Saturday, 28 April 2012
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Short of paying for controversial and expensive sex selection treatment, many of us aren't given the luxury of choice. For now, I'll sheepishly admit to having a preference for male cats but as far as babies go, I'm undecided.
Thursday, 12 April 2012
“The lady with the pink socks on upstairs - you are being watched by CCTV. I can see everything you're doing," the driver says for the second time, making me wonder how much attention he's paying to the road. This is the voice of the new and improved Megabus. Keen to dispel the outdated 80s' image their name conjures and disprove the popular misconception it's inferior to National Express, Megabus have finally made steps in the right direction and are maturing into a truly mega company.
This is the first coach journey I've made since permanently moving myself back to Leeds. Stuck in London's congestion, our vocal driver clearly aspires to be a comedian, making his presence felt: “Can someone lend me their helicopter?”
As I say goodbye to the south and its extortionately hiked prices (my favourite Greg's creation, 'The Spicy One', actually costs an additional 20 pence!), I'm amazed by the driver's next announcement, alerting us to the free Wi-Fi and power sockets the new double decker Megabuses now boast.
Even dramatically more expensive Leeds to London trains merely offer a token fifteen minutes of free surf time so I can't quite believe it when I'm able to browse e-mails for the entire five hour trip. Sure, as an alternative to train travel, the bus takes double the time but it's also a fraction of the price.
Rivaling National Express' Eurolines, Megabus is finally launching three new European destination routes (Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris) and in doing so, has clearly upped its game, almost matching the level of service offered on long-distance Peruvian coaches. And unlike National Express, overhead lights and ventilation actually work.
The driver's sharp wit punctuates an already long and delayed journey as he tells us “we'll be arriving into Sheffield tomorrow [with this traffic]” and once again warns the person who has removed their shoes to put them on: “you're gassing everybody!” - in turn reminding us, alongside creature comforts, Megabus have clearly improved on-board CCTV and Big Brother is indeed watching us, if only to poke fun.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
The sign saying, “They're back,” directly conflicts with the contents of my fridge over the last year, inaccurately suggesting “they” have been absent. As a child, I loved eggs cooked in their various forms but rather like milk and MacDonald's seemed to develop a sudden inexplicable dislike for them.
In the first year of University in the days of inclusive campus breakfasts, I attempted to reintroduce eggs into my diet but my unfortunate aversion to them remained. In the last few years, I have however become rather partial to a certain type of egg I once thought over-rated.
Back in 1923, Cadbury first introduced cream-filled eggs but it wasn't until 1971 that the brand we know and love today came into being. From 1975 Cadbury Creme Eggs were advertised on TV and in 1980 they were made available year-round but diminishing sales prompted their return to seasonal production.
Over 300 million Creme Eggs are made each year with a third being exported. Each consumer devours Creme Eggs in their own individual way, in keeping with the legendary 1980s adverts “How do you eat yours?” Research by Cadbury shows that:
“53% of people bite off the top, lick/suck out the creme then eat the remaining chocolate in one go – otherwise known as the 'Bite and Lick' method
20% just bite straight through
16% use their finger to scoop out the creme.”
It seems few people go for the “Cadbury Creme Egg and Soldiers” approach (removing the wrapper, placing the egg in an egg cup, cutting/ biting off the top of the egg, eating the fondant filling with a spoon and/or using Cadbury Fingers as dipping soldiers before eating the chocolate shell) or utilise many of the other suggestions from the advertising campaign:
I'm part of the 53% majority and also fall into Cadbury's “Delicate Peelers” sub-category:
Those that know me well, probably won't be surprised to hear I'm a “methodical and subtle eater” who exhibits all the traits of a “Stage Peeler” (unwrapping just enough to keep the creme off my fingers), rather than a ”Quick Discarder” (ripping off all the foil).
The growth of the Creme Egg range (Mini Creme Eggs, Caramel Eggs, Orange Creme Eggs, Mint Creme Eggs, Dairy Milk with Creme Egg bars, Creme Egg ice cream, Creme Egg Twisted, Screme Eggs...) made it possible for me to keep a constant year-round supply chilled in the bottom drawer of our fridge. Last year in the weeks after Easter, supermarkets and market stalls began selling off Creme Eggs at discounted prices and once unsold Easter stocks ran out, left-over Halloween Screme Eggs were on sale for six for a pound. Days away from Easter Sunday, although reserves have seriously diminished, we're still not “dry”.
I may not like my eggs poached or scrambled but in consuming Creme Eggs I am actually eating some egg. Beyond traces of egg whites, the ingredients are less wholesome: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/ask-diet-doctor-anatomy-cadbury-creme-egg. The 20 grams or five teaspoons of sugar each egg contains is the same amount the American Heart Association considers an entire day’s dietary allowance of sugar. Eating three Cadbury Creme Eggs this Easter Sunday equates to the same sugar dosage a physician would use during an oral glucose tolerance test to determine if a patient has diabetes. If you prefer your Creme Eggs deep fried like Doncaster-based Martyn Bilby (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1375444/How-eat-Chip-shop-owner-serves-Creme-Eggs--deep-fried.html#ixzz1r9xV47f7), perhaps just the one is wise. Without immersing in a deep fat fryer, one is a mere 150 calories and a quick sugar high...
If Dean Martin was to ask me: “How do you like your eggs in the morning?” I'd promptly reply: “I like mine with a kiss. Gooey or chilled, I'm satisfied as long as I get my kiss...”