Hello everyone!

I know that really when we grow up we’re supposed to grow out of sweets. I never did though. Half the fun of buying them with my pocket money as a child was always in the choosing. Would I go for boiled sweets, which would last longer, or fudge, which was delicious but would make me feel sick (one of the joys of being an adult is my capacity to eat more fudge without being sick)? Or sherbet, which I loved but didn’t last very long? Of course you could mix them up with boiled sweets and have sherbet lemons, but they hurt the roof of your mouth so you had to be careful . . .

Then once I hit my grim secondary school, the anticipation of sharing a Twix with Gillian Pringle while hiding from the horrible kids on the back stairs was about the only thing that could get me through the day. I haven’t eaten a Twix since.

I remember the excitement of my first American friend being sent three huge bags of Hershey’s Kisses, which we binged upon, the little silver sweetheart wrappers littering our chilly dark dorm room in Edinburgh. I thought Hershey’s Kisses were just about the most sophisticated things I could imagine. And I can measure my first trip to America in the flaking of butterfingers and melting into Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the everlasting Greyhound bus. And now I get overexcited about raiding my children’s party bags (I know, I know, I’m a terrible mother. They think party bags are for balloons and bubbles).

When I knew I wanted to write about a sweetshop it gave me such a nostalgic rush to think how I might stock it: cola cubes; lemon bonbons; golf balls; those red hot aniseed things that were nearly impossible to eat – do you remember them?  And rainbow candy and UFOs and those bracelets you could eat until you were left with one sticky, multi-coloured piece of string. Even the Parma Violets my grandmother used to love. And have you tried a mint cream recently? Oh, you must! Of course Tesco’s will have them – they have everything.

So when it came to naming the new book, we had only one idea in mind: Sweetshop of Dreams. I like to think of it as my own little Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, only with penny chews (there is even an homage to one of Willy Wonka’s inventions in the book – see if you can spot it).

I’ve also included recipes for really good sweets – caramels and marshmallows and peanut brittle (use a toothpick) and coconut ice (you won’t believe how easy it is to make your own. It is also very easy to eat your own, so be careful). And I hope, if you’re like me and haven’t quite left your sweet-eating days behind you, that you’re going to enjoy reading the book… and it doesn’t even have any calories!

Warmest wishes,

Jenny Colgan.

What were your favourite sweets as child?

Were you a Sherbet Lemon, Space Dust, Cola Cubes or a Milky Bar kind of kid?

To celebrate the release of Jenny’s new book, we’re giving away the chance to win a workshop session in an old fashioned sweet shop in Winchester, overnight accommodation nearby and breakfast the next morning all absolutely free!

We also have ten ten large jars of sweets courtesy from  Mrs Kibbles for lucky runners up!

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what your favourite childhood sweets were and why!

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Terms & Conditions

1                This competition is for one Winner to receive the first prize – which is for two people to attend a private sweet cake making workshop in an old fashioned sweet shop in Winchester and take your own sweet cake creation home. Including overnight accommodation and breakfast the following morning nearby. (The prize does not include travel.)

The prize is supplied by Unmissable.

  • The workshop can take place on selected dates throughout the year subject to availability excluding over Christmas, Easter & Bank Holidays.
  • The prize must be taken within one year of winning.

Ten runner’s up will win one large jar of sweets from Mrs Kibbles each.

2          The Winner will be selected at random from the correct entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by Jenny Colgan whose decision will be final.

3.         The Winner may see their entry posted on the Little, Brown website and possibly other websites and Twitter accounts.

4.         There is no purchase necessary to enter.

5.         The competition opens at 5pm BST on 29th March 2012 and closes at 11.59  on 27th April 2012. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.

6.         The competition is open to any UK residents aged 18 or over except employees of Little, Brown Book Group and Tesco, their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families.

7.         Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.

8.         Little, Brown Book Group is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

9.         Little, Brown Book Group reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the competition without notice.  No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided.

10         The Winner will be published on the Tesco Books Blog on within 5 working days of the closing date. If the winner does not respond within 7 days of being contacted, an alternative winner will be chosen.

11.        The email addresses of entrants may be shared with companies within the Hachette group of companies but will not be shared with other companies outside the group.  It will be used by the Hachette companies to send you news about our books, products and promotions.  You will be given the option of opting out in those emails if you don’t want to receive any further news from us.

12.        Little, Brown Book Group will only use email addresses of the entrants, and the Winners’ postal addresses, in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with our privacy policy. The emails from the entrants, and from the Winner with their postal addresses (including any other record of the address), will be deleted respectively after the end on the competition and after the prize has been posted.

13.        By entering the competition each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.

14.        This competition is being organised by Little, Brown Book Group.