Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008

Vigilance and paperwork can be your friends

I'm near the end of my O2 contract and as usual I went through all my bills to see what my usage patterns have been like before starting the negotiation for a new tariff. Whilst totalling up, I noticed some strange discrepancies on my bills, such as my number of texts and minutes availble for the next month varying wildly. After calling the Select customer service team, it turned out that the last time I renegotiated my contract back in November 2007, none of it was applied correctly to my account. The result? Next month O2 will be refunding me £170. Yep, one hundred and seventy pounds.

Getting it sorted out is great, but the fact that it was wrong in the first place is a huge breach of trust. When I asked the agent for compensation, she said that the refund was the compensation. Nice try, but as I quickly pointed out, therefund is simply O2 delivering on their contractual agreement with me, which they've failed to do since last November. The agent wouldn't budge however, so it looks like I'll be writing in.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Making smoothies

After the recent revelation in the media about the terrifying percentage of British adults who have no fruit in a given week, I thought I'd post about smoothies.

May and I get a vegetable box from Abel & Cole and we've found that making smoothies is an ace way to use up any spare fruit we have. There are plenty of arguments against smoothies on the ground of their sugar content and it's effects on your teeth/body, but we're still firm fans (and have good dental hygiene!). I can even tolerate bananas now, something which was unthinkable before.

So, what do you need?  Basically, fruit, fruit juice and ice. Here's my basic starter recipe:

1 x banana
1 x tray of ice
1 x other fruit (apple shown)
1 x piece of root ginger

Wash/prepare/cut all of the above and then place into your blender jug. I have a cheapo hand blender, seems to work just fine. I can't see the point in having a specialist smoothie maker. Next, top up with fruit juice (I usually use orange, value is fine) and blend for at least 30 seconds.

Your end result should look something like the picture below and taste delicious. Root ginger is a key inclusion for me, it's great for your health and really sets off the fruit.

Along with the banana, you can use whatever you like. I've had good success with strawberries, mango, apple and raspberries.

  • Peel your root ginger, chop it into fingertip sized pieces and then keep it in the freezer. This makes the process super low fuss.
  • For a Starbucks style super smooth icey smoothie, prepare and chop your fruit and then freeze. Blend from frozen with ice & fruit juice.
  • Experiment with your fruit juices, I've tried orange/apple/cranberry in various combinations.
  • If you're short on fruit, throw in a little bit of sorbet.