Disco in a tin

I have always bought picture advent calendars, rather than chocolate.  You don’t get the satisfying ‘pop’ when you open the door on a chocolate advent calendar, and the pictures aren’t as nice, and the chocolate isn’t very chocolatey. 

The children protested.  So we reached a compromise.  They get the picture advent calendar, but are allowed a chocolate to go with it.

I’m reducing my use of plastic, and so have been trying to purchase wisely this Christmas.  I was pleased to find a well-known brand of Christmas chocolates have reintroduced the option of a tin. The wrappers are compostable!

On opening the tin, I was transported back to Christmas Past: the smell of toffee and chocolate and strawberry creams; the joy of sinking your hand into a deep tin and turning the chocolates over and over; the crinkly sound… Most of all, the glistening wrappers of ruby, emerald, bronze, sapphire, burnt orange, indigo, and gold…

These are the colours of Christmas.  I wonder if my taste in the shiniest brightest baubles comes from this?  Not for me the tasteful tones of pinecones and dried tangerines.  I want glitz and glamour.  The glitz and glamour of Rowntrees* Quality Street!

They are even more beautiful when blurry!  It’s the depth of tone, the darkness… like a box of jewels.  Now I come to think of it, maybe this is also where I get the colours of my Bright Border.


I have just purchased a new app, where you can take a photo and scan any part of it to get a colour description (and a Pantone match). 

Imagine the fun! 

When I hover my thumb over ‘the purple one’ one I get delicious descriptions like ‘Orchid’, ‘Byzantium’ and (my cup runneth over) Fandango’!

Part of the joy of the tin is the reflections.  All the colours bouncing off the inside of the tin.  Look at the waves of ‘Persian pink’, ‘regalia’, ‘licorice’ and ‘plum’. My very own Northern Lights.

Here, ‘cerulean’ and ‘catalina blue’ with flares of ‘atomic tangerine’!

I’m going to ditch the app here.  I see whisky and cognac and sherry, with a hint of Turkish Delight.

This is colour heaven.  I am lost in beautiful bokeh.  It’s a disco in a tin!

I had planned a post on baubles, but sweetie wrappers are delighting me so much, the baubles can wait. 

(If you want to see some beautiful bauble photography, see this post from Cindy at ‘In My Spare Time’.  It delighted me.)

What are your most nostalgic Christmas associations?  Do you share my gaudy tastes?

*In my excitement I forgot that the brand is Nestle.  The road to ethical capitalism is paved with potholes.  I am still learning.

The Mindful Gardener is having a lovely lazy Christmas time.  But if you would like garden inspiration, try clicking on the categories at the top or the tabs below.

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. shazza says:

    Definitely a disco in a tin! We always had a big tin of Roses or quality street as a kid as well as nuts ( so much fun and almost eye taking out danger with the nut cracker) and satsumas. X

    1. We’ve hit the nuts and satsumas too Shazza! Those Brazil nuts are a bugger, aren’t they?

      1. shazza says:

        Ha yes they are the toughest nut to crack. 🙂

  2. Jackie Knight says:

    What a delicious post, I too associate QS with Christmas and have manage to find the tinned ones, Happy Christmas to you.

    1. Happy Christmas Jackie! I hope you have many a festive delve!

  3. There aren’t many people who can make a tin of chocolate with biodegradeable wrappers look like a piece of art! Love your photographs! Advent calendars are so great for the kids. We have a cloth one with little slots in, so we try and put more “experiences” in the little slots than plastic toys and sugar sweets. (Lego does slip in there though…) “Go Christmas shopping with mommy” is a classic favourite – they’re going to do it anyway, now it becomes a treat 🙂 (They each get some school time off for this, on a different day for each one, but don’t tell the “authorities” while we can still get away with it.)

    1. That is a lovely idea. Lego has been our absolute No.1 most played with toy through the years. Other things have come and gone, but for the last ten years there has rarely been a day when there hasn’t been something under construction. Another colour explosion on the landing!

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    I love the tins that Christmas stuff like chocs, biscuits and cheese crackers come in, almost more than the contents because I use them for putting things in, like paints for example!

    1. I have a thing for tins too. In our house it is beads and buttons, and seed packets. I love the Tate and Lyle treacle tins for pens and paintbrushes.

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Ah, yes I have those too. I pains me throw out a tin that could be used for something else.

  5. Heyjude says:

    We always had a tin of QS or Roses at Christmas and I have followed that tradition with a tin of old fashioned sweets for the grandchildren each year. Never in a million years have I thought of photographing the contents!! And you do it so beautifully Ali.
    We are not a family for Advent calendars, but I won’t say no to a chocolate 😉

    1. It struck me as so beautiful, Jude! The lack of flowers makes me love all things Christmassy. It falls at exactly the right time of year, I think.

      1. Heyjude says:

        Mmmm… I’m afraid I am a bit “bah humbug” about the whole business now. OK when you have small children, but then it all becomes a bit too commercial for me. I’d be happy with a small Winter Solstice get together. Even better is family time together in summer when days are long and driving isn’t so hazardous.

      2. I can totally understand that, Jude. I have thought the same thing about it being the worst time to be driving across the country to visit family; when we should be snuggling down and not taxing ourselves with too much to do!

      3. Heyjude says:

        I find driving at this time of year so difficult. Either the weather is dreadful or it is dark and there are too many dazzling lights (some headlights are incredibly bright/white), or else the sun is so low it is in your eyes all the time. Safer to stay at home!

      4. That’s true. I don’t enjoy dark midwinter driving either.

  6. Ohhhhh Ali – you are too kind! Thank you for the “shout out”. It was so sweet of you.
    I see you do love the bright colors. Your pictures are amazing how you turned a tin of candy into sweet things of stunning beauty. And to imagine there are chocolates inside. We have nothing like that here to dazzle us.

    1. I have been back to look at your decorations a couple of times, and I just love them, Cindy!

  7. sgeoil says:

    Quality Street has always been a part of our Christmas! I have never looked at it in the way you presented it, and I didn’t realize the wrappers were biodegradable! This just adds to the pleasure!

    1. I think it is a new development. Hopefully others will follow…

  8. I can smell and taste those chocolate from here. I don’t know about disco its more a choclate orgy of colour.

  9. Nestle? Oh, well. I forgive you. I no longer do Advent calendars as our children have their own homes. A few years ago I sent my daughter a standing wood Advent “box” calendar. It has a Nutcracker theme. All she has to do is put a raisin or dried cranberry — piece of candy — into the little doors. Her children love it!

    1. That sounds so lovely. We are enjoying all sorts of nuts and fruit too. I know – when I looked into Nestle I was perturbed. No amount of compostable wrapping can take away their shoddy business practices.

  10. FlowerAlley says:

    There is an app for everything! I loved this post. Yummy and beautiful.

    1. I know! Where has this app been all my life?

      1. FlowerAlley says:

        I wrote down its name.

  11. Wow, I can’t believe those wrappers are compostable! What a wonderful option for candy!

    1. I have been noticing more and more wrappers are compostable. You have to be careful that they say ‘compostable’ and not ‘biodegradable’ as they can say anything is ‘biodegradable’. I think for it to be ‘compostable’ it has to break down in weeks.

      1. Also the temperature (biodegradable materials often have to be heated up or pressurized). UK is definitely making lots of progress on the waste reduction front, hopefully US will follow suit before long.,,

      2. That is one way in which social media is useful, isn’t it? Being able to share these tips and compare strategies.

  12. Love this. Love candy and color and celebration! I still buy my 22 year old an advent calendar every year. This year it was filled with chocolates. Last year for her 21st birthday, I splurged and bought her one filled with beauty treats (lotions and glosses and polishes)! You have yummy candy and cakes in the UK. I always bring home a large supply when I visit.

    1. We do do chocolate and cake well! It gets us through the winter!

  13. Indira says:

    Colourful, vibrant, glittery, tempting..and delicious…!!🍬🍬🍬
    What more you need for the occasion!!

    Thanks for visiting my post 🙂

    1. Thank you too Indira, it is lovely sharing with you!

  14. Nat says:

    Mmmm nothing says Christmas like the Danish butter biscuits in the blue tin that have been in the shops in Australia at Xmas time as long as I remember.
    The pop of the tin lid. Crackle of the crinkly white patty pans around the bickies and the smell of butter and sugar. My favourite was always the one shaped like a pretzel with a sprinkle of sugar on top.

    1. YES!!! I love Danish butter biscuits! My gran always used to buy those, and me too, I love the pretzel-shaped ones! Right, they’re going on the list!

  15. I love all the brightly colored wrappers! It screams Christmas past to me 🙂

    1. It’s interesting to analyse these associations, isn’t it? Or is that just me?!!

  16. Eliza Waters says:

    I love how you can find beauty in everything!

    1. Thank you Eliza. It is something I am grateful for. I think I am in good company!

  17. Cathy says:

    This sounds a great app ( me being very much a ‘colour person’) Ali and I shall be looking out for an Android version of it. Your usual great post too, of course!

    1. Thank you Cathy! It is great fun. I am taking photos of the most random things to analyse the colours!

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