Sunday, 28 May 2017

Today's Review: Swedish Fish

Here's another one to mark off my list of American candies I've heard about on TV. I picked up this box from Mr. Simms a while back, and as yet haven't posted my review of them, so here we go. These are fish shaped, chewy sweets with various flavours. I'd say fruity, but sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what they were going for with the American stuff. Artificial flavours rule! Anyway, these do have the taste of those generic fruity sweet flavours, and mostly do a good job, but they are overly sweet in some respects. They are very flavoursome though, and the texture is great. They're like wine gums, but a bit softer, I'd say somewhere between wine gums and Jelly Babies, but without any of that powdery nonsense that makes me hate on the babies. This is a good box of sweets, a nice helping of American candy goodness.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Today's Review: Tim Tam Coconut & Lychee

Here's one I tried a while ago, but haven't got round to reviewing yet. A friend of mine brought these Tim Tams back from Australia, alongside a few other varieties. I realise I haven't reviewed the original Tim Tams before, but this flavour was too original to put on the back burner (well, more than I already have). If you haven't heard about Tim Tams, they're legendary Australian biscuits, akin to a Penguin in some ways, but better.

These Tim Tams consist of biscuit layers, coated in white chocolate and filled with a coconut & lychee cream. That stuff in the middle is fantastic, a very sweet offering that tastes distinctly of coconut with a lovely tropical twist. It's a lot more accurate and fruity than I expected, and is the highlight of the biscuit. The white chocolate complements it well, but it is a little thick, and all the elements working together does get somewhat sickly. The biscuit is there to provide some relief from the creaminess, and on the whole this is a great attempt at a tasty Tim Tam.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 26 May 2017

Today's Review: Staying Out Past Midnight

Ooh, I'm getting too old for this. I figured I'd be back home writing a review on the comfort of my sofa, but instead I'm writing this on the dimly lit walk between bars. But hey, we've all gotta have a bit of fun sometimes, right? So here's a very short, off the cuff review. I'll see you tomorrow with something more conprehensive. Happy weekend!

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Today's Review: KIND Bars

I was sent a selection of bars from the folks at KIND earlier this week, and I've been working my way through the different flavours. All these bars contain a variety of nuts and spices, with some little sweet extras thrown in on top. There's peanut butter, sea salt, vanilla and chocolate to name but a few, and they all sounded pretty tasty to me. The one thing that stopped me hoovering these up in one sitting is that their arrival coincided with me starting a low carb diet. Thankfully, these bars are all natural and nutritious, with each one clocking in at under 20g of carbs. So since I'm working through these at the very slow rate of one per day, I figured I'd talk about that ones I've had so far, and cover the rest in a few days. So here we go.

Each one of these bars is nutty, but this one kicks it up a notch with a dash of peanut butter. So on top of the great nut taste, there's an added creaminess, as well as some dark chocolate thrown in to make it extra sweet. A lovely nutty bar that tastes clean and natural. 

Almonds are the focus of this bar, and there's a slight drizzle of vanilla that adds a nice sweet hint on top. This one is a little more bland compared to the one above, but the little vanilla there is goes a long way to making this perfectly enjoyable, and the almonds are of a good quality.

That's right, it's maple pecans, in a healthier, non-pastry form. This one is fantastic, with real maple syrup that provides a very satisfactory level of sweetness. We all know maple and pecan go together, and it's no exception here, a great combination that has a bit of sea salt thrown in to really bring out the flavour. Delicious.

I tried one more flavour tonight, but I forgot to snap a picture before I shoved it in my face. It's a dark chocolate and cherry bar, which seems pretty decadent, but utterly fantastic. It's a cherry, cashew and almond bar, with a generous coating of dark chocolate. The chocolate and cherry are at the forefront of the flavour, and there's a touch of honey thrown in for good measure. It's a wonderfully sweet bar, and it tastes like it should be really unhealthy. It still has under 200 calories though, so it's not bad at all. It's probably my favourite of the ones I've tried so far, but they're all good.

These KIND bars are tasty, natural tasting, and pretty great nutrition wise. Being at the start of a diet that cuts out a whole lot of foods, these are perfect for a sweet snack. I'm looking forward to eating the rest of my selection.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Today's Review: Baywatch

I've never seen the Baywatch TV show, I'll say that from the start. But I do know about the Hoff, Pamela Anderson and the slow motion red swimsuit running, and maybe that's all the education I need. Besides, let's review Baywatch on its own merits as an action comedy movie, rather than in comparison to the show. Either way, I think we're going to get the same result.

This is the part where I'd normally discuss the plot, but there's so little to it, and it's so predictable, I don't really want to bother. There's righteous muscle bound lifeguard Dwayne Johnson, fresh faced obnoxious muscle bound trainee lifeguard Zac Efron, bumbling joke fodder trainee lifeguard played by a chubby guy, and some women with boobs. I'm not trying to objectify here, boobs are a main focus and talking point for a large chunk of the movie. But don't worry ladies, there's something for everyone, with two elongated dick jokes that last for about five minutes each. 

It's all sandwiched between over the top chase scenes held together by a paint by numbers plot, which is pretty much narrated by the characters constantly as we go along, just in case you can't keep track of generic Hollywood story lines. This movie has fallen into that typical American comedy style that seems to be taking over nowadays. Several swears in a row, that's funny! Talking about genitals for a full minute, that's funny! Elongated improv style dialogue that contributes nothing to the overall movie, that's funny too!

I guess with everything else being awful, there is some saving grace in the action sequences. They inject a little bit of excitement, but most of the time they're very unnecessary. For the risk of spoiling the entirely predictable plot, there's a part where one of the life guards films the bad guys on her phone, then the bad guy takes it, sparking a gripping chase over a lake on jet skis, then through someone's house, at the end of which the bad guy breaks the phone in half. Why didn't he snap it to start with? Or, you know, chuck it in the large body of water? Unnecessary, much like this entire movie. I'd like to say it's alright for your typical Hollywood laugh fest, but I honestly can't even do that. Baywatch is bad.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Today's Review: Cadbury Caramel Roundies

I tried out the chocolate Roundies from Cadbury about a week ago, and found them to be pretty enjoyable. Nice thick biscuits with a crispy wafer and generous chocolate coating. But there's also a caramel variety available, and everything's better with a bit of caramel, right? Well, not in this case. You'd have thought the caramel would be present between the wafers, but instead it's presented as a caramel flavoured wafer. Problem is, the caramel doesn't taste good. It's far too artificial tasting, overpowering, and left a bit of a funny after taste. The chocolate parts are still present, and go some way to making the overall biscuit nicer, but that overarching caramel taste is just too much, and I didn't enjoy these anywhere near as much as the regular chocolate ones. Maybe I'm wrong, and my taste buds were playing up that day, but these are definitely the worse flavour in my eyes.

My rating: 2/5

Monday, 22 May 2017

Today's Review: Kettle Chips Goats' Cheese & Balsamic Onion

Yay, it's time for another limited edition of Kettle Chips, and this one has goats' cheese, which is a cheese I love. I mean, I love pretty much all cheese, but goats' cheese especially. Also, there's balsamic onion in there, because cheese and onion go together like... cheese and onion? Anyway, I had high hopes for these crisps after scarfing down a fair few bags of Tesco's Finest Goat's Cheese & Chilli Jam crisps. Unfortunately, these disappoint. The goats' cheese is accurate enough in flavour, but there' just not much of it. I wanted something bold with a creamy kick, but I got a cheesy beginning that tapered off to just potato chip. The onion is there to pick up the slack a little, and it's a nice little additional flavour that kicks it up a notch, but it's all over too soon. With a little more seasoning these could be great, but if you're looking for some goats' cheese crisps, I'd go for the Tesco ones.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Today's Review: Reese's Snack Mix

I love a bit of Reese's, and thankfully there are a lot of different products to keep me occupied. Here we have a Reese's Snack Mix, which is like a trail mix with Reese's candy in it. It's a combination of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Pieces, peanuts and salted pretzel pieces. I found this in the American section of a fairly sizeable Tesco, so its availability may waiver. But is it worth looking for?

Well, not particularly, to be fair. The Reese's parts are fine, the mini cups are substantially chocolatey with a lovely peanut butter kick, with the Pieces giving the overall flavour a bit of a top up and a nice crunch. The other elements are a little bland though, the pretzels especially. The peanuts carry on the nuttiness, but a little more chocolate wouldn't go amiss. The pretzels are fairly chunky, and pretty dry, the saltiness and blandness take away from the overall taste, and there's just not enough chocolate to make it all okay. There are better trail mixes out there, and if you're set on Reese's, there are plenty of alternatives. This is just a very average little bag of treats.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Today's Review: Haribo Tangfastic Summer Frenzy Ice Cream Sorbet Flavours

I'm quite fond of these "frenzy" flavours that come out every now and then, they give the classic Haribo a little twist that normally goes pretty well. This time it's a summer edition, so we have "ice cream sorbet" flavours, If you think that means some of your regular fruit flavours, you'd be wrong. These are a combination of peach, watermelon, passion fruit, mango and bubblegum. Bit of an odd selection, I know, they don't really seem to fit well with the sorbet and ice cream theme.

After tasting them, I'd say they really don't fit. The ice cream is presented in the form of the foam on the back of the crocodiles. I wouldn't say it particularly tastes like ice cream, but it's fairly creamy. The sweets themselves have pretty intense, sweet flavours, some in keeping with the fruits, but others taking it to the extreme. There's nothing particularly bad in this bag, but I was expecting something a little more subdued to coincide with the ice cream theme. As it is the fruits overshadow the other elements, so it would be more fitting to just market these as fruity Tangfastics. An interesting attempt, but I can't say this is a fantastic bag.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 19 May 2017

Today's Review: Refreshers Choos

So Drumstick Choos are a thing, and they're awesome, so it makes sense that Drumstick wouldn't be the only sweet to get the treatment. Here we have Refreshers Choos, which are like the Refreshers bars in chew form. There are five flavours in this bag. We have the original lemon, strawberry, apple, pineapple and raspberry. Much like the Drumstick, there are some new ones chucked in there, so I was excited to see how they'd turn out. Sorry about the awful pic, it was a quick snap in the dark cinema, but I think you get the gist.

One thing I don't like about Refreshers bars is how messy they can get. Sometimes I try my very best, but still wind up with an elongated, sticky catastrophe, albeit a tasty one. These Choos negate that problem, offering up the classic Refreshers flavour in bite size form. There's also some of the fizzy sherbet stuff inside, although I found some of that just wound up in my lap when I opened the wrapper. Still, there was enough left to give these a bit of a kick. The pre-existing flavours are faithful to the original, and the new one are pretty good too, although not entirely accurate, I was a little disappointed by the pineapple. One thing I will say is the texture is a bit off, these aren't quite as chewy as the bars, but I guess that saves on the jaw muscles, and overall these are a pretty good attempt at some new Refreshers sweets. Let's hope there are more Choos on the horizon.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Today's Review: Aglaia Closet Light

Last week I reviewed the Aglaia floor lamp, and now I bring you their closet light, which I was sent earlier this week. It's an LED light with a magnetic strip that can be placed in your closets or small spaces to brighten things up a bit. We recently converted one of our cupboards into a walk in wardrobe for the kids, so this light sounded like exactly what I needed.

Yup, there you go. This light is compact, but it packs a lot of power. The LEDs give a brilliant warm white light , and is angled nicely so it doesn't attack the eyes. On the back is an adhesive magnetic strip which sticks to the wall, and then the light can be removed for charging. That's right, no wall socket needed, it comes with a USB cable so you can charge the battery up for two hours of light, which can last a while if you're just ducking in and out of a closet.

That's where the beauty of this thing really shines through. This light contains sensors to minimise energy use in every situation. Aside from the main power switch, there's also a light sensor, so it only lights up when it's dark enough. The front also has a motion sensor, which turns the light on as soon as I move towards it, and shuts it off pretty soon after I'm out of range. So yeah, this closet light is pretty perfect. It's bright, easy to attach, and energy efficient. It's just what I needed to light up my space, and I'm sure it would do for most others as well.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Today's Review: Lucozade Pineapple Punch

I said yesterday that I'd keep my eye out for this pineapple Lucozade, and then half an hour later I went out and found it. I didn't make the trip just to look for it, it was purely happy coincidence. Like the Blackcurrant Bliss flavour, it looks like this one is only available wholesale, so I'd check your local corner shop to see if you can get your hands on them. But first I'd better tell you if this one is worth it.

I like a bit of fresh pineapple, hell, I like a bit of tinned pineapple, so this seemed to be right up my alley. For the most part, it's a pretty accurate representation of the fruit. It's not a perfect flavour, sure, but it's a neat new flavour that works quite well combined with the Lucozade to make a pretty refreshing drink. Sometimes the syrupy texture of the drink wins out over the pineapple, but the glucose nature combines pretty well with the fruit to give a good overall experience. Another great addition to the range, I'd suggest hunting down these two new flavours while they're still around.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Today's Review: Lucozade Blackcurrant Bliss

Another new Lucozade flavour in as many days. I was hoping this one would be better than the Lucozade Zero Original, but that wouldn't be too hard in my opinion, and just look, it's blackcurrant, what could go wrong? Apparently this was a thing a while back, but was discontinued. I think I vaguely remember a blackcurrant Lucozade, but that must have been before my reviewing days, so I'll take this as its own new flavour. 

So yeah, a blackcurrant Lucozade, that's pretty much it. There's 2% blackcurrant juice in there, which is nice to see, and I must say it gives it quite a natural taste. It's a pretty sweet, refreshing drink. It tastes like blackcurrant, I'm not sure what more you could want. I'd say it's reminiscent of Ribena in flavour, although it's not quite as clean and crisp, the glucose gives it that slight syrupy texture that makes it a little heavy, but it's a damn good effort at another fruity flavour. I'm not sure how long this will be around, but you should probably hunt it down while you can. Apparently there's a pineapple flavour surfacing too, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for that one.

My rating: 4/5

Monday, 15 May 2017

Today's Review: Cadbury Milk Chocolate Roundies

Here we go, Cadbury are at it again. If they're not bringing out a new chocolate bar, they're likely dipping their fingers in some other pie, and it looks like they're having a crack at the biscuit market again. I don't blame them really, their line of biscuits based on chocolate bars is quite divine, but it looks like they're trying something a little different with these Roundies. They are so called because they are round, I imagine, much like their other biscuits... But anyway, these are a triple layered wafer biscuit, with chocolate in between, and wrapped up in more chocolate. Because we all need more chocolate. They each come wrapped in their own little foil container as well, so maybe these are meant to be somewhat fancy?

These biscuits are fairly substantial, which I suppose is why they're individually wrapped, to encourage single portions. They're pretty filling as well, which is good. The chocolate coating is pretty thick and gives something of a nice snap, giving way to several layers of crunchy wafer. The wafer is somewhat dry and brittle, I ended up with a few crumbs, so I guess it could have been better. Thankfully, the chocolate in between wafers is enough to add a bit of moisture and make these turn out pretty alright in the end. These are nice thick chocolate biscuits. It's a shame the wafer isn't a bit better, but these are worth tracking down, because knowing Cadbury's track record with their new ranges, these won't be around for a long time.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Today's Review: Lucozade Zero Original

It's been a while now since Lucozade did the seemingly impossible and brought out a sugar free version of their glucose drink, and I must say I enjoy a Zero in orange or pink lemonade form when I'm trying to watch my calorie intake. Now there's another flavour on the scene, in the form of this Original Lucozade Zero. Now, original is definitely my least favourite of any Lucozade flavour ever, so I'll have to admit I went into this with some bias. But I'm not sure how they could pull off a glucose tasting glucose drink without the glucose.

The answer is they can't. The bottle says it's a citrus flavour, but it's not like any fruit I've ever tasted. There's a slight hint of that taste I hate in the full calorie version, but it's not particularly strong, so it's like sparkling water with a bit of a funny taste to it. As I said, I pretty much went in with an opinion already formed, but I always try to keep an open mind, and even so I can't get on with this. This might be good for someone who can't get enough of that original flavour, but I don't think they replicate it well at all, I'd suggest sticking with the other varieties, they're much tastier.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Today's Review: Monster LH44

Rejoice, another new Monster flavour has emerged! Looks like this one is following in the footsteps of "The Doctor", but this time instead of collaborating with a MotoGP star, they've gone with Lewis Hamilton. So here we have "LH44", which is as cryptic as the other one, but the internet assures me that this is a black grape flavour. Now, the lemon Doctor still remains one of my favourite flavours, so I was excited to see what this one would bring.

I'm disappointed, I have to say. Grape is a tricky flavour to nail, I know, as evidenced by all those grape drinks and sweets that don't really taste like grapes at all. Still, they have that certain sweet grape flavour that I've come to appreciate on its own. This can pretty much tastes like that. Unfortunately, while it can work in some sweets, in drink form I normally find it too sweet, and that's the case here. The drink itself isn't too thick or syrupy, so I appreciate that, but the overall flavour is a little sickly, and it's slightly darker than I'm used to, probably to be more in line with a black grape taste. This certainly isn't a bad can of energy drink, but I know Monster can do a lot better. Still, it's cleaner tasting than a lot of stuff Rockstar have put out, so I'd say it's worth a shot.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 12 May 2017

Today's Review: Jacob's Cracker Crisps Mature Cheddar Ploughman's

It's another seasonal flavour of Cracker Crisps, I hope this becomes a regular thing. This time we're tackling cheese with a Ploughman's variety, which means they've chucked in some pickle as well. I can normally take or leave cheese crisps, but the prospect of pickle roped me in here, hopefully this would be something different and quite delicous.

These are cheesy, there's no denying. It's a good flavour, definitely on the mature side, as it has more of a kick than your regular cheese crisps. As always, the cracker crisps themselves are substantial, and have a good texture. The pickle, however, brings these down in my esteem. It's overwhelming, and not particularly an accurate pickle depiction. It doesn't ruin the bag completely, but it does push the cheese to one side, I just wish the flavours were more balanced to make this a better bag. Oh well, I guess they can't all be hits, I still look forward to whatever may be coming out next.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Today's Review: Aglaia Floor Lamp

I recently received this floor lamp from Aglaia, an appliance company with quite a few products for sale on Amazon. I've dabbled in lamps around the house before, but none have survived the changes in decor, or have ended up battered along the way. Let's see if this one is any different.

At first I was surprised by how small the box was that the lamp came in, it turns out some assembly is required. Thankfully, that assembly is easy. The wire goes from the plug all the way to the lamp head, and you simply have to screw the pieces of stand together. Easy to assemble, but also easy to disassemble, so it would easily survive a move, or being put into storage.

So here's the lamp in all its glory, and I have to say, I love the design. There's a base, a stand, and the lamp head, and that's it. It's very sleek and minimalist, and once the pieces are all screwed together they all sit very flush, and it looks like one pieces of metal. It would probably fit in with pretty much any decorating style, and it doesn't take up much space at all. 

But enough about the looks, how is it as a lamp? Well, the minimalist design carries over to function as well, extremely simple but effective. There's a touch sensitive button on top of the lamp head, which turns the lamp on at the slightest touch. Simply touch the button again to cycle through three levels of brightness, and to switch off. The picture up there shows it at the lowest brightness level, which is pretty nice, and once you kick it up a notch you can really shed some light on the situation. Har har. The light itself is a lovely warm white glow provided by LEDs, so it's low energy and doesn't suffer from flickering or glare. The neck is also very flexible, so it's easily manoeuvred into pretty much any position you want. 

I don't think I could ask for more from a lamp. It looks great, is fantastically easy to operate, and will fit just about anywhere. I can't fault it, this comes with a high recommendation from me. Better still, if you want to buy one over the next week, I've been given a coupon code to share with my readers to knock £7 off the price. A good deal for a great lamp.

My rating: 5/5

Head here to check out the lamp, and enter the code BRDN9RPX to get it for £24.99. The code is valid until May 18th.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Today's Review: Peperami Classic Beef

It's another new Peperami product, hot on the heels of the weird Peperami sausage roll, and the pretty awesome Peperami peanuts. Unfortunately, this one belongs on the former end of the spectrum. Here we have a "classic beef" Peperami, the term "classic" being a bit strange, since the packaging also says it's new, and there hasn't been a beef stick before for it to be deemed classic. Apparently the term is actually in contrast with another variety in the form of peppered beef, so maybe I missed a trick here. This is basically a stick of very lightly spiced beef jerky. It's not particularly flavoursome, but it's definitely meaty. I was expecting something of a kick from it, but it was pretty underwhelming. I guess it would be a good alternative for those who want a Peperami but really can't handle the heat, but I don't think I'll be picking this one up again. It has made me curious to try out the peppered version though, hopefully that would be a bit better. But I don't see this classic beef becoming a classic.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Today's Review: Aero Heavenly Salted Caramel Mousse

We all love a bit of Aero. Hell, we all love a bit of Aero Mousse too. But what if I told you that your Aero Mousse was about to get heavenly? Check this out, it's a giant pot of Aero Mousse, but not as you know it. It's a salted caramel mousse, with caramel sauce, and embedded with pecans. Sounded good to me, even if the double caramel sounded like a bit of overkill.

This stuff seems to fall into that category of salted caramel products that skimp on the salt. The mousse and the sauce seem quite indistinguishable, I wouldn't say I detected much saltiness at all. It's not a bad mousse by any means, but people should stop pushing this salted caramel agenda. Plain old caramel is still good too, you know. Anyway, this is a nice, light, sweet mousse. I'd liken it most to the taste of butterscotch Angel Delight. Sure, it could be better, but it's a decent effort. The pecans are an interesting addition, adding a bit of a crunch and a little nutiness to the flavour, but they don't really stop this from being a fairly average attempt at a luxury mousse. You do get a lot of mousse for your moola, but this isn't amazing stuff.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 8 May 2017

Today's Review: Mrs. Bridges Banoffee Curd

I was going for a lovely walk around a reservoir last week, and what better way to end a stroll than to pick up some jars of interesting conserves from the gift shop? Well, technically I skipped the conserves, but this jar definitely caught my eye, it's banoffee curd! Like lemon curd, but banoffee! I grabbed this without hesitation, I was already sure it was going to be great.

Apparently I'm a good judge of taste, because this stuff is damn good. It's a lovely smooth curd that's packed with flavour. A bold banana taste, but one that doesn't overwhelm, as there's a constant presence of toffee that kicks up the sweetness and works beautifully in tandem with the banana. I love a bit of banoffee, and now it's in spreadable form, so there's no hassle involved in getting my fix. Spread it on bread, toast, pancakes, whatever, to give it a great banoffee flavour. Track this stuff down, it's brilliant.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Today's Review: Jacob's Cracker Crisps Roast Chicken, Thyme & Lemon

I love Jacob's Cracker Crisps. They have a great texture, and a lot of flavouring packed in, the salt & vinegar variety are one of my absolute favourites. Now I see they're doing seasonal flavours, which I heartily approve of, especially if they bring them out as regularly as Kettle Chips do. I was a little put off at the thought of this roast chicken flavour, not being a fan of meat flavoured crisps. But the thyme and lemon parts drew me in, and I had to snag a bag. They are limited edition after all. I grabbed these from Morrisons for 90p

I'm glad I took the plunge, these things are delicious. Instead of being a predominantly chicken flavour, each element is well represented and balanced. The chicken flavouring is pretty authentic, as evidenced by the actual roast chicken present in the ingredients. A good meaty flavour, obviously not as good as the real thing, but I was distracted from any potential shortcomings by the lemon and thyme. There's a great, ever-present citrus kick, and a nice herby hint that really rounds it all out. A pretty fantastic effort, well worth picking up while they're around. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Jacob's can do.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Today's Review: Mississippi Mud Pie McFlurry

McDonald's Monopoly has finished, and for some reason I didn't win a large cash prize. Oh well, there's always next year. Now we can get straight into the Great Tastes of America, which has kicked off nicely with the New York Stack. It may not be any different from last year, but it tastes great so I'm not too mad. I'm pretty happy that they've changed the McFlurry though, last year's strawberry cheesecake offering was pretty sub-par, but now we have a Mississippi mud pie theme going on. The caramel wasn't available at my local earlier, but I figured the standard was a good one to try out first. This McFlurry is swirled with cookie crumble, chocolate covered cookie pieces, and a chocolate fudge sauce. Well, I say it's swirled, but you've gotta do it yourself nowadays. Why don't they flurry the McFlurry any more?

It's nice that they've included two varieties of cookie pieces in this one, while they may be pretty similar, the difference in texture is a nice touch, and the addition of the chocolate coating to the cookie pieces steps up the flavour a notch. The cookie pieces are plentiful, and have a nice grittiness with a bold chocolate flavour. As for the sauce, it's alright, I wouldn't say it's particularly fudgey, but it does keep the ice cream from being too bland. This is a pretty great McFlurry though, a good helping of chocolatey goodness that's a marked improvement on last year.

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 5 May 2017

Today's Review: Ben & Jerry's Topped Salted Caramel Brownie

I reviewed the Chocolate Caramel Cookie Dough flavour of these new Topped tubs a little while back, and found it to be quite perfect. So, of course, I wanted more where that came from, and thankfully there are a couple more varieties on offer. Here we have the Topped Salted Caramel Brownie, which contains salted caramel and brownies, and a topping. Also, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate chunks. Sounds like another winning combination, not quite as decadent as the pure chocolate offering, but hey, sometimes less is more.

This is pretty good stuff, the topping is fantastic, much like the other tub, a thick chocolate layer that is just plain creamy and fantastic. Underneath is a healthy smattering of chocolate chunks that give a satisfying chocolate hit, and some decent sized chunks of brownie. The salted caramel is ever present, although I feel it could have been a bit stronger. Maybe it's because everything has salted caramel nowadays and the effect has worn off a bit, but the vanilla caramel combo wasn't quite as flavoursome as I'd hoped. Still, even when Ben & Jerry do vanilla they do it well, so there's not much to complain about, just a minor thing that leaves me firmly in the Chocolate Caramel Cookie Dough camp. It's worth trying both flavours out though. Actually, it's worth trying all the flavours.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Today's Review: Tango Liquid Ice Lollies

Tango have expanded into the frozen dessert realm, with these ice lollies. "Liquid Ice" they're called, because a plain old orange ice pop wouldn't be enough. If you look past all the "tang" related jokey diagram labels on the box, you'll see that underneath the outer layer is a liquid core. How does that work? I don't know, probably magic. But how is it?

I'm glad they included the liquid core bit, because without that these would have absolutely nothing of note. The outside is your generic orange flavoured ice lolly, not bad, but definitely nothing special at all. The inner core is actually a nice surprise, a tangy, oozy liquid that builds on the orange flavour and adds a bit of a sour kick. I don't know how they keep it in liquid form, but it's pulled off pretty well. Unfortunately, it doesn't last, as after getting about halfway through the thing the core runs out, so all that's left is a pretty disappointing orange ice pop. So the core is a neat idea, but it doesn't particularly elevate this dessert to great heights. Try it if you want something a little different in your freezer, but it's not amazing.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Today's Review: Honey Monster Puffs

Sugar Puffs are a national institution. They're one of those classic breakfast cereals, alongside the Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and Weetos, and their iconic Honey Monster is most definitely in my top five favourite cereal mascots. But apparently Sugar Puffs are no more, they are now "Honey Monster Puffs". I think this name has been a thing for a while, in response to backlash from people who take issue to the word "Sugar" being in the title. Won't somebody please think of the children?! Apparently just changing the name but keeping the sugar content the same wasn't enough, as we now have a new recipe! But does new always mean better? Well, no, because they've taken out 25% of the sugar.

Now, normally, I wouldn't see reduced sugar as a bad thing, especially if it's done right. But this is a product whose very name relied on the existence of sugar, and now there's a sugar deficit, and it shows. These are, in essence, the same puffs, the texture and base flavour is the same. The honey and sweet sugar flavour is present as well, but not for long. After a few chews the sweetness abandoned me, and I was left chewing flavourless puffs, ready for the next spoonful that would inevitably disappoint me again. These aren't nice, they've ruined Sugar Puffs for everyone. I know it was for the children, but what about my inner child? Can't they leave Sugar Puffs around for adults like me who know the consequences of eating spoonfuls of sugar for breakfast? Can they not co-exist with Honey Monster Puffs, for parents who want to mindlessly snatch boxes off the shelf with little regard for nutritional content, then complain later that actually these are quite bad, and they probably should have gone for Shredded Wheat?

These didn't even make my wee smell. Everything we loved about Sugar Puffs is gone. For shame. For shame.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Today's Review: Naipo Shiatsu Pillow Massager

My back hurts. I've come to accept it as one of those things, there's just this one spot on my back that hurts when I press it, just underneath my shoulder blade. It's not a debilitating thing, I'm sure some form of professional massage would do it good, but I rarely have the time or money to go out somewhere and have it attended to. I bought a handheld massager a while back, and while it's fairly nice, it requires a lot of effort and manoeuvring to get it to the right spot. I hadn't really considered buying a different form of massager, but I was pretty excited when the folks at Naipo reached out and offered me this pillow massager to try out. 

It's a pillow sized device with two sets of two massaging nodules, which you can place pretty much anywhere to receive a pre-programmed massage. Under the legs, on your neck, or sandwiched between your back and a chair. Not only that, it heats up too, look at that satisfying glow:

So yes, it looks pretty sleek and comfortable, but how does it perform? Well, it's ridiculously easy to use, just plug it in, position it where you want and push the button. Then it'll go to work on its 20 minute program. Basically the nodes rotate in opposing directions, going to town on whatever muscles are in the way. The nodes are a very decent size, and gives a deep rub that gives me that satisfying pain I associate with a good massage. After a minute, the nodes go the opposite way, so it really gets to all those nooks and crannies and gives a nice coverage. The heat builds up to a nice level as well, and all in all it gives a very satisfying massage. Normally after a go with my handheld one, my back is aching for more, but this pillow is easy to get in just the right spot, and after a 20 minute cycle I feel pretty limber and satisfied. 

Here it is attached to a chair, which is also pretty easy. There's an elasticated velcro strap on the back that can be adjusted to fit onto a chair of your choosing. Not only that, it comes bundled with a cigarette lighter attachment, so you can plug it into the car, attach it to your seat and receive a massage while you drive! I haven't tried that one yet, but I'm severely tempted.

I can't fault this massager, it reaches everywhere I need it to, and provides a deep, satisfying massage. I think there's a reason why this is a #1 seller on Amazon, and it's on offer now, so I recommend you grab it. I've been using it daily since I got it, and I'm sure I'll be using it for a long time to come.

My rating: 5/5

Monday, 1 May 2017

Today's Review: Maltesers Pavlova

I can't say I've eaten a great deal of pavlovas, but when Maltesers are involved I'll probably eat anything. Here we have another frozen dessert based on chocolate bars, I've been waiting to try this for a while, but it's only recently gone on offer at Tesco, down to £2.50. Besides, I've been waiting for a chance to take this to a gathering, so I don't end up eating the whole thing myself...

Well, that seems quite devoid of Maltesers. I mean, there are some, but they could be spaced out better. Anyways, here we have a meringue ring, filled with malt cream, and topped with chocolate sauce and Maltesers. I'm sure I left it out to defrost for the correct amount of time, but when I cut into it it pretty much fell apart, so it was difficult to cut a proper slice. I guess I could have used a better knife, but still, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so messy. One thing I will say is this has a whole lot of meringue, which gets somewhat sickly after a while. It's not a bad meringue, but it's not well balanced with the other elements. The chocolate topping is pretty scarce, and isn't overly noticeable in the overall flavour. The cream is probably the best part, it's smooth and has a nice little malted hint to it that gives it an extra kick of sweetness. But all in all, that's a lot of sweetness to take in, so this pretty much tastes like a whole lot of sugar with a bit of chocolate malty flavour. I have to say I was pretty disappointed, for a Maltesers pavlova there wasn't a whole lot of Malteser, and even if you're a lover of meringue you might as well get your own nests and go to town on them. The cream is a nice addition, but it's not enough to save the dessert.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Today's Review: Gifflar Cinnamon Rolls

I picked up a couple of bags at these at the boot sale today, but it looks like they're also available from supermarkets. They're mini, ready to eat cinnamon rolls! Now, I had no illusions that these would be anywhere near as godly as Cinnabon, but I figured it was worth grabbing a bag and getting some cinnamon goodness. They couldn't be that bad, they're dough with a cinnamon filling, what could go wrong?

I was right, these aren't as good as a giant, freshly made cinnamon bun coated with icing. Funny that. But these are some pretty good cinnamon rolls. The filling is pretty generous, with a creamy texture and a sweet, slightly spices flavour, just the right amount of cinnamon crammed in there. As for the dough, it's not the best, it's a little stodgy, but it's still soft satisfying, and it works well with the filling. I also tried sticking them in the microwave for a little while, and that really softened them up, these are great warm. Next time I'll try a nice thick coating of icing to really bring them up a notch. As they are though, these are some pretty good cinnamon rolls. Bitesize, ready to eat, a damn good snack.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Today's Review: Capri-Sun Fruity Water

I feel poor old Capri-Sun are struggling a bit under this whole reduced sugar kick the whole world is going through right now. The original pouches are a classic, fit to adorn any lunchbox or picnic basket. But they've been banned from Tesco entirely, and replaced with a no added sugar version that is, quite frankly, awful. Now we have this, and I'm not sure exactly what they're going for with this. It's the same colour pouch as the full sugar version, but with bright colourful letters, spelling out "Fruity Water". Woo, fruity water! Water that is fruity!

Yeah, literally, this is water with a dribble of blackcurrant juice in it. 3% to be precise, and it sure does show. It tastes like water, with a little hint of flavour, and the flavour isn't nice. It's got that sugar free taste to it, and all in all it's just unpleasant. This drink may be attractively low in calories, but it's not worth it, believe me. I'd rather just drink water, and I'm not a fan of just water. Stop trying to get on this sugar free kick guys, it's not working out for you.

My rating: 1/5

Friday, 28 April 2017

Today's Review: McCoy's Chip Shop Curry Sauce Chips

I tried out the salt & vinegar variety of McCoy's Chips a while back, and found them to be pretty lacking. I figured I'd give them another shot when I saw this curry sauce flavour, it was something new after all, and held some promise. I grabbed a six pack in Poundlan for... yes, £1. 

These are interesting. The crisps are good, the same good old crunchy texture of McCoy's, fashioned into chip shapes. They have a definite curry sauce flavour, and it's mostly authentic, but it is somewhat marred by the fact that these are quite salty, enough to take the focus away from the other flavours. So while the curry sauce is pretty well done, a smooth creaminess with a slight spice, overall these aren't fantastic. These are worth a try, but I think I'd rather go for the Fish 'N' Chips crisps that pull off the flavours better.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Today's Review: Wall's Cornetto Choc 'N' Ball Strawberry

It's another new Cornetto variety, at least new in the supermarkets, I found this singular box on an otherwise empty freezer shelf in Asda, with no price tag to be seen, so I don't know when it came out, or if there are any others. Anyway, these are Choc 'N' Ball Cornettos, like a regular Cornetto but with a massive chocolatey ball on top. This one has strawberry ice cream inside, so it's basically an extension of the classic original red Cornetto.

At its core (no pun intended), this is pretty much the same as the regular strawberry cone. The cone is fantastically crunchy, the chocolate tip is a welcome addition, and the ice cream is smooth and creamy. I wouldn't say it's the most authentic strawberry flavour, it is a bit too sweet at times, but it's not bad. As for the top part, it's pretty great. More ice cream, all wrapped up in a thick chocolate shell studded with almond pieces for a satisfying crunch. It's a good twist on the original, and well worth looking out for. I hope there are other varieties floating around out there.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Today's Review: Rowntree's 30% Less Sugar Randoms

It's not just Fruit Pastilles getting the reduced sugar treatment, Randoms have got their own healthy(?) bag too. Yes, it's fallen afoul of the same reduced weight business that annoyed me with the last ones, but I figured they'd be worth a try just to see if they taste good. 

I know they've still left most of the sugar in these, but they've taken out a fair chunk, and to be honest, there's not much of a difference in flavour. The chewy ones pretty much taste the same, and they still have the round ones with a juicy filling, which as awesome. The difference is most noticeable in the foamy sweets, which have a more chewy texture, and a slightly less sweet taste, but apart from that it's a good bag. I'm not too fond of the whole reduced weight thing, but if you're watching your calorie intake but craving sweets, these could be a good choice for you. There is a slight odd aftertaste with these, but they're better than the Fruit Pastilles in my opinion.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Today's Review: Rowntree's 30% Less Sugar Fruit Pastilles

A lot of people are on the whole low sugar kick lately, which is a pretty good direction to go from the misguided low fat trend. Carbs are the problem, people, fat is good for you. So here we have a pretty classic bag of Fruit Pastilles, but with 30% less sugar. Not only that, but they didn't substitute the sugar for artificial sweeteners either, so I don't know how they did it. I assume some kind of magic.

These aren't bad actually, I expect things with less sugar to suffer somewhat on the flavour side, because sugar is delicious. These still retain that sugar coating on the outside, though perhaps less so, and the flavours are pretty much the same. There is something of an aftertaste if you suck on them for too long, and they're definitely not as sweet as the originals, but for a reduced sugar sweet, these are still pretty edible. What I will say, however, is that they're a rip off. A bag of regular Fruit Pastilles is 150g, while these clock in at a measly 110g. Is there 30% less sugar in the pack because there are also 30% less Fruit Pastilles? I don't understand the pricing, they've taken the sugar out, why are they more expensive? I'll have to dock you a point for that one guys, it ain't right. Still, these are a good acquisition for those who want to cut their sugar intake but still shove sweets in their mouth.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 24 April 2017

Today's Review: Drumstick Choos

The Drumstick is an all time classic sweet, I can't imagine how many of those gloriously chewy lollipops I've shoved in my face over the years. Recent years have seen Drumsticks appear in various other sweet forms, and they all seem to be fantastic, be they Squashies or Bon Bons. Now we have Drumstick Choos, which are like miniature versions of the lollies, in chew form. I didn't need much convincing with these, I imagined it would be like eating a Drumstick, but without the inevitable stickiness when it comes off the stick.

These chews come in five varieties, and each one has a double flavour. Most of these are based on the different flavours or lolly. There's the classic raspberry & vanilla, as well as strawberry & cream and apple & cherry. This pack also has strawberry & banana and peaches & cream too, so that's a lot of fruity goodness packed into the bag. I have to say, I can't fault these, they're fantastic. They taste just like the original Drumstick lolly, not quite as chewy, but definitely as satisfying. The fruit flavours are bold and authentic, especially the peaches & cream, and even though I'm not a major fan of banana sweets, it's implemented pretty well here. I told myself I'd only have one of each flavour, but before I knew it the entire bag was gone, so I guess that's a testament to how great they are. Or my lack of self control. I'll go with the former.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Today's Review: R. Whites Raspberry Lemonade

I like to peruse the drinks when I pop down to the corner shop, in the hopes I can pick up something I've yet to try. I'm not sure how long this has been around, but it's the first time I've seen this raspberry lemonade on the shelves. R. Whites do a classic lemonade, so I had faith they could pull off a twist on the original formula.

This is good stuff, just like I'd hoped. At its core it's that great tasting lemonade, and layered on top is a great, bold raspberry flavour. It builds upon the tartness with a good sour kick, but also adds in some juiciness that keeps it refreshing. As far as raspberry lemonades go, it's pretty flawless. A great variation on the original that's well worth seeking out.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Today's Review: Pizza Pringles

I saw a pizza variety of Pringles alongside the dill pickle flavour I picked up a while back from an import shelf at Sainsbury's. I was going to return and pick some up, but I'm glad I held out on that purchase, as they've now hit the shelves at Asda for a much more manageable £1.50. Pizza flavoured Pringles, sounds like a dream come true. I'm not sure whose dream it was, but I'm sure it was someone's. 

It's never quite stated which kind of pizza these are meant to emulate, but I'm gonna guess it's not ham & pineapple (pineapple goes on pizza). From what I could ascertain from the flavourings, they were going for more of a margherita experience, which isn't a bad thing to emulate in crisp form. There are hints of tomato and cheese, so I'd say the basics are there, but they're not particularly strong or great flavours, just a decent enough attempt at replicating the original. There could be some more to these, it looks like the pizzas on the tin have pepperoni on, and I guess there could have been some meatiness chucked in there, but I couldn't pinpoint it, and there seem to be some flavourings thrown on top of these with no real purpose. The cheese and tomato shine through enough, but everything else is lost. This is a pretty good idea from those Pringles guys, and it's pulled off well enough, but these are nothing particularly special, just a nice change from the norm.

My rating: 3/5

Friday, 21 April 2017

Today's Review: Pepsi Max Ginger

This was definitely a surprise for me, a new flavour of Pepsi Max that isn't following the usual cola trends. Cherry cola, that's a thing, along with vanilla and lime, but I'm not sure I've tried a ginger cola before. I enjoy a ginger beer, but this bottle seems like it will deliver a combination of the two.

This is pretty good actually. The ginger flavour is pretty strong, and mostly accurate. A bold taste that provides a nice warming spice, and lingers for sometime after, I'd say it's a very decent effort. The combination with the taste of the Pepsi is a little odd at first, but I did get used to it after a little while. It works quite well together, giving the whole thing a slightly botanical flavour, although the lack of sugar is noticeable in the after taste. I wouldn't say this stuff beats a good old fashioned ginger beer, but it's a pretty original variety of Pepsi that's pulled off pretty well. I hope this sticks around for a while.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Eton Mess Cookies

Now that pesky Easter is out of the way, we can focus on the incoming summer months, and Tesco have brought out these new Finest cookies to help us along. They contain white chocolate chunks, meringue pieces and freeze dried strawberries. A pretty neat idea, but in execution, I must say they're a little bland. 

These aren't bad by any means, but I think they could use a bit more stuff embedded inside. The chocolate chunks are good, a smooth creamy white chocolate, and the meringue pieces add a little soft crunch and some additional flavour, though they are drowned out a bit by the chocolate. The strawberries are a welcome addition, a nice fruity hit that rounds out the flavour, but there aren't quite enough of them to cover the entire cookie, and there are some parts that pretty much tastes like dough. So overall, a fairly average cookie, it does give something of a summery feeling though.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Today's Review: Millions Mallows

When it comes to chewy sweets, Millions are probably some of my favourite. They're delicious, and come in a vast array of flavours. But apparently Millions weren't enough as just a chewy candy, as now you can get them in mini marshmallow form. They're bubblegum flavoured, and they're very small, and there's a lot of them. Maybe not millions, but a fair amount.

Marshmallows seem to be a popular choice for sweet companies to branch out to, I guess it's hard to get them wrong really, and these are pretty good. They're soft, and pack quite a bit of flavour. I wouldn't say bubblegum is the best type of marshmallow, but I couldn't tell you which other variety would have suited these better. It's a good bubblegum, nice and sweet, and it works well in conjunction with the soft chewiness of the mallows themselves. So yes, these are a good effort. I wouldn't say they necessarily need the Millions name, as they're a far cry from the classic hard sweets that get stuck in your teeth. But still, a decent offering, and one that will probably fit in your mini marshmallow gun. You've got one of those, right?

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Today's Review: M&Ms Mix

Hey, do you like M&Ms? Of course you do, but which ones? I mean, you've gotta have a favourite, right? No? Well, it's your lucky day, 'cause now you don't have to choose, you can get three varieties of M&M in one bag! M&Ms Mix is a combination of chocolate, peanut and crispy M&Ms, in a bag that's smaller than usual, but the same price (you may be able to guess my opinion of these).

To be honest, these aren't bad, they're just not for me. I eat things in order of preference, which I've probably mentioned before, and I'm not a big fan of mixing things together. I even have a hard time eating handfuls of trail mix. As for M&Ms, I love the chocolate, I'm pretty keen on the crispy, and I could leave the peanut, so to have them all in one bag is a bit unsettling. It's an interesting experience, chucking a handful in my face conjured up a nice enough combination of flavours, a crispy peanut taste that isn't bad. I'd rather just have them separate though. I know it's easy enough to identify which M&Ms are which based on size or shape, but that defeats the object of the bag, so I think I'll just leave these on the shelf from now on. If you can't make your mind up on your M&M varieties though, these may be just up your street.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 17 April 2017

Today's Review: Wall's Feast Sandwich

It's not secret that I love a Maxibon, it was a good day when they were re-introduced to the supermarkets. Now it seems there's a contender, in the form of this Wall's version. It's basically the same setup as the Maxibon, but with the classic Feast as the base. So we have half nobbly choc ice, and half ice cream sandwich, covered either side with some soft chocolate cookie.

You know, these are pretty great. I was expecting something of a pale imitation, but they do a pretty good job. We all know Feasts are great, some good chocolate with satisfying crispiness, wrapped around smooth vanilla ice cream. As for the cookie side, it's a little powdery, but it has a good dark chocolate flavour, and enough thickness to make it work pretty well with the ice cream. The only thing I would say is that these are quite small, I guess to keep in line with calorie counts per portion, so it's not completely satisfying. A pretty tasty ice cream though, a good addition to that summer ice cream lineup.

My rating: 4/5