Alkoholfrei and diet donners

It’s coming to the end of the first weekend of my Dry-A-PhLong month for Cancer Research UK.  So far I’ve had £40 of donations to my JustGiving page – so a good start; thanks to everybody who has donated so far. I’ve also sampled a couple of alcohol-free beers and tried my hand at the Hairy Dieter’s Donner Kebabs.

The Drink

On Friday I had a couple of firsts.  Coke Life (the green-canned lower-sugar Coca Cola) made from liquidised elf, to make it more Elfy. It’s alright actually – nicer than diet-Coke and Coke Zero, though more calories.  I’d have it again.

Erdinger's Alkoholfrei
Erdinger’s Alkoholfrei

The second first (hmm) on Friday, was Erdinger’s “Alkoholfrei” beer.  It was really pleasant – fairly wheaty like Erdinger’s Weisbeers and it had a good beery-taste to it.  I only had the one (rest of the night was cordial and water) but I’ve got three more in the fridge as Tesco had a four-for-£6 “deal” and I figured I was likely to like it as I’d heard good things about it before.

This evening I tried Bavaria’s Alcohol-free “Premium Wit” which turns out to be more to my tastes than Luxury Comedy.

Bavaria Premium Wit
Bavaria Premium Wit

It’s another wheat beer, but much later than the Erdinger; I think it’s much closer to Hoegaarden than the Erdinger.  It’d be a great alcohol-free choice for summer I think; I found it really refreshing.

The Food

I got The Hairy Dieter’s second cookbook from Santa for Christmas and I’ve got about half-way through putting page markers in on recipes I want to try.  I’ve already tried the five-minute pizzas (tortillas, passatta, cheese, pepperoni, season and grill) which was brilliant, and for New Years I made the jerk chicken which was also great.  This evening I tried the Diet Donner Kebabs.  They were delicious, however I’m not sure I’ll make them again – my food processor found it very difficult and much as I love the nostalgia of the smell of Scalextric, I’m less enamoured at it coming from my food mixer; clearly it was struggling with the meat.  I’ve put a couple of them in the freezer for the future though – so at least I will get to have them again; they went really well with some chilli sauce and the Bavaria Premium Wit, actually.

The Mithering

If you haven’t already, please support my fundraising efforts and donate a quid-or-two on my JustGiving page.  Thanks!

New Year, New Connection

I started the migration of my Broadband from Zen to Plusnet a couple of weeks ago – to make sure it was sorted before my employment officially terminates, so I don’t have to pay for the Zen connection.  Well, today the Plusnet connection went “live” – albeit a day early and with a minor hiccup.

I’ve been impressed with the communication from Plusnet – nice and clear emails and text messages with progress updates and clear instructions with the router they provide which arrived earlier this week.

This morning (barely morning really – my body clock is a bit skewed after New Year’s celebrations so I didn’t sleep well and then woke up late) I opened my laptop and there was no connection.  I checked my router and it was an authentication failure.  I tried the bt_test_user@startup_domain username and received a BT IP for DNS – so clearly I’d moved from Zen’s LLU equipment to BT Wholesale’s equipment.  Next up I tried and that had the same result, so BT were all setup for me to connect, but trying the Plusnet details for my own account failed.

The router from Plusnet is a TG582n, with TR.069 used to automatically configure it.  I swapped my old TG582n for the Plusnet one and saw it established a connection to Plusnet, which it would be using to pull down my connection details – sure enough after about 5 minutes it was populated with my new details but wouldn’t connect.  The same thing would happen at Zen if a connection was activated early – everything is set up up apart from the username and password on the ISP’s systems.  A couple of minutes on live-chat via their website on my iPhone and they added the details and I connected without a problem.

Early impressions continue to be good – a nice and fast response to an initial problem and the connection is working fine and at the same speeds (sync’d about 100 kbps higher than Zen, but it’s daytime so I expect it to drop a bit in the evening).

Plusnet connection summary
Plusnet connection summary

I watched the Bojack Horseman Christmas Special on Netflix to test it out, and no problems there – so altogether I’m happy so far.  I’m paying £2.50 per month for an unlimited Broadband service plus £12.99 (paid annually up-front which saved me a few quid) for the phone line which is due to migration on the 16th.  Total of £15.49 a month.  Not too shabby as the equivalent (500GB limit, rather than unlimited) from Zen would have been £48.04 a month, though I could probably have shaved a tenner off that by going for the 200GB service as it’s more than enough for me.


January Dry-a-Phlong

I’ve signed up for the Cancer Research UK’s January 2015 Dryathlon, so will be starting the New Year sober for 31 days.

If anybody fancies supporting my fundraising efforts check out my Just Giving page here: Dry-A-Phlong

If you’re feeling brave you could sign-up yourself at Cancer Research UK, or form a team with me.

Anybody have any recommendations for alcohol-free beers?