Thursday, 29 August 2013

How Low Can Esso Go?

Thieving little b#@*!^ds. As if petrol wasn't expensive enough. Yesterday the petrol light came on and as I've done a fair bit of running around since then, I thought it best I pop a bit in the old tank. Asda has the best deal price-wise but also the longest queues so I resorted to an Esso station nearby. Very carefully I put in exactly £10 - EXACTLY £10, yet by the time I'd got to the kiosk to pay it'd clicked another penny. Complaints fell on deaf ears. It's only a penny. I know it's only a penny today, but if it's a penny every time I go there, a penny for every customer they have, that's a lot of pennies extra they're clicking.
original image: wikimedia

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Entour -RAGE

What is it with people that seem unable to spend even 30 seconds apart. And I'm not talking about lovey-dovey couples here. Yesterday at the MetroCentre, I witnessed someone waiting for a lift. They were pushing a wheelchair. They had to wait for a second time because when the lift arrived, it was filled by a woman with a pushchair (fair enough) and several women that were with her. Now surely anyone with any sense would realise that the other women could have gone down the escalator (right next to the lift)and met their friend/relative at the bottom, thus freeing more space for those who actually need it. Indeed, the lady pushing the wheelchair had another companion with her that did just that. Are they afraid they'll get lost? Under some sort of contract that requires them to remain in such close proximity? Selfish, unthinking oiks? Mmmm, I know which one I'm going with.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

7 for all womenkind including me?

Y'know I haven't bought a pair of jeans for 5 years? For the most part, quite simply because I haven't found any to fit. Leg length, waist vs hip fit - it's a minefield, and since I've long legs (36" inside) and most stores appear to have reduce their 'Tall' lines to online only, buying has become an even more arduous task than before. I do like to try before I buy as all the faff sending stuff back if it isn't right just contributes to elevated blood pressure and a sending back to square one. Enter the new(ish) jeans-mart within House of Fraser. John Lewis has one too, where there's a pretty good selection of high-end jeans with longer leg lengths as standard. And I've found the perfect pair, only at £170 they're not exactly perfect on the wallet when it's just taken a hammering on holiday. But as I mentioned before - no jeans for 5 years, and since most people buy what? a pair a year at at least 50 quid a pop I reckon I've more than covered what will surely be an investment pair. That's how I'm justifying it anyway! (For anyone who notices I made reference to a pair of Biba jeans a while ago, I did find some through the MetroCentre's Jean Genie service - they fit really well apart from the length but I was assured they came in a longer fit. They didn't. Boo to Biba.)

Friday, 16 August 2013

Paris Can Can Can't

My recent sojourn in Paris was a little disappointing. All work and no play. The closest I got to play was a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from my train window and a quick dash to Sephora. My little bolthole near the Gare du Nord was serviceable but certainly not glamorous, and 12hour working days not conducive to living the high life. I made few purchases, amazed at how expensive things were. Who'd have thought that French brand make-up etc would be cheaper in the UK! On the plus side, Sephora's own brand is very reasonable and smells divine - they even ship to the UK for a small fee and compared to US prices it's a steal! The real highlight thought was probably in the Prada shop at CDG en route home. I could have had a 'Pretty Woman' moment, you know the one where the shop staff won't wait on her - I probably looked like a scarecrow's less attractive sister, but the assistant was very charming, telling me all about their new line, did I want to try a bag on... I declined the try on, I might have dirtied it and been forced to buy it, but it was lovely, definitely on my Christmas list if anyone's thinking of buying me anything, and...I managed to conduct my whole week in French.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Terrific Tenerife 3

As more and more hotels make the move to half-board or even all-inclusive as standard, you may feel as though you're missing out on the local cuisine. You'd be right, but since most places are more than happy to allow a little flexibility (swapping some dinners for lunches etc) you can get the best of both worlds. The first place I'd love to recommend is a little place called 'Capri'. It's in a pretty little arcade at the back of the Playas Fañabé and Torviscas. The baked Camembert is to die for, along with the breaded oyster mushrooms. I also highly recommend the sautéed broccoli. The pasta dishes are a real treat too. The Fettuccine Paraiso and Fusilli Paulo in particular and the pizzas are light as air and generous in size and topping. The menu doesn't stop there. There's also a wide selection of both fish and meat dishes - something for everyone. The Gran Reserva restaurant just around the corner from the Guayarmina Princess hotel is another one to put on the list. Their speciality is meat, lots of it, those who prefer to think of their lambs gamboling look away now! Suckling pig is the house special, I haven't sampled it personally but am told it's fantastic. The selection of fish, meat, steaks... I could eat there every night, and then wouldn't have been able to squeeze on the plane to come home! At both restaurants (esp. Capri) it's the quality of the service that makes them stand out even further. Good service is something I find establishments in the UK are lacking in - a lesson or two could be learned from our Canarian friends.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Terrific Tenerife 2

Our hotel in Adeje was ideally placed for two other fantastic places - the first being the pool club (swimming pool) and bar at the Jardin Tropical sited near Puerto Colon. Although this belongs to a hotel, the bar and restaurant are open to the public, as is the pool, complete with loungers and parasols (for a price of course). It's perched right on the edge of the cliff with spectacular views across the ocean, and conditions permitting, to La Gomera. The second place sits a little further towards Americas, at the back of the Las Cuevitas bay. The Gelatomania icecream parlour has a dizzying array of flavours from watermelon to Red Bull to Smurf!! It appears that this year even Hello Kitty and Sponge Bob got the icecream treatment. Delicious.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Terrific Tenerife 1

A lot of people get a bit sniffy about Tenerife. Sure, the Las Americas area has a reputation for boozy lads/lasses clubbing holidays and some of its hotels are somewhat faded, but there's more to South Tenerife than Americas. Head north and you'll come to the much more salubrious resort of Adeje. The hotels are newer and of much better quality; you'd struggle to find any with less than a 4star rating, the streets and the promenade are noticeably cleaner and the restaurants geared for finer dining - fewer 'all day breakfasts' on offer. Of course it comes at a price. If you want the all night nightlife whilst staying in Adeje, it requires a long walk or splashing on a taxi and day to day it's more expensive too. Our round of drinks comes in at a good 2 or 3 Euros more than in Americas, which seems like little per round, but can quickly add up over the course of a fortnight for those on a tighter budget. It's worth it though. Having been to the resort a couple of years ago, we decided to revisit and stayed at the Guayarmina Princess, a 4star hotel right on the front. Its sister hotel, the 5star Bahia Princess sits just behind it and we'd considered staying there but after consultation with a family member who has stayed several times at both, chose the Guayarmina. The room was pretty bog standard really but had a cracking shower (very important) and great views over the pool and sea. The food was lovely (don't ask how much weight I've put on - diet starts tomorrow) and the staff were polite, courteous and very helpful. The pool area, including its dedicated loo facilities, was spotless with plenty of sunloungers on terraces overlooking the sea. The one gripe I have, and it's not with the hotel or the resort but with the people in it. I know they're on holiday, but you don't take a holiday from keeping your children under control. I've never seen such unruly children or parents so disinclined to keep behaviour in check.