LIDL’s Stickeez Collectable suction cup figurines

Lidl exclusive

£0.29 each although you get 1 free for every £10 you spend right now as a promotional offer.

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Review: Lidl seem to have wanted to get their piece of the ‘mystery bag’ toy market. These cost far less than any of their competitors which, on average, cost £2 however they are also far smaller. They are composed of vibrant rubber with a suction cup base which is relatively quite effective as only one of the four I had didn’t have a strong suction. The paint work is on a par with that of the Zomblings series which costs far more. The designs are all based around aquatic creatures although there are one or two absurdly monstrous looking ones. They say these are ‘as seen on TV’… I had never heard of them until the person at the counter gave me them…

The small, bubble gum size, packaging is odd. It is inflated as if there is some sort of gas being produced by the figures and threatening to explode which would worry people upon an initial look at them. It is possible they intentionally cause this to protect the toys without having to spend on further packaging which is economical and environmentally friendly (as long as it’s just Carbon Dioxide or another harmless gas).

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All you get in the packet is the figurine itself so you would have to visit the official site or use official merchandising (or look at the above advert in there offers magazine shoved through you post box) if you wanted to know the characters official names.

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It is a very cheap range as the ‘mystery bags’ containing one character each are only 20 pence which is reasonable, the ‘collection bag’ is 99p and seems to just be a basic branded pull sting tote bag, the collection box (which I assume contained a few characters) is £1.99 and there is a magazine (A one off activities filled one I assume as there can’t be much life in this series) for £1.49 so on the whole I think that although it’s not fantastic quality it is nonetheless a really nice, affordable, entry into the marketplace. In comparison to the far more expensive ranges which are far more expensive I can excuse the quality as it is actually on a par with many of their competitors.

My only real scruple is the small size of the figures and that the suction cup on one of the ones I got was much weaker than the others so I wonder if this was a one off or if there may be quality assurance issues when manufacturing the figures. For those interested it was the Drup figure which had the issue and for all I know it was the batches of this one character that may not be up to the standard of the rest of the series. I don’t have any use for these myself though… maybe I will take them into work and stick them on my monitor. If you could get your kids interested in these rather than their more expensive competitors then you are lucky although the small size really will make them easy to lose and definitely a choking hazard for little children unfortunately so you will have to supervise them.

I assume the ‘get one free for every £10 you spend’ promotion is temporary in order to promote it to customers and it was a nice little surprise. Of course it is a free 29p toy for every ten pounds you spend. I wouldn’t go in thinking ‘I really want one so I will spend all that money’ but at the same time it was an amusing novelty which saves them on high marketing costs for the range and gives customers a small surprise ‘treat’ at the checkout as a random thank for their custom without having to offer further discounts or irritate people with ‘join our customer loyalty scheme’ requests.

The figurines I got were:

Purple, tear drop shaped, fish: Drup
Giant blue head with sharp teeth: Balloon
Purple one eyed monster: Ollie
Generic orange fish: Goupie

The packing information:

GB-IE-NL

1 Stikeez figure. Approx. 3cm x 1.5cm

100% TPR (I have no idea what this means…)

Produced by Brand Loyalty Special Promotions. BV. Koningsweg 101, 5211 BH S’-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. Made in China.

Warning! Not suitable for children under three years. Choking hazard – small parts. Toy should be used by young children under adult supervision. Please retain this information for later reference.

(This is also on the packaging in French, Spanish and Slovakian surprisingly. I would have expected it in a Scandinavian language, Italian or German before any other language was considered for being put on the packaging.)


Next time a review of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.

Comment, follow or like – any of these is welcome 🙂

Tesco Collection: Dark Chocolate Stem Ginger

Stem ginger coated with dark chocolate.

£5 from Tesco

In the confectionaries isle you can find these ‘Tesco Collection’ dark chocolate stem ginger sweets in a pine box. The mandala inspired design sticker, similar to the other Eastern designs used by Tesco in their ‘quality ‘ range (most notably their teas), on the cover of the pine box packaging is eye catching.

At the very least if you do not the sweets you have an approximately 12 x 12cm unvarnished box to use for keeping spare change or repurpose as a gift box for something else. The lid is a tight fitting panel and no doubt overtime would become looser from inevitable wear and tear. The interior or the box contains a few sheets of greaseproof paper to protect the pieces inside but otherwise this is minimal packaging and I am slightly conflicted by its use.

Certainly everything here is biodegradable however the manufacturing of the box is no doubt needlessly expensive and therefore counterintuitive if their aim was to provide something more eco-friendly. As the box is unvarnished there is a chance, though very minimal, you may get splinters from it. On the shelf it is shrink wrapped so there is no fear of the contents being contaminated or the packaging falling apart until you have taken it home.

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The confectionaries themselves are of high quality. You get about 20 pieces in each box although the information on the back of the box says it contain 6 servings i.e. 18 pieces. (I eat a few before writing this review and there were definitely more than 18).

The dark chocolate shell is quite thick and hard but I assume this is to retain the moisture of the core ginger root filling. The filling is quite substantial and is unmistakeably the warm, mildly intense, sensation of good quality ginger root. The warmth of the taste is luxurious and pleasantly remains after consumption. The packaging seems to suggest a serving of three pieces but personally I was satisfied to have one piece occasionally when the urge to snack struck.

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I think overall this is a nice treat although it is placed next to the larger gift box type chocolate selection trays. If you know someone who likes the taste of ginger then these come highly recommended and are reasonably priced when compared to the gift box chocolates. If nothing else you have a nice little utilitarian pine box to use as a repurposed gift box or to keep spare change and nick-knacks if you haven’t already got a place for such things.

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Ingredients:

Stem Ginger (65%), Dark Chocolate (35%).
Stem Ginger contains: Sugar, Ginger.
Dark Chocolate contains: Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier (Soya Lecthins), Vanilla Extract. Dark Chocolate contains: Cocoa Solids 50% minimum.

Allergy Advice: For allergens, see ingredients in bold. Also, may contain nuts and milk.

Suitable for vegetarians

Nutrition:

Typical values / 100g contains / Three pieces (29.4g) contain / % RI*
Energy / 1695kJ / 500kJ
/405Kcal / 120Kcal / 6%
Fat / 11.1g / 3.3g / 5%
Of which saturates 7.0g / 2.1g / 11%
Carbohydrates 72.3g / 21.3g
Of which sugars 64.2g / 18.9g / 21%
Fibre 1.0g / 0.3g
Protein 2.7g / 0.8g
Salt 0.0g / 0.0g / 0%

Pack contains 6 servings

*Reference intake of an average adult (8400kJ / 2000kcal)
Best before end: (doomsday… or a fortnight whichever comes first)

Store in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight

Recycling
Tissue: Paper Widely recycled
Box: Wood Not currently recycled
200g e

Our Promise
We are happy to refund or replace any Tesco product which falls below the high standard you expect. Just ask any member of staff. This does not affect your statutory rights.

We are here to help:
Freephone 0800 50 55 55, Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm.

Shop on-line at http://www.tesco.com

Produced in Turkey for Tesco Stores Ltd.,
Cheshunt EN8 9SL, U.K. © Tesco 2013. SC103650


Next week… is a mystery. I haven’t decided what to review yet. Maybe a ‘How to write a H. P. Lovecraft story’ piece as there are certain things he seems to use in almost every single story he writes (… and no I don’t mean just the xenophobia although I would discuss how often he relies on ‘otherness’ for impact and uses ethnic sterotyping as a shorthand for that). Maybe a review of a Dorota Masłowska play… although I would be reading it not reviewing a particular performance so I would’t be able to do a ‘stage layout’ etc as I did in past theatre reviews on this site.

Comment, Like, Follow – all are welcome 🙂

Ptasie Mleczko – Waniliowe

Dark Chocolate Covered Vanilla Marshmallow Confectionaries

380g (13.4 oz) Produced by E.Wedel

Available at Tesco and other retailers. The price I am not certain of as it was a gift. (approximately £4-7?)

Oryginalna wedlowska czekolada – Original wedlowska chocolate.

Gwarancje smaku [Translation: Taste guaranteed]
Otwórz i poczuj niebiański smak [Translation: Open and feel the heavenly taste]

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Ptasie Mleczko: to niebiańsko lekka i puszysta pianka ukryta pod warstwą kruchej czekolady. Nowy sposób zamknięcia chroni jego wyjątkowy aromat i najwyższą jakość na jeszcze dłużej. Odkrywaj więc warstwy niebiańskiego smaku kiedy chcesz i tak, jak lubisz.

[Translation: Ptasie Mleczko: A heavenly light and fluffy mousse hidden beneath a crisp chocolate coating. Our new method of closure protects its unique flavour and ensures the highest quality for even longer. Discover the layers of immense heavenly taste when you want and the way you want.]

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Background information: Ptasie Mleczko is a soft chocolate-covered Polish confectionary filled with soft meringue (or milk soufflé). In Russian it is called ptichye moloko (птичье молоко) and in Romanian lapte de pasăre. All these names literally mean “bird’s milk” or crop milk, a substance somewhat resembling milk, produced by certain birds to feed their young. However, this is not origin of the name; rather, ptasie mleczko is also a Polish idiom meaning “an unobtainable delicacy” (compare English: “hen’s teeth”; also, a similar idiom can be found in Bulgarian – тук/там и от пиле мляко има, meaning “even bird milk can be found here/there”).

In Poland, Jan Wedel, owner of the E. Wedel Company, developed the first Ptasie mleczko in 1936. Wedel’s inspiration for the name of the confectionery came from his voyages to France, when he asked himself: “What could bring greater happiness to a man who already has everything?” Then he thought: “Maybe only bird milk.”

In Poland it is one of the most recognized chocolate confectionery having exclusive rights in Poland for the name — other confectionery producers also make similar candies but named differently e.g. Alpejskie mleczko, “Alpine milk”.

In Russia ptichye moloko is both a popular candy and a famous soufflé cake. The brand was introduced in the Soviet times and is nowadays used by the companies operating the factories which produced these candies and cakes since that time. The candies are also produced in other post-Soviet states, in particular in Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

Review: Very light confectionaries you will likely eat a few of before realising how many you consumed as they are so tasty but not feel the impact of. You will eat more than you intend because of the nice taste and texture. There is the distinct flavour of vanilla which was surprising as ‘vanilla’ has become a byword for ‘bland’ as things claiming to be vanilla flavoured often have no real taste at all. The chocolate coating is thin and crisp but still enough you can taste the chocolate rather than it being like a brittle, tasteless, sugar coating as is the case with many other confectionaries. The chocolate melts in the mouth so I do wonder what condition these would be in if you left them in a hot environment. The texture of the marshmallow is quite dense when compared to the sort of marshmallows you buy in a bag (usually coloured pastel pink and white) but is still quite springy in texture. Even though the marshmallow is dense the confectionaries themselves are exceptionally light so you will not feel burdened by the consumption of them. It is all about the flavour with them, as it should be with all confectionaries, not about a short lived sense of a full stomach or having a sugar rush as a substitute for eating a proper meal as is often the case when people snack instead of dine during the day.

There are 3 columns of 6 making for 18 pieces on each of the tray adding up to a total of 36 pieces all together in the box. The ‘new method’ they brag of that preserves the taste is basically cling film over a plastic carton within the cardboard casing. They are kept ‘fresh’ and in excellent condition by this but it seems odd to brag about it… that is probably why the inside of the lid is not translated into English as it is such a ludicrous boast to make.

I find Polish chocolates to be of a high quality, having often bought jeżyki chocolate bars in the past, and there is a certain sense of nostalgia in the taste of them as they no doubt use ingredient choices and techniques which have gone from the Western confectionary production industry for one reason or another. I highly recommend them as a fantastic alternative to the over saturated and growingly homogenised main brand chocolates we are growing all too willing to impulse buy due to brand recognition alone.

They don’t translate everything on the packaging but the few bits I had to attempt a translation of, so they sounded similar in tone to the English language equivalents by their competitors, are just the generic packaging boasts you will find on any number of products and all the key important information is printed clearly in English.

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Nutritional information: Wiesz co jesz – sprawdż GDA*:

Wartość odżywcza/Nutrition Information \ %GDA* w/per 10,6g \GDA* \ 100g \ 1 ostka/cube ~10,6g
Wartość energetycczna / Energy 2,4% 8400kJ 1842kJ 195kJ
2000kcal 440kcal 47kcal
Tłuszcz / Fat 3,3% 70g 22g 2,3g
W tym kwasy tłuszczowe nasycone / of which saturates 7,5% 20g 14g 1,5g
Weglowodany / Carbohydrates 2,3% 260g 58g 6,1g
W tym cukry / of which sugars 5,7% 90g 48g 5,1g
Białko / Protein 0,6% 50g 2,6g 0,3g
Sól / Salt <0,2% 6g 0,06g 0,01g
Produkt zaweira 36 x ~ 10,6g. / Product contains 36 x ~ 10,6g.

*GDA – Referencyjna wartość spożycia dla przeciętnej osoby dorosłej (8 400 kJ / 2 000kcal). Indywidualne zapotrzebowanie na energię i skladniki odżywcze może być wżsże lub niższe w zależności od płci, weiku, wysiłku fizycznego i innych czynników.

*Reference intake of an average adult (8 400 kJ / 2 000 kcal). Personal requirements for energy and nutrients may vary depending on age, sex, physical activity and other factors.

Ptasie Mleczko Waniliowe. Delikatna Pianka w Czekoldzie.

Skałdniki: Czekdolada deserowa 28% (Cukier, Miazga kakaowa, Tłuszcz kakaowy, Tłuszcz mleczny, Emulgatory: lectyna sojowa i E 476, Aromat), Cukier, Syrop glukozowy, Masło, Mieko zagęszczone słodzone, Roztwór cukru inwertowanego, Białko jaja w proszku, Substancja zelująca (agar), Regulator kwasowości (kwas cytrynowy), Substancja konserwująca (E202), Aromat, Naturalny aromat waniliowy. Czekolada deserowa: masa kakaowa minimum 47%

Ingredients: Dark chocolate 28% (Sugar, Cocoa mass, Cocoa butter, Milk fat,

Emulsifiers: soya lecithin and E476, Flavouring), Sugar, Glucose syrup, Butter, Sweetened condensed milk, Invert sugar solution, Dried egg white, Gelling agent, (agar), Acidity regulator (citric acid), Perservative (E202), Flavouring, Natural vanilla flavouring.Dark chocolate: cocoa solids 47% minimum.

CONTAINS MILK, EGG, SOYA. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS, NUTS, CEREALS.

ZAWIERA MLEKO, JAJA, SOJĘ, MOŻE ZAWIERAĆ ORZECHY ARACHIDOWE, ORZECHY, ZBOŻA.

marka ptasie mleczko została stworzona w latach 30 tych xx wieku przez Jana Wedla i obecnie jest chroniona na terytorium Unii Europejskiej na rzecz LOTTE Wedel sp. z o.o. jako słowny znak towarowy
[Translation: The Ptasie mleczko brand was created in the 1930s, by John Wedel, and is now protected in the European Union for Lotte Wedel Sp. z oo as a trademark.]

Najlepiej spożyć przed: data na boku kartonika./ Best before: See side of box
LOTTE Wedel sp. z o.o.
Ul. Zamoyskiego 28/30
03-801 Warszawa
Polska/Poland
http://www.wedel.pl;
http://www.czekolada.pl
http://www.ptasiemleczko.pl/site/

Warto porozmawiać – Infolinia konsumencka [Translation: Customer Hotline]: 801 811 011 **
**Opłata według tary lokalnej. Only for Poland


I received these as a gift from a colleague a while ago but only now got around to reviewing finally. They are very good, give them a go. Many thanks Anna! 🙂

As a sign of my appreciation, and support of her work, I ask you to please visit the following site she has recently launched. It contains a number of venues to visit around Wales, and other parts of Britain, so even if you don’t speak Polish at least you can see the pictures, click on the links (which go to English language pages), stick the information in a translator and get some ideas of places to visit:

Polski? Proszę odwiedź:

Smok Walijski

Also here are some other links to other blogs that might be of interest:

[Polish language]: https://annawwalii.wordpress.com/
[English language]: https://annainwales.wordpress.com/


… and one day there will be reviews of some Jeżyki chocolate bars or selected works of Dorota Masłowska. But that will be a long time from now. One post a week is the standard for now although it would have been a good idea to prepare a number of posts so I could have done a ‘Polish Week’ of a post per day and got them all out of the way. Then I could do a Russian Week! Welsh Week! French Week! American Week! etc, etc and so on… but its just a lot of effort for one person unlike teams that run websites and can combine their efforts.

Comment, like or follow me – all are welcome 🙂

Minions Movie Tie-In Collectable Stickers

5 Stickers per pack (4 normal and one foil in the pack I bought).
Price: £0.50 (I bought them at Tesco so the RRP price may vary elsewhere).
Published by TOPPS Europe Limited, 18 Vincent Avenue, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AW, UK.
Hellsteller: Topps Deutschland GMBH, Goethestr, 18, 60313 Frankfurt, Deutschland.

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The size of the stickers is smaller than I have seen previously. When I was growing up Panini, and its imitators, stickers were larger while Topps measure 68mm x 54mm with the foil sticker being 85mm x 61mm. However I do remember a Street Fighter II sticker collection by Merlin which had these dimensions so it may just depend on the individual company producing each series.

In comparison to the previously reviewed Frozen ‘My Sister, My Hero’ stickers, which were 97mm x 64mm, these were far smaller. If I was to make a comparison for anyone without a ruler then think of it this way: the minion stickers are ‘small business card’ size while the Frozen ones are ‘trading card’ size. However it may be a case I only ever bought stickers from Panini made series and so this smaller size seems worse when it could be the standard for most collectable sticker series otherwise.

The images are clearly printed though the print colouration seems dull compared to the vibrancy you would see on other promotional materials of these same images. The foil sticker has promotional images of the film’s villains on a foil background while the standard stickers are mostly stills from the Minions film itself. I did get one sticker which seemed to be an original image for the collection which seemed to be a generic minion, set off to one side, with a ‘funky’ pattern background. I say ‘funky’ because this is the sort of thing a think tank of advertising executives, out of touch with current trends, would consider ‘funky’ when looking at Google search for the sort of things that would be ‘60s style imagery’ such as the psychedelic artwork of Peter Max but then go on to make it as plain and generic as possible so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities and thus ensure maximum market saturation potential for sale. This is a pretty standard practise across the industry for sticker collection tie-ins of movies so while it seems uninspired it is sadly expected and a cheap money maker for companies. It’s all about the marketing of the product not the quality of it.

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On the back of the stickers is an original illustration of the 3 main minions from the film and I would hope that the rest of the series was composed of more original artwork like this than just the generic ‘print screen’ imagery that is standard for movie tie-in collections.

There is nothing to really complain about, although the foil sticker easily picks up finger prints and is then near impossible to clean without using a soft cloth so be careful when handling them, but in this day and age you would hope for more. We used to get 10 stickers in a pack when I was growing up but now it is 5 albeit they are of far higher print quality.
I think this was a missed opportunity. They could easily create a much more original and fun series even with a basic concept of producing images of various ‘____ type minion’ having the various minions dressed as different jobs or stereotypes. We already have a Fireman Minion, a Maid Minion, Baby Minion and many others so a collection of these could easily be made and enjoyed with only a very small amount of investment in design.

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If kids want stickers of the minions then they will be satisfied, just as we all were in childhood collection of footballers (i.e. the classic company cash cows as the yearly ‘same game different player names’ computer games are for their respective companies), movie tie-ins (for me it was Jurassic Park through to Space Jam) or oddities (Garbage Pail Kids… say no more) but in comparison I think the ‘Frozen: My Sister, My Hero’ ones are far superior in quality and individual image value (so you don’t get as many dull scenes of ‘character stood with blank face in unrecognisable scene #A204b) that are not amusing in their own right. I don’t think at £0.50 these are of equal value to the Frozen ones which retail at the same price but if its minions you want then these are okay. You won’t be disappointed but you won’t be impressed either. Sort of like the film I guess if the reviews are anything to go by…

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For those interested here are the stickers’ numbers:

  • 10: Napoleonic Minions: with cannon
  • 18: 1960s line up of the main Minions: green hat, robot arm and lava lamp
  • 41: Ancient Egyptian Minions: with an upside down pyramid plan
  • 99: Blank face minion with ‘funky’ background
  • 132: (Foil) Scarlet Overkill and Herb

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Comment, Like, Follow – All are welcome. 🙂