Angry Orchard cider ” I am far from angry” solid (8.5/10)

Angry orchard cider review (8.5/10)

” Well balanced, sweet yet tangy”
” A little dryness and cost effectiveness away from the ideal cider”
” Slightly more carbonation desirable”

Packaging

At 1.59 per bottle with 2.5 units contained this is quite expensive to get close to the recommended limit realistically. It means you would have to fork out 3.18 to bring yourself a little over. This makes the cider more expensive than many others including pure hopped, merry down, Orchard and Savannah. The 500 ml bottle size and 5 percent alcohol percentage therefore may require a little attention.
That said I managed to get around this by buying another small can of a different variety.

Because it is even more pricy than Savannah which I very much enjoyed there is certainly nowhere for it to hide.

Anyway …

The story tells of a crisp and refreshing cider promising of sweetness, subtle dryness and balance.
It claims to taste of apples possessing a slightly sweet and ripe feel. The scent is also specified as being of fresh apples so I am looking forward to the (appliness if that is indeed a word) of this beverage.
It’s origin is stated as the USA which I have read are reputed for sweeter eating apples and less so for traditional West Country cider apples. I am therefore expecting a drink which lacks acidity and dryness due to these qualities typically being characteristic of English cider apples.

The ingredients list does detail Malic acid however suggesting this may have been added in afterwards to compensate for lack of acidity.

Either way it will be interesting to broaden my horizons with my first cider review of a drink which has been produced in America.

Smell

The smell on opening is typical of most ciders. It has a smoothness reminding me of the joys of merrydown and it’s violin playing fox. It is fairly abrupt and not as potent as some other cider varieties. It does however possess a slight freshness not experienced by some of the more artificial varieties. You can detect some acidity and possibly slight sweetness.

Taste

The taste possesses a crescendo of tang immediately fading into a symphony of sweet Apple. The aftertaste after one sip is that of fruit and sweetness. This early impression suggests that it may persist after a few more sips. The sweetness is highly pleasant yet the tangy nature from the acid balances the drink very nicely. Towards the end of the bottle the apple identity becomes clearer and feels distinctly like a Granny Smith, (one of my favourites), which is clearly a real positive and explains the drinks traits and balance. Stated as a hard cider I would expect a reasonable level of dryness. This is hardly present and not really discernible for my perhaps, slightly inexperienced palette.

The drink possesses a slight froth suggesting carbonation yet this isn’t noticeable at all through consumption since it is perhaps disguised by the confident tang of acidity.

This helps to give the drink maturity and overall the drink does not feel lacking in anything. The slight dry aftertaste expected, as suggested by the bottle, is not present which is such a shame. Carbonation to a greater extent may enhance the tang and flavour sensation even further and could potentially make the cider close to the perfect drink. This truly does appease my palette without taking any prisoners or feeling immature like Bulmers or Rekorderlig. This is because these are too closely related to non-alcoholic drinks such as appleade in my opinion.

Summary

Overall angry orchard is a greatly well balanced, sweet yet tangy ( acidic) cider which is a slight dryness and fizz injection away from my perfect cider. Perhaps this is the best cider I have tasted and since carbonation is not stressed on the bottle even this may be excused.

Greater carbonation, blending with a drier apple to sprinkle in a few more tannins and making the alcohol content more closely aligned with the recommended government guidelines would complete this highly accomplished mature alcohol. It is quite simply a must taste if you have a sweet tooth or are a haribo tangfastics enthusiast. If you are looking for a dry or unsweet variety however then this will not be for you.

Bulmers original premium cider review (7/10)

Bulmers original premier cider review (7.0/10)

” Quite practical, with the selling points of a particularly tangy appleade. Not unpleasant but lacking the key aspects of a good mature cider without much sweetness to compensate.”

Packaging

Our story begins with a co-founder named Fred who apparently cycled 500 miles in 7 days. This purportedly was on the hunt for the perfect cider apple and the label depicts 2 men named Fred and Percy riding a tandem. After this voyage the cider label specifies the apples as mainly Dabinett and Yarlington mill. This selection does however includes other apples aswell. It is supposedly a medium sweet, or more specifically, a sharp sweet cider variety.

Dabinett apples are low in acidity ( Malic acid) and derived from the orchards of Somerset; Good since this suggests a low carbon footprint. The Yarlington mill apples should provide a sweet to medium bittersweet taste and thereby provide all the necessary sweetness. These apples are also native to Somerset suggesting a distinctly Somerset cider although the label specifying Hereford perhaps exudes slight brand confusion.

There appears to be little danger of quick confusion through consumption however due to the modest alcohol concentration of just 4.5 percent.
The bottles appear pleasant and are not cursed with a horrible frilly silver foil label around the bottlenecks as used to be the case. They possess a contrasting yellow and black appearance which is aesthetically pleasing.
Bottles are each 2.3 units resulting in a fairly practical 4.6 units for 2 bottles ( just over the 3-4 do not regularly exceed value). Each bottle has a capacity of 500ml which appears of standard size.

The bottles were very good value although they had been discounted. They cost £1.09 each from B and M suggesting less dearness than Savannah, Rekorderlig and Merry down for example.
Smell

The scent is modest with a similar tone to merry down cider of acid. It is however less potent but does not provide any indication of an appley flavour. A slight fizz on opening does hint of some level of carbonation however.

Taste

On the first sip you get a delicious fruity vibe of Apple, kissed with a noticeable yet reserved level of carbonation. On the aftertaste there is definitely a very slight note of tang indicating some acidity perhaps apparent on the nose at first inhalation.
There is no real dryness left on the palette yet the moistness balances perfectly almost creating a disappearing illusion on the tongue. The appley taste while complemented by the enjoyable tang does not provide enough sweetness to be noticeable even with a large sip.

The drink therefore is a pleasant beverage with just enough alcohol to offset a watery feel. The tang and sweetness are too subtle however to shout greatness and therefore the key selling points of sharp and sweet do not come through enough. The drink has a great level of carbonation and appley flavour though and does perhaps possess a slight dryness.

The tang on the aftertaste is perhaps the most pleasant part although this is also quite ephemeral.

Summary

Overall the cider does have everything, although dryness and sweetness are too subtle to be enjoyed. The major usp though is the fruitiness of the flavour with a slightly lacking level of carbonation. Except the tang then there appears no difference or benefit over an appleade type drink. This gives the cider an immature feel which needs some tweaking and ramping up.

Premier Classe Coventry hotel review ( Room 6 then 40)- 4.5/10

Premier Classe hotel Coventry ( Room 6 then 40) (4.5/10)

A little bit of good

” Working TV, comfortable bed and clearly signposted breakfast prices”.
” Generous and varied tea provisions”.

The bad

” Staff may check you into the wrong room”.
” Inconsistent service, poor shower with no provided hairdryer or shampoo, basic facilities, slow staff and a walk outside to all the rooms”.
” Basic tea stirrers”.
” Only 1 keycard, only 20 minutes free wifi, only 2 plugs”.
The atmosphere

The reception building was modern inside, well lit and spacious. We were checked in at a bar which I liked the appearance of. You expect to go to your room nearby but when you find out actually there is a separate building which resembles a large row of cabins things get a little less exciting. Since these can only be accessed from outside it gives the impression of an unpleasant walk in the rain. It was well set back from the road however which was good.

The hotel location was miles from the train station and town centre which was poor.
Chilling in your room

Double pillows were provided for relaxing and once you manage to work out that the keycard has to be left in, the room appeared of small, yet adequate size. The bathroom space was pleasant and clean and the room did not give a dated or dark feel due to it’s styling and reasonably sized windows.

As for power and plugs only 2 were available.

The kettle was of good size and I was impressed with the presentation of a generous provision for teas with many sweetener sachets ( more so than in Bristol days inn). They also provided fair trade instant coffee which was a nice touch showing positive company ethos and values. Demerara and white sugar options were available which was also nice. There were however wooden stirrers rather than spoons which detracted considerably from the drinking experience.

On room entry, the remote sitting on the bed with a clearly labelled breakfast price and time was very informative.
The 20 minutes of free wifi however was highly disappointing and certainly made you a freak downloader for a while. All the other hotels I had previously stayed in had free wifi included for the duration of my stay.
The room had one chair with a hard back which wasn’t the most practical or comfortable option for a 2 person room. The pillows however were adequate for a reasonably comfortable makeshift backrest.

The lack of a twin bed which was agreed on booking was disappointing and again restrictive in terms of resident privacy. This was found to be due to a customer service issue. I was checked into the wrong room meaning I had to switch all my stuff quickly providing me with unnecessary stress.

Community areas

Due to the separate nature of the rooms from the main hotel building you had to venture outside to reach the modern and relaxing bar area or reception. Reception appeared very pleasant to relax in however in bad weather this necessary trip seemed impractical and reduced the impression of quality accommodation.

Washing and cleaning

Only 1 towel was provided on arrival with the promise of more on the way which was quite disappointing and there was no lock on the bathroom door meaning privacy was not too great. The size of the bathroom was minimal. No hairdryer was provided either unlike the Mercury in Swansea and many other places I have stayed previously.
Because of this I had to use my own hairdryer. Whilst I always pack carefully so this didn’t create an issue on this occasion it is an extra which makes life better and therefore would have been an improvement if it was provided.

Switching between the shower and bath nozzle was a nightmare so I was forced to have a bath for the first time in years. This was very annoying … The hot water did work effectively in either of the rooms I was shown to although shower bath switching was at least operational in room 40. This was because water jet pressure diminished to a mere trickle every time you ramped up the temperature.

Price

At 40 pounds a night the price was low. Due to the plethora of issues and niggles screaming of low quality this did not help make the stay good value. The issue of value was that the stay was not terribly enjoyable so the competitive price was not competitive when compared to a similar price for superior staying experience elsewhere such as Swansea or Bournemouth.

Customer service

On first impressions Room checkin went smoothly and I was quickly and helpfully instructed on how to reach my room. The staff seemed polite and welcoming. After a couple of hours of settling into my room and unpacking I was told to vacate my room since I had been checked into the wrong room number. This made things a lot more stressful than they had to be and shouted incompetence in terms of providing an effective service. The first rooms double bed meant that the wrong room was not appropriate. Only on complaint were the rooms switched.

Quite disappointing …

No second keycard could be provided for the room meaning that returning to the room in the evening was a ” guess who will get back first and give them the key” lottery.
This increased uncertainty especially since reception closed at 11pm and the trip was for business with late night shifts.

Overall

Poor for showering and personal hygiene, mediocre due to inconsistencies in room service, limited provisions and those present of low quality. A long walk from reception outside to reach your room and issues with room checkin made the positives unnoticeable overall. The overall score therefore reflects a basic stay with multiple issues which was not great value for money.

Days Inn Bristol hotel review (Room 123) 4/10 ” Powercuts, occasional practicality with dull setting”

Days inn hotel review Bristol (4/10) ( Room 123)

The good “A good price for a pleasant and practical roomspace”
The bad ” a good setting, location and modernisation throughout was lacking”
The ugly ” Powercut both Friday and Saturday night”

The hotel had a distinctly dated feel which was detracted from by the setting and facilities. This was countered by a practical room space without sufficient storage.

The atmosphere

The atmosphere was relaxed and quiet. No running tots stampeding along the corridors late at night or disturbing banter from tipsy individuals weaving their way back to their rooms. The feel was old fashioned and needed a little sprucing up. Road noise perhaps detracted a little from the ambient noise although this could not be helped due to the motorway location.
I do not feel the location was good since although it provided easy access to Bristol via the motorway it’s distance still meant a considerable drive for Bristol arrival. Many of the other hotels I have stayed in have been close to the city centre which greatly helped with commuting arrangements so this was a bit of a let down.

Chilling in your room

For relaxing the room decoration was a little dated. The room tea provisions were highly pleasant with the very welcome sugar cousin of the tea accompanying biscuit. This had been lacking at the previous hotels I had been staying in including the roundhouse at Bournemouth and the Mercure at Swansea.

A definite thumbs up!!

There was also a limited yet apparent choice of tea including just PG tips and Yorkshire. No earl grey option was provided as was the case in Wales so selection was slightly more limited. The kettle was of an appropriate size along with the mugs.
The room for brewing was serviced very well therefore with my only slight quibble with the lack of information on who serviced the room. This is good to know so the person can be appropriately thanked yet is only a small aspect of the service I feel.

Room Wifi was easy to connect to “as detailed in the room guide” and it worked well throughout most of my stay excluding the times without power !!!

A small TV was provided which was similar in size to the roundhouse Bournemouth. It worked well and did not suffer from an excessive interruption of service as experienced there.

Again it didn’t work without power during the multiple powercuts !!!

The channel changed easily with a fully operational remote and due to the rooms body shape and reasonable, yet modest size the TV was sufficiently large.

The bed was comfortable and I slept cosily and very well. The sheets were appropriate for the time of year. The pillow provided was comfortable because only one was supplied per sleeping position which I prefer. The provision of only 1 chair was a little basic however for a 3 person room.
The room provided had both a double and single bed which provided ample sleeping space. For practicality however it may prove difficult for some tenants to decide who should get the larger bed.

Cloth hanging amenities were also lacking since only 5 hangers were provided. This for one person may be adequate for a short stay however 10 appears a more sensible number especially between 2 or 3 guests.

Community areas

There were no community areas clearly signposted on the room information booklets unlike at the roundhouse and the corridors looked very dull not suggesting of anything special. The hotel appeared significantly smaller than many I have previously stayed in and reception did not possess an accompanying bar. The accompanying seating area was sufficient however for a moderate sized grouping.

Washing and cleaning

For cleaning the shower was good when you could see what you were doing. The bathroom with it’s compact size meant that towels were close to the shower and sink resulting in ease of access. This meant a lack of dripping onto the floors.
The nozzle pressure was appropriate for an effective clean and temperature was certainly sufficiently high. Unfortunately however this was difficult to adjust especially since only 1 multifunctional nozzle for both temperature and pressure was provided.

Keeping things tidy was tricky due to no under bed storage or drawers. This did feel like an overlooked aspect of the stay and does therefore ideally need development.

Price

Prices online listed around 40 pounds for the night suggests that this hotel has some merits in terms of value. The noise is evident from the M5 however and no interesting view is apparent from the window. The room provided was good for almost everything except a modern feel and intermittent power. The power issues made things a real let down. I would therefore suggest that what you get is good value subject to stable circuitry. With the little extras supplied this felt even more the case.

Customer service

Customer service on arrival was quite possibly the worst I have experienced so far. I was unable to get checked in since my booking was apparently under a different name even when I gave the name of the person I was staying with the staff could not help.
In fairness group bookings can cause a bit of an issue although I wasn’t impressed with the fact that only 1 key was available per room anyway.

This was a 3 person room !!!

An actual key was provided rather than a keycard which although still worked well, felt a little old school.
There was a powercut both Friday and Saturday night with Friday’s just for our room. This suggested a fault was known about but not rectified the first time. This meant I could not get showered on my second night staying there and had serious trouble finding the toilet at nighttime !!! This is not acceptable for a hotel stay.

Overall

A good price for a pleasant and occasionally practical roomspace. The setting, location and modernisation throughout however were not very desirable. Outside of the room the lack of interesting community spaces and labelled facilities just left you wanting more. The powercut situation did it for me though. It is not acceptable for over 2 nights of a 3 night stay to have a persistent issue with electricity. Overall then a bit disappointing.

Kingstone press cider (7/10) Practical, subtle and slightly satisfying”.

Kingstone press cider review (7/10)

” Practical, subtle and slightly satisfying”.

Packaging

Kingstone press is a variety of medium dry cider produced using bittersweet apples from the Aston manor cider mill in Stourport, Worcestershire. It is therefore produced only a few miles down the road from my home in Worcester.

The alcohol percentage is listed as a solid 5.3% which is rather modest compared to Henry westons 2015 vintage which also utilises bittersweet apples, yet greater than a considerable number of other varieties such as rekorderlig at just 4.5%.

This intermediate strength combined with a bottle capacity just above a pint, at 660ml is clever. This is because the entire bottle sits at 3.5 units meaning you can get between the safe recommended range after consuming one full bottle.

The fun doesn’t stop there since the cider only costs £1.39 per bottle from loco store suggesting it is cheaper than both Savannah and rekorderlig ciders. These however, perhaps command this price due to quality. In review of both of these more premiumly priced ciders, I have provided overall ratings of 8/10. The 6/10 rating for orchard for example still costs £1.70 to achieve the limit suggesting this cider is not placed under an immense pressure of expectation at £1.39.

Smell

The scent emanating from the bottle is a stable and acidic smell similar to that of the sharper or dryer cider varieties. The scent is certainly not unpleasant with a refreshing and persistent aroma. This doesn’t fade quickly as is the case with thatchers haze.

Taste

The dryness is modest with a slightly moist feel as should be expected from a medium dry. The carbonation is very limited with only a sparse cohort of bubbles released on bottle opening. Bitterness is evident on tasting which eliminates any sweetness. The element of tang provided by Savannah cider is evident yet more subtle with this variety. The real perk of this cider is the acidity. It achieves reasonable acidic taste balance with a slightly sharp and sour aftertaste.

Whilst for me an aftertaste with higher levels of sourness appears superficially unpleasant, the mild nature of this drink keeps things tolerable.
The slight acidity balanced with very slight carbonation make this a highly balanced drink which is subtle yet pleasant.

Summary
Overall then this cider does not provide the sweetness my palette craves although does provide a balance between modest but apparent acidity with a very slight carbonation. The dryness is adequate since it is subtle and the variety is described as a medium dry suggesting the description is adequate. Practicality and value is a notable positive. This beverage has much subtlety, though it appears to blend in with rather than dominate the crowd.

” A cider which does medium dryness and subtlety well, but does not provide a truly passionate identity”.

Roundhouse Bournemouth Hotel review (Room 320) 7/10

The Roundhouse Bournemouth review ( Room 320) (7/10)

“Great value and space with the potential to develop staff service and room equipment”
The atmosphere
The atmosphere felt a little dry since the hosts did not exude any real enthusiasm or passion and appeared there to execute job obligations rather than to provide a fully fulfilling and satisfying service. The slowness and lack of welcome on arrival with a tedious articulated check-in dampened the atmosphere for the initial stay portion.
They were helpful however, with my request to change my worn key-card to assist room access and resolved the issue quickly and efficiently.
Chilling in your room
The room unfortunately from entry smelt damp. Clearly there may have been an extractor fan issue or similar problem. Room ventilation therefore should be investigated.
The room was very spacious with ample drawers for storage. 10 hangers seemed like a generous number which was good.
The tea selection was non existent. 2 teabags were provided but unlike Swansea no choice was present. Whether the coffee was decaf or not was unspecified yet there was plenty of sugar sachets and milk tubs stocked. These included white and Demerara sugar which was good yet there were no semi skimmed milk tubs available on day 1 which would have been a good touch.
To relax, the bed mattress was comfortable if a little firm and there was a TV present. Despite a generous room size, the TV was very small and has been placed on a coffee table in the corner of the room meaning viewing from the more distant twin bed could have been more entertaining. I also experienced intermittent service on multiple occasions which also reduced viewing enjoyment significantly. The bed covers provided were too thin and left me feeling fairly chilly throughout the night. Perhaps the heating wasn’t quite sufficient either making the issue seem worse.
It was also difficult to locate the wifi password despite the room being provided with a very helpful booklet of facilities with breakfast time details. It turns out this was on a small poster beside reception but why not put one in the rooms or booklet aswell ? …
Community areas
There were some comfortable sofas and a generously sized reception area which meant that i could relax. Also there was a nicely proportioned bar which I am sure is very accommodating.
Washing and cleaning
The bathroom was en-suite with plenty of white towels
Provided. It did not seem to feature an extractor fan which probably explains why the damp smell was evident. It also did not have a working lock meaning privacy was limited. In an attempt to compensate for this, some labels were provided with ” do not disturb” or ” room needs a service” which was a nice touch. They did poses a slight budget feel however though and would be obsolete if room service was at a set time and a working lock was provided for the bathroom.
The shower worked well with good pressure although was difficult to direct away from the rear of the bathtub. This meant it was very difficult to wash without bending my back which felt as awkward as a game of limbo.
The room service whilst helpful, was far more effective for bed and towel replacements than providing a consistent tea and coffee replenishment. This was because sugar and milk replacements were changed inconsistently day by day. For example, on one day, semi-skimmed milk was provided yet for the other days only full fat or a choice was provided. Plenty of tea sachets were supplied with a perhaps, slightly too generous helping of various sugars featuring Demerara and white. Again these varied in number and ratio.
Price
At around 30 pounds per night the roundhouse for a 3 star hotel appears very cheap. Whilst certain aspects of the stay reflected this, the hotel still appeared to be very good value for money so I would thoroughly recommend a stay for value reasons. This was not only far cheaper than Swansea, but also the twin room provided was far more spacious.
Customer service
Having checked that Check-in was 24-hour, arriving at midnight was not expected to cause an issue. Unfortunately however, 2 bells were provided to which I pressed one followed by the other and was accused straight away of pressing too many times. This was not a very positive welcome and made me feel a little guilty and uncomfortable.
After stating my name, the staff spent ages struggling to find it in spite of having a rebooked room. Perhaps it took them by surprise, me not knowing my room number from the group booking but still. I was quite disappointed with the pace of work and how helpful the staff were. They certainly did not seem very enthusiastic which didn’t help.
At least their dress code was professional however keeping things a little more positive.
Overall
Overall then the stay was a little disorganised. The staff were a little dry in personality and helpful at certain times. The room didn’t smell or feel great due to the thin covers and lack of a sofa actually facing the TV. The stay benefitted from ample space but the details within that space suffered through lack of refinement.
“The place is great value and a good space but needs better management of staff and stock to bring up the rating.”

Savannah cider review (8/10)

Savannah cider review (8.0/10)

“The cider has potential to be the perfect drink but has a few little niggles which defy the brand and lasting satisfaction for the consumer”
Packaging
Savannah is a brand of dry cider from Africa.
The bottle is a rich pale amber with a light white label obscuring only a little fragment of it’s centre. The cost was reasonable at only £1.19 per bottle from b and m. This equates to 2.5 units for 500ml at 5% alcohol by volume. The green and white of the label makes you almost feel like you are in Africa and the stamped “Dry” tag beneath the label in large font clearly provides you with some expectations for the taste experience. Even the Jonathan Blair vintage was only a medium dry which left your mouth gasping, so it’s dryness certainly was under scrutiny.
Whilst the labelling had positive aesthetics, it’s practicality was lacking. The recommended government daily maximum is 3-4 units which can be only partly provided by one bottle at 2.5 units meaning you may wish to consume a second. To stay within the limit then you would have to discard some of the second since a full second would put you up to 5 units which is over the recommended amount. This of course would be a real waste.
Of course for review proposes only I consumed 2 bottles as detailed below, but for regular drinking this is impractical due to the recommended limit. The cost of this also isn’t budget since £2.40 to achieve the limit could provide you with almost 3 bottles of orchard cider. Alternatively 1 bottle of Jonathan Blair by H. Weston and sons at over 7 percent puts you over the limit for £1.69.
It is cheaper than Rekorderlig however but will it live up to that ? …
Smell
Prior to opening, the cardboard casing chassis around the bottleneck creates theatre on opening, with a potential trip to Cape Town to be won with each reveal. It makes you hurry to identify your code before going to the website which adds an element of challenge and competition to your evening before even entering the bottle.
When you find out though that there is no competition currently running, it does exude an element of false advertising which is certainly disappointing. On email contact the form often glitches and even after confirmed receipt after waiting over a week you eventually accept that you have been hard done by.
The fizz on opening was limited and abrupt with very few bubbles rising up the bottle if any. A modest head resembling bubble bath is present on the cusp of the fluid however. The scent is highly Appley, but only strongly present on pouring into a glass. A subtle fresh scent is present though, from the bottle, without much acidity which suggests a sweet drink.
Taste
At the first sip the cider has a slight bitterness yet isn’t at all unpleasant. Again the dryer ciders do not typically appease my sweet tooth with this as no exception. The acidity is noticeable but not excessive and leaves a bit of a fruity tang in your mouth. This accompanied by it’s subtle sparkle does not leave a gassy impression due to mild or reserved carbonation. After a few sips you get an Appley feel to reassure you of the scent. This is not too subtle and does provide you with a rich, yet not artificial taste sensation.
Due to the acidity and Appley taste with modest carbonation this beverage does possess a mature feel. A feel which does not resemble rekorderlig or appleade.
I guess the downside is twofold. On the one hand this cider is prominently stated as a dry cider. All the dryer varieties I have sampled previously do not leave your mouth feeling relieved or moist.
This cider however does not leave your mouth desiccated.
Whilst for me this is great since I prefer that moist feel, it is not what the label boasts nor what would be expected from an African themed cider. This for branding seems a considerable discrepancy.
The second issue is lack of sweetness. Whilst the fizz and apple flavour is balanced very well with acidity there is not enough sweetness to satiate me.
Perhaps this is due to my sweet tooth, but either way for my taste personally I would prefer a little sweetness to complement the fruity feel.
The bottle shape means it is perhaps more enjoyable to consume directly from the bottle than from a glass since it feels substantial to hold due to it’s short, stout build.
The aftertaste is not perfect since it leaves you with a sour and sharp, almost spoilt feel on your tongue. This with all the positives aforementioned, is a real pity.
Summary
If a little pricey, the cider packaging promises a dry drink with that wild feel expected from the African landscape. The dryness is simply absent but flavour balance between acidity, fruit and carbonation is totally faultless. It is also let down by a fairly unpleasant aftertaste which is a shame. The cider has potential to be the perfect drink but has a few little niggles which defy the brand and lasting satisfaction for the consumer.

About me

About me … In 6 segments

1) Introduction

My story begins in a small Torbay Devonshire town known as Torquay. I had previously been working only short shifts and struggling to make ends meet. Having graduated in 2016 in Human Biology from Worcester and not planning on taking any time out of study or work how had I ended up here ?

Following my degree I wanted to keep up my science studies and use my knowledge base for a lucrative career. Dietetics was where my applications were focused and I was getting ready to start the course following a PGCE.

Teaching just wasn’t for me …

It was making me unhealthy. This was through using every stress relief method imaginable to help me through it. Everyday was sole destroying without any real reward or job satisfaction.
Some of the children were nice, don’t get me wrong and it made my day one day when a student noticed me in a supermarket. This didn’t outweigh the exertion though.

2) I needed a change … Post graduate life

In January, after discussing and agreeing this was best with my course supervisors I was free for the first time since I was 5 having quit the course.

For a 21 year old this is a big deal !!!

Education …. Then nothing or everything is what it felt like.

Things were strange. Nothing really had any significance or purpose anymore since what my purpose was needed clarity. I did everything I thought would make me happy in my endless free time whilst applying for jobs but nothing for the long term did.

I needed more commitments. I worked for an agency doing stewarding which got me into work and gave my life some purpose for 1 day a week. I also worked at the Cheltenham gold festival cleaning at a champagne bar.

Having been to a few interviews with a couple of cleaning and catering trial shifts in the meantime, nothing had really come off. My bursary and patience began to run a bit thin.

I spent more and more time focusing on my job applications taking time away from some writing I had hoped to publish by March.

By now I had experience bar cleaning, cleaning outdoors and stewarding in over 3 locations including Worcester, Bromsgrove and Birmingham. All of a sudden my CV looked a little more enticing. For a couple of weeks however following a birthday break, there were no texts of further work. Life was a bit of an abyss for 2 weeks.
I was just bimbling along with a part time personal training course with no real income.

I was trawling through Google and was very bored. It was probably a dull day like a grey depressing Tuesday. I then had one of my normal ” random ideas”.

3) Excitement restored

Why not become a movie extra ???

I then took some photos, created a profile on each website I could find expecting nothing in response as usual. A few days later I got an invite to work in Bristol in a laurel and hardy film to which I was delighted.

I booked up the train, booked up a hostel and went.

It was a great first day. Trying on costumes whilst getting fitted and even paid to have my haircut. The sun was out and Bristol was nice. The hostel was sociable ( home stay Bristol) as reviewed on the blog and things seemed good.

I publicised my experiences on social media and got some positive vibes in return. Life seemed good. Having been “heavily pencilled” for 3 days work I had factored this into keeping the trip profitable.

What I hadn’t factored in was the admin fee in addition to the commission I was expected to pay. This meant that my 110 day rate which seemed fair had an onslaught of hidden fees and costs which almost gave me a meltdown thinking I had lost money.

To make matters worse, the following day I was not called so lost 110 in wages meaning my trip was virtually break even.

On the upside which took me till I reached Worcester again to realise, was that I had done something many people perceive as glamorous. I had experienced a new job, a new location and inspired myself to write and document my travels which I had not previously encountered.

Taking photos of a new place only added to the ” I’m on holiday appeal”.

Having wanted to see more places I was tempted, if reluctant, to continue applying for more extra work due to uncertainty, hidden costs and the time commitments and stress associated with travel.

” It just wasn’t practical”

4) How it began …

I got home unsure what to try next. Before my story began in Torquay I again surfed the web looking for anything which caught my eye under an ” events” search since I had worked at events before with the stewarding.

There were a few key themes for all the events advertised. One was alcohol, music and the other was food.

The websites detailed many staff were employed or rather roped in, on a voluntary basis which looks great for experience but not for making ends meet.
I contacted a few websites which did not list volunteers as employees through the contact emails provided not expecting any responses other than …

” Thank you for your enquiry but unfortunately …”

I had experienced these monotonous droning responses in abundance since graduation.
1 email to my astonishment came back as positive however from a gin festival company stating how there was work this weekend ( the weekend after I had worked Bristol) in Torquay.

This gave me a hugely tight timescale to arrange things since it was already Wednesday and the work was from Saturday.
I researched transport, accommodation and walk times between work and hostels etc and costs and calculated it was profitable as well as an adventure to go.

So I did …

I went to Torquay where I experienced my longest ever work shift of 12 hours doing perhaps the most physical labour I ever thought possible carrying ice sacks constantly or emptying bins.

5) Berny

Meeting people there though made it all worthwhile. Everyone was a team and I quickly got into the groove of the role I was given. I met a girl named Berny who was perhaps the most characterful and bubbly character I had ever experienced.

She explained to me her enthusiasm for gin had brought her there and how she had a blog named

” undertheginfluence.com”

I laughed in disbelief. Turns out she actually has and on reading I actually enjoyed her story and passion for it. After seeing her at the next festival in Nottingham I then was inspired to start my own blog.

She had so why couldn’t I ? …

I transferred the accommodation reviews I had wrote for Torquay, Nottingham and Bristol to the blog and began reviewing ciders ( my favourite alcohol), to match my restaurant, film and travel reviews I already had complied. This again was because of her.

Without Berny then I would not have began this blog and you wouldn’t be reading this now so a big thank you to her. My review repertoire is ever expanding and I am using my enjoyment of writing once more which faded a little after graduation.

I am now enjoying life and seeing every trip as an adventure. The blog hopefully will inform you of the benefits of various locations and products as well as take you on a virtual journey to the places I have been.

6) Random quotes I invented I think …
“If you are still reading I admire your dedication and you’ll go far in life. If not you will not, but you won’t see this anyway and what you can’t see, can’t hurt you.

“Nobody can tell you what you should be doing in life but what you should be doing will show everybody what you can do. “

Orchard cider review (6/10)

Orchard cider review (6/10)

” … It wouldn’t be my pick”

“It lives in the shadow of Rekorderlig”

Packaging
The bottle with its shimmering gold neck and dark glass body keeps things low key yet eye catching. The story is quite non descript also keeping you guessing since whilst Irish cider is specified not much is mentioned about the flavour of the apples used. The remark ” made with the best quality apples” is given in addition to a ” refreshing smooth taste” but this all says nothing about the experience you would expect. Jonathan Blair westons from Herefordshire has no trouble mentioning made with bittersweet apples nor does thatchers haze by stating how it has been made with the sweetest apples. This makes things a little intriguing, if primitive.

For the practical consumer this cider per bottle is 85p from Aldi and is served in pints. This equates to 2.6 units with an alcohol percentage of 4.5. Don’t expect to get away with just 1 for the night though for the reasons discussed below. 2 at this quantity would put you significantly over the do not regularly exceed limit of 3-4 for males. I would ask is it worth it ?

Smell
After lifting off the bottle top with a bottle opener (following a grapple with the sticky bottleneck label) you finally manage to get into the bottle. After a sniff you get very limited scent. A high level of acidity is clearly not present and the smell does not have any particularly potent notes. It does not smell dry however or lightly fermented but the explanation for this becomes evident during tasting.

Taste
The taste on the first sip appears pleasant. It leaves you with a fizzy carbonated feel typical of a good cider ( in my opinion) and provides you with non sickly, yet slightly sweet taste. The aftertaste is hardly existent and therefore not unpleasant.
After a while you begin to realise the experience does not get any better. There is not enough flavour for any real pleasant taste to accumulate during consumption and leaves things a little undramatic. It does give the illusion of being good for hydration however due to moistness left on your palette. This along with carbonation are 2 key positives with this cider.

The real let down is lack of flavour. There is no getting away from it. It is like drinking a watery and fizzy apple juice with the effect of alcohol. Whilst cider should resemble apple flavours, this does not give out enough of any flavour making it hard to distinguish between artificial sweetness or sweetness from the apples.

The drink appears to live in the shadow of rekorderlig therefore which provides more of a punch and has all the positive attributes of orchard with the added bonus of a fruity aftertaste to convince you that there is fruit in there …
It still remains subtle however so in my mind is superior to orchard as a fizzy, sweet and moist drink.

The lack of smell mentioned earlier therefore is just due to lack of concentration of flavour. It is not even due to low alcohol content because many other varieties with highly similar alcohol contents still pack more force. P.s Rekorderlig is also 4.5 percent …

Summary

A crowd pleaser. Pleasant in moistness and fizz with some sweetness. It does not have enough of anything though to be truly satisfying ( too watery) so after a few evenings I think most would be tempted to look for these attributes in more abundance elsewhere. Those with any sense at least …

Sisterhood of the traveling pants 2 review (6.5/10)

Sisterhood of the traveling pants 2 (6.5/10)

“Promise draining away with duration. A little romance with too much complication. Not enough anecdotal inspiration. Film finds itself in a mediocre rank location.”

 

Setting the scene

Imagine you are a bee … Out on the hunt for nectar. You don’t find a sweetly scented rose but end up settling on a daisy. The daisy is fine. It still provides the nectar you want but you wonder. You wonder if your fellow bees have found a flower which is more salubrious. This is the theme of the scene setting. The not knowing of characters lives and how they are unfolding. This is a capture. Gets you wanting to know more and acts as an effective hook.

Main body

The beginning shows real promise with many dramatic emotional scenes with 2 of the main characters. You almost expect some relationship development but nothing feels long term. It feels like nothing is real or deep enough to provide a real romance vibe.

Perhaps the art of the film is it’s action and progression but for this, all the scenes and characters should be as emphatic as each other. This just isn’t the case. The second film learns from the issue of focusing too heavily on the main character in the first. With this though it struggles to make each small excerpt from every character dramatic.

The greatest drama begins with a combination of characters. One is left out from any really emotional or engaging events. Things get a little tedious later on since the drama is siphoned just towards the main character. Only a short snippet for the left out character is provided to try to reengage or wake up the viewer. This seems a bit desperate and feeble however and some stones are left unnecessarily unturned.

The main body therefore seems to fade away and could benefit from a little truncation or just quality time focusing on relationships. That said the stories do have variety but just aren’t on the whole that entertaining.

Music

Quieter music as well as increased fading was used especially well for sadness and turmoil. This enhanced the authenticity for just one of the characters though. Again this was far more effective at the early part of the main film body but by the end was not noticeable unfortunately. In general the music was calming and relaxing which suits the films friendship vibes although perhaps needs changing up where things are threatened or more exciting.

Ending

The ending is too much like the first which is a shame. There could have been a twist in the tale or the significance of the pants revealed which would have been nice.

Summary

A varied combination lacking seasoning. Not fully reasoned and seasoned by any stretch although some good relationship scenes, location variety and number of life snippets just about get you to the end of the film. No better or worse I feel than the original but the film appears to suffer from less surprise after viewing the first.