Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Today's Review: Co-Op Strawberry & Mango Liquorice

Summer may be drawing to a close, but there's still time to pack in some more summertime food, as I found when I walked into the Co-Op the other day and picked up this nice looking bag of strawberry and mango liquorice. I thought this might be liquorice with a combined strawberry and mango flavour, but it turns out they're two different flavoured liquorices that share the same bag. A little disappointing, but hey, it could still be good.

The strawberry is pretty nice, like your standard strawberry liquorice, nothing special, but still tasty. The mango is pretty good, a bold fruity flavour with that slight chalky mango texture, it does have a little bit of an artificial aftertaste, but on the whole this bag was quite impressive. It may not be as good as Henry Goode's, but these are worth picking up.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Today's Review: Hooper's Alcoholic Dandelion & Burdock

Excuse the overexposure, I was in a darkened room at the time, but I had to snap a picture of this interesting bottle I spied in the fridge behind the bar. Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer is a firm favourite of mine, but I didn't realise people were taking a shot at other classic fizzy drinks too. This is an alcoholic dandelion & burdock, and there's not much I can say to describe it, other than it's an alcoholic dandelion & burdock. 

It's a good job the bottle informed me this is alcoholic, because it certainly doesn't taste like it. Instead it's a sweet concoction with aniseed-like hints, a dark and fruity mixture that pretty much tastes indistinguishable from non-aloholic dandelion & burdock. While the flavour itself may be an acquired taste, I thought this stuff was delicious, and potentially quite dangerous if I could drink a whole bottle without tasting the alcohol. This is definitely one I'll be adding to my drinks of choice.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 29 August 2016

Today's Review: The Lid Wall Bracket In The Train Toilet

I needed the toilet on the train the other day. You may be asking yourself "Why do I need to know this?", but it's quite pertinent to the review I am about to write. You also probably could have guessed that from the title. But I digress. After ensuring the train was betwixt stations, so that my urine found its resting place in a quiet area, I made my way to the train toilet. This wasn't a particularly fancy one, not one with a sliding door, it was more like a plane bathroom in size. As I went about my business, I found that the toilet lid was affixed to the wall with a plastic bracket. Now, I'm sure most people wouldn't think much of this, they'd just get out of the toilet and be on their way. But I had questions.

Why is this necessary? The reasoning behind this baffled me. Yes, having a fully functioning toilet lid on a train is not important, but why not just take the lid off? It could potentially make the seat more uncomfortable, but I don't think it would. I don't know, I don't sit on train toilets. My point is that simply removing the lid would be a lot less effort than that they expended to pin it to the wall with a separate plastic bracket. I'd understand if you could move the bracket to put the lid back down, but you can't, I tried. So this solution is overly complex, and quite unnecessary. Just take the lid off. 

If you'd like to read more reviews regarding bathroom design flaws on modes of transport, leave a comment below.

My rating: 0/5

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Today's Review: Fish 'N' Chips Cheesy Chips

These Fish 'n' Chips flavours are coming out quite quickly, the red and brown sauce varieties already popped up earlier this year. Now we have the cheese flavoured, or as they're stylised, Cheesy Chips. I know I love a tray of cheesy chips from the chippy, but can they be encapsulated in crisp form?

No, they can't. These aren't that good, to be honest. They have a bit of a cheesy flavour, but it doesn't last too long. They remind me a bit of Wotsits, but they're stodgier and they don't taste a nice. The flavour wore off quickly and I was just left chewing flavourless, fish shaped crisps. I'm quite fond of other Fish 'n' Chips flavours, but this one is a no go for me. I'd stick with the classics if I were you.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Today's Review: Mentos Shakies

I often overlook Mentos, even though they're generally pretty tasty. It's a good thing I had a good glance at them in Poundland yesterday though, as I was greeted by this pack of "Shakies". They're milkshake flavoured Mentos, basically. The three flavour in these packs are strawberry, banana, and, strangely, enough, peach.

Yeah, a peach milkshake. Can't say I've ever had the real life version, but it sounded nice enough in sweet form. But let's start with the classics. The banana is very sweet and somewhat artificial tasting, but it's pretty much in line with any other banana flavoured sweet, so I can let that slide a little. The strawberry is a bit less pronounced, it's a mellow taste that is definitely strawberry, but it mixes in more with the milkshake elements of the sweet. The peach is probably my favourite, sitting nicely between the two, not too strong, not too weak, just a nicely bold, very peach-like flavour. Each one also has a lovely milky twist to them, so they do taste like shakes. I wouldn't say I'd pick these up over the regular fruit Mentos, but it's a nice little twist on the formula that is pulled off quite well. These are worth seeking out.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 26 August 2016

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Wholly Couch

I tried out the new Ben & Jerry's Sofa So Good flavour last week, and while it wasn't a contender for the top spot, it was still Ben & Jerry's, so it was pretty good. I went back to Tesco and picked up its partner flavour, which is also sofa themed, entitled Wholly Couch. It consists of vanilla ice cream with caramelised pecans, blondie brownies and a salted caramel swirl.

I don't know why I get turned off at the idea of a vanilla ice cream in a Ben & Jerry's tub, they actually do it very well. It's a creamy, flavoursome ice cream that doesn't get in the way of all the other elements in the tub. Thankfully, the other bits are great. The pecans provide a great sweet, nutty flavour that lasts for a good few spoonfuls, and they pack a crunch that is very satisfying. The brownies are a marked improvement on those in the Sofa So Good, they're smaller and less stodgy, a nice chewy chunk of brownie with a good chocolate flavour. The caramel swirl provides a sweet undertone that brings it all together, making this an overall great tub of ice cream. It's not as outlandish or jam packed as some varieties, but it does everything well. If you're after a living room furniture themed Ben & Jerry's, I'd say this is the one to go for.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Today's Review: Vimto Still Remix

I've been after this one since I saw that advert with the two battling Vimtoads, so I guess that can be classed as effective advertising? Anyway, I finally found this in Sainsbury's, and it's a still Vimto drink, but with pineapple, mango and strawberry flavours instead of the norm. Pineapple and mango are my kind of thing, so I was quite looking forward to a more tropical Vimto.

The pineapple is pretty strong, that's the main thing I can say about this. It's a nice enough pineapple I guess, but it's quite overwhelming, and a little too artificially sweet. I know I can't expect pure pineapple juice, but this is just a little off. If the other flavours were in balance it would be alright, but the mango and strawberry are very much in the back seat. There are hints of them here and there, and they were quite nice when I picked them up, but overall this drink isn't all that great. Maybe they should re-mix it up some more.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Today's Review: Kit Kat Chunky Cookie Dough

The Kit Kat Chunky is one of those bars I've been consistently impressed with. They started out with a fantastic formula of a thicker Kit Kat, and everything they've added into it since then has been delicious. They were doing peanut butter chocolate in the UK years ago, and that bar is still one of my favourites. But now there's a new bar on the scene, it's a Kit Kat Chunky with cookie dough in it. How could it go wrong?

The short answer is that it can't. Look at that nice big layer of cookie dough there. It's good stuff too, it has a nice gritty texture, with a lovely doughy flavour, and chocolate chips scattered throughout. Even with the thick chocolate on the outside of the Kit Kat itself, the cookie dough comes through, with an extra crunch provided by the classic wafer. Although it's quite a substantial amount of dough, I didn't find it sickly, it's just a great, chocolatey cookie delight, a fantastic addition to a great range. I hope it sticks around.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Today's Review: Strawberry Cheesecake Oreo

New Oreos are always an exciting thing. Well, apart from the last time, when the peanut butter variety turned out to be a bit disappointing. But hey, everyone deserves a second chance, and these strawberry cheesecake ones sounded pretty great. Even regular cheesecake would have been enough, but the addition of strawberry is something else.

These are pretty good actually, not perfect, but they're a hell of a lot better than the peanut butter. The filling has a definite strawberry flavour, though it is a little artificial. The cheesecake element is pretty good, a creamy, sweet edge that gives it quite a unique flavour. It all works pretty nicely with the cookie, I wouldn't normally say a strawberry chocolate cheesecake would be that great a combination, but it's pretty good in biscuit form. This is a nice, interesting addition to the Oreo range, definitely better than the peanut butter, I hope these stick around for longer than a limited edition.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 22 August 2016

Today's Review: Kit Kat Bites

These are Kit Kat Bites. They are bite sized Kit Kat fingers. Observe:

There's really not much to say about these, as you could probably gather. They are literally miniature Kit Kat fingers. Same taste, same composition, but bite size. Now, this is not a bad thing, chocolate pouches of bite sized versions of other chocolate bars have been pulled off quite well, just check out Cadbury's range. But most of these pouches do something a little different. Crunchie has the clusters, the Twix and Mars opted for a spherical iteration of their chocolate bars. These are just smaller Kit Kats. There has already been a Kit Kat based sharing bag on the market, in the form of Pop Choc, and they changed up the formula in a very decent way. Even though these are still nice, they're just boring in comparison. I hope that these aren't a replacement for the Pop Choc, it would be sad for them to sink into blandness. 

My rating: 3/5 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Today's Review: Dairylea Pepperoni Pizza Lunchables

Since I haven't been to school in a long time, Lunchables fail to excite me in the way they used to. But I did get a quick thrill when I laid my eyes upon this new pepperoni pizza variety. It's like your regular Lunchables, but the ham is pepperoni, and the crackers taste like pizza! Sounds like a winning combination to me.

I wouldn't say the crackers taste a whole lot like pizza. They're herby, with a hint of tomato, but it's not particularly strong. The pepperoni is a nice enough touch, but it's not the best you'll find, it's a little bland, I was expecting a bit more spice I suppose. These cheese is your standard processed stuff, chewy sliced cheese goodness, it's a good thing they've highlighted them as "cheese food slices" so we still know that it's actually food. You know, I don't see how kids can get so worked up over Lunchables, this stuff just isn't good. I mean, it's adequate for shoving something in your face, but the whole thing was quite dry. Maybe with some tomato sauce these would be more like pizza, but as they are they're just dry and flavourless. Plus, look at that picture on the packaging. Why would you stack it up like that? I constructed a three cracker tower, and that was hard enough to fit in my fully grown mouth, a child would find that monstrosity impossible. 

I may have felt a pang of excitement when I stumbled upon these Lunchables, but that has long gone. These will definitely not earn a permanent place in my lunch box.

My rating: 2/5

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Sofa So Good

A new Ben & Jerry's flavour is a cause for celebration. Two Ben & Jerry's flavours should be a national holiday or something. Sadly, that is not the case, but thankfully we still have two new flavours to tuck into. They are both centred around sofas for some reason, and I went for this Sofa So Good over the Wholly Couch, but that also looked good. This is a very appealing sounding chocolate caramel concoction, comprising of caramel ice cream with chocolate brownies and chocolate cookies, mixed in with a salted caramel swirl.

This is good stuff, I had no doubt from the moment I read it. It's not a particularly bold venture for Ben & Jerry, it's stuff that they've put into tubs before, but it's all pretty well done. The caramel ice cream has a subtle, sweet flavour, not overwhelmingly caramel like you might expect. The chocolate chunks are plentiful and tasty, there seemed to be more cookie than brownie in my tub, but the brownie was a little soft and squidgy, so I was a bit more thankful for the smaller, crunchier cookies. The salted caramel swirl is a great touch, and although it wasn't present through some of the tub, when it did show up it really complemented the other flavours, adding a gooey, salty taste to the already present chocolate delight. 

This is a great new flavour, it covers familiar territory but delivers a pretty fresh combination. Some of the elements may not be perfect, but altogether this is a great caramel chocolate mixture. Forget Sofa So Good, they should have replaced the "So" with "King".

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 19 August 2016

Today's Review: Mike And Ike Redrageous

WH Smith has a nice little selection of American sweets now, most of them are things I've tried before, but I did stumble upon this box of Mike And Ike in pure red flavours. Now, I like Mike And Ike, and I like red sweets, so this sounded like a winning combination to me, especially at that reduced price. But how Redrageous are these exactly?

I have a method of eating sweets, in which I work my way from least favourite to favourite, not moving onto another colour until I have finished one. This box made that pretty difficult, as apart from the two pink hued flavours, the rest are very similar shades to each other. Not that it matters too much, as they didn't taste a whole lot different from each other. The watermelon has a nice enough, distinct flavour, but the rest have vague hints of what they're supposed to be, gingerly laid on top of a generic sweet taste. The texture of these is a bit off as well, I felt they were significantly more chewy than other Mike And Ikes I've had, they tended to get stuck in my teeth more, so I can't say I had a whole lot of fun with these. The flavours aren't all that great, the texture is weird, but it's still a box of Mike And Ike, so it's not all bad.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Today's Review: Heat 'Em Up Doner Kebab

About once a week I find myself home alone, with naught to cook for just myself. It's times like these that I occasionally wander out and see if I can find myself something cheap and easy to stuff into my face and call dinner. Normally I'll go for the fresh stuff, but the other day I figured I'd peruse the frozen aisle, and I stumbled upon a wide selection of microwaveable delicacies for a pound each. It's the Heat 'Em Up range, offering burgers, toasties, chicken, and this doner kebab. I figured the quality would not be great, so I went for the most interesting (or disgusting) sounding one. It's a flatbread, filled with slices of reformed mutton and beef and onions, with a little sachet of chilli sauce. You heat it up in the microwave, from frozen. How can this be good?  

I went for the Lightning McQueen plate, as I didn't believe this was good enough for actual crockery. But you know, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not good, by any means, but it's certainly edible. There's a substantial amount of "meat" in there, and it's probably somewhat on par with the stuff you'd find in any other dirty kebab, it tastes alright, and it's filling. The onions are a little disappointing, a little flavourless, but they add a bit of a crunch. The flatbread is pretty average, but it does well for being a piece of frozen bread that's been nuked. All in all, it's surprisingly edible, I wouldn't say it's delicious, but it's better than the low ranking I was going to give it based purely on the idea of the thing. For a microwaveable kebab, this isn't bad.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Today's Review: Nestlé Rolo Crack It Desserts

I tried out the Yorkie version of these Crack It desserts, and didn't find them particularly nice. I did hold out hope for the Rolo ones, but it took me a while to find them. I finally picked them up in Asda last week. I did eat them before that use by date, I just haven't gotten round to writing about them until now. Silly me.

I had higher hopes for these ones, but they were just pretty average. The chocolate disc is still nice enough, and the stuff underneath has a nice thick, gooey texture with a very sweet caramel flavour. It's a little much though, it gets a bit sickly even by the end of the small pot. Still, it's a better experience than the Yorkie one, it's just not by a whole lot. If you've got the urge to crack something after dinner, then you might want to try these out (or you could get a chocolate orange I suppose), but these pots are nothing special.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Today's Review: Cheez-It Hot & Spicy

I've never had a regular Cheez-It. I guess I always wanted to, but I wasn't exactly compelled to seek out an overpriced imported cheese cracker when there are already so many in the UK. My local Tesco have started stocking them now, but they're still £3.50 a box. Thankfully, they also had this spicy variety reduced to half price, so I had no problems snatching it up. These are cheese crackers with added Tabasco sauce. Woo mama.

As soon as I opened the bag, the smell of the Tabasco hit me. It's very noticeable, and they don't really skimp on it, these are definitely some spicy crackers, and they pack a great Tabasco taste. I would say, however, that it's a little too intense, the Tabasco hangs around on the palate for a while, as the taste of the cracker fades into obscurity. The crackers themselves are kind of overwhelmed, there's a definite cheesy hint at the beginning, but it does give way to the hot sauce pretty quickly. Not that it's a problem, the crackers are a good quality, and the cheesiness does stick around somewhat, it's just the balance is a little off. If you're after some spicy crackers, these will definitely do the job.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 15 August 2016

Today's Review: Asda Thai Sweet Chilli Crisps

Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations are some of my favourite spicy crisps, but sometimes you just can't find them on offer, and I ain't paying more than £1 for a share size bag of crisps. So I was quite pleased to see Asda have brought out their own version. The packaging is similar in style and colour, so I was hoping they'd taste the same too. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but worth a try.

Perhaps it's wrong to directly compare these to the Sensations, so I'll try and avoid doing that too much. Let's start with the texture of these. It's a little off, they're a little bit soft, and the crunch isn't nearly as satisfying as I like in a crisp. The flavouring has a decent amount of spice in it, and it lasts for quite a while, but there's something in these that really accentuates the "sweet" part of "Thai sweet chilli". While the heat kicks in quite early, the sweet element builds up and overwhelms the rest over time, it dominates the flavour with something of a sickly taste, and I wasn't really a fan. Give me the Sensations any day, these are too soft and too sweet. 

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Today's Review: Novelty Shaped USB Sticks

I got that neat looking car-shaped memory stick free from a stall in the high street last week. Not only does it look like a car, the wheels turn, and it lights up when you plug it in. Fantastic, right? Well, not really, because its bulky plastic shell makes it mostly useless. It reminded me of another USB stick I acquired some years back, that slightly less bulky Star Wars themed number on the right. It's less obvious with that one, but both suffer from the same problem. You can't fit anything in the port next to where they're plugged in.

I mean, this might be fine for some people. Those who don't make use of all their ports, or who have slots which are placed far apart for some reason. But I tend to have quite a bit of stuff plugged in, in the way of extra USB appliances, ethernet or HDMI cables, and these novelty shaped sticks make plugging these in pretty much impossible. I mean, depending on which side of my laptop I put that car in, it either covers up both the ethernet and headphone ports, or stops me from opening my disc drive. Perhaps not the end of the world, but why should I be facing that problem? Why can't all sticks conform to proper standards of measurement? It may seem like a bit of harmless fun, but it stresses me out. Oh well, I suppose I can do without the paltry 512MB that the car provides. But it didn't have to be this way.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Today's Review: Frozen Haribo Tangfastics

I received this... I want to say fan mail? yesterday, urging me to try out frozen Tangfastics, because apparently they are a game changer. Well, I figured there was no reason why I shouldn't, so consider this my first fan request recipe review.


1 bag Haribo Tangfastics


Open freezer. Throw bag into freezer. Wait for approx. 1 hour. Remove Tangfastics. Serve immediately.

There you have it. Yes, I froze some Tangfastics, you can tell from the frosty sheen on the inside. But did they change my life? The short answer is no. The long answer is not much more complex. They're the same old Tangfastics, and despite being frozen for an hour they retain their chewiness, albeit they are slightly tougher. I'd say the major difference is that the flavours of the sweets are bolder and more pronounced, but that seems to be in lieu of the sourness, which seems to have been diminished by its time in sub zero temperatures. So really, I suppose it depends on how much you like the "tang" in your Tangfastics. I'm quite fond of it, so losing out on it made for a pretty average bag of Haribo. But perhaps this sweets-in-the-freezer experiment will open up a whole new world for me. That remains to be seen, but these aren't quite worth a 3 "o" wow.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 12 August 2016

Today's Review: Milkybar Mini Lolly

There's nothing quite like an ice cream on a hot summer's day, and while there were plenty of larger ice creams on sale, my unwavering desire to try out new things led me to pick up this Milkybar lolly. It basically looked like a Mini Milk, but with Milkybar, and that combination sounded pretty good. 

Well, that's... interesting. There's a chocolate coating on the top half of the lolly. but not the bottom. I don't quite understand. Why is the whole thing not coated? Were they running out of Milkybar chocolate, or did they just want to make twice as many lollies with what they had? Either way, the outer coating is your regular Milkybar, nice and creamy, and has a nice crunch to it, since it's been in the freezer. The stuff underneath isn't too bad, it retains the Milkybar flavour, but otherwise it is a little disappointing. I was expecting the consistency of a Mini Milk, but it doesn't taste quite as thick and creamy, it's more like a lolly made from watered down Milkybars. So yeah, it's not fantastic, but it's an interesting little Milkybar treat. I'm mostly just baffled as to why they didn't coat the whole thing.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts Eton Mess

Dunkin' Donuts have released a trio of new flavours, each with a classic British theme. There's a lemon drizzle, a cherry bakewell, and finally this Eton mess, which I found the most interesting. It's a jam filled donut, topped with glazing and meringue pieces, then drizzled with more jam for good measure.

The stuff inside this donut is actually different from the regular jam filling Dunkin' provides. This one tastes like proper British jam, instead of that very sweet jelly that is the norm. It's a fresh change, and it's very nice, although it is a little heavy. The meringue pieces are plentiful, but they're not too light either, they provide a nice crunch and a definite sugary hit, but the texture isn't quite right, and despite the copious amounts of jam they still end up feeling a little dry. On the whole though, this is good stuff. It may not be the best Eton mess you'll eat, but it's probably the best you'll find in donut form.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Today's Review: Seabrook Lattice Food Heroes: Akbar's Chicken Jalfrezi

Looks like Seabrook is getting fancy now, they've produced a trio of premium flavours under the "Food Heroes" name. There's a chorizo and a steak & ale, but the one I went for this time was this chicken jalfrezi, created in partnership with chain restaurant Akbar's. It seems that curry crisps are becoming a thing, and that sounds pretty good to me. Also, not only did this bag promise a chicken curry in crisp form, it also seems to have advanced sharing bag technology since Walkers tried it out a few months ago. All you need to do is peel off the front of the bag, and all the crisps are ready to be grabbed.

Fantastic. But how do they taste? Like a curry, actually. The crisps themselves are a little on the soft side, but there's a lot of flavour packed into them. They're predominantly spicy, and they pack quite a punch, but underneath there's a creamy, saucy texture, with a slight meatiness. I wouldn't say I could pinpoint a specific chicken taste, but underneath all the spices I wasn't quite expecting to single it out. This is a very decent bag of crisps, they taste like a curry, maybe a little heavy on the spice, but one I wouldn't mind trying out again.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Today's Review: Slow Closing Blast Doors In Movies

You know what's fairly abundant in action movies? Large scale facilities full of nefarious people. It doesn't matter if the hero starts off in one, ends up in one, or sneaks into one to break someone else out, or to take down the big baddie. There always seems to be some massive metal-laden facility from which to escape, and the escape almost invariably happens through a door that closes painfully slowly. I'm sure you can all imagine it now, our heroes have done so well, they're almost out, but suddenly everything goes wrong, the alarms go off, and the doors start to close. Of course, this mostly happens when the exit door is at the end of the corridor the protagonists are standing in, and there's normally just enough time to run and slide/dive/squeeze themselves through the door before it separated them neatly from the bad guys. But why is it this way? Why do the doors close so damn slowly?

I understand the reasoning behind it, cinematically speaking. It adds suspense, it gives a neat ending to the breakout that allows the next portion of the movie to begin. But logistically it makes no sense. Sure, these doors are heavy, I guess they may take a long time to close, but a simple peruse of some blast door websites show some perfectly acceptable doors that can be closed very swiftly indeed. But no, the doors in the movies close at a snail's pace, giving people time to react, run, and make a stylish exit before they're secure. That would be extremely useless if there was a potential explosion, it doesn't matter if the door keeps everything secure, everyone would probably be blasted to smithereens before it's halfway shut. I understand the main bulk of the door may take a while to close, it's heavy and mechanical and all that, but I think a secondary door should be placed there too, which can be quickly dropped in case of escaping prisoners. That's one of the first things you should do as an evil person or entity, ensuring your prisoners can't make a dramatic exit. But pretty much every villainous facility, be it past, present or future, seems to have these ridiculous doors in place. Upgrade them already. 

Although, I suppose they have improved somewhat over the years. Those stone doors in ancient ruins close so slowly that Indiana Jones even has time to reach back in and grab his hat. I guess we'll get there in a few milennia.

My rating: 1/5

Monday, 8 August 2016

Today's Review: Doritos B: Ultimate Cheeseburger

I gave Doritos flavour A a whirl yesterday, but there was still another one to try before I could decide which one I'd like to destroy. Hey, even slightly well known snack food bloggers need £20,000. So here is flavour B, ultimate cheeseburger. This was the most interesting sounding of the two on paper (not that the bag is made of paper), but also the boldest. Salsa is a relatively easy thing to pull off, and the Doritos version tastes pretty good. How do you fit a cheeseburger into a tortilla chip, and what does it possess to make it "ultimate"?

Despite my misgivings, I must say, I was blown away with this one. I've long proclaimed my indifference towards meat flavoured crisps, so I went into this expecting nothing great. But these chips have a lot packed into them. There's a nice, uniform meaty bass, with a little tang of cheese, it's not too strong, but it tastes like a burger, and that's as much as I'd hope for. But wait, there's more. There are nuances in the flavouring that produce some very burger-like elements, like some saucy hints that taste like ketchup and mustard, there's even a hint of pickle in here, and I know I'd have pickles in my ultimate cheeseburger. It's weird that purely based on flavourings I could detect all that stuff, and it all works together incredibly well. I thought the spicy salsa couldn't be beaten, especially by a meaty flavour, but I was wrong. I crown this flavour my favourite, and I hope it is spared destruction in the months to come.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Today's Review: Doritos A: Spicy Salsa

There's not just one, but two new Doritos flavours on the shelves, and the packaging is a little... interesting. We have bold black and white bags, and the flavours are labelled "A" and "B". You see, this release is part of a new campaign and competition. The idea is to try both, decide which one is the best, and come up with a novel idea of how to destroy your least favourite. The winner gets their idea made into an advert, and £20,000 on top of that. Not a bad deal, I'm definitely going to give it a go, but to do that I need to try both flavours first. So here we have "A", the spicy salsa Doritos.

Wow, these are good. They taste like salsa, pure and simple. From the moment I popped one into my mouth, I was greeted with a great tomato flavour, with hints of jalapeno and peppers, and a nice amount of sauciness too. They pretty much taste like the Doritos salsa dip, I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate it was. However, these chips aren't perfect. After eating a few of them, the salsa flavours started to become less pronounced, and the chilli became more prominent, and by the end these tasted more like the chilli heatwave Doritos than the salsa it started out as. I mean, I like chilli heatwave, but I was here for salsa, and while these delivered beautifully at first, it doesn't hold up forever. 

So there you go, flavour "A" is pretty good, but it does have its flaws. Still, it could win over my affections, flavour "B" does have a lot of work to do to be crowned my favourite. So tune in tomorrow to see how it goes.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Today's Review: The DVSA Hazard Perception Test

I took my driving theory test today. I guess I'm a little late to do so, considering my age, but hey, I'm getting there now. Prior to the test itself, I, of course, practiced both the multiple choice and hazard perception parts using a couple of resources. Hazard perception is a bit of a tricky beast, being presented with real life road situations, during which you have to click during a very specific window of time to show you pay attention while you're driving. The ones I practiced were fine, they gave me a feel of what to expect in the test proper. Or so I thought. Apparently those real life videos have been pushed aside to make way for some fancy computer generated situations.

I clicked through to the hazard perception part of the test, and found myself transported to a different world for the next 20 minutes or so. A world in which I sat in a self-driving car, coasting down the streets and country roads of a world that looked like my own, but which didn't feel the same. Houses lined the streets, but they just seemed... off. It was daytime, but the curtains were all drawn, or simply greyed out. Trees stood in rows, but strangely devoid of any movement, any rustling of the leaves. It was like a sort of dystopian near future, everything in neat little rows, but something was slightly amiss. But let me tell you about the people.

Oh yes, the people. This is hazard perception after all, and all hazards involve people, because people are awful. So, of course, there were people dotted around this alternate reality I found myself in. They had all the right features, but also a strange, glossy sheen. They walked, but uniformly, and without any sense of character, their faces expressionless. A rubbish truck came around the corner, manned by twin men staring blankly at the road ahead Like sentient androids, these "people" carried out their daily routines, and sometimes darted in front of my car, I guess technology can't fix everything. All I could do was watch, from my little, presumably car-shaped, box, being transported though this unsettling world, my only input being a single button. I was told to push it only when I saw a developing hazard, but the overall feel of this reality was that it was, as a whole, a hazard waiting to happen. Or perhaps the hazard had already passed, and this was the result, like the Matrix.

After being transported through several unsettling scenarios, I was instructed to leave the room, and I emerged, blinking, into the sunlight, into a world with sounds and movement, clutching my certificate to my body with apprehension. Will our world one day become flat and emotionless, like the theory test suggests? Or were these scenarios created just to pinpoint hazards, so they don't have to make people drive around for ages? Probably the latter, all I know is that as I walked home, my movements felt a little too robotic.

Don't even get me started on the sheep, those things looked ridiculous.

My rating: 1/5

Friday, 5 August 2016

Today's Review: Pringles Spicy Chilli Samba

Turns out there are two new Pringles flavours coming out alongside the start of the Olympics, I reviewed the salsa ones earlier in the week, but I managed to pick up a can of these chilli ones today. These seemed as if they'd be much more to my liking, I mean I like salsa, but I love chilli, and these just promised a chilli taste.

These are pretty hot, I'll give them that. They're not outrageous by any means, they won't blow your head off, but the heat is fairly strong, and that signature Pringles shape ensures that the entire tongue is exposed to the spice. As far as the taste goes, it's pretty good. There's a distinct green chilli pepper flavour, mixed in with some other spices and flavourings, There's a bit of competition on the taste buds between certain aspects of the flavour, but overall it's a somewhat clean chilli taste with some other little twists added in. These aren't the best chilli crisps around, but they're a good offering from Pringles. 

My rating: 4/5 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Today's Review: Dyson Airblade Tap

It was just a regular lunch out at a restaurant today, until I went to the toilet, and was greeted by this construction attached to the sink. "That's an odd tap", I thought, washing my hands under the motion activated nozzle at the front, "what are those arms for?" As I turned to find the hand dryer I was greeted with blank walls. At first I figured it was a gross planning error, but quickly the realisation dawned upon me. I turned back to the sink and thrust my hands under those elongated arms. Lo and behold, a rush of air greeted my palms, and my hands emerged dry. This is the Dyson Airblade Tap, and I immediately went out and told everybody that they should go to the toilet and try it out.

It's not an idea I would have thought of, to deal with washing and drying in the same basin. I mean, those soap and water dispensers built into the walls of some public toilets operate that way, but they're invariably rubbish. This, however, is a revelation. It cuts down on wall space for those with little bathroom space, but also saves the problem of looking around or waiting for the hand dryer with dripping wet hands. Everyone gets their own personal hand dryer built into the sink! Well, that's assuming every business wants to shell out over a grand per tap, but with sleek design like this, why wouldn't you? Hopefully these become as ubiquitous as the regular Airblade dryers have in the last few years. It's nice to see Dyson continuing to revolutionise the bathroom. I mean, who knows what's next? Washing and drying your hands at the toilet? I know that sounds gross and unnecessary, but who knows what the future holds. All I know is you should find one of these bad boys and try it out. Great stuff.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Today's Review: Finding Dory

We had two original Pixar movies last year, which was a right treat, but I guess that means they were overdue for wandering back into sequel territory. Not that Pixar sequels (or prequels) are necessarily bad, there just seem to be more coming out than ever these days. The idea of this one wasn't entirely unappealing though, Finding Nemo is a fantastic movie that has aged well, and the underwater ecosystem theme was surely ripe for more storytelling. Besides, it's been 13 years since the first movie came out, I guess we're all ready for a bit more Nemo. 

Finding Dory picks up a year after the events of Finding Nemo. All is well with Dory, Marlin and Nemo, but when Dory starts to get concrete flashbacks of her family that she lost as a child, she drags the other two on a trip across the ocean to find her parents. Cue the colourful cast of characters, such as camouflaging octopus Hank, and beluga whale Bailey, as Dory faces all the odds and just keeps swimming (see what I did there?)

I'll say it from the start, I didn't get the same sense of wonder with this movie as I did with the first. I guess that's somewhat understandable, it's a sequel, but I feel Finding Dory lacks a certain depth that seemed pretty firmly established in Finding Nemo. Everything seems a little bit rushed, and there seem to be a lot of characters being introduced left and right. Looking back, I guess the same could be said for Finding Nemo, but there seems to be more depth to everyone than in present here. 

Not that there's no depth, no character development. It's still better than most animated films, it's just that up against the classic powerhouse that is Finding Nemo, Dory just isn't on the same level. There are still plenty of good things to be said about this movie. It looks absolutely fantastic, and the voice acting is pretty top notch. Sure, Nemo sounds a bit weird, but they wouldn't have been able to get the same voice if they called back the kid who voiced him 13 years ago, so I'll forgive that discrepancy. While the characters may not be especially deep, they are memorable. They've got some great interactions with Dory and each other, and Dory's journey to find her parents sees everyone popping in and out of the picture, delivering some sound dialogue and helping push the story further. Sure, the plot is a little more contrived than the original, but I guess the first one was already a fairly big leap of the imagination, they couldn't help but go more outrageous for the sequel. 

Finding Dory is not a perfect movie, and it probably won't take its place on the top shelf of Pixar animated classics. But it's still good, a nice effort to bring back beloved characters that doesn't feel too forced, despite being a little rushed and over the top. I certainly have more hope for this one than for Cars 3...

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Today's Review: Jack Link's Sweet & Hot Beef Jerky

Beek jerky is something of a divisive food. Some people love it, while some people are revolted at the mere concept. I lean towards the love camp, because come on, it's big lumps of beef in chewable snack form. Lovely. It's been a while since I've picked up a bag though, but I've had my eye on the ones in the American section at Tesco for a while now. Thankfully (though sadly) these bags are now reduced to clear, so I picked this one up for just over 40p. Not only is it beef jerky, it also promises sweet and spice in the same bag. Oh, the anticipation.

Unfortunately, this was not quite the beef jerky experience I was hoping for. It's just not that great. The beef itself has a nice, chewy consistency, it's not as if the texture is different from any other jerky, but the flavourings fall a bit flat. While chewing, I didn't pick up much, and while there was a definite hint of sweetness, it wasn't enough to make me think I was eating anything special. The heat presented itself afterwards, and is a pleasant warm, mellow spice, but I'd rather have that while I'm chewing on the stuff, not in the after taste. Okay, this isn't exactly like chewing flavourless lumps of beef, there's something there, it's just the flavourings take a while to come through, so I'd rate it a pretty average experience overall. Not a fantastic jerky, but it's alright.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 1 August 2016

Today's Review: Reese's Puffs

American cereals have become more prominent in this country, but despite some brands having some fairly reasonable prices (like the off brand Cap'n Crunch and Apple Jacks), some still suffer from astronomical mark ups. Reese's Puffs is one such cereal, it's been £5 for a good long time in Tesco's American section, but I finally caught a break today and found it was reduced to clear for half the price. I couldn't resist them at that price, although it's a wonder I resisted them for this long anyway. I mean, come one, peanut butter and chocolate for breakfast?

Well, yes, I already have the peanut butter and chocolate covered in the Reese's spread I sometimes put on my morning toast, but this is something else entirely. This box consists of corn puffs infused with Reese's peanut butter and Hershey's chocolate, and you can tell the Reese's is being properly represented, because peanut butter is the third most prominent ingredient. It shows as well, this cereal tastes a lot like peanut butter, and it's good peanut butter. The puffs themselves have a satisfying crunch, and the flavouring is laid on thick. The chocolate puffs add a nice little edge to the overall flavour, despite my dislike for Hershey's chocolate they seem to have done a good job. It does seem, however, that the balance is a little off, I could taste a lot more peanut butter than chocolate, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I would say there's a little too much peanut butter at times, it gets a little sickly. But hey, this is a peanut butter and chocolate cereal, of course you'd expect it to be a little sickly, and on the whole this stuff is great. I'm glad I picked up a box, I just hope they're not cleared from the Tesco shelves anytime soon.

My rating: 4/5