Castello Italian (Frome)

I recently went to Frome on a little trip with my Mum. We stayed in a place through Air BnB and did have our own kitchen and cooking space but as we were only there for a few days, had a lot to do and were both shattered we decided to get food out.

In advance of going I did a little research into good places to eat as naturally good/bad/new places come and go in any town but especially when you have not really visited for a couple of years. It became clear that there were a stack of restaurants on Palmer Street that were all generally well regarded and had something different to the next one to offer.

The quality of the napkins were great and lifted expectations at Castello

Castello really stood out as a place where local people go and where the food, atmosphere and service was good. In fact on our arrival there was quite a long table filled with people celebrating a 40th birthday. The rest of the restaurant was also busy and they had to check if there was room for us to be seated as we did not have a reservation (luckily there was). 
It was a really hot and muggy evening so it was a relief that they had massive floor to ceiling doors that they were able to slide open to let the maximum amount of air in possible. This combined with high ceilings and tables being spaciously placed made the restaurant cool and a welcome relief.

To help make the restaurant feel like a less vast space and to add a little something there was a huge shelving unit in the middle. You could see through this to the other areas and it did not block any light off but it did have items on it such as packets of pasta and rice as well as strings of garlic and other things you might expect to find on the menu.

Despite being busy and having a lot of tables occupied, including the large group for the birthday meal, you were still able to have a discussion without having to shout and you could hear what the staff had to say clearly too.

We ordered drinks not long after our arrival. My mum opted for a simple glass of cold rosé wine whilst I decided to go for what can only be described as the house cocktail a Castello Kiss. Even though I ordered a cocktail and that can result in drinks taking an age to turn up they actually arrived within a few minutes which was a pleasant and refreshing surprise. The cocktail was also really yummy as it contained vodka, grenadine and curaço and a lot of ice but I also loved the way that the straws were bent (perhaps I am easily pleased).

The Castello Kiss cocktail

Mum had decided before we even walked into the restaurant, after looking at the menu outside, that she was going to have the chicken and mushroom risotto. We both agreed though that a risotto in a restaurant can sometimes be a let down and leave you thinking that you could have made it at home. 

But the one that turned up was tasty and the portion was generous too. It seemed to contain a decent amount of chicken as well as herbs to flavour the dish up with although there was quite a lot of garlic in it which was fine for us but I can imagine it being a little too much for some people. It also had some tomatoes and a basil leaf to give it that added bit of colour too.

With some pepper and parmesan sprinkled on top

I ummed and ahhed about what I was going to have as risotto always calls out my name, pasta always sounds good too but when I have not been somewhere before the quantity you will get makes me nervous and then trying to figure out whether the pizza will be greasy is tricky too. 

In the end I decided to go with one of two calzones that they have on the menu. The meat filled one looked good but I was craving a few vegetables and cheese so went with the one that contained “spinach, roasted augergine, caramalized onion, roasted peppers, black olives, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce” and came with a fresh mixed salad on the side. I also had a little parmesan sprinkled on the top because, if you do not know me, I am a cheese fiend.

It was absolutely huge when it arrived and I knew that I was going to end up walking back up the hills of Frome and getting a stomach stitch along the way but it looked like it was going to be worth it. The pizza dough was crisped up but still remained soft whilst each bit of the filling was coming through with its own distinctive tastes and textures. The mozzarella had melted nicely inside but had not blended in with the rich and flavourful tomato sauce so you had that moment of dairy filled joy still. Because it was so crammed full of ingredients it did make it a bit messy to cut into as slowly everything, especially the sauce, attempted to escape and you had to scrap it all back together.

Vegetarian calzone at Castello

After battling through our epic meals we decided to just get the bill as if I looked at the dessert menu I think I might have popped. The thing that I liked about payment was that the service charge was not immediately added on so you could choose to tip as much as you wanted or felt was suitable. I could have done this by card but the waitress skipped through the tipping screen so I had to do it by cash at the end instead.

If I have some time on an evening in Frome again and want to have a meal out I would happily return to Castello or recommend it to somebody in the area or visiting. I am unlikely to go the next time I visit though as I have a few other places on Palmer Street to eat my way through first.

Great food, great staff, great atmosphere and good prices for the quality and quanity available. Despite being busy they did not seem to rush us either which is always a bonus.

Candle Haul

There is something lovely about having candles around the place especially when they look more than just a normal candle or have good packaging to go with them.

I recently made two orders from fairly small UK candle companies and when they turned up I was just as happy to have them around as I was in the theory of them. In fact some of them are so pretty that part of me does not want to use them but then I also got them to use so use them I shall force myself to.

Pretty Paper Packages – Humble Housewife Candles

Pretty Paper Packages

The candles turned up in the most delightful little paper packages, as you might expect from the name, and that made them feel even more like a little treat to me from me. The only thing I struggled with on the packaging front is all those little packaging wotsit things. I had to rummage pretty deeply into the box to find the actual candles so be prepared to make a wotsit style mess. They also turned up very quickly after I ordered them which is always great.

Humble Housewife Candles

I only got two candles as I wanted to see what they were like in terms of quality and scent but I am wishing I had got a couple more of them especially as there was a sale on with free delivery at the time.

The pomegranate candle is a bit of a strong older scent and does not have the sweet and freshness that I initially expected from it but when burning it is fairly enjoyable. I would not get it again but that is purely out of personal preference for the sort of thing I tend to opt for in a candle.

I absolutely love the rhubarb and custard one as it smells exactly like the sweets and has that real sweet kick to it. This is a real delight to have around and to have burning.

They claim to last 25 hours burn time but I have not used them enough to know how true that is or how well they burn and keep a scent the further down they go. The packaging is lovely though and I hope to find a use for the jars afterwards.

Sixth Scent Candles

Sixth Scent Candles

I have followed Sixth Scent Candles on Instagram and Depop for a little while and they seemed to disappear so I assumed that was it and they were gone. But recently they returned after having to take some time out for personal reasons so when they came back, with new prices, I decided to make an order.

These are all sort of fun scents and from left to right in the above image they are coconut, mint choc chip, birthday cake (vanilla) and hot chocolate. I love the way that they have wax on the top in a way that looks like whipped cream.

These look and smell great not only in the kitchen but all around the house. I have not actually put a match to any of them as they just look so lovely in their natural state yet so I do not know how they burn or what scent kick off they give. 

They came well packaged although I found them putting two candles in a box and two boxes being cellotaped together to be a little annoying and they also took just over a week to turn up so they were clearly not dispatched for a couple of days after the order was made (a weekday evening). I do look forward to giving them a go even if it might damage how pretty they look. 

My final thoughts will come in an empties post where I will discuss the burn time, scent throw, how the packaging/glass holds up and more so keep an eye out over the next couple of months.

The Allergy And Free From Show

A show in a place like Kensington Olympia that claims to be all about helping people find things they can eat sounds like a brilliant idea that will be crammed full of tasty things.

But that whole thought process seems to only apply to the event if you are intolerant to gluten. If like me you went along because you are allergic to ground nuts, tree nuts, peanuts, most legumes (kidney beans, peas, chickpeas, the list is endless) and soya then you are pretty much screwed.

Basically every stall was focussing on being gluten free which is fine but that meant a lot of them were using things I could not eat as a replacement. I am the sort of allergic to things that mean some of them will make me sick pretty much instantly (black beans and mung beans I am looking at you) where as other things will just make me feel a bit queasy and puffy for a few days so I picked my samples carefully.

I should have known it was going to be a disaster for me by looking in the freebie bag at the start and realising everything had nuts or soya in (apart from the drink). How anything other than gluten free friendly eh..

Some of the things I left the show with

The show itself was interesting and there were some great stalls there and I certainly found some new brands that I am going to be looking into in a little more detail but on the whole it was completely pointless for me. Perhaps they should just re-brand it The Gluten Free Show because that was how I felt when asking what stuff was made of and them saying red kidney bean powder or chickpea flour or me looking at the lists of allergens and it saying nuts and soya over and over again.

Vegan? Great! Shame I’m allergic to over 60% of the ingredients

There also seemed to be a focus on vegan and vegetarian which again is great and completely possible for people that only have a gluten allergy but, as I have discovered for myself in the past, if you have the allergies that I do it is pretty much impossible (you cannot get protein from beans and tofu etc). So I had hoped that there would be things in there like pretend falafel that did not actually contain chickpea or there would be discussion of a way, other than eggs, that people like me could get all the nutrients they need. Sadly not.
Basically the whole event was a bit of a fail for me. I, as expected, ended up feeling pretty ill that night and the following day after consuming things that I should not have done (but if I had not then I think I basically would have sampled nothing at all apart from beer – I do not even like beer..).

If you have a gluten allergy I would highly recommend you go to one in the future but otherwise there is very little point. Over the next couple of weeks I will do a review post on some of the things I sampled or ended up grabbing information on but please bear in mind most of them made me terribly ill so my positivity will be limited.

Oval Brushes From My Makeup Brush Set

So a month or so ago My Makeup Brush Set reached out to me, like they reached out to literally hundreds of other instagrammers, and offered to send me their ten piece oval brush set. And I am always interested in trying new products out and giving various companies a go so I said yes,

I knew I would be waiting a little while before they turned up because My Makeup Brush Set is Canadian so I thought by the time they put it in the mail, it found its way over here and it got sorted and delivered at this end it would be about a fortnight.

Clearly Canadian

But after three weeks I decided to message them and ask if they knew where roughly in the delivery stage my parcel was or if they had a tracking number for me to keep an eye on it. I wanted to know so I could do some blog post planning and also to keep an eye and ear out for the postman. They said they did not have a tracking number for it yet and would let me know in the coming days or asked me to get back to them in a week. This is an issue that a lot of people, that had actually purchased the products, were also experiencing and highlighting on every single instagram post that the company put up.
Eventually it turned up. Nearly a week after they responded to me about the lack of tracking number at present. I still could not get my head around it. They surely sent it out from their office so they must have the tracking number to hand on the physical FedEx etc documentation. But when it turned up it all made sense.

Random package from China

They did not even try to mask the fact that they just got the product sent directly from China. You can see from the above image how it turned up. When it arrived I was so confused because I had not ordered anything from China or had anybody in touch with me about anything on the website mentioned on the package.

So after plucking up the courage to open the package it turned out that it was the brushes. Now here is where the next bone of contention begins. Mine came with the little travel bag, if we can call a pouch where the brushes can run freely a travel bag, that had My Makeup Brush Set printed onto one side of it. But the  brushes did not have the brand on the section where a brand should go whilst some other instagrammers did. So they clearly increased the production speed for some people and sent out a half-arsed product.

And because all they came in was a bubble wrapped envelope whilst travelling all those miles they unsurprisingly turned up a little squished. I have washed the brushes and hardly any of them are oval from their traumatic journey across the world. There was absolutely no care or love put into the production or packaging of these products at first glance and it put me off wanting to give them a go for several days.

No branding and all a bit de-ovalled

In the end I did try them out and despite them feeling soft initially as you brush them on your skin they quickly started to scratch and feel a little itchy. The eye brushes were especially on the scratchy side and were really hurting the sensitive bits of skin on my eyelid. And if that was not enough putting my eye makeup on took over twice as long as it would normally take me to do an entire face of glam makeup. I thought that the face brushes might work out well as people that discuss the Artis ones say it means they need less product and it does not cause streak marks when applying foundation. I could not get a flawless application with these brushes for my face products. Things that have never shown streaks or patches suddenly made me look like a zebra, leopard and panda all in one. I had to go to my beauty blender to try to rescue the situation (but in the end I just took it off and started again the normal way).

There is no nice way for me to say this: I did not get on with these brushes. I can handle something taking a bit longer to use if the result is better and the product is enjoyable to work with but these scratched and hurt and hardly applied any product however hard I tried to load them up. I felt like I was wasting time, products and therefore money too and nobody wants to feel like that when they are doing their makeup.

These are cheap. They scratch. They come direct from China instead of the place you would expect when it is a Canadian company. The handles bend a lot. And they suck up your products like there is no tomorrow. You only might get them with the company name on if you are lucky. I would suggest to get one Artis brush over a whole set of these.

Regardless of them sending the brushes to me for free there is no way at all I could recommend these.

Product Empties: May and June 2016

At the end of May I barely had any empties to discuss. I decided to wait and combine them with the following month of products as I did not think that I would actually accumulate that many more. But clearly I was mistaken and ended up with a rather large collection of things to discuss.

Bunch of junk

Facial Products

Generally facial products last me a very long time. Whether that be because I am a little slack at using them or because such a small amount is needed at a time. But by the time I have finished using a product up I either know whether I love it or hate it and what my skin actually thinks of the stuff.

The Body Shop 3-In-1 Deep Cleansing Mask

Rather expensive at full price

This mask is super cooling on the skin when you apply it and that helps to instantly soothe the face and feel like it is going to help with any redness. The three things it claims to do is cleanse, exfoliate and purify which are three words that I find a bit frustrating when put together.

A dictionary definition of cleanse is to make something thoroughly clean which to me means you are naturally pulling out all the dirt that ‘exfoliating’ would do and if you are making something thoroughly clean then you would expect it to be purified? To me you basically have to have one to have another and it is just a deep cleansing mask rather than a 3-in-1 treatment.

I found that this stuff had quite a strong smell. The scent partly reminded me of those refresher tablet sweet type things but it also overwhelms me when it is stuck under my nose drying out and doing its job. And I can completely imagine the smell being too much and putting people off from purchasing it or using it.

The product itself starts off as a very pale blue and as it dries it heads a little more towards a white tone so you can easily tell when it is dry enough to remove from your face (if it becoming like cement and making it impossible to move your face is not enough of a sign for that).

Regardless of how much of the product I put on my face from a thin coating to a thicker one I find that this mask does the same level of job at the end. It has tiny little beads in there, presumably for the exfoliating thing, but to get them to move around your face and do anything you would have to do some seemingly unnatural rubbing with it.

The label on this works the same way as a lot of The Body Shop labels do where you have to peel one section to get more information or the ingredients etc. But for this one the instructions for use did not have any British writing so all I ever knew was 10-15 minutes because of the numbers and understanding French enough to figure it out. The instructions are available on the website but it is still a bit frustrating to not just be able to read them directly from the label.

So whilst this product smells good and is soothing on the skin I find that it does not do as much as I want. It does not seem to actually pull the impurities out from the pores very well and instead just takes the top layer of gunk away. I feel that for the amount that is costs to buy, even when half price, is just not worth it for the benefits that it provides. It was nice for the initial effect after taking it off but it did not do anything useful for the whole day or the following day and ultimately I have had better masks in the past that have done more for longer for less money.

If you want to find out a little more about it then it is available to purchase on The Body Shop website and it is usually available to buy in store.

Planet Spa Thailand Lotus Flower Deep Pore Cleansing Face Mask

Old packaging of the product

Just in case you were in any doubt I did not use two face masks up in the space of these two months. I have had them both on the go for a fair while and normally if I do one I can convince my parter to do one with me too.

This mask is a great one for if you are in a bit of a rush or know that you need a skin fix but do not have the time to have a real sit down and pamper as from application it is only supposed to take five minutes to dry and you just need a thin layer of the product.

Much like the last one it starts out as a coloured mask, a light shade of purple, and then becomes a dried down white powder that if you are not careful will end up crumbling all over your face and down your clothes. But it is a useful indicator to knowing when it is dry and ready to be removed.

It is one of those masks that is quite satisfying to watch whilst it is on your face as you can see it pulling the impurities and nasty stuff from your face and rising to the top of the mask. With this happening it makes it feel like it is working a lot more and more worthwhile using in the first place.

Removing this one from your face can take a little bit of time though. The bulk of the product is not at all difficult to get off with a bit of warm water on a cloth or flannel but it can leave what feels like a bit of a film on the face afterwards so you end up going in and washing with water several more times.

The mask does feel very cooling and soothing to apply and after removing it redness and puffiness does seem to have decreased and faded whilst pores seem more empty. In general this one really makes the face feel very clean and fresh for the rest of the day and into the day or two afterwards. I find though that my skin then tends to react to it a little bit after that and the amount of oil and such seems to massively increase as my face attempts to balance itself back out.

I would generally recommend this mask or one similar to it for people with blocked pores as it does do the job and because of the tube that it comes in it lasts a long time without contamination issues or it drying up.

A repackaged version of this mask only seems to be available in a gift set box on Avon at the time of writing.

P.S. Love Your Skin Deep Facial Cleansing Wipes

Primark products

I feel like I mentioned these face wipes a little while ago in a previous empties as I recall having two packs to work through.

Initially I thought they worked fairly well and them having moisture really helped to remove make-up and dirt from my face but the longer I used them the less effective I felt that they became. Not in the sense of them drying up but rather I just seemed to have to work them a lot more to get my face to a state of being clean enough to go in with my proper facial cleanser.

Further to that they claim to be for normal to combination skin and have vitamin E to help nourish the skin but I found that they just ended up making the oily bit of my face more shiny and the dry bits increasingly dry and flaky. My nose was causing me serious issues and I wondered why but shortly after stopping these it calmed back down again. Of course it could be a coincidence but seeing it slowly get worse during using these I feel that it probably was not.

These are available to buy in Primark and as mentioned you get two packs of 25 wipes for £1.

It’s Potent! Eye Cream from Benefit

It’s certainly something!

I got a few samples of this back last August when my delightfully lovely mum got me the Do The Hoola kit by benefit and I was really interested to give them a try. My eyes are always rather on the puffy side and looking pretty dark and lifeless at the same time so the chance to use something that would brighten and fade had the chance to be a match made in heaven.

The main reason this helps to fade away though is not because of some great miracle ingredient but rather because it is slightly yellow toned and will therefore naturally counteract a bit of the darkness.

But the biggest issue I have with this is something that I believe to be quite a personal issue with it as nobody else really ever mentions it as a thing. I find that it massively stings my eyes and makes them water and burn so much. It obviously does not go anywhere near to my actual eye and it has at no point come in contact with my eye or even my lower eyelashes but every single application it caused my eyes to blur and everything to be truly horrible for several minutes.

because of the way that I reacted to the product and the fact that it did not seem to do anything that a good moisturising cream and concealer can do I would not rush to recommend this to anybody especially with the rather hefty price tag to go with it.

Want to find out a few more specific details and what Benefit claims is good about the product? You can find it all on their website or at stands in Boots, Debenhams and many other good cosmetic retailers.

Body Products

Just like face products I tend to go through phases with body care and looking after my skin as much as I should. I would love to be one of those people that can pop out the bath or the shower and honestly say I use all these different products for different things on a frequent basis but honestly I am not that person (at least not right now in my life).

Bayliss & Harding Sweet Mandarin and Grapefruit Reviving Foot Soak Crystals

Nice packaging

These crystals have vitamin A, B and C infused into them which is fabulous if you are interested in giving your skin a little bit of a direct boost. These vitamins also partly come from the mandarin and grapefruit that are used to infuse these crystals with a bit of scent.

Having said that though these really did not seem to have any scent to me at all. I even braved giving them a direct whiff out of the plastic package that they were in within the box before putting them into the water and they barely had any smell at all. I was expecting to end up coughing and my nose tingling but that did not happen so I was fairly disappointed by the fact they would not fill my immediate vicinity up whilst I was giving them a go.

I always find foot soak and crystals to be a bit of a rip off and a myth because to me the reason you end up with softer feet and your feet feeling brilliant is more to do with the warm water you have rested your feet in rather than the actual products in the water. But I guess if having these products encourages you to have a foot pamper then go right ahead (I got them as part of a set at Christmas so thought I should use them up to stop them taking up room on my shelf of products in the bathroom).

In general I am yet to find anything by this brand that wows me or makes me think that I would go and purchase something from one of their ranges to give a go on my own steam because it is pretty meh and a fairly average price. If you have anything by this brand that you love do leave a comment below and I might be tempted to give it a go!

This scent of Bayliss & Harding products, as well as the foot soak in gift sets, is available through their Amazon store.

Joules Lovely Scrubbly Body Scrub

Little tub of scrubby stuff

This stuff has a floral scent that you would not expect when having a look at the label as there is no mention of it being infused with any particular smells or fragrances. But when you get past the unexpected pong it is not really that bad. It is not actually a strong scent at all and once it is applied and on the run you can barely even tell that it is there.

It had fairly small beads inside for the scrubbing action to be possible but they did not seem very effective. This might be because of how quickly the product became a watery mush with the type of tub it came in and the difficulties of not being able to go in with a dry hand. But even if I did happen to get some on a dry hand it really just did not seem to do a lot or be at all scrubby on the skin in the way you would want from something specifically called a body scrub.

With the type of tin that it comes in, the formulation of the product not reacting very well to water, the effectiveness being way down low on the scales and with the floral scent I would not recommend this to anybody in the future unless they want a super mild scrubber but they do not mind using a scented product.

This product does not seem to be available to buy on its own but rather in gift sets like this one.

Freeman Beauty Walnut Shell Body Scrub and Cleanser

Simple small sample

This was just a one use sample but because of the walnut shell I thought it would be super abrasive on the skin and possibly even a little too sharp for it be at all enjoyable when using it. I was also a little nervous because I have a mild allergy to walnut and I was unsure as to how my legs would feel about walnut shell being rubbed all over them.

And I was right. The little bits of shell were really sharp when being moved across the skin. It did not actually do that good a job of exfoliating the legs and helping to make them feel smooth but instead just irritated them by leaving little red scratch marks all over them.

I am sure that this concept can be carried out really well and that walnut shell can be used as a great product in a body scrub but the way this was executed was not at all something I can imagine that many people wanting.

Also the smell was not nutty or anything like that but more woody and on the whole a little strong and unpleasant. I just can not really find anything to recommend about this product unless you really like giving your legs a good old scratch.

If this sounds good to you then you can find out more and get details on where to purchase it here.

Healthcare Products

I saved this section until the end because I get that people talking about the most essential of items can be a little on the dull side but at the end of the day these are all things that we use up and are constantly on the search of the perfect product for because of the fact we have to use it every single day.

Right Guard Total Defence 5 Sensitive Power

Product with a lot of claims

When somebody says to me Right Guard I tend to think of it as a very male orientated brand. So on spotting them doing a antiperspirant for women I thought I would give it a try as I imagined it would pack a punch in all the areas that matter.

It did not have a very strong scent which I partially like when it comes to a deodorant because it does not interfere with your perfume and I find it is less likely to choke me whilst it is in the air immediately after spraying. But at the same time it makes me worried that should I sweat a little too much that the pong is going to come through a lot quicker because there is nothing to mask it.

Of course in theory if a product like this is good enough at its job and does what it claims then you should not need a back up scent just in case something goes wrong. And whilst this one did that I am not sure it was the right one for me for a number of reasons.

It was sensitive and soft on the skin and that really helped my underarms to feel less dry and horrible. But it did feel a bit wet on application, I know that does not make any sense from a spray, and I do not know why. Whenever I applied it, however I applied it, I always felt like I wanted to wipe my underarms immediately after giving this a spray and that just is not a feeling that I like or want to have to deal with.

When I purchased it I got it on discount so I can handle the amount that I paid for it given the size of the container but I would not pay the full price for it given how it made me feel less clean and a little sweaty before my day had even begun.

Find out more about the product and the claims on Right Guard’s Website.

Asda Pure Hygiene Whitening Toothpaste


Supermarket toothpaste

If you have read any of my previous empties posts you will probably have realised by now that me trying to find a toothpaste that I like enough to repurchase is like looking for a needle in a haystack. They are either too minty or not flavoured enough, leave a funny film in my mouth or have a horrible texture. There is always something to put me off of going out and finding that toothpaste again.

So this time I decided to go for an Asda toothpaste, not the cheapest on the market but certainly nowhere near the most expensive either, and hoped it would live up to at least some area of my expectations.

This toothpaste is not as bad as some others that I have tried and it had a reasonable level of mint flavouring (although it perhaps did not last as long as I would have liked as an after taste). On the whole it felt like it helped to clean my mouth and remove all the things we want to say goodbye to when it comes to brushing our teeth.

But. Yes c’mon you knew there was going to be a but here. This is one of those whitening toothpastes that leaves a film in your mouth and manages to make your tongue look a little white and gross too. I really wish that there were more whitening toothpastes that focussed on the teeth and did not then go about coating your whole mouth in a layer of white activating ingredients. Nobody looks attractive with a filmy white tongue however good their teeth are looking (and hey this stuff did not do anything on the whitening front other than on the tongue).

To find out more about this toothpaste visit here.

Meadow’s Fresh Beetroot Salad and Coleslaw

Making coleslaw and beetroot salad yourself is fairly easy but sometimes there just is not enough time in a day or you know you are going to be short on energy. When I grabbed both of these in Lidl it was because I wanted to have them that evening and knew that after doing all the chores in and out the house I would not be keen on cutting up cabbage and beetroot whilst trying to avoid making a mess.

As much as I was interested in having those things, with the salmon I blogged about yesterday, they are the sort of thing that I am reluctant to pay full price for. The beetroot salad is normally 75p but it had been reduced so I managed to grab it for 52p instead and the reduced fat coleslaw came in at 41p instead of the full 59p. With the discounts I felt better about paying for them otherwise I might have forced myself to make them myself. The discounted stickers were a little difficult to remove so please excuse the labels on the following images missing sections.

Challenging packaging

Before we go into the specifics of each of the products I have to mention the packaging overkill for them both. The tub comes with a lid which is secured down by a label that goes all the way around. You have to go to some effort to rip this label off so you would think the product is pretty secure. But then they also add a layer of plastic under the lid but before the product which is an absolute nightmare to get off. They of course do this to stop the risk of any leaks but I felt like I had endured a full body work out by the time I managed to get the plastic coating off as well. Perhaps it is not usually that difficult and I just had some extra glued down ones but still a bit frustrating.

Challenging packaging part two

Beetroot Salad

There were decent chunks of beetroot inside the tub and the flavour of it really came through rather than there being a sense that it had been tamed a little although it did lack that sharp freshness that you often get in beetroot. But there was nothing wow about it and I feel that it could have done with a little seasoning or herbs mixed through it although I do appreciate I bought it in a shop that is not about bells and whistle fancy items in general.

The outer packaging
But as well as that I am pretty sure it had been bulked out with some carrot. It certainly had long and thin strands of something in there that had unsurprisingly gone beetroot coloured but the texture left the impression of carrot. Something like that really bugs me because if I wanted a beetroot salad that was only partly beetroot then I would have gone looking for a beetroot and carrot salad. Without scanning the ingredients closely and getting in everybody else’s way in the supermarket there was no indication on the front of the packet or on the shop label to say it had carrot in. Sigh.

The beetroot salad itself
It is certainly one of those things that saves you from having to deal with a beetroot yourself and risking ending up with suspicious coloured hands but I really do not think it was worth even the discounted price. Not because it was bad but just because it did not wow me and lacked that fresh and lively feel that beetroot normally provides me with.

Nutritional details for the beetroot salad
Reduced Fat Coleslaw

As you know I am trying to eat a little bit better than I have done for a fair while so I made sure that I picked up the reduced fat one. I am sure we all know that because of the amount of mayonnaise pumped into coleslaw that the amount of calories per portion is just a touch mortifying. A 50g portion of this stuff is still 51g and if you are unsure how much 50g of coleslaw is that is about a (not quite fully) heaped tablespoon. And that is one of the reasons I would normally make coleslaw myself because it does not need to be quite so lathered in mayonnaise as it is when pre-packed for shops.

Nutritional stats for the coleslaw
But at least the front of this label is a little more honest and states the three key vegetables in picture form and there were no unexpected surprises hiding within. If you do not happen to know coleslaw is basically just cabbage, generally white cabbage although red can be used,  carrots and onion.

The nusiance but accurate packaging
This stuff was actually fairly decent and the vegetables, if we are calling an onion a vegetable, had a little crunch to them but had soaked in some of the mayonnaise so were not super crunchy. The cabbage too had clearly been allowed to settle as it did not have the fresh bitterness that you tend to get in home-made coleslaw.

The chunky coleslaw up close
It was nothing out of the ordinary but compared to coleslaws from various brands and shops in the past it was basically up to the same standards. I would feel comfortable recommending this to somebody that wanted to avoid making their own.

Lighthouse Bay Salmon Fillets

The full name of these Lighthouse Bay fillets is a bit of a mouthful so please excuse making them sound a little less interesting in the title but “Two salmon fillets with a classic salt and pepper dusting” was hardly a winning catchy title either.

image

But with a name like that I was a lot more interested in them than I would have been if they were just plain pieces of a salmon. Growing up I was always really unsure of salmon and tended to avoid it and then one day we popped around to a friends house and they suggested we stay for dinner and they did salmon and it was a lightbulb moment for me. It was bloomin’ fantastic!

image

Even though I like salmon now I would still rather go for a plain piece of white fish over a plain piece of salmon so when I seen this salt and pepper dusted stuff on discount I thought I would give it a go. At original full price these pieces would be available in Lidl for £2.79 but I got them for a healthy £1.95 which is still a little more than I would tend to pay for a portion of something but I really fancied them and was clearly feeling a bit flush!

The packet suggested that they would also be good to put onto the BBQ but as the weather has continued to be a traditional British Summer and I was cooking by myself I cannot say that I put this to the test. I can imagine the smoky flavours working well with the seasoning and obviously smoked salmon is normally okay so I imagine it would be good that way.

image

I decided to do my salmon with a few other discounted bits and bobs from Lidl as well as some salad and sweet potato. Just because the summer weather has abandoned us does not mean we are unable to enjoy the summer salads and lighter feeling meals. The combination of it all worked very well together and none of the flavours overwhelmed anything so each mouth could be savoured in taste.

The salmon itself was soft and a very good fillet. The dusting of seasoning was perhaps a little bit off and the bits of dried red chilli that were on it, that had not being mentioned, gave it a little bit of that added heat that I was not expecting but quickly got used to. Whilst the flavours were good and it was a very enjoyable piece of salmon it did have some skin on and this was unable to crisp up because of the way that it was in the tray and the cooking instructions that went with it.

All that had to be done was to take the plastic and label off and cover the foil tray in some foil and then cook for 20 minutes so I did not even turn the salmon over or move it around to realise that there was any skin on it. Because of the skin being at the bottom and therefore soaking in the juices it did not have the ability to crisp up so I stayed well clear of that. Salmon skin is a touchy one for me at the best of times but if it is all soggy then keep it well away from me.

image

I did also come across the odd bone in each fillet but I literally mean one rather long bone in both pieces. I normally notice bones quite easily so I can pretty safely say that there were not any others hiding away in there that I just missed. But it is something to keep in mind if a bone can stop you in your eating tracks immediately.

image

It was a delight to eat though and I enjoyed eating the other piece for lunch the next day. I would say that if you were to purchase this you need to check the packets for ones that are roughly even in size otherwise somebody will end up with a bumper fillet whilst the other person only ends up with a tiny slither.

Great stuff. Would highly recommend, if you fancy some salmon but want to avoid the hassle of seasoning yourself.