Wednesday, 26 November 2014


The ASDA team invited a group of journalists and foodies down to Tobacco Docks to talk us through their quality range of produce. We would get to samples dishes created by their various chefs and experts including their innovation chefs Mark Richmond and Margaret McSorley-Walker.

Since University I  have had affection for ASDA. As a cash strapped student in Southampton I fondly remember scooting up and down the aisles of the massive store and feeling rather chuffed with my discoveries. I was able purchase items that would normally be catagorized as a 'treat' or 'naughty' items while keeping firmly within my tight student budget. I ate like a queen - not a very healthy or calorie conscious one - but I was very happy come meal and snack time. So while I have always been aware of how cost effective shopping at ASDA is, I have not always been aware of just how good they are at delivering high quality products, particularly when catering for the Christmas period.

Friends of mine have reccommended particular ASDA products before, after the revelation that they not only rivalled but beat the likes of Marks and Spencer on the taste front. I have also seen various blind taste tests on day time TV which prove the likes of ASDA and ALDI are creating truly delicious yet affordable food.

During the evening Mark Richmond created the Spiced Persian Turkey from their Taste of Christmas recipe leaflet. I am not generally into dishes that fall under the healthy bracket, so I was pretty shocked to find it utterly delicious. So delicious in fact, I had two further bowl fulls. The zing from the pomegranate, the sweet refreshment from the carrot ribbons, the fragrance courtesy of the coriander and korma paste, and the combination of the cold spiced mayo/yoghurt sauce, flaked almonds and soft sweet dates.....Wow, is all I can say. It should be noted that one of the food journalists in attendance was pretty impressed that ASDA stocked the ingredient Sumac too.

After making yummy noises in unison while devouring the Mini Christmas Eccles Cakes, we were invited to try some of the other foods displayed around the bar. I instantly gravitated towards the impressive Ham which was about to be carved. While I waited I was quite content sampling the Christmas Fruit Cheese. While I was feasting I chatted to Master of Wine Philippa Carr about my recent trip to Rome and my new fondness for the aforementioned food. While I was in Rome my boyfriend discovered a red wine that he fell in love with. Every time he cooks he reminisces about the first sip, as if it was a first kiss with the love of his life, and looks disappointingly at the glass in his hand filled with a less fruity and smooth wine. Unfortunately the wine he lusts for is £18, and way out of his price range. This was my opportunity to find a solution  to keep my man happy....or at least, less grumpy. I described the taste of the Chianti we found in Rome, and she instantly offered up a cheaper alternative that I could purchase for £7.50 from ASDA. This has got me so considerable brownie points....

So after dragging myself away from the cheese display I sat down to watch one of the demonstations.
Chef Crys Todiwala ( of Assado) was going to create a spicy pork dish using solely products from ASDA.  He was so full of amazing facts I ended up retaining absolutely nothing about the recipe, but I can  tell you a lot you never knew about rice! Did you know there are 100,000 types of rice?Later on Blur bassist turned foodie and producer Alex James would talk all things Cheese.
So if you have previsouly been a tad snobbish when it comes to buying food, have a rethink this Christmas. I guarantee you'll be pleasantly suprised!


Ultimate Ears Unveils World’s First Social Music Player: UE BOOM

A few weeks ago I was invited down to Great Portland Street's Verolution store for a UE BOOM party. Working in the music industry I had heard a lot of positive feedback about the product, so I was excited to experience its much spoken about quality (and volume) in person. However I was a bit out of my comfort zone within the chosen venue, which according to the numerous bike enthusaists who also attended the shindig, houses some of the finest bikes and cycling accessories. I never thought I could get excited about such things, that was until I spotted a matt black mountain bike, which could only be describe as sexy. Yes...I said sexy. Who knew?? I think its because it was like a pedal powered version of the Batmobile....I digress. As well as displaying some of his recent artwork within the store, artist Jason Straffon was in situ, customising our gifted EU BOOMS with a letter of our choice. So...what's so special about the BOOM???

Artist James Straffon was at the event to customise our gifted UE BOOMs as well as showcasing his latest art collection. One lucky attendee also won a state of the art new customised UE BOOM bike, designed by Straffon.

In May Ultimate Ears introduced UE BOOM, a social music player made to help you play the music you love, not just loud but amazingly good quality - none of that laptop tinny-ness we tend to put up with!  It’s designed to make the most of digital music’s convenience, while making it less of a solitary experience. UE BOOM is the first-ever social music player, a wireless speaker that’s packed with a specific set of features that sets a new standard for listening to music. It’s the first stereo speaker to offer 360-degree sound in a battery-powered device, and features a 15-hour rechargeable battery.

Its sleek and compact design makes it easy transport anywhere, rounded off with specially developed acoustic skin which is both water and stain resistant so you can enjoy your music anywhere you may find yourself, inside or out.

If used to soundtrack your party you may need some extra volume oomph to overpower the chatter and general revelry, but thankfully they have that covered too.  You can wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs together through the free UE BOOM app (available for iOS™ and Android™) to play them in either stereo-to-stereo mode or traditional left/right stereo mode. According to a PR at the launch event, you can do this with up to six BOOM's. My friends in the band YMA6 apparently do this on tour when they want a post gig party on the bus or in their dressing rooms.


I now don't know what I did before receiving my custom UE BOOM. My bath-time soaks are now soundtracked by my relaxing classical playlist on YouTube. Not only are my baths extra soothing thanks to the orchestral masterpieces, I no longer have to worry about a water x laptop electrical disaster. I'm trying so desperately to avoid spending money on anything I don't 'need' before Christmas that I'm not allowing myself to buy any new albums from ITUNES - which is a very hard task for a music journalist. Thankfully I can connect to my boyfriends Iphone and enjoy Taylor Swifts new pop delights as we cook up a storm in the kitchen.

Many brands are gifting us with new opportunities to source music - thankfully the 20 year old Ultimate Ears have taken care of how we can digest this music, in the best possible way....

 “The digital age has changed how we listen to our favourite songs and interact with music,” said Rory Dooley, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “While online music services have made it easier to access your music, it's remained a challenge to have an anytime, anywhere listening experience that can be shared with others. UE BOOM solves that problem. Ultimate Ears strives to amplify the social experience of listening to music, bringing people together around the music they love. UE BOOM is designed to bring music out into the world.”

 For more information, please visit



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