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We decided to get Sky+HD after our very old Sky+ box started to have a few problems and thought this was the right time to get HD as we already have an HD ready TV
I had a look on the Sky website and the HD+box is now free with a £60 installation fee. I then decided to phone them as I needed to change my channel package and thought it would be easier to do it all over the phone.
After I had changed the package I was put through to another department for the HD+box and was told if I was ok with it I could set it up myself saving £30. Now if you don't have sky fitted to your house then you will need to pay the full price. So if you phone up you can get it cheaper.
The box came two days later and inside was the HD+box, remote, HDMI cable and full instructions. Once plugged in and turned on it only takes about 15 minuets to set up following the instructions.
Even though our TV is only HD ready and not full HD the picture quality was outstanding. I love the Discovery channels and the picture quality was better than I could have imagined. I ended up flicking between HD and non HD channels to see if I was just imagining the difference. If you're used to the EPG (electronic programme guide) on the Sky+ then it will take you a while to get used to the new EPG. The new version of the EPG I feel is better after you get used to it and one of the main advantages it has is if you watching a programme and you want to know what's on another channel or even another day when the EPG comes up the programme you were watching carries on playing on a small screen in the top right hand corner.
The lights on the front of the box are now blue instead of green and don't seem as intrusive when they are on.
The HD+ remote is basically the same as the old Sky+ remote just a slightly different shape. If you have Sky+ then don't get rid of your old remote as they will work with the HD+ system with no problem.
The only gripe I have is with Sky themselves and not the system and that is they charge you an extra £10 a month for the HD channels. Now Sky make plenty of money off its customers and if the stopped the £10 charge then I believe more people would use this system for viewing HD. You have to remember you only get HD on the packages you subscribe to do if you don't have the movie package then you won't get movies in HD but you will be able to use the pay to view Box Office service.
Overall I can say this is a great system and if you don't mind paying the £10 extra a month then this is a great system. More HD channels are to be launched over the next couple of years which is a good thing.
Hope you find this review helpful.
We decided we needed a new TV for the bedroom. We have had a small portable for the last few months since our last one died a horrible death and we were getting fed up with the small picture.
After a look around a few shops and searching the internet I came to the decision to buy a Samsung LE32B450 32" LCD TV
Once you have opened the box you find that you have to put the stand together (unless you are fitting it onto the wall) it's in 3 pieces that screw together very easily.
Once you have fitted the stand you can connect all your cables and then turn it on.
The great thing with TVs nowadays is that they tune themselves in. It only took a couple of minuets to tune the freeview channels. We also had the Sky signal sent to the TV via a Digital Sender.
The picture quality was outstanding for a TV of this price. Some of the reviews I had read said the sound was not very good. I can say that the sound was great with no problems at all.
The TV is HD ready so if you have HD of a BlueRay player then they will work fine on this set.
It comes with a remote and also has buttons on the side of the set if you require them. The screen is very clear with minimal glare.
Samsung LE32B450 LCD TV
Dimentions (WxDxH) 89cm x 17cm x 59cm
High Contrast Ratio
Wide Colour Enhancer 2
24p Real Movie
SRS true Surround HD
This TV is a great at a great price, its best to shop around and you can find it for £305 from Amazon. A lot of high street stores a charging £50 more.
Over the last year we are all trying to save money in some way or other. And after the winter we have had most of us have spent more than normal trying to keep our homes warm.
So along comes the paper briquette maker. You can pick one up for around £17-£20 pounds from various online shops. With this device you can get all your old newspapers and make paper bricks that burn for up to 2 hours. The briquettes are about the same size as a house brick.
Inside the box there is the briquette maker and some very brief instructions.
You start off by tearing old newspapers up or if you want to you can put them through a shredder. I tore mine up into strips no more than an inch wide. Once you have done a few papers then place them into a large bucket or any container that you have and pore water over the paper. If you can get your hands on some sawdust you can also put that in to the paper and water and that will bulk them out a little and help them burn. It's recommended that you don't use magazines of gloss paper as they don't break down fast enough.
Don't make the same mistake as I did the first time and put to much water in as when it come to making the briquettes you will have a very difficult job indeed. So just put enough water over the paper to soak it well and then you can put some bleach into the bucket to help the paper break down but I have not done this as I find it breaks down well.
After a few hours, check on the paper and put more water in if needed as it will soak up quite a lot of water. Then just leave it in a convenient place and once or twice a day just move the paper around with your hands or a stick to help break it up.
I leave mine for about 3 to 4 days or until the paper has started to break down.
You put the paper into the briquette press and fill it to the top. You then put the top on and press the handles down. You have to be careful here as it's very easy to push down on one side harder than the other. Once you have pushed the top down and most of the water has come out you can lift the top off and remove the briquette. Sometimes you have to push it from the bottom as they are a tight fit.
Now comes the waiting game. You have to leave them for a long time to dry out so really this is going to be a summer job stocking up for the winter. If you have a greenhouse or conservatory then that is the ideal place to dry them.
Once they are dry you will need to store them in a very dry place as you don't want them to become damp. One option is once they are dry place then into a bin bag and seal the top.
Now when you have a fire just throw a couple a briquettes on and they should burn for between 1 and 2 hours.
Like I have said this is really a summer job so start keeping you old newspapers over the winter and ask friends and family for theirs too.
Overall this is a good money saving device. I have heard they are great if you have got a wood burner as well as an open fire. So go on start your own briquette production line.
If you have ever been camping in the Lake District you will know how easy it is to find a campsite but harder to find a good one.
Castlerigg Farm campsite lies just outside of Keswick off the Keswick to Windermere road. It is well sign posted and easy to get to. It's about a 30 minute walk from the campsite to the centre of Keswick but be warned its uphill all the way back.
The staff that I met were all friendly and were happy to answer any question. There is a decent sized toilet/shower block that was always clean. The camping ground is fairly flat which is a bonus in the Lakes. I didn't have much trouble getting the tent pegs into the ground which was a blessing as I have bent quite a few pegs at other campsites. The shop on site is only open at certain times of the day but is well stock if you are low on anything. One of there main rules is no noise after 22:30, now I have been to many campsite that say no noise after a certain time but never seem to enforce it. Castlerigg is different, there was a tent close to ours that had a young couple in it and it was obvious that they had had a few to drink and were being very noise and had music coming from the car. It was not long until a member of staff came over and told them to keep quiet else they would have to leave. But they didn't and the noise went on and this time they were told any more noise and the police would be called and that they had to leave by 9:00 the next morning. This did the trick and everyone on the site had a quiet night.
The only downside is that if your camping you can't book in advance, you have to turn up on the day and hope they have spare pitches. They don't cram tents close together so you do have a bit of private space around your tent. There is a small children's play area that is fenced off to protect them from cars that are moving around the site.
Overall this is a very good campsite that I highly recommend. Clean and quiet and well maintained. I only hope that if you decide to stay at Castlerigg Farm then you get some decent weather to enjoy the Lake District to the full.
I used to love the X Factor a few years ago but now it's getting to be a joke.
My first problem is the voting system. The only reason they do phone votes is to make ITV loads of extra money. It would be loads better if they had a panel of music experts (and I mean EXPERTS) that picked the loser each week. This year has been the worse yet as so many times a really good act has been in the bottom 2.
I am also not to keen on them having to sing songs from a particular artist each week. It also seems that there are not as many really good singers out there so probably they should give the show a rest for a couple of years.
I think everyone watches the show for the auditions as they are always the best part; it's a pity they don't go on for longer.
Its time to revamp the show before it gets stale. Then again it may be too late.
Now there is nothing worse than having a power cut and hunting around for a torch and finding that the batteries are dead.
Well now you don't have to as all you need is a wind up torch.
Ok they sound great but to be honest they are no where as good as a normal torch. You need to wind it up for quite a long time if you want to use it for more than a few minutes. After a while you will see the light starting to go dim which is your key to start winding it again.
But n the practical side it can be a great as a torch for in the car or for tacking the dog for a walk.
This torch seems to be robust plus having the rubber grips on the side make it easier to hold onto.
Yes it is a great gadget but does not give as much power life as it says on the box.
I remember when I first used Amazon years ago and at that time it was mainly books that they sold. But now it's a whole shop. You can buy nearly anything you want from there.
Another feature now on Amazon is that you can also sell products on there so it's a bit of a rival to the mighty EBay.
I have never had a problem with ordering from Amazon, the items have always come well packaged. It's nice to be able to read comments from others on the products you are thinking of buying as well.
I have found Amazon a lot cheaper that other online shops for electrical items but it's always best to look around first.
If you order a lot of items from Amazon over a year they now do Amazon Prime where you pay a yearly fee and then all your items that come from Amazons store are free next day delivery. Amazon Prime does not count on items that are from other company's or second hand items.
I have tried a few of the online supermarket shops so I thought I would give ASDA a go.
The website is a good layout and easy to navigate. As we are always told by the TV ads the prices are low and to be honest I found that a weekly shop was cheaper than I was used to. I then picked my delivery slot and it was all done.
On day of delivery everything was fine apart from 3 out of 6 eggs were broken. I phoned up and they said they would not charge me for the eggs which I was happy with. So later that week I ordered for the next week and was happy again at the price.
This time when they came the first thing I checked of course was the eggs and this time 5 were broken. I was not pleased with this but things got worse.
On opening a bag the top item was a fresh chicken and underneath was veg. The raw chicken juices had leaked out all over the veg. When I phoned up I was told again I was not going to be charged for the eggs and to wash the veg.
I told them that I was not happy with the response and was basically told if I didn't like it then throw them away but would not get my money back as they had given me a good solution.
I decided to throw them in the bin as we have a young baby and the last thing we want is her being ill.
I think ASDA customer care is appalling and need to be trained better. Fresh meat should be in a bag on its own like other supermarkets do.
I would never use them again it has left a sour taste in my mouth for sure.
Sky TV is like marmite some people love it others hate it.
Yes it's expensive if you have the full package including movies and sport but the good thing is you can buy the packages of channels that you want.
Now for me I don't have much choice as I don't live in a cable network area so my only options are SKY or Freeview. Now I had Freeview for a few months but most of the stuff I wanted to watch was on SKY so I decided that was the choice for me.
I went for the SKY+ box and think its great, I was not prepared to pay the extra £10 a month for SKY+HD.
Ok one of the main problems I have is if it really heavy rain hitting the dish or snow on it the picture breaks up or worse goes of all together. I have been seen leaning out of the bedroom window hanging on by one foot trying to brush the snow off the dish without knocking it out of alignment.
If your thinking of getting SKY then before Christmas is the best time as they have good deals.
Yes there are a lot of channels that you will never watch but at least you have a choice.
So if you want more channels than Freeview and you don't have the option of cable then SKY TV is a good option to go for.
Well let's just start off with saying its great not having ad breaks all the time while trying to watch a sport you love.
When I heard the BBC had got F1 back I was over the moon but then started to worry if they were going to ruin it. We had to wait months until they announced who was going to be presenting the new show and thankfully they nearly got it 100% right.
It's nice to now be able to watch the practice sessions either on the red button or on the internet. I know most people would find this boring but it's nice to see how the drivers are coping with new tracks before race day.
The commentary is good and they try and explain things to new viewers. I can't really comment about the camera angles or complain that they are not showing certain drivers because that decision comes down to the countries TV station that is filming that particular race.
It's nice that after the race you can watch a further discussion and interviews with drivers on the red button.
Overall the BBC have done a good job in its first year back with F1, I just hope they keep up the good work in the future.
Every now and then the BBC makes a programme and end up doing a decent job. Day Of The Triffids is one of those.
The Triffids are plants that are farmed for there oil. They have the ability to move so are kept in secure enclosures surrounded my electric fences. The problem with the triffids is that they have a poisonous stinger that emanates from the top of the flower head.
Bill Mason (John Duttine) works at one of the farms and has had some of the poison in his eye and end up in hospital for treatment. He is told that the next day he will be having the bandages removed which is a huge relief to him as at the moment he cant see a thing.
That night the whole planet witnesses a huge meteor storm and millions of people watch this bizarre event.
The next morning Bill mason wakes up and waits for the nurse to come by and remove the bandages. She never arrives and after a while he notices how quiet it is. Only now and then hears a distant cry for help. After he has been shouting for the nurse for a long time he decides to remove the bandages himself. His vision is blurred for a minute or two but then he is relived when it returns to normal.
As he wonders around the hospital he see loads of patients, nurses and doctors who are now blind.
It turns out that everyone who watched the meteor shower is mow blind. To make things worse as there is no electricity the Triffids have escaped from their enclosures and are now free.
Bill now has to find his way out of the city and find a safe place away from the deadly Triffids. Plus is there anyone else out there who can see.
This series was made when the BBC were well known for dodgy walls and falling down sets but luckily the main effect this series required was just the Triffid plant. It was a very good attempt and worked well.
Well worth watching. It has been reported that a new version is going to be made by the BBC but I recommend you watch this one first.
The first season of DS9 was at times slow and uneventful but luckily paramount decided to give it a second season and thankfully they did.
Rules of Acquisition
Profit and Loss
The Maquis, Part I
The Maquis, Part II
This was the season where DS9 was able to stand on its own 2 feet and break away from The Next Generation. The story writing improved loads and the actors started to shine in their roles. Even characters that only appeared in a few episodes each season started to get stronger. Louise Fletcher returns this season and every episode she is in is great.
This season DS9 starts to get a little darker and the final episode The Jem'Hadar is a great season cliff-hanger that sets up a wonderful story arc. There are lighter moments throughout the season though. Mainly from Quark and Odo but also O'Brien and Bashir. You also have to look out for Andrew Robinson who plays Garek the Cardassian who really starts to shine in the role.
If you liked the first season then you will love this one. Great Sci-Fi writing plus great effects and acting.
The Black Bull Inn is situated in the centre the Cumbrian village of Coniston and was built over 400 years ago.
Its nice to find village pubs that even though get plenty of visitors throughout the year has kept its charm. I have always found the staff always to be friendly even when they are rushed off their feet at peek times.
The Black Bull is also the home of the Coniston Brewery and you can find the famous Bluebird bitter on sale alongside Old Man Ale (named after the mountain). They serve food all day and ok its not cheap but you certainly get what you pay for. I am happy to say I have never had any problems with the food or the service. Well now for a little problem...at peek times throughout the year it does get very busy and sometimes it can be hard to find a table. They do have a number of tables outside so if it's warm enough you could eat there.
The accommodation is also very good the rooms are clean and even though you are above the bar you don't hear much noise so if you fancy an early night before a long walk the next day you should get a good nights sleep.
So if you're in the area of Coniston and fancy a nice drink or fancy stopping over for a few days then I highly recommend the Black Bull.
When I first saw this item in a shop I thought to myself "WHY" but soon realised this is a fantastic idea.
The Platypus Hoser is basically a water holder for when you out walking, biking or even running if you run with a rucksack.
You fill the bag with water or whatever drink you like (don't recommend alcohol if your walking).
Once you have filled you bag you tip it upside down so the hose is on the bottom and place it into your rucksack. Now feed the top of the hose either through a hole in the top of your rucksack or just out of the top of it. There is a small clip on the hose which you can clip to your clothing or rucksack strap. Then when your ready for a drink just put the hose in your mouth gently bite the mouth piece to open it up and suck it like a straw.
The mouth piece is designed so that nothing can get into the hose when you're not using it. There would be nothing worse than sucking the hose wanting to get a nice refreshing drink only to discover that there is a wasp in it.
The unit is very easy to clean but I do recommend that every now and then you sterilize it.
There are a number of different sizes you can buy from 1 litre up to 3 litres.
Using this devise is a lot better than having to stop and take your rucksack off get your drink out then have to put everything back in and set off again.
A big problem with walkers is dehydration so having this in your rucksack is a great idea.
Tina Gray (Wyss) has a recurring nightmare of being stalked through a boiler room by a guy with a red and black sweater and razor blade on his fingers that he scrapes along metal. In one dream he catches her and his razor fingers rip her nightdress and then she wakes up screaming. But upon waking she sees her nightdress is ripped in the same places as they were in the dream.
It not until the next day when she confides with her friend Nancy (Langenkamp) that she finds that her friend has been having the same type of dreams about the same guy. That night they have a sleep over and she again has the same dream but this time the dream takes a turn for the worse and as she is caught and is being cut in her sliced open in her dream its happening for real. Her boyfriend Rodd (Corri) sees the blood running from her body as it flies up and hit the ceiling before falling back down on the bed. As he is screaming others in the house rush in and see him over her dead body.
As Rodd was the only person in the room he is arrested for her murder. It's not long until he is having dreams about the same guy. Nancy still having dreams about him tries to find out who he is and discovers his name is Freddie Kruger and was a child murderer who escaped prison years ago due to a mistake by the police. The parents of the children of Elm Street decided to take the law into their own hands and they killed him and put his body into the boiler under the house and burnt his body. He has now returned to get revenge on their children by attacking them in their dreams.
This was a great film when it came out and due to that 7 more movies followed but none of them were anyway near as good as this one. The funny thing was that after this film the character of Freddie (Englund) moved up from supporting cast to main character. There are some good one liners from Freddie in the film that try to lighten up the horror your witnessing.
Another good bit from this movie is the rhyme that you hear children saying in some of the dreams:
1, 2 he's coming for you
3, 4 better lock your door
5, 6 get a crucifix
7, 8 better stay up late
If you love horror movies then this one is for you. Ok its looking a little dated now but is still a great film.