The Cereal Quest: Day 113 – Better Late Than Never

Before I start, Happy Easter. There we go, thats better.

My favourite church service of the year is the Easter sunrise service. It starts at 6am but with the clocks going forward last night meant that my body and one of the clocks in my bedroom felt like it was earlier. I woke up and one of the clocks in my room (the correct clock) said 5.50am. I was running late (I can’t believe 5.50am is ‘late’ for anything but it was) I rolled out of bed quiet as a tired mouse wearing slippers, chucked some clothes on and headed downstairs, I then proceeded (in the dark) to step on a plastic cup from my daughters tea making set, cry a little inside quietly and grabbed my coat. I headed to my car, got in and started the engine. I looked at the windscreen and realised the whole car was frozen and needed de-icing, I de-iced it and got driving up to the church. Now the reason that this service is the best of the year is that when you turn up you all stand around a fire outside the church (our vicar is a pyromaniac), it is dark so you can make out the shape of people and kind of greet them with all the enthusiasm you can muster on a cold, dark and sleepy morning. But you don’t mind the cold, the dark or the sleepiness because you know that all of the other people there have had the same morning as you, at that moment you have a lot in common no matter if you are old or young or male or female. Most would have creeped out of their house trying not to wake their partners and/or kids, you can see they are all shivering, you can see they are all tired but you all have made the effort, it feels like a team. Its a peaceful service (with the exception of a brief moment where you get given noisy sunday school style instruments to shake, I imagine just to make sure everyone stays awake) it feels so friendly and is a refreshing experience going in to the service in the dark and coming out in the light. Better still there is food afterwards. But no cereal.

I got home and watched lasts nights Football League Show to see the Bournemouth goal from the other day. My wife came down and I remembered she wanted eggs and bacon for her Easter Morning breakfast which I set about making, I was so pleased that all the timings were perfect, my wife likes a boiled egg to be dippy, like her husband, just as I was about to get the eggs out of the bubbling water my daughter cried, I rushed out. She had got her finger stuck in a window of a dolls house, I managed to get the finger out, treat the finger with a refridgerated Mr. Happy cooling aid and got back to serve my now over cooked Easter breakfast for my wife. All this made me forget to have cereal. At 8.30pm tonight I remembered, after eating cheese and crumpets for dinner I had to eat my cereal. I had a new cereal. Recommended to me by Sharon at Kellogg’s as a ‘yummy healthy new cereal’ I was now on my Kellogg’s Coco Pops Croc Prints review :

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I am not going to lie about it, slightly feeling sick of eating lots of chocolate and roast dinner at lunch and crumpets and cheese the last words I wanted to see on the box were ‘High in Fibre’, especially when they are not just written on the back in small writing, they are slapped on the front in a way that really shoves the fact in your face, ‘HIGH IN FIBRE’. Only time will tell how that effects me. As for the cereal, it wasn’t terrible. I was nervous as Sharon at Kellogg’s said it was a healthy alternative to the rest of the Coco Pops range which immediately says ‘dull’ in my head. Flavour wise they were like a room painted by a substandard apprentice painter called Johnny who was only on the course to please his parents, they needed another coat, you could see it was meant to be chocolatey but it could have been better. Texture wise they were like mini polystyrene packaging chips, not great but miles better than some cereals the quest has served up so far. We will see how my morning taste buds react to it tomorrow.

 

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 112 – Just Right Ends Wrong

This morning I poured my last bowl of Kellogg’s Just Right. I was pleased to finish because I just need something more exciting. The portion was again eaten quickly thanks to its pre-digested state. However I may have eaten them too fast for my body. My body revolted against me and I disappeared in to the bathroom for half an hour, half of an actual hour, 30 english minutes which, without the aid of a calculator I can tell you is a lot of seconds. My daughter was ill again today, worse than yesterday so we really didn’t do much but snuggle with her. After one of her naps this afternoon I made an error, an error which I am sure lots of people make but don’t really talk about. My wife was changing my daughter upstairs and I was in the kitchen, the microwave was on and I was running washing up water. I confused the white noise for my wife calling me, I shouted up “pardon!?”, no reply. I must have been hearing things. I then heard her calling again, and also heard her say to get upstairs quick, I panicked as our daughter was ill so legged it upstairs worried about what was wrong. I hurdled the stair gate, left leg first no problem, however my right knee cap smashed and I mean smashed in to the stair gate, it sent the remainder of my body in to the air vertically and I landed both knees first on to the stairs, the stair gate didn’t move, you can say what you want about my D.I.Y skills but that stair gate didn’t even flinch. I was in agony but my daughter was more important so I clambered up the stairs and went in to my daughters room with my knee throbbing (I previously hadn’t realised knees could ‘throb’) I looked at my wife and my daughter, both were confused at my being out of breath, my wincing and my presence. My wife didn’t call me, I had been hearing things. Now laid on the floor on my face wanting to cry but wanting to seem manly to both my wife and my daughter I gathered myself together and headed back downstairs. Slowly. I blame Just Right for my bad hearing, my bad balance and now my bad knee.

Here are the vital statistics for Kellogg’s Just Right:

Cereal Cost: £3.14.
Real Servings per Box: 5
Cost per Serving: 62.8p
Pros – Easy to eat, doesn’t taste too bad and juicy raisins.
Cons – Perhaps to blame for my swollen knee.

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 111 – Short and Simple

We were planning a nice day out swimming today, I got up and was feeling a lot better than yesterday but sadly my little girl woke up with a fever so we cancelled the swimming and had a relaxing day inside.  I gave her her breakfast and then grabbed mine.  One of the almonds pierced my gum, aside from that they were a fairly simple portion of cereal.  The fact that they come pre-digested helps you eat them fast.  Someone at Kellogg’s has already done the job your teeth would usually be employed for and broken them down into a swallowable size so your job when eating these is simply insert then swallow.  Simple.

The Cereal Quest: Day 110 – Shaking All Over

I’ve been enjoying Kellogg’s Just Right, they may have a dull name and not have very exciting ingredients but they have not been bad at all.  This mornings portion was no exception, another bowl of what I would call corn flake muesli enjoyed quickly to enable a swift exit to work.  As I headed to work (no mourning pheasants today) I started to feel my stomach cramping up, I managed to ward off the cramping by ironically singing ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman in my Nissan Almera Tino.  I thought nothing of the cramping and continued on with my day until about 11am when I started feeling quite dizzy and shaky.  I sat down for a while but was still shaky.  I think my body had started realising that 2 out of every 3 things its eating are cereals.  I was scheduled to have another bowl for lunch but decided against it, I don’t feel to good even now, this comes as no surprise.  Last time I had an extended amount of time off I was pretty ill and as of today I have 10 days off work.

The Cereal Quest: Day 109 – The Mourning Pheasant

As I sit down to write todays post I sit here on my sofa confused, flummoxed, nonplussed and worried.  This is because just as I was about to start writing my post my sister in law (one of many) who I have previously had a lot of respect for has come out with a statement that quite frankly defies common sense or rational thinking, she said:

“As much as I’m enjoying your cereal quest Phil, our taste in cereals are polar opposites! Jordan’s country crisp is one of my favourite ever cereals and I enjoyed All Bran golden crunch too!”

Although I appreciate the way her sentence starts with a compliment and I appreciate her use of the word ‘polar’, what she has said is bewildering and worrying.  I shall move on, but please pray for her and, if eating All Bran Golden Crunch, her jaw.

Anyway this morning I had another bowl of Kellogg’s Just Right, I had a bit more time to try and establish what on earth it is.  If you were to go around the Kellogg’s Cereal factory and sweep up with a giant dustpan and brush then pour the contents of the dustpan in to a cereal box you will have discovered Just Right.  However, despite this it does taste good.  Again today the overriding flavour through the cacophony of mess was the humble mini corn flake bits.  Todays portion also tasted a lot more like muesli than yesterdays.

I headed off to work in my recently repaired family car, as I was driving I saw something that I had never seen before.  There was a lady pheasant lying prone in the road, definitely dead (this I have seen many times before and was not the thing I had never seen before).  Stood next to her, staring at her possibly crying male pheasant tears was a male pheasant.  I have never seen any of the mourning process for pheasants but as I briefly looked and then promptly swerved round this scene (something that sadly the truck behind failed to do) I found myself thinking “you foolish pheasant if only you could see the irony that despite understandably mourning for your friend or mate you are putting yourself in the exact same position that caused her death, you are missing something obvious that is staring you in the face”.

I continued on my journey and thought maybe I would do what the now possibly dead male pheasant would, maybe it was natural,  maybe I miss things that are staring me in the face.  I thought a bit more.  I then realised that Kellogg’s don’t do a muesli.  They do Just Right which is a bit like muesli but definitely not muesli, I should let them know.  They do so well with cereal but with people trying to get healthy Kellogg’s really are missing a trick.

As I sat down with my second bowl of Just Right today I phoned Kellogg’s, more specifically Sharon at Kellogg’s.  I thought she would love to hear about how I had seen a dead bird in the road and it made me think to phone her, but I didn’t want to seem weird so instead I just phoned her and questioned their lack of muesli (and indeed porridge).  Sharon was a wise lady and quickly made me feel very small.  She revealed to me that they DO!  It is called Kellogg’s Country Store, she continued and explained to me that it is not easily available, before she could tell me where I could get them I interrupted (which was rude) “are they only available up North?”.  ”No” she said before continuing to tell me that they are only available through online food retailer Ocado.  If that is where I have to get them, go there I will, in time, when I have saved up enough money to buy from Ocado.

Finally a useful piece of advice or help for anyone starting up their own business specialising in the early stages of potato plant growth, I have for you a company name that you are more than welcome to use; “Chit Down and Shoot Up”.  This is my gift to you today.

The Cereal Quest: Day 108 – Out with the Old, In with the New

Before I begin todays post I must quickly say that the award my brother won on holiday was “Mr Muscle”. Secondly I must apologise.  Yesterday I recalled being left when playing hide and seek and no one worried about finding me, I stated “These days they child protection/safety looks badly on losing/forgetting children, those days it was fine.”  I have been reminded that I myself when leading a youth group just last year forgot a young person who was hiding during hide and seek completely and continued on with another game until she walked in to the main meeting area and said “I got bored of hiding”.  So I am sorry.

On with today.  I knew that I only had one more serving of Jordans Country Crisp with Tangy Raspberries, and for that I was truly thankful.  Even though yesterday they were a bit better I can’t say I have enjoyed it that much.  I sat down and managed to chew through my last bowl which was made somewhat better by the huge quantities of freeze dried raspberries that had swam their way to the bottom of the box over the past 3 months.  They don’t make it easier to chew for what seems a life time on the clusters of boredom.  I enjoyed chewing on said clusters about as much as I enjoy the fact my daughter has learnt to hold her elbows tight in to her chest to make it physically impossible to pick her up.  I haven’t really made good life long friends with Jordans Country Crisp with Tangy Raspberries.  However, I wouldn’t go as far as this bloke did online, essentially blaming Jordans Cereals for the UK’s growing (no pun intended) obesity problem:

“The harsh fact is, this stuff just doesn’t break down quick enough and makes eating it quite a chore, try eating a full jar of peanut butter with a spoon and you’d probably get the same effect. I know this is healthy food but c’mon, does it really have to be so difficult to eat, no wonder people in the UK are overweight. Seriously, I could probably eat a nice 14 inch meat feast pizza and fries in less time than it took me to finish a bowl of this.”

Here are my vital statistics for Jordans Country Crisp with Tangy Raspberries:

Cereal Cost:  £2.69.
Real Servings per Box: 5
Cost per Serving: 53.8p
Pros – Ummm……raspberries?
Cons – Illness, almost indigestible, having to chew forever.

Moving on from the Jordans Country Crisp with Tangy Raspberries meant that whichever cereal was up next was going to seem better and it was.  My next cereal is Goldilocks favourite, Kelloggs Just Right.  I started them at lunch, they are bizarre.  They are the equivalent to what my wife calls a ‘cupboard tea’, a ‘cupboard breakfast’ if you will.  It is like Kelloggs found a whole mis-shaped Corn Flakes, Special K, Oats and raisins and just chucked them together.  The flavour from the corn flakes is most prominent but the flavours fight for your attention in your mouth.  They are still such an improvement on the Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries.

 

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 107 – Talking to Cereal?

I woke up this morning to another abrupt and upset stomach which is no surprise to me having eaten yesterdays portion of Jordans Country Crisp with Tangy Raspberries.  I came out the bathroom fed up and angry I sat in the lounge and did some thinking.  Maybe I was being harsh, maybe I should be kinder, maybe I should think about why they might be treating me the way they are.  So I did just that.

I sat thinking about how I might feel, of times where maybe I have felt like they did now.  I remembered an incident vividly in which I felt similar, let me set the scene;

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It was the summer of 1992 or possibly 1993, we were on our family holiday to Holimarine Holiday Park at Burnham-On-Sea.  Me, my two brothers and my sister were in the kids club, I had a lovely red matching top and joggings bottoms that was probably the height of fashion at the time.  My brothers Kevin (2nd from left) and Michael (2nd from right) had received special pre-holiday haircuts which were fashioned by placing a bowl on ones head and then simply cutting round it, Kevin had decided it was cool to place your shirt collars outside your jumper, Mike sat on an elephants hand and my sister had a fringe and seemingly a massive right knee.  The ‘kids club’ should perhaps have been called the ‘get rid of your kids for a few hours’ club.  One of the activities was hide and seek, this was exciting for me, I was relatively small and could get in to tight places, I was good at hide and seek, I would go as far as saying that at the age of 7/8 my expertise, my forté was hide and seek.  We all stood on the dancefloor which was the base for any activity, we did the actions to ‘Agadoo’ and then went off to hide, I found a space under a bench in the cafe/diner, I rolled myself up as small as could in to a human snail and knelt there desperately praying I wouldn’t be found.  My prayers were answered, perhaps too well.  An hour later and with an achey back and neck I got bored of hiding, I surely must have won, I had been there for ages, in my mind I was so excited, I was going to win the prize for the ‘Best Hider’ I was sure of it.  I got up and headed back to find the rest of the ‘kids club’.  I found them, they were passing balloons between their knees to each other, not one of them looked like they were ‘seeking’.  I had been left, forgotten about, ignored.  These days they child protection/safety looks badly on losing/forgetting children, those days it was fine, in Burnham-on-Sea it was probably celebrated.  I was really annoyed, not being missed was a horrible feeling, especially when 3 of the ‘non-misser’s’ were siblings.  I think the people that ran the kids club were possibly alcoholics or in need of help, not only did they forget me (and not apologise or even notice my return) but later on the holiday they rewarded my eldest brother Michael an award which still to this day he probably thinks is his proudest achievement, some sort of strongest man award or similar (either way it was a crazy choice of victor), I can’t remember exactly what the award was but on reading this he will no doubt remind me.

The feeling of being forgotten about, cramped up under a bench for an hour, no one even considering coming to get me did make me think about possibly how my Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries was feeling after being shut away for 3 months.  I got the box out and, in the same way some people speak to their flowers, I spoke to my cereal, I told it that I knew how it felt, I explained about the Holimarine holiday and another hide and seek incident where I got shut in a rabbit hutch for 45 minutes in France and I think there was a connection. I ate my cereal, it tasted better than yesterday, maybe my new positive outlook was helping, maybe I just got a lucky serving but so far today I have not had stomach cramps or pain of any sort.  Maybe, just maybe talking to my cereals on their level helps.

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 106 – Seeking Wise Internet Advice

So this morning I had a big challenge ahead of me.  I had to be brave, courageous, and most of all, forgetful. Today I resumed (after a fairly long break of about 3 months) the consumption of my enemy, I was to start finishing my box of Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries.

For those who are new to the quest or may have forgotten the history of Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries and the cereal quest click here to catch up on what happened: http://www.thecerealquest.co.uk/?page_id=350

I was very fearful of what might happen especially as I have just been eating muesli, (another heavily oat based cereal).  I got the box down from the cupboard and left it on the side to stare, I didn’t know what to do in this situation, I needed advice so of course I asked the internet, on this occasion I asked Yahoo Answers but tried to be as vague as I could so people wouldn’t think I was talking about cereal:

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Unfortunately it would appear that Yahoo automatically put questions in categories that they think are most relevant and decided that this question was to do with ‘relationships’.  However I was sure I would get some good advice, I wasn’t disappointed:

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Wise words from Caitlin, she wasn’t to know that the Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries was cereal and not someone I was having relationship trouble with but I thought it was just as applicable.  She didn’t realise the cereal wouldn’t reply but I can confirm I did act ‘clueless’, I didn’t show them that I was hurt and I am sure my wife would agree I was ‘sweet and bubbly’.  After a bit of tension, telling the cereal that it looked familiar and then saying that “I didn’t remember, sorry” I grabbed the box and poured out some still very crunchy (which after 3 months of being open in a cupboard is miraculous/worrying) Jordans Country Crisp with Raspberries.  I drenched them in milk and sat down to watch the rest of a highly controversial F1 race.  The cereal didn’t taste horrific, it isn’t very tasty but it isn’t on the same very low level as All Bran Golden Crunch.  I do feel however that the birds in my garden would enjoy it more than me, but (to my knowledge) they are not doing The Cereal Quest so they can’t have it.

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 105 – Wow

I was right to go to bed last night worrying about the effects muesli was having on my stomach.  As soon as I got up I felt my stomach cramping, my bathroom turned in to a hazardous and volatile area.  My stomach was a mes

s. After about 30 minutes I exited the bathroom feeling lightheaded and dizzy.  Then knew I had to face some more Muesli.  Perfect Irony.  Yet again I enjoyed the taste and texture through nervous teeth but they had me on edge for the rest of the morning annoyingly.

Here are the vital statistics for Alpen No Added Sugar:

Cereal Cost:  £2.79.
Real Servings per Box: 5
Cost per Serving: 55.8p
Pros – Lovely flavour, a variety of textures and juicy raisins.
Cons – They treat my intestines like a play thing, quite expensive.

Tomorrow I am confronting the attacker….

The Cereal Quest: Day 104 – Downhill From Here?

I was startled this morning at 7:00am by the sound of a car considerately beeping its horn at this early hour outside my house. This didn’t fill me with joy if I’m honest however I was looking forward to breakfast and some Alpen No Added Sugar, to which I would add sugar. As I was eating I was wondering if flapjack manufacturers had considered making flapjacks with muesli, I don’t know if I’ll ever find out but to me it seems like a good idea. Alpen No Added Sugar really made me happy today, it was a really good bowl as I’m nearing the bottom of the pack I am finding more of their jumbo raisins. As I left for work my new car sounded like it had been ‘suupd up’ it sounded really sporty, unfortunately it is a Nissan Almera Tino so most definitely should not sound this way so I popped it in to the garage. A few hours and £177.00 later with a new exhaust and a puncture repaired I had the car back. I should not be allowed vehicles.

My wife and I had very generously been bought some tickets to watch the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain in Salisbury, they were superb at playing my favourite instrument and were funny too.  Unfortunately on the way my stomach started hurting, the reason, I have no doubt was Alpen No Added Sugar, its fair to stay my stomach was cramping constantly through the first half so I figured I would get an ice cream at the interval, I wanted something that would help settle it and calm it down, it was almost like the ice cream sellers knew my stomach ached when they started selling this:

photo1-37Ginger is renowned for easing digestive pain and it did just that, it was perfect for what I needed.  Now the more observant of you will notice the real reason I took this photo, it wasn’t to show what ice cream I had, nor was it to point out the monk style hair cut of the elderly man in front.  It was to point out the lady infront of us still had a massive label on her blouse.   It was a big label, from M & Co, how you wouldn’t take your eye out when putting the blouse on is confusing but what following was great.  Although I didn’t point it out to her (it wasn’t my place to after all, one wouldn’t want to embarrass her) she suddenly realised and must have felt it so in the smoothest motion possible and as slyly as she could (like when you are trying to eat things without your toddler realising) she ‘itched’ her back and quickly grabbed at it, pulling her body forward with the label until it snapped off.  The person next to her must have thought she was having an attack, her body propelled at pace jerking forward like someone had pushed her in the back.  It was a sight to behold.