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larlipop

larlipop
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Member since: 26.01.2010

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    • Milka Cream / Chocolate / 106 Readings / 100 Ratings
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      08.06.2010 16:36
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      Go little creamy

      Aha.

      Ahahahaha! What have we here? Why, it appears to be a Milka bar. With, ooh my, a CREAM filling. Milka is awesome. Cream is also spectacular. Is there any way this was going to be anything short of a sexual experience? I think not dear friends, I think not.

      I have noticed this bar merrily popping up all over the freaking shop lately. Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda etc etc have all recently embraced this particular Milka variant into their collective bosom. And why the hell not? Milka is clearly the shizz.

      Indeed, locating this bar will be of supreme ease. Merely take yourself off to the confectionary supermarket aisle, kindly labelled in the interests of maintaining the sanity of easily startled shoppers such as myself, proceed down it in calm manner, and look for purple. No not Cadbury you fool! Milka wrappers are a gentler lilac hue, with a jolly little purple cow on the front. Really rather natty actually. The cream bar is definied as such by a (and this is the masterstroke) cream-coloured strip and a picture of an alarmingly perfect blob of cream (photoshop much?). You really would have to be a complete simpleton to miss it.

      Are you thrifty? You are?! Well this may just be your new bff (in the chocolate scheme of things anyway, I cannot vouch for your social life in its entirety). Milka, despite being a rather quality continental brand (30% cocoa solids, put that in your pipe Cadbury et al) is one of the most bargainlicous chocolates going (always less than a £1 for a 100g bar, often cheaper still!). There is, I think, a fine line between getting value for money and just buying plain crud, of which it is very easy to fall over the cusp. Milka truly does allow affordable indulgence in every which way. Isn't that splendid? You feel warm inside now don't you? I sense it.

      Once in its naked glory, the bar does take swish and sophistication to new levels. Through the magic of sight, you will see the bar is split into 15 pieces (I won't say chunks, they are far too elegant for such abrasive terms) each with a Milka logo etching. It's quite a flat bar, but then flat can be good (and no I don't mean it won't have to worry about bras). Flatter pieces somehow provide a better eating experience. Our good friend the cadbury button has shown us the way.

      Consulting the wrapper, each piece is filled with a 'cream flavour filling'. 50% apparently. Get them being all technical. I find this to be a rather perplexing precis actually. Infact if I had a beard (I don't) I would be twirling it thoughtfully at this point. 'Cream flavour' is a bit vague for my liking, would it be white like cream? Would it have a cream-like consistency? The questions! The unknown! Gosh don't I live life on the very periphery of sanity.

      Since we're dithering over the wrapper, I would also like to point out the insane nutritional information. Now I'm not naive, I know chocolate is not exactly a beacon of healthy eating, but this bar has over 600 calories and 44g of fat! Holy moses. Suffice to say, we really shouldn't be eating this very often. But cripes, every so often you've gotta live!

      And blimey, this bar is definitely worth it. The chocolate covering is milka's epic alpine milk chocolate, super creamy and a touch nutty. The filling is where it's at though, a bit truffley/lindor-y, it instantly melts and melds with the chocolate imparting an intense creaminess and a slight cooling sensation (all that fat's been put to good use then). Aside from some intense dairy flavours, you get a taste of milk and hazelnuts and a bit chocolate ice-cream. All round silky, melty, super-creaminess. It's just fatty enough to be decadent and satisying in a few pieces, but no so much that it makes you feel ill. My my, what a divine melty-chocolatey experience this turned out to be.

      All in all, this chocolate bar is crazy-yum and the very peak of sweet and creamy ecstasy. It somehow manages to be both delicate and intense at the same time. It works on all levels! What a thrill! What a pleasure it was to have known this bar. It could get sickly if you hammered it, but that would be your own silly fault and thus I can't sympathise. Also, it packs a hefty sugar rush, something I can vouch for having just eaten some (you may have noticed this).

      I must suggest, nay, INSIST that you sample this at some point in life. Hard day at the office? Wife a nag? Troubled by the mundane trivialities of life? Hush my pretties! Milka cream will be there for you, always and forever.

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      • Milka Chocolate / Chocolate / 76 Readings / 74 Ratings
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        01.06.2010 18:43
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        Super-duper

        A very good afternoon to all.

        The last few weeks have been rather stressy to say the least, what with uni exams and assignment deadlines and so on. Oh it was so horrific! But, let us not dwell on past atrocities in a whiney-old-woman-like manner. Because! Since chocolate consumption has been at an optimum (all in the interests of maintaining my strength, obviously), this means I can bestow unto you my highly intellectual(!) opinion and impartial speculations through the medium of a soundly structured dooyoo review.
        You see? Silver linings. That is the key.

        It was my mumma who supplied me with this milka bar. Isn't she fab? After repeated moany text messages one hellish revision day, she came home with a bag of different milka bars (and a bottle of sambuca actually, who says parenting-skills are floundering?) and then proceeded to 'casually' stalk me untill I opened one. Ha! What a swiz.

        So to be clear this is the standard Milka ALPINE MILK chocolate bar, lest you get all confused and worried. It has no fancy fillings or added bits and bobs, just pure chocolatey goodness. Fair enough, I think. It means you can just suckle away at it quietly with no added worries concerning chewing/biting etc, so let us be thankful for that.

        The packaging is not exactly an example of timeless chic, but d'you know? I rather like its childlike whimsy. It's a little willy wonka-esque. A nice manly shade of lilac, it boasts the Milka logo and a picture of a purple cow. Purple cows! I like it already. And not only do we get elegant style, but there is also a thoughtfully implemented 'resealable strip' on the back (I haven't actually had need to use that particular feature but I do appreciate the gesture). And, let's not forget! They've also kindly given us all the ingredient/nutritional info there too. But the practical mastery and optical delight that is the packaging pales in comparison to the brown spectacle to behold within, so without further ado, let's open this badboy up!

        Once naked, the bar strikes one as much lighter in colour than other milk chocolates. Indicative perhaps of a lower cocoa content? Why no, don't be so fricking presumptious! Milka actually has 30% cocoa solids, trumping both Cadbury (20%) and Galaxy (25%) in this respect. Now I don't get all puffed up over the whole cocoa-content debate, since chocolate really shouldn't be ponced over in such ways. I was, however, interested to see if this translated to the taste...so did it?...(just building suspense here btw)......

        Infact, Milka has a much milder 'chocolate' taste than its rival brands. The flavours are indeed strong but probably more dairy-based than they are actual chocolate. Something Milka likes to harp on is the whole 'alpine milk from alpine cows in alp-y climates' debacle, but here I think they've missed a trick about what makes Milka so delightful. Inspecting the ingredients, we learn that the chocolate actually contains hazelnut paste. YES! Hazelnut paste, as I'm sure anyone who partakes in that godly creation Nutella can attest, is the absolute shiz. This gives the chocolate a fabulous nutty complexity to the overarching creaminess. The flavours are primarily very sweet and of a strong, dry-milkiness, a bit like caramelised fudge, then a definite hazelnut flavour rounds off the creamy-sweetness. It is vaguely chocolatey, but it's more about the milk and nutty flavours than it is cocoa. I personally am down with that, and thus am heavily addicted Milka.

        The hazelnut paste not only gives a deliciously rich edge to the taste, but it also ensures an amazing melty experience. The chocolate is softer than most, and once in the oral cavity instantly melts into a delightful buttery, silky pool of yum. It's quite a thick and sticky texture, but it doesn't cloy. If the swift-smooth melt of Galaxy is something you enjoy, then you and Milka should definitely get it on at some point.

        Clearly, the addition of hazelnut paste is the masterstroke in the success of Milka, which makes me ponder as to why they're so bashful to tell us about it. Why so shy, Milka? After all, neither Cadbury nor Galaxy contain such a genius addition and I can't help but feel they're missing the USP boat by hinging all its credentials on the 'alpine milk' alone, since I think it's fair to say Cadbury dairy milk already has that whole area sewn up and in the knapsack so to speak.

        All my (mildly insane) rambling aside, I am fairly optimistic Milka will reap a hearty profit and popularity here in dear Blighty, due in part to its rather reasonable pricing. A 100g bar is less than £1, and bars are practically on permanent special offer anyways. Woo! I feel an Asda-ad style bum slap coming on.

        In sum, Milka chocolate is fairly awesome. As a brand, it is EPIC because (as I will be able to elaborate in further reviews) of the variety and aceness of the different flavours it offers. As a stand-alone chocolate in its pure form, it's rich, yummers and offers something slightly different to other chocolate brands. Hence, I can do naught but recommend the Milka alpine milk bar. It really is extremely pleasant.

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        • Cadbury Creme Egg / Chocolate / 185 Readings / 179 Ratings
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          29.03.2010 15:33
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          Heart them.

          Hoho, did you enjoy my suggestive title? Of course you did. Minxes! All of you!

          Creme eggs! How can you possibly not be UTTERLY ENCHANTED by the creme egg? This is the epitome of "happy food". You can't eat a creme egg and not be in a good mood afterwards. You just can't. You will waft around in a dreamy state of calm, riding a sugar wave of joy, picking things up, smiling at them, putting them down, patting people on the head...everything will be at peace in the world. The creme egg is truly a tiny chocolate miracle.

          What is it about Easter-type things? They never fail at bringing out the raging beast in people. It's the whole perception of it being for a *limited time only!* I suppose (although I wouldn't exactly call the 4+ months creme eggs are around limited). It puts you in panic-stricken hoarding mode. Must buy the creme eggs! Soon it will all be over and I will have to take up yoga and learn to cope in eggless existense! This is often accompanied by hair chewing and crazy-eyes.
          Although often tempted, I usually manage to discipline myself to not buy embarrassingly vast amounts of creme-eggery goodness in one shopping trip, if only so not to sully my good name. I do see, and admire of course, more brazen folks in supermarkets loading up their trollies with multipack after multipack, unashamedly displaying their creme egg addiction to the cruel and judging public. I applaud them.

          I don't think I need to give an intricate description of the creme egg. If you don't know what one is by know, then I suggest you take yourself off to a stocks and have people pelt you with fruit since you are clearly a freak.
          Although, saying that, I do sometimes play a splendid little game with myself where I pretend I've never heard of a creme egg, let alone eaten one, which enhances the magic of its consumption, while avoiding creme egg fatigue. Like when you go to the pub and pretend that your partner/lover is a brooding stranger you've never met to, y'know..spice thing up. Y'know? I think you do.

          Eating the egg can be stressfull at times. First, you must decide how to go about it. This in itself is a source of anxiety. Which way is best? Will it be messier that way? Should I use some form of tool? It really is endless.
          I do the fairly standard squeeze-to-cleave and get the seperate halves, lick out the fondant creme (in a way I like to imagine is extremely enticing to the opposite sex, or not, as the case may be) then eat the chocolate shells. Yeah baby.

          Speaking of the chocolate, I don't think it's up to the usual Cadbury exquisiteness. There I said it. This may be due to the foil wrappings (which I fully oppose btw) not being as efficient. It seems to get an almost cheesecakey tang to to it, and feels a little sticky and fudgey as it melts. This could also be a counter-effect from the imposing fondant creme centre. That creme! What the frick is it?! Unicorn tears, mixed with sugar perhaps? It oozes on the tongue masterly, slightly cooling and lightly creamy, then with a strong, stinging sweetness that makes your throat wince. In a good way though. It's like eating a gobful of fresh cake icing. What could be more delightful?

          I do have one qualm with the fondant, and that is the distinct lack of yellow 'yolky' bit. You used to get a vibrant blob in every egg without fail, now you're lucky to get even a vague suggestion of darkness. How troubling. The things I put up with in my life.

          Mundane information that you know already, that I can't be bothered to put into a paragraph while incorporating feeble attempts at wit:
          MADE BY: Cadbury
          AVAILABLE: Everywhere! They're everywhere! They're taking over the world!
          PRICE: around 50p each
          NUTRITION: Approx 175 calories, approx 7g fat, approx a zillion grams of sugar (Mmm)

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          • Halva / Sweets / 131 Readings / 128 Ratings
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            23.03.2010 19:12
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            goooooooood times

            I am concerned how many people there are out there who don't know what halva even is, let alone eat it on a regular basis like moiself. Yes it is very concerning, you people are surely not living life to its full, maximising potential if you have yet to try halva. You may think you have reached the very peak of sweet culinary-mastery but you are mistaken! MISTAKEN! You simple fools!

            I hope I'm not coming over too harshly.

            Lucky for you, I am here to educate. Oh joy! I can wear my teaching cap and get my pointy stick out. Or not, as the case may be.

            So halva, what is it?
            Now here's a puzzler, because the term "halva" loosely translates to "sweetmeat" in, er, Arabic I think? And henceforth covers a vast range of different halva puddingy-type things in Middle-Eastern/Arabic countries, and in different cultures (Jewish, Indian and so on) which can vary significantly between types. For instance, a typical Indian halva might be made from something like semolina, polenta or even carrot with ghee and will be more like a pudding, and may or may not have spices or other flavourings. Whereas a Polish halva could be like a dry fudge made of sunflower seeds or peanuts. But then again, maybe not. Who freaking knows?! I know, it's baffling and wierd, but that's how it is. Let us accept and move on.
            Because, pleasingly, "halva" when used in a Western context (ie here in blighty) does refer to one specific type, which is SESAME or tahini halva. This is the kind of halva you are likely to find in the UK, and incidentely, the type which you'll find in the Greek and Cypriot isles should you be on a jolly-holly.

            Halva is ancient. And I don't mean it needs reading glasses and naps a lot. It is quite possibly the first sweet ever created (going back further than christ mi'lord and joseph etc, the only thing that trumps it is preserved fruit) so you are in effect eating history. How cool is that? Very, is your answer.

            Very simple in its construct, halva is basically sesame seeds (toasted and crushed, or as a tahini) mixed to a paste with some kind of sugar solution such as honey, which is cooled and compressed into dense blocks.

            It's a mess of contradiction (bit like me I suppose). Solid, yet crumbly. Dry and slightly crisp to bite into, yet moist and soft and buttery in the mouth. It can be intensely sweet, but offset by the nutty and somewhat bitter tang from the sesame seeds. The taste starts honey-sweet, then deliciously rich and creamy as it softens and melts in the mouth, leaving that distinct earthy, sesame flavour.
            The texture takes some getting used to, starting almost like a dried-out fudge or nut butter but then becoming grainy and pastey, to a smooth, thick syrup as you eat. It is incredibly rich and indulgent, and should be treated as such. However tempting, eat too much at your peril. Consider it a more ethnic and rudimentary version of chocolate.

            This stuff really is amazing. I don't think I have sufficient breadth of lexicon to adequately convey how truly fantastic it is. If you've never had it before, you'll probably be a little freaked out at first, which swiftly turns to curiosity untill from nowhere you realise you are ADDICTED and find yourself CRAVING it at ungodly hours and unsuitable occasions.

            But the fun doesn't have to end there! Like chocolate, 'stuff' can be added to halva to satisfy the needs of fickle peeps like me, such as cocoa swirls, pistachio nuts and dried fruit.

            Also, let us not forget the many realms of possibility available to us when it comes to consumption. You can eat halva pure and simple, perhaps with tea or strong coffee, you could crumble it and have it with fresh fruit, ice cream (I sometimes have it with Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey and it is beyond divine)or put it in a cake. Squeeze lemon juice on it, or sprinkle it with cinnamon. The possibilities! The excitement! It really is never-ending with halva. I have even heard that some super-coolio people put it on bread to make a halva sandwhich. Halva sandwhiches! Woo! Now they know how to live.

            Now I can see how people would be easily turned off by halva. It is not for wusses. It is for people that are open to new experience/live on the periphery of sanity.
            For starters, even I the halva-whore can admit it's not the most aesthetically appealing foodstuff, resembling a murky beige brick. Yes folks, it's U.G.L.Y. It ain't got no alibi.
            Then, there are certain issues concerning both brand quality and storage. I have tried halvas from a few different brands and some are a bit dodgy, so perserverance is required in finding the good'uns. Think of it like a mission maybe. Maybe you are Tom Cruise. Maybe...
            Irritatingly, improper storage (despite the fact that halva has a shelf life of over a year) can have disasterous results on the texture. The oil from the sesame can seperate leaving a greasy residue, or you find crunchy-crusty or chewy bits within the halva. Don't be afraid! This does happen from time to time, but it doesn't take anything from the flavour or means it has gone bad. It just means there are some heartless, reckless people who have been crossing the boundaries of improper halva-storing techniques. A cool, dry place is all it requires.

            Halva also gives us the precious gift of nutrition. Ok, it is very fattening and calorific (obviously, otherwise it wouldn't taste so good) but it doesn't contain nasty trans/saturated fat and the sesame seeds give you a big whack of protein, along with calcium and zinc. On the calorie front, it's on a par with our other best friend chocolate, so expect around 500 calories and 30g fat per 100g. Though due to its richness, it'd be rather hard to eat loads of it without vomming.
            It's also a suitable treat for vegans, lactose intolerant people etc since it has no dairy. By gum, it's a genius!

            I have spied halva being sold in the world food parts of supermarkets, but your best bet is health food stores, such as Holland and Barratt. Prices will vary, but it'll be around the £1 mark for a 100g portion, good value methinks. Brands I can personally recommend if you see them are Cypressa and Sunita (though not the grape juice one! it's evil!).
            I am in perpetual halva-heaven since I discovered a local shop selling a wide range of halva, including (swoon) chocolate-covered halva bars. I swear, I basically caught fire when I found those.

            So if you haven't already, please please pweeeez give halva a try. It's a bit wierd, but for me it is the ultimate in sweet indulgences. You never know, it may be the start of a beautiful new relationship.

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            • Afghan Hound / Pet / Animal / 98 Readings / 97 Ratings
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              15.03.2010 18:46
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              Charming, and a little crazy

              Afghan Hounds can be summed up in one word- hilarious. This was once a fashionable breed due to their elegant, handsome looks but the somewhat schizo and difficult temperament that is synominous to these dogs meant they were often neglected, to the point where it is now extremely hard to get hold of a breeder willing to sell to the uninitiated owner. You won't see a lot of these around, they are a rare and beautiful sight like the solar eclipse. Certainly, whenever I take mine out there is always a strong reaction from passers-by, either of 'what in god's name is that thing?' or gushing of 'I haven't seen one of those in years!'. All of this my dog tends to ignore. They say the breed is aloof and they are completely correct!

              I have grown up with Afghan Hounds. My dad started the craze in his youth, buying one to pose with in his MG midget (a hit with the ladies, according to him), fell in love with the breed and carried on with them ever since, along with my aunt who is now on her third Afghan, Zak (it's aged her terribly!). I grew up with William, the gentlest most majestic creature you've ever met. Now we have Cleo, a feisty, spoilt princess but hilariously funny with it. The madness, it seems, will never cease. I fully intend on becoming the 'loony lady with all the afghans' when I'm old.

              There are obvious reasons why these dogs are perhaps a little unsuitable. The size, is one such factor. Afghans hardly carry any body fat, but they have sturdy, robust frames, the males especially having 'heavy' heads, and can get rather boisterous. They are mountain dogs, and so make full use of their hind legs, ie, you might turn around to find youself face to face with one if they should so decide (which they do quite often, oddly).

              They can run incredibly fast, similar in speed to greyhounds. There have been misguided attempts to race Afghans in a similar manner to greyhounds, with obviously hopeless results. I actually attended one once, and oh my how I did laugh. Some bounced happily off in the wrong direction/ made a mad dash for freedom with their hysterical owners in hot pursuit. Most however just looked on bemused or bored, either casually strolling out of their holding gates or simply turning around and having a snooze.

              There is also, of course, the distinguishing Afghan feature: that coat. The long, silky thick hair, coupled with the fact that Afghans despise being brushed (and are willing to climb up chimneys to avoid it) make for a difficult combination. Afghans have little patience when it comes to grooming (although they love gazing at themselves smugly in mirrors for hours), but if neglected the coat easily becomes extremely matted and tangled, and obviously uncomfortable for the dog. Since we don't show our Affy, we get her clipped in the Summer to make the task more manageable. By the time Winter rolls around it has regrown enough to keep her warm. She looks more than a little insane when freshly clipped though. Kind of like an overgrown meerkat.

              These dogs do not conduct themselves in the typical dog way. They will not pander to you, it is you who must pander to them. They are extremely headstrong and independent, more like a cat in that respect. You can't get an Afghan to do anything it doesn't want to do, including baths, brushing, removing themselves from hedges/your bed etc. Infact they may even choose to merrily ignore commands that they do actually want to do, just to be contrary. It is a loss of face you see, they have a great amount of pride to uphold. They do not like to admit they are interested in anything you are doing, even though quietly and privately, they are extremely interested. For an example, if I am doing something in the garden, my dog will stalk me at a distance, then quickly 'busy' herself with the grass or nearby tree when I turn, to continue close supervision when I carry on. It's quite amusing catching her out, she gets rather embarrassed!

              Again, unlike most dogs, an Afghan is not always eager for a fuss. You have to wait untill they decide they want one, and they specifically enjoy it when you act incredibly priviledged and humbled to have been graced with their regal prescence. And when they do want a fuss, you will not be allowed to stop untill they say so (or be met with wounded seal eyes and pawing). So you'll be stuck ear-itching for a good three hours.

              This vague disinterest in those around them that Afghans display is a complete mask and sham. It should not be misconstrued as unaffection on the dog's part, quite the opposite. As a sighthound, they have a very strong 'pack' mentality and in the pet context, you/the family will now be considered their pack. In this, there are certain things to consider when taking on this breed. For one, they are one of the worst breeds for pining for their owners. Do not expect to be able to put your Afghan in a kennels, they will more than likely refuse all food and take about 2 years to get over their sulk with you. Also, be prepared to give up your bed. Afghans have this weird thing where they have to sleep in close contact to you at all times. By this I mean, on top of you, all night. Whether you like it or not.

              It is worth noting that Afghans, particularly the females, can be a little snippy. Not dangerous by any means, and not towards their family, but their 'do what I like' manner means that they can be a little unpredictable around other dogs.

              This breed is also notorious for their stupidity. Daft, yes, but stupid they are most certainly not. Disobedient is a more apt description, which is definitely not a sign of unintelligence in my book. They are extremely cunning dogs, manipulative and with alarmingly good memories (I reckon mine has a mental log book of the innings and outtings of the fridge). They just don't like beng told what to do is all, and why should they? It's this carefree and canny attitude that I love in these dogs. They are personalities for sure!

              They are certainly not unfriendly, quite the contrary, but they are generally only pleased to see people they know well. Around strangers, they have a tendency to ignore you, put on their poncey-snoot face and look at you with an air of disdain. Behind closed doors however, these dogs can relax and come to life. In the privacy of the home, they take enormous pleasure in playing the clown and getting in mischief and tomfoolery. In this playful, ditsy mood, you can pretty much do what you like with your Affy. Mine quite likes dressing up, or being made a fort from which to observe the goings on of the house (while wearing a police-officer-stylee cap. Seriously). So don't take these dogs at face value, it's impossible not to be UTTERLY ENCHANTED by their funny, perky but completely independent personalities.

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                15.03.2010 15:27
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                Yuck, to the power of 100

                Yet again I have fallen prey to my mother's dieting escapades and the consequential diet-y, low-fat food products that go along with it. Curses! Can I just state, and I say this in a caring way, my mum is a complete fool, for one "diet" options are generally more expensive/less healthy/not that far removed from the original versions anyway, and for two, mum you are perfectly slim as it is! Stop being a silly goose.

                On returning home from a hard shift at work yesterday (mothering sunday+footie=busy pub!) I was practically withering away to nothing. My ma decided to manipulate the situation by getting me to eat up this ready meal that she didn't want, and was on its 'last legs' so to speak. So this was thrust in my face as soon as I got in, and although 'minced beef and potatoes' didn't exactly thrill me I was at the light-headed and snappy stage of hunger and was practically eating my shoe at that point. If dogfood had been offered I would have given it serious consideration. Turns out I may aswell have...

                This is a part of Tesco's 'light choices' range. I have had a couple of other meals from this range and they were pretty okay-ish, so I was hopeful that this would at least be slightly pleasant. Oh me and my childish hopes. The cardboard sleeve boasted (in a big red circle! You can't miss it!) that this costed a mere £1. A £1! that's, like, a fouth of a vogue magazine! For food! Goodtimes I suppose, since readymeals are usually grossly overpriced.
                Being female I also checked out the calorie count. 200 calories?! For the whole fricking thing? Quite, quite amazing.

                I was getting in the spirit of things now, so I gave it to Mike (the microwave, duh!) for a few minutes and was rewarded with a hot, steamy plastic tray of some sloppy looking food. I wasn't nonplussed by appearances, I learned and accepted sloppy ready meals years ago. The smell, however...well I can't say I was exactly drinking it in. The smell reminded me of when you're on a plane and they start heating up the food, but grosser. Ho hum.

                Plopped out in a bowl, it seemed a plentiful portion. Enough for delicate ladies anyway. Half the meal was made up of the 'minced beef' saucy bit, in its greyish-brown, lumpy splendour. The rest was cubes of potato and a generous amount of peas.

                It was finally nom time (we have wierd terms for everything in my house, just so you don't get too confused), and in the spirit of Spring and hope I'll start with the good bits. The potatoes were a starchy joy(!), fluffy and yielding with a nice earthy flavour, indicating these were in fact REAL potatoes and not some reconstuited crap you usually get in such meals. The peas further raised morale, they were fresh-tasting, plump and sweet. All-round stellar peas.

                The minced beef part was, sadly, not far off repulsive. It had an awful sticky, almost gluey consistency with tiny bobbles of beef throughout. I was actually thankfull in the end that the beef was diced so small, since the few larger bits I did come across were, just, totally vile. Hard, and rubbery, lord knows what part of the animal it originated from, completely disgusting. There was also some very finely diced carrot and onion in there, but not enough to be noticable in texture or flavour. I'm guessing they were there to bulk out the sauce and lower the calories.
                The overall flavour was vaguely meaty, but with an odd bitter, almost sour aftertaste that seemed to pervade and violate my entire oral cavity. Very akin to dogfood. Ewww times ten.

                After eating the potatoes and peas I gave up on the sauce. I was surprisingly full at this point and I just COULD NOT GO ON with that sloppy excuse of a..puddle of putrid...homeless person's urine...sauce. Just couldn't. I told my mum she was a child abuser and then flounced off to get some orange juice in a vain attempt to rid my mouth of the unpleasantness. It only slightly worked! I had to taste it for hours after! No matter what I did! Horrific! (can you sense me getting more high-pitched?)

                I must grudgingly acknowledge the plus points of this meal. It is cheap, easy to prepare, low calorie and has rather tasty tats and peas. Since I could, to the same effect, buy some normal peas and potatoes and eat those (but why would I do that?) these plus points can only accumulate to one star in my opinion.
                The vulgar minced beef part will give me shudders for years to come and for this I suggest, all those except masochists AVOID as one would avoid doggy-poop on the pavement and/or swine flu. It really is that bad.

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                • More +
                  08.03.2010 22:09
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                  Live dangerously and have a go

                  Something odd must of come over those folks at Cadbury. How else does one explain these craz-eee new creations?
                  I love Cadburys, I really do. I am their handmaiden infact. But they have become rather dull in recent times. Every 'new' thing they come out with seems to be simply a variation on cadbury caramel in some form or another. Untill now..

                  Waltzing around Tesco like I do (well not actually waltzing, that would be strange) I spied a display of NEW Cadbury bars, at the special offer price of £1. Woohoo! I love newness! Let's embrace the chocolate excitement.

                  The bars have been given the name "Bar of Plenty". Hmm. I'm sure there's an innuendo in there somewhere, but at present I can't think what it is (I'm v.tired) suffice to say this is to convey these as bars with 'plenty' in them.

                  Cloaked in familiar, yet swish matte purple packaging (don't you get a warm rush of love whenever you see that cadbury purple?) with varying illustrations that effectively portray the flavours, I must say it's all rather enchanting.
                  Or maybe I'm just a bit sad. Maybe (*crickets*).

                  You are spoiled with the choice of three flavours:
                  berry and vanilla shortacake
                  hazelnut and honey roast cashew
                  toffee apple
                  I say! This could take a while..I chose the toffee apple since it sounded the most EXTREME and NEXT LEVEL and I like living life on the edge. The bar was 140g (split into 24 chunks, for those with a need for numerical order) so £1 was a good deal.

                  Inspecting the wrapper tells us this is milk chocolate with spiced apple and toffee pieces. Spiced? Really? Concerning, I don't much like curry. Sure it will be fine, it's Cadbury for pete's sakes. In its naked form, you will see these alledged 'spiced' apple chunks and toffee crowding about on the underside of the bar. Cripes, there's loads! They weren't lying when they said there would be plenty. Oh Cadbury, how dependable you are.

                  The chocolate was a creamy, comforting, melt-in-the-mouth joy. Ha! Classic Cadbury. I adore Cadbury chocolate, it is so dairy rich and sweet (but not overly so) with just enough of a cocoa hit to be satisfying but with that underlying creamyness that just rounds the whole thing off as it thickly melts away. Amazingly yum, as always.
                  Sadly, I wasn't completely won over by the added bits. The toffee was very tough and brittle, and slightly jarring your teeth when chomped into. It had a pleasant buttery sweetness, but the flavour wasn't quite strong enough to match the rich milky chocolate, so apart from the imposing (and actually a bit painful) texture they got kind of lost. Boo.
                  The dried apple pieces were more successful. They had a soft, slightly chewy texture and a sweet fruity flavour. And the dreaded spice? It came in a nice warming wave of cinnamon, which made this quite a comforting eat.

                  To be honest I kept swaying from liking, to not liking this bar. After I got over the initial novelty of the 'toffee apple' flavour (and kudos to Cadbury for showing a bit of innovation and daring for a change) I'm not entirely sure the combination worked. The cinnamon-y apple with the weakly flavoured rocks of toffee didn't quite pair with the chocolate, and the chunky, munchy texture got a bit irritating after a while.

                  It was completely lovely for a change, but once I've finished the bar I don't think I'll be bothering with this particular flavour again.
                  I'll definitely have a go at the other varieties though. Hell yeah, just try and stop me. I suspect the other flavours might be more of a success, I feel it in my waters.

                  For the health conscious (good for you guys!), there are 495 calories in 100g, equating to 85 calories per 3 chunk portion.

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                  • More +
                    08.03.2010 16:19
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                    why would you do it to yourself?

                    I feel like I'm sullying my good name as a diehard chocoholic by admitting consumption of a faux chocolate diet product, but there we are. I did it. Judge me if you must!

                    I wouldn't normally go near something like this. "Diet-friendly" chocolate is usually feeble at best, I find good old fashioned portion control a far superior and pleasing alternative. It is my poncey opinion that those who try and quell their chocolate-cravings with phoney stuff like this only leads to dissatisfaction and further yearning. Needless to say, these I would normally leave well alone.

                    Occasionally however, I get curious. My mum had bought a pack and everytime I went to the fridge they were there, beady-eyeing me. And I must admit they do at initial inspection seem quite appealing.

                    Coming in a duo pack, the cardboard outer packaging tries very hard to convince you that these are a luxurious, sinful chocolate treat. Described as a "rich chocolate dessert", with enticing images of dark chocolate shavings, it's not hard to get drawn in. Ha! I was playing right into their hands. Those wiley minxes.

                    I was amused that further product description boasted "Belgian chocolate dessert". Oh really? Belgian? Of course everyone has positive connatations attached to "belgian chocolate", I mean it MUST be good. Guylian in a pot, perhaps. Inspecting the ingredients though, only 6.5 % of the actual product is chocolate, the bulk is made up of lots of alarming sounding things (mm, modified potato starch).

                    So it's safe to say that the packaging bigs these up quite a bit, and perhaps that's part of the problem. When you get down to the actual eating, these probably fall short of expectation.

                    The portion size is pretty good, each pot is 70g, so just a tad smaller than say a muller yoghurt. A good few spoons worth.
                    The main draw of course, being weight watchers, is the minimal calories. Each pot is just 62 calories (or 1 point in weightwatcher lingo), which for a chocolatey treat is puney.

                    Sadly, these desserts were pretty naff. Edible, but not really enjoyable. The texture was good, falling somewhere between a thick yoghurt and a runny pudding, it felt glossy and slick on the tongue with a nice cooling sensation.
                    But it tasted of nothingness. Not really sweet, there was a vague powdery,'hot chocolate dregs' flavour, with maybe hints of plastic. That was about it. It was quite odd feeling like I was eating a flavourless substance, and after, still craving something sweet I ate a couple of dried banana chips which tasted utterly orgasmic in comparason.

                    Maybe my expectations were too high. A combination of the appealing pack and description, with the fact that I'm accustumed to the taste of 'proper' chocolate meant I was inevitably going to be let down.

                    Possibly if you've been dieting a while and have been chocolate-starved for a significant amount of time, or are not used to sweet things, you would find these more enjoyable.
                    Personally, if I was a hardcore dieter looking for a treat I would rather eat a couple of chunks of true, yummy chocolate (or those funsize bars) for similarly minute calories but far greater pleasure. Or some trusty fruit of course, which gives the added benefit of some nutrients, free of charge! Always useful when trying to avoid scurvy and rickets and so on.

                    So in sum, these to me are pointless. They do have a few redeeming features; extremely low calorie for one, and weightwatchers have done a good job targeting (and manipulating) their niche market.
                    But I cannot dance around the obvious here, they taste crappy. For a foodstuff, that is the bottom line really.

                    £1 for a two-pack in Tesco, if you really, really,reallyyy want to.
                    But you don't.

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                    • Snack-a-Jacks Berry Flavour / Snacks / 74 Readings / 71 Ratings
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                      01.03.2010 22:31
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                      Don't mock my bowl

                      Snack a jacks. Rather odd name, or is it just me? No matter, these are splendid little crispy treats.
                      I am sugar's whore, and therefore must have sweet versions of everything, including crisps. Yes, savoury crisps just will not do!
                      But why should I be a social pariah while everyone else around me is getting emotional over pringles and quavers and so on? These berry flavour snack a jacks fit neatly into such awkward situations.

                      These live in Tesco, but I have sneak suspicion you could purchase in any supermarket. They come in either 25g packs (49p) or multipacks containing 6 22g packs (£1.99). Why they decrease the multipack bags by 3g is beyond my comprehension, but seems they feel it's the right thing to do. Fair enough. Weirdos.

                      They're made by Quaker, by the way. The oat people, who thoughtfully use an old farmer-ish man as their logo. I suspect this is meant to soothe us with thoughts of caring grandfathers and knowledgeable wise elders and lull us into the subconscious where we believe this brand is a trustworthy one with gentle old folks at the helm. Quaker cares, people! They like the elderly, we must believe in their good nature and kind hearts! Hoho what sneaks. I don't hate on them though.

                      So these are kind of like mini rice cakes in a bag, involving corn and..rice and all that. Is that healthier than the traditional potato-based crisp? I let you be the judge.
                      Calorie wise these are pretty fair, with the multipack bags containing 97 calories. You get a decent helping in each bag, infact when emptied the contents will fill a standard cereal bowl (yes I do this, I wouldn't want to miss out on any of the crumb action left at the bottom of the bag. A little sad, I agree!).

                      When looking at the s-jacks (dyu like my cool little pet name?), you be excited to discover they are a vibrant shade of pinky purple. Bit alarming at first, I must say. But being a girl I'm into it. Pink food! Woohoo! It's almost as if they've been soaked in purple fruit juice.

                      They are actually rather inconsistent. Some are thicker and have a traditional rice cake appearance, whereas others look kind of..haggard. Thinner and a bit crazy and jaggery. The difference in these can be noted in the texture, the thickies being softer and puffy and the thinnies having more of a brisk, hard crunch.

                      There is also marked variation in flavour intensity (blimey, get me being all scientific). There will be ones that have a more vivid pink colour, blinking out at you, as if to say "save me to last, I am more tasty than the rest"

                      These are really satisfying to crunch into. All munchy and noisy. The flavour is quite sweet, but not maniac-inducing sweet. It's definitely a fake berry flavour, though. It really is like they covered these in a berry cordial drink, and although I think they're delicious I'm not completely convinced that everyone would feel the same. The corny, savoury-baked taste with the sweet artificial berry might need some getting used to.

                      Quaker haven't got carried away with the flavourings though, so kudos there. I'm going to sit on the fence, and suggest if you like the caramel version of these, or if you like trashy things like strawberry laces (shame on you!) then you should give these a go.

                      I also get a hint of turkish delight flavour from these. I'm fairly certain it's part of my fevered imagination, an effect of the pink colour perhaps, but there we are. Just thought I'd throw it out there.

                      All in all, a satisfying munch. Perhaps good as a lower-calorie alternative to toffee popcorn? Or for when you require sugar but don't want to go piggy on chocolate? Whatever, go crazy.

                      I like them a lot, but I think it's very much down to individual tastes.
                      I'll probably get over the novelty soon, and when I think about it they're rather expensive since there are apples to be freely plucked off the tree outside.

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                      • Ritter Sport Chocolate / Chocolate / 57 Readings / 55 Ratings
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                        01.03.2010 17:36
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                        vair, vair and thrice vair gut

                        I have long held concern for the German peeps. I mean, they are a little nuts aren't they? Let's not dally around the fact. For example, they think leather trousers (lederhosen) are acceptable casualwear. Really. That alone doesn't bode well where their mental state is concerned. And, German ladies find it reasonable, enjoyable even displaying hairy...lady parts at any available oppurtunity, with flagrant disregard to those around them who may be of a nervous disposition (they do! I have seen it myself). Also, while I'm being abusive, what is with the language? I suppose it does hold a certain angry charm, but really, they say things like "mannschaft" and "funkelnagelneu" (yeah, I know some German people!) and don't even slightly titter...it's like they're playing a hugely elaborate and long-standing practical joke on the rest of the world, but no. Seems they are quite serious.

                        And yet, I adore the Germans. I would clasp them all tightly to my bosom if I only could, and that is for one reason and one reason alone. RITTER SPORT CHOCOLATE! They are the creators of the some of the most addictive and most creative chocolate bars ever to grace the planet, and is my numero uno in chocolate land. Yep, more than Cadbury, Galaxy..the blasphemy!

                        Frustratingly, of the hugely varied portfolio of chocolate Ritter create we get an extremely measly selection here in the UK, and as such I have often resorted to ordering online/stocking whenever abroad to keep myself sane. I haven't sampled all the Ritter varieties, but let me tell you it is one of my main aims in life to do so (such aspirational ambitions I have, ma&pa would be proud!)

                        It is indeed mass-produced chocolate, but before you get your hoity-toits on it should be noted that this is mass-produced chocolate of an extremely high standard (and we need only look to the likes of Lindt to gage just how fine mass-produced chocolate can be). Comparative at least to what we are accustomed to in dear Blighty. Germans, well Europe in general actually, have some stricter guidelines relating to what can be marketed as chocolate (don't ask me what they are exactly though, I'm not the freaking chocolate oracle!...yet) and therefore mass-produced chocolate tends to be of a higher standard anyways. Good for them! How sophistacted.

                        Specifically to Ritter, the chocolate used is fantastic. The white is sweet, vanilla-ry heaven, but not harshly sweet. The milk is rich, creamy perfection, with a good cocoa-hit to it and a luxurious melty texture. I probably haven't tried enough of the dark to give a good opinion on it, but I must admit if you're the kind of '80% cocoa solids' purist type of loony then it may not be quite up to the par. They are honest folk at Ritter though, you will know if the chocolate is going to be of the Bournville-esque variety because it will state "plain chocolate" instead of dark (or "halfbitter" to use correct terms), again I'm thinking it goes back to that chocolate-policing they've got going on over there. It's perfect for me though, I don't enjoy bitter darks so this is kind of like eating an extra-chocolatey milk chocolate. Vair gut.

                        Have I rambled enough yet? Probably, but I shan't let that stop me.
                        So the bars mainly come in 100g blocks (there are also mini assortments, and a few varieties in 250g blocks), and I hate to be a girl about it, but they look sooo cute. Each is in a neat and tidy 4x4 square shape, somehow more pleasing to the eye than those wontan rectangles you often find, so that is sure to please you lovers of symmetry out there (don't be shy y'all!). They all have jaunty coloured wrappers, with consistent logo-ing and whatnot but in an array of colours to differentiate between flavours.

                        To avoid you all smothering yourselves and/or nearby loved ones with boredom, I shall breifly explain the flavours I have tried to give you the general gist. I'm going to be a cliche female and add calorie content per 100g too, just to ruin your fun. I hope you appreciate how organised I am being with this ;)

                        Starting with the bars you will likely find in UK (Tesco or Waitrose is your best bet, they'll be around the £1 mark):

                        MILK WHOLE HAZELNUT (552 cals)
                        This is a fresh and crunchy delight! These babies are absolutely packed with beautifully flavoursome and toasty hazelnuts, satisfyingly crunchy yet yielding when munched into. Mixed with the sweet and creamy chocolate, it's kind of like eating nutella in its purist form. A simple treat, nuts+chocolate is a tried and true combination, but this has just been executed perfectly.
                        This one also comes in white and dark chocolate versions, none of which I've sampled, so you'll just have to shut your eyes and pretend.

                        MARZIPAN (484 cals)
                        Ooh yeah baby, this is where it's at. Clearly marzipan is a love or hate thing, and for the lovers this bar is the chocolate equivalant of heroin. The smooth, lightly bitter (but still creamily sweet) halfbitter chocolate with the grainy, nutty-buttery marzipan is just gorgeous.

                        PEPPERMINT (488 cals)
                        I haven't tried this one, due to my personal belief that mint in chocolate is an abomination and MUST BE STOPPED but I have heard it is an enjoyable experience by those strange mint-lovers. Dark chocolate with a fondant minty filling, this (apparantely) is like an extra delicious, super-chunky aftereight. Refreshing, was another word being thrown around. Whatever, you're all weird.

                        BUTTER BISCUIT (556 cals)
                        The last in the measly UK range. But y'know what they say, save the best til last! I initially thought this sounded rather dull. I mean, biscuit, woohoo I can have biscuit any ole time of day, my cupboard practically gives birth to biscuits. But this bar is crazyyy good. A whole, buttery and crisp biscuit resides within the bar (yet it's still easy to snap into chunks), which is then topped off by a thick layer of the softest, creamiest, most velvety cocoa cream, and then smothered in a huge chunky amount of sweet, sweet melty milk chocolate. The biscuit somehow enhances the chocolate, it seems extra buttery and rich and contrasts with the crunch of the biscuit to perfection. The biscuit is no bland filler either, if left to 'melt', or disintigrate in the mouth you get it's comforting, wheaty-bakey taste. It was a (quite unexpected) rich and intoxicating mix. I was blase before I tried it, now it is one of my top faves. This bar is epic. You cannot resist its charm, so do not try!

                        Other flavours, that the swines won't let us have in the UK:

                        YOGHURT (569 cals)
                        Yes, this really is yoghurt and chocolate! Calm yourselves, it is actually brilliant. Sweet, creamy chocolate that thickly coats the tongue swiftly followed by cooling, lightly sour yoghurt creme is a hell of a combination, and so mouth-watering. The dense yoghurt layer is silky smooth, and contrasts with the milky, thick chocolate so well. I am in love. Another favourite!

                        STRAWBERRY YOGHURT (564 cals)
                        Those crazy kats! Strawberry yoghurt! How awesomally awesome is that?! Sweet and slightly tangy strawberry-yoghurtiness encased in milk chocolate= mega addiction. The yoghurt layer has extra-nibbly bits of freeze-dried strawberry and whispers of crispy rice to give a delicate little texture. Super sweet and satisfying.

                        Ritter are so extreme and next level, they also release limited edition 'seasonal' varieties of fruity-yoghurt chocolates, such as blueberry, peach and mango, raspberry etc etc. Kids today, eh?

                        CORNFLAKE (525 cals)
                        Oh the genius! Everyone will be familiar with puffed rice in chocolate, but this is just super. The cornflakes add a denser, crunchier experience than those pansy puffed crispies, and an almost nutty, malty flavour to the thick creamy chocolate. Imagine those crispy cornflake cakes you used to make in your youth, imagine it on steroids and imagine your child-like sense of wonder maginfied by ten. It's basically the perfect comfort food.

                        CAPPUCCINO (574 cals)
                        Thick, truffley and buttery cappuccino filling resides within the delicious milk chocolate shell, ready to ooze seductively on your tongue as you let it gentley melt. This one is so rich and creamy, completely decadant.

                        PRALINE (544 cals)
                        I fully endorse nut pastes. If you are a nut paste, you will go far and succeed in life. This bar is stuffed with it. The chocolate and hazelnut goodness melt together in glorious fashion, creating a seamless melty, soft taste experience. A little sticky, a lot rich and super-satisfing. For those who enjoy eating pure nutella spread with a spoon (I know you're out there! Don't be ashamed!) this is one you simply must try.

                        Thus concludes all the flavours I have personal experience of. But there is yet more! I know! When will the madness cease?! These include:

                        Dark and Extra dark chocolate
                        Milk and Alpine milk chocolate
                        Whole Almond
                        Whole Peanut
                        Caramel nuts
                        Dark mousse a la chocolat
                        Choco-duo
                        Coconut
                        Raisin and hazelnut

                        Along with seasonal editions, such as 'spekulatius' (traditional German cinnamon-y, gingery biscuit), some boozy ones like orange liquer truffle and Williams-Birne truffle, 'olympic' editions (I know, blimey) such as honey nut yoghurt, maple and walnut, espresso crunch. And yet more that my tiny mind has not yet fathomed/comprehended so far.
                        Now that is some serious variety. Tell me you're not impressed! I am in a state of continual awe.

                        Now I obviously cannot comment on the flavours I haven't tried (yet, damn it, give me time!) but I can vouch for the ones I have and they have all been absolutley supreme. Quality, it seems, is consistent across the board, and I'm fairly sure there will be at least one variety you will want to harbour in your nest of life. If not, then frankly you are deranged and should be flogged in the public square until you realise the awesomeness that is Ritter Sport.

                        So, in sum, this chocolate is amazing. If you have yet to try a Ritter, then by gum what are you waiting for?
                        As previously stated, some enlightened supermarkets stock a limited range, but I have heard of random newsagents or individual shops selling them so be alert at all times, you may be rewarded. If not, have a looksee on the internet, there are quite a few reputable sites that will ship some ritter-goodness your way for a reasonable price.

                        P.S. I hope I haven't offended any German people with my light mocking, I love you all really!

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                        • Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes / Make Up / 92 Readings / 87 Ratings
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                          16.02.2010 16:46
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                          Everyone will want to know your secret!

                          Oh my, is this just the best make-up product ever? I think it may be.

                          The eyes are the window to your soul, they are what potential suitors will home in on first so you better make darn sure they are enhanced and made to look as purdey as possible. The Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes kit can help you achieve the most alluring, bambi-ish and glam looking eyes ever, bar paying for a professional. Who wouldn't want that, I ask?
                          Seriously, every girl has beautiful eyes, I don't think there is exception to that rule, and this product is just FABBY at making the best of them.

                          The kit contains literally everything you will need. Oh, actually. You may need mascara (everyone has that though, surely?). In a neat little box type thing, (magnetically reclosable may I add, fancy!) you get a concealer section, base shadow, contour shadow and liner shadow. There's a concealer brush and double-ended shadow brush, which is as fine as any brush I've encountered (I used to do professional make-up, so yes I have encountered lots of brushes!). One end of the brush is intended for base colour application, the other has a flattened edge used for lining and contouring. Easy-peasy!

                          There is even a nifty guide giving you step-by-step instruction on how to apply the shadow, should you be in need of such direction. I admit when I first bought the kit I used the guide as an initial jump-off point but now I just do my own thang with it. It's easy to sort of tailor it to what level of drama you want. Daytime subtlety? or night time vampy? If you get my drift. The shades make it very easy to layer up or down to suit you. The other immense thing about the chosen shades is that they will flatter ANY SKIN TONE. They will! Trust me friends.

                          Once you've got the nack of how to apply, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. You will find yourself suddenly irresistable to those around you. I know it's superficial, but this really is a mood-enhancer in make up form. And it's so easy! Even make-up phobes will be loving it, and the nature of the shades mean you will never look gareish or over-done.

                          Have I gushed enough yet?! Probably, but I'm carrying on regardless. I like a fairly dramatic eye, so after lining I'll add a tonne of mascara and use black eyeliner on the lower rim, obviously this is subject to individual taste! For extra glam-ness I'll dot and blend highlighter in the inner corners of each eye and along the top of the brow bone (I love Benefit's moonbeam, but any highlighter shadow/cream would be sufficient).
                          Then I sit back and bask in the admiration of others! Ok I jest, but I do get complimented and asked how I do my eyes a lot so it does work people!

                          Are there any cons to this love-fest? Hm, well after reading some other dooyoo opinions it seems the shade of concealer you get is not suited to all. I'd never noticed before, mainly because I use my own concealer anyway. I feel though that you'll be buying this for the eye shadows and will be more than satisfied with that area of things.

                          One thing I would say is that all 3 shades are portioned identically, which means that you'll run out of base shadow way before the other two shades. However, the kit is definitely long lasting. I've had the same one for over a year, used it near enough everyday and still got loads of the contouring shades left ( admittedly I have had to buy more base shadow, but it's easy to get a cheap alternative in a near-identical shade).

                          Basically, I'm in love with this. I would marry it if it were not frowned upon by society. I'd recommend it to everybody, but specifically people who have always wanted pro-looking, glamourous eyes but are maybe a little unsure of how to go about it. You won't want to be without this!

                          Available from Boots, priced around £23.

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                          • Mars Bar Egg / Other Food / 68 Readings / 64 Ratings
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                            13.02.2010 15:28
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                            yum, me likey.

                            My lovely mother is obsessed with 'treating' me and my brother. Hurrah! As such, when she returns from a Tesco trip there's usually something good to be found amongst the boring nutritious stuff. Yesterday as I helped her offload the shopping (I must earn my treats you see) I spied two mars eggs peaking from all the veg and meat and whatnot, like shiney beacons of hope amongst a sea of gloom and otherwise dull foodstuffs. Ha-di-ha thankyou mum!

                            I like Easter eggs. Chocolate always seems to taste better when it's in a shape. It just does! We must accept this. One of those strange psychlogical phenomenons that I fully intend on conducting elaborate experiments over at some point in my life. Or not, because that's more than a tad wierd..

                            The egg! A mars egg no less. It seems rather small actually, heavy but small. Still, I'm quite small too so I won't judge it. Encased in foil, yes. I'm not so sure I agree with the use of foil to wrap these eggs, sometimes you'll buy one and realise that it is not fully shrouded so some of the chocolate has actually BEEN EXPOSED to the elements for who knows how long? Touched by who? It's a bit worrying. Well be that as it may, the foil adequately depicts the mars-y theme, with the logo and black and red-ness, so let us not be too harsh.

                            The egg is a tale of two cities (oh yes I'm even going to get some Dickens in here!). One half contains caramel, the other holds the chocolate 'nougat' (can I just add here, I'm never totally sure what 'nougat' is, I mean really wtf? Seems to change depending on circumstance, I don't get it! I need stability in my chocolate!). This is the kind of thing I'd only eat in the privacy of my own home, because I have the rather childish habit of dismantling/playing with my food, and the mars egg provides marvellous oppurtunity for such tomfoolery.

                            First, the egg must be split, easily done by the seams. I usually involve a plate at this point, so I don't have to hold the one section while eating the other, lest it get all melty. The half with the caramel is the better one I think. All gold and glistening, it's soft and flowy and not super-sweet. It tastes of butterscotch and toffee, and just a little hint of salt to take the edge off the sweetness. Excellent. The 'nougat' substance of wtf-ery is a bit odd. It has that malty, hot-chocolate powder taste of the traditional mars but the texture is a little lighter, almost moussey but not completely smooth like the caramel, a little grainy or pastey perhaps. It'll melt down on the tongue, but I wouldn't describe it as creamy. It has a slightly lingering bitterness to it as well. It's not bad at all, but not as sweetly delightful as the caramel. Maybe it's cruel to compare? Nice but odd, I'd say, kind of like that random uncle Eddie who turns up and forces you to dance with him at weddings etc is nice but odd.
                            The chocolate shells you are left with are fantastic, really thick and creamy with the rich galaxy-like flavour giving full satiety to a chocolate craving. Yummers.

                            I left the experience with a serene, satisfied feeling, pleasantly full but not with the ick-factor that usual mars bar beasts leave you with. These tick all the boxes for me, they are satisfying, fun to eat, and richly delicious. I imagine these not just appealing to mars bar fans, but galaxy lovers, caramel lovers, food molester lovers, lovers of any kind! Anyone can join the part-ay. Get with the mars egg crowd, I say, take a chance on life and reap the rewards!

                            I know not the calories, the foil told me nothing, but any fool will know these are not going to be on the rice cake side of things. As far as chocolate treats go these are just the right size, and favourable nutritionally to a full-size mars I'm reckoning.

                            Apparentely these were two for a £1 in tesco, which is actually quite expensive, but since I didn't pay for them,, I do not care. Ha!
                            In sum I would recommend these, if you find yourself craving either a mars or a creme egg and feel like going a little crazy (but not too crazy, you understand) then these fit right into that situation. So yes, flirt with danger, these are really nice for a change.

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                            • Caxton Pink'N'Whites / Sweets / 55 Readings / 51 Ratings
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                              30.01.2010 15:40
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                              Cheap and sweet

                              These things are fantastic. First and foremost, they are pink!, which of course appeals to the 7-year-old in me. There is just not enough pink foodstuffs if you want my opinion. Well there is raw chicken I suppose (but who eats raw chicken I ask you? Lunatics and feral wolf children probably, but that is none of my business).

                              Secondly, and probably most important to the thrifty amongst you, they are a bargainlicious 33p for a pack of 6! Woo! I am no financial advisor but that sounds rather cheap to me.

                              Ok, yes, they are a little trashy. They are not exactly what one would automatically think of when searching for quality nourishment, but gosh darn it why not just eat an apple or similar with it for some vitamins? The pink n white wafer won't judge you, she judges no one. She is there solely for your sweet tooth pleasure!

                              What strikes me most about these is size. For just 50 calories you get, quite frankly, a giant snack. They are very light, but the humungess-ness gives the illusion of something rather substantial. I imagine these being of great use when on a diet.

                              So these are a rather simple construction. Two plain wafers sandwhiching a slab of pink and white marshmallow, coated in granulated sugar. The wafers are actually a rather tasteless affair, nothing more than a vague biscuity flavour but the bland and crunch provide a contrast to the marshmallow, and also some substance. They're there really as a prop for the exquisite marshmallow. Can a mere marshmallow be exquisite? Hell yes! This is the height of marshmallow sophistication. It's one of the moist, fluffy marshmallow types that atually melts smoothly in the mouth with just a touch of chewy resistance. It has a super-sweet, toasty vanilla flavour and is certainly satisfactory for any sugar craving you may have.

                              Also there is oppurtunity for experimintation by way of method of consumption. I, for example, like to peel off the wafer layers and eat the marshmallow pure and unadulterated. My friend dips hers in tea. We once tried to microwave one (now that was truly magical). Endless ways of enjoyment to be had!

                              The only con I can think of is they get stale quickly once opened. The marshmallow can get hard and chewy, and the wafer soft and..malleable (shudder). This can be easily solved, however, with the aid of a placky bag, folded over at the ends. Also, sometimes you get a duff pack, with minimal sugar (something I find rather upsetting), and then there's the ever-present feeling of guilt I get when I eat these, like I'm dong something smutty. I guess that comes from eating something that only slightly resembles food. Who cares though! These are too yummy to be bothered about minimal things like minerals and iron and all that.

                              All in all, an enthusiastic recommendation from me!

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                              • The Hills / TV Programme / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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                                30.01.2010 14:31
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                                unexpliciably addictive

                                Aah the Hills. Despite the fact that I'm not very thrilled to watch this, infact find it pretty boring, I actually have all four seasons on DVD. Why?! I have no idea, but there cannot always be tidy explanations for life.

                                So to briefly sum up, this is an MTV produced 'reality' programme based on the escapades of a handful of rich 20-somethings in sunny LA. The main characters are Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Partridge, Justin bobby, Lo Bosworth, Whitney Port, Spencer+Stephanie Pratt. And a few others. Brody someone? To be honest they all sort of amalgamate into one dull character that I find it hard to differentiate between.

                                I really don't know why I watch this (yet I do), it's beyond ridiculous and basically lame. Although supposedly a reality programme, it is so obviously set-up and scripted 85% of the time with wooden, awkward performances from the characters. You would imagine that being a big ole phoney set-up this could at least allow for some dramatic occurances or humour but, not so much. I actually can't get over how boring most of it is. Yawnsville to the power of three. For example, one of the main 'plots' (which has somehow managed to have been stretched across all the seasons) is a rift between former bffs Lauren and Heidi, which can be summed up simply by a lot of wounded looks and bambi eyes, and conservations such as:
                                "It just, like, sucks, y'know?" (excruciating pause)
                                "I know" (much blinking)
                                "It's, like, a sucky situation"(more pause, and hurt looks)
                                "I know"
                                "I like, don't know what to do"
                                "I know, it's totally sad" (blinking, looking, pausing..)
                                "Yeah I'm like, totally upset right now" (Slightly more rapid blinking)
                                Then there will be a mammoth musical-interlude bit (despite the fact that each episode is barely 20 minutes, there still manages to be loads of these interlude bits that go on for ever).

                                The characters range from dull to mind numbing. Audrina is probably the worst, boring and vacuous to the point of wanting to scratch your eyes out just for some relief. I suppose some are vaguely amusing, Spencer for instanse (the evil controlling boyfriend) who has some alarming sociopathic tendencies, it has to be said. Also, the development and growth of his beard/tache is entertainment alone (wtf is up with that?! hello tufty! It's like watching a big foot metamorphasis).

                                So why in all that is holy do I continue to watch this, and waste my precious pennies? The answer is I do not know. I suppose there is some interest in the fashion and awe at all the Chanel bag action that goes on, and it's nice to see somewhere with perpetual blazing sunshine. Also the scenery shots are good, all beach sunsets and sparkly cityscapes. But still..it's so boring! And yet somehow addictive! What is wrong with me? I scare myself.

                                So, basically, if you're looking for a gripping drama or some intellectual stimulation then this is not the way to go. Honestly, some of the characters on this come across sooo dim that they seem only vaguely aware that they are alive. It's like junkfood for the brain. You know it's crap, you know it's doing you no good, you know there are a million better things to be watching, and yet you still keep going back for more.

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                                • Hershey's Reese's Cups / Other Food / 44 Readings / 42 Ratings
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                                  26.01.2010 15:49
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                                  Amarrr-zing

                                  Reese's peanut butter cups are a wonderful expression of confectionary masterpiece. So addictive, they are the chocolate equivalent of crack, guarenteed to give you a joyfull sugar high and feeling of sastifaction whenever you partake in their peanut buttery heaven. They may even give you sexual powers (ok perhaps not quite!) and all for a few measly pennies!

                                  Reese's are a subsidiary brand of Hershey. Now being a person of high standard and class (ahem), Hershey chocolate would not normally be my go-to choice, what with it usually tasting like vomit and all, but the chocolate used here is not the standard hershey and therefore this is not a problem, incase you were worried. It is admittedly pretty naffy chocolate, (infact it's alarmingly referred to on pack as "chocolate flavoured coating") but this is not the kind of product you buy for a quality chocolate-hit, I should like to think of it more as a junk-food item/confectionary product/candy (although I wouldn't say candy out loud because I would sound like a fool). This is for the chocolate+peanut butter experience, a genius combination which must have been dreamt up by god and passed down to us mortals via moses. Oh it is so awesome!

                                  These are still quite a rarity in England, but I sense the reese's love is slowly spreading as I see them being sold in more and more places. About time too! In times of yore when woolworths were still alive you could only purchase them there. Then Morrisons caught on, now it seems Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda have all got in on the act. Marvellous, I say! I still squeal girlishly whenever I see them, such is my joy.

                                  The cups come in packs of three, a combined weight of 51g, and are likely to be in the 50-60p region. The packaging, bright orange and yellow, is not exactly subtle, but this means they can be clearly identified with visual ease, should you be of limited sight/forgotten your spectacles. The list of ingredients is slightly shocking, lots of artificial-ness and E-number such and such, but Reese's have thoughtfully printed this under the flap of the packs so it can be avoided with merry ignorance. There is also no nutritional info to be found, however internet research has yielded that each pack is approximately 260 calories. So not exactly lettuce then. Each cup comes in its own natty paper case. Hurray, let's eat!

                                  Eating the cups is a stimulating experience. It really is! Let me tell you why. The chocolate has a quick, slick melt with a very sweet and milky flavour. It lacks that creaminess we are used to from the likes of cadbury or galaxy etc, mainly it's just like a sweet and smooth syrup that has the potential to become horribly cloying 'til the thick peanut butter comes to play. The rich, salty-nuttiness of the filling cuts through that sweet chocolate, leaving a mouthful of pure delight. The peanut butter has a fabulous texture, thick, sticky and gritty which is lubricated by the melting chocolate in the nicest possible way. The flavour is very strongly roasted peanut, a bit creamy and a lot salty. The sweet and salt both play off each other and combine to give you a richly flavoured, nutty chocolatey experience that is just delightful. You will hear angels singing and unicorns playing lutes, that is how good they are.

                                  These are very filling, infact 3 cups in a go may be pushing it for some people, and I'd definitely advise you have a drink on hand to wash away the residual stickiness. These are probably not for people who have only a vague appreciation for chocolate/sweet things, as they are a little on the overwhelming side of things. I enjoy such 'intense' snacks, they leave me with a feeling of satisfaction but I know others are inclined to feel sick at such a prospect. For the rest of us though, as far as sugar hits go it doesn't get much better than this.

                                  We seem to only be allowed the original peanut butter cup in England, but I am aware there are many a variation in USA, such as minis and super-sized, white or dark chocolate, 'inside out' and with caramel..how unfair is that? Very upsetting state of affairs.

                                  All in all, these are a creation of utter genius, and if you have yet to try them and they sound to your liking then please stop being a ninny and go get some!

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