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since 18/09/2006


Bistro Jacques, Liverpool 13/06/2009

Is Jacques Bistro just brilliant?

Bistro Jacques, Liverpool On a recent visit to the theatre and a couple of birthdays within our group we decided to book a table for a meal prior to the show and decided that Bistro Jacques would be the place. Bistro Jacques is a French restaurant which is situated on Hardman Street in Liverpool right in the heart of theatre land and some of our party had been there before and it came highly recommended. Arriving at the Bistro you may feel disappointed at the external appearance of the building, it looks like a couple of shops have been refurbished and knocked together to form the restaurant and has nothing fancy at all, in fact there are those metal shutters that pull down over shop windows for security once the restaurant is closed. The main entrance looks more like a shop door but once inside you are greeted immediately, reservation checked and we where taken directly to our table as it was ready. The tables and chairs are all rustic wood style and does give the restaurant a nice cosy uniformed feel, the décor is welcoming with cream walls that are covered in lots of French prints and scripted writing on the walls also, not too much just one or two lines of writing around the pictures which really adds to the French Bistro feel. The floor is also wooden but not so polished that you would slip on shoes with no grip on them. We had an early booking for our meal, 5 pm as we where off the theatre that evening, having such an early booking we could take advantage of the Theatre menu that is ...

Cadbury Crunchie 24/05/2009

a little bit of crunch

Cadbury Crunchie The humble crunchy is made by Cadbury which was founded way back in 1824 when a gentleman called John Cadbury opened his 1st shop in Birmingham which was a grocers but also selling some chocolate products including cocoa and drinking chocolate. Following on from this John went in to manufacturing in the 1830's and the firm has gone from strength to strength and is still going strong today, so when in all of this great history of Cadbury did the crunchy appear, way back in 1929 which I find surprising as I would have though that this would have been one of the more 'modern' products meaning post 2nd world war for me. So what is a crunchy? The crunchy is very simple in design but quite brilliant at the same time, the centre is honeycomb which is really dark and verging on chewy at the centre working outwards it is less dense and has a real crunch and is quite 'hard' for want of a better word, not hard in the sense that it is hard to bit but I suppose solid would be the best way to describe it. The entire honeycomb is covered in lovely Cadbury chocolate and I always find that the top of the bar has the thickest amount of chocolate as the honeycomb tends to did slightly towards the centre. The outer wrapper is now the modern foil affair which is supposed to 'lock in the freshness' so you are not disappointed with your bar, however, I don't like these at all as they are totally not environmentally friendly and this applies for the majority of chocolate bars that are found ...

Fresh Kiwi 16/05/2009

A little beauty with terrible looks

Fresh Kiwi Now that the better weather is here I have noticed that I appear to be buying more fruit that throughout the winter months and would like to share a family favourite with you – the Kiwi. The Kiwi fruit is originally from China and has really travelled a long way to reach our shelves, though in China they are known as the “macaque peach”. The Kiwi was an unknown fruit to the Western world until the 20th century which is really quite surprising. The name Kiwi is also very recent as back in the 1960’s this fruit was known as the “Chinese Gooseberries” according to my mother, I suppose you can see the where the name came from as rather similar with their hairy skins. The name Kiwi came into being from a fruit packaging firm from Auckland, originally the fruit was know as a “melonette” but the name was changed once the packaging firm learnt about steep tariffs for exporting melons and the name Kiwi was born. The Kiwi fruit is most definitely one of the least attractive fruit to look at and really does nothing to sell itself at all with its external appearance and some may be put off by the hairy brown peel, sounds horrible but its only the skin and you don’t eat this bit. Imagine passing through the fruit section of the supermarket or even in the grocers, beautiful red strawberries, a bunch of green grapes, mountains of plump blackberries and a ugly hairy brown fruit which is roughly the shape of a rugby ball but a bit more rounded at each end. Those you do not judge by ... 01/05/2009

You too can look like Cheryl or Angelina is a place where you can apparently get ‘the Cheryl Cole’ look, now does that come with the fully body make over as the home page of the site tells me that I too could ‘look like Cheryl’. Emergency liposuction and full body lift may be called for here for me to look anything remotely like Cheryl. The homepage is very girly in colour and on initial glance you would maybe assume that this site is targeted at the female of the species but it is worth noting for the guys out there who like to look good that there is a men’s section also with a nice easy link to take you straight there. No more trawling round the shops with you partner stopping at every beauty counter within site before you can get to the important manly stuff. The home page gives you what is deemed the ‘weekly picks’ and has a broad selection that does give you an idea of what is available to buy online from here, everything from the totally essential tweezers that come in different colours for those who really must accessorise to Extreme mouth spray.p Navigation around the site is easy as all you need to do is click on the relevant tab for the type of product you wish to look at, choosing from Hair, Skin Care, Make up, Fragrances, Accessories, Men’s and Essential Beauty. The speed of the site is excellent and I have never been left hanging waiting for the screen to change even from my tatty old PC at home which is about to die. If you know exactly what you are looking from there is also a ...

Celery 28/04/2009

is celery really super?

Celery Sitting eating our evening meal yesterday which was salad based due to some nice weather I decided that I would write about one item that is always in my salad but has a love / hate relationship with most people - good old celery. What a really boring thing to write about some may think but celery is actually an extremely versatile vegetable with many uses and is good for you also so lets have a look at my friend celery in a bit more detail. Most people seem to associate eating celery as being on a diet as it is very low in calories only 6 calories for every 3 sticks you eat approx and apparently you consume more calories eating it than it contains. It is also very high in fibre and water content and eating a couple stick of celery does give you a 'full' feeling. Celery has been around for about 3000 years and you may be interested to know that originally it was not considered as a food but as a medicine (some may agree that it tastes like a nasty medicine) in Asia used to treat high blood pressure. Celery is also apparently good for your blood pressure due to the high potassium content which can counteract the effects of too much salt in your diet, so does this mean if I cover my stick of celery in salt is has no effect on anything at all - hmm one to ponder over. From an article in the timesonline I also noted that researchers have found that celery generates compounds that may fight mental health problems such as Alzheimers and other degenerative diseases. ...

Wirral Country Park, Liverpool 26/04/2009

Wirral Country Park - the Wirral Way

Wirral Country Park, Liverpool Now that the warmer weather has arrived I felt it was time to write about one of the places that I have visited on so many occasions from a child through to an adult and somewhere that will never loose its attraction. History of Wirral Country Park During the time of the Victorians a busy railway linked Hooton to West Kirby on the Wirral 12 miles away, miles of the railway line ran near to the Dee Estuary. The Steam Trains that used the railway used to bring townspeople to various stops along the line such as Parkgate for a cheap day out and back to the cities and towns at the end of the day. However, in 1962 the line was closed the seaside resorts as was where silted up and the track lay derelict for many years. In 1973 backed by the Countryside Commision and a lot of work this old railway line was opened as Wirral Country Park. Today the park contains a visitor centre at Thurstaston which is open all year round, the modern building is very different from what I recall as a child in the 70’s visiting the park which was basically a small building and a couple of bird hides for the avid bird watcher and a small kiosk for refreshments. Today’s building is larger and there is now snack bar, toilets, a larger bird hide, toilets and an exhibition area, you can also pick up information leaflets from here also. There is disabled access at the visitor centre and this is currently being improved to give access over the bridge by the pond. This is also the base for the park ...

Chicago Town Takeaway Pizza 25/04/2009

Take it away

Chicago Town Takeaway Pizza Having looked in the cupboard and deciding that Old Mother Hubbard had a better stocked cupboard then I did last night it was time for last resort pizza for tea, OK the freezer was just as empty at the cupboard. Popping into my local shop I spotted that they had a new item in the freezer that they don’t normally sell and decided to give it a try. 1 Chicago Town takeaway personal pizza, four cheese to go. According to the packaging this pizza has “All the great taste of a takeaway pizza” but will it I wonder as I pop it into the oven for the recommended time, though some may be interested to know that no pre-heating is apparently required prior to cooking. Twenty minutes later off to the oven to see whether the pizza is cooked and does it really look like the picture on the box? I could actually smell the pizza aroma starting to waft through the house and as expected was pleasant smell and did not put me off at all. Now for the big test – look, opening the oven I can see that crust has risen to twice the height of the base as promised on the back of the packaging and the picture, looking good so far, the cheese has melted evenly and no big gaps exposing the tomato base can be seen and the crust also has a nice golden colour, time to remove from the oven. The packaging advises that you leave the pizza to stand prior to cutting and this I would recommend not just with this brand but with others also as if you cut a pizza straight away you often end up with the cheese ...

Aldi Choceur Hazelnut Heaven 23/10/2008

A little piece of chocolate heaven

Aldi Choceur Hazelnut Heaven Being married to a self confessed chocoholic it is quite normal for various bars of chocolate and biscuits to be found in the basket at the end of the weekly shop but as we have switched to Aldi hubby was missing his Cadbury or Galaxy fix as this is not sold here. Having a look through the shelves in Aldi we have been trying the range of chocolate on offer here and have stumbled on a little gem that is an ideal substitute for the bars of Cadburys that where costing a small fortune. What initially caught my eye to this was the fact that you can see what the bar of chocolate looks through the wrapping so I at least had an idea of what to expect. Checking out the look of the bar through the window in the outer box I could see that my milk chocolate hazelnut bar did indeed look packed with hazelnuts which was a surprise and this was nice to see, off it went off the shelf and into my trolley for me to try later. Opening the outer wrapper which is made of cardboard and fully recylable, you can see that the inside is a cellophane wrapper keeping the chocolate fresh, this is extremely easy to open as it is not sealed at the ends but folder instead. I can now see that the bar is actually placed in the outer box upside down so that you can see the hazelnuts and turning it over it is divided into 20 squares (think it was 20 as have eaten a few already whilst writing this). My initial impressions where correct in the shop and the bar is indeed packed with ...

Lakeland Leisure Park, Cumbria. 07/09/2008

Lakeland camp site

Lakeland Leisure Park, Cumbria. This year for our holiday there was a big decision to make as to where we all wanted to go. Normally we tend to book about a year in advance but decided about this time last year that we would take a chance see what happens and try to pick up a last minute bargain. Six weeks before anticipated date of departure (leave pre-booked from work earlier in the year) no decision had been made as normally we would opt for mainland Spain but where slightly put off by the sharp downturn in the value of the Europe to the pound and with two teenagers who don't come cheap we envisaged a large spend here. After much deliberating and a family discussion as to what type of holiday everyone wanted surprisingly a caravan holiday came out on top so off to trawl the internet I stumbled on a reduced rate holiday with Haven at Lakeland saving just under GBP200.00 on the brochure price. The booking process was extremely straight forward and confirmation quickly arrived in my in box closely followed by itinerary with how to get there. We opted for a 3 bedroom standard plus caravan for 7 days. Arriving at the camp there is a very small car park for you to use until it is you designated check in time and this check in time is strictly adhered to and I would suggest that you leave 1 member of your party in the queue from about 30 minutes before check in otherwise you will be in a long line of people. The queue is long but the process is very quick and you are checked and handed your keys with ...

Marks Hotel, Glasgow 01/09/2008

Does Marks hit the mark?

Marks Hotel, Glasgow Having to travel from time to time for work I recently found myself having to spend the best part of a week in Glasgow and in need of somewhere to lay my weary head at the end of the day and Marks hit the spot in terms of distance from the office and located right in the middle of the city centre with shops and bars a few minutes walk away. Now I am not particularly fussy on where I stay and to be honest really dont have a huge say in the matter as we tend to opt for a combination of convenience and price that falls within the allowed budget so the question was would Marks hit the Mark, Marks describes itself as a 'luxury 4 star hotel but is it really? Arriving at the hotel at the end of our 1st day in Glasgow, having got off the train and straight to the office my colleague and I where tired and weary. The hotel itself is easy to spot as it has the most unusual frontage of glass that tilts outwards into the street from each of the floors. Another thing that was unusually was the disabled lift which led directly from the street into the hotel; this is situated here as the main access to entrance is up a few steps with no room for a ramp. The reception was not what I was expecting at all, all very dark brown on the walls and floor with a couple of orange chairs around a small table and lots of champagne bottles placed in arrangements of different sizes. There where a couple of staff on duty and ready to greet you and book you in, we had one small issue here as we ...

Cheshire Candle Workshops, United Kingdom 21/08/2008

Try your hand at candle making

Cheshire Candle Workshops, United Kingdom Having decided last bank holiday that I was going to drag the family away from TV and the X Box we headed off to cries of 'where are we going' and 'where not going shopping are we?' . Having calmed the potential riot in the back of the car I announced that we where going to go to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm when my daughter piper up and asked could we go to the Candle Workshops also. Of course we could as these attractions are only 4 miles apart and its ideal to visit the Candle Workshops 1st then move onto the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm so this is what we did. Getting to the Cheshire Workshops is quite easy and extremely will signposted from the A41 Whitchurch to Chester road, just follow the brown tourist board signs for the Candle Workshops. It's that easy even I can find my way on the odd occasion that just the children and I go on our own with hubby. The entrance is located on a bend in the road and you may shoot past if you are driving too fast, though it is pretty difficult to speed down the country lanes. There is also a separate coach park. The car park is fairly large however at peak times it can be difficult to get into the car park let alone find a space but it is always Worthing circling a couple of times as visitors do come and go regularly, bit like trying to find a space in the multi-story on a Saturday afternoon. The car park is gravel and if it is windy as it was on Monday then the dust is whipped up and swirls around an can get in your eyes and cover your ...

South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton 17/08/2008

Walking with Lemurs

South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton Whilst we where on holiday recently in the Lake District we picked up a leaflet for the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in the main reception and noticed that it was only about 30 minutes drive from where we where staying so though it would be good for a day out. Getting there is easy, from the M6 take junction 36 and follow the signs for Barrow in Furness (A590) and then follow the brown tourist signs with the elephant on them which takes you to Dalton in Furness which is just before Barrow. Arriving at the park there is a medium sized car park which has the facility for a couple of coaches as well as cars with many parking attendants ready to direct you to an available space. This is really handy I think as there is nothing worse than having to circle around a car park to find a space and here you can be guided to a space somebody has just vacated with any problems. There is a short incline from the car park to the main entrance with a couple of booths where you can part with your hard earned cash to enter the park. Current prices are GBP 10.50 per adult and GBP7.00 per child with a guide book and map priced at GBP2.00 which I would recommend getting as it is a glossy book with 100 pages and contains all feeding times for the animals as well as a easy to read map. The guide book also contains full details of what the park is about. The Park itself is committed to conservation of animals both in the park and outside the park and is home to two international ...

The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-on-Windermere 10/08/2008

Dare you enter Mr McGregors garden?

The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-on-Windermere This years holiday for my family was to the Lake District and one of the attractions we decided to visit was Beatrix Potter as there was no way you could go to the Lakes without taking in this attraction or visiting 'Hilltop' where Beatrix lived. We opted for the attraction as felt that maybe this would be more appealing to all of use than just going to look at where Beatrix used to live with not much else there and we all love the tales of BP. Getting there is fairly straight forward, Junction 36 off the M6, take the A591 towards Keswick turning off onto the A592 towards Newby Bridge with the attraction being located in Bowness town centre. Alternatively you could take one of the Windermere ferries from either Lakeside or Ambleside or take the unique car Ferry that runs from Ferry House at Far Sawrey to Ferry Nab just South of Bowness. We took a slightly different route as we where staying in the South Lakes, the A590 then onto the A592. Parking is a nightmare in Bowness during peak season with no actual parking facilities as the attraction other than for disabled, even the disabled parking has to be pre-booked. Try you luck at the nearest car park which has 250spaces which if coming from the South is on your right just past The World of Beatrix Potter which is on your left or from the North, just before on your left. The car park is a pay and display and if I remember correctly was around GBP8.00 for the day to park once you had found a space, a lot of circling and ...

Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding 04/08/2008

Sticky Toffee Heaven

Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Whilst visiting the Lake District recently I stumbled across a little gem and a sticky toffee pudding to die for. Just up the road from where we where staying was a small shop selling the most divine sweets and desserts and I just had to try the sticky toffee pudding though totally laden with fat and calories it was a holiday treat. The pudding comes in various sizes, from individual portions, portions that serve three to four and even a size perfect for all serving six to eight people, as there are 4 of us we option for the middle size also my son cannot abide anything like this so only three of us to eat it all. The packaging is simple yet extremely effective, the pudding comes in a foil container with a lit and an outer packing made from cardboard which shows a picture of the original Cartmel Village Shop where the puddings originate from on the top, the side of the outer packaging teases you with a picture of a sticky toffee pudding shown in all its glory with a fork about to be plunged into it from some unseen person. On each side of the packaging is the slogan' With love from Cartmel Village Shop' which I do feel gives it that personal touch and home made quality. Cooking the pudding could not be any easier, you can either microwave an individual portion remembering to remove your portion from the foil container otherwise you will end up with an exploding microwave or heated in the oven in the foil container the pudding is sold in. Microwave - 4 minutes for ...

Nestlé Kit Kat Senses 28/06/2008

Any sense in Senses?

Nestlé Kit Kat Senses Not being a huge chocoholic like my hubby I don't often buy a chocolate bar for myself but have noticed in the shops over the last few months a new item has appeared from Kit Kat which is one of my favourite chocolate treats. Finally today I have treated myself to this new delight from Kit Kat and will share with you my experience. I am not going to go into history of Nestle who are the makers of all things Kit Kat as I don't feel that this is necessary when reviewing a chocolate bar. Kit Kat senses is smaller in size than the familiar Kit Kat chunky which we have had on the shelves for a long while now, I would say in looks it is similar in length but in width about one third thinner and now difference in the price - are we being ripped off here, well lets see if this bar is really worth its 45 pence then. The wrapper is traditional Nestle Kit Kat style making the product easily identifiable as something to do with Kit Kat and it does sit well amongst all the other chocolates on the shelf in my local news agent. The product seems to be aimed more to women than men as it is smaller than the deemed to be manly Kit Kat chunky and I can see that this would appeal more to women also judging by the package design and the launch was made by Girls Aloud earlier this year. The bar itself reminds me of a Kinder Bueno in shape and size and even appearance as it is divided into chucks in a similar way to Bueno. The pieces are easy to snap off and are the perfect bite ...
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