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since 25/07/2004


Passoa Liqueur 25/10/2004

You've seen it on the TV now try it!,

Passoa Liqueur What can I say? Passoa is my all time favourite alcoholic beverage – perhaps in part due to the fact that it is really difficult to find it in places – although increasingly you can find it in bars which claim a speciality in cocktails. I first found it a good couple of years ago whilst on holiday in Malta. I confess immediately drawn to the oh so slightly tacky black bottle with fluorescent palm trees. It was on special offer and by the end of the night I was hooked. It is a fruit based liqueur – the fruit in question is passion fruit although to be fair that is not immediately obvious to the taste! It is reasonably strong at 20%. Straight it is sweet with a slightly syruppy taste but mixed with fruit juice it is, in my humble opinion Nectar! Given the original sweetness it is great with slightly more tart fruit juices like grapefruit or cranberry and in a mix with grapefruit and pineapple it tastes a not unlike the Umbongo cartons I used to get in my school packed lunch on Fridays! When I got back to the UK from the holiday in question I scoured my home town for it and was quite chuffed to find it in Tesco’s . Regretfully they withdrew it from sale about 2 years ago but I am still a one woman campaign to get it reinstated to their aisles. You can find it in the occasional off license but I am yet to find another chain who sells it. If anyone knows of one please do let me know. I get my bottles from Duty Free as a general rule. If you can find it in the UK a 70cl ...

Rome (Italy) 12/09/2004

Fantastic trip away

Rome (Italy) We recently went to Rome for five nights (apologies I know it wasn't really a weekend) during September and had an absolutely amazing time in what was pleasant but not overpowering temperatures. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT We arranged the trip ourselves and flew into Ciampino airport on one of the low cost airlines. From the airport which was fairly basic but acceptable there were a number of options of how to get into Rome itself namely: - coach direct to the central train station - bus to the local railway station and then a train into the centre of Rome - bus to a train on the Metro system and then metro to our location. We jumped the first bus that came along and found ourselves on a short trip to the metro station. When there we decided to buy a week pass which covers all Rome buses (except the Tourist open topped route and the Tourist bus down the Appian way) and the metro as well as some trains - pretty good value for 16 euros. The Metro system is two lines which cross in one place (At the main train station) and as such has limited use for getting around Rome although trains are frequent. If you do use them beware of the pickpockets especially on the stations around the Coliseum. The bus system around Rome was really impressive, there were a variety of routes right the way across town on what seemed like new clean buses. Bus stops are clearly marked and also tell you the main stops for each rote which we found really useful. Although I would advise to ...

Working Wonders - Jenny Colgan 26/07/2004

Working Wonders - Why?

Working Wonders - Jenny Colgan I ‘bought’ this novel Working Wonders when it came free with a Summer special of a magazine and boy am I glad I hadn’t actually bought it. Broadly speaking it is the story of a male town planner who finds himself with a new job just as his girlfriend leaves him. His new job is to try and make Coventry into a contender for the City of Culture award. Underlying this tale of office politics, office freaks and a hint of office romance is a slightly odd sub story line about our town planner being a descendant of King Arthur. I read a lot and quite widely but this bordering on fantasy plotline left me cold - not least because it doesn’t really go anywhere. This feels as though Jenny Colgan has thrown all sorts of ideas into a mixing pot and never quite got round to sorting through them all and gluing them together coherently so I was left at the end with a feeling of ‘so what’ or ‘what was the point’. Really disappointing given that I have enjoyed all her other work that I have read. There are despite a poor plot line a number of okay characters particularly Cathy a downtrodden wife and mother – not entirely sure what her job in the office was but I couldn’t help be pleased as she got up form the floor and stopped being a doormat. Also of interest is Sandwiches the dog who at times seems a lot more real than either Arthur the hero or his lady interest Gwyneth. Raff the posh relative of the Chief Exec is interestingly unstereotyped unlike usurped boss Ross. I would ...

Kenwood New York Smoothie Maker 26/07/2004

Great tasting smoothies not great on the head

Kenwood New York Smoothie Maker I received this as a gift Last Christmas and was really pleased to unpack this an leave it standing on the kitchen worktop all the time as it has a really attractive steel finish on the base and is quite neat and fits well into the corner. It came with a small recipe booklet as well which was helpful for getting a feel for what should go together and how to get the right consistency (bananas!). I also like the fact that there are some basic markings embossed into the side of the container giving an indication of how much liquid to solid content you should include. Using it is surprisingly easy - get your ingredients together pop into the top of the machine, secure the lid, press the on button or pulse and beware of damage to your ears! This thing is really very noisy. Smoothies might be a good idea for kickstarting the morning after the night before but try it with this at your peril! When blended to your satisfaction all you need to do is pop your glass under the tap and pull down until you have enough and then release the tap. Very nice and not at all messy. The only downside to all this is then cleaning it. I have found that it doe not drain particularly easily and so ends up with ‘droplet’ effect marks on the sides. Although these will come off with a quick rub with some kitchen roll (although do beware of the blades) and then its back onto the worktop to look pretty until next time we tried it. Our favourite recipe by far is to through some plain vanilla ice ...

Air Berlin 25/07/2004

Air Berlin - German low cost airline

Air Berlin I fly regularly to Hannover and stumbled acorss this airline late last year. I was surprised to find that its flights on average appear lower than other operators flying to the same location and they have now become my airline of choice Their website is easy to navigate and I have never had any problems with access to it. As with all low cost carriers flights are always cheaper when you book in advance but even so a flight booked the week beofre can be less than half the price of others. A small thing I really like is that prices quoted on the site are always incusive of any taxes etc that need to paid so you don't need to get the calculator out to do a comparison check. T hey don't issue tickets but do provide confirmation e-mails which include useful details such as train disruptiosn on the way into Stansted. They fly from Stansted and have several banks of check in desks from which all flights check in for. As such you may need to give a full 2 hours although staff are helpful and the queue is always moving. On board their planes are all new models with decent leg room (easy for me to say at5 foot!) and have in flight entertainment - although on short flights this might be as little as music and a screen giving details of the journey. A free drink and sandwich is offered (there is normally a choice between a meat and a vegatarina option) and staff all have a basic level of English - service of good. Planes often seem to take off a little later than timeabled ...
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