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Best Pancake Recipe

Best Pancake Recipe

My Best Pancake Recipe

Pancake day is Tuesday 13th February so if you are looking for the Best Pancake Recipe and the easiest pancake recipe this is it. This pancake recipe has never failed me and I have tried a few.

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Pinch of salt

Simply mix all the ingredients together. Start by mixing the egg and flour and then add the milk. Whisk well and make sure there are no lumps. If possible, let it rest for 30 mins to and hour if you can in the fridge, (not actually necessary but I find it works well for me).

To cook the pancakes use a small amount of butter on a non stick pan. You can use some kitchen roll to mop the excess. Now ladle some mix into the pan. Don’t touch the pancake until you see the little holes appear in the top. The first pancake for me is always a throw-away but I hope this pancake recipe helps.

Pancake Toppings

These are some of my favourite pancake toppings;

  • Sugar and jam
  • Sugar and lemon
  • Nutella
  • Nutella and banana
Novotel Century Hong Kong – Hotel Review of the Novotel Century Hong Kong

Novotel Century Hong Kong – Hotel Review of the Novotel Century Hong Kong

Novotel Century Hong Kong Hotel Review

The Novotel Century Hong Kong is a hotel we stayed in back in 2010 en-route to New Zealand. We decided to return in 2014 based on our past stay there and again this year in December 2017 when we visited for a 7 day stay. This review of the Novotel Century Hong Kong is a culmination of all 3 visits and the things which we liked about this great hotel.

Hotel Review - Novotel Century Hong Kong

Hotel Location

The Novotel Century Hong Kong is located in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island, very near to areas such as Central and on all the major MTR and tram lines. The easily accessible cation of the Novotel Century Hotel is one key advantage. You can walk to the ferry, the MTR or the tram lines in 5-10 minutes. The Neighbourhood is safe and we have often gone for a late night walk when jet lag was affecting us.

Novotel Century Check-in

The checkin process here is always speedy and friendly. The accommodation we had in 2014 was a very nice large room on 17th floor with excellent air conditioning and this year we were in room 1913. Both times the view was towards the inner city nothing to write home about, but it’s not a big issue since you will probably be in the room just to sleep. Hong Kong is so amazing to visit this is not a big deal. The bathroom was good with the best steaming hot power shower you could get. The bathroom and the room was bright and clean with and good products in the bathroom.

Hotel Facilities

In 2014 on the first night we enjoyed a swim in the roof top pool. This is one of the key selling points of the hotel. The pool was great with helping with the effects of a 13 hour flight. The gym is also excellent – visit the InBalance gym and pool via the lift with towels and lockers available. The only issue was, that on our visit this year (2017 and into 2018) the pool closed on January 2nd and we were never told, so we missed out on a swim on this occasion which was a pity.

In 2014 you had to pay for the WiFi, now, it is totally free. The Wifi is speedy and always reliable. I held a few Skype calls to Ireland and they were 100% perfect.  Free Wifi is a must for me in hotels and I was delighted to see that the Novotel Century had this available.

The Novotel Breakfast

The breakfast buffet is stunning, the second key selling point of the Novotel Century – you might just stay here for the breakfast alone. An amazing array of foods from all over the world. Everything from Congee and Dim Sum to fresh fruit and western style breakfast. I always chose the asian steamed dumplings! The breakfast is served from 6am and we were there most days at 6am to enjoy this amazing feast of asian dishes. You could enjoy everything from Shui Mai to Pork Steamed buns. Delicious !

Breakfast at the Novotel Century Hotel Hong Kong

Breakfast at the Novotel Century Hotel Hong Kong

There is also an Italian Restaurant and a bar. However get to the bar before the stated 1am closing time as it should really state that last orders is 12:30 closing at 1am.

Beds are very comfortable and you can be guaranteed a good nights sleep. Sometimes you stay in bed that bit too long as they are ridiculously comfy beds !

Overall

Overall the Novotel Century Hong Kong is a lovely hotel within walking distance of MTR and Trams and about 15 mins walk to the Star Ferry terminal.  A really great hotel to stay at if you are visiting Hong Kong.

Novotel Century Hong Kong – Map Location

Below is a map location of the Novotel Century Hong Kong

Novotel Century Hong Kong, Jaffe Road, Hong Kong

Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic – London to Hong Kong Review

Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic – London to Hong Kong Review

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review – London to Hong Kong

I have been to Hong Kong on 3 previous occasions. In 2002 I went with British Airways in Economy class. On the next occasion in 2010 I flew Qantas but went in Premium Economy. In 2011 I flew with Cathay Pacific Premium Economy. This year I flew with Virgin Atlantic from London to Hong Kong in Premium Economy on flight VS206 and return on VS207  I had never flown with Virgin Atlantic before. Another first was flying on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Checkin and Pre-Flight

Because you have a Premium Economy ticket you do get to check in ahead of the Economy section. On arrival at your seat you find an amenity kit. This kit includes socks, sleep mask, toothbrush, tooth paste and ear plugs. A neck pillow and blanket are also provided for your comfort. The kit is very useful on the long flight and you will appreciate the toothbrush around 7 hours into the flight (nice touch).

As part of the VIP Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy service you are also treated to sparking wine or orange juice before takeoff.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review - The Boeing Dreamliner Awaits
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review - The Champagne Welcome

Your seat on board Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy

The seats in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy are that bit wider than standard economy plus they recline further. They are very comfortable and combined with the quality leg rest, you can get into a decent resting position.

I managed to get about 4 hours sleep on the flight which is good for me as I usually end up watching movies on board. The neck pillows were a little soft so I had to double it over and use as a normal pillow.

 

The In-flight Experience & Comfort

Take off in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was powerful and smooth. The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine delivers 80,000lbs of force to take you elegantly into the skies.

During the flight the Virgin on board entertainment system, “VERA”, has much to offer. If has movies, box sets, music, games and done extra features. The movies were all recent releases including IT, Despicable Me3, Baby Driver and Atomic Blonde. Music included albums from the greats such as Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Bob Dylan and many more. One notable omission was that Queen were not included much to my disappointment. However, it was nice to see Joe Bonamassa included in the listings. The box sets were varied including Big Bang Theory, Veep and Game of Thrones – but only a limited number of episodes are included. On the games, these are good but basic. Kids will enjoy the soccer and breakout games.

Other functions of the VERA entertainment system include a flight tracker showing current position, speed and altitude. You can also chat to other seats and use USB keys for media playing.

During the flight I found it very comfortable to watch the VERA screen. You can tilt it to suit your needs and adjust brightness and volume easily.

 

The In-flight Experience & Comfort

Take off in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was powerful and smooth. The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine delivers 80,000lbs of force to take you elegantly into the skies.

During the flight the Virgin on board entertainment system, “VERA”, has much to offer. If has movies, box sets, music, games and done extra features. The movies were all recent releases including IT, Despicable Me3, Baby Driver and Atomic Blonde. Music included albums from the greats such as Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Bob Dylan and many more. One notable omission was that Queen were not included much to my disappointment. However, it was nice to see Joe Bonamassa included in the listings. The box sets were varied including Big Bang Theory, Veep and Game of Thrones – but only a limited number of episodes are included. On the games, these are good but basic. Kids will enjoy the soccer and breakout games.

Other functions of the VERA entertainment system include a flight tracker showing current position, speed and altitude. You can also chat to other seats and use USB keys for media playing.

During the flight I found it very comfortable to watch the VERA screen. You can tilt it to suit your needs and adjust brightness and volume easily.

 

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review - The VERA onboard entertainment system

The Food in Premium Economy

The dinner I had was a chicken dish with rice. It was very tasty but a little spicy to be served at almost 11:30pm (about 2h 30 into the flight) for my body clock.

As a Premium Economy flyer your meals are served in proper bowls with napkin and a choice of any beverages you wish. You can also avail of snacks from the galley, we were told to help our selves. The only comment I would have is that the snacks are all crisps and munchie style. On Cathay there were noodle pots, a 5 star version of Pot Noodle, and they were a delicious alternative to crisps or biscuits. Qantas also offered ice creams (small choc-ices) as part of their galley snack offering which I also thought was nice.

Breakfast next morning was served at around 5:30am GMT with about 2 hours to landing. It was waffles with blueberry and vanilla cream. The waffles were very well cooked and tasted great with the blueberry compote – however since I don’t like custard or cream I had to leave the half which had been coated in the vanilla cream sauce. The alternate was congee, a Chinese porridge – not an option for me.

Overall the food was very tasty and was served well but certain elements didn’t pass the premium test. On the return leg there was a pudding described as light and fluffy – it was tough and difficult to cut so not as described on the menu. For me, it would be great to have a third option.

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review - The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has no window shades

The Premium Economy Service

From start to finish the service was excellent. We were well looked after at all times. The staff are friendly and had time for you. On disembarkation were were thanked by about 4 staff leaving the Dreamliner.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Dreamliner is a beautiful aircraft. Previous to this flight I had flown in all the Airbus and Boeing aircrafts with the exception of the Dreamliner – so it was nice to cross it off my list. As you enter the Dreamliner the mood lighting is very cool and gives a very sophisticated look to the mood and ambience inside the 787.

The flight was smooth with only a little light turbulence. One feature I was impressed with was the lack of window blinds. Instead the Dreamliner can tint the window so that no light gets in. This stops the annoying instances of people opening a window blind on a night flight as morning approaches. The tinted windows really worked and although it was 3pm outside (7am GMT for our body clocks) the inside was still very dark.

 

Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review – Overall

I really enjoyed the return flight from London to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic. I would have no hesitation on flying with Virgin again as there were no major faults or issues. However for the extra money paid for Premium Economy, it didn’t wow me as much as Cathay or Qantas previously; The biggest difference being the food.

I have outlined my scores below taking into consideration the commentary above.

Service: 9/10

Food: 6/10

In-flight Experience: 8/10

Comfort: 8/10

Overall: 7.5/10

If you have any questions on my Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy review and experience just drop a comment below.

The review is my own opinion of a recent flights on 28th December 2017 and 5th January with Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. No promotion, payment or upgrade was received in return for this blog post. This content is my own thoughts on this flight based on the events, service and food on my flight. 

Paddington 2 – Movie Review

Paddington 2 – Movie Review

I saw the first Paddington movie and I really enjoyed it. With Paddington 2 I actually enjoyed it even more than the first movie. Normally sequels can be a bit of a letdown, often the 2nd film is just to capitalise on the first movie. This time round, I think Paddington 2 bucks the trend and is a wonderfully written and presented movie.

From deepest darkest Peru, Paddington was left in Paddington station with a tag. “Look after this bear”. The Brown family, took Paddington into their lives in a quiet sleepy street at Windsor Gardens.

Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins return in Paddington 2 and they are joined by a struggling actor who is on hard times, namely Hugh Grant. (I’m not slagging him, you need to see the movie to understand the Hugh Grant statement).

The story of Paddington 2 revolves around a pop-up book which Paddington wants to buy for Aunt Lucy. However the pop-up book is over £1,000 and Paddington needs to get a job to buy the book. So, Paddingtons first job is a disaster at a barbershop, shaving a line of hair from Tom Conti who plays an angry judge

Hugh Grant now arrives on the scene as the villain. He plays a self-absorbed West End acting “legend” called Phoenix Buchanan. Basically Hugh Grant was asked to overact and then overact again to become an egotistical method actor.

Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) finds out about the antique pop-up book after Paddington tells him about it. Apparently the book is key to a long-lost treasure stash. Paddington is then framed for the robbery of the book and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Paddington makes a few unlikely friends in prison. His sweet ways means that he doesn’t understand why a mean chef can’t be his friend. Paddington confronts the terrifying chef Knuckles (played by Brendan Gleeson) and eventually they become befriended through the means of a errant marmalade sandwich. There is a lot of fun to be had with he convict Paddington and eventually he wants to get the book and prove his innocence.

From here on, I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the plot as there is a lot of laughs and also some sad scenes for Paddington …. you may have a period of severe worry during this film, so mind the young ones at it.

I found that most of the laughs were to be had with Paddington, Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson and Grant. The script is expertly written and there are a lot of jokes aimed at the adults or older kids too. The graphics are surreal and at times you question if Paddington is real, especially the scene at the barbers where his fur moves in sync with the razor.

I really Paddington 2. BBC Film critic Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times it is a comedy. I can tell you that at Paddington 2, I laughed 6 times in the opening 10 minutes and about 6 times every 10 minutes after that! Paddington 2 is a worthwhile film to see. It is entertaining, charming and worth the admission fee!

Official Trailer – Paddington 2

My Score – Paddington 2

%

Review Score

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

For the past two years on Sky Arts the Master of Photography series has run in association Leica cameras. Last year there was an Irish interest in the series with Molly Keane involved. It is a very good show if you are interested in photography.

I decided to apply for Master of Photography again this year. Last year I applied but I felt my shots lacked any punch – as they were all landscapes. One of the questions a judge on the show posed was, “so what?”. Therefore, when you take a photo you should ask “so what?”. Does it engage the viewer and does it tell a story.I am hoping my submission this year is a bit more effective.

As I watched series 2 of the program I had ideas of my own of what could be shot etc. I felt that watching series three of Master of Photography without even trying to enter would be very “sure, what’s the point”. There is a good saying “you miss every shot you don’t take” – similar to “if you’re not in, you can’t win”.

So who knows, if the judges like my submissions they may decide to include in in series three of Master of Photography. Only time will tell….

 

Update – Jan 2018

Unfortunately, I got a the “Thanks but no thanks” email back. Maybe next year! I know for a fact that my shot selection was my main issue and I have lots of lovely pictures but few of the style they look for, So perhaps I need to push myself further in this regard, and do more street and studio work!