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Whilst I have never been a particularly big fan of games consoles, whenever my friends have had them when I have gone round to visit I have always felt the urge to join in. I think I have always had something else to spend my hard earned money on, and have always seen them as a bit of a luxury. However, last Christmas my seven year old son asked for a Nintendo DS and Fifa 08 to go with it. Given what the demand for DS's was last year I never thought I would get one but after much perseverence on the internet I finally got one and the game.
For the first few days I watched my son play on it and that urge came back to me - I wanted to play on it. Now I would consider myself a complete novice and indeed it took me a good couple of weeks to score my first goal. In fact I used to get that frustrated that I deliberately tried to get my players sent off as I had perfected how to do that.
Essentially, if you are playing the game by yourself, there are three different modes of play :
1) Game Mode
2) Tournament Mode
3) Manager Mode
In this mode you pick a team as yours from a whole raft of leages including all the English Divisions, Scottish Premier, La Liga, Serie A, Irish League and a whole host of others. Player lists are reasonably up-to-date although you are able to transfer players very easily from other clubs although you are only allowed a maximum of 32 players in your squad. You then choose your opponents and play a one off game. With all modes you are able to specify the skill level between amateur and world class if you really feel you are that good. You are also able to adjust the length that each half is played over, and decide whether you want to include bookings / sending offs, injuries and offsides.
This does exactly what it says. Once again you choose your team and steer them through a tournament. However, you are only able to compete in tournaments which your chosen side has already qualified for so as a Man City fan I can't compete in the Champions League (Mr Shinawatra would probably sack me for that !!). The Tournaments available include domestic cups, European Champions League and the World Cup. If you finish third in your Champions League Group you will drop into the Uefa cup.
In this mode you take charge of a team for five seasons and accumulate performance points along the way. These are gained for such things as winning games, keeping clean sheets, dominant possession and winning a game after being two or more goals down. After so many points you are awarded a star with the aim being to acquire all five stars.
Essentially you control the movement of the players by using the left hand keypad, with the player you are controlling being indicated by a red arrow on the screen. The right hand keypad is used to determine what you want the player to do when he either has the ball or doesn't have the ball. This includes such things as tackling, controlled shot, passing, lofted pass, crossing etc. You can also make the players sprint by pressing the right control button at the top of the console but this does make the player get tired quicker. You can also make your players do tricks but personally I find when they do this they tend to get tackled or lose the ball.
So what do I think about it?
I do enjoy playing it but find it isn't completely realistic. For example, I have just completed a season in Manager Mode where I won every game and scored over 450 goals in a 38 game season !! In addition three of my midfielders scored over 100 goals each but my strikers struggled to score 30 goals between them. My next highest scorer was my central defender who scored over fifty goals from corners which is totally unrealistic. I have perfected exactly where I need to position my player at corners so that more often than not I will score.
Another thing which I am able to do which wouldn't happen in reality is that my goalkeeper is able to go on mazy dribbles which on occasions has resulted in goals being scored by the keeper. One thing which is good is that if your team are losing in the last minute and are awared a corner, you can opt to send your keeper up for the corner.
Free Kicks are a complete joke on FIFA 08 for NDS. You have absolutely no control over the flight of the ball or power of the shot so you are completely at a loss to where the ball will end up.
Penalties are reasonably straghtforward. If you a taking a penalty move the ball with the stylus pen for where you want the kick to go. If you are facing a penalty, once again move the keeper where you think the penalty will go.
Overall, I do enjoy this game even allowing for all the issues listed in this review. I am still playing it now 4 months after purchasing it and my son struggles to get a look in now.
My only other gripe with this game is that no record is maintained during games of who has actually scored the goals in games. A record must be maintained by the system because when you are playing in either Tournament or Manager mode after the games you are able to access statistics which tell you how many games and goals your players have taken part in. It would be really useful if this information could be included during games so that you know who has scored in the particular game.
A while ago I had to go to Bury St.Edmunds on business over a three day period. My first question on being told this news was "Where the bloody hell is Bury St. Edmunds?" Now, being a lad from Manchester I thought the only Bury was situated in Lancashire and was famous for its black puddings. However, as I gladly found out, there is a lovely market town in the heart of Suffolk (that's near Ipswich, Newmarket and Cambridge if you didn't know) which shares part of its name with its Lancashire counterpart and that is where I was to visit.
****** So having found out where you were going, why did you decide to stay at The Angel ******
The two main criteria which I tend to adopt when visiting a hotel for the first time is that it has to be a reasonable standard (at least 3 star) and that its location is central and easily accessible to the places I wish to visit. As I said above, I had to visit on business so I wasn't too bothered about the cost as this wasn't coming directly out of my sky rocket. However, having said that, we are still constrained by budgets so there is a certain cost we could get away with spending. The Angel Hotel met both of these criteria in that it was advertised as a 42 Bedroom 3 star hotel located on Angel Hill which is located in the heart of the town directly opposite the Cathedral.
****** So how much were the rooms ******
I booked my room via a third party company which my employer utilises so I do not know what sort of discount they have managed to negotiate, and whether any of this is passed on to ourselves. However, I was put up in a double room, which included full English Breakfast, for two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) at a cost of £174.00, or £87.00 per night. These rates are significantly lower than those advertised on the hotels web site (see below), but I do not know whether such a discount would be readily available.
Examination of the Hotels' website does not display the room tariff but advises you to contact the hotel. As a guide the following prices were applicable when I last stayed here in 2006.
All prices include Full Suffolk Breakfast and VAT
Standard Room £135
Single occupancy £125
Prestige Rooms £195
Single occupancy £185
Sunday Special Rate
1 night slumber for two people sharing a standard double or twin bedded room with full suffolk breakfast - £80
The Angel Break
2 nights slumber for 2 people in individually designed rooms, full Suffolk breakfast each morning and dinner on both evenings, price per person per night - £84
****** So having driven for 4 hours, what were your first impressions of the Hotel ******
Pulling up in the car park outside the front of the hotel you cannot fail to be impressed by the splendour of the hotel which is located on three floors and is located directly opposite to the towns Cathedral. The front of the hotel is covered in Ivy which adds to its appeal. My second impression was that we were in a pay and display car park which was going to be expensive if we were within walking distance of all amenities during our three day stay. However, I did recall when we booked the room that the hotel does have "limited parking" facilities so we quickly enquired at reception as to where this parking was and whether any was available.
****** What exactly do they mean by "limited parking" ******
A bit like Ronseal - exactly what it says on the tin. The friendly receptionist advised us that there were facilities for approximately fifteen vehicles at the rear of the hotel, but this would require you to leave your car keys at reception in case your vehicle needed to be moved. Having the choice of this or having to pay car parking charges for the next three days (or so we thought) we opted to park in the small car park. Having parked our vehicle we were then able to enter the hotel via a side entrance.
***** How efficient was the Check-In process ******
There's nothing more annoying when you check in at a hotel than providing a host of details which you have already provided when booking the accommodation. I am pleased to say, however, that this was not an issue at The Angel. The whole process from start to finish took no longer than 2 minutes, and I was allocated Room Number 007 which was conveniently located on the ground floor at the rear of the hotel, meaning I could also ensure the safety of my vehicle. Bargain !!.
So having left reception, walked down a ramp (which was plenty wide enough for a wheelchair or child's buggy), turned a corner, I came face to face with my room.
****** Now for the important stuff, what were the rooms like ? ******
Before I came to the hotel, I checked a consumer website and to be honest it filled me a little bit with trepidation. Many of the reports commented on how small the rooms were with some having mouldy walls or peeling wallpaper. So before entering the room, I shut my eyes and hoped for the best. One two three open your eyes. Sounds like Changing Rooms and to be honest it was just like that.
Outside the room I had an image of a small dingy room with peeling wallpaper and mould growing at an alarming rate. However, the transformation when I plucked up the courage to open my eyes was immense. The room was surprisingly large, and was decorated in a contrast of warm oranges and yellows. The bed was I think a Queen Size, and the number of storage spaces and work areas was a surprising pleasure.
The room had all the usual features you would expect but also had a trouser press, ironing board, hair dryer, tea and coffee making facilities and a television, which included the usual mix or terrestrial and cable channels including Sky News and Sky Sports. The room directly overlooked the car park at the rear of the hotel which was an added bonus.
The room also had an Air Conditioning / Central Heating system which meant you were able to regulate the temperature of the room fairly easily.
****** And what about the bathroom ******
I don't know if it's just me but I can't be doing with farting little bathrooms where there is no room to swing a cat. This bathroom is NOTHING like that at all. It was huge. As I said before, the room was located on the ground floor and I think it was fairly obvious that this room has been designed specifically with the needs of mobility impaired clients in mind. The bathroom had various rails located around it, and the shower was actually located on two different levels, which would also be beneficial to young children. As you would expect, there was also a bath as part of the shower unit.
The storage space around the wash basin was immense. I don't usually have that many toiletries but typically it is a challenge to find room for the few that I do have. At The Angel I could have brought my wife along and we would have struggled to fill half of the room available around the wash basin !!
A nice touch from the hotel was the number of complimentary shower gels, shampoos, sewing kit and tweezers which were left in the room.
On the sudject of nice touches, my room was 007. In keeping with the James Bond theme a variety of Ian Fleming books and magazines were littered around the room.
We were clearly staying in the newer part of the hotel which I understand has bigger rooms. They are certainly decorated to a very high standard. If you decide to stay at The Angel I would insist on staying in rooms 001 - 007.
****** You say your room was in the newer part. What is the history surrounding the hotel? ******
Spreading over the sites of numbers 1, 2 and 3 Angel Hill, the main building (No 3) was built around 1778 with the remainder being added no earlier than 1830. There has, however, been a building on the site of The Angel since the 13th century and this is confirmed by the vaulted cellars, which now form The Vaults restaurant area. Records also exist of an inn at the site from 1452. Previous owners of the hotel include William Tassell after whom the main suite was named, and Thomas Bridgeman whose portrait hangs in the Bridgeman Room, a private function room.
****** Is the hotel part of a chain, or has it managed to retain its independence ******
The hotel has been owned by the Gough family since 1973, when it was a 2 star, 50 bedroom hotel. A bathroom en-suite was a limited luxury! The late Richard Gough summed up the duty of owning The Angel, seeing himself as a custodian of an important landmark. The efforts of Dick and Mary Gough were recognised when in 1990 Mary Gough received an MBE for services to the hotel industry. The day to day running of The Angel is now overseen by Robert Gough.
****** I hear The Angel has an important part to play in history. Is this true ? ******
The Angel is probably best known because of its mention by Charles Dickens in his famous "Pickwick Papers". Charles Dickens stayed at The Angel himself on two occasions, once in 1859 and again in 1861, to present readings in the nearby Athanaeum. On both occasions he stayed in Room 15, and the four poster bed he wrote of can still be seen in the room today.
This short extract from his book has probably done more for the Angel's fame than any other piece written:
"The coach rattled through the streets of a handsome town of thriving and cleanly appearance and stopped before a large Inn situated in a wide open street facing the old abbey. "This must be Bury St. Edmunds, and this" said Mr Pickwick, looking up "is The Angel".
****** Having seen the hotel what about the Restaurant ? ******
As I said at the start of the review, I was away on business and unfortunately, the limit of the expenses available fell well short of the prices demanded at The Angel. Consequently, we decided on that great bastion of English cusine.....CURRY. On the second night we dined at La Tasca which is literally located just around the corner from The Angel. We did however, sample breakfast at the hotel on two separate ocassions. If you do decide you would like to dine in the restaurant, sample menus are displayed on the Hotels website (see address at the bottom of this review).
****** Although you didn't dine in the restaurant, what did you make of the catering facilities ******
As you would expect from a Hotel of this size room service is available twenty four hours a day. In addition to this, two restaurants are available, 1 at ground floor level which is fairly formal, and The Vaults which is located in the basement of the Hotel. The main restaurant is easily accessible for those people with mobility issues, whereas you would struggle down the stairs to The Vaults. We ate breakfast in The Vaults and you can't help but marvel at the architectural elegance.
Room service menu is available 24 hours a day with Hot food served from 12 noon to 2.00pm and 6.00pm - 9.30pm.
Both restaurant menus are available on request.
Please be aware that between the hours of 10.00pm and 10.00am only the sandwiches and soup are available.
Tyopical food available from the room service menu includes:
Local Ham £7.95
Starters and Main Courses
Today's freshly made soup with homemade bread £6.95
Oriental king prawns with sweet chilli dip small £7.95
Smoked salmon with lemon, caper berries and cornichons small £6.95
Fillet steak with pepper sauce and chips £25.00
Today's fish (Please call reception) £16.95
Newmarket sausages with mashed potatoes, vegetables and onion gravy £11.95
All at £6.95
Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream
Bread and butter pudding
Warm chocolate brownie with clotted cream
Vanilla pod ice cream with crispy tuiles
Seasoned chips £3.25
A full Suffolk and continental breakfast menu is available in the restaurant from 7.00am until 9.30am Monday to Friday, and from 8.00am until 10.00am on Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast can also be served in the comfort of your own room.
****** When is the Restaurant Open ******
Luncheon Monday to Saturday 12.00pm - 3.00pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday 6.00pm - 9.30pm
Sunday lunch is available 12.00pm - 3.00pm
There is no strict dress code.
****** Does the Hotel cater for Childrens Meals ******
Childrens meals are available and apparantly the chef is very flexible !!
A bowl of vegetable crisps £1.95
Fresh local apple juice £1.95
Penne Pasta with a fresh tomato sauce & Cheddar cheese £3.95
Fresh Lowestoft cod fish fingers with big chips, peas or baked beans £4.95
Newmarket sausages with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas £4.95
Beans on toast £2.95
****** What did you make of the breakfast ******
Breakfast was in The Vaults and consisted of your choice of Tea and Coffee, toast, cereals, fresh juices, youghurts etc. A cooked breakfast including Newmarket Sausage and your choice of eggs was brought to your table i.e there was no opportunity to fill your face !!
The breakfast was very well presented although could possibly have done with an extra sausage or rasher of bacon as the hotel don't believe in giving you more than one of anything.
****** Did you have any other issues ******
No, well apart from waking up on the first morning, looking out onto the car park and seeing the car park half empty but without my car in it !! However, after enquiring at reception, I was advised that it had been moved to the front of the Hotel onto the pay and display car park. When I asked how much this was going to cost me, I was advised that the hotel have an arrangement with the local Council, and the hotel put a note in your car advising that you are a resident at the hotel, and therefore you will not be charged for parking.
****** How efficient was the Checking Out process ******
Once again this was undertaken very quickly and efficiently. We wanted to check out of our room in the morning, but we still had work commitments to undertake off site so we enquired whether we could keep our car on the hotel car park until approximately 12 o'clock. "No problem. As long as it's gone by 2 o'clock when new guests start to arrive". The staff really do go beyond the call of duty. As it turned out, when we returned to our vehicle we were boxed in but the concierge was able to move the "offending" vehicle within a couple of minutes and we were quickly on our way.
****** OK. Enough about the hotel, are there any local attractions where this would make the ideal base? ******
My one regret about the trip was that it was very much work based and we were not able to take advantage of many of the wonderful attractions available to us. However, to assist you in making a decision as to whether to stay at this location, I have attached a brief list of possible attractions with a little bit of blurb about each.
Created as a botanic garden in 1831, following the pattern of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Brussels, the abbey ruins stand in the centre of these award winning gardens. Situated opposite the front of the Angel. Well worth a visit.
Blackthorpe Barn Craft Centre
Rougham, Nr Bury St. Edmunds with classical music, antiques fairs, drama, visual arts and seasonal Christmas Craft markets, this superb local barn is well worth a visit. Approx 10 minutes drive.
Tel 01359 270091
Bressingham Steam Museum
Situated near Diss (30 mins drive). A working steam museum, with award winning gardens too, and a "Dads Army" museum, this has something for all. Prices vary according to events included.
Tel 01379 686900
With a plethora of beautiful university buildings, and a charming mediaeval centre, this market city will interest all. Some colleges charge admission - these vary. Also a great place to shop.
Situated in the market town of Sudbury. The birthplace museum of Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788) is home to more of his paintings than displayed anywhere else in the world. Approx 40 minutes drive.
Swing from tree to tree high above Thetford Forest at the Go Ape aerial assault course, for over 2 hours of adrenalin-fuelled fun, laughter and adventure. Approx ½ hour drive away. Sessions start every half hour and the course takes approximately 2 - 3 hours to complete.
Tel 0870 420 1279 www.goape.co.uk
Greene King Brewery
Follow beer-making through the ages (and taste it too !) as you tour the historic local brewery (not for limited mobility). Evening tours can be pre-booked. Tel 01284 714382 www.greeneking.co.uk
Situated in Horringer, Nr Bury St. Edmunds. A uniquely architectural National Trust house with formal gardens, and rolling parkland estates. A must for a walk or picnic. Approx 10 minutes drive.
Tel 01284 735270
Situated in Long Melford just off the A134 between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, not just a moated house but a lived-in home with extensive gardens and farm to explore, with famous re-creations of Tudor life. Approx 20/25 minutes drive.
Tel 01787 310207 www.kentwell.co.uk
Situated near Sudbury. The showpiece of Suffolk, this exquisitively preserved mediaeval town has historic houses to visit and is irresistible to stroll around in! Approx 30 minutes drive.
This former wool town is the "antiques capital of Suffolk". Its wide, tree-lined high street is full of antique shops and centres. Approx 20 - 25 minutes drive.
Manor House Museum
Founded upon collections assembled over more than a century, this museum of art and horology collects, preserves and presents two quite different, but complementary themes. One is of the changing artistic tastes and achievements of local people; the other is of the development of timekeeping in Britain, Europe and America.
Tel 01284 757076 www.stedmunds.co.uk/lifestyle/manor-house.html
This beautiful historic house has changes little externally since 1578. Internally it offers a Regency library, Victorian bedrooms, excellent collections of furniture and porcelain and a small display of items connected with Beatrix Potter, who was related to the Hyde Parker family who have owned the property since 1786. The garden contains some spectacular specimen trees and there is an attractive walk through the park. Allow 2 hours
Tel 01787 880286 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Moyse's Hall Museum
Moyse's Hall is a rare example of Norman domestic architecture, now used as a museum. Collections include the Suffolk Regiment Gallery, local history and archaeology.
Tel 01284 716083 www.stedmunds.co.uk/moyses_hall.html
National Horseracing Museum, Newmarket
The Headquarters and home of british racing. Visit the National Horseracing Museum, which offers daily tours and exhibitions, this is a unique museum. Also visit the National Stud and the Jockey Club to name but a few of the many places of interest that this famous town has to offer. Approx 15 - 20 minutes drive.
Tel 01638 667333 www.newmarket-suffolk.com
Pakenham Water Mill
Situated in Pakenham, near Bury St Edmunds. The Doomsday Book records a mill in this lovely village. The mill is no longer active but makes an interesting museum visit. Approx 15 minutes drive.
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Situated opposite the front of the Angel and once the only cathedral in Europe without a spire. The cathedral houses the tomb of St Edmund, King and Martyr, which gave the town its motto "shrine of a king, cradle of the law". Tours pre-booked.
Opened in 1819, the Theatre Royal was one of the most elegant, sophisticated and up-to-date playhouses of its age. An active theatre with a varied performance programme, this rare Georgian playhouse also has tours June - August. 5 minute walk from the hotel.
Tel 01284 755127 www.theatreroyal.org
Victorian Christmas Fayre
A charming annual event, that takes place on the second weekend of December. The fayre is held on Angel Hill immediately outside the front of the hotel with French and English stalls offering a variety of goods and produce.
West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village
A reconstructed 420 - 650 AD village, with costume reconstructions in August and on Bank holiday weekends. Beautiful site with nature walks
Tel 01284 728718
****** How can I find out more information about The Hotel ******
Firstly, you can visit the Hotels web site which includes a wealth of information and photos of the hotel which should wet your appetite
Telephone 01284 714000
Facsimile 01284 714001
The Angel Hotel
3 Angel Hill
Bury St. Edmunds
I hope you have found this review to be helpful and if you do decide to visit, hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Remember to ask for Room Numbers 001 - 007.
I am not normally one for buying pizza, but my wife was due to go out that night, and I was left to make the tea for myself and my seven year old son. So while passing Asda I decided to call in and see what I could put my somewhat limited cooking skills to. I asked my son what he wanted and he said pizza so had a look at the frozen pizza section and was amazed at the wide variety of pizza's on offer. As I say I don't normally eat pizza because my wife doesn't like peppers and my son doesn't like anything particularly spicy (bless him) so this somewhat limits the choice normally to Ham and Pineapple. However, the one which was jumping out at me was Goodfella's Delicia Mediterranean pizza at a remarkable price of £1. That's right folks, a whole pound. I thought to myself when I bought it that it might be a bit bland, but knew that it would certainly appeal to my son. However, to make sure I also bought the Goodfellas Deeply Delicious Spicy Chicken Sizzler, which forms part of a separate review.
So having got home, I decided that I would give it the benefit of the doubt, and try it with my son with a side salad and a side dish of garlic bread topped with melted cheese. Of course the obligatory parmesan cheese was eager to join this wondrous meal.
***** Packaging *****
The side of the box described the pizza as " A Thin Italian-style stone-baked pizza base, spread with a rich sun-dried tomato and basil sauce, melting creamy mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Piled with juicy chargrilled chunks of courgette, aubergine and red & yellow peppers, smothered with a provencale herb butter" which sounded pretty impressive. So I ripped open the box, took the cellophane wrapper off (can anybody do that without dropping half the cheese everywhere) to see a pizza with all the vegetables piled together on one corner of the pizza.
Incidentally, in this ever demanding world of ours where we are encouraged to recycle everything, both the carton and plastic wrapping are fully recyclable.
***** So what were my first impressions ? *****
Having re-arranged the said vegetables it was immediately apparent that the dominant flavour would be peppers as these probably formed half of the vegetables. Courgettes and aubergines between them probably accounted for the remaining 50%. In fairness, the volume of vegetables was probably greater than I would have expected, but ideally could probably have done with a few more flavours.
So having popped the pizza into my pre-heated 190 degree oven, and made a mental note to put my garlic bread in six minutes later, so that both would be ready in twelve minutes time, I poured myself a nice glass of chardonnay and sat down for a well earned breather after all that extensive preparation !!!
***** So what aromas passed by your nostrils while you sipped your wine *****
Well normally the overbearing aroma is one of slowly melting cheese followed by the smell of the various toppings cooking slowly. Sadly with this pizza you don't get the full force of the cheese melting, but rather the overpowering smell of peppers. Don't get me wrong there is a slight smell of the cheese melting away but you do need an extremely good sense of smell to detect it.
Not to worry I thought, surely that will come later. So I put my garlic bread in the oven to accompany the pizza and settled back to my second glass of wine in the hope that the aroma of slowly melting cheese would overtake the pepper dominated kitchen.
***** So did your impressions change as the cooking neared completion *****
Sadly, not really. Yes the smell of cheese started to come out towards the end but much of this came from my cheese topped garlic bread. Unfortunately, peppers pretty much dominated the kitchen.
***** So what about the look *****
I'd like to say that the actual pizza coming out of my oven looked exactly like the one on the box but unfortunately I can't. The peppers on mine were somewhat charred around the edges, and the edge to the pizza appeared a little crispy. I suspect part of this is down to my limited culinary skills, but the cheese wasn't properly melted in places, so I don't think I had it in the oven for too long. In addition, the courgettes and aubergines appeared a bit of a squidgy mess, but I suppose that was to be expected given their high water content.
Because the edge of the pizza was somewhat crispy, I did struggle to cut it with the pizza cutter, but managed to separate it into 4 reasonable size pieces, and served it with a side salad and some cous cous.
***** What did it taste like *****
When I took my first bite, the overwhelming flavour was undoubtedly peppers. The base, although thin was rather doughy which is just how I like a base to be. The tomato and basil accompanied the peppers quite well and actually took some of the sharpness from the peppers away. However, this still remained the dominant flavour. The courgettes and aubergine were somewhat bland by comparison. The cheese melted rather nicely in the mouth but you couldn't really taste the cheese that much because of those bleeding peppers.
***** So was there enough *****
Although the box states that the pizza is ideal for sharing, personally I think that you would struggle to share this and be full afterwards. I mean my seven year old son ate half the pizza, and although he didn't eat a lot of the salad, he still had room for a cream cake afterwards.
I would guess that if you were hungry you could manage to eat a full one without too much trouble, but if you were sharing this wouldn't be enough on its own. However, served with a side salad, some cous cous and a generous portion of garlic bread certainly filled me up.
***** So what about the Nutritional Information *****
Based on a 150g serving (i.e half the pizza) there are :
371 Calories of which 162 are from fat
18g of fat
37.5g of carbohydrates
3g of dietary fibre
13.5g of protein
*****Obviously we as a nation are now becoming more health conscious. Can eating pizza fit into this profile *****
As with anything, it depends how much is eaten and what it is served with. All foods have a place in your diet as long as the intake is relevant to your lifestyle and your body weight. Pizza is no exception. It is recommended that foods like salad and garlic bread are served with pizzas - this increases the carbohydrate and vegetable content, while keeping fat levels low.
***** Were there any trans fats in the pizza? *****
As oil needs to be hydrogenated before using it in a frozen pizza recipe, some trans fats are inevitable.
***** And what about sodium levels? *****
In a 300g portion of Goodfella's pizza, the sodium content amounts to almost 45% of the recommended adult daily intake. So with half the pizza you are having nearly a quarter of your recommended daily intake.
***** And what about GM ingredients? *****
Goodfella's website advises that there are no genetically modified ingredients in their pizza. Goodfella's pizzas are termed non-GM. This means that where possible, they have replaced soya or maize derivatives with non-GM alternatives (e.g. derived from potatoes or wheat). Where this has not been possible (e.g. soya lecithin) they have sourced their ingredients from guaranteed non-GM suppliers. These ingredients are tested for the presence of GM DNA and GM protein on a regular basis. Their maize flour is produced from a waxy maize hybrid which is non-GM. The enzyme chymosin, which is used in the manufacture of vegetarian cheese, may have been derived from GM microbes. There is no GM DNA or protein in the final product.
***** Does the Mediterranean contain alcohol? *****
Cider Vinegar is used in both Solos BBQ Chicken and Delicia Mediterranean pizzas.
***** And what about yeast *****
Unfortunately all of Goodfella's pizza's contain yeast.
***** Is the Mediterranean suitable for a gluten-free diet? *****
Unfortunately, none of Goodfella's pizzas are suitable for a gluten free diet
***** And what about nut's *****
Whilst products produced exclusively by Goodfella's are done so on lines that do not handle nuts, some of their suppliers cannot guarantee that their raw materials are free from cross-contamination. For this reason Goodfella's do not guarantee that their products are nut free.
***** So where can I buy this pizza *****
As I said at the start of the review, I bought it from Asda for a pound, and I would guess that you would struggle to find it any cheaper than this. However, some stores do not stock all varieties of Goodfella's pizza and therefore I would advise you contact the store beforehand if you are desperate for this particular pizza. Other stores which sell Goodfella's pizzas include the following:
***** CONCLUSION *****
Personally I would say that you get what you pay for, and for a pound I suppose I can't really complain. However, the pizza was dominated by the peppers and I would have thought additional flavours such as olives, pineapple or sweetcorn could have been added, which would still keep within the mediterranean theme. There is however nothing to stop you adding these to your pizza to provide a little bit more variety.
Would I buy it again - probably not.
Thank you all for reading.
Before I get too carried away with this review let me warn you that this does go on for quite a while. However, I feel it only fair that you are all made fully aware of the facilities on offer at London City Airport.
I had cause to travel to London last year with business from Manchester to attend a seminar within the financial district. Upon being told this by my manager with about 2 weeks notice, I was faced with the dilemma of arranging my travel itinery. Effectively, I was faced with 3 options:
1. Drive, which didn't exactly fill me with excitement at the thought of a 600 mile round trip to attend a 4 hour seminar.
2. Get the train, which once again was a two and a half hour journey in both directions, plus associated tube journeys. Another downside to this alternative was the astronomical fares which were charged for travelling back on a Friday during rush hour. Bearing in mind my seminar was not due to finish until 2:00pm it would have been impossible for me to catch a return train before 3.30 pm from London. Unless I could catch a return train either before 3.00pm or after 6.30 pm this arrangement would have cost me an unbelievable £170. Otherwise I could have travelled for the bargain price of £60. If I had to pay for it myself I may have thought about the cheaper option and getting the later train, but as this wouldn't have got me home till approximately 10pm it wasn't really a feasible option.
3. Fly, but surely there isn't an airport close enough to the City to make this worthwhile. WRONG. London City Airport is conveniently located just 6 miles from the centre of London and is easily served by a reliable public transport link. After undertaking a bit more research, which I will provide later in this review, I identified that I could get flights to London City Airport from Manchester departing on the Thursday evening at 5.20pm returning on the Friday at 3.50 pm for the price of £123.60 including taxes fees and charges.
So having presented the various facts and figures to my bosses it was decided that I could fly to London. OK so having flown into London City Airport what were my first impressions. Well clearly it is only a small airport which deals predominantly with internal flights and certain European destinations, which I will list in further detail later in this review. However, on departing the plane we were quickly within the arrivals hall, which essentially consisted of two baggage carousels, and the usual toilets. There appeared to be plenty of trolleys, although I didn't require this specific service as I was only travelling overnight. The beauty of it being such a small airport was that as soon as you got to the baggage claim area, the carousel was already moving round ready to have your bags made available. After a wait of no more than 5 minutes we proceeded through the customs control area which is virtually non-existant given the nature of the flight arrivals and quickly made our way towards the exit.
Sign-posting was excellent and a large number of taxi's were waiting directly outside the main entrance to take you to your destination. However, if you leave via the main exit and proceed to your right, within 2 minutes you are stood on the platform of London City Airport station which is served by the Docklands Light Railway. Regular services are available to Bank station if heading towards the city where you can change to connect with most Underground lines. A single fare on the railway costs £4 for a single ticket which will get you into the centre of London.
In fairness you probably notice more about an airport at the departure stage rather than the arrivals part so I made a conscious decision to have a good look at the various facilities on offer when we made our return flight.
In total there are approximately 15 check-in desks which are located in one bank of desks on the ground floor of the terminal concourse on the right hand side as you enter the terminal which are all clearly labelled and as you would expect are designated to deal with specific airlines. Accompanying monitors clearly display all the information you require regarding which desk to check in at together with up to date flight information. The check in process was extremely efficient as you would expect. So having checked in I decided to have a detailed look at the various facilities available prior to going through passport control to the departure lounge.
***** Bureau de Change / Banking facilities *****
Travelex operates the Bureaux de Change at London City Airport which is located in the terminal concourse on the ground floor, to the left of the entry / exit doors. Further bureau de change are also located in the departure lounge, next to Hughes and Hughes and also in the international arrivals hall on the right hand side as you enter. At the time I was departing queues at this facility were non-existant.
***** Car Hire *****
Although I didn't hire a car, I noted that there was a facility to Hire cars through either Avis, Europcar or Hertz whose desks were located on the ground floor of the concourse. In fairness you probably don't need a car given the layout of the tube network but if you decide to take out this option it is available to you.
***** Cashpoints *****
There are four cashpoints available within the Airport, two of which are located within the main concourse. These two machines are operated by Barclays and are situated on the ground floor in the concourse adjacent to the Bureau de change. A further Cashpoint can also be found in the Departure Lounge and also one in the International Arrivals Hall, both operated by Alliance and Leicester.
***** Chauffeur Hire Car *****
I don't really see the need for this facility but it is possible to travel in style by using the services of Quay Cars who are the resident chauffeur company at London city Airport. This is situated in the Terminal concourse opposite International Arrivals. You can either book in advance for this facility or you can be spontaneous and book the facility on arrival at the airport.
***** Information Desk *****
The Airport Information desk is situated on your left when entering the Terminal building.
***** Internet Connections *****
Internet access can be found in front of Bewleys coffee shop in the main Terminal Concourse which offers free access to www.londoncityairport.com. However, payment for access to the world wide web is made through Bewleys, at a rate of £1 per minute. Not surprisingly given this extortionate rate, there weren't a great deal of people taking up this facility.
*****Lost Property / Left Luggage *****
The lost property and left luggage room is situated in security zone A, which is to the right of the main concourse beyond the check-in area. If you would like to make use of the left luggage facilities these are available at a charge of £5 per item per 24-hour period which all in all is pretty reasonable if you only have one item. Any more than the one item I would suggest is a little on the pricy side..
***** Restaurant's, Café's and Bars *****
Essentially there are three different establishments which all offer something that little bit different for the customer.
Located on the ground floor in the main part of the Terminal, Bewleys coffee shop serves light snacks, hot & cold drinks and also has a fully licensed bar. However, beware the prices are reasonably expensive but ultimately it comes down to supply and demand. In fairness coffee's and pastry's probably aren't that expensive but the shock at being charged £4 for a pint of lager and £4.20 for a pint of Guinness alarmed me to say the least. I know we were in London but come on. Bewleys also provides internet access from terminals located in front of the café area, which can be operated with a credit card but as mentioned previously this is somewhat expensive so beware.
2. Coffee Corner, Wine & Tapas Bar
Operated by RestAir this is situated on the first floor of the Terminal. Coffee Corner serves hot and cold Tapas, Paninis, light meals and refreshments. Typical prices are between £3.75 and £5.25 for a panini or focaccia which are reasonable. In fairness as well this area was quite heavily populated so is probably the most cost effective place to eat.
3. Meridian Line Restaurant
The Meridian Line restaurant, on the first floor of the Terminal, is open to both passengers and non-passengers alike and provides an area which can seat 110 people and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. I didn't get chance to have a proper look at this facility but if you don't mind paying a little bit more then this might tempt you. Personally I begrudge paying £10+ for a burger, £3.50 for a bowl of chips and £9.50 for a breakfast but if that takes your fancy by all means go ahead.
***** Shoe Shine Service *****
The shoeshine service is situated on the ground floor of the main concourse at the foot of the escalator. The facility offers shoe shining and repairs.
***** Shopping *****
We've all been in one of these at some time or another at an airport so I'm sure you're pretty familiar with the types of products which they sell However, if not you can purchase magazines, newspapers, books, greetings cards, pharmaceutical items, camera film, tourist gifts and confectionery which is situated on the ground floor in the Terminal building.
Oh yes, that is it for shops before you go through to the departure lounge.
***** Stamps and Postbox *****
A post box is located at the Terminal entrance. Stamps are available if you need them from World News.
***** Telephone *****
Coin-operated, credit card and phone card telephones are located throughout the Terminal.
So having spent an hour looking round the various facilities and treasuring my extremely expensive pint of Guinness we then proceeded through passport control to the Departure Lounge.
Although the departure lounge isn't particularly big we found no problem in finding somewhere to sit, which unfortunately was a luxury which was not afforded to us once we were shepherded through to our departure gate but more of that later. First impressions of the departure lounge was that it was a little bit cramped with a sprinkling of shops and restaurants. So here goes, I'll give you a brief rundown of the facilities within the departure lounge. As mentioned earlier in this review there are cash points and internet access within the departure lounge if required.
Operated by RestAir, The Trattoria, in the Departure Lounge, seats 32 people and offers a morning breakfast menu as well as a selection of fresh pasta and seafood, such as Tortellini di Spinacci con Panna and Cannelloni con Pomodoro. Starters are typically priced from £5 and main courses from £10. To be honest the menu is fairly typical fayre from your average Italian high street restaurant.
You can if your budget allows enjoy an espresso, a pint, a glass of champagne or a shot, in the fully licensed bar next to the Trattoria. Having been stung once in the concourse we steered well clear of the bar area.
Marché Frais Carte
If you are in a hurry or like to eat on the move, a wide selection of hot and cold drinks and snacks is available from the Marché Frais Carte, which is positioned in the Departure Lounge. The Carte serves a selection of baguettes all available for either immediate consumption or to take away. Typical prices range from £5 which isn't overly expensive for airport food.
This speciality retail shop, similar in concept to the famous
Grafton Street outlet in Dublin, features many of Bewley's famous branded products such as coffees, teas, chocolates, confectionery, baked goods, preserves, offering gift ideas although in common with Bewleys remains expensive.
The shop also provides take away speciality coffees & other hot beverages and snacks.
WARNING WARNING WARNING. Men, if you have your good ladies in tow, try and go through to the departure lounge at the latest possible opportunity to minimise the opportunity to let your women loose here. This shop is known to do terminal damage to both your pockets and your credit cards. Bally is situated in the Departure Lounge and offers an expensive selection of Ladies' and Men's shoes and accessories at tax free prices to all departing passengers, including those to domestic destinations. Don't let the tax free status fool you. These are in anybody's language expensive. Venture in here at your peril.
Hughes & Hughes Bookshop
Hughes and Hughes, situated in the Departure Lounge, offers an extensive range of books, varying from the best in fiction to a large business and finance section. 'Airport exclusives' are a range of best selling titles available in paperback months in advance of High Street stores.
Liquor and Tobacco
There is, of course, a wide range of duty-free liquor and tobacco products together with perfumes and cosmetics offering huge savings on average High Street prices - all clearly marked on price tickets. These duty-free goods are available to anyone flying to Switzerland or Jersey, or connecting to flights to countries outside the European Union.
There is also a wide range of duty-paid wine, champagne, spirits and liqueurs that can be purchased by all passengers, as can confectionery, toys, perfume and cosmetics.
So that in a nut shell is a description of the various facilities available at the airport.
The only real gripe I had with the airport is that they try and get you out of the departure lounge at the earliest possible opportunity by declaring last calls 40 minutes before planes are due to depart. One advantage of this is that you don't get chance to be exploited in Bally, but the downside is there are very few seats to be had by the departure gate.
So what are the facilities like if you are disabled I hear you screaming. Pretty good really. There are allocated disabled car parking spaces within the car park close to the Terminal. All public areas of the terminal are easily accessible. In extreme cases assistance is provided for boarding the aircraft. However, if you require this facility the airport advises that you with the airline in advance of travelling what their facilities are, as they can differ.
As I said earlier this is only a reasonably small airport which only services certain destinations, as follows:
· Copenha gen
· Isle of Man
That said this is still a fairly extensive list of major European destinations.
So now you know what facilities are at the airport, how do you travel to and from the airport. As I said at the start of this review we chose the option of using the Docklands Light Railway but ultimately it comes down to your personal choice as this isn't the only option available to you. In reality much depends on where you are travelling to or from.
***** Travelling from the centre of London to London City Airport *****
Option 1 - via Canning Town
The recommended route is to take the Jubilee Line to Canning Town and connect with the Docklands Light Railway direct to London City Airport. Journey time is just 10 minutes from Canning Town to the Airport and the train runs at 7 minute intervals.
Option 2 - via Canary Wharf
Take the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf and take the Docklands Light Railway via Poplar to the Airport. The journey time is 10 minutes and the train runs at 10 minutes intervals.
Option 3 - via Liverpool Street
Take the Central Line to Bank and take the Docklands Light Railway direct to London City Airport.
***** London City Airport to Central London *****
Option 1 - via Bank
The recommended route is to take the Docklands Light Railway via Canning Town into Bank, which is on the Central Line. Journey time is 22 minutes.
Option 2 - via Canning Town
Take the Docklands Light Railway directly to Canning Town, where you can pick up the Jubilee Line into Central London. Journey time is just 5 minutes into Canning Town and approximately 15 mintues into Westminster.
Option 3 - via Canary Wharf
Take the Docklands Light Railway to Canary Wharf, via Poplar, with a journey time of 14 minutes.
Alternatively, pick up the Airport's blue shuttlebus from outside the Terminal to the bus stop outside Canary Wharf DLR station. The journey time is around 10 minutes at 10 minute intervals. The shuttlebus costs £3.50 for adults and £1 for children
***** London City Airport to Heathrow/Gatwick/Stansted *****
*** London City Airport to London Heathrow ***
From London City Airport, take the Docklands Light Railway directly into Bank and connect with the Central Line straight into Liverpool Street station. From there, join either the Circle or Hammersmith and City Underground Line (ticket required) to Paddington. Follow the signs for the mainline station and join the Heathrow Express Rail Service which links Paddington with London Heathrow every 15 minutes (£12 single). Typical total journey time varies between 90 and 120 minutes.
*** London Heathrow to London City Airport ***
At London Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express Rail Service to London Paddington - trains run every 15 minutes (£12 single). From there, take the Circle or Hammersmith and City Underground Line to Liverpool Street Station (ticket required), where you can pick up the Central Line to Bank. Here you can take the Docklands Light Railway directly to London City Airport. Typical total journey time varies between 90 and 120 minutes.
*** London City Airport to London Gatwick ***
At London City Airport take the Docklands Light Railway directly to Canning Town where you can pick up the Jubilee Line (London Underground) to London Bridge (ticket required). Follow the signs for the mainline station and take the Thameslink service direct to Gatwick Airport (£10.50 standard single). Trains run about every 15 minutes during normal operating hours. The typical total journey time varies between 90 and 120 minutes.
*** London Gatwick to London City Airport ***
At Gatwick Airport Station, board a Thameslink service to London Bridge (£10.50 standard single). Trains run about every 15 minutes during normal operating hours. At London Bridge, take a Jubilee Line train (London Underground) to Canning Town station (ticket required) and pick up the Docklands Light Railway directly to London City Airport. The typical journey times vary between 90 and 120 minutes
*** London City Airport to Stansted ***
Take the Docklands Light Railway from London City Airport to Bank, where you can pick up the Central Line (London Underground) to Liverpool Street. Take the Stansted Express train to Stansted airport. The total journey times vary between 90 and 120 minutes.
*** Stansted to London City Airport ***
Take the Stansted Express train to Liverpool Street Station and then the Central Line to Bank, where you can pick up the Docklands Light Railway directly to London City Airport. The total journey times vary between 90 and 120 minutes.
***** Outside of London to London City Airport *****
If you are travelling to London City Airport by train from outside London please note that both Waterloo and London Bridge stations (when travelling from the south) and Stratford station (when travelling from the east), all connect to the Jubilee Line.
Simply take the Jubilee Line from one of these stations to Canning Town, where you can connect with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to the airport. Journey time is just 6 minutes from Canning Town to the Airport and the train runs every 7-10 minutes. The shuttlebus costs £3.00 for adults and £1 for children.
*** Silverlink Metro ***
Silverlink Metro provides easy connections from destinations such as Richmond, Highbury & Islington, Camden Road or West Hamstead to Canning Town. Here you can connect with the Docklands Light Railway to London City Airport.
*** Airport Shuttle Bus Services ***
Since the opening of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) there has been a switch in demand from the airport shuttle bus services to the new rail service. As a consequence the shuttle bus service stopped running on the 3rd March 2007.
*** Docklands Light Railway ***
The Docklands Light Railway extension to London City Airport is open and the station is situated 50 yards from the Airport Terminal and journey times are as follows:
Bank - 22 minutes
Canning Town - 8 minutes
Canary Wharf - 14 mintues (change at Poplar - change time 3 minutes)
Ticket prices from London City Airport
Adult, single fares:
Any combination Zone 1 with 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 - £4.00
Any combination of Zone 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 - £3.00
Zones 2 & 3 on DLR only (not valid on Tube) - £1.50
There are two London Transport bus services you can use for local journeys to and from the airport.
The 473 bus serves Stratford, Silvertown, North Woolwich, and Prince Regent Station. It departs every 10 minutes from outside the terminal building. Buses operate from Stratford 05:18 (06:15 Sunday) with the last bus at 00:35. First bus from North Woolwich 05:05 (05:46 Sunday) with the last bus at 00:06
The 474 bus serves Canning Town, North Woolwich and East Beckton via Silvertown. The bus stop is at the entrance to the airport. First bus from East Beckton 05:08, last bus 12:17. The first bus from Canning Town 04:55 and the last bus at 01:02
There is a licensed taxi rank (black cabs) directly outside the terminal building. Typical fares are £12 to Canary Wharf, £20 to the City of London, £30 to the West End and £28 to Buck House.
The nearest Underground station is Canning Town, on the Jubilee line, where you can connect directly to London City Airport by Docklands Light Railway. Journey time is 10 minutes.
So that has just about covered the public transport options. If you do decide to drive to the airport however, there are a choice of both short term and long term car parks, which are located adjacent to the Terminal. Both car parks operate a credit card payment system for your speed and convenience. Alternatively, if you prefer not to use your credit card, you can obtain an entrance ticket from the barrier and pay after completing your stay.
Short Stay Parking
The car park is adjacent to the Terminal Building. No pre-booking is required. Payment for parking charges can be made in the Terminal Building at payment machines or the Travelex Desk.
0 - 1hr £7.00
1 - 2hr £12.00
2 - 5hr £18.00
Additional 24 hrs or part thereof £35.00
Main Car Park
The Car Park is a short walk from the Terminal Building and once again no pre-booking is required. Payment for parking charges can be made in the Terminal Building at the payment machines or the Travelex Desk.
0 - 1hr £5.00
1 - 2hrs £8.00
2- 5hrs 12.00
5 - 24hrs £32.00
Additional 24 hrs or part thereof £32.00
Long Term Parking
Discounted long term parking is available.
Motorcycle Parking at London City Airport
Motorcycles are able to park for free underneath the DLR Viaduct.
And that my friends is the end of my review of London City Airport and its facilities. I hope that you found it useful.
I must confess I had never really noticed these delights before, but last year we were doing a what's your favourite questions and answer session at work and one of my colleagues said that this was her favourite biscuit. I'd never really experienced the biscuit before, and so couldn't agree or disagree with her on this. However, the next day she brought me one in and I was hooked. So much so that when I was in Tesco's the next day, I saw them smiling at me on the shelf. How could I refuse when they were only 98p for 12 biscuits.
******* OK So who makes them? ********
Triple bars are made by Fox's biscuits who have been making biscuits in various guises since 1853. Fox's biscuits are based just outside of Batley town centre which is located approximately 12 miles from Leeds right in the heart of Yorkshire. Fox's have been at this site since 1927.
Fox's biscuits was originally founded by Michael Spedding in 1853 who opened a small confectioners in the centre of Batley and the first biscuit developed was the good old Christmas favourite The Brandy Snap. As the business grew, the business moved to new premises and in 1897 Michael Spedding retired and the business passed to his son-in-law Fred Ellis Fox.
The business continued to grow and Fred's sons joined their father in the business. In 1960 the company registered as a public limited company, and in the mid 1970's when significant capital investment was required to sustain the business which came from a partnership between Fox's and Northern Dairies who had previously supplied all the milk needed for the Fox's range. Northern Milk through various acquisitions subsequently became the parent company - Northern Foods.
******* Packaging ********
As I said at the start of my review, Fox's Triple Bars come in a pack of twelve. However, what I didn't say was that each of the bars is individually wrapped which helps to maintain their freshness. However, more of the individual bars a little bit later on. The bars are collectively packaged in a red wrapper with the Triple name being prominently displayed in white lettering both on the top of the packaging and also on both sides of the packaging. Underneath the lettering is a half opened individual triple bar, showing two oat biscuits joined together in the middle by a delicious chocolate filling (hence the triple title !!). Next to the picture of the bar it advises in blue lettering "Individually Wrapped Bars". The top of the packaging is dominated by a bright yellow box at the right hand edge stating in bright Blue lettering which is somewhat larger than all other lettering "12 Bars for 98p" Emblazoned at the top left of the packaging is Fox's traditional logo in blue lettering on a beige background. As you can see there are quite an array of different colours and lettering, which certainly helps it to stand out on the shelf.
In addition, the front of the pack states that "It's the smooth milk chocolate & Deliciously oaty texture that makes them family favourites".
On the back of the packaging is the traditional nutritional information, and ingredients.
******* The Biscuit *********
I expect this is the bit which you have all been waiting for. Each biscuit has been individually wrapped in its own distinctive red wrapper which pretty much is a replica of the main packaging. The only material difference, as you would expect, is that there is no reference to 12 bars for 98p on the wrapper. Somewhat worrying as well, is that whilst the product ingredients are detailed on the reverse of the individual bar wrapping, the nutritional information is not contained on the individual bars. If like me when you get home you rip any external packaging so that you can store them appropriately, this information would not be available if you were to have guests round to sample them. Fox's if you are reading this, please take note !!.
****** Ok, so now you've opened the wrapper what does the biscuit look like ****
Well as I mentioned earlier in the review, the biscuit comprises two oat fingers, with a horizontal ripple effect being ingrained on each biscuit. Interspersed between the two biscuits is a milk and dark chocolate combination filling, hence the Triple title. Each bar measures 8cm in length and 3cm in width.
**** But what does it taste like *****
Well I thought it only fair, that given that this is a Triple review, that I present three different taste tests to yourselves,
1. A taste straight from the wrapper
2. The taste following being dunked in a cup of tea
3. The taste following the first half being dunked, and the second half of the biscuit being eaten naturally.
****** And the results of these taste tests *****
Because of the high Oat content, the first bite was quite dry and whilst the chocolate complemented this, the dominant flavour, and indeed texture was oats, and consequently was a little bit dry to the taste. This continued until the end of the bar although overall it was a pretty impressive eat. Although somewhat dry this still scores a highly creditable 6 out of 10.
Fully Dunked Version
This option provides the benefit of adding moisture to the oats, and therefore helps to take much of the dryness away from the biscuit. In addition there is the obvious benefit provided by the lovely combination of melted dark and milk chocolate which now provides the dominant taste and flavour. The texture is now a lot softer and far far easier to digest. Because the chocolate is contained within the two layers of biscuit you do not have the associated problem of chocolate covered fingers. The taste and texture from this option is far better that the undunked version, and therefore scores a whopping 8 out of 10. (It takes a lot to impress me)
Partially Dunked Version
I thought I would struggle to surpass the taste of the dunked version but I genuinely believe that I have discovered it. It is important however, that you remember to dunk the first half of the biscuit and the first half only. Doing it the other way round totally negates any positive effects that this may bring. Obviously the first half events are the same as the fully dunked version described above. However, because your mouth is also a little more moist, you are now in the position to fully appreciate the undunked version of the biscuit as well. In addition, because the overwhelming flavour in your mouth is chocolate, the dominant flavour of the oats provided by the second mouthful is complemented. The dryness of the biscuit is almost not there. Unbelievably I would score this an 8.5 out of 10 for taste.
***** How suitable is the biscuit for Dunking *****
I would say it is ideal. Unlike other biscuits which shall remain nameless, this does not dissolve into an ungainly mess the second it is introduced to your lovely cup of tea. Indeed, tests undertaken by myself show that you can leave the biscuit submerged in your brew for over 15 seconds without it disintegrating. However, if you do leave it for this length of time you run the serious risk of all the chocolate leaving your biscuit and depositing itself in your brew. Doing this would probably ruin both the triple and your brew. Beware !!!
******** Ingredients (Summary Version) ***********
Normally I wouldn't list the ingredients in their entirety but given that individuals have so many different forms of allergies I have done so for that reason and that reason alone. Suffice to say that whilst the product is suitable for vegetarians, it does contain Cows Milk, Soya, Wheat and Gluten, and on this basis therefore will not be suitable for certain individuals. In addition, the product has been made in a factory which uses nut ingredients and therefore is probably UNSUITABLE for those who suffer from Nut Allergies.
******** Ingredients (Detailed) *******
Milk Chocolate (21%)
Dark Chocolate (5%)
Partially Inverted Refiners Syrup
Raising Agents, including Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Molasses and Salt
Milk Chocolate contains Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Dried Skimmed Milk, Cocoa Mass, Butteroil, Dried whey, Emulsifier (Sodium Lecithin)
Dark Chocolate contains Sugar, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Butteroil, Emulsifier (Sodium Lecithin)
******** Nutritional Information *********
I won't go into the nutritional information for 100g because this equates to approximately 7 biscuits, and no matter how nice they are, you are unlikely to eat seven of these baby's in one sitting. On this basis I have detailed the nutritional information per biscuit as I think this is more meaningful.
Energy KJ 301
Kcal (Calories) 72
Of which sugars 4.6g
Of which saturates 2.1g
Equivalent as Salt 0.14g
***** OVERALL OPINION *****
This biscuit is an absolute bargain at just over 8p each. The taste is second to none of similar type biscuit's but I must advise you that to get the best from this, you need to get that brew made and go for the first half dunked and the second half not.
THIS REVIEW HAS ALSO BEEN POSTED ON CIAO BY SUPERCITYFAN
~~~~~ INTRODUCTION ~~~~~~
It's fair to say that me and washing machines do not generally get on well together. We purchased our previous machine five years ago, and to say that I saw more of the Ariston Engineer than I did my own family is no joke. Some months ago, although we had an extended warranty on our then washing machine, I made the decision that as soon as the machine packed in after the warranty had expired, I would lay it to rest for a well earned rest. I did have the option of further extending the warranty which would certainly have been a cheaper option, but as I say I was seeing more of the Engineer than I was my own wife and so just over a month ago the time came to send our unreliable Ariston machine to its maker in the sky.
Before rushing into buying a machine I did a little bit of research on the internet just to see what was out there and the likely cost. I wasn't looking for much to be honest with you, but in short it had to meet the following criteria:
* It could be any make with the exception of Ariston or Hotpoint (these two companies are both owned and serviced by the same personnel and given my previous poor experience I wanted to steer well clear of these organisations);
* It needed to have a reasonable sized drum. Our previous machine had a 6kg drum and, with having two small children you can appreciate that our machine was pretty much used every day. Consequently there was a tendency sometimes to overfill the machine which may have impacted on some of the issues which we had with our previous machine;
* I didn't want to spend any more than £400 on a machine.
The only model I saw on the internet which met all three of these criteria was a Hoover machine which was available in store at Comet for £349.99 or on the internet for £299.99. However, the earliest delivery date for this particular machine via the internet was a further 10 days and given that we were now without a working machine and with two small children as well, that clearly was not an option. So I decided that I would go in store the next day and try and blag the internet deal if they had the particular machine in stock.
So into Comet I went and low and behold they had the machine which I wanted which was available for £349.99. I tried to get the assistant to honour the internet price but to no avail, so on principal I opted to purchase another comparable machine if one was available. It was at this point that I was first introduced to the Candy Go 1682, which met all of my criteria detailed above but which was available for £299.99.
Now because this is a review of the specific machine rather than the store where I purchased it from I will not go into detail regarding delivery charges, fees for installation or disposal of old machines, suffice to say that these factors need to be taken into consideration when deciding whether to purchase this particular machine.
~~~~~~~ So what do you actually get for your money ~~~~~~~
In a nutshell you are getting a free standing Candy washing machine which is capable of washing up to 8kg of clothes at a time, has a maximum spin speed of 1600rpm which is variable, uses the Activa Wash system which essentially means that the machine constantly monitors and adjusts the critical elements of the wash cycle including temperature and drum action so that efficiency is maximised, and is triple A rated in terms of energy efficiency which is the best you can get. For those of you where size does matter (yes I am still talking about the machine !!) its dimensions are 85cm (Height), 60cm (Width) and 54cm (Depth) which are pretty much standard measurements.
~~~~ If you decided to install the machine yourself, how easy was this to do? ~~~~
Now I've always been a bit of a tight wad but also not the greatest at DIY, but surely even I can disconnect the old machine and connect a new one. Amazingly Comet wanted to charge £17.50 for the privilege of doing this which must be the easiest 10 minutes work they have to do? Who else do you know who can earn over £100 for an hours work just by cutting a plastic tag, unscrewing four nuts and bolts, placing the outlet house in its housing and turning on the cold water supply?
~~~~~ So now you've connected the machine, are there any special features with the machine ~~~~
Put simply, yes ! As well as the normal wash programmes which I will describe in detail later on in this review, there are five additional options which enhance the quality of your wash programme. These are as follows:
1. Fast Wash
As you've probably already guessed from its title, pressing this button reduces the time of the wash programme by a maximum of 50 minutes depending on the programme and the temperature selected which is a bit of a god send considering some of the programmes take in excess of three hours to complete !!. The button can be used for washing loads of 1 to 8 kg but unfortunately can only be utilised on synthetic and cotton programmes.
2. Allergy Care
By pressing this button you can activate a special new wash cycle in the Cotton and Mixed Fabrics programs, thanks to the new Sensor Activa System. This option treats with care the fibres of garments and the delicate skin of those who wear them. Basically, the load is washed in a much larger quantity of water and this, together with the new combined action of the drum rotation cycles, where water is filled and emptied, gives you garments which have been cleaned and rinsed to perfection. The amount of water in the wash is increased so that the detergent dissolves perfectly, ensuring an efficient cleaning action. The amount of water is also increased during the rinse procedure so as to remove all traces of detergent from the fibres. It is advised that this function is used for children's clothing and for delicate fabrics in general, or when washing garments made of towelling such as dressing gowns , where the fibres tend to absorb a greater quantity of detergent. The allergy care is automatically activated on the Delicates and Woollens programs.
3. Stain Vanish
By pressing this button, which can only be activated in the Cotton cycles, the sensors in the new Activa system come into operation. They affect both the selected temperature, keeping it at a constant level throughout the wash cycle, and the mechanical function of the drum. The drum is made to turn at two different speeds at key moments during the wash cycle. When the detergent enters the garments, the drum rotates in such a way that the detergent is distributed in a uniform manner; during the wash and rinse procedures, however, the speed increases in order to maximise the cleaning action. Because of this unique system, the efficiency of the wash procedure is improved without any increase in the length of the program.
4. Delay Start
This facility allows you to delay the start of your wash cycle by either 3, 6 or 9 hours. Personally, I have had no need to use this function but I suppose it could be used if you wanted to have your wash finishing at a particular time if you are out all day and don't want your wet clothes staying in the machine for a long period of time. Incidentally, if there is any break in the power supply whilst the machine is operating, a special memory stores the selected programme and, when the power is restored, it continues where it left off.
5. Spin Speed
The spin cycle is very important to remove as much water as possible from the washing without damaging the fabrics. With this in mind you can adjust the spin speed of the machine to suit your needs. By utilising this button you are able to reduce the maximum speed, and if you so desire you can cancel the spin cycle altogether. However, it should be noted that to prevent damage to the fabrics, it is not possible to increase the speed over that which is automatically suitable during the selection of the program.
In addition, the machine is fitted with a special electronic device which restricts the spin cycle should the load be unbalanced. This helps to reduce the noise and vibration in the machine and thus prolongs the life of the machine.
~~~~~ And what wash programs are available ? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All in all there are 21 different wash programs available with the Candy GO1682 which should be more than enough for most people. These programs are as follows:
1. Cotton, Linen Whites 90 White
2. Cotton, mixed resistant Whites with prewash 60 + prewash
3. Cotton, mixed Fast coloureds 60 Soiled
4. Cotton, mixed Fast coloureds 40 Colourfast
5. Cotton, mixed Non fast coloureds 30 Delicates
6. Cotton Non fast coloureds cold wash *
MIXED FABRICS & SYNTHETICS
7. Mixed, resistant Fast coloureds with prewash 60 + prewash
8. Cotton, mixed fabrics, synthetics Fast Coloureds 60 Soiled
9. Synthetics (nylon, perlon), mixed cotton Fast coloureds 50 Synth's
10. Synthetics (nylon, perlon), mixed cotton Non fast coloureds 40 Colourfast
11. Mixed, delicate synthetics Non fast coloureds 30 Shirts
12. Mixed, delicate synthetics Non fast coloureds cold wash *
13. Very delicate fabrics Delicates 40 Delicates
14. Very delicate fabrics Machine Washable woollens Wool 30
15. Very delicate fabrics Machine Woollable woollens Wool *
16. Very delicate fabrics Hand wash Hand 30
18. Fast Spin
19. Drain Only
20. Mix and Wash
21. Rapid 32 minute
~~~~~ What do you mean by a mix and wash cycle ~~~~
This program enables you to wash together different types of fabrics, for example cotton and synthetic garments. The program has a was temperature of 40 degrees C and alternates dynamic phases (the drum rotating) and static phases (fabrics in soak) for the three hour duration of the program. The energy consumption fopr the complete cycle is only 850 W/h.
The first washing of new coloureds fabrics must be done separately. Under no circumstances should you mix non fast coloured fabrics.
~~~~~ So how easy is it to operate ? ~~~~~
Amazingly simple. Open the machine, insert your appropriately sorted washing, and close the door. Insert your detergent as detailed in the instruction booklet, select the appropriate programme by turning the dial either clockwise or anti-clockwise, and then wait for the stop indicator light to flash. Now is the time for you to press the buttons if you require any of the additional functions required above and then press the start/pause button. Hey presto your cycle has just begun.
During the cycle, the time left to the end of the cycle is displayed for 15, 30, 60 and 90 minute periods. This is only really useful in those instances when the cycle has less than 60 minutes to run as in all other instances the 90 minute indicator light will be lit.
Unlike other machines, once a program is selected, the program selector remains stationary on the selected program until such time as the cycle ends.
At the end of the cycle, the indicator light "STOP" will go on. However, you will not be able to open the machine at this stage because the door is automatically locked for a further two minutes at the end of the wash cycle. When this two minute period has expired, the door lock indicator will go out, and at this stage you need to manually switch the machine dial to the off position, otherwise this will affect your next wash cycle.
~~~~~ What if I make a mistake when selecting the wash program ~~~~~
This doesn't cause a problem. The program may be paused at any time during the wash cycle by simply holding down the Start/Pause button for approximately two seconds. When the machine is in the paused mode, various buttons flash to indicate that the program has been paused. Make any changes that you require and then simply repress the Start/Pause button.
~~~~ How easy is it to keep the appliance clean ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Extremely easy. It goes without saying (but I will do anyway) that you shouldn't use alcohol based scourers or thinners on the casing of the washing machine. Simply wipe the machine with a damp cloth. Even if it is not strictly necessary, it is useful to keep the detergent drawer free from residue, and with this in mind it is easily detachable from the machine. Simply place the drawer under running water and then replace in the machine when you have finished.
The machine is also fitted with a filter for handlinmg large deposits which could block the discharge hose (coins, buttons, hairgrips etc) and which can, therefore be easily retrieved. It is recommended that the filter is cleaned at least once a month and more than this if you use the machine regularly. Simply open the flap at the bottom of the machine, pull out the hose and drain the water out, remove the filter and any deposits which have accumulated, clean the filter and then replace.
The glass of the machine can simply be cleaned with a damp cloth.
~~~ Is there anything else we need to know ~~~~~~~~~~
In common with most newer types of machine, the Candy GO1682 only uses cold water and therefore only one hose is needed to connect to the cold water supply. Do not connect the machine to the hot water supply by mistake. A cold water fill machine such as this one is an energy efficient system because only the water required for the washing is actually heated. There is no loss of heat in the pipeline from a hot water tank or boiler to the machine.
~~~~ Any other comments ~~~~~~
My only slight gripe with this machine is the time taken for some of the cycles to complete with a normal 40 degree wash taking just under three hours to complete, compared to the 2 hours or so which I am used to. However, this is somewhat compensated by the Quickwash facility which is useful for non soiled items of clothing. Unfortunately with two small children it is very rare for this to be the case.
One other thing I can't get over is how quiet this machine is. It is no lie but I swear you can be in the same room as the machine and not even realise it is on until it comes to the spin part of the program.
~~~~~~~~~ OVERALL CONCLUSION ~~~~~~~~~~~
For the money which we paid (£300), I believe we have got an unbelievable machine which is extremely energy efficient. It is extremely quiet and does exactly what it says on the tin. It is difficult to compare results with my previous machine, because ultimately both are designed to wash clothes as clean as each other. However, I don't know if it's psychological but after washing clothes in the Candy GO1682 they seem so much cleaner than before.
Incidentally, Comet are currently selling the less advanced version of this machine, which has a spin speed of 1400 rpm (Candy Go1482) for £249.99
Would I recommend the Candy GO1682 to others? Without a doubt.
I don't know how many of you remember the song from the early 1980's called I want Candy by BowWowWow? Well I definitely want Candy, and this machine is not BowWowWow but WowWowWow !!!
Thank you very much for reading.
ALSO POSTED ON CIAO UNDER SUPERCITYFAN
What is it with electrical products. Is it just me or is it that when one product breaks down another one or two soon follow suit. As most of you will be aware if you have read my previous reviews, my washing machine was sent to its maker in the summer of 2007, and just after having this installed, my dishwasher decided to join it in sympathy. Basically the hinges had gone on it, and the door would now no longer close. With two small children about, the risk of the door falling on them was not worth taking, and given the likely cost of repair, it was decided it was time to invest in a new machine.
Before moving into our current house five years ago I had always considered a dishwasher to be a bit of a luxury item, and indeed for many months I continued to wash the pots in the sink, and the dishwasher wasn't really used. The only real exception to this was at Christmas, where if you weren't careful you could literally spend all day washing pots. However, since the birth of our second child just over two years ago, any device which saves a little bit of time is a godsend, and now I am in a situation where I simply couldn't live without my dishwasher. That and the fact that there would be a big gap where the previous machine was located anyway.
~~~~ So what criteria did you look for when deciding which machine to purchase ~~~~~
Although our previous machine was an integrated dishwasher, these tend to be more expensive that stand alone versions, and as we already had a stand alone fridge in the kitchen, it wouldn't make the kitchen look ungainly if we purchased a standalone dishwasher. In addition, we didn't want a condensed machine, as we had a space in our kitchen which we wanted to fully utilise, and also one which would easily accommodate the every day cutlery and crockery needs of a family of four. Cost was also clearly a factor, but for those of you who have read my previous reviews, make was not a particularly important concept for me.
~~~ So which machine ticked all the boxes ~~~~~
Having done a price comparison on various internet sites, the machine which kept jumping out was the Beko DWD4310W, which was a standalone dishwasher in white, which was the same colour as our fridge, was marketed as a 12 Place Dishwasher, which more than fitted the bill for our family of four, and was available from the Co-op Electrical shop for £174.99. Whilst this price didn't include installation, I figured that it couldn't be much more difficult that it was to install a washing machine which even a DIY novice like me had managed to undertake. Whilst not directly relevant to this review, the co-op electrical store also dispose of your old disconnected appliance for a fee of £14.99. So having ordered the machine I then sat back and waited for it to arrive, growing increasingly frustrated at having to wash dishes manually for the best part of a week.
~~~~ How easy was the machine to install ~~~~
Now I'm not sure whether this issue is unique to ourselves, but the water outlet pipe was too wide to fit through the hope which had been drilled in the property to enable the pipe to be connected to the waste pipe. This necessitated me having to cut the end of the pipe, to make it a little thinner, but even then it was still too wide to fit through without a lot of messing about with pushing the old pipe through from outside, inserting this inside the new pipe, getting my wife to hold the two pipes together as tight as she could whilst I pulled the pipe from outside. As I say I'm not sure if this problem is unique to us, but I guess not. Connection to the water hose was straightforward, and for information, the machine is fitted with just a cold water inlet which is more energy efficient.
~~~ So after much cursing and swearing, is there anything else we need to know about the installation process ~~~
The product guidelines advise you to select a pre-wash programme before using the machine for the first time to remove any excess water which may still be in the machine following production testing etc.
The product guidelines also advise you to add 1 litre of water to the salt container before the first wash. However, I found that when I came to add the salt, there wasn't an awful lot of room left to add any salt, so I would be tempted to add the water, run the initial pre-wash programme without salt, and then add the salt when you come to use the machine in earnest.
~~~~ So what are the dimensions for this machine? ~~~~
Height = 850 mm
Width = 598 mm
Depth = 598 mm
The beauty of this machine is that the worktop can be removed from the machine if you have a tight space to work with which then makes the height of the machine 820 mm and the depth of the machine 570 mm.
As you would expect, the machine is supplied with adjustable feet to ensure that it can be perfectly levelled.
~~~ You mentioned salt earlier, do I have to use special salt ~~~~
You should only use special pelletized dishwasher salt to soften the hard water. Other types of salt do not dissolve easily and will damage the appliance.
When the dishwasher is run, the water softener will be full of water, so salt should only be added before you start the dishwasher. There is supposedly a visual indicator so that you can see when the salt dispenser is full, but it is not the easiest thing to actually see. Because the float supposedly drops and is no longer visible when the salt container needs to be filled, if you can't see it at the best of times, you run the risk of operating the machine with no salt in it.
~~~~ Although it's advertised as a 12 place dishwasher, how many place settings can you fit ~~~~
Realistically, I think you would struggle to fit 12 place setting into this dishwasher in one go. However, there is easily enough space for breakfast and dinner pots, with a little bit of space left over. One downside with this machine is the time that it takes to complete the cycles so you wouldn't want to be using it more that you really need to.
~~~~ So how long are the cycles then ~~~~
There are four separate washing functions available with this machine which range from a 14 minute prewash, to a 136 minute economy wash. There is a rapid wash programme which is designed for lightly soiled dishes which lasts thirty minutes, but frankly this programme doesn't work if you have the remotest hint of dried on food on your dishes, and then you have to put it through the full 2 hour plus programme in addition. There is also an Intensive programme which washes heavily soiled dishes. Whilst this takes slightly less time than the economy programme it isn't as efficient.
Because we pretty much use the economy programme all the time, we tend to put the machine on last thing at night, so that when we get up in the morning, the pots have been washed, and have also cooled down.
The other point I would add here, is that the machine is a lot louder than the previous machine which I had, which may be something to consider if you can't shut the door where the machine is located.
~~~~ And what about energy consumption ~~~~
1. Pre-wash Programme
Water (Litres) 4.2
Duration 14 Minutes
2. Rapid Programme
Water 11.8 litres
Energy (kWh) 0.77
Duration 30 Minutes
3. Economy Programme
Water 15 litres
Energy (kWh) 1.05
Duration 136 minutes
4. Intensive Programme
Water 17.5 litres
Energy (kWh) 1.65
Duration 115 minutes
~~~~Overall Opinion ~~~~~
Whilst I have niggles with the machine, particularly with the width of the outlet hose, the difficulty in reading the visual indicator to see if more salt is required, and the length of time of the wash cycle (my previous machine completed the cycle in about an hour and was also a lot quieter than this machine), the quality of the cleaning is second to none, which when all is said and done, is the main function of a dishwasher. In this regard, for the money which we paid, I would highly recommend the machine.
I also write on ciao as Supercityfan