Disney’s Frozen: My Sister, My Hero Collectable Stickers

Produced by Panini in Italy.

Cost £0.50 i.e. 50 pence per pack. I purchased them from a Tesco supermarket but they are available in most major retailers and there is a special offer where you get a few packs with the sticker album for £3.00 if I remember correctly.

5 stickers per normal packet or possibly 4 normal stickers plus a ‘special’ sticker per packet (I only bought one packet so I cannot confirm the ratio). To be honest I remember when you would get about 10 stickers in a pack but that was a very long time ago. The lower number however means you get far better quality stickers. I was very pleasantly surprised to be honest. I prefer quality over quantity as a few high quality stickers, even if not of images I would want, are always far more welcome than a dozen poor quality ones produced with company profit margins being first and foremost in mind.

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These stickers, though not suitable for applying on anything that will be outdoors and require weather resistance, like a vinyl sticker would, look quite robust compared to what I have seen in the past. The print quality is excellent and even at extremely close inspection you will not notice any attempt to skimp on the quality here. The ‘special’ sticker has a fabric like texture to it and some light applications of glitter which I found to be a nice change from ‘special’ stickers being prismatic, which often make it difficult to look at the design, or basic foil ones where the print is all too easily scratched off if you are careless. I am sure the glitter would quickly disappear but again the quality of the base sticker is high enough I think with fair treatment, such as putting on the front of a note book or to decorate furniture, these stickers would fare quite well. A very high quality product.

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As you might notice the packet I got was not primarily English language so that explains where they have made savings by just producing the one multi-lingual packaging. I doubt anyone collecting the stickers gives a damn about the packaging though it does features some nice artwork on the front in my opinion.

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The artwork is by Brittney Lee, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios (she worked on Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph). Barbara Jean Hicks, a storyboard artist on the film Frozen. She illustrated the book ‘Disney’s Frozen: A Sister More Like Me’ (written by Barbara Jean Hicks) and I think the images on the stickers, at least the ones I got except the ‘special’ one, are all lifted directly from the book’s illustrations. I don’t know if I just had luck and got some of the nicest stickers as there are over 100 stickers for the album and I cannot imagine the illustrations in the book are that many.

I think these are a nice little treat for a child who has behaved well on a day around the shops without having to break the bank to reward them. They are definitely much higher quality than the ones I remember collecting as a child. Although personally I won’t be buying anymore I think these are a really nice treat for kids although I also remember as a child you are forever chasing the stickers you don’t have so ultimately buy a child one pack but don’t let them pick up sticker collecting as a hobby. It is one of the most ephemiral of hobbies and the subject matter often fades into history with no worth allocated to the sitckers which today seems all so important in completing the collection of. But a very nice once-in-a-blue-moon treat while Frozen is still the zeitgeist that it is. On a side note I am sure the correct phrasing is ‘My Sister, My Heroine’ althoguh they probably wanted to avoid people for some reason thinking the feminine form of the word hero (Heroine) is the exact same thing as the word for crack cocaine (Heroin)…

For those interested here are the stickers featured above are:

009: The troll performs magic on young Anna

010: Young Elsa

100: Fearful Coronation Elsa

102: Elsa portrait

F19: Special sticker fabric textured sticker with glitter of Elsa  turning to the viewer surrounded by pink flower like snowflakes


I haven’t been in a position to post anything recently. Hopefully I will be able to review a few more things soon.

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Marks & Spencer Dutch Shortcake Biscuits

Melt in the mouth shortcake dipped in Belgian milk chocolate

At the moment there is a 2 for 1 promotion at Marks and Spencer so it cost £1.5 for 18 biscuits (there are 9 biscuits per 150g pack).

A buttery, crumbly, shortcake biscuit half dipped into milk chocolate. It is packaged in some corrugated cardboard under the plastic wrapper to preserve the biscuits which are quite fragile. Even with this preventative measure you will still find a bit of crumbling but it is minimal. These are quite an ‘afternoon tea’ kind of biscuit. They arequite savoury and pleasant. I really liked them but, as each biscuit is individually quite large, you will likely find yourself going through them quite quickly unless you consciencly ration them. One buscuit by itself would seem excessive if served with a cup of tea so I am not sure under what circumstances they expect you to ue them except as part of a selection at an afternoon tea.

Per biscuit 376 kJ / 90 kcal
Energy 5% of your RI
Per 100g 2254 kJ / 540 kcal
Milk chocolate coated shortcake biscuit

Not suitable for nut allergy suffers

INGREDIENTS: Wheatflour (contains Gluten) – Vegetable Oils (Palm Oil, Rapeseed Oil) in varying proportions – Sugar – Milk Chocolate (15%) (Sugar – Cocoa Butter – Cocoa Mass – Dried Skimmed Milk – Butter Oil (Milk) – Dried Lactose (Milk) – Emulsifier: Soya Lecthin – Vanilla Flavouring) – Butter Oil (Milk) – Dried Whey Solids (Milk) – Salt – Raising Agent: Sodium Bicarbonate, E450 – Lemon Peel – Acid: Citric Acid – Modified Potato Starch. Milk chocolate contains Cocoa Solids 30% minimum, Milk Solids 20% minimum.

For allergens see ingredients in bold.

Not suitable for Nut and Sesame allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods.

Suitable for vegetarians

NUTRITION: Serves: 9 / Per 100g / Per Shortcake (16.7g)
Typical Values:
Energy kJ 2254 / 376
Energy kcal 540 / 90
Fat 30.8g / 5.1g
Of which saturates 15.9g / 2.7g
Carbohydrates 59.0g / 9.9g
Of which sugars 27.0g / 4.5g
Fibre 2.5g / 0.4g
Protein 5.4g / 0.9g
Salt 0.93g / 0.15g

(This information is also available in French and Dutch)

STORAGE For Best Before, see front of pack. Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, store in an airtight container.

Made in Netherlands.

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(Copyright) Marks and Spencers plc
PO Box 3339 Chester
CH99 9QS
United Kingdom

Marksandspencer.com


Another M&S biscuit review!? Really? What is becoming of this blog? I should get some sponsorship money…

… No actually there are one or two drinks lined up as well so for the following week so this is the current theme for this blog but it will return to normal next weekend. After they are done we will be back on track with a few live performance reviews (a few weeks too late to be of immediate relevance) and maybe one or two other random things.

Dorotea Apricot Filled Pastries

Today let us look at some Italian confectionaries purchased for £3 from Marks and Spencers. And where do you find these confections in the store, in the Culverhouse Cross store just outside Cardiff to be exact, where, where you ask? …Oddly enough by the other biscuits and confectionaries but don’t think there is any ethnic confectionary integration here! They are displayed across the aisle and set aside on another shelf along with the others from continental Europe and America on a small set aside group of shelves with nothing to draw your eyes to them. There are however a few description tabs on the price displays should you look carefully but not for everything has an explanation so you would probably do you best just note down the name and do your research without purchase. A brilliant sales tactic!

… or like me you want to try different things and go buying something like these because hey, ho, DiMaggio, it’s not as if they will sell anything offensive and you want to try something different even if the purchase may, even at the first bite, be something that revolts you for one reason or another (rarely but it has happened once with a drink).

Though they have an interesting range of produce on offer M&S always gives off an austere air as everything is muted tones of white, brown and green, no music playing, the displays starkly lit, it’s offers so numerous and heavily labelled you feel you are a consumer and not a customer. They seem to insist you buy not what you want but an entire three course meal so earnestly; all three separate courses sold separately but should be bought together for savings, that by the end you don’t want to buy anything because your free will is called into question by being given a mandatory set course from which to select. Certain foods apparently should not be mixed. How dare you even contemplate such a thing? Potato for the British, pasta for the Italian, rice for the Indian, Chinese and Thai ranges and never the twain shall mix! Noodles? An abomination! Often I have gone here and wanted to try something but the offers, in their restrictive nature, have put me off completely. The food is good, I do not question, but the offers are so heavily displayed with tabs and stickers on everything that you feel it is some sort of faux pas to even dare considering buying something in an offer with anything outside it. This isn’t just any food; this is M&S telling you the proper cooking etiquette of eating their food… until they release a fusion range of pre-prepared foods and even then only certain things will be allowed to mix. Nothing culinarily xenophobic about it at all…

…Nonetheless let’s return to the review and put the Italian information of the box into [google translate] and see what quasi-inaccurate translations we get:

Naturalmente Dorotea
(Naturally Dorotea)

Dolcetto all’ Albicocca
(Trick to ‘ Apricot… whatever the programme things that means but it probably translates to something like ‘Apricot Treat’)

Delizioso scrigno di frolla con un cuore di morbida confettura all’albicocca
(Trove of delicious pastry with a heart of soft apricot jam)

…and of course the ingredients list but that has an English language version: Wheat flour type ‘O’, sugar, non-hydrogenated vegetable fat, butter, free-range eggs, glucose syrup, raising agent (ammonium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate), salt, emulsifier (soy lecithin), preservative (potassium sorbate), natural flavours, Apricot filling (30%): Apricots, glucose-fructose syrup, thickener (modified tapioca starch, pectin), stabilizer (glycerol), acidifier (citric acid).

… Got to love those ‘O’ type flour and the glucose-fructose ‘sugar + sugar = sugar’ ingredients. On the bright side they used free range eggs in case you are the sort to be so concerned about that you read ingredients in store.
So we are going to be eating a pastry filled with apricot jam? Exciting. Can’t wait. When will I get on with the review?

BUT WAIT! Before we get to that what does the back of the box say in English for the English speaking market?

  • 250g/8,882 oz
  • Product of Italy
  • Tiny pastries filled with apricot jam

Each Portion contains:

  • Calories: 65.5
  • Sugars: 2.8g
  • Fat: 3.1g
  • Saturates: 1.3g
  • Fibers [sic]: 0.2g

And in the Italian information:

  • Valore energetico in Kcal/100g: 504
  • Valore energetico in KJ/100g: 2108
  • Proteine: 4,5
  • Carboidrati: 67,8
  • di cui zuccheri: 21,8
  • Grassi: 24,2
  • di cui saturi: 9,8
  • Fibre: 1,2
  • Sodio: 0,3

Warnings:

  • Produced in a factory where it makes use of gluten, peanuts, milk and eggs
  • Baked product subject to natural weight loss
  • Store in a dry place away from direct sunlight

Fascinating… and in English so there was no need to use google translate after all. It was all a dream. All a dream of a supermarket that is constantly finding itself behind the times struggling against its competitors.

Oh Marks and Spencers stop trying to be ‘hip’, in such an award middle aged way, by referring to yourselves as M&S. If only you catered only to the tastes of the (in their own minds) socially elite like Waitrose do offering a free coffee with every visit for joining their loyalty club or if you whored it out like those village bikes by the names of Asda, who slap their jingling bottom in every advert with a cheeky smile, or Tesco who act like an abusive pimp to their produce suppliers. But of course not like Aldi or Lidl… they are the 2AM pubs are closed kind of markets. And B&M… they have a seat reserved down the STD clinic at the end of every week so don’t even bring them into the equation.

The Dorotea pastries? Oh right… well when you open the box there is a plastic bag with about 17 of them in it. They are extremely crumbly when bitten into, as you would expect of some forms of Italian biscotti, so there will be some crumbs already in the package caused by handling in transport but nothing that damages the appaearance of the contents and may have already been there as residue from the factory.

If you have never eaten any biscotti before it is hard to describe these… the best comparison I could give is they are like a jaffa cake if they didn’t have the chocolate on top but more of the soft pastry/biscuit (actually there was a serious question if jaffa cakes were classed as biscuit or pastry as one was taxed while the other wasn’t) and the jam was much softer. Not soft enough to leak out like the picture on the front of the box would suggest but far more pliable than the rubbery kind found in a jaffa cake. Biscotti have a particular texture with a crisp outer layer and a soft cake like interior.
The jam is indeed strongly flavoured of apricots and very nice. It holds the pastry shell together so although I mentioned there being crumbs you will never find any which are broken with the jam exposed.

They are enjoyable and you will more likely eat one with a warm drink than try to eat multiple of them in a single sitting. It is perhaps better to think of them as the sort of biscuit or pastry accompaniment you have provided at a café with a cup of tea or coffee. In truth continental Europe is apparently not as big on eating multiple biscuits or confectionaries in one sitting as the British are so this makes sense while we tend to prefer things like digestive biscuits which are blander in flavour (save for any chocolate or flavouring added to diversify the biscuit’s product range usually in orange, double choc, caramel or mint) and have developed a cultural habit of eating biscuits or confectionaries as a snack on their own rather than an compliment to something else.

These are perhaps best served alongside other confectionaries at a cream tea or similar event.
I would buy these again sometime down the road but there are other things to try. They are nice but not something I will be rushing to buy again though through no fault of their own. If you were served these they would be a pleasant surprise and you might be interested to know where to get them. But would you actually go and find them? Probably not. In a word they are pleasant.

Ripieno di confettura di albicocca
(Product and confezionoto by)
Prodotto e confezionoto da:
DOROTEA s.n.c.
Via Piero Della Francesca, 15
86070 Montaquila (IS) Italy


For something I felt I had nothing to talk about this is an impressive amount of rambling…

Comments and feedback are welcome.