Author: Mary

I have a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from California Baptist University, but my heart belongs to writing. My writing history is advertised below and located on InfoBarrel and WordPress. I've published much research along with some fiction. With time, I hope to produce more material for the reading world and add to my writing skills.
Taste Buds Meter the Maltesers and Maltesers Teasers and Catch the Maltesers Fever

Taste Buds Meter the Maltesers and Maltesers Teasers and Catch the Maltesers Fever

Ooh! Whoppers! Or, em, British whoppers. No? Oh, yeah, Maltesers. And, em, Maltesers Teasers. Oh, for crying-out-loud, those thingamajigs!

Found at Cost Plus World Market, and later-on spotted at the Dollar General store, Alex and I stumbled across an imported British candy called Maltesers. Malterfood, a Mars Chocolate UK sub-company, produce these traditional candies. Favored throughout the world, Malterfood produces and exports thousands of candies every year.

Tasting the Original Maltesers

For Americans, it is impossible to refrain from comparing these little candies to Whoppers’ malted milk balls. However, there exists a striking difference between the two candies. Maltesers made the candies slightly more doughy on the inside, as opposed to the Whoppers’ obvious crunch. Also, the superb Mars chocolate coating was significantly lighter than the chocolate coating on the Whoppers.

Malterfood’s added honey as their extra, special ingredient. And, to be perfectly frank, I only realized this upon reading the packaging. For the ingredient, while good in tea and on toast, added nothing to the taste. Rather than sweet, the candy had more of a sour aftertaste. Overall, the chocolate, honey, and dough balls are too bland for my taste.

On the Other Hand, the Maltesers Teasers…

Wow! So, so, so, so much better than the traditional Maltesers! The Maltesers Teasers completely make up for what the traditional candy balls lack. Think chocolate. Think about how Mars chocolate melts in your mouth. Consider also how tiny balls taste, how they crunch. So good!

Maltesers TeasersOn a more serious note, the Maltesers Teasers are more like traditional chocolate bars. In one sense, the candy reminded me much of the Crunch candy, chocolate and crunch. However, the candy bar included more chocolate than tiny candy balls. Consequently, they significantly outdid the Crunch candy bar.

Dealing with the Maltesers Fever

MaltesersIf Alex and I can find these original British candies in a discount store like Dollar General, then I can hardly begin to imagine how many places sell these tasty treats. Next time my husband and I have the money to go to the theater, I will have to search the candy options to see if they are present. Or, how many Malterfood candies would a store like Walmart sell? I’ll have to do more research.

Someone who presented me with these two Malterfood candies would find that I would choose the Maltesers Teasers before the original candy balls. In fact, I recommend the candy bar to anyone who prefers Mars chocolate over dough and honey. The 100+ degree weather may have affected the candies. They may have melted the chocolate or made them less crunchy. Or maybe Cost Plus World Market sold the expired ones and I didn’t catch it. Either way, as British candy goes, the sweet tooth accepts both.

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Delectable Treats – Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Treats like these don’t grow on trees! Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges are mouth-watering, flavor-popping chocolates which open with a good, solid whack!

American born and bred, I raised my brow on first hearing Alex mention one of Great Britain’s most delectable treats: chocolate oranges. I questioned how chocolate could adequately include an orange flavor which would satisfy a fruit-lover. Since I don’t consider myself an orange connoisseur – something I shall never be due to the orange rind – I decided to someday test one.

Where We Found Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

On my day off from the drug store, Alex and I wandered over to a neighboring town. Once we had acquired and bought our day-to-day necessities, I asked to go to one more place to spend my Visa e-gift card. Where did we go? You guessed it: Cost Plus World Market!

The store manager at Vacaville’s location in the Nut Tree Plaza did the store harm in rejecting my Visa e-gift card. Especially since, when Alex and I stepped into the store, we were the only customers there. However! I am dedicated to this blog, and I enjoy trying British foods far too much to have turned away and never gone back.

Keeping a smile on my face, I headed toward the food section to see the available options. Lo and behold, the employees had set up an entire display promoting solely United Kingdom foods! British, Irish, and Scottish! I quickly spent my budgeted play money.

The Hard Decision between Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and Terry’s Dark Chocolate Oranges

A whacked and unwrapped chocolate orange!

According to the chocolate orange experts, if eating a delectable treat with orange flavoring, then the best chocolate to use is dark chocolate. Health fans must cheer and share this opinion, since dark chocolate is supposedly healthier than milk chocolate. Someday I will try Terry’s Dark Chocolate Orange, but this time we chose Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange.

Though I enjoy dark chocolate as well as milk, I let Alex decide on what to choose on that day. As the source behind all my chocolate orange knowledge, he knew what most people preferred. However, he chose the milk chocolate one. I happily plopped one into our shopping basket.

How Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges Look and Taste

A chocolate designed after a true orange.

The design on the chocolate is pleasing to the eye with its ridges imitating an orange’s rind and fruit. Whacking one of Terry’s chocolate oranges is also a fun way to enjoy a delectable treat. Moreover, if the weather climbs to 100 degrees or more, the chocolate oranges refrigerates well, for the chocolate oranges are still easy to bite into when refrigerated.

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges taste smooth, sweet, and stupendous! The orange flavoring in the milk chocolate has a strong flavor, but isn’t overpowering. Terry’s uses orange oil, an ingredient that reminds me of the orange peel used in my mother’s orange rolls, nice and sweet.

Intending to please my sweet tooth, I had planned to eat half of this chocolate orange for breakfast. However, it was far too sweet! Though this fact guarantees I will buy more in the future. Unlike the recommended serving, I recommend savoring Terry’s Milk Chocolate Oranges and eating only two or three slices at a time, as opposed to five slices.

Just a Little History on Terry’s Chocolate Oranges

Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange

Terry’s used to run their own organization in York, United Kingdom. Established in the mid to late 1700’s, they produced products (such as chocolate lemons for a little while) for several years before they first handed over the reigns to a larger organization. Mondelez Global now ultimately produces this particular Terry’s chocolate orange.

Poland manufactured the chocolate, on machines that also process nuts and wheat, and sends the chocolates around the world. Terry’s original recipes are currently held and processed from three different European countries. It closed its doors in York in 2005, one year after the delectable treats began exporting to the United States – to my great delight!

 

Sherlock: A Study in Pink – Critical Review

Sherlock: A Study in Pink – Critical Review

BBC’s Sherlock – series one, episode one, “A Study in Pink” – portrayed many aspects about the characters upon the second and third viewing. Continuing to watch the remaining episodes after the first viewing, though, required boredom, lack of funds, time off, and a family Netflix account. Since all four aspects applied to me, I viewed all four series, and my better knowledge about the characters made “A Study in Pink” much more interesting and insightful.

Doctor John Watson – The Man with Nerves of Steel

Introducing Doctor John Watson

Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss immediately won the viewers over to Doctor John Watson when they showed the character suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Actor Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. Watson’s pain and silent suffering instantly drew me in, having me beg for more about this distressed character.

Dr. Watson proved his courage and love for trouble with every passing character he met. His first meeting with Sherlock Holmes revealed his psychosomatic limp. Well, more accurately, Sherlock inferred to it, only to later reveal it to Dr. Watson. Throughout the episode, meeting each of Sherlock’s enemies and acquaintances, Dr. Watson proved steady during stress and unhinged during downtime. Sherlock was dead-on on analyzing his friend as a man with nerves of steel.

Inspector Lestrade – The Desperate Man

Introducing Inspector Lestrade

When viewers first saw Inspector Lestrade, he appeared stressed, worried, and unhappy. His oblivion about the murderer made him appear weak and incompetent before the reporters, and Sherlock only made him look worse. Later scenes would reveal Inspector Lestrade’s dependence on Sherlock to help him do his job.

On the other hand, Inspector Lestrade was an honest man. When Dr. Watson asked why he included Sherlock on his cases, he replied, “Because I’m desperate, that’s why!” After this admittance, he turned back to Dr. Watson from the flat’s doorway and said something that every viewer wants to believe: Sherlock is a great man, and someday he might be a good one. In so saying, Inspector Lestrade portrayed himself as optimistic and hopeful, a great side character to Sherlock and Dr. Watson.

Sergeant Donovan – Miss Negativity in Action

Introducing Sergeant Donovan

Sergeant Donovan could hardly make my skin crawl any more with her disgusting and unpardonable hatred and slanderous comments about the great, crime-solving genius, Sherlock Holmes.

The female law enforcement lead is the exact opposite of Inspector Lestrade. Whereas Lestrade portrays hope and admiration for Sherlock, Sergeant Donovan calls Sherlock names, warns off people from becoming his friend, and portrays a nasty attitude in general. I think at least some viewers would agree with me on the show’s ability to easily do without Sergeant Donovan.

Sherlock Holmes – The Psychopath with Crime-Solving Antics

Introducing Sherlock Holmes

“A Study in Pink” along with later episodes in later series revealed several references to Sherlock being a psychopath, something of little consequence to me. His delight in serial killers is little more than excitement in solving a difficult puzzle. Only, since Sherlock qualifies as a genius, finding a difficult puzzle for him requires more than the average jigsaw puzzle.

What can I say about the character on whom Dr. Watson centers on? Actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock well in his fast speech and enthusiasm about solving difficult criminal cases. The writers also did well in giving Cumberbatch well-scripted insults, running scenes, and socially awkward scenes. Sherlock viewers either love or hate him. I love him, along with Dr. Watson.

Mycroft Holmes – The Most Dangerous Enemy

Introducing Mycroft Holmes

Dr. Watson showed great restraint in refraining from telling Sherlock to grow up when he learned Mycroft was Sherlock’s older brother instead of the most dangerous man Dr. Watson had ever met. However, Mycroft had brought Dr. Watson in for questioning. And though he failed to frighten Dr. Watson, he did show a flare for the dramatic, an obvious clue to his being related to Sherlock.

Mycroft will show up again and again in later episodes and series. The two brothers love each other, and their enemy status is nothing more than remaining childhood rivalry. Anyone who has watched all four series along with me will know his vital role in future episodes, saving Sherlock in more ways than one.

Molly and Moriarty – More Details to Come

Introducing Molly

Molly first appeared in her white lab coat. Mourning the loss of a kind colleague, she had an odd mix of horror and admiration for Sherlock when he took a riding crop and started whipping the dead man’s body. (This scene came from the actual story by Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock was experimenting on how bodies bruised.) She thus proceeded to apply some lipstick and ask Sherlock if he would like some coffee, of which he completely missed her meaning and continued on with his experiments.

Moriarty is merely mentioned at the very ending of “A Study in Pink.” A name means nothing. However, the name will eventually strike fear and anger in Sherlock’s heart whenever it arises. And it will arise frequently.

Who is your favorite character in the series? Do you take Sherlock’s side, or Sergeant Donovan’s side? Please comment below!

How to Make a Very UK Breakfast from Northern California Grocers

How to Make a Very UK Breakfast from Northern California Grocers

Back when Alex and I were still engaged and actively searching for ways to make United Kingdom foods, we stumbled across a means to make a very UK breakfast! Let me tell you where to find the items and our experience in making them.

Our Favorite Grocers Make a Very UK Breakfast Possible

Items needed for a very UK breakfast.

The necessary items for this meal came from grocers mentioned in previous posts: Nugget Markets and Cost Plus World Market. Few items were needed, and they included Irish scone mix, blackcurrant jam, and luxury clotted cream. Cost Plus World Market carried the scone mix and clotted cream, while Nugget Markets carried the British jam.

Alex’s research revealed UK citizens would normally eat larger breakfasts that included meat. While we hope to make such a breakfast someday, our budget allowed for a few tasty scones for breakfast this time around.

Two Inexperienced Bakers Fussing with a Scone Mix

Though I’ve made banana nut bread countless number of times, I’m relatively inexperienced as a baker. Having never made scones before, I was clueless about what to expect during the process of mixing and shaping the dough. Therefore, Alex caught some very messy pictures of a very messy Mary trying to knead some very messy dough.

The items used to make the scones.
Struggling to roll the dough.
Trying to place the unbaked scones on a baking sheet.

Eventually I learned what my trouble was after placing the first set of Irish scones on the baking sheet: I neglected to use enough flour. This was an easy mistake to fix, and soon the unbaked scones began to look like real scones.

One box created two such baking sheets of scones.

Alex stopped taking pictures after the first batch, because he thought the proper scones looked worse than the messy and hard-to-make scones. Something only a cook would think, not a baker.

How to Eat Scones in the UK Style

A new breakfast favorite.

Since in this scenario our very UK Breakfast consisted of Irish scones, we had to add a British element. To do this, Alex and I purchased more luxury clotted cream. When we learned about the English adding jam on top of clotted cream, we went out and found an imported UK item called blackcurrant jam.

The combination of these three elements was truly delightful. Freshly baked dough, creamy clotted cream, and fruity blackcurrant jam had Alex and I devouring almost all the scones in one sitting.

Try a Very UK Breakfast at Home!

Alex and I highly recommend this breakfast to anyone with a light appetite. Even better yet, maybe add some meat – of which I still need to learn Great Britain’s favorite breakfast meat – and some potatoes, and it would be a full meal!

Does anyone have a favorite scone recipe or scone mix which they would like to recommend? Does anyone know about other UK jams? Please comment below!

Doctor Who – We Will Miss You, Bill Potts

Doctor Who – We Will Miss You, Bill Potts

Spoilers! Discontinue this blog post if you have yet to view Doctor Who’s latest episode! Aired on June 24, 2017.

The skies loom dark…and smoggy…in the latest Doctor Who episode. In this 11th episode of season 10, viewers will mourn for Bill Potts, the fun and quirky companion. For in this episode, she meets an unexpected villain…and an unhappy end.

Why We Loved Doctor Who’s Bill Potts

As a member of the primitive human species, I had my doubts about a lesbian companion. However, my doubts disappeared after season’s 10 first episode. Bill Potts’s energy and enthusiasm found a secure place in my heart, and I looked forward to her adventures with the Doctor.

Pearl Mackie, who played Bill Potts, seemed to have a certain chemistry with Peter Capaldi. Representing two strong and independent personalities, they could sit and discuss differing opinions, yet relate in their social relationships. They were the quintessential friends.

What Bill Potts’s Ending Means to Me

Despair and horror may adequately describe how I feel about this episode’s conclusion. In his usual talented writing style, producer and writer Steven Moffat first charmed the viewers in the life Bill Potts’s lived in the spaceship’s bottom, then he brought in the villains.

With the Master converting Bill into a Cyberman and recruiting Missy to join his evil plans, the pain is real upon seeing and hearing Bill Potts reach out to the Doctor from her side among the villains. The fun and carefree adventures have come to an end. Now comes pain and misery for the Doctor…and the viewers.

The Hope to Which We Cling

Two Doctor Who characters have transformed into Cybermen, Bill Potts and Danny Pink. Both exhibited despair at their mortal flesh’s end, creating an interesting twist to the traditional Cybermen with their ability to feel. Nevertheless, this unexpected twist brings hope to the viewers for their beloved fictional friends.

If the Master has truly brought back the Cybermen, then the Doctor may have the ability to turn the Cybermen into good guys. Or, at least, bring back the characters whom we loved. If Bill and Danny came back, then maybe there is hope for some of the Doctor’s companions.

Will We See Bill Potts Ever Again?

Please answer us, BBC America! We feel like we have lost a good friend in Bill Potts, and we want her back. Please make it so our beloved characters can come back from the dark side and join ranks with the Doctor once more. Show that good can triumph over evil.

Thank you for reading. Please share your favorite memories with Bill Potts below. Take your time, though. I myself may need to watch the season again before I can adequately answer that question.

Secrets Learned from Daoine Maithe – What We Gathered about Irish Fairies

Secrets Learned from Daoine Maithe – What We Gathered about Irish Fairies

Alexander Truong and I have wedded at last! And after enjoying our honeymoon on the USA’s West Coast, the new Mary Truong returns to recount the mystifying tales from her unexpected adventures…and the fairies she found there.

“Hold on. What does North America’s coast have to do with Mary Loves the UK?” ask the readers as they turn away.

Wait, wait! Don’t leave just yet! This particular adventure in mind relates very closely with the United Kingdom. The British may think me silly through and through, but their Irish neighbors will inwardly smile at this post, albeit while tsk, tsking the tale.

Fairies Found in Fort Bragg, California

Alex and I had started our adventures on the Oregon coast. Circumstances and spontaneity drove us South into the great California Redwoods, and we landed in a small, coastal town called Fort Bragg.

Alex entering the woodland.

The dull and uninspired creatures inside us had us roaming the tourist shops, spending money on unnecessary items. Back at our shelter for the night, Alex mentioned a botanical garden located just down the road.

Though he expected little beauty in a botanical garden compared to the great Redwoods surrounding the town, the place piqued my interest. We arrived at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden at half-past nine the next morning.

Passing through the dark shadows.

Investigating the small gift shop at the location’s front encouraged us to go ahead and buy the day passes for the garden. We had done well to enter the garden before the many others who came later in the day.

Provided with a map, Alex tried to lead me down the widest, most solid path available. However, the shadows and flowers beneath the overhanging pines and furs drew me in, and I soon went off the well-traveled path.

Asphalt paths and dirt trails ran through and provided views to the most beautiful 47 acres that I had ever seen. A place so beautiful as to impress every literary person with its ties to mystery, mystic, and myth.

We found the trail.

Alex and I headed toward the ocean’s coast. Along the way, we found a sign indicating a pine trail. The trail ran along a bubbling stream, and on either side were ferns, vines, and pines. Various birds chirped over our heads, and we crossed paths more than once with busy bumblebees.

Eventually the trail widened. And when I looked over the stream, I suddenly knew why the Irish believed in fairies. The beauty surrounding the fallen pines over the stream, the plants growing over them to provide shade underneath, and the vines crawling over it all were a piece of paradise.

We found the fairy’s home.

Common Beliefs about Irish Fairies

Fast-forwarding a few days, I went to my bookshelf and cracked open the Barnes & Noble collector’s edition to A Treasury of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. The introduction and the first chapter are what inspired me to write about the fairies today.

Expecting something dry and boring, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the lighthearted and humorous writing. At the same time, I found the tales forbidding and sinister. Although, they did explain why Tinkerbell could be so evil and cunning. Let me clarify:

  • Fairies dislike being spoken about, and will attack those who talk too much.
  • They do favors for the kind people, but give trouble to the bad people.
  • Irish fairies can grow and shrink to any size.
  • Fairies sing beautifully, attracting young girls to their deaths.
  • They have three holidays in the human year.
  • Irish fairies fight like a whirlwind and love like there’s no tomorrow.

When the Irish people do refer to these magical creatures, they refer to them as the good folk (a.k.a. daoine maithe). This way everyone can live peaceably together.

Why the English Fairies Went Away

Once upon a time – in a time that I have yet to learn – the English people would speak about fairy tales. The place that people would eventually call Great Britain created the tale about leaving milk outside on the windowsills for the fairies.

“So, where did the English fairies go? What made the British people stop talking about them?”

Study and reason, said the Irish book on folk tales. According to the book’s introduction, the English turned toward religion and reason and forgot about fairies, for the churchmen called the beliefs heretical.

Irish literature harshly and humorously mimicked the Protestant pastors, telling of churchmen who questioned their congregations about how many “gods” were in the land. The old Irish answered honestly – many gods, if you include the good folk. Only the Irish remained true to the fairies’s realm in myth and lore.

Mary Loves the Fairies Too

One day, when Alex and I have saved all our pennies, we will visit Great Britain and make a side trip over to the great green land of Ireland. There we shall truly learn if the children know and believe anything about the fairies in the surrounding woods.

Like many American millennial women and our daughters, we remain true to our wish to believe in fairies, even the mean ones. For in every girl’s heart is the desire for something beyond the common, something mystical and magical. Fairies fit the ticket.

Top Three Reasons to Try Harry Potter Jelly Slugs at Jelly Belly Co.

Top Three Reasons to Try Harry Potter Jelly Slugs at Jelly Belly Co.

Harry Potter Jelly Slugs came out after Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Beans. Jelly Belly Company produced them around the same time as Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs. As Jelly Belly describes Harry Potter Jelly Slugs online, there are five different fruit-flavored gummis that delight every Harry Potter fan.

Unfortunately for me, many months expired before I found out about these delightful treats. And some time expired between learning about them and having the money to purchase any for myself. However, just a short-while ago, the knowledge and the money combined. Here are the top three reasons to try Harry Potter Jelly Slugs.

Reason One: Because Jelly Slugs are in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Harry Potter Jelly Slugs popping out of the book!

I’d rather not dwell on the issue that caused the curse, or how the curse backfired. But here is an excerpt on where Jelly Slugs originated from in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

Flint had to dive in front of Malfoy to stop Fred and George jumping on him, Alicia shrieked, “How dare you!”, and Ron plunged his hand into his robes, pulled out his wand, yelling, “You’ll pay for that one, Malfoy!” and pointed it furiously under Flint’s arm at Malfoy’s face.

A loud bang echoed around the stadium and a jet of green light shot out of the wrong end of Ron’s wand, hitting him in the stomach and sending him reeling backward onto the grass.

“Ron! Ron! Are you all right?” squealed Hermione.

Ron opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead he gave an almighty belch and several slugs dribbled out of his mouth onto his lap.

~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Poor, poor Ron had intended to defend Hermione’s honor, only to shame himself. However! Thanks to his backfired curse, Harry Potter fans can now enjoy Harry Potter Jelly Slugs!

Reason Two: Because Harry Potter Jelly Slugs Come in Five Delicious Flavors!

Jelly Slugs have five different fruit flavors.

Jelly Belly Company does its best to hide the flavors from buyers. But since I’ve bought a package, I’ll share them with my readers. There are five flavors:

  • Pear – a light green slug
  • Sour Cherry – a red slug
  • Tangerine – an orange slug
  • Watermelon – a dark green slug
  • Banana – a yellow slug

When offered to my father, he picked a sour cherry. To my amusement, he said it tasted like a cough drop from the olden days. Alex agreed, but he said it was a good taste. And I agreed with Alex, for the slug tasted delectable, as did all the variously flavored slugs.

Reason Three: To Spread Joy to All Harry Potter Fans!

I was wrong! Jelly Belly Company has locations all throughout the United States! And the company will ship anywhere! Therefore, if any reader wishes to indulge in the Harry Potter world, or immerse his or her friends in it, then visit the local Jelly Belly store.

The Harry Potter product line serves well to engage the Millennial generation and their children’s imagination. Bertie Bott’s Beans, Chocolate Frogs, and Jelly Slugs also serve well as gifts. So, go ahead! Indulge in a little British-inspired candy!

Where to Find and Collect Harry Potter’s Chocolate Frogs in Northern California

Where to Find and Collect Harry Potter’s Chocolate Frogs in Northern California

“Why would I ever bother to collect some fiction’s chocolate?” someone who’s never read Harry Potter might ask. These unfortunate souls miss out on the real reason to find Harry Potter’s Chocolate Frogs: To collect every single magical card of all the famous Harry Potter witches and wizards in the real world!

How I First Found Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs

Chocolate Frogs are found in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

It was Memorial Day weekend in the year 2016. Alex and I both had the day off, but we struggled to find something to do. We put our heads together and searched through our memories to recall things on our fun to-do list. And we remembered the Jelly Belly Factory, a place neither of us had ever visited. So, off we went!

Tour employees were present at the factory. The actual factory workers had the day off. So, as tours go, we had more fun in each other’s company than viewing the videos and stilled machines. After quickly walking through, we arrived at the Jelly Belly tasting counter and the visitor’s store.

Alex tried variously flavored Jelly Bellies, going through the line two times for a total of six beans. I separated from the crowd and headed straight toward a sign with the Harry Potter logo. And there, in the lower half of the shelf tower, were Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs!

Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs and What I Found Out

As the months wore on, more Chocolate Frogs found their way into our home.

Seeing the Chocolate Frogs at the Jelly Belly Factory made me leap for joy. Soon, Alex found me in my excited state and offered to buy me one Harry Potter Chocolate Frog. I kissed him for his sweetness, and I soon was in the car, tearing open the Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frog package. My collection started with Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts’s gamekeeper.

A week passed. My excitement over the Harry Potter card was still high and flying. To increase my new collection, I asked Alex to drive us to the nearest Jelly Belly store to see if it carried Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs. He smiled and obliged me.

A sweet treat and a new card.

To our surprise, the store not only carried the item, but it sold them for a dollar cheaper than the Jelly Belly Factory. All the same, at 2.99 dollars per Chocolate Frog, I wanted to be smart. So, I only bought one. That day, my excitement died when I opened the package and found another Rubeus Hagrid card.

Eight months later would alert me to the coincidence in the cards being the same.

What’s So Great About Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs

Along with the delicious Chocolate Frog – which, unfortunately, stays in place instead of jumping out the window – comes collectible cards about famous witches and wizards in Harry Potter. Many names are included in the collection:

My Chocolate Frog collection…so far…
  • Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Madam Pince
  • The Potter Family
  • Rubeus Hagrid
  • Voldemort
  • Severus Snape
  • Myron Wagtail & Heathcote Barbary
  • Filius Flitwick
  • Pomona Sprout
  • Madam Rolanda Hooch
  • Donaghan Tremlett & Myron Wagtail
  • Quirinus Quirrell
  • Mr. Ollivander
  • Albus Dumbledore
  • Minerva McGonagall
  • Orsino Thruston & Myron Wagtail

On the backside of the magical 3D picture is a description about the witch or wizard. Like the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter fans in the real world can buy, trade, and collect their favorite witches and wizards!

What I Later Learned About Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs

Harry Potter‘s Chocolate Frogs

Harry Potter‘s Wizarding World at Universal Studios carries Chocolate Frogs. Based on what I hear, the Chocolate Frogs come in a pentagon-shaped box with a pentagon-shaped card. To collect these cards, fans must either go to Universal Studios or order the Chocolate Frogs online. As of yet, I personally can only dream about buying and trading this surely wonderful collection.

As for now, I encourage every Harry Potter fan and their children to go to the nearest Jelly Belly store and pick up some Chocolate Frogs. If fans wish to buy a box, they can go to JellyBelly.com and purchase 6, 24, or more Chocolate Frogs at once! They are loads of fun for every Harry Potter fan and make wonderful gifts, too.

Pearl Mackie Shines in Doctor Who’s “The Pilot”

Pearl Mackie Shines in Doctor Who’s “The Pilot”

“A homosexual companion!” cried the Christian-conservative woman. “Doctor Who is ruined!”

Many conservative Americans felt this way about their beloved BBC America show Doctor Who. They whined and complained and said they would never watch the newest companion. However, the tenth series first episode finally arrived. And every Doctor Who fan sat down to watch.

Actress Pearl Mackie proved the American conservatives undeniably and irrefutably wrong.

Introducing Pearl Mackie as Doctor Who‘s New Companion

Knowing the new companion to be homosexual, I expected a very extroverted, flamboyant and lovable character. Someone like Ezra Miller’s character in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Pearl Mackie’s character, named Bill, is someone wholly different.

Pearl Mackie as Bill and love interest Heather.

Bill smiled at the mysterious and the unknown. She pursued people who interested her, predominantly blonde young women. Courage and curiosity convinced her to chase down the mysterious Doctor and the odd Nardole. She worked in the cafeteria, and she portrayed confidence in her own person.

Ezra Miller played a lovable character, but Pearl Mackie captured the screen. Bill was down-to-earth and easy to relate to. The Doctor asked her to his office almost in a way to offer friendship, for she had few friends. To state simply, Pearl Mackie played Bill as a typical and likable person.

Why Pearl Mackie Fits Perfectly as the Doctor’s Companion

Jenna Coleman played Clara as the Doctor’s potential love interest. When River Song said goodbye to Matt Smith’s Doctor, Clara turned into the confused companion who didn’t know whether to act like a love interest or a standoffish friend. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor solidified Clara’s role as nothing more than a friend.

New companion Bill and the Doctor

Pearl Mackie played Bill as a young woman only interested in other young women as love interests. Therefore, her role immediately solidified as the Doctor’s friend and nothing more. Different than Jenna Coleman, Pearl Mackie adds an edge to her new companion role with her character’s quirks and boldness. She played – and she will continue to play – someone whom the Doctor can have fun with.

What American Viewers Hope to See in Upcoming Doctor Who Episodes

Series nine definitely had a serious and somewhat morbid tone. The 2016 Doctor Who Christmas episode changed the tone completely with its American superhero. I, along with my friends and family, hope this lighthearted change will continue. After all, we thought the British viewed this wildly popular show as something for children. So shouldn’t it be lighthearted?

New companion Bill in the TARDIS

Pearl Mackie has brought a lighter tone to the series. Though she acts well in dark circumstances, her courage and talkative nature stand out starkly to Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. A change that the show badly needed to keep their viewers interested. If only they can look beyond her love interests.

One thing is for certain: I will gleefully watch Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Pearl Mackie as the new companion as the new series unfolds. New writers with new characters will grace the screen with new adventures. And as long as American fans can keep open-minded, then they too will love the newest season of the best BBC America series.

TWININGS English Breakfast Tea – An Exemplary Loose Leaf Tea

TWININGS English Breakfast Tea – An Exemplary Loose Leaf Tea

Seeing the loose leaf Twinings English Breakfast Tea was love at first sight.

As Alex and I pushed our shopping cart down Walmart Neighborhood’s Market’s aisles, we stopped at the tea bag section. During previous visits, the tea bag selections were severely limited in options, missing many items on the shelf. But Walmart had restocked every tea selection since then, enabling us to find Twinings’s collectible English Breakfast Tea container.

Selecting the Correct TWININGS English Breakfast Tea

TWININGS English Breakfast Tea loose leaf style.

Walmart Neighborhood Market presented us with a happy dilemma. Should I buy the Twinings English Breakfast Tea in the tea bag style? Or should I try the loose leaf style? The logical solution was the tea bag style, for I was unable to brew the loose leaf style. But, oh, the collectible Twinings English Breakfast Tea container! The packaging made the dilemma an easy choice.

With great joy, I snatched up a well-intact Twinings container and plopped it into our shopping cart. My choice required me to add a tea strainer or tea ball to the shopping list, to enjoy the tea at home. So, once Alex and I had finished selecting our food items, we looked for the tea strainer or tea ball, and we found none. “Off to another store then!” I said.

Where Walmart Neighborhood Market Fails, Walmart Superstore Picks Up

A tea ball for the loose leaf tea.

Nugget Markets was the next nearest store, so we hoped to find some tea strainer or tea ball there. But alas, my favorite store carried tea spoons and coffee mugs, but no tea strainers or tea balls. “We’ll try Walmart, the regular store,” said my fiance. So off we went.

Once inside the ever-crowded discount store, we traversed the long way around the store until we came across the kitchen utensil section. Alex and I separated, searching for the item up and down the aisles. He spotted it first. “Found it!” Alex said. With rising excitement, I went to him and looked at the spot where he pointed, and I smiled to see the tea ball.

Brewing TWININGS English Breakfast Tea with the Tea Ball

Pouring boiling water into a tea cup with a tea ball.

The hook on the tea ball’s end confused me. What did it hook to? I wondered. Alex did some research, and based on his findings, we were to fill the tea ball and place it in a tea kettle. I owned only a whistling tea kettle, located on the stove top, and I didn’t know if the tea ball could handle a kettle on the stove.

Instead, I only partially filled the tea ball, and placed it in my tea cup. Alex kindly poured some boiling water into the tea cup, and the loose leaf tea brewed smooth and dark. Within around five minutes, I had breakfast with a cup of Twinings English Breakfast Tea loose leaf style.

Personal Opinion on TWININGS English Breakfast Tea Loose Leaf Style

Flavorful and rich, the Twinings English Breakfast Tea in the loose leaf style is right up there with PG Tips! As stated in a previous post, PG Tips currently stand as my favorite tea. However, having drunk this Twinings loose leaf tea several times, I may change my mind. Both black teas are superb and worthy of a try!

So if looking for something to look forward to in the morning, consider purchasing some black loose leaf tea from Twinings. The flavor stimulates the tongue, body, and mind, and the container is adorable. It’s an overall pleasantly British experience!