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The stuff from before on NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown ...

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Gift ideas from Nicey and Wifey

A NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown special report

This festive season, we thought it might be nice to round up some of the various sit down orientated things that have come our way recently that might make handy gift ideas. From tea, biscuits and cakes to books ( ours of course) and others, there might just be something here that helps you get Christmas just that little bit more sorted out.

Most of the things we'll be looking at are available on line so you could do your shopping whilst enjoying a cuppa.

The same thing only bigger

We are going to adding to this over the first week or two in December so do keep popping back.

Plain Chocolate Hobnob axed

Lets picture them as we would like to remember them

It might of been the third biscuit to join the HobNob family but for years the plain chocolate HobNob (that's dark chocolate for those who don't quite follow UK chocolate naming conventions) has enjoyed a loyal following. Of course there are exceptions but as is the way with plain chocolate it seems to appeal to the more mature palate. Now we all know that such biscuit eaters are not easily swayed from their routine biscuit buying choices, so what could have happened to drive them away from their beloved plain chocolate HobNobs?

Well a while back McVities decided to change the packaging on some of its premium every day brands. Rather than a simple cellophane pack, the chocolate digestives, and chocolate HobNobs could also be purchased in cardboard tubes lined with a foil finish and topped off with a polythene lid. For those who want to buy their biscuits already cloaked in their own tin it's a good idea. The loyal Plain Chocolate HobNob people were given the ultimate test of their devotion when their biscuit and theirs alone became available solely in tubes and could no longer be bought in its sensible cellophane pack.

So amazingly the biscuit which you voted into first place as your loyal favourite in our poll in which over two and half thousand of you took part as has been de-listed (they don't make them anymore). When we polled you on your thoughts about the tube packs half of you thought they were a means to bump up the price and only one person in six thought them a good idea. Our interpretation of the evidence is clear, most people aren't prepared to be forced to pay a premium even for their favourite biscuit.

As a mark of respect we'll be turning our title black through out October.

Mean while McVities have been furiously innovating in the HobNob range with Hazelnut and Caramel, Orange, Chocolate Orange and so forth. How can they be comfortable pouring resources into developing new products and yet happily letting tried and tested ones fall by the way side?

Of course the situation isn't that black, McVities could easily resurrect the biscuits at a drop of a hat. What is really worrying is that this product has been managed and manipulated out of existence, whilst apparently blind to the fact that great deal of people still want to purchase it.

Summer Cake Quest 2006

Tea time stuff from Brittany Gallettes, Prune tart, a little Kouign Amman and Rice pudding, close up look

It's that time of year again when the younger members of staff take over NCOTAASD HQ for the summer, and we go in search of exotic and interesting tea time stuff. Cake, biscuits, we don't mind just as long as it goes with a nice cuppa and a holiday sit down.

Last year we found ourselves in Brittany, virtually opposite a patisserie, and made a valiant attempt to sample their entire range, some of which is pictured alongside. Wifey insists the proprietors had a new car by the time we left.

The inset picture is a fearsome local delicacy which is called Kougin Amman, being carved up by our trusty orange knife which is called Orange Matey. I would say it's a cross between a giant heavy set croissant and a toffee apple, without the apple. The butter toffee seeps into its very core and made as it is from flour, sugar, butter and little else it's the sort of thing that would require you to sign a disclaimer before you could purchase it in the UK. This would absolve the vendor from liability for any consequences to your cardiovascular system.

We would love to hear about your holiday cakes, biscuits and sit downs. Perhaps you'll find something as impressive as a Kougin Amman. Or may you'll find something dreadful and ropey that we can all have a good laugh at. Either way, why don't we all meet up again at the end of the holidays? It'll give us a good excuse to use the bucket and spade icon.

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