Ape Crispy Coconut Curls – A review of a delicious savoury snack!


Well these kinda won me over right from the off – the anthropologist and monkey Dr in me was naturally drawn straight to any snack called Ape Crispy Coconut Curls and thrilled to be sent some to try. They’re made by a small london based company which also ticks lots of boxes for me as I’m always keen to support small businesses.

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So unlike most coconut-based snacks these are actually savoury, not sweet – which is fab! Finding a healthy, tasty alternative to things like crisps can be really tough and I’ve tried lots of savoury snacks in the past but I think these hit the spot the best. They are little bags of delightfully crispy coconut shavings with either a light dusting of black pepper or salt.

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Coconut is an awesome thing to snack on – it’s full of fibre and has more protein and less carbs than other savoury snacks like popcorn or potato crisps. They’re also full of good fats – medium-chain triglycerides which are linked to lots of healthy benefits increased calorie burning and make a great fuel as they’re easy for the body to metabolise. They also have antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

So on to the curls themselves. They’re completely natural with only two ingredients – the coconut and seasoning and are dried, not fried. I tried both flavours and loved both of them! So much I wolfed them down!

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The slightly peppered flavour has just enough punch to give you a peppery hit without being overbearing and is super tasty. The lightly salted variety is also delicious – again not too salty but just enough to hit any savoury craving. The packs do look small so I was a bit worried they wouldn’t be enough but actually because coconut is so filling it was the perfect portion size.

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I will definitely be getting these again – they’re a brilliant on-the go snack, they’re only 107 – 109 kcals and are gluten-free and vegan so everyone can enjoy them! Grab yourself a few bags and start munching happy!

If you want to find out more check out their website www.apesnacks.com or their facebook page  and look out for them in Ocado, Morrisons, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, Revital and Nourish (as well as some independent cafes etc).

 

Guilt Free Goodies – delicious treats! – a review


It’s been nearly 18 months since I first reviewed the lovely treats from Guilt Free Goodies. Since then it’s been such a pleasure to see Natasha’s business thrive and grow. I still regularly buy treats from her and have given them as gifts too. I thought I would repost my review just in case any of you haven’t yet had a chance to check out her goodies.

The best bit is that Natasha has very kindly set up a discount code for all of you lovely lot so if you place an order you will get 5% off! Just enter this code at checkout 🙂  NANCYGFG5%OFF

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Since my review her product range has really expanded with some truly delicious new treats – including delicious cookies, raw chocolates and chocolate truffles (as well as more flavours of her other treats like bites and bars). I’ve tried quite a few and they are all delicious – I particularly like the peanutter white chocolate truffles and raw raspberry ruffle truffle! Oooh and the salted caramel almond slice! Divine!

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There are also hampers available at the moment for christmas – you’ll have to get in wuick though if you want to pre-order them! check them out here.

And most exciting of all, Natasha has released her first ebook! So you can have a go at creating some treats at home! Order yours here. It’s beautifully put together and has a really lovely range of treats. It’s well written and set out and easy to follow so I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

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Here’s my review from last year:

I had the great pleasure this week of being sent a beautiful box of treats from Guilt Free Goodies.

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This UK, home-based business is run by Natasha and her partner, who produce homemade, all natural, healthy goodies – from granolas, nut butters to delicious treats and cakes. They’re perfect for anyone looking for dairy-free treats, diabetics and those wanting refined sugar-free treats (only natural sweeteners are used) or following the “paleo” diet. They’re also great for anyone who’s just health conscious and wants to watch what they eat. They can also make most of their products (granola, bites, energy balls and butters) suitable for vegans (some products do contain egg or honey).

I was sent this delightful selection of:

Peanut butter surprise muffin

Cashew butter, coconut and blueberry energy balls

Honey and peanut granola

Salted caramel almond bites

The first thing I noticed is how lovely the packaging was – all the items are beautifully packaged with lovely little touches like the handwritten notes. They’re also really securely packaged so nothing was damaged in transit.

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As instructed I popped the almond bites in the freezer (top tip – highly recommended!) and the first item I tucked in to was the cashew, coconut and blueberry energy balls. After a busy morning teaching spin and bodypump I was famished and needed something quick to munch on. These really hit the spot – full of goodness and flavour. Really satisfying and tasty too – not too sweet but sweet enough to satisfy 🙂

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Later that afternoon I was in dire need of a boost so thought I’d try the granola next – I served it with some homemade compote from my friend Colette and a big dollop of soya yoghurt.

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It was absolutely divine – crunchy and crisp with a great mix of nut and fruit. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering either which was great. I had to eek it out as otherwise I’d have eaten it all in one go! As it’s full of good fats (from the nuts) it really sustained me for my evening classes which is exactly what I needed. This would be just as good served with a little almond milk or yoghurt for brekkie, or as a decadent treat you could serve it with some coconut yoghurt or ice cream for dessert! Yum!

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I saved the muffin for a mid-morning snack with a cuppa. This was a really nice treat. Now it’s not like a traditional muffin so don’t be surprised. It’s a lot smaller but it’s also much denser. I really like this about it – it’s moist and squishy (in a good way!) and although small it’s exactly the right amount for a snack. I loved the peanut butter in the middle of this one. The nice thing about these muffins is that they really fill you up in a way traditional muffins just don’t.

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I saved the best until last – the almond bites. I was most excited about these – they looked delicious and I’m such a sucker for anything almond-based so I had high hopes.

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I was not disappointed in the slightest. These were so good! They’re definitely best out the freezer – the base goes all crispy and the caramel stays soft. The combination of the caramel, a whole almond in the middle (!), and lovely chocolate on the top is just fab!

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So all in all I was really impressed with all these products. They certainly live up to their reputation and satisfy your cravings without ruining any of your hard work!

I just love that this is a home-run business, run by someone who clearly puts their heart and soul in to their products. I’d definitely recommend them so do go and try them. You can also buy hampers or sample boxes and they’d make great gifts for the health foodlovers in your life. I’m really looking forward to ordering some of Natasha’s other products now – especially the loaf cakes and nut butters! 🙂

You can find out more about the products and place orders from their facebook page – here: Guilt Free Goodies or their new online shop here: Guilt Free Goodies Eshop.

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think 🙂

 

Raw Halo raw chocolate bars – a review


I’ve been dying to tell you all about these delicious raw chocolate bars from Raw Halo. I was lucky enough to be sent three beautifully presented little bars: Pure Dark, Mylk + Crispies and Dark + Sour Cherry and Almond.

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First off they are so wonderfully packaged – they look beautiful and like a real luxury treat – which  I love! The design is so lovely – modern, classy and yet still indulgent. They are hand wrapped and feel that way – I feel a little like Charlie unwrapping his Wonka bar and finding a golden ticket when I open them!

I tried the Pure Dark first – this was silky smooth and lovely and thin. It had a really intense flavour. It’s nutty and slightly fruity and just a little bit bitter. A really lovely texture too – melts in the mouth, just like you want chocolate to.

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The Mylk + crispies bar was next. It has half the amount of sugar compared to other raw chocolate bars which is great! And is sweetened with coconut sugar and lucuma. This one is totally dairy free yet still so creamy. The cripsies are buckwheat and add a really lovely crunch to the bar. Again this is really smooth and thin and melts in your mouth. Super yummy! Even better if dunked in a cup of tea (very quickly!!).

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Last but by no means least the classic combination of Cherry and Almond – this is definitely my favourite flavour. The sourness of the cherries is just right – not too sour but a lovely sweet hit and deliciously chewy. This is balanced with the nuttiness of the almond extract and the intensity of the dark chocolate. I didn’t want this bar to end! So many flavours in such a small bar – but they work perfectly! Again this is especially good with a cup of tea  🙂

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I really enjoyed all of these bars and can’t wait to try the rest of their range – which sound amazing (see them all here). I love that they are raw and vegan (apart from their Mylk + Salted Caramel flavour), they’re gluten-free, GM free and lactose free. They feel like such a treat and would make a perfect gift for someone. It’s so hard to find raw chocolates presented in such a beautiful way and with christmas on the horizon I’ll certainly be ordering some of these as gifts for friends and family.

 

 

 

 

ZooT energy and protein bars – a review


Those of you that know me know I’m always racing about between fitness classes etc and often I need something that’s quick and easy to munch on for a boost. I was very excited to discover these fab little bars from ZooTfoods. I was even more excited when they sent me some to review! woohoo!

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ZooT bars are fab little snack bars for anyone who wants to snack sensibly and have something healthy to grab on the go. They have 9 delicious flavours in 3 types and they’re all gluten free, and most are dairy free (except the banana choc chip and choc n’ orange) so there’s plenty of choice.

– ZooT BoosT – these are designed to give you an energy boost and include banana choc chip, choc ‘n’ orange and cranberry crush.

– ZooT EndurO – these are designed to give you longer lasting energy and so are packed with protein too. The flavours are brazil nut carnival, cashew supreme and roasty toasty hazelnut.

– ZooT FrooT – packed with 70% fruit, these are designed to give you one of your 5 a day, but also to be low calorie. The flavours are berry burst, pear ‘n’ ginger and tropical bliss

In fact all of the bars are under 200 cals so are a great option if you’re watching your calories too. 🙂

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I really loved these bars. The BoosT ones are absolutely perfect for me just before I teach a class – they’re light enough not to make you feel heavy or sick, low calorie and really do give you an energy boost. I love the fact that you they have the choice of banana and chocolate, chocolate orange and something fruity with the cranberry crush.

The banana choc one is great – not overly banana-y but yummy. Bananas are a classic food of choice for energy so there’s no surprise that it works well here, it’s also a great source of Vitamin B6. Choc orange is one of my favourite flavour combos soI  was very happy with this one. Sometimes fruit-based chocolate orange bars end up tasting really fake but not in this case, it has just the right balance of choc and natural tasting orange flavour.

The cranberry crush is delightfully tangy! Cranberries are a great fruit to eat – they contain phyto-nutrients and are also a great protection against inflammatory diseases and urinary tract infections – added bonus!

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All the BoosT bars also contain the quickly and easily digested carbohydrate, Maltodextrin. This helps the body to synthesise proteins which means post-workout they’re also great!

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The EndurO bars are a great option to add a bit more protein and I prefer to have these if I’m reaching for a mid afternoon or morning snack as it’s a more sustained energy release and leaves me feeling fuller. They’re still low cal which is fab. They’re all full of nuts and seeds which means they are packed with good fats and proteins. The hazelnut was my favourite but the others are really delicious too. I had the Brazil nut carnival one with a coffee yesterday afternoon and it was perfect for filling me up.

IMG_1740 The FrooT bars are fab! refreshing and light and nice and tangy. Even the pear and ginger – which to be honest I didn’t think I’d like, I really enjoyed! It has pineapple in it too which really rounds out the flavour and I think this is what does it for me. The berry burst is my favourite of this bunch as it’s really tart and sweet at the same time and packed with gojis and cranberries so a great vitamin C boost too. The tropical bliss is lovely – pineapple, mango and apple – what a combo! These make great snacks on a hot day. Both of these also contain gluten free oats to give an extra boost.

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I definitely recommend you get your paws on some of these and practice a bit of safe snacking! 🙂  I’m doing the Prudential Ride100 event in two weeks time and I’ll definitely have a couple of these packed in my bike bag to keep me going! You can buy these in local health food shops (those of you in my area of the UK in surrey can get them at the health food shop in Surbiton for example), in gym cafe’s and you can buy them directly from ZooT themselves (see here) or from Amazon.

Vegan Tuck Box – a review


I’ve had the pleasure of trying another fab little vegan subscription box – this time from The Vegan Tuck Box. 

This is a great little box of vegan treats that you can subscribe to and be sent monthly, or buy as a one off box for yourself or as a gift. This is very much a treat box and full of exciting snacks from around the world. They specialise in sourcing the more unusual, hard to find treats. They also offer a gluten-free version of the box so there’s something for everyone. You don’t need to be vegan to enjoy the treat – they’re delicious regardless.

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The selection is a surprise but is a range of snacks, chocolates, crisps and even drinks. What I also love about them, is not only do the products not harm animals, they actually donate 20p from each box to Hillside Animal Sanctuary so are actively helping animals too!

There are various options of box – classic boxes, mini boxes, vegan starter boxes, chocolate lovers box etc (more info here)!  I was sent a mini-box to try.

In that months box I got:

– NoNos – Peanut Butter

– Chia Charge – Protein Bar

– Freedom Mallows – Mallow Choc Dip

– TreeHugger – Gumballs

– Soypresso – Medium

The box arrived safely and well packed and I was excited to try these treats. A treat is so much better shared with a friend so I shared these with my friend Colette from The Pure Form Fitness Kitchen.

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These were like mini smarties I guess, but with a peanut butter filling. I love peanut butter and was excited to try these. There were smaller than I expected which meant we wolfed them down! They were very more-ish and very sweet but not that peanut-buttery really. In fact they reminded me more of a white chocolate/caramel flavour. They were still nice though so don’t be put off if you’re not a huge peanut butter fan as they don’t taste that peanutty! They would make an excellent alternative chocolate treat for kids too  – they’re colourful, fun, sweet and creamy.

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Chia Charge – Protein Bar

I’m a big fan of healthy, natural sources of protein to eat on the go so this was always going to be a winner for me. Love the combo of flavours – cacao and cranberry – choclately, tart but tasty. It’s sweet but not too sweet and packed with fab ingredients. It feels like a treat, but is nice and filling. Both Colette and I loved this but we did spend a fair amount of time picking chia seeds out of our teeth! Worth it though as it’s so good for you 🙂

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Freedom Mallows – Mallow Choc Dip

How fab to have some vegan marshmallows, and gluten free too! 🙂 These were fun – I really enjoyed sharing them with Colette – they were yummy and definitely felt like a naughty treat! They’re super sweet so definitely best shared with a friend or loved one, but are delish. They’d be even better dunked in toasted coconut afterwards (in fact I may try that next time!).

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TreeHugger – Gumballs

Gosh we had such fun with these! They were a great little treat to have in our box. I hadn’t had bubble gum since I was a teenager so we had a laugh trying these. They are vegan but despite not having any gelatine in them they last just as long as “normal” bubble gum. . The flavours are natural but tasty and juicy. The bubbles weren’t a huge success but I think that may be more to do with the bubble blowers than the gum itself 😉

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Soypresso – Medium

This reminded me of being in Indonesia where cans of coffee drinks are all the rage (you can read more about my Indonesian monkey exploits over on my other blog – here). The cans over there are all dairy based so I was excited to try a Soya version. It’s creamy and has a strong coffee flavour which is fab. It’s rather sweet but in the summer, over ice, this would be a fab treat and if you usually sweeten your coffee you will love this! We were feeling generous so shared this with Colette’s husband Rod too. We all enjoyed it 🙂

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So all in all I would really recommend these boxes – they’re a fab way to explore and try new vegan treats that you won’t find in the shops. Do check them out (http://www.vegantuckbox.co.uk/) and you can even get 10% off subscriptions by using the code “blog10” – so no excuses now! 🙂

Enjoy!

Primal Snack Box – A wonderful box of delicious goodies! A review


I am lucky enough to get some pretty awesome things to review and this is definitely right up there with my favourites.

If you haven’t heard of them Primal Snack Box are the UK’s first monthly paleo snack box delivery service. You can sign up for a regular delivery or you can just buy a one off box and they have two types – Forest or Savannah (Savannah contains meat products). Now although I’m not “paleo”  the Forest box is vegan so totally ticks the boxes for me and they were lovely enough to send me one to try. They were even lovelier and also gave me a special code for you guys to get 10% off your first box! Just use the special code PUREANDSIMPLEBAKES on check out – just click through and place your order! (after you’ve read my review of course 😉 )

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Now first off – the presentation is fab! It arrives in a lovely sturdy box, well packaged and really feels like you’re opening up a little gift – it’s so beautifully put together and there’s even a little menu! I think I’m in love already!

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This box arrived at a time when I was about to dog-sit for my friend for 2 weeks so I was constantly on the go and often needed something to grab and eat as I took the dogs out – this box was perfect. That also explains why most of the photos are in the woods!

Primal snack work with small producers which is another thing I really love  and it’s a great way of introducing you to products you may not otherwise have come across.The box contained all these wonderful things!

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Fit bites – these were really good – little balls of fruit and nut – like little power houses of energy. You get two in a pack, they’re generously sized and they tasted delish – great shot of energy for the walk.

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Lifebar – Berry, Maca and Baobab –  now this was a surprise  – never tried one before and wasn’t sure what to expect but it was lovely! Tangy yet creamy, chewy and really filling. Will definitely get these again!

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SAF Raw sweet potato crackers – I had these for my lunch, spread with wasabi hummus and tofu and they were fab! They’re a nice thick cracker, not super crunchy but with some crack and not soggy at all. They held up under the hummus too and didn’t go soft. Loved the flavour and they are super filling. Another one I will definitely get again.

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Roo’bar – inca berry – another delicious tangy bar – a good size for a snack and really tasty. Look how happy I am with it! 🙂

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MadeGood – almond apricot – now to be honest I was expecting an overly sweet, bog standard cereal-type bar here… but no – not at all. This is all nuts and fruit (naturally as it’s Paleo) and was really tasty. Sweet but not overly so and full of good stuff – tasted great!

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Wyldsson Italian Promix – This was probably the most unusual thing in there for me – I’m not used to savoury snacks like this. It was good – I downed half of it – it’s not too tomato-ey or salty but it is tasty. I sprinkled the rest over my salad :). Really nice and I wouldn’t have tried if it hadn’t been in the box as it’s not the sort of thing I’d go for in a store.

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Nothing But – Beetroot and Parsnip – these are exactly that – nothing but.. dehydrated beetroot and parsnip crisps. They’re really yummy – no added salt or flavour and make a perfect vessel to dip in to hummus! As a savoury snack on their own I think I’d want a bit of salt however, but that’s easily done. No nasties in them at all and the beetroot ones weren’t overpowering in flavour.

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Two bags of mixes from Primal themselves – the mulberry mix (almonds, mulberries and pumpkin seeds) and the good fats mix (cashew, macadmia and coconut) – perfect snack sized bags of 40g and both delicious. A great way to control your portion size too. Lovely combinations of flavours.

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Finally – Ombar – cranberry and mandarin. Now anyone who follows this blog knows I have a penchant for orange chocolate so this was bound to be a winner. This raw choc is lovely – and even nicer dunked (quickly!) in a cup of tea! Creamy smooth chocolate, but not too melty to the touch and a lovely hint of flavour – definitely the thumbs up from me!

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So all in all a pretty amazing box of goodies! What I really love is the way you get a great range and selection of snacks for your money – and things you may not otherwise have tried. There’s a good balance of sweet and savoury, slightly naughtier and also healthier treats and all packaged so beautifully. A box would make a fantastic gift for someone, or a great way to introduce someone to healthier snacking. I’m going to order myself another box right now!

Thanks again Primal Snack Box for keeping me going on those dog walks and vastly improving my snacking over the past few weeks!

Now don’t forget – you can get 10% off your first box by using the special discount code PUREANDSIMPLEBAKES – just click through and place your order!

You can order your own here: http://primalsnackbox.co.uk/

And find them on facebook, twitter and instagram!

 

Treating myself – Divaliciously Raw, a review


Every now and then it’s important to look after yourself, so when I stumbled across this site –Divaliciously Raw and all Gail’s amazing goodies I decided I should most definitely take the opportunity to treat myself to some deliciousness! I couldn’t decide what to try so went for the Valentine’s box, which gave me a taste of all her main products. Although that box won’t always be available as a package, all the contents are. They are all raw, gluten, wheat and egg free and vegan!

It arrived so beautifully packed – it really was like receiving a valentine’s gift! There was even a card!

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And then just look at how stunning these cakes look! I couldn’t believe it! Wow – just wow!

IMG_1275So in my box of goodies I got:

Raspberry Rapture Love Bomb

Magical Mint Love Bomb

Oriental Orange (Orange and Ginger) Love Bomb

Two Goji Bites

Ultimate bar

Zinger Bar

Unconditional Love Cake

Now where to start…Firstly they were all beautiful so it was really hard to know what to try first! I ended up going for the love bombs.

The love bombs were just perfect – lovely chocolatey coating, moist cake inside and then a surprise creamy filling. The flavours are really good in these and they really feel like a decadent dessert. They have a great nuttiness to them and a texture that really works. The creamy filling is definitely the best bit and it was hard not to eat them all at once! I’m not sure which my favourite flavour was to be honest – they were all so good!

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Goji bites – these were a lot larger than I expected – which was great! They’re a little harder in texture than the bombs and kinda crumble in to your mouth – which i really liked. Lovely flavours – nutty and with enough goji to really taste it and balance the chocolate.

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Ultimate bar and the zinger bar – these were both delish. The ultimate bar has mulberries, goji berries and buckwheaties in which give it a fantastic crunch and sweetness – this was great dipped in a cup of tea! The Zinger was just bursting with flavour from the Incan (golden) berries which were a great balance to the dark raw chocolate.

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Last and by NO means least – the unconditional love cake! Sharing is caring so I did share this – not only with my very good friend Colette, but also with my husband. And we all agreed this was out of this world. Raw chocolate, filled with raw chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, caramel and a malted cashew cream. Oh my word! This was just amazing! Definitely my favourite!

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So there you go! That was one big, delicious treat for me! I highly recommend you check out Gail’s page on facebook and place an order. The cakes aren’t cheap but the amount of love, care and sheer dedication that’s gone in to them mean they are most definitely worth every penny and they’re not small either so you’re getting a lot of cake for your buck! Do let me know if you try any!