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since 15/10/2002


Subway 13/01/2005

Tasty and ready in a flash

Subway Several years ago I spent a lot of time in the US. While I like a hearty meal, there are just times that the all-American "eat as much as you can stuff yourself with" buffet is just a bit much, and on those occasions I enjoy a quick takeaway especially at lunchtime. My all-time favourite, for my sins, is Taco Bell, but that's for another opinion and another time... Next door to one of my favourite restaurants was a branch of Subway. It was always empty, at least when I was passing, and my only experience of a "sub" had been through watching Bill Cosby's mammoth attempts on TV. If I was going out to eat, there was no way I wanted what was effectively a roll with a meat and salad filling. So I never tried the US version. Fast forward to 2001 and I was visiting my boyfriend in the Midlands. We went out shopping for the day, and he suggested we go to Subway. The name rang a bell, as did the look of the shop. It was a lunchtime and everywhere was busy. I was game to try something of a sandwich type nature rather than a burger, and I was incredibly surprised by how tasty the meal was. However, he moved down south shortly after, and the nearest Subway to where we lived was a 20 minute train ride away, so we managed to get there only the once. However, I moved office a year ago to find that there was a branch only 10 minutes walk away from my new workplace. Since then, I have discovered a further two within walking distance, and one just around the corner from my train station. ...

What I would do if I won the lottery 23/10/2004

Show me the money

What I would do if I won the lottery What an interesting dilemma, possibly the Rorschach Test for the new millennium - what kind of person are you depending on what you would do if you won the lottery? For a start, I don't think I'd take it in any way seriously until I saw the money. I'd be too frightened of committing to something big and expensive only to find I'd not really won. So, assuming that I had won, with those magical 6 numbers, here's what I'd do, in no particular order. - Tell my boss that I had been headhunted by another firm and that they wanted me to start immediately. I wouldn't want them knowing about the lottery, there are far too many scroungers who ordinarily wouldn't give me the time of day! Plus it would be interesting to see how valuable an employee they seriously think I am. I don't view winning the lottery as just getting a lot of money, there's a lot of fun to be had too! - Go back to study. I worked diligently through my A-levels and then studied Business to help my career. I am now becoming interested in acting and singing again, which I dropped when doing my A-levels. I'd like to go back and study music, and winning the lottery would afford me to do that without worrying about paying the bills. - Oh, pay off the mortgage. I don't think I'd move, it would be too much hassle. But perhaps a nice holiday home somewhere, or even just a holiday once in a while. - Slap up dinner somewhere for me and my closest friends. Somewhere nice where we could be chauffered there and ...

Homepride Pasta Bake 23/10/2004

I like mine hot and with plenty of sauce

Homepride Pasta Bake I've been using the Homepride pasta bake sauces for a couple of years now. My partner bought some while they were on offer at the local shop, assuring me that I would love them, but I wasn’t so sure. Until then I had been a firm aficionado of making a pasta sauce and having it on plain pasta, lasagne aside that is. The jars of pasta bake sat in the cupboard for several months. Every time I was asked if I would like to try it, I said no. Until that is one evening my partner’s surprise meal was a pasta bake that he had prepared using the Tomato and Pepperoni variety. You basically add the contents of the jar and some water to dried pasta and cheese and cook in the oven. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was, and couldn’t wait to try it again. We have this about once a month now, as even after getting in from a long commute it takes less than an hour from start to picking up your fork. The sauces have a nice thick consistency, which means you don’t have to continually worry whether it will be too thin or too thick while you’re cooking. We have tried other brands and found them to be quite watery in comparison. Now, even with “out of the jar” solutions we still customise. About halfway through the cooking time we put extra things into the sauce. This includes some fresh knockwurst or hotdogs, chicken, pepperoni, extra cheese etc. If you’re not careful, or don’t add enough water to the dish the pasta may dry out on the top, and certainly the addition of other ...

Felix Cat Food 10/03/2004

Clean bowl Cat-isfaction?

Felix Cat Food Update March 2004: I don't know what Felix have done, but I have been struggling to get my cats to eat this lately! I rather suspect that the recipe has been changed, but certainly my cats have gone off it! I would still recommend it to anyone, as it is still good quality, but I guess sometimes cats just have their own tastes. Sheesh! --- "Now even tastier", says the wraparound label on the latest tins of Felix I've bought for my pampered pussies. And "clean bowl satisfaction" and "we listen" are also liberally scattered on the packaging, giving you the impression from first picking up the tin that they take their reputation seriously. They KNOW your cat will enjoy this product, they are THAT confident. And while you're probably expecting me to launch into some tirade of how shabby a product this is, you'd be quite mistaken. This is a product that my cats adore, and will howl the house down for up to three hours before scheduled feeding time to try and get it! Felix if you don't know is a set of catfood products and playthings from Friskies Petfoods to enrich your cat's life. I'm concentrating here on their range of tinned cat foods. ~Felix in Jelly~ The "jelly" range has got to be their most popular range of tinned food. There are 20 varieties you can get, either singly or in multipacks. Flavours include traditional beef, chicken, tuna etc to more exciting ones like Sardine and Mackerel, Duck and Rabbit, so you can see there's plenty to choose from. You may ...

Carmex Lip Balm 10/03/2004

Not too rough please, I like mine soft and moist

Carmex Lip Balm Lips, that is...! I first discovered Carmex last year when I popped into Charles Fox in Covent Garden. Charles Fox is perhaps the best known name in theatrical makeup, and I was refreshing my stock of makeup when I saw this bright yellow and white pot on the counter. It was part of a small display which advertised the wonderful properties of using Carmex on chapped lips. At the time winter was taking its toll, and my lips were feeling red raw. They were in a permanent state of being chapped, and no amount of lip salve seemed to be working. The normal lip salves from Boots, Chapsticks etc do not really work on my lips, they just tend to get very greasy, slide to the edge of my lips and form the blackheads from hell. This pot was marked at £2.50, which I did baulk at slightly but was feeling a little frivolous, and desperate. I thought it was worth a go, while I was buying other things, so I duly parted with my cash (or rather credit card…) and trekked back to the office. The first thing I noticed when I opened the pot was the smell of vanilla. Not a pure “just out of the pod” vanilla smell, but one that wouldn’t be too out of place in a good quality air freshener. Now, I am a sucker for anything that smells of vanilla, but I guess that if someone wasn’t too keen this might be off-putting. The contents itself don’t look too dissimilar to Vaseline, of course the main ingredient being Petroleum that is no real surprise. It does have a slightly more “yellow” tinge to ...

Thorntons Eden Collection 11/07/2003

My sexy little black box

Thorntons Eden Collection It was my birthday recently, and being 21 again my better half decided to have another go at buying me chocolates. I say "another go" because the year before most of the lovely expensive chocolates he bought went to waste. They were so rich that I couldn't eat more than one at a time, and they soon were past their best. So this year he tried buying from Thorntons instead. I'd seen the Eden selection on the website previously and commented on how nice they looked. So imagine my joy when that was one of the presents I received. The box contains 225g of chocolates, and contains 18 across three layers. It is in fact the middle one of the range - the smallest containing 100g (8 choccies) and the largest 455g (32 choccies). If you were buying this online today, it would cost £8.25. The larger one costs £15.55 and the baby one £3.95. The box itself is an interesting design. Black, gold and bright pink, it smacks of luxury and pleasure. Then when you pull its top off the bottom half of the box unfolds into a pretty scene of a tropical paradise garden. You do have to be careful though, the chocolates in the centre are surrounded by a cardboard square that isn't attached to the bottom half of the box. Design wise this is very clever. However, if you're not careful, you could end up dropping the whole lot! The chocolates themselves were delightful, and light enough that you could eat 2 or 3 at a time without that "sickly" feeling. You get a selection of 9 varieties in the ... 10/07/2003

If I told you any more I'd have to kill you Well, it's not quite James Bond, but mystery shopping is a form of undercover assignment. I can't tell you where I have worked for this organisation, but I can say that it's not all glamorous women, fast cars and champagne. More likely a fast food meal, shop assistants and having to concentrate on detail so much that it's all over before you know it! Having accompanied friends on mystery shopping trips to shops and pubs some years ago, I was interested in trying it myself to make a few extra pennies, and supplement my measly income. I read about several different companies both on ciao and other opinion sites, and avoided the temptation to join some of the email offers to subscribe $30 and get a list of mystery shopping companies. I approached three, of which Gapbuster was one. And it was certainly the easiest to join. The other two required formal application (one even needed a photo, eek!) and one required you to complete a dummy mystery shop before joining. Those two are still in my "pending" pile here on the desk. ~ How do I join? ~ Gapbuster was really easy to join. I went to their website ( and filled in my personal information. There was some basic information on the kind of person that they are looking for, and the form itself was very simple. They were interested, for example, in whether you drank alcohol or were a vegetarian, because that would affect the assignments you can be sent. They then review your information, and let you ...

All About Me 14/03/2003

I'm a sucker for these personal questionnaires

All About Me ...and so here are my answers according to the challenge set by Kel161080: 01. What time is it? 23:08 02. Name: Caz 03. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake: The last birthday cake I had was when I was 21, does that count? :o) 04. Hair colour: It's naturally dark brown, but the first white hair was ceremoniously flushed down the loo yesterday. 05. Tattoos: None yet. 06. How much do you love your job on a scale of 0-5: Probably about a 4. More money would make it a 5. 07. Favourite colour: Black or purple. 08. Home County: Essex. 09. Current Relationship Status Living with the love of my life. Plus our 3 babies (cats). 10. Favourite food: I do love pasta, and anything with garlic, and chinese food. 11. Been to Africa? Not yet. 12. Been to Camden? Not since I was about 21. Around the time of the birthday cake and candles, actually... 13. Loved somebody so much it made you cry Yes. 14. Been in a car accident? Yes, twice, ended up in hospital with a suspected neck fracture the second time. 15. Croutons or bacon bits? Depends what mood I'm in. 16. Sprite or 7UP? Sprite, unless it's Cherry 7up. 17: Favourite Movie: Have a long list of them, would probably include The Princess Bride, Back to the Future, Dune, The Breakfast Club, a varied mix. 18. Favourite Holiday: I enjoy going to Florida. I know the place so well it's just a really comfortable and relaxing vacation. 19. ...

Cheekily Yummy Classic 02/03/2003

How to drive you and your cat insane

Cheekily Yummy Classic I have just the three cats, and while they would normally partake of the standard Felix, Whiskas, Kitekat food varieties, I have discovered what my cats think is the best food. Ever. It started just over a week ago, the store of Felix running low in the cupboard, so our regular trip to Costco was required to top up. Costco can't be relied on to have the same brands in every time, in respect of cat food, but usually has at least one variety of tinned and one in pouches, more often than not two varieties, which usually includes Felix, Kitekat or Whiskas. Imagine our surprise when the only canned food on offer was Butcher's Classic Cat Food. I was a little miffed because there was an offer at Safeway on Felix which would have made it a bit cheaper than this Classic Cat Food, but beggars couldn't be choosers, we were down to our last can, so picked up a 24 pack to keep us going. I remembered a long time ago trying out the Classic Cat Food, but had forgotten just how much the furry felines had enjoyed it. I do recall that I had only bought it at that time because it was on offer, and it's regular price was more than that of Felix, so never really tried it again. However, times change, and now you can pick up a multipack in Tesco (or from and it works out the same price as Felix (47p per can). This is for a large 400g can. At the time of writing you can even get 12 cans for the price of 11 at Tesco, so there are occasional offers around. What I didn't bank ...

10 things I'd Like to Own 05/01/2003

But I probably could manage without

10 things I'd Like to Own Ten things I'd like to own, eh? I could probably manage hundreds, although that would be entering the realms of "Lottery Windom" or at least a trip to "Small Windfall". So for the meantime I'll try and keep it real, and try to avoid being too boring! Here are the top 10 things I'd like to get out of the household funds... 1. Healthy eating grill. The more I read about Baby George, Little George, Teenage George etc the more I'm convinced my kitchen is missing out on something. I do grill foods quite a bit, and apparently they're supposed to be really tasty from one of these grills. However, I struggle with workspace as it is, often juggling round so much I'm sure I've stood there holding the coffee-maker midflow before. There is also so much choice, whether to have a George, a DeLonghi, a Breville... I tend to research products far too much before buying, so I'm not holding my breath for one of these. 2. Breadmaker. I love fresh bread but my oven just doesn't cope that well. Breadmakers are all the rage all of a sudden, which means they're more affordable, but just like George above I don't know what one I want, which features, which size loaf I want etc. And there's also that lack of workspace thing too... I'll probably pick up one in the sales and hate it, thereby relegating it to the back of a cupboard with George. 3. A flat screen monitor (or a bigger desk). My poor little desk is crammed with the PC, printer, speakers, plus files, papers, pens, mice, ...

Tropico (PC) 01/01/2003

I have a confession El Presidente...

Tropico (PC) I have a confession to make. In the aftermath of Christmas, with tidying up of the house in between sets of relatives on the "to do" list, I've spent the best part of two days playing a computer game. Not just any computer game, you must understand. One which was wrapped up in my name for Christmas Day opening, and one which I must confess I'd never heard of before. Imagine opening this Christmas present and seeing the picture of a military dictator-style figure standing over an island, with the title "Tropico" and byline "On a Caribbean Island Where You Rule!". Was someone trying to tell me something, I asked myself. So I asked him, and the reply was "I just thought you'd like the game". Hmm, we'll see about that. So finally, after it sat gathering dust from the whirlwind of Christmas, I decided to install it onto my PC and give it a go, just to make sure it loaded up OK, in case it needed to be returned whence it came. It loaded fairly easily, nothing fancy, just a standard Windows installer, no flash graphics or introduction to help you. That's what the 88-page manual which accompanies it is for, the manual which, if I'm honest, had put me off trying this game earlier - it looked a wee bit complicated! So what's it all about? Simply, you play a dictator of a Caribbean Island (Tropico) and your job is to "create a life of prosperity and happiness for your people" according to the box. Yeah, right. It's a bit like Sim City in the Caribbean, and to honest it's a ...

Marbles Card 30/12/2002

My little white friend

Marbles Card I have been a customer of Marbles for nearly three years now, and my experiences with them are somewhat mixed. ~ Applying for your card ~ The Marbles card is quite easy to apply for, and it more publicised now than when I first joined. Like many other cards and personal loans it comes courtesy of HFC Bank in Birmingham, so you know it's a large company backing it up. You can apply online at ~ Interest rates ~ Generally people are more clued up about interest rates these days. Marbles are currently offering 0% interest fixed rate (14.9% variable) for 6 months on balance transfers and purchases. Although the statement that dropped through my door this morning gave warning of an increase for standard balance transfers and purchases to 17.9%. It's always important to work out what interest you'll be paying them after that initial joining period. The 0% is useful because it applies to purchases you make as well. Some cards will offer you 0% interest on that balance until you pay it off, but may charge a higher percentage on any purchases you make during that period. If you're looking to swap your credit cards and are intending to continue to make purchases in that opening 6 months, the Marbles card could well be for you. Once you've joined up, they do have occasional offers for low interest rates on balance transfers. The lowest I've had was 4.9% but it's generally relative to their main interest rate. ~ Charges ~ Like all credit ...

Studio Catalogue 30/12/2002

Handy but don't rely on them

Studio Catalogue I was first an agent for Studio cards about 10 or 12 years ago, when I used to earn some commission on products I sold to others. Consequently, everyone was forced to use the Studio catalogue to order their Christmas cards etc. I did that for about three Christmasses in a row and then forgot all about them, what with a new job, new house etc. Then in November a shortened version of the catalogue dropped through my door, tempting me with everything half price throughout and a free cuddly snowman. Unusually for me, I hadn't already finished my Christmas shopping, so the catalogue was put to one side to browse a bit later. One thing led to another and the catalogue continued to collect dust until the first week of December when in a blind panic I realised I'd hardly touched the Christmas shopping list, and needed to send cards out etc etc. I reached for the catalogue and spent the next couple of evenings on and off, with my partner, looking at what they had on offer. Fortunately the catalogue was valid until February. The main part of the catalogue was obviously devoted to Christmas. There was quite a selection of trees, ornaments and things to plug in and stick on your roof for Christmas. I had quite enough decorations, thanks, so turned to the Christmas card pages and gifts. The Christmas cards worked out I thought quite reasonably even before the 50% reduction was applied, and we ordered two packets, a traditional selection and a comedy pack. In terms of other ...

Cadbury Mini Rolls 30/11/2002

Where have all the mini rolls gone

Cadbury Mini Rolls I'm sitting here feeling very fat, trying up work up the energy to go and make some dinner. But the glossy purple packet next to my keyboard keeps drawing me back. They're laughing at me, teasing me of my weakness for a savoury snack, then lure me back with their chocolatey goodness... Cadbury Minirolls are something you probably love or hate. Me, I love them. And while I've managed for a number of years to bypass them on Safeway's shelves, thinking "well, they're a bit pricey considering how long they'll last", Costco have now started to stock them. And now I can get 2 x 10 packs for £2.49. There are alternatives, yes. I've tried the Safeway alternatives, and the mini swiss rolls (minus the chocolate coating) that may tempt you in the aisles, but they just aren't the same. These are made with Cadbury chocolate for a start, so you know that the chocolate will taste nice. It can be a bit "sickly" after several though. The "individual swiss rolls with vanilla flavouring" are also very light in consistency. You know how some swiss rolls can be quite firm and chewy? These are very light, and do at least taste of chocolate. Cadbury's Minirolls are individually wrapped, so if you do resist temptation and put the packet back in the cupboard it's safe in the knowledge that they won't be soggy, dry or stale (according to your storage conditions) when you next go to nibble one. The wrappers have been redesigned - when I was younger they were in foil wrappers, but now they're ...

Top 10 Foods 13/11/2002

I'm drooling just thinking about them

Top 10 Foods I've just got back from the dentist, so being totally unable to eat, what better opinion to write than one talking about my very favourite foods! So what could I just polish off massive portions of right this moment? In no particular order, and kind of assuming you know what they all are!... 1. Prawns I'm a sucker for prawns, big ones, small ones, fresh ones, tiger ones. My favourites at the moment include ones I buy frozen from Spencers' Gourmet Foods, they're individually frozen in garlic butter and are gorgeous fried. I'm also a favourite of Mamma Amalfi's prawn starters and main courses. And a prawn bhuna is on regular order with the local takeaway. I always have packets of frozen prawns in the freezer, "just in case". 2. Milky Bar Well, I did say in no particular order! I don't like white chocolate on the whole, but have a soft spot for Milky Bars. But not the chunky ones, mind, just the thin ones. They're not too sickly, and can fill a nice gap in your tummy after lunch. I'm saving up for my Sooty and Sweep toy at the moment by collecting wrappers :o) 3. Bratwurst At their best, these German spiced sausages are bought fresh in a bun or baguette while shopping in Germany. At home, Lidl sell very nice versions that you can grill, fry or do on the barbecue. I buy the fresh ones for planned events such as barbecues, but always have a frozen packet too. Lovely with a spot of mustard mash and onion gravy. And I know lots of people will find this choice ...
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