can’t get your hands on one/when Cadbury stop making them (they’re promoted as a limited edition).

I got you on both counts.

I’ve done the leg work and reviewed orange chocolate products so you won’t have to, you can simply get the best one. Merry Christmas!

Orange Twirl

The new kid on the block. If you like Twirls and orange flavoured chocolate, you’re definitely going to be pleased with this creation of you ever manage to get hold of one. It is as nice as you’d hope for the effort it takes to get them!

Tip – I normally put my chocolate in the fridge (don’t @ me) to make it last longer when I eat it, however this is most definitely best eaten at room temperature accompanied by a good brew.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange bar

Arguably the original founder of the trend, but is it the best?

The smooth texture of the segments make for a silkier taste and allow more of the orange oil flavour to come through, so if you want something very orangey for a decent price then this is still very much a good shout.

Lindt Chocolate Orange bar

The more ‘luxury’ option, it takes on the traditional Lindt form with a softer centre. The squares on each bar are massive, so it could potentially mean you eat more than planned, however it’s so delicious you probably will anyway.

Very silky chocolate texture, lots of orange flavour, this would be an absolute delight of a chocolate to find in your Christmas stocking.

Matchmakers – chocolate orange flavour

Well, they’re an old classic and ’tis the season they usually get cracked out!

They’re very tangy with orange goodness, a little bit crispy and VERY dangeous as they’re so skinny you can easily eat the lot. But it’s Christmas, so what the hell!

Whether you’ve had an orange Twirl, haven’t and need a substitute or just like chocolate and want to justify it as one of your five a day (cos it’s orange flavoured, geddit) now you know what’s what.

I still can’t decide whether this post was a quirk of genius or just a bit weird, but thanks for reading either way!

J xx

Thanks for reading,

J xx


4 Simple Christmas decorations that look fab (that even I can make!)

It’s that time of year again…I don’t about you, but I’m in dire need of a little festive cheer in my life!

I’m not a craft person by any stretch of the imagination (apart from that one really decent wall thing I made the other year, which I’ll share below) but this year I really wanted to add as many festive touches as I could to my home without spending a fortune. So, a bit of Pinterest and a couple of herbdashery purchases later, I was in business!

The giant door bow

I’ve seen these loads on social media in the past, however the pre made ‘blingy’ ones were a bit too expensive and ornate for what I was looking for. The answer? Buy a massive length of organza and make your own!

I looped two long pieces width ways and length ways tied in a double not to secure, I then tied a rough bow with the remaining pieces and fanned out the bow until it looked more full. This took about 15 minutes in total, and I know the pieces fit so I can do it again next year.

Bauble table centres

This took literally a minute to do, and it meant I could use some more of the many (many, many) baubles in my collection!

Taking vases I bought from IKEA a few weeks ago, I simply kept some of the smaller baubles out and filled each case to the top.

It’s something extra to look at and used items I already had in the house but wasn’t using, so totally free. Win!

Hanging bauble feature

(Pinterest images have been used to display this one because the light was too bad to snap decent photos in when I’d finished)

This one took a little bit longer but was still super easy. When I was researching home made decorations, this was one of the first that popped up, and I knew I had plenty of leftover baubles to make it work!

Taking brown string (to keep with my theme, however coloured wool would also work really well) I looped a section through each bauble, not really caring if they were the same length, and tied them to my banister. I secured them in place with a small piece of sellotape just so they wouldn’t slide out of place.

This also looks great when hung in symmetrical lengths down a window

Paper wall fan

I don’t know what the official name for this would be, but that’s what I’m calling it! This one will take a little bit more effort (and some glue) but is a great mindful activity to relax, do with friends or get the kids involved.

Disclaimer – this is one I made about 3 years ago, however it’s still in perfect condition and I’ve used it every year since.

You’ll need – medium sized coloured cardboard circle, small coloured cardboard circle, glue (pva or prit stick) and small squares of patterned/coloured paper.

Take a piece of paper square and roll it into a cone shape, sealing the edges with glue. Using the medium cardboard circle as your base, glue them in a round shape until the circle has them all the way around. Repeat the process, but this time glue the paper cones above the first layer (this make the finished product more 3D). Once the second layer is complete, glue the small cardboard circle into the centre to hide the sticky bits. To finish, punch a hole in the top part of the medium circle, thread coloured ribbon through and hang where desired.

Whatever your level of skill and ‘can’t be arsed-ness’ there’s definitely something in the post you’ll be able to create!

Thanks for reading,

Jenny xx


So, what have you achieved in the past decade??

So, this tweet popped up in my Twitter feed a few days ago, I’m sure it’s popped up in yours too. Now, people’s answers to the tweet are popping into my feed too, which I’m really enjoying by the way, so naturally thought about what my own response would be.

Turns out, what I have achieved doesn’t fit into 280 characters! So, I thought I’d put it in a blog post instead.

*Dislciamer – no brags, no intent to make anybody feel bad, it’s only the passing of another year so isn’t such a massive deal. Remember “it’s not your age, it’s your stage” we don’t all do the same things, and if we do we’re not all meant do them at the same time.*

1. Got married

I was pretty quick off the blocks with this one and got hitched in March 2010. Neither of us can quite believe it was almost ten years ago! Marriage and relationships in general take a lot of work if you want them to be successful and fulfilling, so I’m proud because we’ve made it this far and still both want to out that work in.

2. Bought and sold two houses Shortly after getting hitched, I sold the first home I bought and bought our first joint house together. We lived there for about seven years before selling up (it never truly felt like home to me if I’m honest) spent a few months in rented accommodation before finding our current place and moving in last spring. This one truly feels like home and I love it.

3. Got a degree I definitely didn’t see this one coming! I decided to take a leap and go full time at university at the grand old age of 28, having become disillusioned with my career and where it was going. It was four years that at times I found really quite hard, but I made it through and doors have been opened for me as a result of the experience.

4. Started my blog 

Another one I didn’t see coming, but one of the things that has shaped my life the most over the past five years without a doubt. It’s given me a passion, a focus away from work, experience to be able to get a foot into my current career, introduced me to new friends/experiences/brands. I still have so much more to learn and that I want to achieve, so there will be a big focus on that as 2020 rolls around.

5. Changed career I used to be a mortgage advisor and now I work in marketing. It’s a much better use of my interests and skills. I’ve been able to work at some really interesting companies so far (my first few jobs were fixed term contracts) and I have a clear direction as to where I want my career to go.

6. Passed my driving test Again, didn’t see this one coming, I NEVER saw this one coming! After I graduated, I thought “if I can do a degree, I can do this”. That pragmatic and more level headed approach ensure that I could in fact do that! I used to think I was just one of those people not meant to drive, with hindsight I think I just needed a more mature approach than I had at 17.

7. Worked hard to achieve some health goals

Although I may have to skirt over the fact that I’ve taken a few backward steps since achieving them!

I’ve been unhappy with myself for as long as I can remember and decided that I needed to sort that out once and for all before I hit 30. I focussed very diligently on achieving my goal for about three years, and by the start of 2013 I was at a place that I felt comfortable and was maintainable to me. I stayed that way for three years before a combination of re-entering full time work and some extreme stress forced my good habits to die hard and never really return.

I want to set myself some new goals but have been a bit scared to do so, however I’ve going started small and try to be less harsh on myself throughout the journey.

8. Visited some interesting and beautiful places I adore travel and find it very relaxing and fulfilling, but I’d forgotten just how many wonderful trips I’ve had in the past decade. To name a few – Barbados (honeymoon), New York (twice), Las Vegas, Barcelona, Tuscany, Santorini and Mykonos.

9. Met some wonderful people My life choices have led me to meeting some of my very favourite people – uni, blogging and work have all introduced and re-introduced such a variety of of friendships into my life that I’m very grateful for. I also became an auntie twice, and those kids are two of the best humans I spend time with.

10. Entered a new decade of my own

Yup, I officially entered my dirty thirties. Doesn’t sound like much of an achievement, I didn’t do anything to be born, however I do take credit for the fact that I’ve made it this far having encountered some pretty awful bumps along the way. I definitely haven’t made through completely in tact, but I’m still here so I’ve made it, and I’m happy with that.

Looking back over the past ten years and realising exactly what has happened in my life has been pretty positive and reassuring to me. I sometimes have a tendency to forget the good stuff if I’m having a particularly stressful time, so it’s nice to be reminded there’s a lot of good amongst the occasional less good.

I would encourage everyone to review the past decade and remember some of the great things that have happened…you may be surprised by what you uncover!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


3 Tips for having a good staycation

Having some time off work but not going on holiday? Read on my friend…

After enjoying three holidays abroad this year, a house to finish decorating and with one week of annual leave left, a staycation was the only option my bank balance would accept (for clarity, I class a staycation as having time off and not going on holiday).

It’s important to remember that most of the time we have annual leave to allow ourselves to have a period of rest away from a working environment, however if you don’t do this productively (quite an oxymoron I know) you could end up getting back to work and feeling like you’ve wasted this valuable time. So, I propose that you follow these three simple rules that will give you the best chance to recharge your batteries and feel accomplished:

1 – Have one period of adulting

I guarantee there’ll be jobs you’ve been saving until you ‘have time’ to do them. This is the time! But make it count – write out a list of those jobs and get them done in one go and before you do anything else. If you don’t you’ll end up doing them in bits and bobs through the week and breaking up other quality time, or rushing to cram them in at the end which will likely make you feel a bit frazzled. Getting it done up front will instantly make you feel accomplished, take a weight off and move your vibe towards chill mode.

2 – Plan out you time

Mapping out what you’re going to do means you can use all of the time you have to its fullest advantage and know what to look forward to and when.

Even if you plan to do nothing, plan the days/times of you’re going doing nothing so you can prepare – make sure your fave PJs/loungewear are freshly washed, you’re fully stocked up on snacks and Netflix is primed to take you to binge watch heaven.

3. Do SOMETHING, even if it’s just one day/night

It doesn’t have to be far, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, hell if you’re forgetful like me it could even be free!

Do you have any vouchers for a spa treatment/hotel stay/restaurant/theme park that you got as a gift and have been waiting to use? Now is the time, I enjoyed a lovely mid week stay at Thorpe Park Hotel from one of last year’s Christmas gifts.

Have a look around to see if any of your favourite cafes/restaurants/bars do special offer during the week that you wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy. We managed to find one of our favourite pizza places had an insane lunch deal that was about half the price of the usual menu. Good food, less money, happy you.

You don’t have to think drastically outside the box, you ould simply do the things you’d do outside of office hours, just with more time and less people. Enjoy a day walking around the shops and a lazy lunch, visit family members you don’t see as often as you’d like or hit the gym and enjoy the freedom of getting on any piece of equipment you want.

So there it is – not rocket science, just quick wins that you may not think of when you’re tunnel visioned on the concept of ‘not being at work’. Now, off you go to enjoy yourself!

Thanks for reading,

J xx


5 Things for 2019 – Update #3

So, you may remember from my last update that I’ve decided to take one of my goals out (not drinking) because it wasn’t looking achievable for the year, so I’m down to 4 things for the next two updates. Here’s how the rest have been going and a sneak peek about what’s coming up in chapter 4 of 2019…

  • Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

Aside from (and partly on) holiday this one is still going well, much to my surprise and delight! My thought process has changed a lot so now when I think “I’m going to XX, what am I gonna wear?” I head straight to the closet instead of the Internet and take a long hard look at what I have. Usually, this resolves it. Top tip I’ve learnt during this process – don’t forget to check your washing and ironing baskets as part of this process, you’ll get a fuller picture of exactly what you have and probably find stuff you forgot about that feels brand new again!

  • Get a home bar

Brief and to the point – not moved on any further since the last update, can’t really say much more!

  • Un-join the gym and get outside

This has still happening but on a far more ad hoc basis – in between peoples holidays and life commitments, the girls and I haven’t been as on it as we’d like in the last couple of months. The intention is still there and I’m fully expecting this to kick back up a notch now that normal service has resumed. I did a decent bit of walking on holiday over the summer which helped to plug the gap a tiny little bit too!

I’ve also been starting to think about adding a little more heavy duty cardio to my regular activity – I don’t want to go back to the yay, but I do want to try some exercise classes to see what I like and if they can help me meet some of my health goals going in to 2020 (eek!)

  • Get out of the house more

I’d say this is going OK, not sure if the Mr would give a matching answer! I’ve definitely made myself do more over the summer, but there are still a decent amount of times that I’ve done closer to nothing and stayed at home on the couch a lot. I’m feeling good about the amount of social vs antisocial activity, which is the positive outcome of this goal, so I’m just going to carry on and see what else happens over the next few months.

So, what else has is happening?

  • I went to Mykonos
  • If you follow me on Instagram and are a regular reader, you’ll probably be very well aware of this fact by now! I was lucky enough to work with a couple of great companies during my trip including Mykonos Vioma and Truffle Shuffle who featured in my 7 Outfits I wore in Mykonos post. There were a few things that surprised me about Mykonos that I’d not seen anybody else mention before, and I’m going to cover those in a future post so keep a look out for that.
    • I’m going to Italy (Image credit: booking.com )
  • This is something I’m ridiculously excited about saying, and by the time you read this I will be there! I’m heading off to a beautifully villa in Tuscany with a fabulous group of gals as guests of Booking for You*. As a huge fan of the cuisine, it’s been a long held goal of mine to eat Italian food in Italy, on this trip I’ll get to do that and so much more. I’ll be putting up posts about my experiences in October/November as well as social media activity, so make sure you’re following me to see wassup.
    • I’ve booked a VERY exciting bucket list adventure for next year

    The travel plans just keep on coming, that’s what we like! This is as much as I’m willing to share at the moment, just in case something happens, however when the up gets a little closer I,l reveal more. Stay tuned….

    And so we head in to the final chapter – dark evenings, autumn leaves, festive fun and who know what else!

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    8 Reasons to choose Hull*

    This post is a paid collaboration with the University of Hull however all words, opinions and declarations of awesomeness are completely my own

    Choose Hull for what? I hear you cry. Well, everything – to visit, live, study and work!

    I’m Hull born and bred; however there was a time when as a teenager that I thought it wasn’t the place for me and high-tailed it abroad for a few years. I returned by choice for good in 2005 and have since seen the city go through a major glow up and thrive as it deserves to. And so, I am proudly telling you today that I fully appreciate what a cracking place Hull is!

    I’m going to share some of things I like most about living in Hull – some you may know, others you won’t, all of them more reasons to check it out for yourself…

    1. There’s lots to keep you entertained, day and night, throughout the year

    There’s ALWAYS something happening in Hull. What can I say, we’re a sociable bunch! There’s a hive of comedy clubs for a low cost giggle and drink with friends, as well as aborting calendar of annual festivals and civic celebrations – Pride in Hull, Freedom Festival, Hull Fair and Humber Street Sesh to name a few. There are theatres (yes, more than one), and event venues (the latest being Bonus Arena) that attract some amazing acts and shows, not to mention the University’s jam-packed Welcome Fest calendar. If you’re looking something to Hull to do, anything, you are likely to find it!

    2. You can embrace culture, in all its glorious forms

    Thanks to our 2017 City of Culture status and the legacy that is Absolutely Cultured there are a variety of cultural-focussed activities happening all year round. Not only that, but when you take the time to actually look at the buildings in Hull, you realise some of them actually pretty spectacular.

    A lot of the older architecture is inspired by the Dutch (we had that link long before P&O got in on the action) and is really lovely to admire.

    (this is one of Hull’s most photographed streets, a true example of some its hidden gems)

    Buildings not your thing, how about street art? Head to Bank Side Gallery – a once thriving industrial estate that has dwindled over the years but has been revitalised into a graffiti artists paradise and a huge outside art space that’s constantly evolving.

    You’ll get some great pictures for the ‘gram here too.

    3. It’s pretty darn cheap

    Hull was once voted the cheapest place in the UK to live. I’m not sure if that’s still the case, but compared to the rest of the UK you get more of a bang for your buck here on the Humber. House prices/ rent are very reasonable (I would NEVER be able to afford the suburban 3 bed semi I call home in any other City), there’s plenty of places to get a great bargains on shopping (clothes and food) and eating out. Lots of people choose to live in the Hull area and commute to work in other nearby cities such as Leeds purely because it’s cheaper and they can have a better quality of life.

    4. It’s easy to get to, and get to other places from

    It’s never been easier to get to Hull – trains, buses and roads all have easy and direct routes in to the City Centre from all around the UK, so people can come and visit really easily. That also means that those cheeky weekends away (or days out for cocktails, wink) can happen with ease – you can get directly to London in under 3 hours and Leeds in an hour by train, the nearest airport (Humberside) is half an hour drive away and connects to international destinations via KLM. And, one of the funnest trips you can make is on a P&O mini cruise to Amsterdam, fondly referred to as a “Dutch Dash”. We’re pretty close to the coast here too. Beach, please.

    5. There’s a frickin’ marina in the middle of the city centre!

    Well, not quite the middle, but about five minutes away from the middle, and it’s really pretty to wander around. This area of the city has been really nicely developed over the past couple of years so is buzzing with cute independent shops, places to grab a casual coffee and have a slap up meal (and perhaps a cheeky cocktail or 3) with some lovely surroundings.

    6. You can eat amongst the fishes and find Nemo

    Hull is home to The Deep; a unique looking aquarium and conservation charity sitting proudly on the banks of the Humber. They’re home to over 5,000 animals including the UK’s only pair of Green Sawfish, a pair of Loggerhead sea turtles, adorable penguins and of course our favourite Clownfish (Nemo) and Blue Tang (Dory) from the movies.

    (image credit: @thedeephull Instagram)

    Three nights a week it turns in to the Two Rivers Restaurant which serves a seasonal menu whilst you dine with a difference in amongst the larger viewing windows inside the aquarium.

    7. You can indulge your inner foodie/drinky with ease

    Take it from someone who has tested this to an alarming extent! I can’t think of many kinds of cuisine not available in the City, and it’s all equally tasty. Dietary requirements are catered for really well, and meals are pretty good value (refer back to point no. 3).

    Hull also has its very own ale trail around the Old Town, if you’re not an ale drinker there are also great cocktail bars (and even a couple of roof bars to enjoy views of the City while sipping them).

    8. University of Hull

    One of the first reasons people visit Hull is to consider going to uni here, and the campus really is a massive selling point. It’s a fantastic mix of original, more traditional buildings and newer modern structures, so you really get a sense of where it’s been but also where it’s going.

    As both a graduate and former employee I have such fond memories of place – to this day the smell of toast and coffee reminds me of academia, and I often head back for a wander around to appreciate the beauty (autumn for the colourful leaves is a personal fave). There are amazing views from the top floor of the swanky new library, lots of places to eat/drink, the courses available are varied and have a great set of lecturers from such a wide variety of backgrounds.

    So there’s my highlights, and I reckon I make a pretty good even if I do say so myself. If you want to find out more, well…you’ll just have to come to Hull and see for yourself!

    If you think studying in Hull could be for you, visit the campus and take a look around, there’s also still plenty of time to apply for the 19/20 academic year or discuss clearing options (I actually didn’t apply until July before starting September the same year via the standard application process)

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx


    5 Things for 2019 – update #2

    What a busy and turbulent quarter 2 2019 has been! Here what’s been happening with my original goals, plus a few extra bits of gossip…

  • This one has still been going OK, but mostly by default – can’t see much in the shops that I like, and when I have tried to do any shopping most of the stuff has gone back as it just isn’t right. I’m planning to spend a bit more this month to update my summer/holiday wardrobe as the weather has kicked it up a few notches and I’m making summer vacay plans (more about that in a bit)
    • Get a home bar Progress of this one is pretty straightforward – we actually have a bar in an area of our home, we just haven’t made it functional yet! As you can see by this pic, it has quite a specific look, so it’s going to take a bit of time to work out how to decorate around it. We’ve managed to set up and style a full bar cart (which has been done since the New Year, I just haven’t written a post about it yet) so we’re part way there.
    • Un-join the gym and get outside This one is going ok, particularly now the UK weather is getting a bit warmer and the nights have been lighter. Still a bit hit and miss on occasions; sometimes I can be out and about and pretty active, other days it’s a bit more of a challenge, so I’m just trying to do as much as I can when I can. I still have a regular little walking group with my pals to keep things on a social and motivational track, myself and the Mr also pop out sometimes after work as a good way of unwinding from the day and setting aside some properly quality time.
    • Get out of the house more
    • Dranks out, drinks in I’m going to be honest and say that I think I need to take this one off the table. After reviewing the goal and becoming more sociable in the evenings (as per goal #4) I’ve decided it’s not achievable because I don’t want it to be at the moment. Part of setting foals is to review and track their progress , then make changes if the original plan isn’t working out, so that’s what I’m doing. I’d still say that about 50% of the time in social situations I’m driving and having soft drinks, but still

    So, what else has been happened since we last caught up?

    • I booked a summer holiday

    Ya gal is heading back to Greece! After a fabulous trip to Santorini in 2018 (I did a series of blog posts on Island hotspots, best things to do and a guide to Greek food) the Mr and I are heading to Mykonos. If you have any top tips for things to do (other than take loads of money) or places to go, please let me know. We considered going to Ibiza but, as my other half so eloquently put it when he saw the cost, “it’s getting ideas above its station with those prices! ” and I got my first choice of vacay. Yay.

    • I went back to the dark side
  • To keep my hair looking healthy and easy to manage, Chelsea and I decided to give me hair a bit of dark chocolate makeover for summer. I know right; I’m the only person who goes dark for the summer months!
    • I turned 36

    Ugh. Not one I like to admit, but it’s happened and I’m dealing with it! To mark this ‘milestone’ I did a bit of a different blog post to any I’ve done before, but I really enjoyed putting it together!

    For the past few years I’ve done a dedicated ‘what I got/did for my birthday’ but this year was a bit more low key due to some persona and family illness. Instead I thought I’d just do a little roundup here (like I did with my Lanzarote holiday in my last update post) of some key parts. Had some lively food, went to a Shappi Khorsandi gig and had a quick but lovely visit to Liverpool

    And that brings us nicely to the present day and in to quarter 3 of 2019, I wonder where it’ll take me…

    Thanks for reading,

    J xx