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since 17/12/2000


Rowntrees Strawberry Jelly 25/09/2005

Berry Jelly in Belly

Rowntrees Strawberry Jelly Two years off, and it's time for my grand re-entry. So why not pick up where I left off on the Nestlé food theme. After all, have you got any better suggestions? Naturally, I will spend the next few minutes of your very kindly given time looking at Rowntree's Strawberry Flavour Jelly. Why not? The jelly I'm referring to is a diluted mixture of glucose/gelatine and water to provide a distinctive, wobbly pudding which looks rather like candy trying to dance. It has a sweet flavour and a gelatinous consistency. History of Rowntree's... Rowntree's is a very British company, started by one Mary Tuke (a Quaker, the website politely informs) in 1725. Jellies have been produced by the firm since 1901, when it was under the command of Joseph Rowntree. To say this outfit don't have any knowledge or experience when it comes to solidified liquid is quite simply a lie. Jelly is everyone's childhood favourite. Yes, that birthday party classic, great with ice cream or on its own, peppered with segments of fruit or even not mixed with water, undiluted, enjoyed in cube form, jelly's a delight to eat. It's a shame that as we grow older we forget how enjoyable a bit of gelatine can be. Quite understandably, it has a reputation for being kiddies' food which seems to stem from the fact we all enjoyed it as kids - at those parties. So this is understandable really. I have yet to enjoy jelly as a dessert at a dinner party. I'm still waiting in eager anticipation because I can ...

Nestle Double Cream 14/07/2003

Sticky Brown Creamy Goo

Nestle Double Cream I’ve been away, and it’s time to write. Short and sweet today, so sitting downstairs, in my fridge, is the much-hyped, mega-fangled, and possibly super-over-hyper-exaggeratedly good Nestle Double Cream chocolate bar. I’ve heard mixed views about this stuff, many negative, but more positive, however, the first thing that struck me about it this morning is the price – 51p from rip-off Alldays! [Yes, there is another op. More plugs in here than :s a plumber’s shop?] First Impressions… Well, for some reason, I have a really negative impression of this product, most likely because I’m a negative kind of guy. But the words ‘branding error’ spring to mind when you marvel at the fact that some overpaid [most probably half-Iranian] ‘Marketing and Brand Consultant’ got given numerous pounds for deciding that brown matches exceptionally well with dark blue and swirly cream, and also proclaiming that ‘chocolate matters.’ Sorry, ‘Chocolate Matters.’ Also, atrocious alliteration can be found in the pathetic persuasive poetry. It’s also complete nonsense. For 51p I can have ‘Milk Chocolate made with divine double cream balanced with fine cocoa beans because Chocolate Matters.’ That’s Nestle’s subtle way of saying ‘Milk Chocolate made with cheap, minimal amounts of cheap double cream [13%] with cheap cocoa beans from underpaid farmers in Ecuador, because to Mr Jones, your Mr Average from Milton Keynes, chocolate is nice every now and then.’ Dark Skin… As you explore deeper ...

Dell Computer Corp. (Shop) 02/03/2003

Heaven and Dell... They Dont Mix

Dell Computer Corp. (Shop) Yes, I’ve been away for a stack of time with mounds of work to sift through, but I’m back at last, and bring you now my first offering of the year. I’d just like to point out that this opinion is on Dell as a company, and not on the computer I have just received from them, which will be covered separately. About Dell… I have no doubt that if you have a major national newspaper in front of you, that after a quick flick through, you’ll find an advert for Dell, the company I’m looking at today. Founded only a few years ago, they have rapidly grown to be the world’s largest supplier of computing equipment. This monstrous enterprise now spans the world, supplying devices to all four corners of the globe. You’d think that this is because they sell great computers. This is true. However, you’d also think the pricing is competitive. Well, you have to hunt hard for a good deal. Perhaps they are good at customer service, your mind will ask. ‘No,’ the reply will come. Coming Across Dell… As I have already mentioned, Dell rely very heavily on newspaper advertising. You will, however, also see their computers advertised on TV and around the internet – indeed, you’ll see some Dell adverts right here on Ciao if you click refresh enough times [later…] These adverts show images of sharp-looking, professional black computers. Don’t get me wrong, the product is outstanding. But the service? Well, I’ll say it’s the opposite. The Dell experience starts when you either call them, ...

Transjet Airways 30/10/2002

Inaugural Fright

Transjet Airways I apologise for not posting for a while but have been compiling information for this extensively-researched opinion on Transjet Airways [more in a moment]. I would just like to let you know that although this opinion may be funny at times, it is trying to make a point. [Content Warning: This opinion contains frank details on very low safety standards on board aircraft and is certainly not aimed at people who fear flying and who are making a journey within the next few weeks. If you are planning to fly Transjet, then it may be advisable to read this and to make alternative arrangements afterwards.] Beginnings… Transjet Airways AG is a young airline started by a Swedish entrepreneur in late 2000. His ‘vision’ was to provide significant discounts on package holidays by offering travel agents the chance to charter aircraft at very low prices, however, his means of achieving these low prices has caused horror throughout the aviation industry. Transjet’s first flight in 2000, departing from Stockholm to Athens, in Greece, was the beginning of the saga. It was delayed. By several weeks. And nobody was very impressed. Aviation analysts were already predicting disaster and chaos for passengers, and they were right. How it Works… If travel agents can offer cheap holidays, they will sell more of them, and therefore make more money – it’s quite simple. Transjet approached all of the major UK tour operators and offered them ...

Member Advice on Overbooking 18/09/2002

Someone Is Sitting In My Chair

Member Advice on Overbooking Yes, we’ve all been there. Well, in fact, no we haven’t. Okay, so I have lied already, that’s got to be a record. But anyway, we’re not here to discuss my lying but instead overbooking – that terrible feeling when you are stuck at some remote airport and some other person really wants your seat on the plane. I’ve not been on for a while. As you probably know, I’ve been off having fun in rainy Spain whilst you all sat here and basked in the hot English sun, though I still did manage to sweat a little – at the airport. Cheesy line, I know, but still. What Overbooking Is… This isn’t difficult to explain, but somehow I have to draw out a 1,200 word opinion from it. Wish me luck, and I hope I haven’t lost my touch and all that rain hasn’t got stuck in my brain. Let’s have a go at explaining it then… On many flights, airlines will find that they do not fill up all of their seats. So, for example, the [fictitious] D567 plane might carry 325 passengers. English Airlines fly this plane [also fictitious – names will be named later]. EA fly the plane between, lets say, London and Cape Town. The average load, that is, the number of passengers carried is around 300. However, a particular sporting event, lets say, is taking place in Cape Town. Therefore, flights are busy. Airlines predict that only a certain percentage of passengers will turn up – it is true that often many flights will have what are called ‘no-shows.’ Usually, it is said that around 2% of the tickets sold ...

Cadbury White Chocolate Buttons 24/07/2002

Goo in Mouth for Pleasure Shocker

Cadbury White Chocolate Buttons Cheap title, I know, but still, you’ve got to start somewhere. And if you begin at the bottom, then things can only get better, unless, that is, my wife in the next room is what’s in question. However, opinions are what we are discussing, and more precisely, an opinion on Cadbury’s Creamy White Chocolate Buttons. Apologies forgotten to please Phil [LostWitnes], we can jump straight in at the deep end and start learning all sorts of boring things about these dull treats. Yes, brace yourself folks, for in a second I’m going to write eight paragraphs on the packaging of these things. Lets start somewhere more light-hearted though. The History… Ever since I was a little boy [yes, I was that young once…] I can remember coming across these great things. Guzzling them out of that little pouch was one of my favourite pastimes, indeed, one I now live to regret [my Ciao photo only shows my head, and not my waist…] Still, even if pounds were money then I would be rich, I enjoyed eating these and it was worth it. You see, I have a secret passion. I keep it locked up, and my kids aren’t allowed any. At night, when all of my family is in bed, I sneak downstairs and I have a secret rendezvous with a bar of white chocolate. Mmm… pleasure… The Package… Stupid porn-like jokes and cheap gags about my age and waist over, lets get down to some serious stuff. Yes, the eight paragraphs, split in to two sections of ...

Terry's Chocolate Orange Mini Segments 05/07/2002

No Dawn, its actually mine

Terry's Chocolate Orange Mini Segments Firstly I must apologise for not writing this opinion sooner, but I have lost a close relative and there have been problems within my family regarding arrangements. Anyway, that’s all dealt with, now I can press ahead with my new piece of writing. Today, Chocolate Orange is analysed. Many times have I eaten a Chocolate Orange, which today I sample in its segmented chocolate bar form, and I have to say that it is one of my preferred belly-largeners. On many days would I have been left somewhat hungry if these had not been around to fill me up. The History… Many of you will remember Dawn French has starred in many adverts for these, creating a legacy when using the phrase ‘it’s not Terry’s – it’s mine.’ From there, I have gathered inspiration for my title. However, the history of these chocolates does delve deeper than an old TV ad. Ever since I can remember, these chocolates have been available in the shops, in their original ball-shaped form. Now, the classic has been adapted in to a chocolate bar which is effectively formed of joined segments of the original – so a little like slices of an orange laid upon each other. The Package… Facing me now is the wrapper of the bar. The background is blue with some green leaves forming a backdrop for a sort of orange peel type shape. This orange peel is formed in to the shape of an ‘o’ and inside has an image of the chocolate itself. The ...

Cadbury Snowflake 04/07/2002

Heaven without the Homily

Cadbury Snowflake Fresh from my local newsagent, on my desk in front of me, is sat one of the newer Cadbury creations. In its long, narrow state is the Snowflake, bought especially for this opinion. I haven’t had many of these before, in fact, only two or three, but I think they are nice… Now that my overly extravagant tour of the world is over [apart from one opinion which I may never write] and I am fed up of writing travel opinions, I can start a new passion… I am going to give you five [relatively] brief chocolate opinions… And yes, I have done my research… The History… For many years have chocolate bars being emerging from the Cadbury’s factory in Bournville, near Birmingham. In fact, it has become a bit of an institution. You can go along there and have a look around ‘Cadbury World’ and buy slightly over-large chocolate bars. I’m not complaining though. The original flake has been around for years. But in a sudden wave of inspiration, the chocolate world has expanded, with all sorts of wonderful spin-offs and variations, and of course some new ideas hidden in there too. The Snowflake is one of them. The Package… I often indulge in Flakes, but this is a rare treat. I have a secret passion for white chocolate, but it has to be good quality. That’s no problem – I trust Cadbury on that front. So this should be a special treat – my favourite flaky texture and my wonderful white ...

Revels 16/06/2002

The Product of Tough Research...

Revels As I roamed through my local Forbouy’s store on Friday evening in a desperate search for something to pen an opinion about, I looked on the shelf and screaming out at me was a bag of the Mars Company’s special blend of chocolates, namely Revels! It’s been a while since these odd-centred balls were to come to rest on my tongue but I thought that they would make a great 1,300 words… and since I was in the middle of my chocolate opinion series, I concluded that these would be perfect. They were carried off to the till and a sum of money handed over. Now they rest on my desk! The History… I don’t know heaps about the history of these, apart from that as long as I can remember I have been able to buy them as long as I try a larger store for them. The package has recently been re-invented [more in a moment] but as it announces, they still have the ‘same scrummy centres.’ The meaning of scrummy could be debated, but I always remember that they were fantastically sensation-busting. Although a few E-numbers may be found in the blend nowadays, they are still corking on the taste-buds and their flavour is just like that one I remember. The Package… Hidden among the clutter on my desk is the brightly-liveried bag, which is without a doubt unmissable on any shop’s shelf. It looks attractive and appealing, interesting to gaze at and almost beautiful in its colouring. Nearly as pretty as my wife, but not quite ...

Stamford Plaza Auckland 29/05/2002

A Supposed Stay in Style

Stamford Plaza Auckland Apologies as ever for an inactive spell as work get busier and busier all the time. But I have managed to find a few spare moments hidden away in those mounds of paper to take a break and scribble [or more type] another opinion. I continue my tour of the world and today under scrutiny is my hotel in Auckland. Contrary to popular belief I AM back at home – let me clarify that confusion point… Now, with my notes and memories combined we can take a brief tour of the Stamford Plaza Auckland. The Stamford Name… Originating from some sailor, this chain of hotels ‘prides itself in offering outstanding service’ etc… just like Skoda. They are a chain of supposed luxury hotels rapidly expanding throughout Australia now with a strong market position in the continent with 14 hotels in Australia and New Zealand. The 5-star establishments are made out to be very special in the brochures and documents. But lets face it – that’s the company’s brochure. I’m not sure that we can trust it to tell the whole truth about the company, if any, that is. First Impressions… As you approach the hotel, sited around 50 kilometres from Auckland airport, you will also be approaching the city’s second street. It is busy but not too crowded, and there isn’t too much traffic. Auckland is a compact city, and therefore there are few jams etc. The exterior of the building is one of a dark stone, and therefore looks ...

Polynesian Airlines 13/05/2002

More Like Euthanasia

Polynesian Airlines Cast your minds back a few months – you will remember my extravagant world tour of… the world… well, sadly, it has yet to be completed, since today’s theme is Polynesian Airlines – who operated my connection from Sydney to Wellington. We had just ended the major leg of our 28-hour trek and were feeling pretty knackered. We got ourselves what we believe was breakfast but by that time we were completely lost and confused. Our flight was called – it was a Qantas flight operated by Polynesian. First impressions were good. As we prepared for the three-hour trip, I looked out of the jetty window at Sydney. Aside from admiring the spectacular concrete views, I could also see our plane. Sporting the colourful yet over-elaborate new Polynesian Airways, it was impressive. First Looks… We didn’t check in since we were in transit yet I am led to believe that it was a fairly painless and speedy process. Boarding was speedy – a bit of a drag though due to the fact that we had to wait around a fair deal thanks to the connection. But as I looked out the window, I saw our 737-800 – the newest addition to the Polynesian fleet. It was flash and from the outside it was modern. It had the new performance-enhancing blended winglets – making the journey faster and the plane look better. Getting in… We clambered on board after dealing with the large queue in the jetty – another access door was in ... 09/05/2002

Makes me want to SHOUT Earn a good salary… Yes, a little bird tells me that if you were to leave your job and spend all your time at MyVoice you could earn an absolute fortune. Yes, that is, if you get a job in their office. Unfortunately, if you aren’t qualified, then you have to stay at home – and MIGHT just make £10 in four months… – a website which is indeed in the same category as Ciao – consumer – and is recommended higher than Ciao on the listings of the best consumer sites. The site is very simple to follow and simple to be a member of – but is it as good as it seems? will today go under investigation – by me. We are going to explore the MyVoice world and see if it really is as good as they say it is. Do they really pay out? And do they really keep your details confidential? And from what on earth do they pay for it? Yes – there are many unanswered questions about MyVoice and hopefully today the brutal truth will be revealed. It’s time to have a closer look. Let’s start off by looking at exactly what MyVoice is… The opinion begins… MyVoice? What’s that… That’s an unlikely question here on Ciao but it’s one we must answer. MyVoice is another consumer site – similar to Ciao, except you don’t have to write anything. So it’s perfect for anyone who can read and has internet access – what a relief. The idea is that you ...

Kelloggs Corn Flakes 24/04/2002

Grab that Big Green Cock

Kelloggs Corn Flakes Tut tut, another naughty title. Anyway, it’s a glorious Wednesday morning, and today’s plan was to finish an opinion on MyVoice, but I thought, ‘How dull…’ so I raided my kitchen since I haven’t written a food opinion for a while and returned with a huge 750g box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Now I suppose that I should really tie the Corn Flakes in to my world tour since I haven’t yet finished that. It was supposed to be a break but I guess I did happily munch them every morning, no matter which hotel I was in. New Zealand, New York – Corn Flakes could be found everywhere. Why?… Well, isn’t it obvious? Corn Flake’s are the MEDW’s [More Economically Developed World’s] favourite cereal. Do you know anyone who hasn’t heard of Corn Flakes? Okay, maybe some, but very few if any. On with the opinion, and let us start simply. I hope not to ramble too much! What Corn Flakes Are… Corn Flakes are of course Kellogg’s big name in the glamorous world of cereal for those of you who didn’t know. The box humbly declares that they are ‘toasted flakes of corn.’ But that is not everything. Corn Flakes are what a large portion of England wakes up to. For many years, no matter which generation you ask what they had for breakfast, six times out of ten the reply will always involve the words ‘Corn Flakes.’ What Kellogg’s have created is truly ...

The Waldorf Astoria, New York 18/04/2002

Door Dwarf Story Teller

The Waldorf Astoria, New York As the clan jetted in to New York for their three-night stay, they gazed over Manhattan illuminated by night, and of course the lasers creating the effect of an eternally-lasting World Trade Centre. Our plane came down [at the airport that is] and we climbed off the 767. Once our baggage had been gathered from the belt, it was off outside to contend with the somewhat swelled queue of passengers waiting to hop in the back of a yellow cab. But the clan had too many bags. So a specialist driver was found. He had a much bigger 7-seater. In we got after loading the bags and commanded, ‘to the Waldorf Astoria.’ The Waldorf, one of NYC’s famous landmarks features in many films and books and is renowned for its art deco looks. You’ll find it on Park Lane in Manhattan. The Journey Continues… The driver from Uruguay was in a mad hurry – he had some more passengers to pick up from JFK at half ten, and it was already ten o’clock. We swerved up by the baggage door at the WA and made our way inside after stacking our bags on to a trolley. A man whose name deserts me there greeted us, though in a rather arrogant and nasty way. The short guy, the one hinted to in my title told us quick stories about rogue taxi drivers and that our selection may well have been one of them. Not a nice guy. Through the doors… Before we go up, a quick look around the car park. The rather large section, occupying one floor of the hotel was ...

Starbucks, Auckland, New Zealand 11/04/2002

For when you feel generous

Starbucks, Auckland, New Zealand Typical of the clan – they have to fly half way around the world before they experience something they have on their doorstep. If they want a croissant they have to go to an NY deli to buy it. And if we want Starbuck’s coffee, then a trip to New Zealand is in order. And guess what? That’s exactly the case. We fly 28 hours in a plane only to come off and find… central London :(. With the HSBC adverts plastered over walls and the Burger Kings on every street corner. Stagecoach buses to Starbucks coffee. Why didn’t we stay in Woking? What I’m on about… Yes folks, today we are going to go through the doors of Starbuck’s Coffee. Naturally, since this is my New Zealand tour it would have to be one of the three branches we came across in Auckland, the largest city of NZ although not the capital. What Starbuck’s Is… Starbucks lies at the upper end of fast food. It is in a completely separate division to McDonald’s. For example, you can get some cutlery if you want, and if you order a milkshake it comes in a pretty see-through cup and has a fangled Italian name. Somehow from the word MILKSHAKE the design team managed to create the word FRAPPUCCINO. Unless it’s a real word and I need to practise my Italian as well as shut up, stop rambling, and get on with the info you need to know. Basically, the American chain of small, rather smart-looking coffee bars was established a few years ago and has ...
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