Tuesday 31 December 2013

Today's Review: Chokablok Starstruck Supernova Turkey

It may be New Year's Eve, but I'm indoors stuffing my face with unhealthy food, and a large part of that spread has been this mightily impressive looking turkey from Chokablok. It's basically a massive version of the Starstruck Supernova bar, but inflated to the size of a right proper turkey. Well, a small one.

Yeah, it's pretty big. That's it laid out on my biggest chopping board. It's certainly nothing to sniff at, and although it's hollow, it's certainly not easy to break up. I actually had to take a carving knife to it to get it into edible chunks. But I'm glad I did, because this turkey is delicious. It's made of thick white chocolate, stuffed full of chocolate stars of all colours and shortcake. Every bite is filled with chocolatey, crunchy goodness, and there's certainly a lot of it. Probably not enough to justify the initial £10 price tag, but I was more than happy to shell out £3.50 for the clearance price. So this is another Christmassy chocolate treat that you should pick up on the cheap.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 30 December 2013

Today's Review: Chokablok Cracking Christmas Pud

Christmas is over, and that means anything Christmas related is fast going out of style, and is being reduced all over the place in order to make shelf space for Easter. This works out well for me, because now I can try a couple of Christmas snack items that I couldn't justify paying full price for, like this Chokablok Christmas pudding chocolate tree.

That's right, Christmas pudding flavour chocolate. It was appealing to me from the moment I saw it, but now it's at a very reasonable £1.50, so I just had to give it a go before they're all gone. The bar itself is very well presented, like all the Chokablok bars. It's tree shaped, obviously, but has a lovely dark chocolate swirl running through it, with some lovely gold wafer sprinkled on top, amongst a generous smattering of raisins. You can't have Christmas pudding without raisins. 

But how does it taste? Well, odd really. The tree is certainly thicker than it looked, so the packet provides quite a lot of chocolate for your buck, and it actually doesn't taste that bad. The chocolate is smooth and creamy, but certainly has the distinct taste of the spices you'd find in a Christmas pudding. The raisins lend to the flavour pretty well, and while I certainly enjoyed the flavour throughout the entire bar, it was a little odd. There's just something about Christmas pudding and chocolate that didn't seem right, but this bar is quite tasty considering. If you can pick one up before they're all cleared out, this bar is certainly worth a try. If not, hopefully they'll be around again next year.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 29 December 2013

Today's Review: We're The Millers

It's been a while since I've sat down and watched a movie, and I felt in the mood for some comedy, so this seemed the way to go. We're The Millers stars Jason Sudeikis as David, a drug dealer who is doing pretty well in life, apart from being alone and immature of course, but lots of money from selling pot is cool. However, after he is robbed of his stash, his boss agrees to settle the debt if he hops across the border to Mexico to pick up a shipment of weed and bring it back. Assuming that alone he'll be singled out at customs, David assembles a team including down on her luck stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), runaway teen Casey (Emma Roberts) and clueless neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter), to pretend to be his family and avoid suspicion. But upon arriving in Mexico and finding the haul of drugs to be ever so slightly larger than expected, the "Millers" find themselves experiencing a variety of misfortunes to complete the job.

Yeah, this is an interesting premise, and is actually set up pretty well. The main characters all have great actors putting in a good amount of work. Aniston and Sudeikis in particular do a great job as the leads, and there are some nice cameos from Nick Offerman and Luis Guzmán. However, at almost two hours long, the movie certainly does drag, and the potential that the plot has becomes stretched quite thin, meaning we are often treated to unnecessary twists and turns and awkward, overplayed scenes done purely for the gross out/awkward factor, it seems. Sure, there are a few chuckles to be had, I certainly enjoyed a fair few moments, but the good bits are kind of buried underneath randomly dropped F-bombs and what seems like a lot of filler material.

We're The Millers certainly isn't a bad film. It has a strong cast that does well with the material they're given, it's just that the movie could have done with being a lot shorter, with a lot of the scenes leaving me wish they had just ended sooner, or never been put in to begin with. It's a good movie to watch if you're in the mood for some mindless comedy, but it's nothing remarkable. 

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 28 December 2013

Today's Review: Button Up Flies

Flies are a pretty good invention. In a world where men are both expected to remain trousered and relinquish their parts from captivity in order to empty their bladders, flies on the trousers effectively reach the middle ground between wetting oneself and shimmying your pants round your ankles. All we have to do in public toilets is unzip, urinate, zip up and go. But only if you have a zipper. Some flies have buttons, and that's a whole other story.

Buttons are good for a few things. Shirt cuffs, for example, or smart jackets and shirts. But most of the time they're quite inconvenient and time consuming compared to a much more efficient zip. This is especially the case with trousers. Why are we expected to stand awkwardly unbuttoning our groins to answer the call of nature, and then stand afterwards at a urinal trying to fasten our trouser holes back together? Zips exist, they have been invented for convenience, but I can still buy trousers today that have button up flies for no apparent reason whatsoever. Most of the time I have to weigh up the time it takes to effectively button myself up and the risk of someone seeing me with one button unfastened, and assuming I'm some kind of forgetful pervert. Button up flies have no place in society nowadays. If I knew a thing about upholstery I'd be replacing them with zips myself, but alas, I am woefully uneducated, so all I can do is write a wordy review expressing my disdain. Boo.

My rating: 0/5

Friday 27 December 2013

Today's Review: Christmas Themed Christmas Gifts

Christmas is all done with now, so we should be putting all festive things out of our minds. Trees come down, leftovers are devoured, and anything remotely Christmassy-looking will be looked upon with disdain. Which is a shame for some people, as they've probably received some novelty festive themed items for Christmas.

I get it, Christmas is a huge cash cow for anyone involved. So companies will churn out all manner of items with Santa, snowmen and candy canes on, ranging from socks to mugs to candles, you name it, there'll be a Christmas version. The trouble is, these items probably aren't aimed at the forward thinking jolly soul who will pick them up at the start of December and use them to get in the spirit of things. No, these items are designed and marketed to be Christmas presents. Think about that, Christmas items as Christmas presents. We, as a country, spend the entire month of December leading up to Christmas Day, but after that (or maybe after Boxing Day), Christmas is no longer relevant. So to receive a pair of Christmas socks on Christmas Day, you have at most two days to wear them before people will give you funny looks.

So why is this an issue? Well, it's a bit of a waste of money for one thing. I'd much rather have a pair of regular socks than ones portraying Rudolph with a funny face, because I can wear the former on any occasion. A candy cane mug will sit in my cupboard all year while I choose a more normal design for my coffee. Why would we spend good money on an item that is only relevant for such a short period? Some may say that we can easily save these items for the next year, and use them in the countdown to Christmas too, but I certainly don't have room in my wardrobes and cupboards to store festive items, and they'd be the first thing to go as soon as I have a clear out.

Perhaps I'm a bit too frugal for my own good. Perhaps I'm secretly a big Grinch. But I just don't see the point in Christmas themed Christmas gifts. Even today, two days after Christmas Day, it would be odd to be using such items, much like it's a bit odd for me to still be writing about Christmas. Oh, how meta of me.

My rating: 1/5

Thursday 26 December 2013

Today's Review: The New Operation

Operation is a classic game. As soon as you see the iconic patient laid out on the bed, random objects placed in gaping orificies, you just know that you want to avoid setting off the buzzer on his nose. Since it's such a classic, we decided to buy it for someone at Christmas. All was well, until we decided to play it this evening, and found out that this game is a shadow of its former self.

You see, the original Operation, which I have, contains cards and money. I'm not exactly sure of the rules, but the cards help change up the game and make it so anyone can win. The pieces are pretty difficult to extract too, making for an overall challenging board game.

This version of Operation takes a dump all over it. There are no cards, no money, just the board and the pieces. You take it in turns, starting with the youngest player, to remove a piece of your choice. The person at the end with the most pieces wins. That's all. We played with a 3 and 6 year old, and the game was over in less than 10 minutes. The pieces are ridiculously easy to take out, and there's nothing to stop the turns going in a complete circle until the game sputters to a halt in a tiny amount of time.

I get what they're doing with this version. The box says 4+, and it's certainly simple enough for my kids to understand. But this is so ridiculously dumbed down I'm sure even a monkey could do it. But hey, maybe that's the new target demographic.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Today's Review: Being Too Busy To Write A Review On Christmas Day

It's almost midnight, and since it's Christmas Day I've been too damn busy to sit down and write anything. But hey, I don't mind. It's Christmas Day, the one day a year where we can all take time off from the regular grind. Not that writing these reviews is a grind, but still, I certainly don't feel bad not delivering a sterling effort today. Merry Christmas all.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Today's Review: Cadbury Dream Fingers

Cadbury Fingers are a British institution. If you tell an Englishman that you're planning on eating some Fingers, they'll know exactly what you're talking about. Other people would think you mad. Cadbury chocolate coated biscuit, it's a formula that works, and has been much loved for many years, and the brand is worth £36m as of last year. That's a fact, because it's on Wikipedia.

But there's always room for change, and I'm always open to different varieties of favourite snacks, so these Fingers coated in Cadbury Dream chocolate seemed right up my street. I'm sure I've had them before, but I haven't seen them around in a while, nor have I reviewed them, so that's why this is happening. If you didn't know, Dream is the brand name of Cadbury's white chocolate, which sounds much more appealing than their dark Bournville. 

So basically, these are white chocolate coated fingers. Now, I like white chocolate, it's a welcome change to the boring old milk sometimes, but in the case of Cadbury it's hard to grow tired of Dairy Milk. These Fingers are nice, yes, the white chocolate is quite plentiful and creamy, and the biscuit is as good as ever. But the chocolate does get a bit sickly after a while. I still managed to eat the whole box (shut up, it's Christmas), but if I were given the option of these or the original I'd go with the latter.

Dream Fingers. A cool name for a band, an awkward one for a porn star, and quite a nice chocolate biscuit.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 23 December 2013

Today's Review: Fruit & Nut Milka

I say fruit and nut, but it's technically Trauben-Nuss. Yes, another Milka bar from a not so far away land, this one is not exactly adventurous like others that I've reviewed in the past, but hey, fruit and nut with chocolate can't be bad, right?

Right. There's really not much to say about this bar. The best way to describe it is like a bar of Cadbury Fruit & Nut, but with Milka chocolate instead of Cadbury. You probably could have guessed that already, but it's the truth. It tastes good, quite thin compared to the classic Cadbury version, so it doesn't seem quite as filling, but there's certainly nothing wrong with it. Creamy chocolate with sizeable, plentiful chunks of goodness in the middle. Simple, but effective.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 22 December 2013

Today's Review: Cadbury Pinky

I'm almost through with my Cyber Candy product reviews, but for today I present another Cadbury bar that isn't found in the UK. What's the deal, Cadbury? Can we not handle all the stuff you make? Anyway, this Pinky bar hails from New Zealand, which also has a peanut toffee cookie Marvellous Creations, so I guess I'll need to seek that out... But what is a Pinky bar? Well, it's basically a pink marshmallow bar, surrounded with Cadbury chocolate, with a layer of caramel inbetween.

I know, right? Caramel and marshmallow? That's an odd combination. I was not expecting much from this bar, but it actually surprised me, a little. Sure, it tastes a bit odd, but the flavours do work together somewhat. The marshmallow is soft and gooey, and the caramel only adds to the lovely stickiness that the chocolate holds in. It's quite a long bar too, so it's pretty filling, but it still tastes a little odd.  All in all, it's an interesting experience that isn't as bad as you'd think. I probably wouldn't pick a Pinky over another Cadbury bar, but it's certainly not bad.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 21 December 2013

Today's Review: Charleston Chew Strawberry

I do enjoy a Charleston Chew. I reviewed the vanilla flavour last year, but since I was pretty vague about that one, and I haven't reviewed the original, some of you may not know what a Charleston Chew is. It's basically a nougat bar covered in chocolate. The original is very chocolatey, the vanilla is nicely sweet, and now I have experienced the Charleston trifecta with this strawberry variety.

As with the other Charleston Chews, this bar is very chewy (clue's in the name). The strawberry filling tastes pretty artificial, but in a nice way. It's certainly very sweet, but not sickly. It's perhaps a bit of an odd flavour to pair with the chocolate coating, but it actually works pretty well altogether. One thing I did do with this bar is take the advice on the packaging to "try it frozen". So after about twenty minutes in the freezer I tucked into the second half of the bar. I was met with a satisfying snap, and while the bar wasn't immediately too edible, it quickly broke down from a brittle sweet treat to a soft, almost creamy goodness. 

This is a great entry in the Charleston Chew family. It's chewy, chocolatey, and pretty big to boot. You can experience it in a whole new way fresh from the freezer too. This is definitely a bar to look out for.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 20 December 2013

Today's Review: Dairy Milk Black Forest

Christmas may be fast approaching, but I paid a visit to Cyber Candy yesterday, so that's what I'll be talking about for the next few days. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll get a bit more festive closer to the date. But today I'll review the Black Forest Dairy Milk bar, and some parts of the Black Forest are snowy, so that's pretty Christmassy, right?

Yes, despite the crazy amount of Dairy Milk varieties that have flooded UK stores this year, there are still some flavours floating around internationally that just can't be found here. Black Forest is one of them. It's the size of your standard Dairy Milk bar, and contains cherry jelly and biscuit pieces. Sound nice, right?

Unfortunately, it's not so good. The chocolate is as nice as ever, but the thing I wasn't crazy about with this bar was the jelly. It's much like the pieces in the Marvellous Creations Jelly Popping Candy bar, quite flavoursome at first, but it's quickly evident how chewy these pieces are, and once the chocolate has melted away you're just left with some slightly bland, chewy gunk. The biscuit pieces are pretty nice, but they're just not as prevalent as the jelly, making this a bit of an uneven bar. I probably wouldn't try it again, especially as the Dairy Milk Tiffin bar is much more agreeable. If you're a fan of the Jelly Popping Candy bar though (a lot of people are for some reason), this one is definitely worth seeking out.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 19 December 2013

Today's Review: Burger King Winter Whopper & Criss Cut Fries

Winter burgers must be a difficult thing to come up with. I mean, they're already warm, and they have to contain a patty, so what more could you do to instil that festive spirit? Apart from doing a turkey and cranberry sauce burger of course, but apparently none of the big chains will be that imaginative. No, instead we have the Winter Whopper from Burger King, whose main feature is... curry sauce?

Yes, an odd choice, and one I just had to try, not that I expected to like it. It contains the ingredients of your regular Whopper (yes, even the mayonnaise), but also boasts caramelised onions and the new Burger King Criss Cut Fries on top of the curry sauce. Yeah, if curry sauce wasn't enough to put you off the burger, how about having it mixed with mayonnaise? Ready to throw up? Well don't, you may be pleasantly surprised.

You see, the curry sauce isn't particularly hot. It pretty much has the flavour of regular chip shop curry sauce, and is quite sweet. I don't know whether it's via some kind of burger magic, but the sensation I got when biting into this burger was not "curry", but more like "warmth". I can't really explain it, but there's something about all these odd ingredients shoved into a bun that made me feel quite warm and cosy. I mean, this burger certainly doesn't taste as good as the old classics, the mixture of flavours does take a bit of getting used to, but I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to, especially the mayo/curry combination.

I went for a portion of Criss Cut Fries on the side, as it was only 20p extra to upgrade, which is quite cheap for alternative fried potato in a fast food place. Sure, there were some in the Winter Whopper, but I wanted to judge them by their own merits. These are also nice, although I must say I prefer the new style fries a lot more. The Criss Cut Fries were a little overdone for my liking, and although I like them crunchy, these were just a bit hard and chewy, with not much soft potato in the middle. 

The Winter Whopper is an interesting creation for the season, but it actually works quite well somehow. So don't be put off by the weird sauces inside, go and try one, and pick up the Criss Cut Fries too. They may not be perfect, but they won't be around for long.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Today's Review: Sour Maoam

I'm a big fan of Maoam. From the sticks to the pinballs, they provide a fantastic fruity, chewy experience. Plus the name is a palindrome, and that's always cool. I'm surprised I hadn't tried these sour Maoam before, but I knew I just had to tuck in when I found them. 

These chews comes in five flavours: Lemon, apple, orange, strawberry and cherry. They're packaged like the blocks in the standard Maoam pack, five small chewy sweets wrapped up in its own packaging, which means five sweets per flavour. That's 25 sweets if you want to try them all and have no self control, and if you are a fan of Maoam then it's gonna be hard to stop eating these. They contain all the great flavour of the originals, but have a wonderful sour kick that, while not face-implodingly strong, did make me wince a few times. The sourness seems to blend in with all the flavours wonderfully, with the fruitiness winning out in the end to provide a lovely juicy finish. I'll definitely be picking up some of these again. I may pace myself more next time, they're just sour enough to start to hurt your tongue after eating too many in a row. But I guess it's a testament to how tasty they are when I've developed a bit of heartburn after savouring every flavour.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Today's Review: Rockstar Supersours Green Apple

I reviewed the bubblegum flavour of the Rockstar Supersours range a few weeks back, and I didn't particularly find it to my liking. So, upon seeing this green apple flavour, I wondered what could possibly go wrong, apart from it being just like my previous experience of course.

Well, this flavour is certainly less sickly than the bubblegum. It certainly tastes like apple, but the very distinct sweet kind of apple you find in your regular sour sweets. So yeah, still pretty sickly, and it doesn't help that the consistency is quite syrupy. So although the flavour is alright, it doesn't really outweigh the rest of the problems with the drink. It could have been good, but it's only alright.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 16 December 2013

Today's Review: Multiple Colour Pens

Do you ever get tired of writing with the same old, single colour pen? Do you want to inject some excitement into your writing, but instead of embellishing it with long words, or employing metaphor as a veritable Shakespeare, you just want to write in a different colour? Without buying or picking up another pen? If you meet those very specific criteria, the multiple colour pen is for you.

My kids got one of these pens each in a part bag yesterday, and I must say it's been a while since I've seen one. My parents used to have the good old blue pen with the six or so colours, but this one has a total of ten. Ten! I didn't even know there were that many colours. Just kidding, I've seen all those computer ads boasting about how many millions of colours they can display. Though I've never seen them provide a list...

I digress, again. These colour changing pens are pretty awesome. So many people just write in blues and blacks, it's become the boring old norm. I mean, sure, teachers will employ some red biro for the old corrections and "please see me"s, but when was the last time you saw anyone write in pink pen? Or green, or yellow? Actually, yellow is a stupid colour to have, how will that show up properly on anything?

Pens that offer multiple colours are so seldom used, and I think they should be more accepted. They're just as easy to operate as the average biro, and colours can easily be changed with a simple slide of the thumb. Each colour has its own separate tube, so the ink will last just as long as your average pen. The only problem I can see is due to the fact that there are so many ink tubes, the pen is a little oversized, and may feel a bit weird while writing, but it's no thicker than those giant novelty pencils we'll all probably receive as a present in our lifetimes, and people use those all the time... right?

Let's break the norm. Let's pen our letters in purple, our oratory speeches in orange, our greetings to the gardener in green. My alliteration may not be perfect, but if I wrote it in funky colours I'm sure you'd all be captivated. I want more of these multiple coloured pens in the world, because they're awesome.

My rating: 5/5 

Sunday 15 December 2013

Today's Review: Baubles

'Tis the season and all that, and since last year I reviewed tinsel, why not follow it up this year with another popular Christmas decoration? Baubles adorn Christmas trees everywhere, more so than other hanging decorations in the shapes of icicles, nativity scenes, or whatever else they decide to attach to a piece of string. But why are baubles so popular?

Well, they certainly are the most inoffensive of ornaments. Baubles are simple and spherical. They're nice to look at, easy to hold, simple to attach to the tree. They're also pretty versatile, they can be any number of colours, be painted with a variety of patterns, and can even be personalised to include names or messages. The bauble is so ingrained in the Christmas culture that it's hard to imagine what you'd put on a tree if baubles weren't around. It would just feel wrong. 

There's really not much I can say against baubles. The only bad thing I can think of is the potential injury caused by one falling to the ground and shattering, but the fact is that baubles are so widely produced that you can probably pick up shatterproof plastic ones anywhere. So if you're the kind of person who loves knocking ornaments off trees, you can still enjoy everything the bauble has to offer. They're simple yet elegant, and Christmas just wouldn't be the same without them.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 14 December 2013

Today's Review: Francis Hartridge's Root Beer

I'm quite find of all these botanical drinks that have been popping up in recent years. They pack a nice punch and some truly delicious flavours. So upon seeing this bottle of old style root beer, I had to snap it up, especially as I don't think I'd had root beer before. Americans always se to be crazy about it... Or was that in the 50s? Either way, it was bottoms up.

Well, this root beer certainly didn't taste like I expected it to. Not that I had any idea as to how it would taste, but it sure wasn't like this. It has elements of aniseed, mouthwash, that stuff they give you to swill your mouth out at the dentist... I'm not sure, it's a very bold, certainly almost medicinal flavour, but there's something about it that is pretty tasty. While other botanical drinks like Fentimans certainly have that medicinal tinge, they are also very sweet, but this bottle was a little tart in comparison. There's definitely some sweetness present, but it was just a bit too bitter and oddly flavored for me to fully enjoy. Still, it's refreshing and different, and certainly worth a try if you're into your old fashioned glass bottle beverages.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 13 December 2013

Today's Review: Almondy Almond Cake With Toblerone

I do enjoy a bit of Toblerone. I don't buy it often, but when I receive some as a random Christmas gift I'll happily sit and crunch through a piece... or five. But my eyes certainly lit up when I saw this frozen treat on offer in Tesco, it's an almond tart topped with pieces of Toblerone.

Not that I really knew what an almond tart was, nor am I really into almonds, but this was a unique enough dessert that I just had to give it a go, and I'm glad I did. As you can see above, there are a few interesting layers throughout the tart. The top is the titular Toblerone piecess mothered in chocolate, with some creamy, chocolate covered splodges forming a kind of crust. Underneath there's a fantastic chocolate cream, a thick layer that adds a wonderful smooth texture. The bottom is the almond tart itself, it's pretty much like a cheesecake base made of almonds, and with the creamy layer in the middle the whole dessert does give off quite a cheesecake-y vibe. 

But it's certainly very nutty, not in an overwhelming way, as I very much enjoyed it despite my aversion to nuts. The Toblerone pieces on top are generously portioned, and lend a satisfying crunch to the creamy and soft nutty textures in the other layers. I definitely enjoyed this more than I thought I would, it's a chocolatey, nutty treat. Apparently there's even a Daim version around, so I'll be snagging that one up as soon as I can.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 12 December 2013

Today's Review: Morrissons Signature Triple Belgian Chocolate Fudge Yule Log

If there's one thing I love about Christmas, it's yule log. Forget the presents, the lights, the Christmas dinner. If I can get some yule log I'm a happy man. It's strange, because yule log is basically just a chocolate swiss roll covered in more chocolate, but it just tastes so good. But now Morrissons have stepped up the yule log game, with this monstrous creation.

It may look like your average log at first, but this thing is packed. The chocolate buttercream is nice and thick, and runs nicely throughout the moist sponge. But the outside is where it gets real. It's not just the regular flakey chocolate coating, oh no. It's a layer of exquisite chocolate fudge, interspersed with crunchy chocolate flakes to give a magnificent texture. Every part of this log is amazing, its moist, soft, crunchy, and certainly chocolatey. It's not even overly sickly, which is dangerous, as I could easily imagine myself devouring a whole log in one sitting. Thankfully I've paced myself so far, but it won't last for long, because this is truly delicious.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Today's Review: Morrissons Salted Caramel Pretzels

Oddly flavoured Christmas snacks seem to be all the rage this year. Mint chocolate Pringles, bramley apple crisps, and now Morrissons have joined in too, with these salted caramel pretzels. Yeah, sweet pretzels. That may fly with the soft variety, but it's a little odd with the small crunchy ones. Still, I enjoyed Penn State's maple bacon pretzels, so I was willing to give these a try. 

Turns out they're... okay. The first thing that hits after popping one in my mouth is an overwhelming sweetness. It's certainly got a caramel flavour. but it's pretty intense and overrides everything else. Also, despite its intensity, the sweet taste does go away quite quickly, and the pretzels break down quite quickly, leaving a bland mush to chew and swallow. There's certainly a sweet spot in the middle where the sweetness has dulled down and the salty flavour blends in quite nicely, but it doesn't last too long. They're certainly edible, and an interesting idea, but these pretzels are just quite average.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Today's Review: Frozen

It's Disney time again, and I'm always in the mood for a new Disney movie, especially with the gold they've been pumping out the last few years. This time we have Frozen, a movie based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, a story I'd never heard of. But hey, it's Disney, what could go wrong?

Frozen follows sister Ana (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), princesses of Arendelle. Elsa, by a twist of fate, has the power to create and control ice and snow, a power that starts to grow beyond her control, resulting in her injuring Ana. After years of being shut away to hide Elsa's secret from the kingdom, the castle doors open for one day for Elsa's coronation. But when her powers are exposed, Elsa flees, a dangerous fate befalls the kingdom, and Ana steps up to find her sister and save the day.

This is the formula for good old classic Disney, the golden years that brought us The Little Mermaid and Beauty And The Beast. Classic fairy tales with a Disney magic twist. It already worked fantastically for Tangled a few years back, and many critics are hailing Frozen as the best Disney musical since the late 80s/early 90s. In some respects they're not wrong, Frozen is an extremely well crafted movie. There's a great cast of talented voice actors, singing some nicely written songs absolutely fantastically. It's also a beautiful movie, from the ultra-realistic snow effects covering the beautiful landscapes, to the perfect facial expression of the characters, particularly Ana. This movie is a fantastic portrayal of the revitalised Disney that has developed under the watchful eye of John Lasseter.

Ana in particular is a fantastic heroine. Think Rapunzel from Tangled, but more adventurous and mischievous. Kristen Bell does an amazing job in both singing and speaking roles, and while every character is unique and wonderfully cast, Ana is a fantastic addition to the roster of Disney princesses. The songs, while fantastically sung, do feel a little bit off to me. They seem to be written more for a Broadway show for a movie, lacking the tight writing and relying more on layered harmonies and melodies. On stage, these songs would be perfect, but they just seem a bit of an odd fit on the big screen. Still, that may just be me, and I certainly still have tunes swimming round my head several hours after the movie ended.

Frozen is a beautifully crafted movie, filled with great characters and packing a lot of heart, and is a great sign of the high standard that Disney are working to nowadays. Even the short before the movie was fantastic, so just go and see it.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 9 December 2013

Today's Review: Milka Pieguski Cookies

Well, I couldn't just pick one thing up from the Polish supermarket, and I certainly didn't just invest in the one Milka product either. These Milka Pieguski cookies caught my eye too, and while they didn't seem incredibly interesting, I was eager to try out some cookies with Milka chunks in them.

Well, that's all they are. Just cookies with Milka chunks in. The chocolate is as nice as always, and there are a decent amount of chips, but the biscuit is nothing to write home about. It's quite thick and dry, leaving a sort of chalky aftertaste. They're certainly edible, but I've had much nicer cookies, and the stodginess kind of overwhelms the chocolate, so I certainly didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would. They're worth a go if you're eager to try Milka stuff, but otherwise I'd given them a miss.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 8 December 2013

Today's Review: Milka Pierniczki Alpejskie

I've long neglected the several Polish supermarkets in my town, but thought it was worth popping in to see what interesting snacks I could find. This Pierniczki Alpejskie was certainly one of them. It boasts the Milka name, which is always a good thing, but apart from that I had no idea what it was. Chocolate on the outside, yes, but inside? Well, some form of biscuit or sponge, and some plum, from the look of the picture. Well, I'm not one to pass up on food just because I don't know what the hell is in it, so in my face it went.

Well, I was right about the chocolate, also the plum. The biscuit part, unfortunately, is gingerbread. Not your average crunchy gingerbread though, it's more of a soft, cakey gingerbread. I say unfortunately, but that's only because I'm not really a fan of gingerbread. In this case in particular it's tremendously overwhelming, knocking out the taste of the Milka chocolate, which was the only bit I was looking forward to. The plum centre does help to balance things out, adding a bit of sweetness to the spicy sponge, but I would have preferred a sweeter fruit. 

It's safe to say that I didn't like these... biscuits? Cakes? I'm not sure really. I did try a few just to make sure I wasn't disregarding them because they're a bit different, and they certainly became more edible once I got used to the flavour, as they got a little bit sweeter on my tastebuds. But still, they're not overly nice. Too much gingerbread, not enough sweetness. I don't think I'd try these again. They may be a traditional thing over in Poland, but I can see why they haven't caught on here.

My rating: 1/5

Saturday 7 December 2013

Today's Review: Pizza Hut Five Cheese Crust

These pizzas are starting to look less and less like pizzas, I swear. Yes, we've seen many crazy things shoved into pizza crust in the name of deliciousness. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, meatballs and garlic, and now? Well, cheese. But not just one type of cheese, oh no, five types of cheese. It looks like this has already been devoured en masse over the Atlantic, and they've already reverted back to a simpler three cheese pizza. But why? Are five cheeses just too much? 

Well, I don't think so. I thoroughly enjoyed this crust. As you can see, each slice of pizza has a pocket, like the ones seen in the cheeseburger and crown crust pizzas, but this time each one is filled with a glorious, melted combination of cheeses that elegantly cover the palate with grease and happiness. Tasty, certainly, but I can't say I'm convinced with the arrangement. You see, where there is no pool of cheese, there is simply plain, doughy crust, which only serves to break up the cheese experience. I understand that five cheese cannot be rolled up in one crust, that would just be insane. But, instead of tiny cheese jacuzzis adorning the edge of the pizza, could not a moat system be implemented? I don't know, I'm not a pizza technician, but this lack of overall cheesy coverage has left me feeling slightly unfulfilled. Still, it's a nice attempt at something different in the already crazily populated crust market. What will happen next? Six cheeses? No, that would be madness.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 6 December 2013

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Bramley Apple Crumble Crisps

Yeah, that's right, I'm not bowing out of the crisp and popcorn game yet, there's still plenty more to try this season. So after trying my two bags of oddly flavoured savoury popcorn, I've gone the other direction and tucked into this bag of sweet, dessert flavoured crisps. 

Yes, apple crumble flavoured crisps, boasting all the appley, spicy goodness of the classic dessert, but contained in potato chips. No custard included though, how sad. I was a little apprehensive about buying these after the dessert themed Pringles I bought a while back, but curiosity got the better of me, and thankfully I was rewarded. 

I don't know how these work, but they do. These crisps taste just like an apple crumble, albeit a well done and crunchy one. They have a distinct fruity flavour, and the spices are pretty spot on as well. The only problem I had was that the spices were a little too strong, overwhelming the apple flavour a bit, so I couldn't bring myself to eat too many at a time. But despite apple crumble being a very odd flavour for crisps, Tesco have pulled it off surprisingly well. Grab 'em while you can.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 5 December 2013

Today's review: Tesco Wensleydale & Cranberry Popcorn

It was only yesterday that I stated my general dislike of strange, savoury popcorn flavours. But it turns out I have merely not been impressed by bacon popcorn, as I have tried other flavours that I found quite tasty. So when I spied this wensleydale and cranberry popcorn in Tesco today, I had to give it a go. I think I've tried cheese popcorn once in the past, and I don't remember particularly liking it, but I was willing to try this for the sake of review.

I was a little dubious at first, the cheesiness put me off, but the promise of the sweetness of cranberry drew me in. Thankfully, my decision to dabble was rewarded with delight. This certainly is a cheesy popcorn, but the wensleydale is not overly pronounced. It's a smooth, mellow flavour, and while the cranberry isn't massively flavoursome, there's a decidedly sweet tinge to every mouthful that takes the edge off the cheesiness and rounds off the flavour nicely, combining nicely with the popcorn texture. All that being said though, it's still a little weird. I'm just not ready to give up on the traditional sweet and toffee flavours to delve into cheese and chilli flavoured popcorns, and despite this bag being quite nice, it's certainly an acquired taste that I think would take me a while to get used to. If I were to be offered any flavour of popcorn, I'd go with the sweet, but this is a great flavour for anyone looking for something a little different.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer Maple Bacon Popcorn

I reviewed bacon popcorn quite a while ago, back when savoury, meaty popcorn was just a disgustingly intriguing, extremely niche market. But now supermarket shelves boast all kinds of weird and wonderful popcorn flavours, and Marks & Spencer have joined in the fun by bringing out a destive maple bacon flavour popcorn.

I certainly wasn't a fan of the all bacon popcorn that I had before, but I certainly was a fan of the maple bacon pretzels I tried a few weeks back. So should I be a fan of maple bacon popcorn? Well, kinda. Since this is maple bacon, it has a certain sweetness to it that makes it quite moreish, but at the heart of it all is the bacon flavour, which still doesn't particularly sit too well with me in a popcorn environment. It's only a small bag, and it's certainly edible, and nicely sweet, but by the end of it I wasn't particularly craving more. I think I'll stick with the fully sweet popcorn flavours, but this wasn't bad tasting for a dabble in the different and interesting.

My rating: 3/5

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Today's Review: Burts Firecracker Lobster Potato Chips

I've been going through a crisp phase recently, and while most brands have the same old flavours, some have some interesting ones that I have yet to try. This was especially the case with this pack of Burts Potato Chips, because not only have I never eaten lobster flavoured crisps, I've also never eaten lobster. So who am I to judge the authenticity of lobster crisps? Well, I may not be the most educated in seafood matters, but I do know when things taste nice, and these do.

I was expecting something along the lines of prawn cocktail flavour, not so much in taste, but in intensity. Instead, I was met with a distinctively meaty flavour, with a slight fishy tinge, but nothing overwhelming for the senses. I certainly didn't feel like I was left with bad breath after these. The firecracker element of this flavour is interesting too. There's a lovely peppery flavour, that isn't exactly spicy, but rounds off the whole experience to give a lovely saucy texture. These crisps were delicious, as evidenced by me eating the whole bag in one sitting. I'm certainly looking forward to eating real lobster now.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 2 December 2013

Today's Review: Mattessons Double Dippers

Mattessons have already established themselves in the processed chicken snack market with Fridge Raiders, their awesome little bags of different flavoured chicken pieces. But I understand that Fridge Raiders may not be quite refined enough for some people, but that's okay, because now we have Double Dippers, a foil wrapped, compartmented plastic tray containing pieces of succulent chicken, and things to dip them in. You know it's fancy because the serving suggestion depicts them being eaten with a metal fork, and there's some green stuff nestled in the corner.

Well, these are the innards, and for those of you who don't carry around cutlery utility belts at lunch, you'll be pleased to know that a plastic fork is provided. I was also pleased to find that the "double dipping" implied by the title is not the unhygienic kind, but rather due to the fact that there are two things to dip your chicken in. You spear the marinated chicken breast pieces, dip them in the creamy ranch dip, and then roll them in the crunchy breadcrumbs, before finally popping the whole lot in your mouth. 

I was dubious about how this little box would work out, but I must say I was very impressed. The chicken is juicy and quite plentiful, and I was definitely pleased with the choice of dip, as ranch is one of my favourites, and this rendition is certainly creamy and delicious. The breadcrumbs, while not particularly flavoursome, certainly add a fantastic crunchy texture, which lends to the others for a very tasty experience overall. If you find Fridge Raiders a little dry and boring, like me, then give these a go. I'll definitely pick up some more in the future.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 1 December 2013

Today's Review: Chianti & Olive Pastinos

Pastinos are an interesting little snack. I picked them up a while back, after spying them nestled among the regular potato and tortilla chips in Whole Foods. But these are not your regular chips, they are in fact pieces of pasta, all crunchy and flavoured like chips should be.

I was a bit dubious at first about these. I mean, I enjoy crunching on a piece of uncooked pasta or two while cooking, but to devour a whole bag? Seems a bit weird. Thankfully, these pieces of pasta will not break your teeth. They are fantastically crunchy, more so than tortilla chips, but they're still pretty easy to break apart.

Unfortunately, the flavour isn't all that great. I went for the most interesting one, looking forward to a unique olive flavour, but I was left a little underwhelmed. They certainly tasted nice, but there was nothing bold, or even particularly noticeable. The good points of these lie in the crunch and texture, rather than the flavour itself. Perhaps I'd hold a better opinion if I tried the other varieties, but while these are quite good, I don't think I'd buy them over more commonplace chips again.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 30 November 2013

Today's Review: Kettle Chips: Smoked Paprika With Porcini & Garlic Butter

I'm always partial to a bag of Kettle Chips, and there's no better time to pick one up than when a new flavour is around. So imagine my joy when I spotted this "seasonal edition" of smoked paprika, porcini and garlic butter on the shelves. Not sure which season the flavour represents, but I don't need a season for a reason.

Well, these are Kettle Chips, so their crunchiness is as awesome as ever. As for the flavour? Well, they certainly have a nice, smoky flavour, but it's not particularly intense, as other flavours can be. But, while the flavour lacks a bit in strength, that works out well for the garlic butter, which is certainly noticeable, but quite subdued. My fear of getting bad breath from these was not realised. As for the porcini, I can't say my tastebuds pointed it out, but all the flavours work together quite well, giving a nice, smoky, creamy flavour. It may not be particularly strong, and certainly not my favourite Kettle Chips flavour, but it's worth a go, especially as it may not be around for long.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 29 November 2013

Today's Review: Rocket Fuel Self Heating Hot Chocolate

I extolled the virtues of Rocket Fuel Self Heating Coffee a while back. A can of coffee that heats itself? A neat idea, and one that was pulled off quite well. But what if you don't like coffee, and want to initiate a chemical reaction to warm up your drink? Well, now you can pick up a can of Rocket Fuel Self Heating Hot Chocolate.

Yes, it's the same concept, the same can, but with hot chocolate instead of coffee. Well, according to the can, it's "Energy Chocolate", because it's infused with guarana. In essence though, it's just hot chocolate, and it's a pretty nice one. The heating process is easily started, as with the coffee version, and within minutes that drink is at a perfect drinking temperature. The hot chocolate is milky, smooth, just plain nice, and since it's already pre-mixed there's no nasty bitterness. I can't say I got much of an energy kick out of drinking it, but it's certainly nice, and I prefer it to the coffee. Give it a go.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 28 November 2013

Today's Review: Fox's Vinnie's Tastes Of America Biscuits

So, Fox's have a panda mascot, who is Italian, but has released a range of American flavour inspired biscuits. Sorry, I means biscwits, obviously. It's all quite nonsensical, but hey, it means a quite nice range of new flavours, so I'm all for it. There are four flavours in total: Key Lime Pie Crunch Creams, Cherry Cheesecake Jam 'N' Cream, Mississippi Mud Pie Melts and Blueberry Muffin Party Rings. They were all equally tempting, but I couldn't justify spending that much on biscuits all at once. Thankfully, they are now all on offer for £1 each at Tesco, so it was time to chow down.

Well, Fox's have certainly selected a nice range of biscuits to Americanise, and some interesting flavours to give them. My favourites are the Mississippi Mud Pie Melts, probably because they're so damn chocolatey. While the regular version are quite crunchy, these ones have a softer texture, which matches the actual dessert. These biscuits are soft, smooth, creamy and delicious. The softer texture is also employed in the Party Rings, and coupled with the blueberry flavouring, they actually do taste like blueberry muffins.

The Key Lime Pie Crunch Creams are my close second favourite, as they maintain the crunchiness and creaminess of the original, but with a fantastic citrus twist. It didn't take me long to polish off the whole pack, and this is probably the pack with the most biscuits for your buck. Lastly, there's the Cherry Cheesecake Jam 'N' Cream, which are basically like cherry Jammie Dodgers. They're probably my least favourite, but they're still damn tasty. The cheesecake element isn't overly noticeable, but it's an overall nicely fruity experience.
So there you have it, four lovely new flavours of well established tasty biscuits. They're all tasty, so you'd better pick them up and chow down, capiche? Seriously, why a Mafia panda?

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Today's Review: Terry's Chocolate Orange Minis

Christmas means Terry's Chocolate Orange. Don't ask me why, I'd gladly eat them any time of the year, but they only seem to come out in force during the winter months. There are several flavours of Chocolate Orange, and they are all awesome, and they are also available in individually wrapped "Segsations" if you don't trust yourself not to eat the entire orange in one sitting (a very real danger). But this year heralds the arrival of Chocolate Orange Minis, a new way to experience your Chocolate Orange... by making them mini.

I passed up on these for a while, as since I have already tried the original oranges and Segsations many times before, I didn't think there'd be much new on offer with this pack. These Minis are basically the Chocolate Orange equivalent of all those Cadbury pouches that have been brought out in recent years. Many small pieces of chocolate orange, and with no wrappers either, so you can just go ahead and empty the bag into your face with no fear of choking on plastic. But how do they taste?

Well, I was right in my assumption that these will being nothing new to the table. They are literally small pieces of chocolate orange. But that doesn't make them bad, in fact, quite the opposite, it's still the same tasty Chocolate Orange we know and love, just presented in a different way. These are great for sharing, and at least you don't have to break the thing open to start eating. I just hope that next year they bring out some Minis with some of the other Chocolate Orange flavours.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Today's Review: Jelly Belly Milkshakes

Jelly Belly provide the definitive jelly bean experience. They also make some nice sodas and candles. But now they have filled the other obvious gap in the market, by releasing a range of milkshakes.

These Jelly Belly shakes come in vanilla, banana and dark chocolate. They were on offer at 2 for £2, so one had to be left behind, sorry banana, it's purely personal. The vanilla sounded good right off the bat, as I love vanilla milkshake anyway. But the dark chocolate left me feeling apprehensive. I've never really gotten used to the bitterness of dark chocolate, so I wasn't expecting much.

Thankfully, these flavours are both delicious. The vanilla is smooth and silky. These shakes are 95% milk, so they're not overly thick, but they certainly have a nice creamy taste. The chocolate, as much as I was dreading it, is actually very nice. Most chocolate shakes are quite sickly, but the slight bitterness of the chocolate in this shake allows the flavour to blend in nicely with the milk for a lovely smooth taste. These shakes are delicious, and although I don't normally like banana flavour, I'll probably be picking one up in the future to see if Jelly Belly have done as good a job as with these flavours.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 25 November 2013

Today's Review: Galaxy Iced Coffee

Since training myself to like traditional hot coffee, I've been working on getting to appreciate iced coffee too. It's going quite swimmingly, as there are certainly some tasty ones out there, from the Starbucks Doubleshot to the Emmi Caffe Latte. Now Mars are stepping into the coffee game with this Galaxy Mocha Latte iced coffee.

This cool, cylindrical treat comes in either single or double shot varieties. I went for the latter because I like my coffee strong, but it's nice to know there's an option of strength rather than just flavour, although there is only one flavour... Thankfully, it tastes great. It's smooth, creamy and chocolatey, much like the Galaxy milkshake, and the coffee flavour works very nicely, blending in with the chocolate flavour rather than overwhelming it, but also lending a nice kick to the whole experience. It didn't take me long to polish this off, it's very tasty and leaves a nice, creamy aftertaste, as well a nice energy boost from the coffee. This is well worth a try.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 24 November 2013

Today's Review: Hoods

Winter is coming, and the cold is setting in. It's time to wrap up warm, and most will opt for a coat with a hood. But not I.

Hoods are great in theory. They're attached to the top of your coat, hoodie, or whatever type of clothing they've decided to add a hood to, and is easily accessible for pulling up over the head to protect from the elements. Raining? No problem. Snow? Well, that's just frozen rain, so still not a problem. Slightly cold head? Yeah, a hood has you covered. Literally. Har har.

But, however good hoods may be at covering heads, they just don't work for me. First of all, most don't fully cover my head all the time, so there's always the danger of my fringe getting wet, or the thing eventually slipping off altogether. But that's nothing compared to the way hoods limit my vision. I rely a lot on my peripheral vision, especially when keeping an eye on my wayward, straggling kids. With a hood on, it's like instant tunnel vision. If I can't see either side of me it frustrates me to no end, so while I may be getting soaked from the rain, it takes a lot to get me to concede and put my hood up.

Hoods suck. While they may be convenient and relatively effective, I just can't see right while I'm wearing one. You know what's better than hoods? Hats. Whole head coverage with none of the sight restrictions. Even if I'm wearing something with a hood, I'm likely to take a hat. I really don't like hoods.

My rating: 1/5