Mr Biscuit's Fitness Journey Starts Here!!

For the past few weeks I, Mr Biscuit, have been determined. Determined to get fit. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve decided I needed to slim down and get more active, but this time I have a goal.
My goal is to enter Tough Mudder 2015, this gives me a year to go from being a tubby, cuddly man, to a lean, mean, fitness-machine.

I will be helped along the way with collaborations from some amazing brands who have generously sent us some awesome gear and equipment, including-

Helly Hansen’s training range.

And, to track my progress, the Tom Tom Multi-Sport Cardio GPS Watch.

Reviews for all products with be featured in my ongoing journey as my training continues. All of which will be documented on here as the time goes on.
“Why put yourself through this?” I hear you ask. That’s the easy bit, to raise money for The Pituitary Foundation. This charity is very close to my heart and the work they do deserves to be much widely recognized. I will post all information on how to donate once everything is finalised.

It won’t be easy, and it’ll be a long journey, but stick with me guys, and it’ll all be worth it.

Introducing our City Break 'Nutshull' series- Istanbul.

Whilst there are many many guides for those who spend their weekends adventuring, it's often a great feat to absorb all the information/tips that are available, without taking the fun out of your holiday. Many a time have Mr Biscuit and I devised a to-do list of cultural excursions, only to arrive on holiday, trying to relax, and instead either spent the whole time trying to see every possible thing, or perhaps even been slightly disappointed if we haven't managed to tick off every stop. Its only the more we travel, do we realise that yes, of course there are key things to do in every city that you just shouldn't miss, but often you miss out on the atmosphere, the ambience, and the absorption of the culture itself. Sometimes you try too much to find 'that quirky tea room that everyone raved about on trip advisor that all the locals say is their favourite' (I'm sorry trip advisor, please forgive me, I still love you) that you pass by what could have been the most wonderful cafe. Being knackered when you get home instead of being refreshed takes a lot of your holiday, and whilst you have the pics as memories, you were so busy thinking of the next place on your itinerary that you forget to enjoy where you are already.

So in our own take of travel guides, whenever we highlight our city break excursions, we will provide a simple top-tips list of advice, that aren't the obvious.

So here it is, the first in the series.


1) Stay slightly outside the centre.

When we visited, it was a veritable conundrum as to what area of the city we should stay in. Istanbul is already set into x2 parts, reflecting the x2 continents it falls in- the European and Asian. These more or less sit either side of the Bosphorus river that runs down the middle. Within those halves, are many areas in itself. We chose to go for a mix of staying in the central area of the European side, just 30-mins away from all the popular tourist attractions, in a more local spot called Ortakoy. We were told it was 'near everything without being tourist-y'. For what it lacked in not being directly opposite a museum, it made up with, with quaint stretches of restaurants overlooking the sea, and homely guesthouses with really helpful owners who will shut their business just to walk you to the nearest bus stop when you and your husband are gawping at an upside-down map.

2) Get an Istanbul-kart (roughly translated apparently, this is literally Istanbul-card).
Totally useful when you are staying slightly out of the centre, this is so useful, as it's like the city's very own oyster card. You top it up at local shops, and it discounts bus/tram etc fares around the whole place. It saves on haggling with taxi's (agree a price in advance if you do). Plus trams are fun right?

3) Stay for about x5 days if you wish to do/see everything and not feel like you need a holiday to get over your holiday.

Sure, most of the major tourist attractions are situated around the same area, but there are like a lot of them, and there will be queues, and there certainly isn't any point in rushing. You'll note that most guides give you a 'weekend in Istanbul' list, but this is very limited in it's choices, and leave you no time to just explore, or absorb the culture. If in doubt, trip advisor is just fantastic for deciding where to go, from museums to restaurants, and palaces to tea-rooms.

4) Cruise the Bosphorus.

At the side of the river in an area called Eminonu, you will find boats that, for a very reasonable price, will take you on a tour of the beautiful Bosphorus. On a short break, it's the ideal way to discover the coast of Istanbul, and all the wonderful architecture and hidden castles you might not have found otherwise. We opted for a short cruise, however there are several options from half day, to full day trips that stop off for lunch in quaint fisherman's villages. Get there early though and board the ship with plenty of time as seats fill up fast on the decks, leaving only below available, and the best seats are on the west side of the boat, as you'll get unobscured views of the European side as you go out, and the Aisan side as you return.

To visit Turkey, and find out more about other resorts, tips, and 'at a glance' guides, First Choice have some great info on their site, and often have some fabulous offers. 

(Pics our own- Cafes and quaint streets of Ortakoy, Breakfast overlooking the sea in Ortakoy, Bosphorus cruise.)

Festival Review- Southsea Fest.

In Recent times, Albert Road in Portsmouth has grown to become the go to place for one of the best nights out on the south coast. As we wander down it in anticipation of the day ahead, the atmosphere is buzzing because Southsea Fest 2014 has well and truly landed, and Mrs Biscuit and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
The set up of the festival is reminiscent of the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, but unlike the Great Escape it’s confined to a single road, building the ambience and community feeling.
Spread over a number of pubs, cafes, music venues, and a theatre, you immerse yourself into a magical mystery tour, discovering some amazing bands on the way.
One thing we noted about the day, is the laid back friendly atmosphere, and the organisers had clearly worked hard to create what seemed like an effortless event.
Mrs Biscuit and I had a rough list of some bands we wished to see, but also kept our schedule open enough to stumble across some hidden gems too.

 Some personal favourites of ours were Phoria and Hunter and the Bear, who both played at the amazingly beautiful Kings Theatre. I had never really absorbed what an amazing venue for bands it could be. In contrast to the big and beautiful settings, Southsea Fest also had some great smaller stages . One of these was hidden away upstairs at the Atrium cocktail bar, and was a perfect little stripped down acoustic area, with another tucked away in the Magick Bean Coffee Shop. Both were totally chilled out and great additions to the day.
Then of course there was the Wedgewood Rooms, a Portsmouth institution, affectionately known as the “Wedgies” by locals, and hosted to the festival’s headline acts. DZ Deathrays absolutely smashed it with their set. So much so that I turned all fan boy when we went past them outside, pointing and nudging Mrs Biscuit saying “look it’s them”.

Our band of the festival, playing at the One Eyed Dog to a completely packed crowd (so much so people were queued out of the door hoping to be lucky enough to squeeze in) were Attack Vipers, who gave their final performance after over an illustrious eight years together. They gave, the audience an intense, furious, fun, and energetic set, crowd-surfing and moshing their way into the evening, seriously making Mrs Biscuit wish she hadn’t worn flip-flops.

All in all, we had an awesome day from start to finish, and we encourage all our readers to support and encourage this, and other independent festivals/events.

Victorious Festival 2014.

Walking toward the festival site, the weather is gorgeous, the atmosphere is buzzing and we are excited to see what Victorious Festival has to offer.
As we collect our passes we are greeted by a lovely woman who asks us
“What's a Whimbiscuit? We were all wondering.”
“It’s a whimsical treat” I explained, “a treat you give yourself that you don’t necessarily need but would very much enjoy, like getting a pack of your favourite biscuits to dunk in your tea, or, if you like, great furniture, or indeed a bank holiday festival. We review all those type of luxuries for our readers”.

She laughs and we enter the festival to be instantly amazed as to how the Victorious guys have transformed Southsea seafront into a not so little festival village. There are food stalls lining the streets, a kids area (one of two) in front of the beautiful Southsea Tennis Pavillion, and a cocktail bar, all within the first 100 metres of entering.
Following the one way system- all tailored to kept fluidity within the crowds, we end up at the ‘Seaside Stage’. Grabbing ourselves a beer, we meet up with some friends and find a spot to watch our first band of the weekend.

One of great things about Victorious Festival is they have loads of local bands on the line up, one of which is the first band we watch. The Exits are an electronic, indie, rock band that have been together for a number of years, and this really shows in their music and live show. We were completely captivated by the awesome anthems they were booming out, and their lead singer Roy has all the characteristics of a great rock n roll front man, with the voice to match. I can’t help thinking they would have benefitted from playing later in the day though, with a great light show and evening crowd to dance to their rhythmic beats.

After they finished we went for a wander around the site to see what else it had to offer. Walking to the ‘Castle Stage’ area, we get our first view of what will be one of the most photographed sights of the weekend. On top of the hill with a view over the festival, is a huge lit up ‘Victorious’ sign with flags flying high.
It’s a sign that stands it’s ground and says “we are here, and we are staying”.

As Max Stone and his band play their soulful tunes in the background, we stroll over to the acoustic stage to grab a drink from the many accessible bars. Although with average cost of £4.50 a pint, it’s hefty, yet certainly consistent with other festival's prices, and like many, no food or unsealed soft drinks are to be brought by visitors from outside. Soft drinks on the other hand, were very reasonably priced (free to drivers who had a car-park pass).

Sitting on a bale of hay, we enjoy some acoustic delights from a number of artists that include- Sam McCarthy, Secret Smile and a few tunes in between by Southsea Alternative Choir. Filling us with joy, we spend the rest of the afternoon meandering around the huge market area, and more food stalls (somewhat limited vegetarian/vegan options however perhaps).

With a little stop at the Real Ale tent to experience what it has to offer, we return back to the castle arena, for a good old Southsea sing along to Razorlight.
The crowd is huge and Razorlight smash it out of the park, its safe to say they were a massive triumph.
As we take a seat on the hill, with the sign shining bright above us, Dizzee Rascal takes to the stage. The atmosphere is jumping and there isn’t a single face without a beaming smile on it. We jump to our feet and dance our little socks off with thousands of others there. Dizzee knows exactly what he’s doing, playing all of his hits, none better than Bonkers (obviously), and finishes his set with the crowd shouting for more.
Mrs Biscuit and I didn’t finish our Saturday there though, and we head over to the LJRs Silent Disco Big Top to dance the night away to the sounds of Southsea’s It’s A Sin vs Chaos DJs. Later on we find leaving the festival was easy with its methodical system, yet getting a taxi was not. Prior preparation it seems, wins the day.

Sunday morning, we make our way back to the festival site. We pop into Southsea Skatepark to watch some the skate, bmx and scooter displays, then to the Strong Island Tent, the Beats and Swing Tent, and the Casemates Showcase to explore as much as we can of this impressive festival. It’s hard to believe it is only three years old, and that this is the first year at the seafront location. There is so much to see and do, and there really is something for everyone.

Local band Kassassin Street,  is another that has obviously worked on their craft, with their melodic, atmospheric, psychedelic rock, and a singer with quite a hauntingly beautiful voice, we would highly recommend everyone takes a listen. Shed-7 followed by bringing back their 90’s rock, and as we sang our little hearts out with friends, one of my personal favourite moments of the weekend was when they ended their set with Chasing Rainbows.

Ocean Colour Scene over by the sea (how fitting) really didn’t disappoint, with an arena full to the brim. They took full advantage, and had every single person belting out their songs back to them. So much so, everyone was still singing ‘The Day We Caught The Train’ long after they’d left the stage.

The crowd quickly moved over to watch the daddy of dirty blues, Seasick Steve himself, showcasing the ease of drifting between stages at this well designed festival. With just two people performing, the intensity that they created was phenomenal, further extended by an energetic set from 2Manydjs.  Grooving tunes also filled the 'secret disco' from Justin Robertson who brought the end of the night over at the ‘Civilisation Of The Rough’ tent.

With only few murmurings of epic queues at the bars, and perhaps not enough toilets, these issues are minimal, and as you might expect at a festival. All we can say at team Biscuit however- with our extraordinarily priced £20 a day tickets- is long may Victorious Festival continue. With 2015 early bird tickets already on sale, we recommend getting them quick. If they can pull off such a triumphant weekend in only it’s third year, just imagine what they can do in their fourth.

Victory to Victorious!  

(Pics- by Whim Biscuit).

Cordless easy cleaning with Vax Life Vacuum.

The Mrs and I have just moved house, a process that we hate the fuss and bother of, and is universally noted by many as being up there in a list of things that can be totally annoying. Especially when it comes to that 'final house clean' and you find all those spare socks under the sofa that your cat has dragged there like months ago. Not only that, my ancient henry hoover was just not on it's best form, and whilst the old house was all wood floors, the new is fully carpeted. So, with this in mind, and a new fluffy addition to the Biscuit household (blog post coming soon!), a good vacuum is exactly what we needed.

Now I am definitely the gadget obsessive in the house, and I love anything with some technical wizardry, so when we were asked to review the latest in cleaning technology, the cordless Vax Life Vacuum, I couldn't wait to try it out- and Mrs Biscuit was thrilled I was this excited about cleaning.

Lightweight, and unplugged, this upright vac is neat and much more streamline than what you would expect. It uses wind tunnel technology, and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, as well as a super easy to empty bag-less system, to help make everything as convenient as possible. For the sensible among us, who wonder and muse about warranties and the like, this comes with a superb x6 year guarantee for total peace of mind.

The first thing we noticed with this vacuum, was how light and easy to manoeuvre it was. The base glides and turns effortlessly, although we wish there was a release switch or something that unchecked it from upright position, to moving. You kinda have to push it with your foot to get it to click back, and as soon as you tilt it slightly upwards it can lock back upright again.

It's chargeable battery is so easy to remove, charge, and simply fit on again, similar to the way the dirt container just clicks on and off to empty. Theres no changing plug sockets as you go room to room, and no worry about effectiveness as you go from carpet to hard-floor surfaces. There are x2 settings to adjust this which change with the flick of a switch, allowing you to move from kitchen tiles, to even the heaviest pile rug. We loved how great it was at getting tufts of cat hair off the carpet, but it is such a shame that it does not have a tube extension, or handheld attachment, as it's kinda difficult to do any furniture, fixtures, or fittings.

The battery is supposed to last for up to x20 minutes, or enough to do a complete sweep around of a house, yet in reality we reason it lasts up to x15 minutes on the carpet setting max. We almost do the house in sections now, and recharge to take it upstairs later (so light going up the stairs- would be great for the elderly or those who struggle lifting perhaps). A solution perhaps is to purchase another battery, which we've heard a few of Vax cordless owners are already doing.

All in all, it's just the perfect vacuum for those who have a flat, have no storage and still wish for an upright vacuum, or those who hate lugging heavy appliances. Thus as noted before, ideal for older people who don't wish to bend down to change the plug all the time, and maybe students. It's only real let down is the lack of handheld/tube attachments, as you can't get into the nooks and crannies that gather dust that easily, or skirting boards etc, so we'll be keeping another vacuum just for that.

Keep checking the Vax site for deals and special offers. At time of sending to us it came with a free steam cleaner, and at other times we've heard it can be reduced every now and then. With consistent free delivery, it's just a really great product, with a really innovative design. Thumbs up.

An Eco-Pan by Ozeri with non-stick-ability.

We were delighted to be asked to review some of the newest technology in cook-ware, especially a pan that is not only stylish in a modern green, but also immensely practical with a new unique ceramic based non stick surface. Mr Biscuit got excited by 'the science' of it all, as it boasts that it has no harmful toxins/fumes that some research has highlighted as a potential no-no from traditional non-stick surfaces. It's wow list continues with claims of being eco-friendly, durable, super-scratch-resistant, and being made from a high quality anodized-aluminum combined with a magnetized-bottom for induction stoves.

So we've had this delight for a month now, and we just adore it. It literally is our go-to-pan for everything from a fried-egg, to a quick stir-fry. Everything glides across the surface with ease, the Bakelite handle ensures that theres no ouch moments either, and the great thing about it is....oh who are we kidding....there are multiple great things- mostly that you don't even have to use any oil to make it non-stick, and that its just a dream to clean.
You can purchase this design in multiple sizes and shapes, and is especially easy to order via Go with haste though, before everyone get's them with their very modest price.

Victorious Festival- music, fun, and hopefully some sun this bank holiday.

Living in the south of England, we are somewhat spoilt for choice when it comes to the festival season. None however, have us here at team-biscuit more excited than Victorious Festival, in the beautiful historic city of Portsmouth.

This August bank holiday weekend (sat 23rd & sun 24th), Southsea seafront will be transformed into a wonderland of amazingness.
In only it’s third year, Victorious Festival has already become one of the most anticipated events of the summer. This is complimented by an absolutely amazing line up. With headliners, Tom Odell, Ocean Colour Scene, Dizzee Rascal, and Seasick Steve, you’ll have the weekend of your life. Not to mention the  hundreds of other signed and unsigned bands, DJ’s  and performers. There will also be one of the biggest, bestest silent discos you will ever bop your little socks off to (full line up HERE).

If that’s not enough to make you swoon in delight, there’s so much more to see and do- including an indoors real ale festival, a smugglers market for all you vintage lovers out there, and huge free kids area for all of your little angels to cause havoc.

One of the most amazing treats with this years festival, is that many of the seafronts attractions are all free entry with your Victorious ticket. These consist of, the aquarium, Southsea Skate Park, Southsea Castle, and the D-Day Museum.
Phew… They really have thought about everything and everyone.

“Why Mr Biscuit, you haven’t told us how much it costs yet?”

You’re right, that's because it's the best part…

You can enjoy all of this breathtakingly tremendous fun for the incredible price of £20 per adult per day! Children between 5-15 can go for £6 a day, and under 5’s go free!
There is also weekend car parking for an extra £12 (all prices subject to a booking fee).

Don’t miss out, I know we’re totally excited.

Let us know what you’re looking forward to there by tweeting us @whimbiscuit -we’d love to hear from you.

For more information and to buy tickets visit -