Ribena Minis ‘Less Spills, Less Mess’

Ever since I was a child, I have loved Ribena. The original blackcurrant version is, in fact, the drink I most associate with being young, my mom insisted that it was far better for me than fizzy pop (of course she was correct) and so we always had the cordial, that I seem to remember had a foil top. These days, we usually have Ribena squash in our kitchen cupboards – old habits do die hard it seems.

Last month saw Ribena launch a brand new range. Ribena Minis combine Ribena’s, delicious flavours with a ‘Less Spills, Less Mess’ cap.  The idea is that these are ideal for putting into lunchboxes and packed lunches, either for school, or as part of a picnic, and also that these are bottled drinks that you are not afraid to put into your bag. The bottle will only release liquid once the bottle has been squeezed, so even if the top comes off, you are not going to find your sandwiches ruined, or your bag swimming with liquid, as you would with a normal bottle. Accidents do happen when children are faced with bottles, but these bottles incur a minimal amount of spill and mess.




Ribena Minis currently come in three different flavours; Brilliant Blackcurrant, Oh So Yum Orange and Amazing Apple & Mango. Joe loved the Apple and Mango flavour, whilst I am still partial to the original blackcurrent. The choices all contains real fruit juice and no added sugar so they are also kind to teeth and work towards your five a day, making them a healthy choice as well as a less messy one. In addition, the bottles are easy to close and seal again, so drinks can be put back into bags – they don’t have to be consumed all in one go. This means there is less waste too.



Ribena Minis are such a good idea. Tasty, healthy and with that less spills, less mess cap, they are perfect for packed lunches, winter picnics, comfort hydration breaks and frankly, if you have little ones, they are worth just keeping in the fridge.


The Campaign to End Loneliness

Loneliness is a problem that anyone can face, at any time of life, but it is a fact that it is more likely to occur as we get older. Key causes can be the death of a spouse or siblings, children getting married and moving away, and ill health making it more difficult to get out and about and see friends and family.  The Campaign to End loneliness identifies loneliness as:

Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want (Perlman and Peplau, 1981).

There are different types of loneliness:

  • Emotional loneliness is felt when we miss the companionship of one particular person; often a spouse, sibling or best friend.
  • Social loneliness is experienced when we lack a wider social network or group of friends.

When it comes to loneliness,  I worry about my father-in-law a lot. Dionisio has been a widow for more than 6 years and is not the best adept at handling the situation. He attends no clubs, is quite a private person, and lately, due to a period of ill health, he has been quite reticent when it comes to going out and about.

With my Father-in-Law Dionisio

With my Father-in-Law Dionisio

Sunrise Senior Living has been encouraging people to think about ‘Not Dining Alone’, and have a fabulous array of recipes that are perfect for those hosting dinner parties, or just having friends and family around for tea. We were asked to take part in a campaign to hilight the fact that many people dine alone by hosting our own family meal, and inviting anyone along who may be dining alone.

We decided to see if Dionisio wanted to invite any of his friends along, and he chose to invite a long term friend Phil around for fish and chips. Unfortunately disaster struck twice as we made the plans. The first disaster was that Phil was taken ill and went into hospital 2 days before the planned meal. We decided to go ahead as planned, and then do it again when Phil was better. The second disaster occurred with the food itself. Pete was supposed to do the cooking as I am unsure when cooking fish, but was late from work and so I had a go…




Big mistake! We ended up making a trip to the chippy for our Fish and chips, which turned out to be pretty amazing…and it also made for lots of laughs and teasing so all was not lost.
Night saved!

Night saved!

We actually had a lovely time, Dionisio enjoyed not cooking, and we have plans to do this every couple of weeks, with Phil and other old friends invited to come too (with promises that Pete will cook.) We were also dog sitting on the night, so did bring an extra guest who also enjoyed a spot of fish too.

Oscar came too, another house guest, on loan from my brother.

Oscar came too, another house guest, on loan from my brother.

If you have a family member, friend or neighbour who lives alone, maybe you could think of inviting them for tea – the old adage that more is merrier is definitely true.

Aluna opens its doors for Cocktail fun

On a gloriously warm Thursday evening I made my way to the canalside at Birmingham’s Mailbox for the launch of Aluna, the city’s newest cocktail venue. I was intrigued by the promise of unusual cocktail mixes in a stunning newly furnished bar, especially as I had been a fan of The Oriental restaurant that had previously been based in the building. I’m pleased to report that Aluna is stunning, both in decor and in concept, a new, must visit destination for cocktail lovers.

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On the evening press, bloggers and VIPS were treated to Champagne, canapes and the vast array of cocktails – there are more than 80 on the menu with something for every taste. The canapes were delicious, ranging from savoury (and spicy) to sweet. I loved the delicious King Prawns, but must admit the vegetarian wraps were maybe a little too spicy for my palette. The mini brownies were particularly gorgeous – very chocolately, and topped with scrummy strawberries.



There was a definite theme on the night and that was fire and ice. Outside the venue there were glamorous fire eaters who set the scene, and then there were the cocktails. Many of them appeared to have been concocted in a mad professors laboratory, with smoke of many colours pouring from the mixers and shakers. Some of the cocktails actually resembled Lava Lamps straight from the 1970s (and tasted gorgeous too), whilst the Martini list had everything from the now iconic Espresso Martini, to new varieties like the Mochatini to the awesome Bubblegum Martini – bright blue and totally amazing. Dry Ice was the key to some of the most unusual cocktails you could create – who knew?



Cocktails, champers and Chicken skewers.

The decor also elicited approval from everyone I spoke too. The whole place looks amazing, with comfortable velvet seating areas mixing tables and booths. There are images, pictures and mirrors adorning the wall – some apparently quoting Harry Potter (although this is something that meant nothing to me, not being a fan). I loved the elaborate chandeliers that offered a soft, glowy lighting effect to the whole place, giving it a magical feel that was then enhanced with dry ice effect cocktails. and a rather beautiful set of celestial gilt wings on the back wall – a posing opportunity if I ever saw one!





Aluna is lovely, I can’t wait for another visit there – there are at least 79 more cocktails to try yet!


With Fab Beauty blogger Ting


With my fave blogger Emily Jayne.

*With thanks to Delicious PR for the invitation.