Wow, it has been so long since I have done my weekly reviews post! It feels good to be able to get back to our normal routine. This was our first trip to Costco in a couple of months and I could have hugged the guy at the door and kissed the polished concrete floors! It was good to be “home”. We spent a small fortune getting stuff for our new flat and just doing our regular shopping. Plus, there are always those bargains that you just can’t pass up. Unfortunately, we had to go on a Sunday which meant that it was far later in the day and the store seemed really crowded and then of course by the time we got back and traffic was hectic too. I really do prefer going on Saturday morning when there aren’t so many people.
Don’t forget to try your hand at my 6th Anniversary Contest! All you have to do is find the right answers and email me and you could win one of three $100 US (or equivalent in your local currency) gift cards! The contest closes November 18 midnight GMT (that’s local London time).
Burgoyne Hand Crafted Christmas Cards – Since I’ve been writing about so much Christmas stuff this week, I thought it only fitting that I talk about the great cards that I picked up on our trip to Costco. I had ordered some pretty hand made Christmas cards earlier this year from someplace that screwed up my order so badly that I never got the cards. So, I was hoping that Costco would have something as nice, and of course they did. We got these pretty cards with a reindeer design on them but they had several others with trees and birds and presents and various holiday designs. The detail of the design on the card is what is really impressive because it makes the cards look much more pricey than they actually were. All of the cards had designs created from cutouts, either multiple layers like the reindeer cards we have or just a single metallic paper like a design with an intricately cut ornament. No matter what the design though, they all looked really pretty and nice. Since you get 30 cards for £14.99, that means that each of these lovely cards is just £0.50! Online similar cards cost more like £5.00 per card, so clearly way way more. At Costco you are getting a very good deal for something so nicely made. And of course they come with nice envelopes as well. Our envelopes are embossed with a little snowflake design on the back flap and come with a protective piece of paper to place over the card so it doesn’t get mangled in the mail. The envelopes even have a little adhesive strip so that you don’t have to lick the backs of 30 envelopes, thankfully. Another nice feature is that each card and envelope pair is individually wrapped in a little clear cellophane package so you can keep them nice for next year if you don’t send them all out this year. I’m usually really horrible about getting our Christmas cards mailed out in time, but this year I am determined to get them done before Christmas! Especially now that I have such pretty cards to send out. 30 cards and envelopes for £14.99. Item #: 0745204K.
Edler’s Stollen Bites – I know it isn’t a favourite for a lot of people, but I really like stollen. It’s clearly the German in me. It’s a bit like the German version of panettone, which I absolutely love, but a little more dense and not nearly as tall. Since Costco didn’t seem to have a panettone this year, I decided my Christmas treat for the year would have to be stollen. On the box they describe it like this: “full of succulent vine fruits and glace cherries, with a rich layer of marzipan running through and soaked in a delicious rum butter covered in a sugar dusting.” It’s sweet and nicely fruity, but the nice thing is that it isn’t overly sweet, despite the fact that there is a liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar on the top. The delicious little cake bites are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of milk or hot chocolate. Inside the box, you get three individually wrapped layers of nine little cake bites that are a bit bigger than an inch cube. I like that they are wrapped in smaller amounts because that way you can take your time snacking through one layer without worrying about all of the others getting stale. Costco in the US usually has some form of stollen, to get your German fruitcake for Christmas fill, but usually it is a single large cake; I like the small bites better though. These are really perfect for me because Dave is not a fan, at all, not even remotely. He looks like I’m trying to torture him if I suggest he have one. So, if I want some stollen, I have to eat it by myself and it would definitely go stale before I could finish one of the big ones. I got a big one the year before last and the end of it was definitely getting dry and less lovely by the time I made it through the majority of the stollen. Of course, if Costco has one of the big panettone cakes on our next shopping trip, I’m going to be forced to get one. I just love it too much to have a Christmas season without one. 27 pieces for £4.99. Item #: 0094168.
Best-Step Anti-Fatigue Tiles – Since we just moved into the new flat we are trying to be good neighbours and part of that was getting something like this to make it a bit more quiet when I am exercising. I’m not sure how much sound travels through the ceiling but I didn’t want the guy below us thinking that we were up here teaching clog dancing to a heard of Clydesdales every time I decide to workout. Plus, this makes the running and jumping I do much easier on my joints given that we have a wood floor that has pretty much no give to it. You can definitely tell a difference int he amount of sound and vibration in the room as well, like when we have the tv or music on, so that is great as well. The mat comes as 8 separate tiles with a sort of crenelated edge so that you can fit the tiles together for a seamless mat. Plus, there are plenty of skinny edge pieces included so that you can have a smooth edge and not the jaggedy bits sticking out. The tiles slide together in no time and you can even cut them if you have a very specific place for them. For us, the 8 tiles is the perfect size because it fits under our existing carpet that we have in the room in front of the sofa. And it really makes a huge difference to have comfortable it is to sit on the floor now too. But mostly, I like that when I exercise my feet and knees can get a break from the hard wood floor and I don’t sound like the dancing hippos from Disney’s Fantasia. These would be great in a kitchen or any workplace where you stand a great deal. The tiles are cushy but not so much that they don’t provide decent support. They also seem to offer a good amount of grip, so you don’t have to worry about sliding on them. Though, they are easily slid on the smooth wood floor, so if you have a smooth floor you might need to put something under it to get it to stay firmly in place depending on what you are using it for. They are also water resistant and easy to clean, really perfect for exercise. The smell is a bit powerful at first because they are foam and that sometimes is a bit whiffy when you take it out of a sealed package. The smell went away after they aired out for a few days though. 8 tiles, 32 square foot for £9.49. Item #: 0122975.
Primeur Cotton Door Mat – It’s beginning to be the time of year here when it rains quite a lot, plus I’ve heard we might get lots of snow this year too. Since we moved to the new flat we have wood floors which are easy to clean if you get mud and stuff on them, of course that is gross, but they can also be very slick and dangerous with wet shoes. So, naturally I’ve really been wanting a mat. Sure, we have a mat at the doorway to the building, but I know my shoes are sometimes still very moist and dirty when I get up to our flat, hence the need for another mat. When we were at Costco this week, I decided to check out their mats to see what my options were. No doubt about it, it is more industrial/institutional than cute and welcoming, but if it gets the job done, I don’t really care how it looks on the other side of my door. The mat is the perfect size for our door and landing at 50×80 cm, so it nicely fits in front of the whole door but isn’t so big it seems like it was meant for a shop. It fairly much covers the entire landing outside our door, so it is a good thing it wasn’t larger. It doesn’t list a height for the mat, but I’m guessing it is definitely no more than 1.5 cm for sure and probably much less than that. The mats have a nice rubberized, non-skid backing to keep it in place and to keep you from falling or slipping once you step on it. The actual carpet part is cotton and sort of fluffy because it is made with little loops but it’s not like a more traditional rug. However, it is (according to the package) super absorbent and absorbs dust, water, and dirt. And perhaps the nicest feature is that it is completely machine washable. I didn’t really expect the entrance mats to be machine washable, so that’s a total bonus. Also, the pack at Costco has two mats for a very good price. I’m pretty sure this is a way better deal than I would find at any place else I’d buy a mat. But the best part, of course, is that it does a really great job at drying our shoes and making sure we don’t track dirt and such across the wood floors. The extra mat is perfect for putting in front of the door that leads to our little balcony too. 2 mats for £9.99. Item #: 0072597.