Waddle Goose Cyder “Refreshingly free from Backstory. Natural and fruity with tang though- (7.5/10).

Waddle Goose cyder ” Refreshingly free from a backstory. Natural and fruity, with a noticeable tang though” -(7.5/10).


With a dark bottle, and bright striking white with orange pattern, you could easily be fooled by the ciders exuberant exterior. It shouts more of the Churchwards’ cider which was pretending to be something it wasn’t, than the Sxollie which attempts to be hip. This isn’t typically a negative, as packaging appropriate to it’s target audience is what every drink should aim for. Whether this is an appropriate to the drink or not.

In this case though, it doesn’t really reassure you. It’s an Aspalls cider. One of the many drinks descended from the 1728 est. factory near Debenham. A rural suffolk town. This historically has upheld various traditions. One would be to illustrate how the cider fits into it’s history, or stick to one colour per cider product showing discrete clarity. It could even be, to possess a bottle shape resembling that of a champagne-like form, most other aspalls bottles have done this since 1930. This was part of their history to create a “Special drink” like champagne itself. If you ask me it is also one of the main USP’s of Aspalls.

At first glance then, it seems rather disappointing. The bottle is shaped like that of Evian, or another dull tasting, or indistinctive product.

At £1.60 for the bottle from Waitrose, and 4.6% ABV, this means you’d have to fork out £3.20 to be just over the recommended “do not regularly exceed” limit of 3-4 units per adult man daily. This would put you at 4.6 units …

Not the cheapest then either … You do get 500ml though, which isn’t a bad capacity.

It mentions how it takes a fresh approach to Apple selection. Not using Worcester spartan or Cox, yet favouring others such as Gala and Zari. With Royal Gala being a sweet eating apple, I wondered if the cider would be nice and sweet.
Mouth-wateringly crisp and flavoursome were 2 of the traits said to be apparent on the blurb. There is nothing else though, except the announcement of ” refreshment deserves a refresh”.

Why not improve and develop rather than overhaul to refresh with a new product though. The history, bottle shape and light flavour is what made aspalls unique in my mind. This didn’t mention any of that. The motto then seems to be forget and move on , rather than refresh, which I didn’t yet, having not tasted the drink, agree with.

We shall see …



The smell was natural and not synthetic. Not especially potent however, and quite ephemeral. I would suggest that it is a product which hasn’t the addition of unnecessary chemicals though. It quickly fades away, and not much of a fizzy head emerges, suggesting light carbonation. Not an unpleasant smell though, which entices you in to the first sip.


On first sip, the limited carbonation is clear. The fruitiness is also present in the flavour. It is a pleasant, slightly sharp, appley flavour which goes quickly, and leaves your mouth feeling rough. There is no bitter aftertaste and no real aftertaste at all. It does leave a strong crater of dryness however. The flavour doesn’t seem especially complex, and isn’t overly warming. It is pleasant though, almost resembling a refreshing green eating apple.

This is by far the best thing about the drink…

The pleasant flavour, complemented by refreshing tang from the apples perfect level of acidity. Except for dryness though, there isn’t much to get excited about. The complexity and backstory of some ciders make them stand out. I want a story about nature, or an orchard, and then could possibly get more excited about this.

The element of sweetness is disguised by the natural Appley flavour, which does develop well through drinking. I feel the lack of noticeable sweetness is not much of an issue therefore. The flavour doesn’t have an aftertaste and dies fairly quickly which is a shame though. A little more carbonation may have helped this.



A pleasant dry cider which isn’t described in any way on the packaging. The drink is subtle and pleasant yet nothing too spectacular. Light carbonation, yet fading away quickly along with the enjoyment.


Creep movie ” Creepy, cunning, but consistent”. (7/10)

Creep review ” Creepy, Cunning yet fairly constant” (7/10)

The movie starts in a comforting setting, confusing you as to what is to come. Setting s are ideal throughout, to provide a real heir of tension.
The music is catchy and rhythmic with a creepy undertone. The characters are well played and the movie benefits from a relatable location, with normality as a baseline.
It cleverly builds tension with relationships emphasised at times, yet doesn’t let you know enough about the main characters in my opinion.

The film leaves space for a sequel with certain unanswered questions. The tension building whilst good, would benefit from additional special effects.
In my mind, after the tension is cut, it is never truly reestablished. The scares become repetitive and predictable without any variation except precise location. Whilst you’re encouraged to continue watching out of curiosity, this isn’t out of fear.

Darkness needs to adopt more forms to provide a more satisfying film.
The plot is good though as it is well considered. It makes logical sense and is not overextended, with a fairly minimal film duration.

With limited characters, and some considerable pauses between dramatic events, the film reaches a level and stays there. It would be great to see something more imaginative than the expected. That said worth a watch and a good movie with some level of uniqueness.

The Descent – Good storyline, tense at times, with okay acting (8/10)

The Descent 2005 review ” Good storyline, tense at times with okay acting”. (8/10)

Quite a pathetic beginning, with a lot of unnecessary details. The main concept was set out clearly though which helped the sense of adventure. It was a long while before the horror seemed to truly build, yet tension was met early on cleverly at a lower level.
The sort of film which only gets better as time goes on.

The lack of music and diverse range of gore, horror and despair worked well to keep the viewer entertained throughout the adventure. Relationships played a key part of the outcome and the film did well in bringing out personalities, and how they differed in traumatic moments.

The film gives you a sense of context aswell throughout, keeping you aware of the significance of what is going on. The title is good and reflects enough to describe the themes of the movie, without spoiling the plot.

I would have liked a little more music in tense moments and some modern effects in places as well. Cliff hangers were given which provided the opportunity for a sequel. I wouldn’t rule out watching it based on this film.

While in the opening the acting was a little overplayed, the expressions did get better throughout. The film could have given more tension, and became scarier with better acting.

Overall the movie storyline was good, the acting wasn’t great, but the tension was built well, with clever use of the camera and setting. I would recommend certainly for those into adventure horror as it is one of the better ones I’ve seen. For those looking for a truly epic film though, you may wish to look elsewhere.


Room 33 movie ” Dull title, slowly built tension to a good climax” -(7.5/10).

Room 33 film review – (7.5/10) “Slowly building to good tension using expressions and the camera”.

Room 33 has an excellent upbeat opening with nature and sets the scene for a real adventure. You might ask what could possibly wrong and you end up thinking, what couldn’t. As turmoil begins, the film rumbles on and doesn’t really have many tension building effects. It is the acting that makes it well worth a watch in the end.

The characters are played very well and actors formulate their personalities individually , to help you get to know the characters. This is vital in any horror so that you feel a sense of loss without them.
The plot has enough mystery to keep you engaged. It isn’t just a case of a psycho on the loose. Far from it in fact. The tale has history and needs the full film duration to truly understand what is going on.

The film consistently does camera angle well. The camera homes in on precisely where facial expressions or events are happening. The setting is nice and confined, keeping tension reasonable throughout. Not your typical horror film and a nice surprise. Definitely an adventure horror if such a thing exists.

I have to say it is worth a watch and you won’t be disappointed. It does enough to build tension, and has a good storyline. For a good horror film I don’t think anything else is necessary. A good film with a dull title.


The Glass house movie – (8/10) ” Great thriller if slightly longer. Not a horror though”.

The Glass house movie review (8/10) “Great thriller if slightly longer. Not a horror though”.

The Glass house challenges the idea that individuals always want to assist those in need of help. It comes with multiple surprises and settings, and an action packed storyline.
The constant theme throughout is almost like dark action. It is certainly not a horror, but does earn it’s reputation well as a thriller.

The characters are well played with the multitude of emotions, actions and health states they experience. It takes some real skill to act with this level of diversity.

Clearly, the casting team did a good job. As for the movie itself, not bad at all. Being in the haunted house genre, I was expecting a horror though, which I didn’t get. If horror was to emerge in the already action packed house, it would have made the interesting storyline great, and enhance the sinister vibes already present.

The music worked well throughout, with dramatic sounds used to emphasise particularly shocking events. These crescendo cues, were not worn out however, so the film worked well to raise tension.

Aswell as the darkness, the initial expectation of forthcoming positivity, helps the contrast. The setting is far from what you’d expect and darkness is not only restricted to the night. This is quite rare in horror films.

With themes of broken relationships, attraction, abuse, bereavement, empathy and sibling love, the film provides enough emotional variety to really get, and keep the viewer engaged. No short change is present in the movie. With some better special effects and fright techniques though, this could be raised to a truly chilling level.

As it stands currently it is still a striking, varied and engaging thriller, with darker undertones throughout. The storyline is not idiotproofed, yet isn’t rocket science either, so suits me well.

I am tempted to watch again and would recommend as a thriller. I give it 8.5/10 as a thriller since it’s a little long for a truly outstanding movie. Unfortunately though, I can only give it a 7/10 as a horror, since the effects and tension weren’t sufficient.


The Autopsy of Jane doe horror (8.5/10)- ” Very chilling”.

The autopsy of Jane Doe review (8.5/10)

After watching a pretty mediocre horror film at best, this is what the doctor ordered. A range of clever techniques are used throughout the film to build up tension and lead to the fear factor from any surprises along the way.

The setting of the film keeps things intimate and allows real emotion to be conveyed. I am not saying this isn’t also down to some great acting though. The character movements are paired well with the atmospheric mood and facial expressions.

The movie had me on the edge of my seat for most of the second part. I’d thoroughly recommend for it’s non traditional storyline and fear factor. Camera angles are also used well.


Home ( Pixar) movie quiz – Continue the discovery.


Home ( The movie) Level 2 – ( The best Pixar course)

Imagine many creatures from different planets coming together to fight and work together. All aiming to complete a mission in exciting 3D animation.

Transport yourself into a world of discovery by watching the film. After the film feel a sense of loss as if something has ended that you were enjoying which is never to be as interesting and fun to watch again.

Don’t worry though. I have created a course with a little reading to test your knowledge of the film and extend it. This will continue your journey of discovery and keep your brain healthy, all while reliving those positive memories of the film.

For just 3 USD and well under 3 pounds, you’ll have access to 30 questions both challenging and simple. The text will have multiple sections for quick and fun reading.

Topics include:

– The Storyline
– Colour changes
– Vehicles and Technology
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So wait no longer…

Watch the film and purchase/complete the reading and quiz below. You don’t even have to watch the film to answer the questions, so you can just buy/complete.

If reading is your thing, the film Home is based on the book known as The true meaning of Smekday. Read that first and you’ll smash the quiz I am sure.

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The Dolby Hotel, Liverpool – (Room 203) 6.5/10 “Epic power shower in a cupboard”.

The Dolby hotel review ( Room 203) (6.5/10) – “Epic power shower in a cupboard”.

” Central location”.
” Quick food and drink service”.
“Good TV picture quality”.
” Good WIFI speed and polite room cleaners”.
” Shareable Lotus tea biscuits”.
” Epic true power shower”.

” Plastic spoons for tea stirring”.
” Cupboard sized bathroom “.
” Only 2 teabags”.
” Exploding teabags”.
” Only 2 plug sockets”.
” Couldn’t find the WIFI password”.


As a waterfront hotel, the Dolby was only a short walk from the train stations and the university. It’s location beside a busy road, resulted in some considerable noise. The view from the window whilst a little industrial, was not blocked by any inanimate objects. The bar downstairs was peaceful and easy to relax in with comfy leather sofas. The split between bar seating and dining space was open plan making things seem more spacious.

Overall seating was a little lacking however, since extra chairs had to be borrowed for socialising, from other tables. It was good to have a bar that was open till 1am however, rather than the typical early shut time of many hotels such as Manchester BW hallmark which regularly closes at just 10pm.

Corridors were sufficiently wide and not pokey like the Afton of Eastbourne. Also there was no pungent smell of cigarette smoke also experienced there. Always a bonus…

Tea provisions

It was good to have the full range of sweetening options, aswell as an equal number of each. These included 2 sweeteners, Demerara sugars and white sugar sachets. The counts were far more unequal in the Days inn, Peterborough and the Afton. Good here therefore …

Unlike in the Afton, coffee had a decaffeinated option which was appropriate to appease the taste of many guests. With 4 caffeinated coffees and 2 decaffeinated, the ratio, whilst not totally 50:50, seemed irrelevant considering the variety of options offered here. The total coffee count was marginally better than the Afton, whilst coffee to tea ratio was a little inferior. The numbers were not equal here unlike at the Afton, which possessed 4 of each.

The total sweetening count of 6, was dramatically less than the 15 present in the Afton. 15 works out more per cup of tea for the Afton than that provided in the Dolby also. This makes the difference more poignant and this therefore should be rectified.

Whilst there were sweeteners supplied here and not just sugar, unlike in the Afton, the lack of overall sweetening product counts made things appear more basic here.
Why 4 milk tubs were necessary for just 2 cups of tea was a little beyond me also.

2 small biscuits were supplied in separate packets which alleviated much of the heartbreak of (roommate tea biscuit sharing) conflicts. This was better than the single Golden oat crumble pack present in the Days inn, Peterborough. The taste was also pleasant and not too sickly.

I didn’t approve of the 2 plastic spoons provided however, since these felt rather flimsy .Why not get metal cutlery ?

With Just 2 PG tips tea sachets, this was half of the 4 present in the Afton which has the same star rating. Clearly this number was a bit disappointing therefore, and quickly ran out for just one guest, let alone the 2 that were staying. This meant I had to ask for more from the room service trolley, which was an inconvenience. Making matters worse, the teabags were not of the best quality, and one of them burst during gentle stirring. This left a nest of leaves at the base of my mug. Not ideal. These were not Yorkshire, although they could have been for this price. This was the case in Peterborough, which was virtually identical on cost.

The mugs provided that those pesky leaves settled in, were of unremarkable size, yet not too tiny.

The kettle was in a practical location by the switch. This was much better than it being restricted to a hospitality drawer, like in Peterborough.

The 1 litre capacity was rather average, yet not the smallest I had experienced, since this was a puny 0.6 litres. It did seem inferior however, to Peterborough which had the potential to hold 1.7 litres for the same room price.

Washing and cleaning

The shower was easy and quiet to adjust in pressure, and had great maximum jet power. This was far better than the creaky adjuster of Holiday inn, Hemel Hempstead and the feeble pressure of the Afton. The temperature responded quickly to twisting also, although could have benefitted from a scale with actual temperatures rather than designated numbers. The shower head height was more than adequate, and was directly over the cubical. This prevented the mandatory backwards leaning of Park plaza, Nottingham.

The adjustment of temperature and pressure was only via a single lever however, which made adjustment a little more challenging than in the Afton. This was only a minor inconvenience however, and at least it didn’t creak or squeak. It was constructed of shiny metal rather than tacky plastics, which was also nice.
In the shower, there was nowhere to place the provided shampoo sachets though. Whilst I did appreciate the generously portioned liquid soap dispenser, this was not adequate for hair washing. I did crave a little shampoo shelf as a result, since placing this on the floor was rather impractical.

The shower head angle was not fixed so could be adjusted which again was great. This was hardly necessary, although the shower curtain did have a tendency to leak into the bathroom due to thin material. This meant angling away from the curtain may well have helped.

After learning the lesson of wet socks, I realised that I had to store my clothes on the sink to guarantee post-shower dryness. Partly due to leaking, but also due to the lack of dry changing space, in the cupboard sized bathroom. It only stands to reason that no bath was present here, as I am sure it wouldn’t have fit anyway.

This minute level of space did prove a real challenge in preventing undergarments ending up on, or in, the toilet.

The lid definitely wasn’t for display purposes only …

The red and white bathroom colour scheme appeared a bit strange here, as I feel blue would have befitted the maritime theme more appropriately.

Fortunately, a sufficient count of 4 towels were provided for the 2 guests. This was streamline, yet sufficient and the same provisions as the Afton. The doorlock worked aswell which is surprisingly uncommon. Hotels such as the Copthorne, Sheffield didn’t have this luxury.

In addition to the generously sized soap dispenser and small shampoo sachets, soap and a shower cap were also supplied. Whilst no moisturisers were provided, unlike in Double tree by Hilton, Swindon, this was a far lower price point and these are not strictly necessary.

The presence of 2 accessible toilet rolls was handy, unlike the trapped rolls of the Copthorne, Sheffield.

In summary you could have been in a motorhome bathroom, This isn’t the epitome of quality or practicality. The shower did work well though.

Chilling in your room

The WIFI speed was reasonable and it connected quickly, with a password. The Password was not straight forward to find, but the receptionist was helpful when informing me of this. At least it was better than having no in-room WIFI as was the case in the Afton. It also didn’t require everyday renewal as was the case in the pricier Copthorne hotel, Sheffield.

Only 5 wooden hangers were supplied. Half of The Beautiful south, Perfect 10 and much less than the 11 of the Afton. This was a rather meagre count. These hangers were also located to the left of the bed closest to the window, resulting in an impractical location for one of the guests. Clambering around another guests bed to hang up clothes and get dressed after the shower is not ideal.

The lighting was good however, since the 4 spotlights present worked well, and were bright enough. Operation of these was refreshingly simple without the mind torment of a maze of higgledy piggledy light switches in no logical order or location. Such was the awkwardness of the Angel, Cardiff.

While many hotels do have the space to accommodate a couple of comfy armchairs, the small size of this room, made one chair seem appropriate. It was a shame that this wasn’t padded in any way. It wasn’t especially comfortable either, due to it’s wooden material. At least a cushion was supplied on the beds, to improve chair comfort levels.

Typically a cushion and a pillow isn’t my ideal made bed, so it would have been nice to have the cushion placed on the seat, rather than the bed, in the first place. I admit I am being picky in this respect though. I slept very well which I am sure wasn’t totally down to complete exhaustion. This meant the beds must have been quite comfy.

Although the wall-mounted TV was rather small, it’s position and crisp picture quality certainly helped compensate for this. Relative to the small room size, there wasn’t much need for anything significantly larger.

No intermittency was suffered unlike in the Roundhouse, Bournemouth. Overall not a bad TV therefore.

The bedroom wasn’t a hall of mirrors …

So yeah, there wasn’t much in terms of mirrors. Although one full height mirror adjacent to the door and a half height in the bathroom, wasn’t a bad setup idea. I didn’t appreciate the full height mirror being full height for a hobbit or dwarf however, since my frame could not be fully viewed.

Not really full height then ….

While this setup was similar in the Afton, the mirror was full height there.

Only 2 simply spottable plug sockets were present in the room. This appeared a very low count of just half of the Aftons’. Good job phone, razor and iPad charging, didn’t conflict between me and my roommate.

A hairdryer was present and it was good to see that this wasn’t locked away in a drawer unlike in places such as Peterborough.


With a price around £40 for a 2 star hotel, this seemed great value for my stay, and was £10 cheaper than the Afton with the same rating. Due to the lack of issues, at this price point, I was pleasantly surprised. Also, the price of food appeared very competitive, with a tasty jacket potato and side salad only costing £5. Bottled cider at £3.75 was also reasonable compared to £4 at the Afton.

Customer service

Hotel checkin shouldn’t have required both parties to be present. Not an ideal system when there is a queue of guests behind you. Service at the bar was carried out efficiently, although staff did not seem overly enthusiastic or warm in personality. A bit of a shame considering the service was very good. I didn’t have to wait long for my food and drink, since these were served quickly. The room service was carried out religiously everyday, and the lady was highly considerate when I was still in my room at the time of service. This made me feel pleased and valued as a guest, with my preferences respected.


A mostly efficient and polite service with no real issues. The food and drink service was very efficient. Setting, location and cleanliness of the hotel was also very good. The beds were comfy, and I slept well.


The Majestic hotel, Harrogate review (Room 205) (6/10) -” Quite unprofessional staff, no luxury touches, good setting, but you pay for it”.

The Majestic hotel, Harrogate review (Room 205) (6/10) ” Quite unprofessional staff, no luxury touches, good setting, but you pay for it”.


” Central location”.
” Consistent WIFI”.
” Gym, steam room and bar present”.
” 2 keycards for room issued”.


“Short extension lead on kettle base”.
“Squeaky shower pressure adjuster”.
” Room smelt of damp – extractor fan issue ? “.
” Lack of bathroom provisions”.
” Tetley in the home of Yorkshire tea ???”.
” Expensive for the service provided”.
” No special luxury touches or extras”.


Reception area was fairly small. It was difficult to locate the lifts and bars since they were tucked away around corners. Double tree by Hilton Swindon had no such issues with a more open plan layout providing greater reception appeal.

No keycard was required for the rooms’ power activation unlike in Swindon. I didn’t like the blank design of the keycard however as it felt a little boring. This could have used a design or the hotel logo to increase it’s aesthetic appeal. This wore out after just one day as well which was disappointing.

There was a Long-winded checkin process since the receptionist couldn’t locate my name. I suggested the time and name of my room mate that I knew had checked in earlier that day yet it still took a significant length of time. He insisted on several occasions that my name wasn’t on the system. After several times he finally noticed my name and apologised before issuing me with my keycard. This was quite unprofessional unlike his formal attire, and dampened the experience from the word go.

The central location was very useful though, with just a 10 minute walk to the train station. It was also easy to access the local shops and eateries such as McDonald’s.
There was quirky decor throughout the hotel providing it’s character.

There was a pleasant looking bar and gym with steam room facilities. This kept things on par with Double Tree by Hilton, Swindon. The noise level in the room was low which was refreshing after the automobile symphony of the Hogs back hotel.

Tea provisions

2 ginger flavour tea biscuits were provided which didn’t quite live up to the chocolate cookie and Kitkat of Swindon. It did however alleviate sharing issues such as those suffered in the Hogs back hotel of Farnham, Surrey.

In addition to the 5 sweetener sachets and there were 4 brown sugar sachets which was on par with Swindon. There were also 4 white sugar sachets which is 2 more than Swindon. The count of brown and white sugar was also equal unlike in Swindon, which is a major plus. The total count for sweetening of 13, was also better than Swindon.

The 1 litre kettle capacity was quite average. The dial being present outside the vessel was preferable to inside however. This could have done with being a little larger though, especially considering the generous mug sizes. There were 2 of these large mugs though which was good. It was also nice to have reasonable capacity.
There were 4 caffeinated and 4 decaffeinated coffee sachets resulting in 8 coffee sachets in total. This was 2 more than the number of tea sachets supplied. I was not in favour of this slight but noticeable bias though. It was a shame to not have equal numbers of coffee and tea since this has been the case in far cheaper hotels such as the Angel of Cardiff.

There were 4 Tetley tea and 2 Yorkshire teas from Harrogate. Why they were not all Yorkshire breakfast rather than an inferior brand I was not quite sure. Especially considering harrogate is where Yorkshire tea is made. There were also no fruity flavours as were present in Swindon. Some extra tea flavours such as Earl grey or Chamomile would have also improved the selection.

6 whole milk UHT tubs were supplied which felt like the correct number for that many cups of tea.
There were 2 silver teaspoons of large size which were well married with mug sizes.
The location of the tea provisions however, was poor. They were all hidden away in the cupboard, which meant both the tea provisions and kettle were a distance from the plug sockets which was quite impractical. It also meant you had to move everything out onto the desk to use. The kettle had an extremely short base lead aswell which meant it had to be perched on the edge of the desk and made it tricky to plugin.
Whilst the tea provisions were replaced daily, they were not replaced identically since no sweeteners were supplied for the second day.


The breakfast room was quite civilised, possessing well set tables ready for drinks and plates. The coffee and tea could be ordered when staff approached the table which they did early on in the service.

The coffee and tea was hard to distinguish however, since both were served in unlabelled silver jugs. I therefore accidentally poured myself 2 unwanted cups of coffee.

The cooked breakfast selection was good. Complete with mushrooms, cooked tomato, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, fried eggs, sausages and black pudding. There was also the more continental option of toast and jam.

The plates used were of large size which was sufficient for the works of a full English. Having the cutlery pre-setout made life easier also. At a glance then, dining in a clearly traditional and grand room of large proportion, appeared superficially, rather ostentatious.

After queueing up for a long time however, I was too hungry to actually take much of this in. Then there was the quality of the food and drink itself. On lifting the lid on the coffee and tea jugs, the teabags were left in to infuse the tea, yet weren’t even separated from each other. One of my neighbours got provided with a 50:50 milk/tea concoction which he found did not appease his unpicky palette. Worse still, the mugs supplied were very small, resulting in difficulty picking up and in lack of enjoyment. Clearly low capacity was a slight issue. There were no takeout cups which were supplied in Holiday inn express, Birmingham or paper bags for breakfast. I feel a trick was missed there.

The breakfast trays were mostly full enough, although on both mornings there were no hash browns on my approach. All of the food was of low temperature so the trays clearly were not heated. The sauces were provided via a ladle and bowls following the service line. There was plenty of these, and the selection included HP and tomato sauce which was good.

The fried eggs were as slippery as a jellied eel, so were tricky to pickup and had the texture of jelly which was quite disgusting. The mushrooms were also very greasy, and had no real flavour. The hash browns were rather nice with some lumpy potato inside ,so not totally smooth. This is my preferred texture for hash browns. The baked outside rather than deep fried, helped keep these healthy, which was also good. The bacon had plenty of uncrispy lard around the edge which was slimy and tasteless, yet it was still succulent and not overcooked. It had no real flavour though.

The sausages and black pudding in my opinion were the best 2 items. Like the rest of the food they were both cold, although the sausage was in no way greasy. It also had no gristle and a smooth texture. The flavour was good aswell with a reasonable taste from the cooking juices. The black pudding was tasty and rather standard. It could have just been taken out of a packet though. I think my enjoyment of black pudding in general probably overshadowed my better judgement therefore.

The aftermath of a large full English before checkout made me feel rather sick throughout the day. This suggests that something was not properly cooked or heated and may be a result of leaving food to get cold on the trays.


Washing and cleaning

What was rather disappointing was the presence of just 2 bottles of cleaning product. These included one hair and body shampoo and one bath or shower gel. Many of the more expensive hotels have at least 4 products including conditioner and body lotion, as was the case in the Double tree of Lincoln. Some moisturiser or body lotion would have also been nice for face washing.

These products were not replaced consistently either, meaning I could not wash my hair on the second day of my stay. This was quite disappointing.

The presence of a shower cap was useful, although not required on this occasion, and the soap in a box was good for hygiene. The in-box provision showed it had not been used previously, and was of reputable brand.

There were 2 accessible toilet rolls. These weren’t hemmed in, as was the case at the Sheffield Copthorne hotel. These were also quilted, giving the feel of luxury. The 2 large towels on a heated towel rail, when combined with one floor towel, appeared sufficient for drying 2 guests. A spare may have been appreciated though. The heated rail helped buffer this issue however by quickly drying the towel for subsequent uses.

The main issue with the room was the smell of damp. This caused me some respiratory issues during my degree, after prolonged exposure. It can be simply resolved through fitting an effective extractor fan. This had also been encountered in the Roundhouse at Bournemouth, but that was far cheaper so there is no real excuse here.

2 large litter bins were apparent. These were of superior size to most hotels. There was a traditional bathroom door bolt system which worked well.
The shower had good pressure and temperature but was only just warm. Simple to adjust though. It was at the point of quite nice, yet not the guilty pleasure temperature which tempts you to remain for finger wrinkling.

There was also a bath which was operated with separate controls. This made operation of both the shower and bath simpler to negotiate. It was a shame that the shower knob made a noise on adjustment, as this felt a little budget. It was much the same as Hemel Hempstead, holiday inn which was over 20 pounds cheaper.

Chilling in your room

The TV was of average size which wasn’t overwhelming, unlike the huge TV of Park plaza, Nottingham and it had a reliable signal with crisp picture quality. This was far superior to the small and less crisp TV of Days inn, Peterborough.

Plug sockets were lacking with only 2 easily noticeable. This was 3 less than Double tree by Hilton, Swindon. There was also not one located near the kettle. This restricted tea making to the realms of impracticality requiring considerable movement to setup a cup of tea. Many of the cheaper hotels such as Holiday inn express of Birmingham had their plug sockets close by and outside cupboards which helps accessibility and use.

7 wooden hangers were present which seemed a strong count, although park plaza, Nottingham had 16 which were also wooden. This was clearly a better number. It isn’t quite perfect as a count of 10 though since for a short stay you don’t generally need 8 items each hung up.
An Iron, ironing board, trouser press and hairdryer were all present, albeit not the most obviously situated. This was a practical array of items however.
There was no noticeable safe, which is rare for a hotel at this price point. Whilst I did not require the use of this, I felt it should have been present.

For the first time in a while, the beds had padded backrests 🙂 🙂 This is not the case in
lots of hotels such as the Swindons’ Double tree.

The room was spacious and had 3 chairs for relaxing. The most comfortable was strategically placed by the desk, with the other 2 facing the TV. They had a firmer setup for more upright seating. I felt this was good, since I enjoy sitting with a rather upright stance for posture. I do understand though, that for some guests, this may have benefitted from a cushion.

The mirrors were of large size, with one of half height in the bathroom, one of half height in the main room, and a full height mirror on the side of the wardrobe. This was sufficient for reflection, whilst not mind blowing.
Drawers were small for storage, yet numerous. Under TV storage was good, although I couldn’t understand why this was being used for tea !!

WIFI connected automatically with no login information. This was much better than in the Roundhouse, Bournemouth where the password was only available from reception. It was also preferable to the moderately efficient checkbox, of Holiday inn express , holiday street, Birmingham. WIFI speed seemed consistent, and enabled program downloads with no issues. Far superior then, to the ultra slow WIFI of the Peterborough Days inn which struggled with Rick Stein.

The bed was very comfortable and was not too firm. The covers and room were not sweaty or overly hot despite the heated towel rail, and the bed was made well on room service. It was however, made with 2 rather than 1 pillow, which wasn’t my preference. Due to good comfort levels and that just being my personal opinion, this didn’t seem like a problem though.


At a touch over £100 per night, the hotel was the most expensive I have stayed at. With the inclusion of a full breakfast though this didn’t seem too dissimilar from the Double tree by Hilton of Swindon, which was £82 excluding breakfast.

In Swindon there was Apple cider like in most hotels, the majestic hotel had no cider in stock though. This dampened the mood in the bar, since me and a friend couldn’t then purchase their drink of choice. This should be improved, especially considering the high price of the stay. In Swindon there was Apple cider at £3.60 a pint, yet even the Diet Coke was £3.15 which wasn’t far off this.

For the product therefore, I feel the value was reasonable, if a little mediocre.

Customer service

It was good to not be encouraged to sign up for an optional deposit on checkin. This was the case in the Double tree by Hilton of Lincoln.
Staff were polite on checkin, yet rather slow and inefficient due to issues in finding my name. Despite an apology, this did use up a good 10 minutes of my life.

At breakfast, the staff seemed to struggle with directing guests to tables of an appropriate size, resulting in considerable queue length accumulation. On the second day, we were told a table that our friends were sitting at was taken. Clearly we were happy to sit with them. It all felt a little inefficient.


Desirable location, setting and atmosphere yet underwhelming service and products provided. Clearly some issues with the room and staff professionalism.


Nottingham Park plaza (Room 104) – 6/10 ” Uninspiring quotes and dreary decor/customer service”.

Nottingham park plaza hotel review -Room 104 (6.0/10) ” Uninspiring quotes and dreary decor/customer service”.


“Central location close to train station”.
” Mini bar hidden out of temptations way”.
” Your own glasses to use”.
” Godzilla sized TV”.


” Twin beds touching with limited space where positioned”.
” Gimmicky writing on mirror, beside TV”.
” Creaky shower-head adjuster knob”.
” No view from window”.
“Can’t adjust shower pressure”.
“Only 1 full size spare towel”.


With just a 12-minute walk from Nottingham train station, the hotel was easy to access and the location was very central. It was also close to historical buildings such as Nottingham castle. A magnificent castle perched upon the UK’s largest man made cave system which is impressively carved out of sandstone. For practicality, the journey to the hotel was far easier than trudging miles uphill to the hostels on Mansfield road. One of which I had stayed at previously.

On approach, the hotel appeared modern on the ground floor yet above this were some traditional uniform flats resembling that of a quick development. The reception area was rather spacious however, with shabby sheik decor; Items trying to show off but clearly budget in quality. The lift was large and spacious with very bright lighting which was also slightly lairy. It was good to have 4 lifts in operation to help reduce wait time. Once the room was reached it didn’t disappoint, and was easy to locate following a scuttle past the room service trolley.

The room atmosphere was a little plain and there was not really much of a view from the window… If at all, with a building outline in a foggy translucent effect dominating the glass pane. The package that was included did compensate for this dullness considerably however.

Tea provisions

Firstly looking at the Kettle …

With a 1 litre kettle capacity and no unnecessary hospitality drawer, the tea making was nicely accessible. It was also already plugged in and turned on, with the dial tactically placed outside the vessel. The best place for it in my view. Whilst this Kettle capacity was far smaller than the 1.7 litres of the Peterborough Days inn, It was much bigger than the smallest experienced in Birmingham Holiday Inn Express, at just 0.6 litres.

With 2 sweetener sachets accompanied by 4 white and brown sugar sachets there was sufficient sweetening capability for 10 cups of tea. Since tea provisions were not replaced standardly however, this felt difficult to rely upon. With 6 teabags this sweetening count did not seem totally sufficient either. The 8 semi-skimmed milk sachets seemed rather excessive especially when the fairly small mug sizes were considered.

Whilst the 2 mugs provided were labelled Royal Doulton, this porcelain label did not increase their practicality. It did enhance the impression of quality however. Whilst it was good to have 2 mugs between the 2 of us staying there, unfortunately only 1 teaspoon was supplied which was a little unfortunate. If one guest had a preference for coffee for example, this couldn’t then be used for tea without contaminating the flavour. A slight letdown therefore, and 2 would have been preferable.

It was good to have a selection of tea flavours however, unlike the Peterborough Days Inn which just yielded Yorkshire.
There were 4 English breakfast Twining’s, 1 Cranberry and Raspberry with 1 Pure peppermint Twining’s. Whilst I didn’t try the Cranberry and Raspberry, the peppermint was rather refreshing and it was good to have this range of options available.

After this tea quickly and unfortunately got drunk, at reception, I felt slightly awkward asking for more however, on multiple occasions, since staff didn’t appear overly happy to supply extra. This was quite uncomfortable.

There were 2 decaffeinated and 2 caffeinated original sachets. This shouldn’t have been less than numbers of supplied tea sachets however.

2 packets of calorie-labelled tea biscuits were supplied on Day one, with a ” Fruit Shrewsbury” and “Ginger biscuit” packet that both contained 2 biscuits. No sharing issues were therefore encountered. The biscuits were pleasant in flavour without the excessive sweetness from Border biscuits often supplied from Days inn chain hotels.
It was a shame that these weren’t replaced by room service.

All the tea provisions were very neatly laid out, especially once the large quantity was considered.

Due to the lack of replacements, room service inconsistency appeared to be the main let down with tea provisions provided therefore. A shame, when the good variety and quantity is considered.


Washing and cleaning

4 confidently-sized Elemis products were displayed neatly including hand and body lotion, conditioner, shampoo and bath and shower gel. They were accompanied by a bar of soap. These were all far more favourable in size than Double trees’, and clearly available on a cheaper stay. This was all very positive therefore.

With 2 full-size body towels and 3 smaller hand towels, the drying facilities seemed fairly limited. The room had a hairdryer though, which was good. Situated beside an ironing board and iron… Also good. As you’d expect this was accompanied by a safe as is the case in Double trees. Again… Good.

The shower operated with 2 knobs. The upper knob was for nozzle selection control between one fixed large shower head, one smaller flexible one and a bath tap. The lower knob was for temperature adjustment. Unfortunately the top knob did creak a little. There was also a bath below to cater for all types of guests with textured floor tiles for safety. There was no knob for pressure adjustment available however. The close proximity of the larger head near the wall and lack of head height attachment for the smaller shower head meant a rather awkward and uncomfortable showering posture had to be adopted.

Quite unfortunate, especially when you can’t increase jet pressure. Not the best therefore.

While showering I also noticed that there was no storage slot for the toiletry sachets meaning a rather ungrateful stoop to pick them up while balanced on the edge of the bath. During my second shower jet pressure faded away to a trickle during the shower for no apparent reason which made everything rather pathetic.

The toilet roll provided was accessible and quilted which is always a positive, although no spare was supplied. Bathroom mirrors were of generous scale and took up much of the wall, space. This not only gave the illusion of greater space but was also highly practical. The bathroom door lock was also fully operational which was great.

Chilling in your room

Being promised 2 keycards for room access was very refreshing, following numerous issues with hotels that only provide 1 for twin rooms. I didn’t like the keycard power activation however, especially the flickering lightbulb present.

With 16 hangers between just 2 guests, the numbers could not have been more generous. They were also wooden which is the best material. With plenty of clothes hanging space including a large internal shelf and a rather extensive desk, the storage in the room seemed more than adequate. It was a slight shame this wasn’t the same close to the beds however, since only 1 had a bedside table.

The WIFI connected instantly without login information and was quick and reliable.
With 4 spread-out plug sockets, 3 of these being easily noticeable, this appeared slightly low, but was sufficient on this occasion.

The room had 2 brown coloured chairs which didn’t look the most enticing and were rather firm to sit on, confirming this. At least there were 2 of them.

Having 1 water glass and 2 wine glasses laid out neatly upon the desk this was a nice touch, encouraging relaxing in style inside the room.

2 cushions and a pillow rather than 1 pillow on the bed, did not seem like a good idea. The bed was certainly not made to my preference therefore. I feel every bed should be made with 1, and the rest stored to enable guests to customise themselves as they see fit.

Litterbin space in the room from the 2 litter bins, seemed very generous and was better than many of the places I have previously stayed. With the larger bin in the main section of the room this was also a preferable layout. The position of the large bin close to the kettle was also very practical for teabag disposal operations.

The main part of the room had one large mirror with a quote from Paul smith splattered across it. Whoever that may be … This for me detracted from not only the use of the mirror, but the look of it aswell. At least it had the word inspiration in it to help me get inspired to move on from that issue.

The TV was of amazing size and it was good to have Sky. I think this is probably the largest TV screen I have ever watched. The picture quality was also very good. No TV signal intermittency either. The good range of channels and sound quality were just technicolor flourishes on the very good, and fully functional, TV cake.



Between 60 and 70 pounds for this 4-star hotel seemed slightly dearer than some of the budget establishment I had stayed at recently. This was still cheaper than the Hogs back hotel and the hotel had over 12 meeting rooms making it attractive for business meetings during stays.

Customer service

On reception from check-in, staff were quick and professional getting me checked in after just a minor delay. The room service lady knocked and was polite before setting up the in-room mini bar. I would have preferred this completed before entering my room however.

Room servicing however was quite inconsistent for tea provisions and on reception staff seemed reluctant to provide more which was a shame. Checkout was quick however if slightly abrupt. Overall this customer service could have been improved.


Spacious room with inconsistency in service and guest experience. Decor and atmosphere felt a bit tacky.