"You, food shop?"
"I'd pay good money to see you do that!"
And that's exactly why I went today (Friday 1st May 2014) rather than wait until the weekend when he would be able to take the mick even more. (In case you don't know; Mike does the food shopping because food shops raise my anxiety levels through the roof.) I wasn't confident, I was nervous but I am trying to do a little challenge every day and this was it for today.
I drove the 3 miles into Reading for our nearest Morrisons. I remember it when it was Safeway (we lived a few minutes walk away) and have only been maybe twice since Morrisons took it over. I parked easily, such a pleasant change from the nightmare that is the ASDA carpark.
I found a trolley and off I went into the great unknown.
I was surprised and impressed with the space and clarity of the layout in the fruit and vegetables area which was the first I encountered. There were bright coloured specimens all over the place, with clear signs and large price signs to help the shopper know exactly what everything costs.
Doesn't it look appealing; I challenge any toddler or teenager not to want to try some of these vegetables.
(yes, this empty apple area was quickly filled up by a member of staff who appeared with no fuss).
Here were my first three selections in my trolley.
Tomatoes which I thought were priced much as else where at 99p.
Avocados which were a huge bargain at 99p.
And my favourite fruit treat, strawberries, which were almost as cheap as they are in the summer at 99p.
I wish I was a better camera operator but look at this image below. These are salads and herbs and in order to keep them in their optimum condition Morrisons has a system of mist spraying over them. Not only does this show real care for the quality of the produce their selling, but it shows a level of ingenuity I have to say I didn't expect.
Add to that the fact that there was no water on the floor and I didn't get wet when I came up close and I am ready to declare it the best piece of produce display I've ever seen.
What else took me by surprise? The fish counter. It looked more like the Harrods Food Hall than my expectations of Morrisons. I'm a horrible snob aren't I! (don't answer that) There were even the nicest looking oysters which were so tempting, but not on my list.
I'm not a massive olive fan but I know a man who is and this would have been impossible for him to walk past. He never ever ever shops off the list but I guarantee that when I take him to Morrisons he'll be walking out with a bowl full of his own selection of olives.
And this is the self serve salad bar.
It was full to the brim with literally everything you could ever want from pasta and rice through vegetables cooked and raw to fruit from the four corners of the world. My only issue is that the salad boxes could never be big enough for the selection on offer.
I had fizzy drinks on my list and I definitely wanted diet lemonade. I know it's often expensive, which means it's not something we often have in the house, but look at the Morrisons great value prices, I got 4litres of diet lemonade for 90p. What a steal.
Because I don't know the Morrisons Reading store I wondered up and down every aisle looking at what was on the shelves and getting the items from my list. I was pleasantly surprised by the wine aisle(s); it felt more like an upmarket wine store than the middle of a supermarket. There was a wide variety of wine from across the globe, something for every meal and every palate.
There is nothing that speaks of holidays to me more than the smell of fresh bread; it is all the holidays in France that does it. Morrisons did not let me down with at least a dozen types of fresh bread baked on the premises.
And as for France; just look at this image of a boulangerie in store. Bon.
As I was concluding my shop I found this wonderful collection of summer games and sports equipment; everything a family could want for the bank holiday weekend at home, at the park or on the beach.
I got a huge smiley faced ball for 99p as you'll see in the essential final photo; the trolley shot. £74.95 of Food For Friends over a three day bank holiday and food for the rest of the week for our family.
We usually spend £95 per week including toiletries and the like which I didn't get, but even with this taken into account there is no doubt that the Morrisons shop was cheaper, the experience more pleasurable and the staff more friendly than those Mike or I usually encounter.
And the quality of the food, which in the end is the thing which matters the most to me.
I'm unbelievably impressed. There are two main areas which matter the most to me when it comes to shopping and which stop me using online ordering (no one knows just how I like my bananas)
1- The fruit and veg - it is fresh and in perfect condition
2 - The bread - just perfect, it takes me right back to sunny mornings with a book.
We're making lasagne tomorrow and I'll blog all about that separately because we're using products entirely from the Morissons store and working out the cost per person; it'll be feeding 4 adults and 4 kids. I also bought a 22p cake mix which I couldn't resist buying to try out; that will have it's own blog post as well. Watch this space.
All that's left is to wonder which aisle I needed to go down to purchase the perfect weather for a bank holiday weekend because it doesn't look like it'll be very cooperative. But at least we'll be eating well to make up for it. Thank you Morrisons.