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since 01/06/2009

23

Hostelworld.com 17/06/2009

I want a room, cheap and with breakfast.

Hostelworld.com Travelling is my big passion as you might have seen from my other reviews. During University time trips like 5months backpacking in Asia are not possible but I can always find time for a quick weekend in a great city. I'm just about to book 2 nights in Bratislava and you can follow me through the process. --------------- ----------- What is it? --------------- ----------- www.hostelworld.com is a website to find and book accommodation in over 170 countries. Property types start with campsites over hostels to budget hotels so there's something for every taste. The website can be used in over 20 languages and with the currencies Pound, Euro and US Dollar. --------------- ----------- For who is it? --------------- ----------- Everyone can use it, no registration or card is needed. You don't have to be under 26 or a student, no ISIC, nothing. It's free to use, quick, easy and reliable. They don't even ask for my age or occupation. --------------- ----------- How to use it! --------------- ----------- So, I want to nights in a cheap hostel in Bratislava. I select on the front page 'Slovakia' and 'Bratislava'. My dates are the 24th & 25th of September, that goes just under the location. I select 2 nights and one traveller. 2 seconds till the results page comes up. It's in Euro and I have to change the currency to Pound. One click and that's done. The hostel should be cheap so my sorting category is 'price'. Hostel Possonium comes up with 10Pound per night and an overall rating ...

Peru - Paul Hellander 17/06/2009

Peru, I'm coming!

Peru - Paul Hellander --------------- ----- I'm using the 6th edition, published in February 2007. --------------- ----- Peru is one of the must-sees on my life-to-do-list. I actually bought this book long before I started planning my trip, long before I actually decided to go. I've read it several times by know and cannot get enough of the travel stories, the history, the description of the people and the photos. As far as I can see all the main attractions and some hidden gems are all very well covered. For more details on 'off the beaten track' attractions I happily rely on the Lonely Planet online forum - a good source for travel tips. --------------- -------- Chapters - Quick reference with Peru fact file, exchange rates and important phone numbers. In this book they use a scale to describe the price of the accommodation: up to 25$ is 'budget', between 26$ and 75$ is 'mid range' and over is 'top end'. You see, Peru is quite an expensive country compared to its neighbours. - Coloured map over two pages, highlights are marked and described. - Destination Peru - this is my favourite as it contains photos to places that are described later in the book. It's great to see photos of places you want to visit and can offer you alternatives you never thought about before. Photos are divided into the following sections: 'Fiesta time', 'Ancient treasures', 'People of Peru', 'Natural Wonders' and 'Adrenalin Heights'. - Suggested itineraries - contains 7 suggested itineraries from easily accessible ...

Lonely Planet Laos - Lonely Planet 17/06/2009

Don't expect too much help

Lonely Planet Laos - Lonely Planet --------------- ----- I'm using the 6th edition, published in August 2007. --------------- ----- Laos is definitely my favourite country, travelling or living there. My initial plan was to spend there one week, basically just a quick stop on my way to Vietnam but in the end I stayed for over 3 months and I'll return to Laos soon - just cannot get enough of it. A traveller I met at the Thai/Laotian border gave me his Lonely Planet and since that day the book hasn't left me. The main attractions such as Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars are well covered and described, however, if you want to go off the beaten track better rely on other sources. But I'll come to this negative points later. --------------- -------- Chapters - Quick reference with Laos fact file, exchange rates and important phone numbers. In this book they use a scale to describe the price of the accommodation: up to 15$ is 'budget', between 16$ and 7550$ is 'mid range' and over is 'top end'. They do not however mention that prices very extremely between dry and rainy season; I paid for a double with bathroom 3 Pound and for the same room in dry season 9 Pound! - Coloured map over two pages, highlights are marked and described. - Destination Laos - this is my favourite as it contains photos to places that are described later in the book. It's great to see photos of places you want to visit and can offer you alternatives you never thought about before - of course it's also nice to look at them after your ...

Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok - Lonely Planet 17/06/2009

sun, beach & waves!

Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok - Lonely Planet --------------- ----- I'm using the 11th edition, published in March 2007. --------------- ----- The fact that this is already the 11th edition shows how popular the Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok is. Just mentioning the word 'Bali' lets us that we are stuck in rainy England dream of golden beaches, crystal clear water and a pina colada in the sunset. And that's basically what the LP promises us, holiday fun without end, easy travelling and a relaxing atmosphere. Both islands are well covered but the focus is on Bali - the more well known destination. Looking through the book I was surprised how expensive (by Indonesian standards) everything seems to be, my first thought was that the writers were living a good life without thinking about budget travellers but I soon realised that Bali is just incredibly expensive. --------------- -------- Chapters - Quick reference with exchange rates and important phone numbers and phrases. In this book they use a scale to describe the price of the accommodation: up to 250,000 RP is 'budget', between 250,000 and 800000 RP is 'mid range' and over is 'top end'. They tell you that 800,000 is roughly 75$ but don't add what 250000 would be. Annoying when you first have to play around with the exchange rates. - Coloured map over two pages, highlights are marked and described. The centre piece is Bali and smaller in the corner is the map of Lombok. - Destination Bali - this is my favourite as it contains photos to places that are described later ...

Asda Smartprice Apple Pies 17/06/2009

I want more!

Asda Smartprice Apple Pies Since moving to England I love apple pies with hot custard, it's just the best pudding in the world - definitely at the same step as Italian ice cream and austrian apple strudel if you ask me. Being a big fan of the Tesco Value range I started to give ASDA Smartprice a try too and I really wasn't disappointed. The pies are lovely and I cannot taste a difference between the cheapies and a more expansive brand. --------------- --------- Packing The packing is quite minimalistic, a plastic tray with cellophane wrapped around the pies. That is actually quite good, you can see the pies and don't have to have the disappointment at home when you realise that they are broken or damaged. In the front is a label in the typical ASDA Smartprice green & white and on the back is another label with the nutrition info and the ingredients. I'm ok with the basic packing, I can see the pies before I buy them and it's not too much (or indeed) any useless design on it. --------------- --------- Nutrition Oh god, I wish I'd never looked at the back of the box! One single, tiny pie contains 12.6g sugar and 7.2g of fat, that makes together 170 calories a pie! And I could easily eat two of them with custard for pudding. --------------- --------- Look & Taste I remember that I was a bit disappointed when I opened the pack for the first time ever, no sweet apple smell, nothing. I love it when you smell the sour apples, the buttery pasty and the sweet sauce, unfortunately not so with the ...

Heinz Vegetable Soup 17/06/2009

an ok-isch vegetable soup

Heinz Vegetable Soup If you read some of my latest reviews you a)know that I'll go travelling again soon and b) that therefor I'm doing my best to eat healthy to get fit and in shape. My latest idea was to have soups for lunch at work - let's give it a try! I've always been a big fan of soup but with the exception of pepper/tomato soup I've never managed to cook anything that was worth mentioning. Tinned soups are a easy solution, too easy if you ask me. Most don't taste anything like they promise on the label, are full of artificial flavours/colours or preserving agents and inferior products. But Heinz has a good name when it comes to quality ingredients so I gave some oh their soups a try. I already quite liked the Lentil soup and I was really looking forward to have the Vegetable soup for lunch today. It wasn't my favourite Vegetable soup, too much onion in general and a not well balanced taste make it unlikely that I'll buy the Vegetable soup again. I bought them when they were 4 for 2.60 at Tesco's so I still have 3 cans waiting for me. --------------- ------------- Ingredients & Nutrition The Heinz Vegetable Soup contains the following ingredients: - Water - Carrots - Potatoes - Concentrated Tomato Puree - Peas - Pasta Tubes - Onions - Swedes - Modified Cornflour - Sugar - Haricot Beans - Vegetable Oil - Wheat Flour - Cornflour - Salt - Herb Extract - Flavouring - Yeast Extract - Vegetables 29%. - Pasta Tubes (Water, Durum Wheat Semolina). Allergies Information Durum wheat semolina ...

Heinz Lentil Soup 17/06/2009

a nice soup

Heinz Lentil Soup If you read some of my latest reviews you a)know that I'll go travelling again soon and b) that therefor I'm doing my best to eat healthy to get fit and in shape. My latest idea was to have soups for lunch at work - let's give it a try! I've always been a big fan of soup but with the exception of pepper/tomato soup I've never managed to cook anything that was worth mentioning. Tinned soups are a easy solution, too easy if you ask me. Most don't taste anything like they promise on the label, are full of artificial flavours/colours or preserving agents and inferior products. But Heinz has a good name when it comes to quality ingredients so I gave the Lentil Soup a try. I love Indian food, especially a nice lentil dahl. The Heinz soup is with tomato which was something new for me as I normally eat the lentils in a spicy curry. I did like the soup but it was not flavoured enough for me, this however was easily solved with some chillie and herbs. Don't get me wrong, the soup is fine but i just prefer the spicier version. --------------- ------------- Ingredients & Nutrition The Heinz Lentil Soup contains: - Water - Lentils (22%) - Carrots - Potatoes - Concentrated Tomato Puree - Modified Cornflour - Cornflour - Onions - Wheat Flour - Pea Fibre - Flavourings - Yeast Extract - Salt - Herb Extract - Spice Extracts Allergies Information: Celeriac, Gluten, Wheat & Wheat Flour The Nutrition info looks quite good - a nice & healthy soup. The nutrition info is for a 200g serving, ...

Baxter's Baxters Carrot & Coriander Soup 17/06/2009

I could swim in this soup

Baxter's Baxters Carrot & Coriander Soup If you read some of my latest reviews you a)know that I'll go travelling again soon and b) that therefor I'm doing my best to eat healthy to get fit and in shape. My latest idea was to have a vegetable soup for lunch at work - let's give it a try! I've always been a big fan of soup but with the exception of pepper/tomato soup I've never managed to cook anything that was worth keeping. Tinned soups are a easy solution, too easy if you ask me. Most don't taste anything like they promise on the label, are full of artificial flavours/colours or preserving agents and inferior products. Baxter's Carrot & Coriander soup ended up in my shopping basket as a last try, one more chance to convince me that tinned soups can be ok - and I have to admit, it worked incredibly well! I loved the carrot soup and as soon as I went shopping again I bought a huge supply of Baxter's Carrot & Coriander, Spicy Parsnip and Butternut Squash soup. Full of good ingredients and low in fat they are a ideal snack or even a filling meal when eaten with toasted bread. I take them to work for lunch, it's quick to heat them in the morning and fill the soup in a thermos flask - it will stay warm for hours. --------------- ------------- Ingredients & Nutrition Baxter's promises us on the front label the no artificial colours, flavours & preservatives were used. The soup has less than 2% fat and is suitable for Vegetarians; not for Vegans though as Milk powder and butter is used. The main ingredients are: - ...

graze.com 17/06/2009

Eat healthy, eat Graze!

graze.com When I opened our local newspaper during my lunch break I saw that the main article was about spicing up your lunch box and adding more vitamins to replace sugar, fat etc. Their suggestion was to prepare healthy meals in the morning, using an awful lot of time on cooking, chopping tons of vegetables, even baking stuff and all that before going to your nine hour work. Honestly, I tried it, several times, and could never manage to prepare more than sandwiches in the morning. Thank god for graze.com - the saved me from popping into Tescos to get another meal deal with delivering fresh pineapple, fire nuts and dried cranberries to my workplace! Graze.com can be your new mother that packs you a healthy lunchbox in the morning - and I'll promise you that this box wont include soggy sandwiches. Ordering a box is incredibly easy, just go to graze.com and set up an account. You chose on which weekday you would like your first box to be delivered (every day excluding Monday), chose the address where you like it to be delivered eg your work place or your home and finally the type of box you'd like. You can chose between 5 different types of boxes; all including fresh fruit and a choice of either nuts, dried fruit, seeds and natural treats. You also have the option to customize your box, for 50p more you can have a medium sized bag of olives - I think I'll try that version soon, I just love olives! A normal box costs 2.99 and the custom made option with olives 3.49. That sounds ...

Innocent Smoothies 17/06/2009

Banana, pineapple & coconut

Innocent Smoothies Hey, my name is Sarah and I'm a smoothie addict! I love the Innocent Smoothies and they since became a regular part of my lunch. The small ones can get quite expensive if you buy one per day so I tried the 1 liter version the other day. Pineapple, bananas & coconut is my favourite. It's not too sweet and reminds me of my trip to Thailand - ah, sun, beach and a pineapple & coconut shake... --------------- ----------- Packing The smoothie comes in a white cardboard drink box with screw top. The well known golden Innocent angel-smiley is printed on the front. On the back the label informs us how much and which fruit was used and what the nutrition info is. The packing looks quite nice, doesn't leak and the screwtape is easy to use. --------------- ----------- Ingredients & Nutrition 1 liter of my smoothie contains astonishing: - 1.5 Pressed Pineapples 43% - 3.5 Mashed Bananas 35% - 2.5 Pressed Apples - Coconut Milk 7% - Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice The smoothie is of course suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans. Energy - 73 Kcal Protein - 0.7g Carbohydrate - 15.3g of which sugars - 13.6g Fat - 1.2g of which saturates - 1.1g Fibre - 1.0g That's quite a bit more sugar as in other Innocent smoothies due to the coconut milk. Still, 73 kcal per 100ml is ok-isch, maybe don't chose the coconut variant every day if you are on a diet. One serving of 250ml is 2 of your 5-a-day. --------------- ----------- Look & Taste The Pineapple, Banana & Coconut smoothie looks delicious ...

Superdrug Naturals Coconut & Sweet Almond Intensive Conditioner 17/06/2009

nice smell - but that's it

Superdrug Naturals Coconut & Sweet Almond Intensive Conditioner I just wrote a '1 star' review about the Superdrug Naturals shampoo and unfortunately the review about the corresponding conditioner is not going to be much better. My hair is disaster, curly and thick it is a nightmare for every hairdresser. I just have to wash it every day and accordingly blow dry it every single morning. Conditioner is a must for me, if not I would spend half of my day combing my hair. Normally I invest quite a lot in hair care but at the moment I really need to save money for my upcoming trip to Asia. The Superdrug 2-for-1 offer came like a god send to me; shampoo and conditioner for 98 pence! The label is very promising, the Coconut & Sweet Almond conditioner is supposed to 'help restore moisture and shine' and is especially suitable for 'dry and damaged hair'. Sounds good but unfortunately that's as far away from the reality as possible. Even though I used loads of the conditioner I didn't feel much of a change, it still took me twice as long to comb my hair than it took me with my usual products. --------------- --------- Look & Smell The bottle looks quite good with the black & white design and the image of a coconut and almonds on the front. The conditioner looks pearly shiny, it's quite thick and you really have to squeeze it out of the bottle. The smell is great, the first thing I noticed was this lovely coconut smell. You cannot really smell the almost but they make the overall smell sweeter. I actually smells like something I'd love to eat! ...

Superdrug Naturals Coconut & Sweet Almond Shampoo 17/06/2009

Avoid it!

Superdrug Naturals Coconut & Sweet Almond Shampoo My hair is disaster, curly and thick it is a nightmare for every hairdresser. I just have to wash it every day and accordingly blow dry it every single morning. Normally I invest quite a lot in hair care but at the moment I really need to save money for my upcoming trip to Asia. The Superdrug 2-for-1 offer came like a god send to me; shampoo and conditioner for 98 pence! The label is very promising, the Coconut & Sweet Almond shampoo is supposed to 'help restore moisture and shine' and is especially suitable for 'dry and damaged hair'. Sounds good but unfortunately that's as far away from the reality as possible. My hair felt even drier after using the shampoo! --------------- --------- Look & Smell The bottle looks quite good with the black & white design and the image of a coconut and almonds on the front. The shampoo looks silvery shiny. The smell is great, the first thing I noticed was this lovely coconut smell. You cannot really smell the almost but they make the overall smell sweeter. I actually smells like something I'd love to eat! The smell actually stays with you for a while and your hairs smell of coconut for at least 2 hours. I just love coconut - it reminds me of beaches, palmtrees and sun. --------------- --------- Using it I could rename this chapter to downsides, from working it in your hair to the end result it's a big disaster. Firstly I needed lots of it to create any foam. Than I could instantly feel that my hair was sticking together and didn't ...

Tesco Value Tuna Chunks in Brine 02/06/2009

Please no brine

Tesco Value Tuna Chunks in Brine This is the first Tesco Value product I wouldn't buy again. Not because the quality is not good but because I just prefer spring water to brine. If you don't mind the brine I can recommend the tuna chunks - the quality is good and they are a great base for many nice dishes - have a look at the end of my review for my favourite tuna dish. --------------- Packing The tuna chunks come in a medium sized flat tin without lid opener - for me a big minus point as I can never find my can opener and have to search for 10min to find it. The label is the well-known Tesco Value blue and white design with all relevant information on the back of the tin. The thing that first caught my eye is the 'dolphin friendly' logo on the front - a movement to protect the dolphins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphinsafelabel). Thumps up for Tesco as they only use tuna that was caught without harming or killing dolphin; LIDL for example still doesn't use this label. --------------- Ingredients & nutrition The nutritional information per 100g drained tuna is: Energy - 100 kcal Protein - 23.5g Carbohydrates - trace Fat - 0.6g Saturates - 0.2g That makes the tuna a healthy and tasty alternative to meat - try a Spaghetti Bolognese with tuna instead of meat! -------------- Look & Taste The tuna chunks come in brine - I normally buy them in spring water or sunflower oil and now after trying the Tesco tuna I'll stick to the spring water. I don't mind the taste as much as the smell of the brine - I tried ...

Yangon (Rangoon) 01/06/2009

An amazing place

Yangon (Rangoon) How could I sum up Yangon in one sentence? A total assualt on the senses! It's a large and chaotic city crammed full of a diverse cross-section of ethnic groups; Birmar, Shan, Mon, Karen, Bengali, Tamil, Chinese and Nepalis all share the streets and tea houses that dot the city's suburbs. Then there are the wonderful temples that have followed in the footsteps of each of these people's religions; From the Buddhist pagodas that form the majority to Hindu temples in the Indian district to the Taoist temples in Chinatown and the Cathedrals scattered all over the city that serve as a constant reminder of Burma's colonial days under British Imperial rule...Burma, like neigbouring India to the west, is home to one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse societies on the planet. However, perhaps paradoxically, Burma still has a uniqueness to it... The effects of the trade embargo are immediently apparent. The taxis here are all old cars, mostly toyota corolas imported from Japan (one of the few nations who haven't conformed to the international trade embargo along with China, Thailand and India) and are virtually all falling apart. One taxi we took in Yangon had the fuel tank attached to the back seat and the chasis and doors were held together by duct tape and some sort of adhesive glue (maybe hot glue or silicone gel!?)...For the vast majority of Burmese this is the harsh reality of the trade embargo, they simply cannot afford new cars as new cars cost even more than we ...

Plain of Jars (Laos) 01/06/2009

Jars on a plain

Plain of Jars (Laos) The 'plain of jars' is one of the must sees in Asia - similar to Stonehenge and the figures on the Easter Island nobody knows the origins of these small to big stone jars. They are located close to Phonsavan in the north-east of Laos close to the vietnamese border. Phonsavan is easily accessible from all major cities. You can go by local bus or by minibus - Local bus from Luang Prabang was 50000kip and the minibus was 85000kip. There are 3 jar-sites whereby Site was is the most easily reachable. You have 3 ways to visit the sites: - by tour: every GH will offer you tours. Expect to pay 80000 for Site 1 and 150000 for all 3 Sites. I found that the tour was overly rushed and you didn't have enough time to see this impressive place. - go with a TukTuk: Find a TukTuk driver to take you. It will be a lot cheaper than with the tour and you can enjoy your day in your own time. - hire a Motorbike: Motorbikes are 100000kip per day. Site 1 is easy to reach over a normal road. Both Site 2 and 3 need a ride over a dirt track - only do this if you are confident driving on a dirt track! Entrance fee is to each site 10000 kip (if you go by bike there's also a 5000kip parking fee) Have a look here for Info and Photos: http://plainofjars.net/ The plain of jars are basically jars...On a plain! Really (REALLY) big stone jars that you can climb in, scattered on a plain. That in itself makes them amazing. But the mystery lies in there origin. That is, no one has any idea why people built ...
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