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I bought this cake for the first time last week. It is only available at Sainsbury's and is one of those items I would say prove that Supermarkets are equally good at selling value products and more expensive ones. This cakes goes for more or less 5.50 Pounds. Sainsbury's have a wide offer of cakes, this is one of the few I was looking. There are located in the chilled section of the supermarket.
It is nicely presented and the plastic which covers it allows you to see what it looks like. No risk of surprises. It is also well protected by the packaging and I did not see any cake not being in perfect conditions when I was examining them. If your reason for buying this is to present it to guests, as it was for myself, you may well decide to give it a go. You will see that this is what I would refer to as a caloric bomb and the chocolate is there, and a lot of it!
We opened it the same day we bought it. It is topped with a sexy chocolate fudge, very tempting! You can either have it as it is, or warm it up, which in winter is probably the best thing to do. The sponge also gets significantly softer
It was 6 of us and I find it was absolutely the perfect size for an afternoon cake with tea, it may also have been enough for 7-8 of us. They actually write on the wrapping that it can serve up to 8 people. You can either microwave it, or cut slices and then microwave them individually, which is what I prefer to do.
It is surely a good cake to have for dessert too. It takes quite some space in the fridge, so I would advise you to plan to eat it possibly the same day you buy it. I guess once opened it will last 24 may be 48 hours. For a couple, this can represent an interesting situation, because surely it will have an impact on your calories. Personally I may buy it again when we have guests, I do not think we will have this hanging around the fridge for the 2 of us, but other than that, it is may be just a bit expensive, surely not too much, but it is tasty and worth what it costs.
I regularly visit the local Weatherspoon Pub. With more than 750 Pubs in UK you would think that the idea of "being a local" does not apply with Weatherspoon, but this is not true.
I believe that the reason why they have a large group of local fans and clients is that they are cheap.
Weatherspoon pubs differentiate themselves from their competitors by being quite welcoming. Where else can you find comfortable sofas and cheap food? In fact, I would say, where can you find decent food in a Pub? At least in my areas, most Pubs do not offer food. I like to sit and relax with friends in a Pub, but I do not like to drink and not have any food. Also, I prefer to be able to sit down, it is much more civilized, no doubt about it!
Ok, admittedly the food is not cooked on site, it is frozen food which is always the same, but they know how to defreeze it well, let's put it in this way.
They have some special days with special deals,
For example on Sunday they offer a large roast dinner with drink included, on Tuesday it is the steak night and on Thursday the curry night. I learnt these nights by heart and these are the nights when w may visit Weatherspoon with my friends.
Service can be a bit slow. The bar is always busy, some time we have to wait up to 10 minutes before we can place the order and up to 30 minutes to receive the food, this when we really have delays, at other times it is faster.
A combined meal costs 6 Pounds more or less, this is good value for money for sure. They display TV screens with sport events. I watched few of the European and World cup matches at Weatherspoon.
Amongst the chain of Pubs, Weatherspoon is my favourite.
In a perfect world, I would wake up in the morning, go to my local market, buy some fresh ingredients from the farmers, and then come back home and prepare a nice pasta sauce.
In reality, I wake up at 6 am, work the whole day, come back home tired and hungry, and I would not prepare a pasta sauce nor for love, nor for money. Sainsbury's sell their own tomato and herb pasta sauce and I decided to give it a try.
This sauce is only available at Sainsbury's. It comes in a glass jar which allows you to see what is inside and has a similar label to the one you see on this photo. I think this is enough for 3 people. It has 290 gramms, and normally you do not need more than 100 gramms per person. It may even be enough for 4 people, depending on how much pasta you cook. It is made mainly of tomatoes, including tomato paste and also has oregano.
Pasta sauces need to be poured on pasta after pasta is cooked. I once witnessed somebody cooking pasta with the sauce in the little water he has put in the pot. Increadibly but true!
I prepared myself a dish of "penne" and while I was doing so, I opened the jar and poured 5 large spoons in a pot and warmed them gently. I also grated some Parmesan cheese and prepared a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to pour ont he dish once it was ready.
Stirring the sauce I realized that not only it had a nice pleasant smell, but also that it was quite thick. Finally, once the pasta was ready, I poured the pasta in the pot and stirred witha wooden spoon. I then added the grated cheese and a veil of olive oil. Without further ado, I sat down at my table.
It surely tasted nice, a good balance between herbs and tomato. It was not too acid either and it went well with a bottle of red Chilean merlot. It costs 36 pennies, which is a real bargain! I used to buy the similar product from Tesco, which is also good, but I will also buy this from now on, when I shop again at Sainsbury's. You may want to fry a bit of carrots, garlic and onions and then add the sauce to them, rather than warming it up from the jar, but if you are short of time as I am, you can just pour it from the jar and not worry too much about anything else.
The Tesco Creamy Vegetable soup is part of the growing range of soups which Tesco sells. I think soups have been forgotten for some time and it seems that there is a revival now. It is not always available, and I do not know why. Some Tescos do not have it, or if they do it, it is not in the same section as the other soups.
It costs £1.17 and comes ina 600g tub. The one I bought myself is different from the one that Dooyoo pictures here, may be Dooyoo have an older version. The packaging itself is relatiely unassuming, but bear in mind that this is not part of their value range of products.
According to the infomation on the tub, the list of vegetables is quite impressive (potato, carrot, swede, onion, cream, green beans, cabbage and parsnips, and natural flavouringsan) and there is also whipped cream thrown in, which I think it is a nice touch. However, the combination of whipped cream and butter does not seem to have too much of an impact on the calories, which are 44 for 100 gramms only. May be it is redundant to say this, but this product is surely suitable for vegetarians.
Similarly to the other soups which Tesco sells, you can choose to warm (they say "cook") this on the hob or in the microwave. I prefer to cook it on the hob and I normally put the fire mark on number 4 and stir every couple of minutes. The soup is surely good on its own, but I also cracked a couple of eggs in it once to give me a stronger and fuller dinner.
The tub is enough for 2 people but possibly even 3. I had this soup on its own, I had it as I said with eggs and I also added croutons to it. The taste is good, the vegetables are there and you can feel it. In winter, this is an excellent warmer when I come back home in the evening. I also like soups in summer because allow me to take water and reidratate myself if I have been making sport outdoors.
If I am not too hungry, half of the tub may serve me as dinner, but otherwise I may want to have something after it.
I like double cream a lot. I would probably be able to eat 100 gramms of it raw, and then probably be sick or puke. Double cream is tasty, but surely not exactly what we would refer to as in "low calories"
Double cream in general is also not so cheap. However, Tesco sell a good double cream for 70 pennies for 150 gramms. I buy it from time to time, mainly when I know that I will need it in the next few days. It is not a product I buy "just to have it at home" if I need it, because it does not have a very long fridge life. Having said this, one of the things I really like about this product is that the lead is resealable, being of plastic. Although in most of the occasions I use all of the pot in one go, it is surely a great plus point.
In summer I also make sure that as soon as I come back home, it goes in the fridge.
When I opened the pot, I realized that the cream is thick to a good degree and when I pour it, I normally help myself with a spoon. Like other kind of double cream, it gives away a light whiff of milk, but surely it does not have a very strong aroma at all. After finishing pouring the content, I normally pass my finger inside the pot and make sure than nothing is wasted!
The cream is sweet, but not too much in taste and goes very well on cakes and doughnuts.
It is a good product from Tesco and the packaging, although basic in its layout, is clever, due to that plastic lid.
4/5 is my final verdict
Although I am perfectly aware of the risks and dangers associated with fast food, I some time visit Kentucky Fried Chicken.
There is a nearly well established pattern for these visits. It normally starts at 6pm, when the office closes and we decide to go down the pub "for a quick one", which inevitably means that after the first round somebody has finisehd his drink before the others and goes "mmh, I feel thirsty, what would you like?" which means I am set up for the second round, and then, yes, if you had 2, and we are having a good time, why not making it 3, and then, ops, mmh,it is already 10pm, uff, I do not want to cook at home, and anyway it will be too late, anybody for KFC?
This is pretty much how I end up there. I never recalled visiting KFC perfectly sober, not that I go there drunk or anything, but the only justification I give myself for KFC is that, it is late and I need some food.
KFC specializes in chicken, if you do not like chicken, do not even bother.We normally go for the large meal with 10 pieces or the larger one with 14, the one with 10 costs 9.95 Pounds. They also serve potatoes, which are definitively healthier, or at least they look healthier than the ones at Mc Donald and if you want salt, they give it to you in a sachet.
Drinks are really good value for money with large bottles of soft drinks normally costing one Pound only.
Also, they have lemon serviettes, which definitvely help to clean the grease from hands and sadly, mouth and lips too.
KFC is not 100% healthy, but I believe it is acceptable from time to time.
Although I like a lot orange juices, ideally fresh, but also some of the bottled products, when it comes to fizzy drinks I find that they are all excessively sweet.
Fanta is an orange fizzy drink, and as far as I recall, it has always been around. It is the only one i can drink, and these days you can have it also in its Zero version, with supposedly zero calories. I am not sure how many people are aware of this, but it is actually produced and sold and distributed by Coca Cola.
I buy Fanta mainly in winter rather than in summer, and I tend to buy it in large bottles, but they also sell smaller bottles and cans of 333 ml.
If you open a can or a bottle of Fanta, it will give away some of its fizziness. The drink itself is fizzy and orange in colour. I only drink it cold from the fridge or cooler anyway. If poured, it will make a thin foam on your glass. Once you drink it, it tastes of orange, although this, the taste of orange, is more evindent after a short while the drink has been in your mouth.
It does not mix very well wooth alcohol, at least this is what I believe. I have mixed it though with pineapple juice.
Like many other soft drinks, the normal version is surely caloric, at nearly 450 calories for one litre, so if you are on a diet, bear this in mind.
If you want or fancy an orange fizzy drink, Fanta is my recommendation
The Muller company has been around for many years, adding to their range of yoghurts new flavours. The one with banana and choco flakes has been on the shelves for many years.
For those who are not familiar with the Muller yoghurts, they come in a plastic box, with one side having the yogurt, and smaller corner with the stuff you are supposed to add to the yoghurt, in this case the choco banana flakes.
I buy these from Somerfield, Asda and Tesco. Somerfield and Asda run regular promotions and you can have some time 6 for 2 Pounds, some time even 10 for that amount of money.
If bought individually, they normally retails for half a Pound each, more or less. Opening the lid on these yoghurts is always easy, I never had any problem, and I feel a bit like a child when I lift it and look with excitement until when the lid is gone and I can see the crunchy parts. They look so nice and yummy!!
Not only that, but the smell of banana was very inviting. The yoghurt definitively smell of banana and also tastes of banana. The thing with banana flavoured things is that I find that not always the manufacturer gets the taste right, some time it is too sweet or even a bit nauseating, at least for me. It is not the case with this yoghurt.
The chocolate flakes taste like chocolate and surely I would have done with more because I am greedy, but in honest, there are enough and once you pour them and then start stirring them and mixing them, you will see that literally each spoon you will put into the yoghurt will have at least a bit of chocolate.
The result was great and I consider this one of my favourite yoghurts!
I had even forgotten that I have a profile on this website until when I bumped into a review on it on Dooyoo!
I like social networking websites. Social networking websites are supposed to be about networking and sharing interests and meeting people, but the truth is that 95% of men on these websites are after only one thing, and yes, you can guess what!
Plentyoffish is a dating website. They do not disguise themselves as somehting else. Surely people want to meet and date for different reasons, somebody is after a serious relationship, somebody just wants to have some fun. This website allows you to create a profile which incorporate this information. I think it is a good thing.
I had created a profile when I had more time to spend in front of the Internet. Personally I have nothing against Internet dating. Last year I went to 5 weddings. 1 was of a couple who met on Facebook, and the other one was "rumoured" to be of a couple who met on the Internet (the party version was that they met in a bar, but I was told they had met on the Internet and the guy was too shy to admit it)
Plentyoffish has got many men who are looking to have an affair, this is the reality. I never met anybody from this website because soon I lost interest. I like to flirt and to chat a lot, but the quality of the chatting (and the flirting!) was poor.
It did not really impress me. 2/5 because of this. The good thing for those of you who want to give it a go is that it is completely for free.
The Financial Times, also referred as "FT" particularly by those who want to impress, is in all fairness not only the most complete and indepth daily financial newspaper in Uk, but also in Europe.
It costs 2 Pounds to buy or much less if you subscribe to it for one year. If you decide to subscribe, they will send you once a month a bunch of vouchers for the whole month and you can then choose to redeem these vouchers at any newsagent selling the FT.
Normally the FT is divided into 2 parts. The first 14 pages cover news of political and social nature. There is a lot of emphasis on political affairs which hold a direct link to economic and financial affairs.
The second part, which is a separate group of pages, goes under the title of "companies and markets" and is devoted to market reports.
The style of the articles is quite neutral, with this, I want to say that there are no indications or suggestions from the juornalist point of view, which can be interpreted as a recomendation to buy or sell any kind of assets or securities. However, the interviews with the market participants, which form a part of these articles may give you more direction for your investments.
Although the access to financial information on the Internet surely represents a threat to the FT, I still regard this daily paper as a very good reference for anything relating to economic and financial affairs.
On Saturday, the FT weekend edition comes which I I enjoy for the Travel and the Property sections in particular.
Although cheap it is not, the FT gets a 4/5 from me.
Like many other of the applications which Google offer, Google maps (which I normally load on my browser simply by entering the word "google maps" in the Google search engine) is a very useful feature and most importantly, it is free to use.
How does it work?
Basically Google maps come up with a field where you enter your address. For Most European countries and for USA, you will also be able to enter the postcode.
The results come up fast, as you would expect from a Google tool. You then have a map which can be zoomed in or out. I have used Google maps also for some exotic destinations, like Thailand and India, and although they are quite popular on the tourist track, the results are not always that accurate. One of the problem with countries where there is a different alphabet from the latin one is that you need to have the correct translitteration. This was also one of the reasons why it did not work so well with Thailand.
You can add other addresses to the same map and also ask for directions. This is the main reason for me to use this resource, when I plan business trips abroad. We all use it in our office and I was actually asked to carry with me the printout of the addresses I go to, when travelling for business.
The other feature I find very useful, and possibly one you may not be aware of (one colleague of mine pointed this one out to me after I had been using Google maps for 2 years) is that there is a small box where you can type a short text. This is where I now enter the name of the person I am going to meet, and some time also other small notes.
Google maps is the only service I know and I use for this kind of requirements, it serves me very well for European destinations, it fails some time for Asian ones, but I think it will get better.
I decided to invite to London a couple of friends of mine. I cannot accommodate people in the place where I live, so I decided to reserve a room in a Hotel. After checking few places in line, I recalled that Travelodge offer decent deals and I decided to check their website.
This review is solely on the Travelodge website.
The website is easy to navigate and fast and robust. I did not encounter any glitch.
The main page has got few of the current offers displayed and then if I select London, the list of Hotels comes us. For each of their London locations, they state the "price from" however, this is not the price for each night. In the case of the one in Farrington, actually there was one day of the 4 I had to book, which was cheaper than what they put on the main page, while for the one in Covent Garden, although they said "from 89 Pounds" it turned out this was the price for one only of the 4 nights, while the other 3 were more than 100 Pounds each.
For each of the locations you have a photo of the Hotel, but the photo for the room is the same one for all the Hotels. There is a link to the location off the Hotel and few of the local amenities. I think that for somebody who does not know London very well the information supplied is not enough. The location on the map, though is clear.
As with all the search engines, you then enter the number of people and of nights. Clicking on the field with the dates, a calendar comes up, so you are sure not to confuse a Friday with a Saturday. Once you have selected the number of nights and hotel, a screen will come up. You can decide to but the insurance policy against cancellation of flight or illness. In other words, they seem to refund you if you cannot make it. However, it seems that it is only for serious illness (the one you have when you fall under a train) and although the insurance is only 1.50 Pounds for the whole period, I did not buy it. Below that you can book breakfast (at 6.50 per person) and dinner (also at 6.50 per person). In my case I decided that to book breakfast may not be necessary (I know my friends, and they both drink a coffee and not much more for breakfast, plus we plan to go out and come back very late) while for dinner, I thought it was quite sad to have a dinner at Travelodge for 6.50, but I may try it on a separate occasion if I travel on my own.
You then proceed to the checkout. Credit cards attract a reasonable 2 Pounds only extra charge. You then complete the transaction and you receive an email with the invoice and another one with the reservation details. If it is the first time you reserve, you also receive an email confirming you now have an account with them. The login is you email and the password needs to have letters and at least a number (something I hate, because I use 3 passwords only for all my business, plus one with the number at the end, but I tend to leave this as the last attempt and I am sure I will have forgotten by next time I use this website)
I also realized that they registered me under the name of my friend, so I am not sure if I will have to create a new login next time.
Overall I found the website easy to use and fast and no glitches. It gets a 4/5 from me, it would have been 5/5 if it had a bit more of info on the amenities close to their hotels. (they are listed on the Google Map, which is good, but the average tourist may find this a bit insufficient)
Morocco is a country situated in the top West corner of North Africa. It is shaped like an inverted "L" with the top being on the Mediterranean sea and the West part facing the Ocean.
The capital is Rabat, which is a modern city and probably one you can happily skip if you go there asa tourist. The main airport is Casablanca, which is also the economic capital of the country. Casablanca is where all the banks are (I mean the headquarters of the banks) and has got a large mosque and a compact Medina. For those who visit Morocco on business, Casablanca offers a taste of Morocco.
In the North of the country are Tanger and few resorts on the Mediterranean sea. This is the part of the country where the Government has decided to invest more to develop the tourist infrastructure and rival with Spain.
North of Casablanca you have the imperial cities of Meknes and Fez. Fez is actually my favourite city in Morocco, even more than Marrakesh. If you have 2 days and rent a car, you can do a tour from Casablanca taking in Meknes and Fez, but I can tell you that 3 days will not be too little in fez, particularly if you like getting lost (quite literally) in the old Medina. I found that the old Medina of Fez is also great fun for kids. You can play "seek and hide" all the time.
Marrakesh is probably the most famous tourist destination in Morocco, with its square which turns into a live show every night. It is also a great base to explore the mountains behind, the Atlas.
South on the sea, Agadir is the place where tourists go to lay on the beach, Many of them arrive with charter, spend one week and see nothing more of the country. Essaouira, further down, is the surfer paradise.
People speak a local version of Arabic. If you speak any of the Arabic dialects, you will get by, but if you speak the version from the Gulf, you may find that from time to time you will have to ask to repeat. French is spoken largely in the country by anybody who has education, but do not expect all taxi drivers to be fluent in French.
Apart from the typical tourists attractions, the other bid draw of Morocco is in my view its cuisine. Couscous and Tagine are probably the 2 most famous dishes. Wine and beer are freely available in restaurants and bar.
Finally, if you are an attractive female traveller and you are travelling alone, you need to expect some level of harassment, but, at least in Casablanca, which is the only place I visited on my own, this was very limited. If you stay at large Hotels (I stayed at the Sheraton in Casablanca) and ask a taxi from the reception, the taxi drivers will behave properly with you.
I am going to review each of the cities mentioned above separately since I have been to all of them.
McVities have been producing these cheddars for many years, although the mini version came later. They are round cheese biscuits and according to what I read on the packet, contain a good 12% of cheese.
As far as I remember, the package has not changed for many years, it has a bright yellow colour in the middle, which then fades into a kind of orange and can relatively easy located and found on the shelves of supermarkets. It can also be found in many corner shops or newsagents. I found that the smaller bags are enough for a snack. I did not count how many biscuits were there, but I would say 14ish. By the way, I believe these are biscuits, and not crisps, although they may be confused with crisps. The bag weights 25 gramms and is very high in fat, a whopping 7 gramms. I think this is due to the fact that they percentage of cheese is high, cheese is fat. McVities claim not to use any artificial colour or products in the preparation of these biscuits. Each bag will also add 129 calories to your intake.
Opening the bag, a mild whiff of cheese came out. The biscuits are actually quite crunchy on the outside, while I found the inside softer. The inside is where the cheese is supposed to be. I found that it does taste cheesy and the combination of the outside and inside was ok, but I need to have something to drink when I have these.
You can buy these at supermarkets in large bags with 7 of them (is it because you are supposed to have one every day of the week?) for anything in between 1.50 and 2.00 depending on where you go. Occasionally, I remember seeing this on two for one offers.
Once opened, the bag does not last me more than one hour, I some time carry one with me in the office. I do not know how long it would last you in terms of being fresh, if you oopen the bag. The longer I recall was a working day, and they tasted as fresh as in the morning when I had them in the afternoon.
In conclusion. I liked them and if you like cheese, try them
Agadir is a city located in the Suth of Morocco, not far from the Canary Island.
Morocco is a country in the North West part of Africa, it has one side on the Mediterranean sea and one on the Atlantic, Agadir is on the Atlantic sea. There are many charter flights and package holidays to Agadir, particularly in winter season. I flew to Agadir in February 2 years ago from Casablanca, which is the capital of Morocco, where I had been on business trip. My then boyfriend and another couple of friends joined me from UK.
Agadir is a new city. It was built, or, better, completely rebuilt in 1960. At that time a terrible hearthquake completely flattened and destroyed the city. 15,000 people died and since this was only 4 years after the creation of the Moroccan state, the authorities took pride in the reconstruction and built a modern city. I will get back to this in a minute.
Arriving at the airport, which is medium size and relatively modern, I soon realized that most of the passengers are tourist. We landed at the same time as a flight from Zurich and even on my plane there was a good share of tourists.We collected our luggage quite soon and went out. I then went to the taxi rank and headed for the first available taxi, which are inevitably large Mercedes with some time nothing less than 700,000 km on the clock (I saw one like this in Casablanca)
You can also change money at the airport. The best choice is always to use ATM machines, bouraeu de change or Hotels charge higher rates. In theory you cannot take money out of the country (if they find you doing it, they will simply "confiscate") but as long as you keep the receipt, you can exchange them back at the airport when you leave. My advice is to withdraw regularly and in small quantities from ATM machines, but make sure your bank knows you are going to Morocco, since our friends had Barclays and had not informed them and after the first withdrawal, they were not able to use the card and had to call Barclays from Morocco to have the bar lifted.
Back to Agadir, as I said, it is a modern city. I had heard different opinions about the city, those who think it is a great destination and those who think that it lack character. I would say that both are correct. I prefer to stay on the beach with 25 degrees in february, than being in UK, but having been to many other places in Morocco, I would agreed that Agadir lacks a bit of character. Having said this, some people may actually find this a plus point. One day in a bar we struck conversation with a French-Dutch family with 2 kids and the parents made a point that when all you want is to stay on the beach and have the kids play, you do nto care too much about visiting medinas and all that kind of things,and as long as food is cheap and the hotel is clean, they were happy.
Talking about food, I will not spend too much time on that, because it is pretty much the same all over Morocco, I will write on this on the review on Morocco, however, we had good tagines and couscous, while we found that for Agadir to be a port, the choice and offer of fish was quite limited. We only spent 2 days in Agadir, since we then started a tour to Essaouira, Marrakesh and the Atlas, more on those in the separate reviews. It is possible to visit Marrakesh from Agadir, but I would suggest you spend at least a night there (in Marrakesh)
The main draw of Agadir is the beach, you can hire sun beds for 2 Euros per day. The time when you come across Morocco, with the sellers trying to sell you possibly everything, si actually on the beach.
The water was ok to swim for some people, but for me was cold.
I would say that one week in Agadir (the normal lenght of the charter flights) is too much for me. After 3 days I wanted to leave and I was happy we did. However, if you are able to hire a car, Agadir is an excellent base to explore the south of Morocco, and surely 1-2 days on the beach are not a bad thing either. You can budget 30 Euros per day for a room in a decent Hotel and 10-20 Euros per head for meals (I mean 2 of them) Alcohol is available and there are some excellent wines in Morocco.