Monday 31 March 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Pizza & Choco Cheese Dippers

Cheese dippers are a lunchbox institution. There's nothing quite like dipping breadsticks in cream cheese for a tasty snack, and over the years the formula has remained pretty much unchanged. I did review Dairylea's interesting new flavours a while back, but now Tesco have gone even further and released these two interesting cheese dipper flavours.

The pizza dippers contain your regular breadsticks, but with a tomato flavoured cheese to dip them in. The cheese itself is quite thick, but it certainly has a nice smooth tomato flavour that isn't too overwhelming. Of course, all the flavours put together gives you cheese, tomato and bread, so it does indeed taste like you're eating a pizza. Very tasty.

The choco cheese variety is probably the most interesting. This pack contains sweet breadsticks, with a chocolate flavoured cheese. Obviously that gives it a nice cheesecake-like taste. and while the breadsticks are sweet, they don't distract from the lovely flavour of what you're dipping them in. There's enough cheese in either pack to generously coat the dippers too, and that's another thing that pleases me.

So if you're bored of your regular cheese dippers, look no further than Tesco. These are some interesting new flavours that put a yummy spin on an old classic. Well worth a try.

My rating: 10/10

Sunday 30 March 2014

Today's Review: Flaming Grill Pubs' Mountain Of Sweet

There is a pub near me that has closed and reopened several times over the years, operating under different chains. They've always served nice, cheap food, but the best times have been under the Flaming Grill Pubs brand, offering a good selection of grills, burgers and traditional meals, along with some neat seasonal options and some hefty eating challenges. I tried and failed their massive burger challenge a while ago, and have since stuck to regular sized portions for the main course. But that doesn't stop me taking risks when it comes to dessert, and today I order the Mountain Of Sweet.

Yes, when they say mountain, they literally mean mountain. This is one of those ultimate sharer desserts. It's awesome because I often have trouble picking which dessert to try, and this encompasses most of the tasty ones into one gigantic bowl. There's the generic vanilla ice cream and wafers, but with Maltesers and honeycomb pieces mixed in with whipped cream. All this is placed on top of a bed of profiteroles, and surrounded on all sides by alternating chocolate fudge cake and "choc-chip popping pizza" pieces. "What's that?" I hear you cry. Well, it's a giant cookie, coated in chocolate, brownie chunks, marshmallows and popping candy pieces, and by itself would make a delicious dessert. Here it's even better. If all that isn't enough, there are also cookie dough cheesecake pieces hidden throughout that are a lovely surprise when uncovered. 

Needless to say I enjoyed this dessert. I mean, just look at it, what's not to like? Even if you're not a fan of one element of this monstrosity, you're bound to find something to satisfy your taste buds. I wouldn't recommend you eat a whole one alone though, in fact I don't know if it's humanly possible. I didn't even polish this off sharing it with my family. But it's certainly a testament to how tasty this is that I was willing to keep spooning chocolatey, creamy treats into my mouth even when my stomach physically couldn't take anymore. This is a dessert that's definitely worth experiencing. 

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 29 March 2014

Today's Review: Brown Bread's Oreo Cheesecake

There's a farmer's market that takes up a large portion of my high street over the weekends. I tend to avoid town on those busy days, but when I do go, I'm always drawn to the stall set up by Brown Bread, filled with many wonderful kinds of bread, and also an impressive selection of cakes and pastries. I've sampled a few over the years, and have never been disappointed, and today I spied that they now offer an Oreo cheesecake. Obviously I had to buy a slice.

As you can see from above, this is one deep slice of cheesecake. It cost £2, which I think is a pretty good price for what you get. There's a lovely crumbly Oreo biscuit base, topped with a tremendously thick creamy layer. This isn't so much cheesecake as cream cake, as it's incredibly light, fluffy, and creamy, much like the inside of your regular Oreo. The top's finished off with some chocolate swirls and Oreo cookies, and really the whole package is pretty tasty. My only gripe is that the creamy part is a little too much, and there's not enough cookie to really make it taste like Oreo throughout. Still, it's certainly a nice treat, and well worth picking up if you happen upon one of Brown Bread's stalls.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 28 March 2014

Today's Review: Maynards Discovery Patch

I'm always happy when a new bag of sweets comes along, as I often get tired of eating chocolate and biscuits. Actually, that's a dirty lie, but I certainly do enjoy trying new gummy sweets, and Maynards has delivered with their new Discovery Patch range. The bags comes in three types: Animals, Body Bits, and the one I picked up, Myths & Monsters. They all seem to contain pretty much the same sweets, but in different shapes.

As you can see, the sweets are in several fun forms. Yeti, dragon, mermaid, vampire, unicorn, it was enough to get my kids rifling through to choose their favourite mystical creature. As for the taste? Well, they're actually pretty nice. The yeti up there tasted much like the milky sweets you get in Haribo, while some of the gummies tasted just like Wine Gums, and others tasted entirely different. Some had foam backing as well, so there are enough flavour varieties to keep you interested, and they're all very bold and fruity. Unfortunately, they do suffer from the same problem as regular Wine Gums, in that the flavours are a bit too strong and can get overwhelming after a few sweets. But these are some cool sweets presented in a fun way that are certainly worth picking up if you have some easily pleased children. They're not the best sweets I've tasted, but I enjoyed them.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 27 March 2014

Today's Review: Skittles Desserts

We may have finally got Wild Berry Skittles in the UK, but that doesn't mean there aren't more being churned out elsewhere. I picked up this interesting pack in Mr. Simms, and although it boasts the usual array of colours in different shades, the flavours are inspired by desserts rather than fruit. There's key lime pie, orange creme, strawberry milkshake, raspberry sorbet and blueberry tart. How could I resist all those?

These are definitely still very Skittle-like. The flavours are very bold and fruity, and sometimes this overwhelms the other components that make up the flavours. The blueberry tart just tastes like very strong blueberry, and while it's nice, there's no hint of tart at all. Same goes for the raspberry, while it does taste a little bit lighter, all I could pick up was the fruit itself. The rest of the flavours are pretty damn good though. The strawberry milkshake is like your regular strawberry, subdued with a nice milky hint, the key lime pie has hints of meringue throughout, and the orange creme tastes just like the middle of the awesome Quality Street chocolate of the same name. 

These dessert flavoured Skittles are a great idea, and for the most part one that's pulled off pretty well. It does suffer from some flavours being a bit bold, but they still taste good. If you see a pack around I suggest you pick it up.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Healthy Living Red Thai Curry Popcorn

Savoury popcorn flavours are popping up all over the place. I've tried quite a few over the last few months, including a couple by Tesco, which have both been pretty good. Now there's a savoury flavour under the Healthy Living brand, in the form of this Red Thai Curry popcorn.

This isn't even the first curry popcorn I've tried, so I was already expecting it to be quite nice, and the entire packet only has 85 calories, so it's good for anyone on a diet that wants a quick snack. The popcorn certainly does taste like curry, with a lovely spice that isn't too intense. Unfortunately, it's not too bold a flavour, and it fades a bit more quickly than I'd liked. Still, it's tasty while it lasts, and for that low calorie count this bag was certainly filling. This is well worth a try if you're after something a bit different.

My rating: 4/5 

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Today's Review: KP Grazing Mix: Yoghurt Coated Raisin & Nut Crunch

I reviewed Penn State's trail mix in the middle of last year, and found that it was a fantastic mix of fruit, nuts and chocolate. I've picked up a few more bags since then, but today I found that KP have released their own trail mix, called Grazing Mix for some reason. Are they implying that I'm a farm animal? Anyway, these bags come in three flavours, featuring triple nuts, red berry, and this variety, the yoghurt coated raisin, which I chose because I like yoghurt coated raisins, obviously. 

Inside this somewhat sizeable bag was a mixture of unsalted peanuts and almonds, yoghurt coated raisins, and oat clusters. I love oat clusters, so I was hoping this would be as delicious, if not better than the Penn State trail mix. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. All the components are there, and they taste nice, but there are just far too many nuts for my liking. I know it's supposed to be a nut based mix, but with the Penn State varieties there was a lot of sweetness and fruitiness with every bite, while with this one I found it to be quite lacking in any of the other stuff. It's okay if you want a bag of nuts with a few things thrown in, but having tasted Penn State's trail mix I know it can be done a lot better. These are just pretty bland in comparison.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 24 March 2014

Today's Review: Dr. Moo Quick Milk Banana Straws

I reviewed the chocolate flavour of the Dr. Moo straws last year, and these have become a staple in the household for the kids, along with the strawberry flavour. But recently I've discovered a new variety, in the form of banana. It seems like this is a new addition to the range, but I really don't know enough about the illustrious Dr. Moo company. Either way, it's new to me, so I decided to give it a go, even though I don't really like banana milkshakes. 

I guess that's a good thing, because this straw really didn't make the milk taste of banana. Not that I'm surprised, as I wasn't too impressed with the chocolate flavour either. Sure, there's a hint of banana, but it's not particularly nice, and it's certainly not strong enough to beat the flavour of the actual milk, so what's the point? At least the chocolate one had some flavour, this was just overall disappointing. Even the kids aren't overly fond of the banana, and they'll gladly chug down the chocolate and strawberry. Even if you like banana milk, I wouldn't recommend these straws.

My rating: 1/5

Sunday 23 March 2014

Today's Review: Go Ahead! Chocolate Thins

Since I've started counting calories, I've really come to like the Go Ahead! range. Their Crispy Slices feature fantastic fruity flavours sandwiched between some lovely crispy biscuits, while the Yoghurt Breaks go one further and drape the whole thing in a nice, creamy yoghurt coating. Whichever one you choose, they're filling, low calorie, and totally delicious. Now there are Chocolate Thins, which are basically like Yoghurt Breaks, but with chocolate instead of yoghurt. I'm all for a bit of chocolate, so I had to give these a go.

I picked up the forest fruit and orange flavours, but there is also cherry available. Sadly it was out of stock when I found them. As I said before, these are pretty much exactly like the Yoghurt Breaks. The slices are nice and crispy, and the fruit filling is as bold and tasty as before. As for the chocolate, I'm not sure it's a good fit. It's okay in the orange flavour, as we all know orange chocolate is a good thing. But with the forest fruit, it's not so great, and I'd assume the cherry lies somewhere in between. It's just a mismatch of sweet flavours that didn't really sit well on my taste buds. The other Go Ahead! varieties are a lot better in my opinion, and this seems to be an excuse to inject chocolate into some snacks that really don't need it. They're alright, but I wouldn't choose them over the others.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 22 March 2014

Today's Review: Special K Multi-Grain Porridge

I remember when Special K was just good old fashioned cereal flakes. Now there's all kinds of stuff being churned out by Kellogg's, aimed at those on a diet who still want to enjoy... food? Well, I'm one of those dieting people, and one of the calorie counting crew, so this Special K porridge stood out as it only has 104 calories per serving, which is pretty good for breakfast.

Each box contains six of these almost medicinal looking sachets. Apart from reminding you again of the reduced fat content, it also gives you step by step instructions on how to make it. This is another good thing, because it prevents my bleary eyed, barely woken self from having to retrieve the box I've put back just to figure out what I'm doing. It's simple enough. Open the sachet, put the porridge in a bowl, top up with milk and stick it in the microwave for two and a half minutes. But there is genius hidden in this sachet.

Yeah, once you've emptied the porridge into your bowl you can then fill up the empty sachet milk, as it has a nice little indicator line to tell you exactly how much you need. It does certainly seem risky pouring milk into a flimsy sachet, but I've done it a few times now, and I haven't spilt it once. Besides, it stops me dirtying up my measuring jug, which is a regular occurrence now I'm measuring out portions. But enough about the packaging, how does it taste?

Well, in my ravenous morning hunger I've neglected to take a picture of the finished product. But suffice to say that it looks distinctly like porridge, and that's what it tastes like too. The oats are filling, with a nice creamy texture helped along by the proper milk measurement that the sachet provides. I tried the red berries variety, and there's a generous smattering of freeze dried strawberries and raspberries, which add a lovely fruity flavour. I'm not normally a big fan of porridge, but this wonderfully crafted Special K stuff has made me willing to tuck in every morning. It's low calorie, delicious, and really easy to prepare. 

My rating: 5/5

Friday 21 March 2014

Today's Review: McCain Special Roast Potatoes

I've always held a negative view of frozen roast potatoes, even though I've never really eaten them. I learned to make my own several years ago, and have since learned to whip up some pretty perfect roasties with not much effort. But when McCain contacted me and asked me to review some of their new Special Roast Potatoes, I thought it was a good opportunity to see whether my baseless opinion could be swayed. So this morning a Tesco driver knocked on my door, visibly confused as to why I paid a £5 delivery charge for two packs of potatoes. He must assume I really love potatoes, and am extremely lazy.

So what makes these Special Roast Potatoes special? Well, they're made with the best quality King Edward potatoes, and they're basted in beef dripping to boot. Beef makes anything better, so that got me pretty excited, and in the oven they went. 

What's most important to me with roast potatoes is their crispiness. Nothing puts me off my dinner more than soft, soggy roasties. Thankfully, these potatoes came out of the oven with a nice crust, and one that absolutely has a lovely hint of beef to it.  If that wasn't good enough, upon biting into one I found the insides were fantastically light and fluffy. These potatoes are a lot better than I was expecting them to be, a great crunchy, meaty, fluffy experience. They've certainly changed my view on frozen roast potatoes, and while I won't hang up my apron just yet, I know there's a perfectly good alternative sitting in the freezer that's easy to cook and delicious.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 20 March 2014

Today's Review: Rowntree's Randoms Sweet 'N' Sour

I've never really been a big fan of Randoms. I have nothing against them in particular, it's just if I were going for chewy sweets I'd probably choose some Haribo or some of the classics like Fruit Pastilles and Wine Gums. But that won't stop me trying a new variety of Randoms, and I certainly didn't want to pass up these sweet and sour ones. Sadly, they're not sweet and sour like the sauce, although while that would be interesting, it would also be disgusting. Instead, we have a few sour sugar coated pieces mixed in with the sweet ones. 

Hey, look, an ice cream, a chicken leg, a car, and a lady! How random. Which I guess is the point. The gigantic sweeties on the right are the regular foamy sweet types you'd find in a regular packet, while all the others are sour. I was hoping there'd be a bit more variety in here, perhaps some regular sweet gummies mixed in with the sour ones, but these certainly aren't bad. A few of the gummy ones also have a squidgy filling inside, so there's enough different flavours and textures to be getting on with. These may not be the most original sweets out there, but they're certainly worth a go.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Today's Review: Aero Bubbly White

I do love Aero, but there's not much variety to be had. The milk chocolate is the old classic, the orange is nice for a change, but I really don't like the mint. Thankfully, this limited edition white chocolate Aero has hit the shelves, and everyone knows white chocolate makes everything better.

Well, it's not all white chocolate. I'm not sure why there's a regular chocolate coating, perhaps to emphasise the white bubbly bit underneath, but really, it doesn't matter, because this tastes awesome either way. It's the same old aerated. bubbly chocolate, but in white. It's smooth, creamy and light, and I wish it came in a bigger bar, because after eating this I was left wanting more. This is a fantastic new flavour of Aero, I just wish it was here to stay.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Today's Review: Carrying A Large Wad Of Cash

I wrote a review a little over a year ago on people who carry around large amounts of cash. I concluded that I do not understand them, and that they are bad and terrible people. Well, today I became one of those people. Well, not one of the people that carry hundreds of pounds while sauntering between shops. I was given some money that I was owed in cash form, and the only way to make sure it was safe was to make the 20 minute walk to the bank to deposit it. So for that short amount of time, I was a person who was carrying a large amount of cash, and I think I can further understand people who do this. Although, not really, as I hated every second of it.

First of all, I had no real secure place to put the cash. We're talking close to a grand here, and that's not enough to put in a locked briefcase that is handcuffed to my wrist, but it's way too much to be able to fit in my wallet. It was warm outside too, so I had no inside jacket pocket to tuck it into. So I had to place it in an envelope, which was then wedged in my pocket with my phone, to ensure I could still feel it at all times, in case some sneaky pickpocket tried to lift it from me.

But pickpockets are only one of the dangers you face when carrying money. There's also people who will just straight up knock you out or rob you at knife point. Granted, this was the middle of the day, in open, populated streets in a safe area, but you've got to think of all the possibilities. Like, what if I passed out for some reason? What if a freak gust of wind managed to pluck the envelope from my pocket and spray the money all over the streets? What if the fabric of space in my pocket area were torn asunder, launching my wealth into another dimension? All distinct, very real possibilities, and all of which made me feel entirely uncomfortable. Once I'd reached the bank and given the money to the teller, I felt a lot better. The physical notes were their problem now, for now my money was digital, only accessible by hackers, fat cats and economic crises.

So, after my 20 minute money-carrying ordeal, I can still safely say I do not understand those people who carry cash around. Physical money is a fragile, easily misplaced thing, especially as it's made of paper. I wouldn't advise that anyone carries a large amount, unless they absolutely have to. It's nerve-wracking.

My rating: 0/5

Monday 17 March 2014

Today's Review: Starburst FaveReds

When it comes to eating sweets, there's a certain hierarchy of colour that I always stick to. I start with the worst, green, and work my way through yellow, orange and red, up to purple, the best. I'm sure this is the way it's supposed to be, because who the hell would think green is the tastiest? My inkling was supported some years ago with the release of the bags containing only red and black wine gums, and now Starburst has brought out this pack of several red flavours. So everyone must think red is awesome.

There are four flavours in this pack. There's the regular strawberry, red apple, cherry, and raspberry. Nothing overly different as you can see, but certainly some nice flavours to put together in one bag. Not all of them are that great though. The strawberry is just that, the regular old strawberry you'd find in your regular bag of Starburst. The cherry is perhaps the worst flavour. It tastes more like cherry bakewell than fruity sweet, and just seems a bit off to me. While the red apple seems a bit like a cop out, it's actually one of the best of the bunch. It has a tangy, juicy flavour that certainly tastes like a red apple. Alongside raspberry, which is also very flavoursome and juicy, these flavours make the bag well worth picking up. Every variety may not be perfect, but there are some very nice flavours of Starburst that you won't find anywhere else.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 16 March 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Dragibus Bi Cool

Another day, another interesting French Haribo. I picked up these Dragibus Bi Cool because they are apparently "nouveau", although they seem to have been around for a while. Although I've never had the original Dragibus, and they were also available, I just had to go for these because they're obviously twice as cool.

Well, Dragibus are basically big, misshapen jelly beans, and that's not bad at all, because everyone loves jelly beans, apart from vegetarians. These ones in particular are pretty special, because each one has two colours. I assume that means two flavours, but they're all very bold and sweet and it seems any distinct tastes just blend together into one big sugary hit. There are various combinations of green, red, yellow and blue, and the flavours certainly seem to correspond to the colours, but it's hard to pick out what exactly they're supposed to be. Still, these are very fruity and juicy, and while they're a bit too intense to identify any fruit in particular, they're still nice to eat. Far too sugary and sweet to finish off a bag in one sitting though.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 15 March 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Orangina Pik

I have returned from my travels to Disneyland, and while my meals consisted mostly of overpriced fries and continental breakfast buffet, I did manage to pick up a couple of interesting bags of sweeties at the train station. The one that intrigued me the most was this bag of Orangina Haribo gummies. Now, I don't have much experience with Orangina, since it's quite hard to find in the UK, but I did buy a bottle alongside these for sake of comparison. The drink is pretty nice, distinctly orangey, even if there is a bit of pulp in there (pulp is the devil).

I must say, these sweets are pretty authentic. The orange tastes just like the drink, and it has a nice sour kick to it. These gummies also come in pink and red varieties though, and while I didn't have drinks to compare them to (although I think they do exist somewhere) it didn't stop me enjoying them. The darker colours seemed a lot more tangy than the orange, and each one has bold, fruity undertones. These are tasty, sour sweets that are definitely worth a try if you're into Orangina, or even if you've never drunk the stuff.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 14 March 2014

Today's Review: Birthday Cake M&Ms

M&Ms may only come in a few varieties in the UK, but I've tried quite a few of the flavours found stateside. Still, I was surprised to find birthday cake M&Ms in my local Mr. Simms. M&Ms and birthday cake? Can't go wrong with that combination.

Upon first inspection, these just look like ordinary chocolate M&Ms. Perhaps slightly fatter, but the inside is uniformly chocolatey. But once I started chewing I found they tasted a little different. The chocolate is heavier, with a slightly doughy texture. Once I popped a few in I also got a hint of frosting. Pretty weird from what looked like regular old M&Ms, but I couldn't complain. While I was expecting to be disappointed from the look of my first bite, I ended up with a mouthful of what amounted to an M&M birthday cake. Since that's what it says on the packet, I can't help but recommend them. If you like cake and M&Ms, i.e. you're not weird, hunt down a pack of these.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 13 March 2014

Today's Review: Hubba Bubba Dr. Pepper Bubble Gum

Hubba Bubba is a staple name in my childhood. Their strawberry bubblegum is awesome, and while I didn't learn to blow bubbles until quite late into my early years, I'm always fond of the chewy memories. I also had a big thing for Dr. Pepper in my teenage years too, so finding this packet of Dr. Pepper Hubba Bubba was like the ultimate fusion of my childhood favourites.

This gum is like any other Hubba Bubba gum, with its standard five sizeable blocks. There's enough in one piece to blow a bubble, which shows impeccable design. As for the taste, well, it tastes like Dr. Pepper, so I'd say it's a success. All is not perfect though. The flavour is undoubtedly Dr. Pepper, but having a Dr. Pepper taste in your mouth for an extended period of time is not exactly as nice as say, the classic strawberry. The flavour ends up being a little bitty, and somewhat artificial, but that is after a fair amount of chewing. As it is, it's a nice combination of products, that's pretty tasty. It's just not as nice as other flavour.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Today's Review: Wonka Nerdalicious

Though Wonka have only just emerged after a long absence in the UK, and only with a few flavoured chocolate bars, they are a big presence in other countries, churning out all kinds of sweeties. One of their biggest products is, of course, Nerds, and while there are many flavour to choose from, which are invariably awesome, that doesn't stop Wonka going the extra mile and shoving them into other sweet treats. Case in point, the Wonka Nerdalicious.

This is a weird one. It's a chewy, grape flavoured rope, which is filled with a bright green sour centre, which itself is filled with Nerds. It doesn't sound like it would work, especially the sweet grape flavour combined with a sour centre, but it really does. The middle isn't too sour, and it has a nice tang that blends with that lovely artificial sweet grape taste. The Nerds add a nice crunch too, along with a different kind of tanginess, to create and overall sour, yet sweet, experience. It's another great product from Wonka, that Nerd and grape sweetie lovers can all enjoy.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Today's Review: Walkers Prawn Cocktail Pops

I reviewed Walkers Pops a while back when I first found the single packs, but now I've found a new flavour in the form of prawn cocktail, which seems to be only available in a multipack. I love prawn cocktail crisps, whether they be Skips or regular Walkers, so I was excited to try these and see if they could heighten my opinion of the Pops brand. 

These Pops are as big and chunky as the other varieties, with the same satisfying crunch too. But the difference with these ones lies in the flavour. While the ready salted and cheese and bacon didn't truly impress me, the bold prawn cocktail taste really suits the texture and size of the Pops. They're kind of like fat, crunchy prawn crackers, and the flavour is strong and covers the crisp well. These are definitely my favourite Pops flavour so far, and hopefully there are more to come. If you're going to give these crisps a try, the prawn cocktail is probably the one to go for.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 10 March 2014

Today's Review: Walkers Salt & Vinegar Hoops And Crosses

Walkers sure are launching a lot of new crisps recently. Hoops And Crosses may have been around for a while in roast beef, and more recently prawn cocktail, but today I spied this new salt and vinegar flavour, and since that's one of my all time favourites I had to give these a go.

The best way I can describe these is that they're like fat, differently shaped Chipsticks. The flavour and intensity is much the same, and while they're certainly very tasty, after a couple of seconds the flavour fades and the crisp becomes a little tasteless. Thankfully it wasn't long before I ate another one, and overall these are pretty nice, certainly my favourite flavour of Hoops And Crosses. They're not perfect, but if you like salt and vinegar you can't go wrong with these.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 9 March 2014

Today's Review: Cherry Relentless

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of energy drinks. I've reviewed quite a few in the past, and while many flavours have been brought out across brands, I've always found Relentless to have the best selection. I particularly remember being addicted to their red berry flavour for quite a while. Now there is another flavour available, and I couldn't wait to try it when I heard about it. So here we have the new Cherry Relentless. But is it good enough to get me addicted like their previous red offering?

Well, no, but it's still good. It has all the energy giving goodness of any other can of Relentless, but with a very bold cherry flavour. When I say bold, I mean bold, as it is a little bit sickly, but pretty much every cherry flavour product I've tried has been a little intense, so I can't fault it for that. This is certainly a nice new flavour, but it doesn't quite match the berry or lemon ice in my eyes. Certainly better than most flavours that other energy drink brands have churned out though.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 8 March 2014

Today's Review: Cadbury Eclairs Velvets

Cadbury shook up their long untouched Eclairs with some nice new flavours last year, and already they've brought out another variety. If you like Eclairs, but are not too gifted in the dental department, fear not! These new Velvets promise the authentic Eclair experience without the tooth breaking toffee.

See, I just bit right through that bad boy. These are indeed like your normal Eclair, but slightly different. Obviously the biggest difference is that the caramel is a lot softer. Also, they're covered in chocolate, and that's a welcome change for me. It's a nice, slightly crispy shell that melts into the malleable caramel, with the signature chocolate centre to round it all off. I do like the original Eclairs, but they've always been a bit hard for my liking. Velvets solve that problem, providing a tasty, chewy delight. Well worth a go.

My rating: 5/5

Friday 7 March 2014

Today's Review: Tango Intense Citrus

Tango is a pretty classic drink, especially in its orange form. There aren't any variations in flavour, but they're all good. Tango have recently ventured into the confectionery business, with some interesting results, but they haven't churned out any new flavours for a while. Until now.

Here we have Intense Citrus, which is an orange, lemon and lime blend. Sounds a bit like Lilt, without the pineapple. Well, that's pretty much how of describe the taste too. It's like Lilt, but it's not. While I did Lilt to be quite bitter, this Tango actually has a much bolder, juicier flavor. The orange is clearly the leader of the bunch, and while the bitterness of the lemon and like is definitely noticeable, it's balanced out very nicely with some sweetness. This is a great flavoured drink, and another hit from Tango.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 6 March 2014

Today's Review: Wispa Gold Hot Chocolate

I have never really forayed into the realm of sachet hot chocolates. Although I do enjoy the odd one from coffee shops while out and about, I always feel like the homemade stuff is a little disappointing. The water based ones are weak, or I can never seem to get the milk hot enough with my slovenly microwave ways, or the powder doesn't dissolve properly, and the whole experience is somewhat muted.

But with the release of this new Wispa Gold hot chocolate I was willing to give it another go. Clearly I must be preparing my hot chocolates wrong, and I wasn't going to fail with this one. I haven't tried the original Wispa hot chocolate, so I guess I'll just have to review this on its own merit. Thankfully, I managed to make it look like a drink.

That frothiness isn't the immediate result of stirring, this hot chocolate is nice and bubbly throughout. I was quite surprised with how thick and creamy this drink is, especially as my previous efforts seem quite weak and milky. As for the taste? Fantastically chocolatey, with a distinct hint of smooth caramel. It didn't take long for me to gulp this down, and it was delicious. It's certainly changed my mind about the hot chocolate sachet game. This Wispa Gold hot chocolate is awesome, and I'm hoping it's indicative of all the Cadbury hot chocolates that I'm now compelled to try.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Today's Review: Having An Itch On Your Back That You Can't Scratch

Life is full of annoyances, both large and small. Every person has a unique set of things that put them on edge and makes them mad, and no one's annoyance lists are the same. But there is one thing that I'm sure everyone finds annoying, something that everyone can understand and unequivocally hate. That thing is having an itch on your back that you can't scratch.

Itches in themselves are pretty annoying, but once you send your fingernails over to negotiate it's over pretty soon. The trouble is, there's that one point on your back that you can't quite comfortably reach, no matter which way you bend. If you want to scratch and itch there you have to twist and turn in the wind like a maniac, hoping your finger catches the right spot and scratches with enough vigour and intensity to bring you peace. It's either that or searching out a tree or a brick wall to rub against. Either way you'll look like a fool.

This situation highlights two things that are very wrong with our bodies. First of all, why do we have just one spot that we can't touch properly? Every other part of our bodies can be touched with minimal effort, so why do we have this blind spot on our backs that is doomed to live in isolation? Secondly, why does it itch so much? Does my brain suddenly decide that it wants me to do some stretches, or does it simply want to torture me? Either way, having an itchy back is one of the worst things about being a human being. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it's not. Everyone hates having that one itchy part of their back, and they're right to do so. Bust out your backscratchers, people, this annoyance is one that's going to stick around forever.

My rating: 0/5

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Sauce

I don't normally indulge too heavily in Pancake Day, but this year I thought I might as well try a few, with some interesting filling in place of the usual lemon juice and sugar. So upon searching the shelves I found this little jar of salted caramel dessert sauce, and since I've certainly had some nice salted caramel foods lately I thought it was worth a go.

The first thing I noticed is that it certainly has a caramel flavour. The main ingredient in here is "partially inverted refiners syrup", a term I'd never heard of before, but upon further research I found that it's pretty much the result of some funky chemical reactions in refining sugar, which is what gives this sauce its distinct caramel taste. Apart from that we have condensed milk, double cream, salted butter and sea salt, so all good stuff. If by good stuff I mean stuff that's bad for you but tastes good.

Yes, there's a lot of creamy, sugary stuff in the ingredients, and it certainly shows in the flavour. In small portions, this sauce is thick and creamy, with a lovely smooth caramel taste. But after eating just a few spoonfuls I found it to be quite stodgy and sickly. It's probably my taste buds giving up and teaching me about moderation, but I can't help but feel that this sauce would benefit from being a bit lighter, there are just too many sweet flavours compounding into a sugar extravaganza. 

This is a nice sauce, but it gets too much a little too quickly. It certainly works well with pancakes, and would probably liven up anything you wish to spread it on. Just don't have too much at once.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 3 March 2014

Today's Review: Gravity

Space is... well, space. It's a dark, empty void, devoid of oxygen, sound, life. So what are we doing messing around up there? Things are bound to go wrong, and Gravity is a movie in which everything goes wrong. It follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first mission into space, accompanied by grizzly space veteran Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). During a space walk, and with very little warning, the Russians launch missiles at a defunct satellite, sending off a cascade of deadly space debris that leaves Stone and Kowalski floating through space, with almost no chance of survival. Hope is on the horizon, or rather slightly above the horizon, in the form of other space stations orbiting Earth. But with oxygen running out, diminishing methods of propelling themselves, and more inevitable strikes from the debris orbiting the planet, the astronauts must attempt to survive, against all odds.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. The vast majority of comments I'd heard about it were concerned with how nice it looked, so I wasn't too convinced there would be much substance. One thing's for sure, Gravity is absolutely beautiful. Although you may think that a movie set in space would be dark and boring, the sky(?) is full of stars, and many glimpses of Earth are shown throughout, depicting beautiful terrain, sunrises and the Northern Lights. Explosions and spinning astronauts, while obviously the product of CGI, look entirely realistic. Even the deadly space debris is a sight to behold, and it's all beautifully portrayed with great use of 3D. But a movie can't just get by on its good looks, how does the rest of it stack up to the visuals?

There are only a few characters in this movie, but they all do a fantastic job. Clooney is a great leader, while Bullock switches from panicked, to serene, to determined at several points throughout, and never breaks out of her character. The cast is small, and perhaps not even that important in the grand scheme of things, but it's done right.

The star of the show, besides the visuals, is the sound. I was skeptical at first, as at the beginning words flash up on the screen stating that no sound can be heard in space, before immediately cutting to a ship flying through space accompanied by a low hum. But I soon learned this was just part of the fantastic ambient soundtrack. The actual sound effects heard throughout the film belong only to the characters themselves, through their radios or in oxygenated areas. Out in space, there is no sound, which is especially profound in some of the explosive action sequences where a lot is happening visually but there is no sound to go with it. It probably would seem a little off, were it not for the soundtrack pumping out the best music for every moment. In one intense scene in particular, I found the beat of the backing track was matching my heartbeat, and I felt totally immersed in what I was watching. That's quite a rare thing.

Gravity is a fantastic movie. It looks great, it sounds great, and there's never a dull moment, just a few quiet ones that are almost instantly ripped away. It's a heart racing sci-fi disaster movie, and it's well worth a watch.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 2 March 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Bubblegum Bottles

The Review Addict reviewed Haribo's Bubblegum Splats but a few hours ago, and while I haven't tried them, it did remind me that I picked up this bag of Haribo Bubblegum Bottles a few weeks back. Bubblegum bottles are a must have for me whenever I get some Candy King pick 'n' mix, they're wonderfully sour, but with a sweet bubblegum taste. I would just keep on eating them if they wouldn't eventually cut my tongue and give me stomach ache. So what could go wrong with a Haribo version? 

Well, these bottles are quite a lot bigger than the Candy King version, and therein lies a problem. The Candy King bottles have the perfect balance of sugar coating and gummy interior, while with the larger Haribo sweeties it's just off. While it all starts out perfectly fine and tasty, there's not enough sourness to win over the vastness of the gum itself. The tartness wears off pretty quickly, leaving a slightly flavoursome, but nowhere near as appealing, gummy sweet. I actually found myself not wanting to finish the bag, and that would never happen with my old favourite. This Haribo version is, quite frankly, inadequate. Edible, certainly, but not overly enjoyable.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 1 March 2014

Today's Review: Wet Socks

Huzzah, the seemingly never ending bad weather appears to have ended, which means Spring can... spring. While I certainly haven't endured the hardships that many have during the heavy rains and flooding, I certainly have become reacquainted with one of mankind's worst enemies: Wet socks.

Socks are meant to protect us, keep us warm and dry. But once they come into contact with water they'll absorb it like a sponge (or piece of fabric), and make every step a cold, soggy nightmare. Granted, it's probably my fault that I don't own any weather appropriate shoes, but that doesn't change the fact that wet socks are the worst. Not only do they make you cold and miserable, but prolonged exposure could even cause trench foot, which could lead to gangrene. How can it be that socks, upon coming into contact with what they're meant to protect you from, will suddenly be on a mission to kill your feet? Water is the socks' catalyst for becoming a super villain, and wet socks are an evil that must not be allowed to spread. Because they suck, bad.

My rating: 0/5