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Morgenhund

Morgenhund

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Since I last wrote a review here, I got married and became a father, changed jobs, went around the world and took a lot of photos! I see that the site has had a makeover in my absence!

Reviews written

since 26/07/2000

574

Hope Street Hotel, Liverpool 28/05/2010

Hope to go back...

Hope Street Hotel, Liverpool I decided to stay in the Hope Street Hotel for my weekend in Liverpool as it was centrally located (between the two cathedrals) and next to the philharmonic was walking distance to the party I was attending and also was convenient for Lime Street Station (taxi GBP 3-4) and was also not your average chain hotel and was substantially cheaper than Hard Day's Night, the Malmaison or the Hilton. It was a 10 minute walk to Liverpool 1 and there was plenty in walking distance to see and do. I particularly likened the light rooms (lots of white), contrasted with the wooden floors and the bare brick wall in the room. The room was well-appointed, the bathroom good with great REN products, tea and coffee making facilities and a very comfortable firm bed (UK kingsize). The furnishings were in good condition and the Internet connection was reliable and fast (although sensibly upload limited). There were some nice touches - a DVD and CD library through reception and very adequate room service, although I didn't use the latter. There was a wall-mounted flat panel TV so I spent an evening enjoying British TV - which is of course a real treat for me. Rather than take breakfast in the hotel - this was not included in the room rate, and I resent spending upwards of GBP 15 for breakfast bar on special occasions, I headed round the corner to a greasy spoon - and paid GBP 3.50 for a full English breakfast - I would struggle to get a filled roll and a coffee in Austria for that money. I booked ...

Givenchy pour Homme Eau de Toilette 05/12/2009

A staple in my grooming supplies for several years now!

Givenchy pour Homme Eau de Toilette I first started using Givenchy pour Homme when my mother bought me a gift set from duty free on the way back from Russia about five years ago - since then I have always had a bottle of it, and most recently bought a bottle at Duty Free in Heathrow - for the knockdown price of GBP 29.99 - which for 100ml of EDT is not bad, and considerably less than I would have paid on the high street here in Vienna - although granted the stricken state of sterling helps in that respect. As well as the EdT I have also been a regular user of the matching antiperspirant stick, which I usually pick up for around EUR 18 and have also had the deodorant spray, which costs a similar price. There is also a smaller sized bottle (30ml) available although this is not so easy to find in duty free. The product description states that it is a citrusy, fresh scent, which I would agree with - people who wear Carolina Herrera Herrera for Men, XS by Paco Rabanne or Issey Miyake for Men will all quite identify with the scent, which on a sliding scale I would put as stronger than XS, about the same as Issey Miyake but not as strong as Carolina Herrera - Herrera for Men. With regard to it being a scent "designed for gentlemen aged twenty five years and older" this is definitely a grown-up man's fragrance - I would say that to say it is an over 25s fragrance is a good description - it has more depth than some of the "teeny" fragrances - a more serious air and scent, and is not a scent I wear everyday. It also ...

Roof Of Africa Lodge&Travel Centre, Windhoek 21/11/2009

My safari base camp

Roof Of Africa Lodge&Travel Centre, Windhoek During my recent trip to Southern Africa, which took in a trip to Namibia, I was recommended the Roof of Africa by the company that organised my trip around the Sossusvlei. I wanted to stay somewhere comfortable, and the Roof of Africa was, they assured me a very comfortable place to stay. And for my needs for the two nights (either end of my safari) it was. I expect I got a discounted rate since it was booked through the tour group and I paid NAD 590 (approx GBP 50) per night including breakfast. I headed to the hotel straight from the airport by taxi - I could have ordered a taxi collection service from them but decided not to. The hotel is a little way out of the centre of Windhoek, although fortunately only a stone's through away from Joe's Beer House. Whilst it is generally not recommended in most of Sub-Saharan Africa to walk around the streets at night - I think that you would be unlikely to have any problems on the 300-400m walk from Joe's back to the hotel. When I asked for them to call me a taxi or give me a number for a taxi company to get me into the centre of Windhoek, they said that would not be necessary and had a driver drop me in town - who I of course tipped for going out of his way for me. When I arrived, somewhat early they ushered me out to the covered area by the pool and served me drinks from the bar while my room was being made up. The room was clean, and although some of the plumbing fittings basic (the power shower has not yet reached Windhoek it ...

Scandic Hotel Grand Place, Brussels 21/11/2009

Good location, but slightly tired fittings

Scandic Hotel Grand Place, Brussels I spent three nights at the Scandic Grand Place, as we had arranged a block booking for the conference I was organising in Brussels and the Scandic Grand Place was the more moderately priced hotel in which we had got a discounted rate, although I ended up booking through hotelclub.net as it was another EUR 25 a night cheaper, so I was paying EUR 110 per night including breakfast. I was able to check in early - arriving at just before 11am on the Saturday morning and my room was already ready for me - usually check-in is from 2pm. My room was quite small, with the fittings somewhat on the basic side - we'd been told that the hotel was 4* although I would place it as a 3* - in particular since there was no gym available (currently being renovated). The fittings were somewhat basic - and there was no safe in the room, which is something that I tend to take for granted at a hotel of this class. There was also no ironing board or trouser press, although these could be requested at reception. The bathroom was compact, with shower in bath and a washbasin, with shower gel and soap in a dispenser - when I arrived however, the soap dispenser was empty, although this was refilled the next day. The bed was comfortable although the linen looked a bit tired and the desk and chair had also seen signs of wear and tear. The television (tube screen - again not the most recent model!) had a good selection of channels - as with most of Belgium, BBC1 and BBC2 were among those, so I took ...

Emirates Airlines - UAE 26/10/2009

Worth the Dubai detour

Emirates Airlines - UAE I first flew Emirates through chance rather than out and out through design. Of course I knew about them, had heard all the rave reviews etc. but as they only are an option for long haul through Dubai from Vienna, I'd not had much opportunity to try them out. That changed when I wanted to have a week in Hong Kong - and Emirates were doing a EUR 520 return ticket from Vienna - which was considerably cheaper than the competition. For my second longhaul trip of the year, to South Africa, I spurned the EUR 600 tickets with Lufthansa via Frankfurt for the EUR 820 ticket with Emirates - because of the better longhaul comfort, and also because of the fact that the flight timings were more convenient - especially for the return leg - where I was able to get a flight at 22:20 from JNB - more than four hours later than the flights I could take with Lufthansa, and I was still able to get an earlier connecting flight from Dubai (I was only there for just over an hour) onto Vienna. Bearing in mind that I had just spent EUR 900 getting to London and back in under a day to get a new biometric passport after mine was stolen and you'll understand why I don't think the extra outlay to be excessive. Similarly after experiencing air rage on a flight from JNB to Madrid two years ago, and finding Iberia economy class to only be acceptable if you were under about 5' 6" (I am a healthy 7" taller than that!) you can understand why I enjoy not wanting to spend the entire flight in immediate ...

South Africa Lesotho and Swaziland - James Bainbridge 25/10/2009

Indispensible for outing yourself as a tourist in Southern Africa

South Africa Lesotho and Swaziland - James Bainbridge For my recent trip to Southern Africa, I ideally wanted a guidebook for Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa in one. Unfortunately Lonely Planet do not have such a guide but their South Africa guide also included Lesotho (and Swaziland) which meant that rather than take two books for these two countries I was able to take them in a single volume. The one problem I find with some Lonely Planets is that they become very bulky for a large country like South Africa - and unless you are really travelling throughout a country, it is almost worth only taking the pages that you need. As being white shows you up as being a tourist in a lot of places - there is little by way of domestic tourism for poorer non-white South Africans - brandishing a Lonely Planet just draws further, unwanted attention to yourself - the book is therefore not something you should really brandish in public, unless you want the attention it brings you. I would personally pay extra to have the individual provinces in thinner paperback booklets - that way you could carry them and look at them without fear of attracting the unwanted attention. Nowadays I really do most of my research on the Internet prior to the trip and the guidebook is only something that I take with me because I do not wish to rely on Internet-based information when I essentially like to enjoy being "off the grid" when I head out of Europe. However, given the fact that the tourist information provision on the Internet was minimal about ...

Ashes Cricket 2009 (Wii) 22/08/2009

The best chance KP has of winning the Ashes this summer...

Ashes Cricket 2009 (Wii) There was a quite a clamour for a cricket game for the Wii, with there being a site wiiwantcricket.com petitioning for a while for cricket to be given the Wii treatment, given the way that the Wii is controlled compared with other consoles. I'd played EA Sports' offerings on the PC in the past and was semi convinced and had played one of the Brian Lara cricket games. All of which were a far cry from the keyboard pounding of bowling in Graham Gooch's Test Match Cricket – the cricket game I cut my teeth on for the BBC Master in the late 80s (I think the game itself was already past its sell-by date when I bought it!) For the non-Wii owners, Ashes Cricket 2009 is also available on other consoles, but I am reviewing only the Wii version. I picked it up on Amazon along with an order of books – and paid 27.78 – RRP is 29.99. I can't profess to be much of a gamer so possibly my review might reflect this. I look for a game that is easy to pick up, that allows you to play it „out of the box“ and for you to get into it before understanding the intracacies – a bit like cricket then in other words... As with any Ashes tie-in you can bet your bottom dollar that the main aim is ultimately to win the Ashes (and ideally 5-0 winning every game by 10 wickets and/or an innings). Before you rush into wanting to vanquish the old enemy, it is worth cutting your teeth on the various other game modes. I like the game because there are enough possibilities with it to have a bit of fun playing it, ...

Kingston DataTraveler I - USB flash drive - 2 GB 12/02/2008

Thanks for the memory

Kingston DataTraveler I - USB flash drive - 2 GB It is a sign of the times when you can't leave home without gigabytes of data in your pocket - I used to never have this kind of problem - now I tend to travel armed with a laptop or if I am going out "naked" at least a memory stick. Last year I bought a 1Gb USB memory stick to replace the 128Mb USB memory stick I had been using the previous couple of years. Clearly now I need to fight the "data" flab as I find that 1Gb is not big enough. People might question why I didn't go for a far bigger USB stick - 16Gb is the current highest size. Well I went for the 2Gb memory sticks because I bought in bulk and sent ones out to all my customers - it is easier for them to stick a memory stick in the post to me, with an encrypted/password protected zip file on it than to courier me a CD most of the time. On a bulk buy I paid EUR 8.50 per stick - currently they are usually around EUR 12-14 in Austria per stick. The stick is white with lime green detailing, and as with previous sticks from Kingston it had a lanyard to affix it to a keyring, which is a useful extra (so I can attach it to my house keys - that way I'll not leave the office without them, as has happened before!), attached to the USB stick rather than the cover for the USB adapter - one friend lost their memory stick because the lanyard affixed to the cover rather than the memory stick itself. Of course if you have a heavy bundle of keys, I would advise that you connect the USB via an extending ski pass holder, as the ...

The Sound of Laughter - Peter Kay 02/03/2007

A rush job that shows...

The Sound of Laughter - Peter Kay Having lapped up Peter Kay DVDs over the last few years, and being stuck for an idea what my sister could have got me for my Christmas present, I went on to Amazon to see what was recommended and Peter Kay's autobiography "The Sound of Laughter" popped up. Given its "Sound of Music" styled cover, I was drawn to it, even though I am usually not a fan of autobiographies when they are written when the subject is someone who has had a relatively short period of time in the limelight - I used to associate autobiogs as being practically like a personal obituary when in one's dotage. Nowadays celebs trot them out in their 20s and 30s - there is none of the "50 years in show business" style of autobiographies - look at Messrs. Cole, Beckham and Rooney as examples - possibly that is why Perry Groves' autobiography sold better than theirs... Peter Kay has jumped on this bandwagon, just prior to Christmas 2006, and given his stage performances, I thought I would have a good enjoyable read. I don't wish to sound condescending but a lot of the life he talks about is deadly dull and humdrum - mind you, you can see how his inspiration for characters came about. Written as someone in his early 30s - and whose star has possibly yet to shine its brightest, the autobiography is somewhat premature. The book covers his somewhat dull, focusless and mediocre years prior to getting the big break - sure this is a part of anyone's life, but to devote seven eighths of the book to this is a mite ...

Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts 14/01/2007

More than just shirts...

Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts Charles Tyrwhitt was a brand of shirt maker I first came across in the mid 1990s, when they started advertising in The Times, and I remember sending off for a catalogue. Unfortunately my budget back then didn't run to Charles Tyrwhitt shirts - now they form a very substantial part of my wardrobe - and as I travel a lot for business I am always needing business shirts. It was in 2004 that I rediscovered them, this time online under the guise of www.ctshirts.co.uk, when I needed a lot of business shirts. I have always been somewhat sceptical about buying clothes online - I have had some purchases on Haburi which I have never worn because they just didn't suit me when I put them on. Other shops have claimed to have stock and then conceded they don't - with Charles Tyrwhitt such a fear is allayed. Having a "businessman" figure - i.e. my sizes seem to conform to the most popular, I have to strike whilst the iron is hot if I want to get clothes from their sales - these sizes sell out quickest. On the site you can choose whether you have metric or imperial measurements, enter default collar and chest sizes etc. as well as default monogramming options. Originally it was also the fact that I was using Mutualpoints and that they were offering cashback that I went for Charles Tyrwhitt - since my orders are usually for several hundred Euro in value, I usually get a handsome mutualpoints reimbursement - e.g. the last order got me the equivalent of GBP 11 back - current they are ...

Kenwood SM 406 Edelstahl 05/01/2007

The latest kitchen gadget in Morgenhund Towers

Kenwood SM 406 Edelstahl As I had a voucher for my local ironmonger's - which happens to rather fortunately be a Le Creuset stockist - which was due to expire and couldn't find any Le Creuset stuff that I really wanted for the sum of the voucher I decided to plump for a sandwich toaster instead. I had not bothered to buy one in Austria as the sandwich bread was so tasteless, but with a wholemeal sandwich loaf now being available at last in the supermarket I go to, I thought why not. I was originally very tempted by the SM420 series, which was being sold for EUR 29.99 (ca. GBP 20) whilst the SM406 was EUR 33 (GBP 22), and the differences appeared to be only cosmetic, although I went for the SM406 as it was in black and stainless steel rather than white. The SM420 had also got the added feature that the plates could be removed for cleaning - this seems to be the biggest bane usually, that sandwich toasters do not seem to be very easy to clean. However, as they explicitly said that the removable plates were not to be put in the dishwasher (this would have been the main attraction of the SM420!), I went for the SM406 in any case. Most people are fairly familiar with sandwich toasters and how they work - so I'll not give a lecture on that. Comparing the two I was initially hard pressed to see any difference other than a purely cosmetic one - and of course the removable plates, as both sandwich toasters were designed to make two toasted sandwiches in one go - which is certainly more than adequate, ...

My Resolutions 02/01/2007

Resolutions to catapult me towards turning 30...

My Resolutions Having made a solitary, but important, New Year's Resolution going into 2006, namely to return to singledom after two years of a not altogether unhappy relationship, but one which had gone sour and was getting me down, I enter 2007 in a different frame of mind. I'm currently treading very carefully and building up a friendship with a delectable young lady - and this is my first resolution - to do what it takes to get to know her better. This aside - it is a resolution of heart and mind, I am making other resolutions, which are more serious than in previous years - given mainly the fact that I am hurtling headlong towards turning 30. With the three-oh in mind I have decided upon the following lifestyle-related resolutions. 1) More exercise: I feel that I am too sedentary, so I am forcing myself to go for a walk every day - today 1st January I spent an hour walking around my district and it blew away the cobwebs. I wouldn't imagine that I will do the circuit everyday but the 5km walk was certainly a good start. I am also looking at some kind of home gym as I doubt I would use a gym membership. Update: 4 January - my home trainer arrives on Friday. New running shows also acquired. 2) Worrying less about work, and working less late nights: I have stayed up until the small hours drawing up a work schedule on 1st January and also a chart for logging my work (in terms of hours) and also my late nights spent in front of the computer working - to try to get myself to cut down ...

Little Britain - The Game (DVDi) 02/01/2007

DVD player sometimes says "no!"

Little Britain - The Game (DVDi) So you've seen all three series, and the live show, so you'd have though that was it from Little Britain - but that is not the case. Little Britain - The Game is an interactive DVD game which you can play either on your own ("playing with yourself") or with other people ("playing with others") using the remote control of your DVD player. The premise is relatively straightforward - you score points from various rounds to be allowed to proceed to a bonus round, which is a Little Britain General Knowledge quiz. If you win there are exciting mystery prizes... Like Bubbles Devere... Nice... 7 rounds are chosen at random, with rounds such as "Name that Gay" hosted by Daffyd through to a children's television fun quiz hosted by Des Kay (from the first series). Tom Baker is once again doing the voiceover and introduction and all the most popular characters have their own rounds. Playing through the seven rounds prior to the bonus round will take about 20-30 minutes if you are playing on your own. Unfortunately, if you are used to playing the game, you'll find the score updates and instructions prolong the game unduly. The direction arrows on your DVD controller and the OK button are the keys you need to hit to play - in this sense it is a pretty simple game to play. If you have played any other interactive TV show-based interactive games, then this will not be anything new - effectively it is just a tie-in of a successful format to a different show. Ultimately all of the ...

Kingston DataTraveler U3 Smart USB Flash drive - USB flash drive - 1 GB 17/12/2006

When you need to take work home with you...

Kingston DataTraveler U3 Smart USB Flash drive - USB flash drive - 1 GB Having been using a Kingston 128Mb USB memory stick for the last couple of years, leaving it in the office lead me to have to pick another memory stick up at the station on the way to a conference - fortunately Wien Westbahnhof had a Libro selling Memory Sticks, and whilst the 1Gb DataTraveler memory stick cost EUR 24.99 - approx. GBP 17, which was more than I could have purchased it for had I not had to buy it from a retailer where convenience was the most important consideration, I didn't object to paying a couple of Euro extra for the stick. My previous Kingston memory stick was in anthracite, with grey plastic styling on it and a blue LED which flashes to indicate that data transfer is occurring. This time round I had no option but to go for a white memory stick (convenience rather than choice!). The important thing was that the lanyard to affix it to a keyring, which was a useful extra (so I can attach it to my house keys - that way I'll not leave the office without them, as has happened before!), attached to the USB stick rather than the cover for the USB adapter. I saw an identically priced competitor product in the shop with identical specs that sadly had the key ring attachment hole on the cap for the USB connection - which realistically rules it out for use on a key ring. Of course if you have a heavy bundle of keys, I would advise against connecting them to the USB stick as the weight of the key ring might, in the long term, cause damage to be sustained to ...

Excelsior Hotel, Munich 11/12/2006

Does the Excelsior excel?

Excelsior Hotel, Munich I stayed at the Hotel Excelsior in Munich on a brief overnight stay following a business trip to Munich. The hotel had been recommended by the BayernLB, who I was visiting as part of the trip, and they'd been able to get me a very favourable rate - of EUR 118 for a night including breakfast which was a considerable saving over the rack rate for the hotel. It was particularly practical as the hotel was only a couple of hundred metres from the main railway station (Munich Hbf) which made it a good choice as I could drop my bags off on my way past on the way to the bank. I cose to check in at the same time - and despite the fact that my room was not ready, they were fine about this and had my luggage taken to my room as soon as it did become ready. The hotel foyer was relatively small, with only a couple of reception desks, but these were both manned all of the time. The check-in process was swift - most of the forms had been pre-filled out by them when they had received my booking - I had to offer a few more details but nothing that really caused any delay to me. There were some Internet terminals just off the foyer, but I did not use these. Had I been staying for longer I might have been a bit disappointed by the lack of Internet connectivity in my room, which seemed surprising given the hotel's claim to be very popular with business travellers. My room was on the top floor - fifth floor, and facing into a small courtyard and was very quiet, although some rooms face onto ...
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