Monday, 22 December 2014

VIDEO: Travelodge, Covent Garden, London

If you’re planning a Christmas or New Year jaunt to London, you could do a lot worse than stay at the central Travelodge, Covent Garden hotel. 

The rooms were relatively spacious, especially when you consider the price (from £69 a night for a double room).

And the location and views at the admittedly a little dated-looking (on the outside) hotel were stunning.  

London landmarks, including the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard were visible from the bedroom window, making the Drury Lane location all the more special.

I combined the stay with a visit to the free-to-enter Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and a stroll through Covent Garden, to experience notoriously expensive London on a budget.

New Year visitors can also enjoy free fireworks not too far away to see in 2015.

And with the festive cheer of Hyde Park and the jaw-dropping street entertainers in Covent Garden, it was possible to enjoy the delights of the capital for next-to-nothing. 

Back to the hotel, I simply must mention the terrific breakfast.

The choice was superb and the food unlimited, which again is perfect for the budget traveller.

Travelodge is renowned as a budget option in hotels, but I have stayed at some far more expensive accommodation and it has lacked the convenient central location and the fabulous views of one of the most recognisable skylines in the world.

So, think about Travelodge, Covent Garden for your next London getaway.

  • For more information or to book click here

Monday, 15 December 2014

Audiofly Clublife Paradise in-ear headphones by Tiësto

Some very cool new in-ear headphones landed on my doormat last week.

The mint green, or “aqua”, as makers Audiofly are calling them, ear buds are made in collaboration with superstar DJ Tiësto, who helped with the design process.
And, as well as looking superb, emblazoned as they are with the Dutch DJ’s iconic ‘Nyana bird’ logo, the isolating ear buds really do pack a punch.
And they even glow in the dark!
To test out these bad boys I fittingly called up a series of Tiësto tracks to experience what the makers call the “true club sound – anywhere”.
The bass response on ‘Love Comes Again’ was very pronounced and crisp and the vocals on ‘Red Lights’ were as clear as a bell.

The £29.99 headphones come in a range of colours (some cost more) and are just about on general UK release now.
They feature a mic for hands-free calls and come in stylish packaging with a quality ‘Clublife’ protective pouch. 

There really is a ring of truth in the company’s claim that: “Paradise earphones boast a full, balanced sound to capture the feel of the club and takes you there everyday.”


- 9mm dynamic driver
- Small/medium/large silicon tips
- Soft storage pouch
- Glow-in-the-dark headphones

  • For more information click here

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

No1 Traveller airport lounge

Flying is stressful.
You rush to the airport, only to get herded through various gates, queue up and have orders constantly barked at you, and then you get crammed into a winged metal tube for hours before being catapulted to your destination.
Therefore anything that can bring an element of relaxation to proceedings is most welcome.
And that is where No1 Traveller airport lounges come in. 

With lounges at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham airports, there’s a good chance there’s a No1 Traveller lounge near you.
I visited the lounge at London Gatwick Airport on a trip to Athens and was blown away by the service.
I perused newspapers and magazines, ate tasty cheese and biscuits and ordered a delicious hot meal. 

And the unlimited drinks certainly helped the trip start with a swing.
The lounge itself also offered stunning views of the runway and I really felt like part of the jet set as I watched planes take off and land.
If you’re flying, make time for some lounging too.

  • For more information click here

Thursday, 27 November 2014

VIDEO: The London Dungeon

A journey through London’s grim and gruesome history awaits visitors to the fantastic London Dungeon.
On a recent visit to the ever-popular attraction, which has now moved from near London Bridge to the South Bank, I encountered enthusiastic actors recounting bloody tales from yesteryear.
Beginning before we’d even entered, a funny-voiced scary jester welcomed us and we were soon enacting a head-chopping photo opportunity.
Then it was onwards and downwards into the murky depths.

With the sights, sounds and smells of the capital played out, from plague-hit streets with reanimating corpses, through the Gunpowder Plot to Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, there was no end to the gore.
There were moments where a palpable sense of fear was felt, as a band of travellers and I made our way through the warren of catacombs beneath old London Town.
Clever use of animation, video effects, animatronics, lighting and suspense make this attraction a must-see stop if you’re in the capital. 

Real rats and cockroaches were also in evidence, as was an epic boat ride through Brian Blessed’s, sorry Henry VIII’s, dungeons and Traitors’ Gate.
The near two-hour tour is excellent value for money (£25.20 for adults, or from £17.50 if bought online) if a little overlong, but the moment where everyone gets ‘hanged’ at the end, on a 10 metre drop ride, is well worth staying the course for.
I had a ghoulishly good time and would recommend it, but try not to lose your head!


Click here to book tickets. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

VIDEO: Smoko E-Cigarettes - the best of British!

As something of an E-cigarette aficionado it sometimes becomes difficult to review them.

[Scroll down for video review] 

You suck the vapour in, realise it tastes nice and supplies a nicotine or flavoursome hit, then you breathe out the harmless vapour. 

That is not the case with Smoko.

Well, it is, but this brand is different.

USPs include a dizzying array of flavours, more than you can shake a stick at, should you be bizarrely inclined to do so. 

Plus, Smoko must surely be the vapour vessel of British patriots, thanks to the fact that all its liquids are made here in the UK.

Emphasising the point a Union Jack adorns the packaging.

The fact the provenance of the liquid can be traced back to Blighty is not simply a ‘buy local’ boost to flag-waving vapers.

It actually makes you feel safer. 

A lot of e-cigs have sprung up in the Far East, where let’s say, safety standards are a little behind ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ England.

And therefore you don’t really know what’s in them.

As I said before, Smoko is different.

On to the flavours and all expected tastes are present and correct – staples menthol and Virginia tobacco are there, plus a sweet, almost vanilla, flavoured original. 

But, then Smoko goes haywire, with a fabulously realistic apple and even an absinthe cartomiser to enjoy.

The volume of vapour is impressive and satisfying and the e-cigs themselves also look very much like real cigarettes. 

So, in conclusion these are a must for all dedicated fans of e-cigarettes – especially those who like to buy British. 

  • To buy Smoko E-Cigarettes click here

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

VIDEO: Nicoccino - a pure nicotine experience

Ever eager to circumvent draconian rules against feeding a nicotine addiction I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the smoke-free Nicoccino. 

Developed in Sweden, where smokeless tobacco products such as snus have a cultural foothold, this potent hit of nicotine has dispensed not only with smoke, but with tobacco too.
A small rectangle of paper is what dwells within the metallic sachets, which is placed under the lip and directly onto the gums.
And I have to say I was impressed, not least because of the advertised “powerful nicotine effect”, being true. 

The lemon mint morsels dissolve to relieve cravings and provide a small stinging sensation as the nicotine penetrates the gums, which is actually quite pleasurable. 
Nicoccino contains 1 mg of pure nicotine, similar to one regular strength cigarette - but it contains no tobacco, no tar and has no smell.

Compared to horrible nicotine-replacement gum these are a must.

And there’s even a nifty brown branded wallet to keep them in available to buy. 

  • For more information click here

Monday, 10 November 2014

VIDEO: Frank Skinner - Man in a Suit tour

A seven year hiatus had not dulled Frank Skinner’s prowess as a top class stand-up, certainly not on the evidence of the show I witnessed at Watford's Colosseum.

The Midlands comic’s ambling stage walk, easy-going rapport with audience members and lightning fast wit, showed that while a new generation of comedians have taken to the stage, there is much they can learn from the older guard.

At 57, Skinner’s act has matured, like the man himself and there were fairly clean-cut jokes about relationships, money and religion.

But the show opened with near-the-knuckle fodder about the conviction of Rolf Harris and others.

“It must be a novelty to see a grey-haired celebrity still at large”, the Brummie told his audience, at the Hertfordshire venue.

But smutty anecdotes have always been one of Skinner’s most hilarious staples.

As he said before the tour, which is entitled Man in a Suit: “I still do a bit of filth on stage.

“If I didn’t that would be like Bernie Clifton not performing with his ostrich.”

And it was the “filth” which got the biggest laughs.

In an era where comics tend to be backslapping right-on, point-makers, rather than just funny, this blast from the past was like a breath of fresh air.
And the brutal honesty of the recollections, which have long been the most potent weapon in Frank Skinner’s armoury, were abundantly evident again here.

It would not be hyperbole to describe ‘Man in a Suit’ as a masterclass in the art of stand-up.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

VIDEO: Neo E-Cigarettes - a step nearer to a tobacco-free tomorrow

The first thing I noticed when I excitedly opened the snazzy packaging of my cache of uber cool looking Neo E-Cigarettes were the two rubber moustaches (mustaches for my American readers!). 
It seems a #NeoTash selfie will garner £1 for charity as it's Movember. 
It's touches (or perhaps that should be 'taches) like that, which make a brand stand out. 
But forget any notion of well-intentioned gimmickery, let's move on to the products themselves. 

Firstly the rechargeable tobacco and cool mint varieties were a revelation.
As a seasoned vaper I have experienced some disappointing e-cigs in the past. 
But the sheer volume of vapour and satisfying 'hit' with these sleek Neo products was fantastic.

I for one believe that electronic cigarettes are the future, a "game-changer" as a friend of mine called them, and with quality such as this a tobacco-free tomorrow is nearer than ever (as long as Big Tobacco's grasp on politicians and Quangos can be eroded).
Both the mint and tobacco flavours were spot on and I can't recommend them more highly. 

For fruit fans there are disposable non-nicotine versions in exciting blueberry, grape and strawberry. 
Again they produce an incredible amount of vapour and the flavours are realistic and refreshing. 
And, excitingly, for me at least, they remind me of Star Wars lightsabers or the interior of Space Mountain with the way they illuminate with futuristic lights.

For more information and to order these superb e-cigarettes visit
Incidentally, for anyone who is interested, my #NeoTash selfie is below.

  • Email me at for me to 'Review4U' and follow on Twitter (@Top_Reviews4U).

Monday, 3 November 2014

Previous reviews

See below for some of my many previous reviews.
They include afternoon tea at Paramount, The View from The Shard, white water rafting at an Olympic venue and luxury landmark London hotel the Strand Palace. 

  •  Paramount 'high' tea, at Centre Point, in London

  • Strand Palace Hotel, in Strand, London

  • Rafting at the Olympic White Water Centre, in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire

  • The View from The Shard Experience, in London 

  • If you'd like me to review your product, venue or service email me at

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Nip + Man body 'Fixes' for abs, biceps and pecs

To say I was a rippling hybrid of Hulk Hogan and Charles Atlas would be disingenuous.
But, like those two powerhouses of yesteryear, I like to relax and soothe my muscles after a workout.
And that is where three fabulous ‘fixes’ from men’s grooming experts Nip + Man come in.
The brand, beloved of celebrities, has produced products especially for abs, biceps and pecs.
And they really do work.

Ab Fix

£19.95 for 100ml

Need help getting that six pack?
Nip + Man Ab Fix is a lightweight, fast acting gel which will help to improve skin tone and texture around the abdominal area. Containing Gemmoslim, Nip + Man Ab Fix helps improve skin tone and texture in the abdominal area.
I found it to be a fantastic moisturiser too.  

Bicep Fix

£12.95 for 100ml
Get better biceps with Bicep Fix, a firming, toning gel to make arms appear stronger.

This sculpting gel helps define the appearance of the upper arm area and improves tone and texture for extreme body confidence.

Containing ultra firming ingredient laracare, the bicep area is enhanced + skin appears smoother and more toned.

active caffeine: promotes elasticity
laracare: firms

Pec Fix

£16.95 for 100ml

Pec Fix is a minimising and sculpting gel with a fast acting formula to help to improve tone, texture and smoothes the appearance of pec contours.

For use after a workout or for pecs that just need a boost, this non sticky formula is ideal for daily use to contour, tone and reduce the appearance of excess fat.

unislim: sculpts
laracare: firms and tones

Thursday, 16 October 2014

VIDEO: Ed Sheeran at The O2, London

“Hi, I’m Ed,” said Sheeran as he walked on stage, and as fans at the O2 went wild.
The diminutive red-headed singer-songwriter clad in red checked shirt and clutching a guitar, was a model of understatement, but somehow his stripped back acoustic style filled the vast stadium-sized venue.
All his hits were there, plus a number of much-loved album tracks, but it was how good he was live that really resounded around the cavernous O2.
Sheeran’s voice was devoid of autotune or other audio trickery, displaying just raw talent.
Lego House got a well-received airing here, as did The A Team, I See Fire, Give Me Love and plenty more, including some bizarre but very clever on-the-fly bootlegs. 

Aside from the man in the middle there was one other, introduced as ‘Trevor’, who supplied a steady stream of new guitars, one a song it seemed, from the wings.
The way Ed Sheeran was building crescendo after crescendo I’m not surprised new instruments were needed – I imagine he got through about 12 plectrums too!

It was widely reported that five people got engaged at his gig the previous night at the same venue.
And, while I did not become betrothed at the event, I certainly became wedded to the idea that Ed Sheeran is in the A Team of entertainment.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Hello there!

Please feel free to get in touch to get your stuff reviewed.

As an experienced working journalist I am well-versed in reviewing all manner of products and services from top notch food, theatre shows and drinks to travel abroad.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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