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Behind the Scenes at January’s Photoshoot

Behind the scenes January 2021

New year… new photos. The product photos have been needing updated for a while, but with all the changes in machinery at the factory forcing changes in the packaging, Christmas was a very quick and makeshift photoshoot, with temporary biscuit tubes and Christmas labels.

Even the packaging you see here is changing, to brown kraft boxes instead of the white. But schedules as they are, I have to shoot now and Photoshop later.

The great news is, of the five pieces of packaging involved in biscuit production, I’ve found a way to remove one and change two more to recyclable and compostable. The last three will take more research but I’m talking to packaging specialists and manufacturers to get the entire package as eco-friendly as possible. I’m not just talking about carbon offsets by tree planting, but actual physical changes to the production methods and packaging to get rid of non-recyclable plastics.

It came as a huge surprise when I started into large volume bagging in 2020 that recyclable wasn’t standard. Some of the biggest suppliers were even curious that I wanted to, as they put it, “go that way.” I naively thought recyclable was standard and compostable was the new specialism. Apparently it will be some years before that’s true. Personally I’m not prepared to wait. I don’t think the planet will wait either.

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Riddle of the Scarab – Day 10

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 10

Working their way along the tunnel guided by Mary’s lighter, Kevin and Mary eventually found themselves at a small wooden door. It took Kevin a few minutes to kick it open before they emerged in the sunlight. Squinting across the sand they could hear cars in the distance.

“We must be back near the highway” said Mary, as she watched Kevin catching his breath, soaked with sweat from his exertion.

Kevin recorded their location on his GPS again. “It sounds close, we should be make it back to the hotel before dinner.”

It turned out to be a short walk back to the highway, where they were able to flag down a taxi, back to the hotel. After explaining their exploits to the hotel receptionist, who finally stopped grinning for almost a whole minute, Mary and Kevin parted for their rooms, agreeing to meet again for dinner.

After a long shower and a spa reservation, Mary added to her mini bar tab and headed down to dinner. It turned out to be a perfectly pleasant evening, interrupted only momentarily by a nice policeman who apologised a lot and arranged a meeting for the following day, to fill out enough paperwork that would surely warrant another spa trip.

“Do you think we should have taken some of the gold?” wondered Kevin aloud. “It would have been nice to stay a while longer.”

“I think we can make a few extra spa bookings,” replied Mary.

Why was Mary confident they could stay on holiday longer?

Hotel at night

You should now have 10 answers to the puzzles. To enter, write them in a list, in an email to The best answers will win a selection of biccies, posted to your address. If you’re a winner, you will receive notification by email to get your address for delivery. Your first name and surname initial will also be published and made available upon request. I hope you enjoyed the puzzles and wish you the best of luck!

Image – Travel vector created by vectorpouch –

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Riddle of the Scarab – Day 9

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 9

As Mary pressed the last button on the keypad, the lid clicked and slowly opened up.

Inside was a collection of jewellery, money and antiques, but nothing Egyptian looking. “This all looks modern!” exclaimed Mary.

Kevin was still holding a large golden cup in one hand when he peered over Mary’s shoulder and into the box. “It all looks stolen.” replied Kevin.

“This whole place is a thieves hideout. They’ve hidden all their stuff in this tomb. Maybe they’ve forgotten about it?” wondered Mary out loud.

“In that case they could be coming back for it, we had better get out of here and let the authorities know.” Kevin took a GPS out of his satchel and recorded the location. “I have the location stored, so now we can find our way back.”

Mary looked at the GPS and recognised the coordinates. “It makes sense now, the note, the crossword puzzle, the man following us. They’re all connected.”

Kevin looked puzzled. “What man, what puzzle?”

“Never mind now, let’s get out of here.” Mary turned toward the steps they had come down when she heard a grinding sound above their heads. “The trap door!” shouted Mary.

But it was too late. They heard it drop heavily into place. Looking around it was the only way out. Kevin looked wide eyed in panic.

“Don’t panic yet Kevin,” said Mary. “I didn’t escape another lockdown to be stuck inside unless it’s in a spa with a Prosecco. Show me that leaflet of yours again.”

Mary took the leaflet showing the tomb again, “Here you go, this is our way out. We just need some sand.”

Why does Mary need sand and how will they escape?

Tomb at night

Image – Gold vector created by vectorpouch –

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Riddle of the Scarab – Day 8

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 8

Mary knelt by a large box beneath the Scarab symbol, running her hand along the edge of the lid. There were no hieroglyphics on this box. In fact it was quite plain by comparison. It felt heavy though, well made but simply carved. As she rested her hand on a panel to look around for an opening she felt it move slightly, with a light click.

One of the panels slid downward, revealing a keypad. This was definitely not ancient, Egyptian, or meant to be here. She started to wonder if any of it was real when she suddenly recognised the symbols on the keypad.

What is the keypad code?

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Riddle of the Scarab – Day 7

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 7

As Kevin stood up to look at the disc more closely, he heard a hollow thud beneath him. Mary looked at Kevin, their eyes meeting in surprise and excitement. Working together, they pulled back the sand between them. Slowly a flat stone emerged until they found a straight edge. Following the line in the sand, they worked their way around it until they had revealed a cut square stone. At one end was a heavy metal ring. Pulling together they heaved the stone up and out of the hole.

Beneath them lay a set of steps. Kevin slowly descended the steps, closely followed by Kevin. The dark room smelt ancient and dusty. Using a lighter Mary always kept reserved for spa candles, they almost knocked over a bowl on a stand. They heard it slosh as it rocked. Kevin dipped his finger into the bowl before rubbing the slightly slimy liquid between his finger and thumb.

“Oil” he said simply.

“Stand back,” replied Mary. She held out her lighter to the edge of the bowl and with a whoosh the room was lit up.
Looking around Kevin and Mary were amazed to find themselves in a room full of gold, jewels and ancient treasures. Mary spotted another bowl on the edge of the darkness and promptly lit it. For a moment they just stared before Kevin grabbed Mary in an enormous hug and started jumping up and down.

“We found the lost tomb!” he shouted, as Mary turned bright red and tried to keep up with Kevin’s leaping.

Looking around, they started to pick up some of the treasures before Kevin suddenly shouted again.
“Someone’s been here recently!” he exclaimed. He reached into his satchel and pulled out a leaflet containing a photo of the exact same tomb, taken many years before. Mary stared at the photos then looked around the room.

How did Kevin know someone had been here before?

The lost tomb
The oiginal tomb

Images – Gold vector created by vectorpouch –

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The Riddle of the Scarab – Day 6

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 6

No one else on the bus seemed to mind, or have noticed they weren’t heading for the pyramids. Mary looked to Kevin but he was chatting happily with the elderly gentleman beside him, blissfully unaware of their potential fate.

Mary stared out of the window, hoping to remember some of the landmarks in case she needed to find her way back. Sand dune. Sand dune. Ohh advert for a spa. Sand dune. It was hopeless, she would never find a phone out here to make a booking at the spa. That way when she didn’t turn up, someone would come looking for her with hot towels and champagne.

Even the advertising hoardings soon disappeared and it was nothing but rocks and sand. Eventually they came to a small patch of rock with the occasional tuft of desert grass poking through the hot sand. Everyone filed off the bus and into the burning sun. That was when she realised the man from the shopping mall was the bus driver and tour guide. He pointed each person in different directions, handing them a small shovel as they passed.

When it was Kevin’s turn Mary was pleased to see he had been separated from his gentleman friend and appointed a small hole not far from the rocks. When it was her turn, Mary took the shovel and followed after Kevin, which may or may not have been the direction the man had been pointing.

It was getting hotter by the minute when they stepped down into the hole. Looking around for inspiration and finding none, Mary watched Kevin start to dig. Not wanting to appear awkward, Mary poked at the sand and rock until she found a small mound she could turn over without much effort. This continued for some time before Kevin hit something metallic sounding. She moved closer and watched as he carefully dug around a metal disc. Slowly he worked it out of the ground before shaking the sand off it.

Mary gasped, “I’ve seen that before!” she exclaimed. Kevin turned it over and grinning widely, handed it to her to look at.

Where has Mary seen the artefact before?

The archaeology dig

People vector created by vectorpouch –

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The Riddle of the Scarab – Day 5

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 5

Back at the hotel, Mary spent a pleasant afternoon by the pool with her new found crossword puzzle. She made a note of the clues she had found and almost forgot to ring the tour guide to book her place on the pyramid dig with Kevin. She tried to convince herself it could be fun; Proseccos under a big tent, browsing buried treasures with Kevin, dug up by the locals and student archaeologists.

This serene image was abruptly ended by the news a tour bus would be leaving the hotel at 6am the following morning. Who goes on holiday to go anywhere at 6am, thought Mary?

She consoled herself by heading down to dinner for a double chocolate gateaux and a perfectly obscene cocktail.

The following morning at unholy o’clock, Mary tried her best to look like a morning person, while feeling like a sleeping bag that fell off a trailer. Kevin was clearly a morning person. He was seated half back on the bus, wearing his usual buoyant smile and drinking something that looked fruity. Mary returned the smile as best she could, while wearing dark glasses and sipping coffee that would reek out the entire bus.

The only available seat was in the aisle opposite Kevin, but in the same row. In the adjacent seat sat a large lady by the window, fanning herself with a magazine and looking like an excited Spaniel, happy to be going anywhere.

A couple of minutes later the bus moved off, in quite a hurry apparently. As the city started to give way to mixtures of grass and desert, Mary suddenly realised the bus wasn’t going to the pyramids.

How did Mary know they weren’t going to the pyramids?

Map – Business vector created by sentavio –
Additional vector vehicles created by macrovector –

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The Riddle of the Scarab – Day 4

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 4

Exploring the shopping mall had been thirsty work and Mary was looking forward to afternoon cocktails by the pool. It was just as she was about to leave when she spotted Kevin, walking into a small tour guide office on the third floor. On a whim she followed him in, putting on her best “I’m interested in camels and sand” face.

Travel booking office

Kevin looked up from a leaflet with a pyramid on it and smiled instantly. Probably too quickly to have recognised me, just a polite smile thought Mary. Mary stared at a noticeboard on the wall. It had photographs of Egyptian treasures, one of them looked like a big bug. Gross.

“Are you here for a trip to the archaeology site?” asked Kevin.
Mary froze and stared even harder at the ugly bug made of jewels on the wall, quickly trying to work out if Kevin was talking to her.
“It’s Mary isn’t it, from the taxi?” Kevin continued.
Mary turned around smiling, then rather oddly she could hear own voice saying “Yes, you’re Kevin.” Mary was pretty sure the air conditioning in the room failed at that moment but annoyingly, it didn’t seem to affect Kevin.
“Are you booking a trip to the dig?” Kevin asked, completely oblivious of Marys three changes of the shade red.
“Oh yes, I can’t wait.” At that moment Mary would love to have known who was speaking on her behalf and with her voice but it was too late anyway. The words were already out.
Putting the leaflet in his satchel, Kevin turned toward the door. “Great, I’ll see you tomorrow then.” He smiled as he left.

It was too late to panic and too late to back out. Mary quickly looked around for the same leaflet she had seen Kevin holding. There was another on the desk which she grabbed, desperately hoping a “dig site” was a local term for Sherries in a jacuzzi. It was not to be. She would in fact be spending the day in the sand, with what looked like a toy shovel and a toothbrush. Maybe they were booked out. It was then, another piece of paper on the desk caught her eye.

Leaning over the desk, she picked up a crossword puzzle. It had the same stamp as the note she had found in her room. As she was just about to start reading the crossword clues , she heard footsteps. Glancing up nervously, she stuffed the crossword into her bag and almost ran out the door. It was definitely time for a cocktail by the pool.

Can you help Mary complete the crossword and discover another clue?

Crossword puzzle



  • 1. a present
  • 2. an incandescent fixed point in the night sky
  • 6. Earths nearest star
  • 9. sweet confectionary known as biscuits in the UK and Ireland
  • 10. home of the Cornish people in South West England
  • 11. a large, long-necked ungulate mammal of arid countries
  • 14. an event or contest
  • 16. a polyhedron of which one face is a polygon of any number of sides
  • 18. to put into service or employ for a purpose
  • 19. the coldest season of the year
  • 1. typically short plants growing in gardens
  • 3. to go from one place to another
  • 4. ancient Egyptian writing system for example
  • 5. device for entering a code usually up to 9 digits
  • 7. a system of letters, numbers or symbols used to keep a secret
  • 8. Earths natural satellite
  • 12. a spirit distilled from malted grain, especially barley or rye
  • 13. a loose garment, typically knee length, as work in ancient Greece and Rome
  • 15. an island in the North Atlantic off the coast of Great Britain
  • 17. an alcoholic spirit distilled from sugar-cane residues or molasses
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The Riddle of the Scarab – Day 3

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 3

After studying for what seemed like hours, Mary finally worked it out; the two pronged fork was for the fruit, the three pronged fork was for the cheesecake. Licking the plate, Mary deciphered the note and decided to head into town to reward herself for all her hard work.

Following the advice of the ever present hotel receptionist, Mary caught a bus to the nearby shopping centre, dressed in her finest explorers outfit. There was no corner of the mall she wouldn’t explore and no discount she couldn’t bargain for.

It didn’t take long however, for Mary to start to feel like someone was watching her. Sadly it wasn’t Kevin, who she spotted browsing in the biscuit aisle of a small convenience store. There was hope for him yet.

Can you spot anyone Mary might have seen before?

All images Created by vectorpouch –

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The Riddle of the Scarab – Day 2

The Riddle of the Scarab

Day 2

Mary reasoned room service had been in and cleaned, resulting in the changes to her room, but she couldn’t help but think there was more to it. Her suspicions were confirmed when she looked under the bed and discovered a note had been dropped…

Mystery note

It didn’t look like any language she had seen before, but there was something familiar about it. If only she could decipher it.

The next morning after a light breakfast and a swim, Mary promptly fluffed her pillows and laid out the room service menu. Her swim had earned her at least two small desserts and a Spiced Rum for something different. Then she made herself comfortable and started to work on the code while trying not to be distracted by the pool cleaner.

Can you help Mary decipher the code and reveal the clue within?