Sweetie Review: Refreshers Revisited

In June last year, I reviewed Refreshers. Having rediscovered them, they’ve made regular (if infrequent) appearances in my desk’s sweetie dish. They don’t last long.

But today, having not had them for a couple of weeks, I made a frightful discovery on the shelves of Mr McNobby’s shop: The little sugar temptresses have changed. The first clue is the packet. It’s no longer a paper roll around a foil wrap. It’s all paper, folded over at the ends. Boo Hiss. What’s worse – and this is the real shocker – the tube is narrower. Imperceptibly narrower, but narrower all the same. Yes, the little sweeties are slightly smaller. Massive Boo Hiss.

On closer inspection, this is because they’re now made by a company called ‘Candy Land’. Have the Americans bought out refreshers?

Will I stop buying them? Of course not, they taste exactly the same.

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Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

Sweetie Review: Rowntree’s Fizzy Bottles

What do you get if you cross a fruit pastille with a cola bottle?

As I looked at the Rowntree’s Fizzy Bottles, 25% fruit juice and on special offer for £1 a pack, that was the thought that went through my mind. Even if they didn’t live up to expectations, they’d be enjoyable. Wouldn’t they?

Just barely, is the answer. The Natural Confectionary Company can use real fruit juice and still make sweeties that offer resistance to your teeth as you chop and chew them. Why can’t anyone else?

These sweeties from Rowntree’s tasted fine, had a hint of the promised fizziness, but were so insubstantial I thought perhaps the sweeties had died and I was, in fact, eating only the ghost of sweeties past.

In hindsight I missed a big clue, from Rowntree’s themselves. On the back of the packet was this sticker…

Rowntrees Fizzy Bottles 2

… Right there it gives directions for using the sticker to reseal the packet so you can “Save some for later!”

So firstly, these sweeties’ target market is not the discerning confectionary connoisseur like you and me, but people so stupid they need instructions on how to use a sticker to reseal a bag.
Secondly, even the manufacturer thinks the sweeties fail to be so delicious that you can’t resist scoffing the lot in one go.

Lesson learned.

Rowntrees Fizzy Bottles

 

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Sweetie Review: Haribo Tangfastics

I have a confession: I’m prone to eating entire packets of sweets in one go. I sit down to work and open the packet, then I’m surprised a little while later that there are only two or three left. I’ll play a game with myself, pretending that I’m going to save them for another time, or even for 15 or 20 minutes.

But they just get munched.

Tangfastics are different. You start at the beginning of the pack (a real one, not the badly photoshopped idealised pack in the picture) and the first sweet is just the best. You screw your face up and the sour fills your face.

The second sweet, you get less of the sour and more of the flavour. And that’s the way it stays until you realise you’ve made your mouth numb, and… oh dear, is that going to be an ulcer?

You (well, I) simply can’t eat an entire pack in one go. Which is great, because then you have some left over from the breakfast sitting to have with your cup of tea around mid-morning.

Okay, perhaps that’s too much of a confession.

Tangfastics

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The Month In Review

I kicked off this blog on the 13th May with pretty modest ambitions. I’m not trying to change the world, just to write a few things a week to entertain myself, you and to publish a few extracts from the upcoming Social Media Guidebook.

I thought I’d see if I could get a daily 10 viewers and 20 views. Instead the blog has far surpassed my hopes, with a regular 40-60 views and a one day peak of 157 views.

So I’m giving myself the day off, and offering you my top posts for your enjoyment:

 

 

 

 

Have a read if you missed any of them.

Sweetie Review: Refreshers

I was going to buy some Fruit Pastilles and review them. But just above them on the next shelf in Mr McNobby’s Corner Shop was a packet of refreshers in their shiny pastel rainbow wrapper. What is it about growing up that means for no reason at all you stop buying these amazing delicious treats? I don’t remember the last time I had some. Love Hearts, yes (though not the ghastly ‘One Direction’ special edition!), Refreshers, no.

There’s nothing to a refresher. It’s sugar, effervescence, a tiny drop of colour and an equally tiny drop of flavour. But the sugar and effervescence makes that flavour spread over your whole mouth as you suck or chew the thing.

I’ve been used to getting my sugar a teaspoon at a time in maybe five or six cups of tea a day, but having tried these again for the first time in a couple of decades, I might convert fully to coffee and get my sugar intake from these.

I know, you’re a grown up and you haven’t had these since you were in your mid-teens. Go today, buy some, and remember.

Always remember the good things.

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Sweetie Review: Swizzel’s ‘Loadsa Sweets’

There are lots of disadvantages to losing nearly a quarter of your body weight in a few months: Your (expensive) clothes don’t fit; your stamina takes a hit; and you can’t get away without shaving, because then you look scruffy.

However, there is a massive advantage, I get to eat whatever I want to try and get the weight back: Fast food, lots of food, and lots of sweets – so long as I make sure it goes back in the right places of course!

So Swizzel’s Loadsa Sweets sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.

We all love Swizzel’s. Who hasn’t enjoyed one of their fizzy double lollies or a drumstick? They’re both here in this assortment pack (in fact there’s 40% more of each for nothing. Supposedly).

But this is one of my two major gripes about this pack. Look at the picture. Does that really look like loads of sweets to you? It looks like some sweets, yes. But loads? Perhaps a matter for Trades’ Descriptions.

What sweets there are are all (almost all) well known and generic. If you got through your childhood without trying them, then you might have good cause to phone up your parents and ask them what on earth they were thinking not letting you rot your teeth like a normal child.

My two gripes are the missing sweets: blue refreshers, fizzers, lovehearts – they’re all there on the packet. 3 out of the five types of sweet on the packet aren’t inside. I’m not sure that’s where they got their 40% boast from.

Also the inclusion of Parma Violet Refreshers. The Marmite of the sweetie world, love ’em or hate ’em. That you can rarely buy them on their own suggests you’re far more likely not to be in the love ’em camp.

Oh well, I suppose Swizzels have to get rid of them somewhere.

sweetie review.001

Sweetie Review: Haribo Wine Gums

The combination of two favourites, Wine Gums and Haribo. These ought to be outstanding.

Instead they fall between the two, rather than taking the best of each. Too soft and jelly-esque to be wine *gums*, too hard and large to be Haribo-like.

I guess even Haribo can’t be good at every sweet. 5/10

As a friend of mine said recently: if I was responsible for those execrable Haribo ads, I’d shoot myself in the face.

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Sweetie Review: Natural Confectionary Co. Spooky Treats.

Just a quick note about Hallowe’en sweets: These are great. No added rubbish, lots of flavour in the shape of skulls, vampire teeth, pumpkins, gravestones and old hags.

Why not disappoint kids this hallowe’en by giving them these instead of chocolate bars and repackaged sugar?

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Sweetie Review: Rowntree’s Randoms

4/10. The lowest you can score as a sweetie without poisoning me.

It’s always tough launching a new type of sweetie onto the market. You’d think a company as large as Rowntree would decide which sweetie to launch and put their marketing money heavily behind it. Instead they went down the ‘Revels’ route and launched all the sweeties they could think of, packaged together with a name the CEO had seen on “FaceSpace or MyBook, or something like that.”

The trouble with that is while some of the sweeties are going to be great, some are going to make you sick in your mouth, and frankly the good ones aren’t worth the bad.

Rowntree’s Randoms have been around for two years now. I feel sure that had the company not put so much money into the advertising, the sweets themselves would have died a quiet death and we’d all be happier. The only part of the Rowntree’s Randoms experience that is worse than the advertising are the sweets themselves. It’s on a very low base alongside Haribo’s advertising. Why can’t agencies come up with decent sweetie creative? I hope they all smash their shameful faces under the toilet seat three times a day.

After I’ve dispatched the bag of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles (bought the bags together on a 2 for £2) I’ll go back to reliable Haribo.