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Twix Caramel Centre Review

This is a review of Twix Caramel Centre biscuits I picked up at the local British store here in Vancouver.

About

My go-to chocolate bar from the supermarket or newsagent would always be a Twix. It started when I was 5 years old when my parents would take me swimming, I refused to get in the water unless they promised me a Twix afterwards. I don’t really eat them much anymore, just once or twice a year, but did pick the biscuits up as I thought they would be interesting to try. This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of them.

Actually, it’s quite difficult to find out any information about these biscuits.  Mars, who owns the Twix brand, doesn’t have any information about them, or many other products, on their corporate website. Burtons Biscuits, whose name is on the packaging too, doesn’t have any information on them either, but there is a similar Mars Bar related product on their website.

Mars Soft Centres

I checked on Tesco and Sainsbury supermarket online stores and they don’t have the Twix product listed either. It’s quite mysterious because when I search online most British stores in Canada and the USA are selling them. Maybe they were limited edition, did their rounds in the UK, weren’t popular and decided to sell them at discount globally. Just a guess.

Review

I can’t remember how much these cost me here, about $4.00 I think.

So, here is a quick rundown of what I thought of them:

  • You get 8 biscuits in a packet which isn’t a lot for the money, but I don’t know how much they were in the UK so it could be reasonable at that cost.
  • They didn’t smell very pleasant.
  • They didn’t taste like Twix chocolate bars at all.
  • The biscuit on the outside was nice and crunchy.
  • There is a gooey caramel centre, I couldn’t taste it as the outside biscuit was too overpowering.
  • It wasn’t overly sweet which was great for me.
  • The biscuits had less of a caramel centre than advertised on the packet.
  • It left an aftertaste in my mouth which was unpleasant. A couple of hours later I am still shuddering from the aftertaste.
  • I could only eat one biscuit and I threw the rest away.

So, I wasn’t impressed. At least they weren’t that expensive.

Rating

I really didn’t like them so my rating is 1 out of 5. I wouldn’t buy them again. Sorry Twix makers, keep trying different things though.

2022-08-10T21:55:13+00:0010 August 2022|Food, Review|

Firebird Movie Review

FirebirdThis is my review of the LGBTQ movie Firebird which had an international release date of April 2022.

About

Even though the film had its premiere at the LGBTIQ+ Film Festival in London on 17 March 2021 it didn’t hit international cinemas until 29 April 2022.

The story is based on the memoir “The Story of Roman” by Sergey Fetisov. Sergey was born in Russia in 1952 but passed away, at the age of 64, in 2017.

The movie was co-written by Peeter Rebane and Tom Prior, the latter of whom was one of the lead actors.

Firebird is about a young soldier Sergey Serebrennikov, played by Tom Prior, who has a clandestine love affair with pilot Roman Matvejev, played by Oleg Zagorodnil. They are on a Soviet Air Force Base at the height of communist rule in 1970 where same-sex relationships aren’t legal. The story follows their ups and downs of trying to be together on a more permanent basis, a story about romance versus duty.

Cast

The cast was unknown to me.

Tom Prior played Sergey Serebrennikov.
He is a British actor who was also the producer, music supervisor and screenwriter of the movie. A convincing acting performance and the movie was packaged quite nicely.
Instagram

Oleg Zagorodnil played Roman Matvejev
He was born in Ukraine and from what I have heard he is back there for Russia’s invasion.
Instagram

Review

The Story was so much better for me than other LGBTQ films, it was a romantic film with the backdrop of life in the USSR and in their military. The story kept moving, with no stagnation, there was always something going on, new scenarios that would challenge the characters.

The set was convincing even though it was filmed in Estonia. Its “look and feel” did seem earlier than the 1970s that it was set, but maybe accurate for Russia, I wouldn’t know. All the apartments seemed extremely drab, something you would expect in the UK after the second world war. Maybe this is how it was back then. The ballet dancers looked very scary!

The planes that were flying looked like CGI, this was in a number of clips. Most of it was quite well done, the planes flying overhead from the beach looked a bit unconvincing but really the story was the main focus.

This was a movie without any drugs or other things that come with many LGBTQ dramas, so that is a good thing. It focused on the couple and the lives of some people around them.

It was interesting to read reviews by some Eastern European people who did say it was realistic for Russia during that time period, I guess you couldn’t ask for a better thumbs up than that. The reviews were kind of mixed, as expected, mostly good, some very low commenting as though they had never seen it. Both LGBTQ and Asian movies receive the same treatment online.

I felt for actor Oleg Zagorodnil who I believe is in Ukraine as Russia attacks his country. I’m not sure what role he is playing there but I’m assuming he can’t travel to various events related to the promotion of the film.

So, good entertainment all around, I will give it a 4 out of 5.

Links

Firebird Official Website

Trailer

2022-06-27T22:38:12+00:0027 June 2022|LGBTQ, Review|

B-Boy Blues Movie Review

B-Boy Blues is an American LGBTQ movie that was released in 2022, this is my review.

About

A college-educated journalist from Brooklyn and a “homeboy”-bike messenger from Harlem fall in love. They are two guys from different backgrounds and this story is about how they face their cultural differences.

The film is based on a screenplay by James Earl Hardy who is known for his writers on the African American LGBTQ experience.

Cast

The movie was directed by Jussie Smollett, who faced some legal challenges recently, although I’m not sure what happened.  Evidently, this is his first creation since the so-called controversy.

Timothy Richardson plays the main character Mitchell. Timothy has 12 acting credits, according to his IMDB biography, but has also had expertise in the areas of cinematography, directing, writing, editing and producing.

Thomas Mackie plays Raheim/Pooquie, the somewhat on/off partner of Mitchell. Thomas has numerous acting credits back until 2015 including roles in the TV series Kaleidoscope, About Him 2: The Revolution, and Triangle.

My Review of B-Boy Blues Movie

Like some other LGBTQ movies, same as Asian movies, it gets really mixed reviews, from “best film ever” to “hated it”. The score on IMDB is quite unfair as the majority of those who have written reviews gave it a 10/10.

At first, there seemed to be a lot of clichés in the movie but the story developed into its own as the film progressed.

As the summary states, the movie is really about two people who come from totally different worlds trying to get on with other, and those who are close around them. The child actor was very cute and quite the ham, he was a brilliant addition. The immediate family around them were pretty cool characters and we thought “we know someone exactly like that”.

The film had humour and drama, they all fit in well with each other. Often it felt like a “fly on the wall” type film. There was some good editing, such as flashbacks. The musical score matched the staging of the film. It was great to see some familiar sites in New York City. It was more realistic than other LGBTQ films.

Negatives about the movie: Well, I do think there were too many clichés. The way Mitchell took Pooquie back was slightly unrealistic and quick, but maybe this happens in real life, not in my experience, but what do I know.

Another important film exploring the diversity within the LGBTQ movie. A film that I’m sure people will watch and talk about for many years. I will give it a 4/5, worth seeing.

Links

Where Can I Watch

The movie is available on BET+ and is one of their most popular acquisitions as I write this.

Trailer

2022-06-23T19:48:22+00:0021 June 2022|LGBTQ, Review|

Fire Island Film Review

Fire IslandFire Island is an LGBTQ film released on 3rd June 2022 on the Hulu network to coincide with Pride Month.

About

A group of friends make their regular trip to Fire Island, but this time their journey that challenges their relationship.

Cast

The only person I recognized in the film was Margaret Cho who is an icon in herself and to the LGBTQ community. I think it was quite a coup to have her involvement which would draw an audience in itself.

This is a more Asian focused story, written by and the lead actor Joel Kim Booster. According to his Internet Movie Database biography he has been writing since 2013. He has also appeared in quite a few TV shows. If social media is anything to go by this work will boost his career as he becomes an LGBTQ icon.

Review

The movie addressed a number of issues and challenges within the LGBTQ community. The story revolved around a group of friends dealing with these issues which challenged their relationship between themselves and others.

In my opinion, the character that was written and played the best was Will, actor Conrad Ricamora, this is the only one in the film that I could identify with. All the other characters just seemed to be a mess and outlined many reasons why I feel that I don’t belong anywhere in the community. Most of the characters were overly camp, swearing, doing drugs, vindictive, gossipy, and having sex with anybody, and a lot of what they were saying I couldn’t really understand or follow. I think the Will character was part of the point of the movie, and this will be my main (positive) takeaway from it. I was also pleased that there were at least a couple of characters that didn’t fit the body stereotype, even though one of them, the black character, was sidelined in the story. The movie had a bumpy start but ended on a high note, similar to Beautiful Thing.

Apart from the story and characters, having a diverse cast is so important and that is such a positive and important step.

The reviews on Internet Movie Database ranged from “this is the best thing since sliced bread” to quite toxic comments. Asian TV shows and films do seem to be reviewed much worse on that platform than anywhere else, and the fact that this is an LGBTQ film made them even more toxic. It’s so sad.

I do prefer LGBTQ shows from South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, maybe they aren’t as “realistic” and focus more on the good in people rather than all their faults, and have other elements of the story like SciFi, business, food etc.

As for a score, I will give this a 2 out of 5, it just wasn’t my thing. It’s great that others are enjoying the movie and I’m sure it will go down in history and be remembered forever.

Trailer

2022-06-07T16:48:53+00:007 June 2022|LGBTQ, Review|

Bulldog Shave Gel Review

Bulldog is a brand of British skincare products ranging from moisturisers, face scrub, lip balm, shave gel among others. The company was created in 2005 but I have been using the product range since it was available in the North American market. I’ve had better luck with British products on my skin type than I have those which are made in America so I was pleased when these arrived here.

Bulldog Shave GelI have used the following products which I would recommend:

I noticed in Shoppers Drug Mart that the Bulldog Shave Gel was on sale at CAD $8.95 so I bought one to try out.

Review

Day 1

I thought I was doing something wrong when I used this product.  Other Shave Gel products I have used in the past I have just applied to the skin and it froths up nicely, however, this product barely produced anything but remained kind of slick. When I shaved it was ok but my shaver (Schick/Wilkinson Sword) didn’t glide across my skin as it does with other products.

Day 2

I watched a review (positive) of the product on YouTube and this bloke placed some gell in a dish and built the lather up with a shaving brush. Duh! Maybe I should have done this the day before. However, when I tried it this method it still didn’t foam up that much, if at all.

Day 3

I placed more of the gel on my face to see if I could get more of a lather, just a little, but kind of vanished within seconds.

Summary

The product did give me an adequate shave but didn’t feel as good as Proraso other others I have used. I will of course finish off the tube I got but would most likely won’t buy any more. No matter, I still love their other products.

One note, the price is higher than other skincare products on the market, not the most expensive but I always stock up when there is a sale on. Of course, now, I have enough to last me for quite some time to come.

Overall Score of the Shave Gel:

2020-05-17T21:11:50+00:0017 May 2020|Review|

Heathrow Express Review

Heathrow ExpressHeathrow Express is a train service from Heathrow International Airport to Paddington Station in the heart of London. I prefer flying into Heathrow rather than Gatwick because I find it less stressful and more convenient due to good access to Paddington. The train takes about 15 minutes and although more expensive than other routes it’s still worth it for the convenience. I’ve also been happy with the performance in the past, never had a problem, that is until now.

This is a review of my journey on Heathrow Express in March 2019.

Online Booking

Booking was easy enough, no issues online.

When printing off the tickets a QR code was split over 2 pages. This is because they are designed for A4 paper and not for US letter size, therefore I added them to Apple Wallet (as I discovered later that may have been a mistake).

8th March

They didn’t have a gate into the train service before and appeared to be causing customers some issues, including me.  I had 4 QR codes in Apple Wallet, 2 each for my partner and I, scanned the first one in without problems, my partner went through, swiped to scan the next one in which was rejected. The customer service rep at the gate seemed disinterested in helping out as he was talking to his colleagues.  Eventually got him to scan me in.

The journey was ok but crowded, but enough room for us to sit down, not enough room to store luggage. Some senior passengers were having issues so we helped them out.

At Paddington had problems getting out of the gate, one rep was extremely rude and wouldn’t help, he was shouting obscenities at customers, and another was just slumping against a wall with her eyes half shut pretending not to notice the chaos going on.  Eventually, she responded, with a very bad attitude, making me out to be a criminal who hadn’t paid my fare but eventually let me out. Part of me, at that point, wanted to cancel my return journey and just organize a taxi back to the airport.

14th March

At Paddington, there was only one member of staff and the gates were open. Maybe a sign that they weren’t working out due to the multiple reports of chaos on other occasions.

Plenty of room on the train and the journey was pleasant. Someone came round a read our ticket.

At Heathrow, the gates were operational, a little bizarre if they were checking tickets in the train. I had no problems using the gates but I decided to use the paper tickets, I came to the conclusion that the QR codes in my Apple Wallet would not work.

Summary

Due to the number of errors, and bad attitude, on the Heathrow to Paddington trip, my view of Heathrow Express has somewhat changed. When people arrive at the airport they are tired and want a seamless, and polite, journey to their destination. For me, Heathrow Express failed to deliver that experience.

Hopefully, they have learnt from feedback provided by customers, especially on the gates, and reviewing the situation in order to improve the journey and experience for all.  By the time I am reading this hopefully all is well.

2019-05-21T16:49:28+00:0021 May 2019|Review|

Air Canada Review

Air CanadaWe recently took a trip back home to the UK and decided to go on Air Canada this time.

Booking The Flights

There was no issue booking our flights online but had some difficulties with their system entering other information they were asking for. Air Canada is known for its website and computer systems not quite working very well.  However, when we called they were able to fix the issue quickly.

YVR to LHR AC854 7/8 March 2019

At YVR

  • Check in was very easy, there were more agents then there were customers, machines were easy to understand, staff very friendly.
  • Boarding the flight was crazy with a sea of passengers all over the place, couldn’t hear what agents were saying, staff checking tickets were friendly though

On the plane

  • In the age of very expensive checked luggage many people try to cram in their stuff in the cabin, this caused the usual chaos on this flight which is not fair for staff as they already have quite a lot to resolve with many passengers on this flight.
  • The flight was delayed due to de-icing of the hull and they hadn’t emptied the toilet tanks, all this could have been done earlier if they had organized themselves properly.
  • On the surface, the aircraft looked ok but the seats in economy were extremely tight and very uncomfortable especially for someone who has a bad back. A 9 hours flight was quite painful.
  • The food was awful, quite inedible, probably the worst airline meal I’ve had in many years.
  • There was a wide gap in-between the seats in front which meant you were a victim of the flashing TV screen in front. No chance of falling asleep, even when closing your eyes you could see the flashing of the TV. Also, if the TV in front had adult orientated content a child would clearly be able to see that. A very poor design issue between Air Canada and Boeing.
  • There was an overdose issue on the plane, obviously, someone had over-enjoyed themselves in Vancouver, the staff handled this quite well and luckily there was a health care professional on the flight.

LHR to YVR AC855 14 March 2019

Issues with check in because the process wouldn’t complete its workflow. Spent 3 hours trying to resolve it and ended up paying CAD $49 in phone charges.  We were not impressed.

At LHR

No problems at Heathrow check-in. Much easier boarding process than in Vancouver.

On the plane

  • Much nicer flight than the YVR to LHR journey.
  • Freezing cold for part of the flight.
  • No problems with tv screen of person in front as no one was there.
  • The main meal was still inedible but luckily we had come prepared and ate well prior to the flight, we’ll remember that next time we fly via Air Canada.
  • Ice cream and cookies being served at the mid-point of the flight was a very nice surprise.

Other Issues

I tried using their iPhone app. However, as many reviewers report it really doesn’t work well.  Air Canada does seem to have quite a few IT issues, unfortunately.

Summary

Air Canada isn’t really my airline of choice, I’ve had previous issues with the airline but this was the right schedule and the right price, but overall uncomfortable.

2019-05-20T15:26:36+00:0020 May 2019|Review|