Archive for November 7th, 2008

The new Westfield Shopping Mall.

This is the new mall, the largest in Europe, that has recently opened at Shepherd’s Bush in West London. Pam and I took the tube there on Friday afternoon and were surprised just how near it was to the Shepherd’s Bush Central Line underground station. Out of the front entrance, turn left, and there it was after only a few yards.

Two models demonstrating the furniture offerings in the gigantic Marks ‘n’ Sparks store.

We only went for a look and to suss out the complex, but ended up spending in three figures! It was so easy to do – be warned.

One point which really amazed us was the fact that the management of Westfield’s had attracted stores from all over Europe and the world. One young lady in a New Zealand store told me their branch was the first in Europe. There was an Australian store selling the Ugg brand.

Although there were many of the old well known stores, the majority of the stores were totally unknown in this country, and all selling some rather nice, and exclusive clothes and accessories.

If you drive there, they have valets who will park your car for you, and people to carry your shopping! But be warned, these services will cost! We did not avail ourselves to their facilities!

A lot of money had been spent on the complex and even the roof was a work of art. In addition, the hallways were large with plenty of room for the crowds even though there were lots of stalls scattered all over the complex.

The stores were open until 9pm, 10pm on some days, with the outside restaurants open until after midnight. Finally, when my legs were aching, and my credit card was melting through the heat of being over-used, we made our way home, passing a surprising shop on the way out!

So if you want to buy a friend a five caret diamond ring, don’t be surprised if the staff look down their noses at you. “Five Carets! Really sir, have you tried H Samuel?”

Conclusion. The Westfield Centre is well worth a visit and, if you want to make a day of it, there is a choice of 50 cafés and restaurants where you can have lunch and even dinner. And, if funds are not too much of a problem, my suggestion is to buy a three ton lorry as you will easily be able to fill it!



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A closely guarded secret

If there is one thing in this world I cannot stand, it is “instant coffee” If I am offered coffee, no matter how thirsty I may be, if it is instant, I politely refuse.

It has been decades since we have had instant coffee in our household.

A lot of people buy it because they think it is easier, or they think it is cheaper. We use a beans to cup machine which is, I grant, expensive. However, we also own a Cafetiere jug. Apart from having to wash it out afterwards, which is pretty easy to say the least, a Cafetiere jug is just as easy to make real coffee as instant coffee.

A good coffee in Tesco for a Cafetiere is £2.79 per 250 grams or £11.16 a kilo. I may accept that, at these prices, “instant coffee” may seem a little cheaper. But there is another way.

Providing you don’t live too far away from an IKEA furniture store, you will find, near the checkout, a small Swedish shop area. There you can buy a very strong and excellent coffee for £4 a kilo. This is only £1 per 250 grams. The coffee is excellent and we have used it for years. And this tastes better, and costs less than instant coffee. They do one a little costlier for £5.40 a kilo but we cannot really tell any difference so never buy the more expensive offering. There is a red flash on the package to denote strength. The packet with a green flash is for medium coffee if you prefer it at a weaker strength.

They dare not advertise their coffee; they can’t cope with the sales they are already getting. But you, dear reader, are my friend. So I will tell you – but please don’t pass it on!

Whilst on the subject of Tesco may I mention their marketing strategy? When you look for food items, the most expensive is at eye level so if you a man, or perhaps a woman who doesn’t care about price, you grab what you want and move on. But the top level and the lower levels will have cheaper equivalents, and the lowest shelve will probably have Tescos own brand which is even cheaper. Why are Tesco own brand labels in striking blue and white? This is to make you ashamed when you are at the checkout so you won’t buy the cheapest labels. Read the book “The Undercover Economist” by Tim Harford, it will open your eyes to how we are fooled, these last ideas were taken from memory after reading his book.


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