Sunday 31 August 2014

Today's Review: Let's Be Cops

I had heard nothing about this movie until I saw the poster a few days ago. But hey, I had some cinema vouchers to use, so I thought why not? Let's Be Cops stars Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans as a couple of down on their luck roommates living in L.A. Getting nowhere with their lives and considering moving back home, a bit of excitement comes their way when they dress up as cops for a party, and find themselves being mistaken for the real thing. Shenanigans ensue as the duo take their cop routine to the streets every night, but soon enough they find themselves in deep trouble with some real life mobsters.

Sounds like a pretty generic plot, right? Well, yes, it is. I found myself accurately predicting most of the plot points, and the characters are pretty much cookie cut loveable losers, villains and love interests. There's really nothing special story wise, but it's saved somewhat by the combination of Johnson and Wayans. They've already proven their comedy chips in New Girl, and this movie has more of the same rapport going on. While a lot of the comedic situations they find themselves in didn't quite tickle my funny bone, they managed to get a chuckle from me purely from their delivery and rapport. Sure, there were a few scenes that seemed overly improvised, drawn out and just out of place, but I certainly had a few laughs that I don't think I would have with alternative stars.

Let's Be Cops is not a bad movie. It easily could have been, but with some solid lead performances, it's pretty okay. Certainly not one I'd place on a best of comedy list, but if you're after a buddy (non)cop movie, you might want to check it out.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday 30 August 2014

Today's Review: Jelly Babies Berry Mix

Jelly Babies are a British institution, and while if certainly love to love them, ive always found something a little bit off with them. It must be the chalky exterior, or the heavy jelly innards, but after a few I start to feel quite sick. Good for portion control I guess, but it always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth.

Now there's a pack of "berry" Jelly Babies, which is basically a collection of the more berry-like flavours. This cements my view that the darker colours are better, since the green and yellow babies have been cast out, and the spotlight has shifted to Brilliant, Big Heart and Baby, the names given to the anthropomorphic jellies that you are about to bite in half and devour. 

I'm all for packs of sweets that have the better flavours inside, and I certainly preferred this to a regular packet of Jelly Babies. The flavours are bold and fruity, but there's not much else going on here. Some new flavours would be nice, but it's the same old thing. Since I still feel sick after eating a few, this wasn't a particularly fantastic experience. In fact, it's decidedly average. It's probably great for die hard Jelly Baby fans though.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 29 August 2014

Today's Review: Curtains

I lauded the effectiveness of windows just the other day, and I stand by my opinion. Windows are inherently awesome, and they allow us to see all kinds of things we might not otherwise see. But what of the times that we don't want to be exposed to the outside world? When we want to enjoy the privacy of our own homes, without people laughing at out exposed genitals (I don't walk around my place naked, but I'm sure some do)? Well, that's where curtains come in.

Curtains cover up your windows. Simple as that. If you want to make sure no one can see what you're up to, you can just draw them across and carry on with your sordid activities. Then when you're finished, you can open them right back up again to let in the glorious sunlight. It's a simple solution to the problem of privacy, and you can really go crazy with curtains too. They come in all colours and sizes, different patterns, pleats, even different ways to tie them back. You can customise your curtains to suit your home, and deploy them whenever is necessary. Curtains are a fantastic addition to any window, but everybody knows that. Curtains are awesome.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 28 August 2014

Today's Review: Haribo Tangfastics Chamallows

It's only been a month since I reviewed the quite excellent fruity Chamallows. So imagine my joy when I came across this new variety in Poundland. Then imagine my anger when I came across the fruity Chamallows too, at a fraction of the price I spent at Cyber Candy. But hey, that's life, and when life gives you marshmallows, you shove them in your face and attempt to say "chubby bunny".

So yes, these Chamallows have an interesting Tangfastics twist, in that they're coated in the sour sugar that this other beloved Haribo variety is known for. Not just that, but these mallows come in different fruity flavours. They're all quite pale and pastel coloured, but I could identify green, yellow and red varieties. There's certainly some fruitiness in there, and while it's nice, it's not overly strong. No, the real flavour lies in the very tart coating that sprinkled on liberally. It results in a nice sour hit, that's soon enveloped by the soft, marshmallow goodness you've come to expect from Chamallows. It's interesting to see Haribo crossing over between their sweet varieties, but in this case it's worked out very nicely. Another great addition to the Chamallows range.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Today's Review: Monster Assault

Found in Poundland, this can of Monster Assault appears to be a relatively recent import from the States. I'm always up for trying new energy drink flavours, but the problem with Monster is that the flavours are often hard to gauge. Relentless do it well, with their "lemon ice" or "cherry", but Monster opt for cryptic, destructive names like "Ripper" or "Khaos". They don't particularly sound appetising, and this one is no exception. But hey, I still eagerly opened the can and prepared to taste a healthy dose of Assault.

I think the reason why Monster don't specify their flavours is that they can't quite get them right. I think Ripper is meant to be orange juice-like, while Khaos is sort of peachy. I can certainly see what they're getting at, but I'm never sure what I'm meant to be tasting. That trend continues here. With no idea what to base my expectations on, it took me a good few sips to place any kind of flavour. I settled on a sort of cola, though a very watered down one. The internet seems to agree with me, so I guess my taste buds still work, but that also means that this Monster is quite underwhelming. There's a small hint of fruitiness, and a definite cola flavour, but none of it is particularly bold, or nice. If you're looking for energy though, this delivers in true Monster fashion, it certainly perked me up. It just wasn't very tasty. Definitely not disgusting, but nothing great either.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Today's Review: Merba Nougatelli Cookies

I've come across Merba before, when I reviewed their apple pie cookies last year. So upon spotting some of those in Poundland today, imagine my delight when I spotted these interesting cookies right next door. Yes, these are cookies with chocolate hazelnut filling. Nutella in a cookie? How could I resist? Well, not proper Nutella, but, you know, pretty close.

Yes, these are delicious, crunchy, chocolate chip cookies, packed full of chocolatey, nutty goodness. Not quite as packed as the picture on the packet shows, but the balance between biscuit and filling is quite good. The result is an extremely chocolatey cookie, though never too overwhelming or sickly. The nutty undertone is lovely as well, and it all just comes together wonderfully to make a damn tasty biscuit. I even stuck a couple in the microwave, and was rewarded with a lovely warm, gooey experience. These are some lovely cookies, and for £1 a pack you can't go wrong.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 25 August 2014

Today's Review: Windows

Once, humans were free to roam, free to soak up rays of sunshine, to see and experience what the world had to offer. Unfortunately, a lot of what the world had to offer was scary and deadly, so humans decided to put themselves in shelters instead. But that longing to see the outside world still remained, mostly because humans are really nosey. If only there was some way to look out from our dwellings, without leaving their comfort. Oh wait, there is a way. It's called a window.

Wikipedia's example of a window. Not a very good one though, look how dirty it is.
A window is a hole in a building, or even a vehicle, but one that's meant to be there. You see, if theres one thing people don't particularly like, it's being trapped in small, dark spaces. Small spaces are fine, but dark ones are a big no no. That's why windows are great. They let the sunlight shine through, illuminating all the cool stuff in your house, or letting you see the steering wheel of the massive hunk of metal you're propelling along at 40mph. But the great thing about windows is, they work both ways. You can look outside your house, and see how many people don't have as much cool stuff as you, or you can make sure you don't smash into another massive hunk of metal that's being propelled along at 30mph (in this example, you're speeding, you naughty person).

Windows are just inherently useful things, and they're everywhere. They're essential. The only problem is, they're mostly made of glass. This is fine most of the time, but if anyone decides to launch themselves through one (happens more in movies than real life) they could get hurt quite badly (happens more in real life than movies). But, you know, that doesn't happen all that much, so on the whole windows are pretty awesome. Except when it's night time of course, then I have to rely on lights to see my cool stuff. But that's not the window's fault, that's the sun. Plus I can still look outside and see the moon, and the stars, and sometimes a drunk person falling over. Thanks windows, you rock.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 24 August 2014

Today's Review: Ritz Breaks

Ritz crackers are amazing, so amazing that it's hard to stop eating them. That's a bit of a problem when I've just opened a massive box of the things, because I'll often find it empty after waking from a salty, buttery stupor. But now there are Ritz Breaks, which let you enjoy Ritz in a handy portion size.

Yes, these little packets contain five elongated Ritz crackers. Each one is divided into three perforated sections, so you can easily snap them off for bite size pieces. But given the initial long shape, you could also take two crackers and pop a piece of cheese or what have you in between. Myself, I like to stuff Ritz in my face in their natural state, and these Breaks are still pretty perfect for that. I always steered away from these as I was afraid of not getting enough for my money, but each pack contains a fairly large portion that certainly sates me. As for the taste, these are as good as ever. Fantastic tasting, buttery crackers that I can't get enough of. I'll definitely be picking Ritz Breaks up again, I'm hoping my days of stuffing an entire box in my face are behind me.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 23 August 2014

Today's Review: Strawberry Milkshake Whoppers

While we have Maltesers, our American friends have Whoppers. While I may prefer sucking on our chocolate malty balls (obligatory 1998 South Park reference), I am quite fond of the state side version. They have a distinct flavour, and more of a heavy, crunchy texture. So I was pleased when I found this strawberry milkshake variety. Even though it seems a little odd, I guess milkshake flavour is in keeping with the already milky nature of the product. 

These Whoppers certainly look the part. They're bright pink, as shown on the box, and that coating comprises of a very sweet strawberry milkshake flavour. Keep in mind this is an American product, and they don't care about using all natural flavourings, so these indeed taste quite artificial, and a little bit too sickly for my liking. The innards are much more palatable, a satisfyingly crunchy, milky core that is true to the original Whoppers. So it's all good inside, but the coating leaves a bit to be desired. Certainly strawberry milkshake like, but not particularly nice. These are just pretty average, and not a patch on the original.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 22 August 2014

Today's Review: Crabbie's Raspberry Alcoholic Ginger Beer

I may not be a big fan of ginger, but I do like a nice ginger beer from time to time. Crabbie's is especially good, because it's alcoholic. Now there's a raspberry flavour, so that's gotta be good, right?

Well, yes, it is actually. It's certainly a ginger beer, with a lovely spicy undertone. It's certainly not too strong, as the raspberry flavour is very bold and fruity. The ginger and raspberry work very well together to mask the alcoholic taste, so it's actually very easy to drink. A great addition to an already tasty line. Well worth picking up.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 21 August 2014

Today's Review: Three Tigers Sweet & Sour Crackers

I said I'd try the sweet and sour crackers, and I did. There's not too much to say about these, apart from that they're like prawn crackers, but with a sweet and sour flavour. Which is probably self explanatory. 

They actually do taste like that proper sweet and sour sauce you can get from your favourite Chinese takeaway, and the saucy element actually carries on quite well into cracker form, probably helped along by the greasy nature of the crackers themselves. The flavour isn't too bold though, much like the lobster variety, so I was left thinking they could have been a bit more intense. But it's still a neat idea that makes for a tasty snack. If you like your prawn crackers, this brand is well worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Today's Review: Vanilla Shake Cornetto

Vanilla shake Cornetto? Alright, I love vanilla shakes. Unfortunately, this doesn't quite fit the bill. Sure, the ice cream certainly has a vanilla shake flavour, but there's a generous sprinkling of almonds on top that detracts from the taste and makes the first few mouthfuls quite dry. 

Once you're past the top, there's an abundance of chocolate swirls, as well as a somewhat sickly chocolate core. Sure, it's nice and sweet, but why not a vanilla shake core? In the end this is a pretty below average Cornetto. A bit sickly, and not very vanilla shake-like. I'd stick with the classics.

My rating: 2/5

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Today's Review: Fin Carré Crusti Choc

Mmm, there's nothing better after a long day than relaxing with a bar of Crusti Choc. Yes, this is certainly the least appetising sounding bar of chocolate I've bought, but hey, a lot of things get lost in translation. 

As it turns out, Crusti Choc is a lot like Nestlé Crunch, a big bar of milk chocolate with an abundance of crispy cereal pieces throughout. The chocolate may not quite be on par with the Nestlé stuff, but it's pretty damn close. It's creamy and smooth, and every bit is packed full of crunchiness. There is perhaps a little bit too much of an imbalance in the cereal:chocolate ratio, meaning it does sometimes get a little dry, but I certainly enjoyed this, especially for the low price of 49p for the bar. Next time you're in Lidl, look out for this.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 18 August 2014

Today's Review: Not Now, Bernard

My kids have been taking part in the library's summer reading challenge, because apparently instead of being outside enjoying the nice weather, they should be inside reading books. Well, it's a nice opportunity to get them literate, so we've been picking out a few books from the dregs left by the other hundreds of children who are also taking part. I did manage to find one "classic" though, a book that I remember from my childhood. This is Not Now, Bernard, and it's horrifying.

We follow our titular character, Bernard, as he attempts to talk to his mother and father about something. Now, most parents may take the time to respond to their child, but not Bernard's parents. Instead, upon greeting his mother or father, he is met with the even more titular "Not now, Bernard!"

Alright, I get it, he interrupted you, but you could at least see what he wanted to talk about. Just look at Bernard's face as he shuffles away. He's used to this response, he's used to being flat out told to go away. He gets the same reaction from his mother, even when he informs her that there's a monster in the garden and it's going to eat him. Sure, he might be making it up, but the lady could at least take the time to reassure her son that there's nothing to worry about. But now, she'd rather just water the plants. Dejected, Bernard goes out to the garden and attempts to befriend the actual real life monster that's taken a pew on an oddly large rock. True to form, the monster does what Bernard predicts, it eats him.

Reading this book the first time, you may think that this is some kind of trick. Bernard can't really have been eaten, maybe he's just sitting inside the stomach, waiting for someone to cut him out, a la friendlier versions of Little Red Riding Hood. But no, Bernard is dead. Not only dead, but devoured, massacred by a purple monster. All because his parents wouldn't talk to him. But the monster doesn't stop there, it wanders into the house and attempts to scoff the parents for dessert. Actually, probably the father for a main and the mother for dessert, I don't know how monster menus work. 

Too bad monster, because Bernard's parents are so uncaring of their child that they just figure this purple horned beast is their son, and carry on ignoring him and telling him to go away. The monster, clearly fazed by such indifference, assumes the role of Bernard a little, reading Bernard's comic, eating Bernard's dinner, until the mother, still not even bothering to look at her child, sends the monster up to bed with a glass of milk.

"But I'm a monster!" he cries. But who is really the monster? I mean sure, the monster is literally a monster, and a murderous one at that. But Bernard's parents truly are the monsters of this tale. They're neglectful, uncaring, and apparently their neglectful attitudes extend to their gardening, as they placed an inviting monster-friendly rock perch there and didn't bother dealing with the resulting monster guest. Bernard has been murdered in cold blood, and this mother and father don't even know, so wrapped up in their lives and chores that they still can't pay any attention to their "son". All Bernard needed was some love, some reassurance, probably a weapon to defend himself. But now he's dead, consumed, expired. 

Not Now, Bernard is a harrowing tale of child neglect, a tale of the downfall of humanity, the consequences of our uncaring, selfish nature. But it's also a jolly fun read, and the kids love it. After all, we can't read into these things too much, can we?

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 17 August 2014

Today's Review: McVitie's Hobnobs Medley

I've been chomping down on these bars for a couple of weeks now, so it's high time I did a review of them. I picked them up as a relatively low calorie snack, and I must say I'm mightily impressed. Normally I go for the healthier looking granola bars from the likes of Nature Valley or Special K, but this is like if one of those bars mated with a packet of biscuits and had a beautiful baby.

This Medley bar contains a load of smooshed up cereals and Hobnob chunks, packed with raisins and coated underneath with milk chocolate. The result is a delicious, filling bar. The oats and cereals are crunchy and flavoursome, with the raisins adding a lovely juicy touch, while the chocolate rounds everything off nicely, making this a very sweet treat. It's pretty much like eating a milk chocolate Hobnob, but without the temptation of finishing off the entire packet. These Hobnob Medley bars will likely be a staple snack for a while to come.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 16 August 2014

Today's Review: Three Tigers Aromatic Cantonese Lobster Crackers

Prawn crackers are a staple of the Chinese takeaway. There's just something about those greasy, fishy, crunchy crackers that makes them hard to resist. So I had to snag this bag of lobster flavoured crackers when I spied them at Tesco, especially as they are buy one get one free. I picked up a sweet and sour flavour too, but that's a review for later.

Yes, these are Cantonese lobster flavoured crackers, and while I've never had Canonese lobster (or even real lobster, thinking about it), it didn't stop me stuffing my face with these. They certainly have a lovely fishy, almost saucy flavour, perhaps not strong enough to break through the natural flavour of the crackers, but they certainly tickled my taste buds. There's also a lovely spicy undertone that lingers in the aftertaste, certainly not strong, but another nice little flavour to add to the mix. These are some pretty nice crackers, and while they may not be as flavoursome as the prawn crackers I'm used to, it's nice to see something different. Perhaps the sweet and sour ones will change my mind later.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 15 August 2014

Today's Review: The Inbetweeners 2

Everyone's favourite foul mouthed British teenagers are back, except they're not quite teenagers anymore. Well, I suppose they technically are, having just settled into post-school life. Unfortunately, Will is struggling to make friends at university, and Simon's girlfriend has turned out to be a little possessive. But when the gang receive a letter from Jay bragging about how much (dubious) fun he's having on his gap year in Australia, everyone decides to drop what they're doing for a while and head for the land down under, with hilarious consequences.

That's the idea, anyway. It may be because I'm getting older, but the humour of this movie wasn't entirely my style. Although there was a group of 40-something guys guffawing at any mention of willies or poo, so perhaps I'm just a snob. Still, I'm not adverse to a certain amount of toilet humour, and this movie certainly has it in bucket loads. I certainly had a chuckle, but the amount of classic Inbetweeners awkwardness in most scenes is few and far between, instead replaced with over the top jokes about various body parts. 

As for the plot? Well, there's not much to it. Group of boys head to Australia, attempt to have relations with ladies among various other shenanigans. It's basically the same as the first movie but in a different location. Hardly inspired. The gang themselves are as good as they've always been though, the rapport between the four main guys is still pretty apparent. They all seem like they're having a good time, and that makes for some nice performances. It's just they haven't got much to work with. Sure, Jay is still having fun throwing out various synonyms for lady parts, and Neil gets to deal with all the bodily fluids, but all in all there's not much substance to any of the humour. A lot of shock value, a lot of poo and willies. There are certainly some parts that recall the good old days of the TV show, but this movie just pales in comparison. It's not awful, but it's not much good either.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 14 August 2014

Today's Review: Apple Burst Tic Tacs

I don't often indulge in Tic Tacs, but I certainly haven't found a flavour I don't like. From regular mint, to orange and lime, right through to strawberry fields, they're refreshing and flavoursome. So I didn't hesitate in picking up this new pack of "apple burst" flavour, which boast a combination of lovely dark green, and... slightly lighter green.

There is a different between the two, as slight as it may be. The darker ones have more of a bolder, heavier apple flavour, while the lighter ones are akin to a light, crunchy, juicy apple. But either way, they are distinctly apple flavoured, and that's really all I could ask from a packet of apple flavoured Tic Tacs. They're also pretty refreshing, leaving behind an almost minty freshness in the mouth, but with the nice apple flavours also lingering. There's really not a bad thing I can say about these. They are apple flavoured Tic Tacs, and they're awesome.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Today's Review: Walkers Sensations Salted Caramel Popcorn

Yes, more popcorn, always more popcorn. This time it's another Sensation flavour, and seeing as I reviewed a few of them back in January, it's nice to see a new one. Can this salted caramel popcorn live up to the splendour of its brethren? Well, it's certainly an interesting combination. We have many sweet and salted popcorns, so why not salted caramel? Besides, it's already a well established flavour in many snack foods.

Well, salted caramel is right. That's certainly the dominant flavour I got when starting on this popcorn. It's certainly a bold salty taste, and seems higher in quality than your standard salted popcorn. There's a great underlying caramel flavour as well, smooth and sweet that constantly tickles the taste buds. It's just a shame that the salt is so powerful. If there was more balance between the elements this might be another clear winner. It's still good, but it's just not fantastic.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Today's Review: Planes: Fire & Rescue

When the first Planes came into being I certainly wasn't expecting much, and I certainly didn't get much. It seemed like a hastily put together movie capitalising on the merchandise churning franchise that Pixar founded. Well, a year later, Planes 2 is here, and while I knew I'd end up going to see it, I certainly wasn't looking forward to it.

Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is doing well at the racing game. Winning cups all over the place, thing eventually take a turn for the worse when he messes up his gearbox while pushing his engine. Finding a replacement looks bleak, so Dusty may have to resign himself to the fact that he can no longer race. However, a turn of fate gives Dusty the inspiration to become certified as a fire fighter rescue plane, so he sets off to Piston Peak national park to train with a tight knit team of rescue vehicles.

As with the last instalment, there is actually quite a nice cast scattered throughout this movie. There are some nice turns by Ed Harris, Teri Hatcher and Julie Bowen, but unfortunately they can't showcase their real talents. Much like the first Planes, the supporting characters are almost cardboard cut outs. They're certainly not the stereotypical foreign planes we've seen before, and there is a bit more character lent to the Dusty's supporting team. But it's not quite enough. Any potential for story lines with a lot of the characters falls short, leaving many of them one dimensional and really quite forgettable. As for the story they're contained in, it's nothing inspired. It's the underdog story we saw in the first movie, just shifted into a different situation.

Still, there are still some nice scenes thrown in, particularly those with the team fighting the forest fires that spring up around the park. The visuals in particular are very nice, with the fire effects especially looking very realistic, and in these action scenes the movie is almost on par with something churned out by Pixar or the main Disney animation studio. But with nothing else really going for this movie, it's still nothing special. It's certainly a much better effort than the first, and I'm hoping it's a move in the right direction, but it's still just an okay movie.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 11 August 2014

Today's Review: Quaker Oat So Simple: Heaps Of Fruit

I've accepted porridge as my staple diet breakfast, although to be honest any cereal is pretty low on calories if you stick to their paltry serving sizes. It's just that porridge is generally accepted as being very filling, and my stomach seems to believe it. I've tried a few microwave oats in the past, but this one particularly caught my eye, as it promises "heaps of fruit". This is good, because if I were to choose a quantity of fruit, I'd certainly go for "heaps" rather than the regular "sprinkles".

This porridge comes in lovely single serving sachets, and has a handy little line at the top so you can fill it up with the right amount of milk before you tip it in a bowl and nuke it. It works in theory, but I find that while the fruity bits fall into the bowl quite easily, large chunks of the oats get stuck inside the sachet, meaning I have to rip it open and scoop out the remaining innards. Just the kind of action I like to do at breakfast.

Okay, so the preparation may not be perfect, but once this stuff's been microwaved it's actually pretty damn good. The oats are as good as oats can be, I'm not sure I've ever noticed much variance between different oats. It turns out, though, that "heaps of fruit" is certainly a correct term. While you may be lucky to get a bit of flavour in each spoonful with your regular stuff, this porridge is packed with sizeable fruity bits that lend a fair amount of taste to the porridge. Definitely tasty, and definitely easy to polish off, as long as you wolf it down in that small time frame between being as hot as the surface of the sun and akin to setting concrete. But such is the way of microwave porridge, and if you must eat it for breakfast, you can't go wrong with this. It's just a shame I'm forced to leave some lonely oats behind when I'm making it.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday 10 August 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Chinese BBQ Rib Popcorn

The savoury popcorn movement continues. We've had bacon, worcester sauce, curry, and they've all been pretty nice. So what's the next step? Why, just cram some ribs in there of course.

I was a little wary of these when I picked them up. After all, bacon is probably my least favourite of the savoury flavours, and this was another meaty one. Still, I couldn't resist the call of the BBQ, and I'm glad I didn't. There's certainly a distinct meaty, BBQ flavour to this popcorn, and it did take me a while to get used to. But once my tastebuds adjusted I very much enjoyed the bold taste and the almost saucy texture. It's certainly not as good as other savoury popcorn, but this is definitely worth a try. 

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 9 August 2014

Today's Review: Tango Jaffa Cakes

Yes, another Tango product has made its way onto my plate, or in this case, picnic blanket. Jaffa cakes are already known for their orange flavour, so mixing them up with Tango seems a good enough idea to me. 

The box seems to be promising a lot, with a dynamite plunger attached to one of the cakes, and the phrase "Will the tangy orange get ya?" making it seem like these small, sponges discs are out to harm me in some way. So with the prospect of being beaten or blown to smithereens, I gingerly took my first bite...

...And was met with a Jaffa cake. Certainly not a bad Jaffa cake, but not a particularly special one either. I was expecting a nice tang that would hopefully assault my senses instead of my body, but instead it's simply a pleasant orange filling. Sure, it's not as nice as the McVitie's classic. The cake itself is quite soft, nowhere near as dry or crunchy as other inferior Jaffa cake brands, so this is certainly a good Jaffa effort. It's just too similar to the original, and not quite as nice.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 8 August 2014

Today's Review: Maoam Sour Stripes

Upon seeing this packet of Sour Stripes, I knew I hadn't tried them before, but I was sure this wasn't the first time I'd seen Sour Maoam. Sure enough, I reviewed the more classic block form a while back. These Stripes are basically the same thing, but obviously in a flatter form. But everyone knows stuff tastes better in different shapes, so how are these?

Well, these Stripes only come in four flavours, compared to the other Sour Maoam's five. At least there were only four in my pack. We have apple, orange, raspberry and cherry. The fruity flavours are as bold and delicious as always, and these certainly retain the awesome sour kick I appreciated so much last time. The difference here is that the surface area is greater, which means that placing one stripe on your tongue gives a tingly sour taste all over. I think the best thing about these is that the sourness doesn't let up as you chew, so you get the sensation the whole way through. These Stripes are fantastic fruity, sour sweets. If you find a bag, pick it up. You'll be glad you did.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 7 August 2014

Today's Review: Starburst Fruity Slushies

Poundland have started selling sizeable boxes of American candy, so now we can all get cheap supplies of Reese's Pieces, Skittles Desserts and Rainbow Nerds. But I also spied this variety of Starburst that I'd never tried before, one that contains "slushie" flavours. Starburst plus slushie drinks? Must be good, right?

This pack contains four different fruity flavours that have been slushified. There's strawberry lemonade chill, cherry splash, blue raspberry crush and citrus slush. They all sounded delightful, but in practice not all of them were great. The citrus flavour is a mostly orange affair, with hints of lemon, but it's overall rather bland. The cherry is bold and somewhat sickly, but the slushie element helps to wash out the flavour a bit in attempting to give it that iced drink flavour. My favourite has to be the blue raspberry, as everyone knows that's the best flavour of slushie. For all intents and purposes it does taste like a blue raspberry slushie, while the other flavours certainly aim for that goal, but end up tasting like a slightly watered down fruity sweet.

These Starburst are certainly not the best I've had. While I enjoy the blue raspberry flavour, the rest leave a bit to be desired. Still, they're Starburst, so they're quite nice. They're just not all that special.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Today's Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been coming along at a breakneck pace the last few years, churning out blockbuster after awesome blockbuster. But with well established super heroes like Thor, Iron Man and Hulk it was hard to go wrong. But when I heard about Guardians Of The Galaxy I wasn't sure what to think, because I'd never heard of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Unfortunately I don't have the time to delve into several decades of cross-over superhero groups and story lines. But this movie is made by Marvel, and they've been doing a lot of good, so I was certainly willing to give it a go.

Chris Pratt stars as Star-Lord, a man abducted from Earth as a child, who has since grown into a resourceful outlaw. While stealing a mysterious orb for an even more mysterious buyer, Star-Lord finds himself in a spot of trouble. Soon he is thrown in prison with green lady-alien  Gamora (Zoe Saldana), genetically modified rodent Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), hardened warrior Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and giant tree thing Groot (Vin Diesel). They all have a vested interest in the mysterious orb, or each other, but when a powerful war lord attempted to hunt them down, they have to learn to work together and save themselves, and indeed, the galaxy.

Yes, the plot sounds a little cliche. Unlikely band of ruffians must band together against an unspeakable evil, and yes, while there are a few twists and turns along the way, this is pretty much a formulaic blockbuster. But where Guardians Of The Galaxy shines is with its heart. While the villains are cookie cutter evil doers, the Guardians themselves are all fantastic. Cooper shines as a tiny raccoon who always has a plan, and a lot of firepower, while Diesel lends a lot of emotion to the singular phrase his character can utter: "I Am Groot". But Pratt really steals the show, taking his loveable goofball character that he built on Parks & Recreation and becoming a pretty bad-ass action hero, even if he does rely on a lot of dumb luck. He also comes equipped with a Walkman, which lends a whole lot of 70s-80s era music to the soundtrack of this galactic epic. It doesn't sound like it would work, but it does.

Of course, being based in the far reaches of space, and populated with a wide range of alien species, a lot has to be said about the special effects. As with other Marvel movies, this is top notch work. With two of our main five characters completely animated, they manage to fit in seamlessly with the rest. The gang fly in a variety of awesome looking ships, firing a wide array of guns, and blowing up pretty much everything in sight, and it all looks spectacular. In true blockbuster fashion the action scenes are wonderfully set up, and the quiet times in between are full of fantastic dialogue shared between the unique band of heroes, with a lot of clever one liners thrown in for good measure. The only hero I had some reservations about was Gamora, who really isn't all that fleshed out, but the rest have a pretty adequate amount of character development seeing as it's all squeezed into one movie. 

I may have had my reservations about this movie, but I certainly had a great time. It may not reach the dizzying heights of The Avengers, but it's a solid first entry into a franchise that I knew nothing about, but now can't wait to see more of.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Today's Review: Tesco Habanero Flavour Tortilla Chips

If there's one chip I like, it's a spicy chip. Doritos Chilli Heatwave are normally my go to tortilla chip for a burning tongue, but I'm always on the lookout for something that will set my tastebuds on fire even more. So upon spying these habanero flavoured chips in Tesco, I couldn't wait to give them a go, and with extra jalapeño flakes thrown in, I was hoping I'd be in for a very spicy time.

Unfortunately, my sense of taste remains intact. While these chips are certainly habanero flavoured, it seems like there's no authentic habanero actually mixed into the ingredients. These chips definitely have the distinct taste of the pepper, but it's not accompanied by that satisfying burning sensation. In fact, the flavour fades quite quickly, overwhelmed by the blandness of the chip. Still, I guess Tesco can't be bringing out chips that make people weep, so I appreciate them not loading their bags of chips with capsaicin. So while I'm not entirely impressed with the amount of heat I experienced, the flavour is pretty authentic, so these chips aren't all bad.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 4 August 2014

Today's Review: Manora Fried Pumpkin Chips

I can't say I've experienced pumpkin beyond licking the gory jack-o'-lantern innards from my fingers, but I can't say I'm particularly fond of the taste. So when I spotted these chips made from fried pumpkin I certainly wasn't expecting much. But hey, everything's worth a try, right?

These are basically what they say on the packet, chips made from pumpkin pulp, along with various other starches and flours. The result is a very interestingly textured chip. They're crunchy, like corn chips, but also slightly soft. The best thing I can compare it with is Chex cereal, but a savoury version. It's certainly a nice texture once you get used to it, and these chips have a definite pumpkin undertone that isn't too strong. They're also lightly salted, which adds another great flavour to the mix, and once I started eating these I didn't stop until the bag was empty. These pumpkin chips were certainly a pleasant surprise, and I'm now much more open to the idea of pumpkin recipes. Halloween, here I come.

My rating: 5/5

Sunday 3 August 2014

Today's Review: Orange & Guava Ribena

Ribena are really churning out the flavours now, aren't they? Here's another tropical offering to go along with the flavours they brought out last year, this time in the form of orange and guava. Although I do like guava, this flavour did sound a bit bland to me, but since when has that stopped me? Down the hatch.

I must admit this drink isn't as boring as I thought it would be. It has a lovely orange undertone, with some tropical fruity guava layered on top to give an overall smooth, fruity experience. It may not pack the same pinch as other, more traditional flavours, or indeed as other tropical flavour, but this is sill a nice drink. If you want something fruity that isn't to overwhelming, this is worth a go. I'll probably stick I the bolder flavour though.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 2 August 2014

Today's Review: Dairy Milk With Chips Ahoy!

It's a good thing I can't get enough of all these Dairy Milk variations, because apparently Dairy Milk can't stop making them. This time around we have a Dairy Milk bar combined with Chips Ahoy! cookies, and even though toes cookies aren't even available in this country, it sure didn't stop them. 

For the uninitiated, Chips Ahoy! are chocolate chip cookies, but really good ones. Think Maryland, but less crumbly. They're crunchy, chocolatey, good stuff. Of course, embedded in Dairy Milk they kind of lose some of that crunchiness, much like the Oreo Dairy Milk. But that doesn't mean this chocolate is bad.

Quite the opposite in fact. There's a thick layer of creamy, cookie flavoured goodness inside the chocolate shell, embedded with chocolate chips. The flavour of the stuff inside is undeniably chocolate chip cookie, and combines with the texture it gains something of a cookie dough experience. While some Dairy Milk varieties get a bit overwhelmed by the chocolate, this bar is undeniably cookie based. This is another great effort from Cadbury, and hopefully it means a UK release for Chips Ahoy! on the horizon...

My rating: 5/5

Friday 1 August 2014

Today's Review: Milk Pocky

There's always room in my heart for more Pocky, and this flavour was an interesting pick up. The regular flavours may include milk chocolate, but if you don't fancy the chocolate you can now go with just milk. I don't know why you'd ever forgo the chocolate, but hey, the option is there. Plus there's a cure little cow on the box to persuade you.

So yes, these Pocky are the average pretzel sticks, but covered with a creamy, milk flavoured coating. I'm not sure exactly which milk it's meant to taste like, but it's certainly a sugary one. Of course, I probably shouldn't expect an authentic milk taste from these, and indeed, the coating tastes more like the milk bottle sweets you can pick up from any good sweet shop. It's an okay flavour, but it doesn't work all that well in Pocky form. These aren't bad, but they're not great, and they certainly don't beat other Pocky varieties.

My rating: 3/5