Thursday 31 July 2014

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer Blackcurrant & Hibiscus Lemonade

I certainly couldn't try the pineapple, coconut and white chocolate cookies without a drink to wash them down with. Thankfully, Marks & Spencer had this interesting new lemonade on the shelves, so I snapped it up.

Yeah, it's a blackcurrant flavoured lemonade. But surely lemonade is already lemon flavoured? Well, there's nothing wrong with twice the fruit, especially not in this drink. The blackcurrant is very sweet and fruity, while the lemonade adds a lovely, tart undertone. Mixed together it makes a very nice balance, not too bitter, but not sickly either. This is an authentic tasting, refreshing, fruity drink that absolutely has a summery flavour. Another hit from M&S.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer Pineapple, Coconut & White Chocolate Cookies

After having a not-so-nice experience with Marks & Spencer's Wasabi Popcorn, and an alright time with their tequila chicken wings, I still thought I should dive back in and see if there was anything else that tickled my fancy. These cookies certainly caught my eye, and they are again part of the "Summer Of Flavour" range. While I'm definitely not a fan of coconut, I can tolerate it in small amounts, and the idea of pineapple in cookies certainly drew me in.

These cookies are a nice size, quite thin, and very crunchy. They'er also packed with a whole host of interesting flavours. There's some shredded coconut mixed in, which I must admit worked quite well with the plentiful, chewy pineapple pieces, which certainly tasted authentically fruity. The result is something that tastes quite like piña colada, although clearly in cookie form. It's all wrapped up in the lovely creamy texture provided by the abundance of white chocolate chips scattered throughout as well. So yes, a piña colada flavoured white chocolate cookie. I didn't think I'd like it, but I certainly enjoyed munching my way through these. They certainly do taste like summer, and I'll probably be picking up another packet or two before Autumn comes around.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Today's Review: Spun Candy Sherbet

I couldn't resist popping back to Spun Candy during my trip to London at the weekend. Apart from picking up a bag of their awesome rock candy, I got hold of some of their handmade sherbet. You may think that sherbet is one of your tiny, budget kids sweets, in the form of a Sherbet Fountain or a Crazy Dip. But this ain't your regular Dip Dab. This is a huge, heavy, tightly packaged wad of wonder candy powder, all bundled up with a nice big lollipop.

I didn't expect anything less from Spun Candy, but this stuff truly is awesome. The sherbet is a strawberry concoction of smashed up candy with a wonderful tang. Some of it had clumped together, but a bit of a squeeze and it was good to go, easily melting on the tongue and unleashing all the fizzy goodness. There's a helluva lot of sherbet in this bag, but it was very hard to stop myself eating the whole lot in one sitting. Thankfully I was provided with an exemplary dipper to do the job, a thick lollipop with a bold strawberry flavour, which picks up the powder easily and just adds more the overall flavour. This is another great product from Spun Candy, and is certainly the best sherbet experience I've had. This shop has definitely made my list of must-visit places in London.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 28 July 2014

Today's Review: Pork Floss

Yeah, Pork Floss, you know, that well known snack? The name may imply pork flavoured dental floss, which while a little disgusting could well be a niche market. But the reality is far more horrifying, at least at first. I mean, just look at the background of the bag. That's not a funky pattern, that's what this stuff looks like (minus the trademark Asian sparkles). Pork Floss is basically like candy floss, but made of pork. 

There it is, in all its glory. I can't decide whether it looks more like dyed steel wool or cuttings from either a dirty sheep or a particularly fluffy dog. But the main impression I got was that this does not look appetising, at all. But hey, it's made of mostly pork, so it can't be too bad, can it?

Pork Floss is kind of like jerky, but instead of being dried into nice chewy strips, it's been made into the least edible looking shape and texture. It starts off very chalky, and quite furry. But as it gets condensed into something you can actually chew, it's not too bad. It certainly has a pork flavour, and while it's not up there with your tasty bacon and sausages, it's edible enough. It's just that the presentation and initial taste are really quite off putting. I imagine it will appeal to those who are into pork scratchings, so if you're a pork fiend, try and seek some of this out. It may look disgusting, but it's not all that bad.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 27 July 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Chamallows Fruity

While they may not reach the marvellous heights of Princess marshmallows, Haribo Chamallows offer a fluffy experience that is certainly up there with the greats. Now there is a fruity version, which I was certainly apprehensive of at first. It's your regular old Chamallows (although a little smaller), injected with raspberry fondant. Sounded sickly to me, but obviously I had to give them a go.

I'm glad I did. The raspberry filling is actually nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting some kind of oozy, sickly, syrupy mess, but it's actually pretty nice and contained inside. There may not be much of it, but the balance is actually very nicely done. The marshmallows are as fluffy and flavoursome as always, but the filling provides a bit of respite from the dryness, injecting a lovely fruity flavour without overwhelming the senses. I think these may even be an improvement on the regular Chamallows, because it was very hard to stop myself from eating more. If you can find these (I got mine in Cyber Candy), then pick them up.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 26 July 2014

Today's Review: Choco Banana Pocky

I'm always up for a little bit of Pocky, they're the best pretzel sticks around, so much so that I've barely touched Mikado. That's brand loyalty for you. The other day I managed to find a couple of new flavours, so that make me pretty excited. The most interesting was this one, a choco banana variety, consisting of chocolate pretzel sticks coated in banana flavour confectionery.

"Banana flavour" is the key phrase here. The coating is very sweet, and more akin to the foam banana sweets than actual bananas. The chocolate pretzel is definitely a nice, crunchy base, but the chocolate flavour doesn't really shine through, instead being dominated by the stuff on top. Still, these certainly aren't bad. They're just okay. I'm not much of a fan of that artificial banana flavour, but if you are you'll probably like these. They're the same high quality Pocky that we know and love, but this variety certainly doesn't take home any awards from me.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 25 July 2014

Today's Review: Rekorderlig Peach Apricot Cider

It's rare for me to wander down the alcohol aisle of my local 24-hour Tesco, but the other day I fancied scoping out some interesting new cider flavours, and I certainly found some. This peach and apricot flavoured Rekorderlig certainly caught my eye, especially after I thoroughly enjoyed their strawberry and lime cider. 

I was right to pick this one up too, it's delicious. The fruity flavours are fantastically bold, with definite hints of both apricot and peach, working together instead of fighting for attention. It's so fruity and bold that I could hardly taste the alcohol, meaning it was very easy to drink a whole lot in one go. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. But, as tasty and authentic as the flavours are, they are perhaps a little too strong, as the fruitiness got slightly sickly after a while. But this is certainly a very tasty cider, and I'll definitely be picking up some more at a later date.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 24 July 2014

Today's Review: Almond Breeze Iced Cappucino

I often like to pick up an iced coffee for a little pick me up, and while perusing the usual Starbucks and Emmi offerings I found this little bottle on offer. It's a dairy free iced cappuccino, that uses Almond Breeze almond milk instead of the regular stuff. Great for anyone who's lactose intolerant.

Unfortunately it's not too great on the tastebuds. I've had almond milk before, and don't find it too objectionable. I'd probably have a smidge in my morning coffee and not find any fault with it. But this doesn't have almond milk in, it's just spring water mixed with almonds, and that does not a cappuccino make. There's certainly a nice hint of coffee in there that gave me a little boost of energy, and this coffee is certainly okay for the first few gulps. But nearing the bottom, the slightly nutty, mostly bland flavour of the water gets a bit too much, and the aftertaste isn't all that good either. I can't say I finished the bottle feeling satisfied. I think I'll stick with the regular milky iced coffees from now on.

My rating: 2/5

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Today's Review: Fox's Chunkie White Chocolate Cookies

There are many cookies lining the shelves of supermarkets. But through all the years, and all the brands, I must say one of my all time favourite packs of cookies is Fox's Chunkie Extremely Chocolatey cookies. Laden with chocolate chips, and coated in more chocolate for good measure, I often have trouble leaving any behind once I've opened a pack.

Now Fox's have brought out a new variety in their Chunkie cookies range, this time with white chocolate instead of the regular old milk. I'm a sucker for white chocolate, so I had to give these a go. These may not have the nice chocolatey coating you get with the "Extremely" cookies, but there's still a fair amount of white chocolate chunks spread throughout these biscuits. The result is a thick, crunchy, crumbly cookie, with a light, creamy chocolatey texture throughout. 

The white chocolate certainly is a nice touch, but it doesn't fit quite as well with the biscuit as the milk chocolate does. Perhaps if they'd brought out a pack of Extremely White Chocolatey cookies I'd be raving a bit more right now. Still, they're nice cookies, and definitely worth picking up if you're into white chocolate.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Today's Review: Frankie & Benny's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Cheesecake is probably my favourite dessert. It's crunchy, it's creamy, and you can stick whatever you like on top. Fruit, chocolate, caramel, you name it. So as I was perusing the dessert menu at Frankie & Benny's, my eyes lit up when I came across the last entry, a peanut butter cheesecake. I adore cheesecake, I love peanut butter. What could go wrong?

First things first, this dessert looks awesome. A chocolatey, peanut butter cheesecake wedge, drizzled in chocolate, with more peanuts thrown on for good measure. If that wasn't enough, you also get a scoop of peanut butter ice cream on the side, because the only thing better than peanut butter is more peanut butter. 

It looks good, yes, but it tastes even better. The bulk of the cheesecake is a fabulously creamy, smooth, peanut butter flavoured wonder, with a chocolatey hint that just adds more flavour, instead of both fighting for your attention. I thought the peanuts on top would be a bit of a distraction, but they work well with the chocolate drizzle to top off the awesome flavour you get from the cake itself. I'd have been happy enough with just the cheesecake, but the ice cream is an accomplishment too. Definitely not as flavoursome as the cheesecake, but still a bold peanut butter taste with the lovely smooth ice cream texture, all together it makes up one awesome dessert. I may not go to Frankie & Benny's often, but I'm sure I'll be back for this.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 21 July 2014

Today's Review: Green Soda Fanta

Fanta comes in all kinds of wonderful colours. But did you know it comes in green? I didn't. until I came across this can at my local Asian mini market. I'm not exactly sure what it's meant to be though. The picture next to the logo contains an orange, a pineapple and a banana. Does that mean it's some kind of tropical flavour? Well, apparently not, because it's translated as "Green Soda" flavour. I'm not exactly sure what green soda is meant to be, but upon pouring out the can I realised it probably just means nuclear waste:

Yeah, this stuff sure is green. It's quite an achievement that the hue of the can perfectly matches that of the fluid, although it's horrifying at the same time. It certainly doesn't have the colour that the combination of fruits on the can would make, and it definitely doesn't smell that way. My research from scanning the first page of Google results informs me it's similar to a herb based drink that's found around Thailand, but the best description I can think of from trying it is a sort of bubblegum flavoured cream soda. It's not completely disgusting, but it's certainly not a good representative of the otherwise delicious Fanta brand. It's sugary, saccharine and, quite frankly, off-putting, but it's bearable enough for the first few gulps. I wouldn't really recommend it though.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 20 July 2014

Today's Review: Retro Corn: Rhubarb And Custard

I spied an interesting range of popcorn in my local newsagent the other day. This Retro Corn is popcorn flavoured with different retro sweets, from pear drops to pineapple cubes to the one I picked up, rhubarb and custard. 

It's nice to see an interesting range of sweet popcorn flavours, and the thought of classic sweets mixed in was one I couldn't resist. For the most part, it's done extremely well. As the packaging states, this is sweets literally crushed over popcorn, and so there is a bit of inconsistency in the coverage. Some kernels may not have much sweet dust at all, while others may have a fair bit. It's never too overwhelming though, and the flavour of the sweets blends in really well with the crunchy popcorn kernels. The fact that they're real crushed up sweets certainly lends an authenticity to the flavour as well. This is a nice, tangy, crunchy popcorn, and a great idea that has already been made into a tempting range. I look forward to trying the other varieties.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 19 July 2014

Today's Review: Slim Fruits

I was asked a couple of days ago if I would like to review these new Slim Fruits pastilles. I'm a big advocate of low carb diets (although I'm not exactly on one at the moment...), I jumped at the chance, as these seemed right up my street. 

Slim Fruits come in two fruity flavours, rhubarb & strawberry and peach melba. They're tiny fruit pastilles, that contain no sugar, no fat, and a butt load of fibre (pardon the pun), at only two calories a pop. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, these sweets are designed to "fill you up, not out", but do they succeed?

I'll say right off the bat that these aren't perfect, after all, there's only so much you can do with two calories and no sugar. But what's in these little sweets is actually very nice. The flavours are bold, fruity, and actually taste how they're supposed to. After a good few chews, they do taste a little artificial, but there's enough flavour in there to last until you swallow. The best part about these pastilles is that they are indeed very filling. They're extremely chewy and heavy, and after eating only a couple I felt a lot more full than before, which for four calories is a great achievement. 

These little packets of Slim Fruits are available in Boots and Holland & Barrett at £1.89 per box. It may seem a little pricey, but for the amount of sweets you get in the box, and considering how filling they are, it's not too bad, certainly better than stuffing a couple of packets of Haribo and walking round in a sugar induced daze. Slim Fruits are a great choice for a low calorie, sugar free snack. They may not be perfect, but they're pretty damn good.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 18 July 2014

Today's Review: Jammie Dodgers Berry Blast

You can't go wrong with a Jammie Dodger. They're a staple British biscuit, and although there have been several varieties, you can't beat the original jam flavour. But I was certainly tempted by these new Berry Blast Jammie Dodgers, because I firmly believe that berries make everything better. What exciting fruit will grace these biscuits. Blueberries? Cranberries? Gooseberries?!

Blackcurrant. Yes, blackcurrant. Yes, a blackcurrant is certainly a berry, and a nice one too, but I was expecting at least a few more thrown in for good measure to create the stated "berry madness". The jam is certainly very fruity and flavoursome, but sadly there's just not enough of it compared to the biscuit, and it gets a little lost on the palate. Still, I do think I prefer this blackcurrant biscuit to the original raspberry. But since there's only one berry present in each, surely they could both be named "Berry Blast"? These are nice, but I wish they'd done a bit more with them.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 17 July 2014

Today's Review: Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Cinammon Breakfast Granola Slices

I always feel a bit awkward around Nutri-Grain bars. It dates back to my late high school years, where I would slumber until as late as possible before dragging myself out of bed and into my school uniform. My mother tried to sustain my nutrition with suspiciously lukewarm toast, but later changed to the classic, soft Nutri-Grain bars. My bleary eyes and recently awoken taste buds soon grew especially sick of these, though I don't know why. I've never really been fond of those chewy breakfast bars since, but I figured I'd delve back in now that these crunchy granola bars have hit the shelves. What's more, I went for the ones flavoured with one of my food nemeses - cinnamon, in the hopes that I can further increase my fondness for it, and therefore be one step closer to befriending all food.

The first thing I noticed upon opening a packet was the uncanny resemblance to chip board. Still, at least they were intact, most of my granola bar unwrappings, which is usually punctuated by the shocking realisation that one or both have split and crumbled, meaning I'll soon be hoovering crumbs off my sofa. So no, they don't look overly appetising, but it's granola, it's normally a bit brown and boring. As for the taste? Actually pretty nice. The cinnamon is not overwhelming at all, providing a sweet flavour with a hint of spice. The bar itself is nice and crunchy, and definitely filling, if a little dry. I suppose that's what I get for not going for the chocolate chip variety, but still, it's not the best granola bar I've had. But it's certainly a good effort, and it's well worth trying if you're into cinnamon.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Today's Review: Metcalfe's Skinny Corn'ers: Chilli Tweet

Healthy snacks are certainly nothing to turn your nose up at anymore. The market has been flooded with various cereal bars and interesting flavoured popcorns, along with some nice chip variations that are cooked in healthier ways. So I was intrigued when I found this pack of "healthier" tortilla chips, especially in a chilli flavour. Not sure why it's called "Chilli Tweet", maybe something to do with Twitter? But then why not "Tweet Chilli"? Anyway, these chips are "flash griddled", which certainly sounds very high tech and healthy, so I was looking forward to a nice, light, spicy bag of chips.

Well, that's not what I got. For all the blurb about how these are corn chips, they have more of a rice cake texture. It's like some Doritos had a baby with Snack-A-Jacks, but Snack-A-Jacks had the dominant genes, and the resulting offspring was disowned for not representing its Mexican heritage. Sure, there's some nice chilli flavouring in there, but these chips are far from crunchy, in fact they're a little chewy, and they're basically like flat, triangular rice cakes. Edible, yes, but certainly not what I was expecting. I think I'll stick with my unhealthy chips from now on.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Chocolate Coffee Bean Trail Mix

I've been pretty fond of the trail mixes I've tried in the past, and now Tesco have brought out their own varieties. There's the usual collection of oats, nuts and chocolate, but this bag caught my eye with the promise of chocolate covered coffee beans. Now, I certainly take my coffee black, but I never thought I'd be chowing down on raw beans. Still, I imagined the chocolate would take the edge off, and I'm never one to turn down a new experience.

The rest of the bag consists of oat clusters, peanuts, walnuts and almonds, and they are all very nice. Unfortunately, that's all there is, and the result is quite a dry mix. This is where the coffee beans actually throw in a nice bit of flavour. The chocolate adds a little bit of moisture as it melts, and the beans underneath aren't nearly as bitter as I expected. Paired with the dark chocolate, these pieces are very flavoursome and certainly give a nice kick of energy. Unfortunately, it's not quite enough to compensate for the rest of the bag being quite dry. A smattering of raisins would probably have made the difference, but as it stands, this bag is okay. I guess I'll have to try out the other varieties.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 14 July 2014

Today's Review: Jellystones

This is an interesting little pick up from Home Bargains. It's a pot of factory reject jelly beans, and it turns out the factory they come from is the same one that turns out Jelly Bean Factory beans. But picking up a sizeable pot like this for a pound seems much better than buying the proper full price stuff.

So what's the catch? Well, not much really. As you can see above, most of these beans are just two that happen to have fused together, but they still have the nice flavours you'll find in your untarnished Jelly Bean Factory box. Sure, there may be some flavours I wasn't keen on, but I've never been able to pick which flavours I like anyway. So really there's nothing wrong with them at all, unless you're some kind of jelly bean perfectionist. But I don't care what you look like, my little beans. You may be fused together, misshapen rejects, but I'll gladly stuff you in my face at a fraction of the cost.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 13 July 2014

Today's Review: McVitie's Dessert Inspirations: Chocolate Fudge Cake Bar

I stumbled upon this interesting little cake bar during one of the several family buffets I've taken part in over the weekend. It did say "new" on the packaging, but I doubt it's only just come out. Still, I don't normally pick up cake bars, so it was new to me.

This Dessert Inspirations bar appears to be part of a line of classic desserts converted into rectangular form. Now, I'm certainly a fan of chocolate fudge cake, so I couldn't pass this one up. For the most part, it actually emulates the experience pretty well. The sponge that makes up the bulk of the bar is very chocolatey indeed, if a little dry. Thankfully there's a generous layer of chocolate fudge sauce on top that's very tasty and creamy, and the whole lot is wrapped up in nice, flaky milk chocolate. It's certainly not as good as the authentic chocolate fudge cake experience, but for a cake bar it's very nice.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 12 July 2014

Today's Review: Getting Kicked By A Pony

We visited relatives in The New Forest today, a tranquil countryside location resplendent with roaming farm animals. Of particular note are the many wild ponies wandering freely around the place, and after a short walk through the woods we came upon a field with a few grazing ponies. A great opportunity to get up close to some lovely animals, we thought, as long as they don't run away.

Two of the ponies were pretty cosies up to each other, so I chose to stroke a nice black one further away. Upon approaching, he didn't bolt, but apparently this wasn't an invitation to touch him. As soon as I placed my hand I his side he turned around to deliver a pretty forceful kick in my general direction. Thankfully I didn't catch the full force of it, but I certainly got a good wallop to the calf. 

Hobbling away from my attacker, and warning the kids that this particular pony probably didn't want to be bothered, I turned and saw the rest of the family happily stroking one of the first two, apparently much more docile, ponies. Typical. I certainly came away a lot better off than I would have done with a full force kick, but I still have a pretty swollen, bruised calf that will take a good while to heal. So just be careful when you're touching wild ponies. Being on the receiving end of a good is not something is recommend.

My rating: 0/5

Friday 11 July 2014

Today's Review: Maoam Blue Pinball

After the disappointing tropical Maoam that were brought out for the World Cup, I was glad to get back to the original bag. But what's this? A new flavour, and it's blue? Blue is one of my favourite flavours!

I've got blue balls. Hur hur. While the front of the packet labels them as simply blue, the back clarifies that they are blue raspberry flavour, and they certainly are. They're nice, soft and chewy, much like the other flavours, and have a distinctive tangy blue raspberry taste, which certainly goes well with the already tingly texture of Pinballs. These are certainly a good addition to an already nice range of sweeties. Let's hope they stick around.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 10 July 2014

Today's Review: Nakd Cocoa Orange Fruit & Nut Bits

I've skimmed over these interesting looking treats many times before, because although they clearly state that they're "simply yummy", I clearly wasn't prepared to pay £2 for naked nut bits. But after seeing Kev's Snack Review of these the other day, I was a lot more tempted to pick them up. These are basically what they say on the packet, they're bits made from fruit and nuts, with cocoa and orange. They're also free from pretty much everything you'd want them to be free from, so they're essentially pretty naked.

I must say they look pretty good, almost like some kind of heavenly chocolate orange fudge. But fudge they are not. Instead these are dense pieces of smooshed up fruit and nuts, and as such they are very heavy and filling. Thankfully, they're packed with flavour, a distinctly chocolatey taste with tangy hints of orange, all wrapped up in a lovely nutty texture. A few nuggets of these bad boys makes a wonderfully tasty snack, but unfortunately I found them so nice that I polished off the bag in one go. Oops. Still, that's just testament to how nice these things are. These bits are a nice, healthy, natural snack (though not too healthy if you devour them all at once).

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Today's Review: Deli 24 Pepperoni & Cheese Sticks

Not exactly a flattering picture I've taken there, but this was the last in a pack of interesting meaty, cheesy snacks I picked up from Tesco last week. I'm a fan of Pepperami and Cheesestrings, so my eyes lit up when I saw these Deli 24 Sticks that combine the two into one treat.

This is basically a stick of cheese, wrapped in pepperoni. so it's kind of like an inside out pizza, without the tomato sauce... or the dough... actually, it's nothing like an inside out pizza, and it's actually just like cheese wrapped in pepperoni, because that's what it is. So yes, it's simple, but it's effective. The pepperoni has a nice spicy kick to it, but it didn't make me paranoid that I smelled of cured meats afterwards, which is something I always wonder after polishing off a Pepperami. There's just enough of the meat to add a nice flavour and texture to the cheese waiting inside, which is lovely and smooth. It's somewhat creamier than your regular Cheesestring, which means every bite of this stick is a smooth, slightly spicy delight. These are very tasty and filling sticks, and great for a snack. I'll definitely be picking these up again.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Today's Review: Non-Stop

I'm not sure what to think about Liam Neeson movies anymore. Ever since Taken happened he's been thrust into all kinds of action packed, twisty turny movies. Most are okay, some are bad (like Taken 2), but what you can count on is a lot of mindless action with at least some suspense. So when I saw Non-Stop had come out on DVD, and not having heard much about it, I thought I'd give it a go.

Neeson plays Bill Marks, a U.S. air marshal who apparently isn't having the best time of his life. Still, duty calls, and he finds himself on board a routine flight to Heathrow. But soon after he takes off, he receives some cryptic texts on his work phone, instructing him to wire $150m into an account within 20 minutes, or a passenger will die. Marks attempts to find out where the texts could be coming from, and whether the threat could possibly be real. But with time running out, stakes getting higher, and everyone being cast under suspicion (even himself), will the culprit be revealed?

There have been movies set entirely on planes before. We have Snakes On A Plane, but that's incomparable. We have Flightplan, and that certainly does contain some similarities to this movie. But Non-Stop managed to keep me guessing for a while as to what was going on. Various shots and developments keep shifting suspicion, and with an unreliable hero it's even more difficult to figure out what might be going on. The final scenes may not have packed an almighty punch, but the journey to get there is certainly well constructed, with many twists and turns and rising suspense. 

Neeson puts in his trademark performance as a growling, troubled hero, and with relatively good effect, and there are certainly some nice turns from the likes of Julianne Moore and Corey Stoll. But there's certainly nothing Oscar-worthy here, just some good acting that props up a nice action thriller. Suspension of disbelief is necessary going into this one, as there are plenty of implausible situations going on to carry on the plot. But that's what makes action thrillers what they are. Non-Stop takes you on a ride. Not the best ride I've ever had, but I certainly enjoyed it. If you're into the genre, or just Liam Neeson, you should probably give it a watch.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 7 July 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Finest Coffee & Toffee Mocha Desserts

I'm not normally a fan of coffee flavoured sweets or desserts. There's often this bitter artificial coffee flavour that takes over everything else and leaves me wishing I'd chosen chocolate. But I thought I'd give it another go when I saw these Tesco Finest desserts, which offer coffee, toffee and chocolate, all in one nice little cup. I'm not sure why it's got a handle on it, am I supposed to melt it and drink it? Or is it just to emulate the coffee experience while you dig it out with a spoon? 

As you can see, there are a lot of layers in this little dessert. There's a crumbly chocolate base, a coffee mousse, toffee sauce, and chocolate, all topped with chocolate shavings. Each layer is delicious, and they all work really well with each other. What's most surprising is that the coffee layer, while being quite thick, really doesn't have an overpowering flavour. There's certainly a hint of coffee, but it just blends in well with all the other flavours, and this mousse layer is nice and creamy to boot. Every spoonful of this was a delight, it's like a mini toffee coffee cheesecake, and I'd recommend you try it even if you don't normally like your coffee based desserts. 

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 6 July 2014

Today's Review: Pizza Hut's BBQ Pork Feast

I'm always happy when a new pizza topping comes around, and Pizza Hut certainly caught my eye by offering BBQ pulled pork, which is a favourite of mine, and probably everyone else. Of course, you can add this as a topping on a Create Your Own pizza, but I decided to trust the experts and go with one of the two pre-topped pizzas that coincide with this topping launch. I could choose the BBQ Pork Deluxe, with pepperoni and onions, of the BBQ Pork Feast, which includes spicy minced pork and beef. The choice was obvious, and soon my meat laden, BBQ pizza was on my lap.

Well, I say meat laden, but they certainly didn't go over the top with the toppings. Sure, there was meaty goodness in every bite, but it was mostly in the form of the lesser spicy beef and pork, which weren't overly spicy anyway. I came for the pulled pork, and while there was some there, it certainly wasn't on every slice. You can see in the picture, in fact, that two or three slices were completely devoid of it. Still, there was a generous deposit at 10 o'clock that I had a nibble of to get a taste of just this ingredient, and I must say I was very impressed. The pork is soft and succulent, steeped in BBQ sauce to give a great smokey flavour. It actually works very well in combination with the other toppings too, especially with the BBQ sauce covered pizza base. But, since my topping was spread so unevenly, my joy didn't last for long. The pulled pork certainly is nice, but there just wasn't enough of it to wow me. Perhaps the pizza overlords will be more generous with me next time.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 5 July 2014

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer Tequila & Lime Chicken Wings

While the end of the other day was certainly soured (or spiced?) by Marks & Spencer's wasabi popcorn, I also bought these to snack on for lunch, and they were certainly more palatable. This is another addition to M&S' "Summer Of Flavour", and while I'm not a huge fan of tequila, I had to give these tequila and lime infused wings a go, as it seemed like it would be a nice change. There's also some sanyo pepper thrown in for "extra citrus notes", so I was looking forward to some nice, zesty chicken.

Well, these are definitely chicken wings, and nice ones too, but as for the lime and tequila? I didn't taste a whole lot of it. There's a slight zesty hint that almost becomes very nice, but I didn't taste much tequila at all. The blend of flavours is quite nice, when I could taste it, but it's just not strong enough to make these any more than average chicken wings. Still, the chicken is nice, so it's got that going for it. Hopefully I'll find something this summer that can give me some real, nice flavour.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 4 July 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Minions

After seeing these reviewed on Grocery Gems a few days ago, I had to grab a bag when I saw them in Primark (who am I kidding, I probably would've grabbed them anyway). It's been a year since the release of Despicable Me 2, so why are they only just releasing this Haribo bag of Minions? Well, the answer is to bridge the gap between that and the upcoming, probably awful Minions movie coming out next year. 

Basically we have little gummy Minions, as well as the accompanying Evil Minions that came along in the second movie, in a delightful shade of purple. These sweets remind me a lot of The Smurfs Haribo that came out last year (alongside the movie this time). The regular Minions are pretty much like the Smurfette sweets from that pack. Same colours, same bland, unidentifiable flavour. There's some kind of lemony hint in there, but really it just tastes like a fruity sweet. Some are foam backed, and some are not, but they pretty much taste like the gummies you'll find in a regular Haribo pack. The purple Minions are quite nice though. They have a nice, bold flavour that hovers somewhere between blackcurrant and grape. Still, this really is a novelty effort that doesn't pack much of a punch. Sure, the purple ones taste nice, but the regular ones are pretty average. You're probably better off going for a mix pack if you want some real flavour and variety.

My rating: 3/5

Thursday 3 July 2014

Today's Review: Marks & Spencer Wasabi Popcorn

I love sushi, and I love spicy foods. But somehow, I can't abide wasabi. It's spicy, sure, but there's something about it that makes my tastebuds recoil in horror. I have also loved most varieties of popcorn I've tried in recent years, especially the spicy flavours. But wasabi popcorn? Well, I thought I'd give it a go. I might have been spreading my wasabi too liberally when left to my own devices, so having it measured out correctly and put on popcorn should be the best way to give me a better opinion.

I must say, this popcorn certainly has a bold flavour, and it's distinctly wasabi. I must also say that I know for sure that I absolutely hate wasabi. That packaging says it has a "wasabi kick", and I'd agree, it was like I was kicked in the face by a foul tasting horse. So no, I did not enjoy this at all, and I couldn't get past two mouthfuls, but that's surely a testament to how wasabi-like this popcorn is, so it certainly gets points for that. If you're a fan of wasabi, I don't understand you, but you'll certainly have a good time with this popcorn. If you're not, then you're stupid for buying a bag of wasabi popcorn, like me. If this is what the "Summer Of Flavour" tastes like I think I'll stay in until Autumn.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Roulette

This is another Haribo treat I picked up at the school fete tombola. I know these have been around for a while, but I've never really felt the need to try them. These are basically small, round Haribo gummies, packaged up in neat little bags that give a decent serving size, because we all know how impossible it is to not stuff a whole big bag at once.

There's not much to say about these, but that doesn't mean they're not good. They basically taste like poor, defenceless Gold Bears that have been squashed into shape by evil mastermind machinery. Or like the Starmix rings, but with no hole. The flavours are bold and juicy, and the shape somehow makes them a lot more substantial than either the Gold Bears or the rings. I often go for Starmix if I'm in the mood for a gummy fix, but now I think I'll go straight for the Roulette. They may not be anything revolutionary, but they're some damn good gummy sweets.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Today's Review: Changing The Date On My Watch

30 days hath September, April, June and November. Easy enough to remember, right? But apparently my watch can't keep that in mind. Right now the date box has a big "31" in it, despite the fact that there is no June 30th, and we are now in the month of July. Now I have to pull out the dial ever so slightly, not too much as that would change the actual time, and keep turning it until the date flips over. I have to do this five times a year, that's right, I have to wind it forward even more after February. I shouldn't have to touch my watch. It's meant to be reliable, always informing me what time or date it is. That's why these watches have ten year batteries. They're meant to be set and left alone. Why should I have to fiddle with it at various points in the year?

Okay, my watch may be analog, it technically doesn't know any better, it's just going through the motions. To be fair, it's not much of an effort at all to change the date, I just tend to forget to do it for a couple of days because it's such a minor thing, especially with my phone, computer and every other appliance I see informing me of the correct date. I think I'll file this one under "very mild annoyance". I don't enjoy it, but it's certainly not difficult, and given my choice in watch, I don't have another option. I guess I should do it now.

My rating: 3/5