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I ordered my Hotpoint Fridge Freezer shortly after moving into my apartment purchasing at the retail price of £240.
I had a small space in my kitchen to fit the unit and the fridge freezers dimensions of 545x580mm I had no problems in installing the unit. The unit measures up at 1740mm tall and can use the space above for a top shelf to store various cook books etc.
I bought our unit in white. This colour can show up the occasional marks but the smooth surface of the fridge is easy to maintain and clean. The unit runs quietly and has never caused a problem in our open space kitchen/living room.
The unit itself is advertised at storing 155 liters, more than we really need as a 2-person family. Fridge space includes 3 shelves that are adjustable to set levels. the shelves are made from a safety glass so it is possible to see through the shelves and helps to see food at the back. Again, the shelves can be wiped down clean. The fridge has an interior light that again improves visibility.
The built in thermostat on the top right hand side can be adjusted depending on how cold you need your fridge. I have never quite understood the need for this setting personally, as it is possible to accidentally set the fridge to '5' that will result in frozen milk! The thermostat is quite hidden to the point that it would not be too easy to knock the thermostat to the wrong setting.
There are 2 salad departments set at the bottom of the fridge with pull our drawers. these are quite useful for separating fruit from vegetables. However, once they get full it isn't the easiest to reach the older fruit at the back. This doesn't seem to be an easy problem to get around and just takes a bit of dedication to do a stock rotation.
The fridge door also has shelves useful for storing bottles, milk and includes an egg locator section.
The freezer space set below the fridge is also quite generous to a 2 person family. It works on air flow cooling and comes equipped with anti bacterial lining. One flaw would be that there is no auto defrost but this is generally built into the more expensive models and is reflective of the price.
The freezer has 4 compartments from pull out drawers. Storage space is advertised at 3kg. The drawers are made from clear polycarbonate or similar material. Due to the frozen nature of the freezer, it is not so easy to see through the drawers and the drawers are slightly flexible so when a drawer gets stuck for some reason it is possible to break the drawer if you are struggling to open it. This is what happened to me on our top shelf. This hasn't caused a problem to function but doesn't look so appealing and something you should bear in mind before forcing it.
The lower 3 drawers all include a blue ice cube tray built in. I quite like this feature and use it regularly over the summer. It just takes a small amount of water to fill the tray and is easy to add too much making the removal of the cubes quite tricky.
The unit has a power failure storage time of 9 hours so not so much of a worry during a power cut! However there is no temperature warning built in. I have had to defrost the unit twice in the two years I have owned it for.
Environmentally, the fridge freezer is CFC & HFC Free with an efficiency rating of A+. The overall weight of 56kg can be moved if required (more shuffled due to the awkward size but not too heavy to be carried by 2 persons.)
I was looking to purchase a budget smartphone on pay as you go that looked stylish and could download apps on. I stumbled across the Samsung Galaxy Ace retailing at £79.99 and decided to go for it.
The phone itself was an upgrade from an old broken iphone 3G. When took the galaxy ace from the box I noticed how lightweight it was. I went through the initial charging process and started up the phone for the first time. For me, Samsung just seems to 'click' I feel it is easy to find my way around the menu system, going through the settings and accessing the internet.
The phone seems automatic in detecting your wifi and syncing your existing contacts so it was really easy to get up to speed. One thing I was particularly pleased with was the look and feel of the Samsung app store as opposed to itunes that I used previously. Despite what others say, I could find my way around the menus far easier than I did on itunes.
The phone includes a 5 MegaPixel camera that generates good images. One problem I found tricky was pointing the camera at myself to take photos of my smiley facy in front of nice scenery. At that crucial moment its hard on a touch screen to feel for the tiny 'camera click' image to actually take the photo! It usually takes me 4 or 5 attempts to hit the right spot! I think there is an option for timer but for that instant moment when you want to take a picture it can be a little fiddly to find the timer option.
The dropbox app built in is simple to use and syncs to any other media with the app installed so you dont have to upload pictures to a computer by USB (although a USB lead is supplied).
Speakers on the phone seem good and clear whether on the phone or playing music. Volume buttons on the upper left side of the phone are easy to feel for as with the power button on the right hand side.
The phone itself comes with 2 cases, a black textured case or a shiny white one. Whilst the black is grippy and looks stylish, the spare white one looks a little tacky so I left it in the box.
It is worth putting a screen protector on the phone. The one I bought wasn't necessarily designed for the phone but I had a few problems with the proximity sensor not recognising it as a screen protector and kept turning the screen off during a phone call and not tuening the screen on again when I moved my face away. not a problem with the phone but more the screen protector but bear this in mind when choosing a screen protector.
The pixels look nice and clear on the Galaxy Ace. Maybe not quite as good as some higher priced models but for the price you pay for the model it is acceptable. Battery life is good, I tend to get 2 days out of it before I need to recharge overnight.
My main concern with this phone is the storage space built into the phone. Whilst you can add a memory card to the phone to store pictures or music on, many apps will only install to the phone itself. I found that after installing apps like Dropbox, Twitter and Facebook, the phone seemed sluggish whilst opeining the internet or using the menus. I think if you install these apps then you can probably install only a couple more apps onto the built in memory until you run into these problems. Some apps have an option to install to memory card which I recommend doing if possible.
Because of this I feel I have got all the use out of this phone that I am likely to get before needing to upgrade again. If I want to add a new app then I will need to uninstall an old one, and with constant updates on apps these days I imagine this will get worse over time.
All in all, this phone does the job considering the price bracket of £80. It's not top of the range but still includes all the features these phones do. It is a smart phone, its downfall being that it can only handle 181MB of storage.
I took a year out to live in work in Whistler between 2007 and 2008 and feel I can give good 'local' knowledge of the area, the experience and things to do during your stay.
For those travelling from the UK, Whistler can be one of the more expensive options for a winter holiday. The Canadian dollar is currently quite strong. However, it is possible to make a relatively cheap holiday by booking accomodation in one of Whistlers hostels. Southside Lodge at Whistler Creekside springs to mind as the best. (Book early as beds will fill up quickly.)
Whistler resort has 2 mountains with over 4000 acres of skiable terrain. Whistler mountain and the nearby Blackcomb mountain. For me, the 2 mountains have quite different feels:
Whistler Mountain feels quite wide spread and includes lots of green or blue runs with gentle slopes ideal for beginners or for those that are just starting to progress.
Blackcomb immediately feels steeper and the immediate runs you will encounter on the gondula up will seem more compact and merging into each other.
Of course as you venture further into the mountains all this changes. Whislter also includes steep areas such as Whistler Bowl and West Bowl and tree runs such as Wild Card or Jimmys Joker. Whilst Blackcomb spreads out at the peak giving access through 'Spankeys Ladder' into some amazing Bowls named 'Sapphire, Diamond and Ruby', or traverse over to the stunning views of 7th Heavon.
As a snowboarder, I found this resort to be very friendly and welcombing to snowboarders and you'll easily find yourself taking to others on the ski lifts about the runs, weather or secret spots.
Regarding the 'Hidden' areas there are plenty. Whilst remaining within the ski boundary area (an absolute must) you can follow the long peak to creek run and divert along 'million dollar ridge' or 'Khybers'- you'll need a guide.
Recently a peak2peak gondula now connects Blackcomb and Whistler so it is easy to experience both mountains within one day.
Whislter village itself spreads along one central village walk where there are many places to celebrate apres. One of the main places is Longhorns based at the bottom of Whistler mountain. If you walk further out there are some really great spots where you will find more locals such as the Crystal Lounge bar (my personal favourite) or the bear.
There is a great live music scene in Whistler with local acts such as Kostaman being seen in many of the local venues. Worth watching if you like a laid-back reggae vibe. There are also open mic events in many of the bars on a Sunday or Wednesday or a full band presence at Merlins over on Blackcomb.
Ice hockey is shown on many of the pub tv screens as with extreme sports for that Canadian experience. There is also a local leisure centre called Meadow Park a bus ride over to Alpine Meadows. There, you can ice skate, gym, swim/spa or play squash etc.
Don't write off Whistler in the summer either. The cross over season picks up when the snow at the Base of Whislter melts and they open the mountain bike park. At this time for a few months its possible to ski/snowboard on top of Blackcomb glacier in the morning and tear around the bikepark on rented bikes in the evening. - Or go for a swim in the usually not too cold mountain lakes surrounding the area.
I have never forgot Whistler since my years experience there. For me, anywhere I've been in the Alps has never come close to the experience. I would say its definately worth saving up the extra for flights over there. Even the drive from Vancouver to Whistler on Sea to Sky Highway is breathtaking!
The only downside is flying home to a relatively flat UK!
I first started watching Ice hockey in 1999 following one of the secondary leagues in the UK, the English Premier League (EPL).
Eventually, as my interest and understanding of the game grew I began to watch games in the top UK
league at the time, the Sekonda Superleague.
By 2002/2003 the Superleague became the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL). I found my self attending
the games of the closest team to where I lived and became a fan of the Nottingham Panthers.
A lot of the previous reviews are now quite old so to give a brief update on the current teams in
the EIHL as of 2013:
2013 also saw the league split into two conferences for the first time.
The Erhardt Conference consisting of: Belfast, Cardiff, Coventry, Nottingham and Sheffield and the
Gardiner Conference consisting of: Braehead, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife and Hull.
Both conference teams will still face teams in the other conference but will meet less times
throughout the season. This means that 'local' teams will play more games against each other for
example Sheffield and Nottingham, or Dundee and Edinburgh. Also it is generally thought that teams
in the Erhardt conference are stronger than of those in the Gardiner conference and so, the leagues
lesser teams such as Edinburgh or Fife will be more evenly matched resulting in tighter competition
between the conferences. Personally, I think this has been a great move for UK Ice Hockey due to
the boosted local derby's and competition between clubs.
I will give a brief overview of the sport. A team consists of 5 active players and a net-minder or
goalie. Officials include one referee and 2 linesmen. The referee can be spotted with orange bands
on each arm.
A game is split into 3 periods each consisting of 20 minutes of play. During this time, the clock
can be stopped as penalties are given or for adjustments to play. The game will start with a 'Face
Off'. This is where the referee or linesman drops the puck at a set place on the ice. 2 of the
opposing teams players will try to win the face off using their sticks to pass the puck away to a
member on their team.
The players try to score in the other teams net but can pick up penalties by breaking the game rules
along the way. Penalties range from tripping, high sticks, slashing or cross-checking to roughing
or fighting. Penalties usually involve sitting in the penalty box for 2 minutes leaving your team
at a one-man-down disadvantage. The team will then be 'shorthanded' whilst the opposing team will
be on a 'powerplay' and may be able to use the advantage to score.
From learning the game initially, I found one of the main rules hardest to get my head around: Icing
the puck. An icing call is made when one of the players hits the puck across from within their own
defensive area, through the neutral zone into the offensive area where it is collected by someone on
the opposing team. This is to stop players endlessly hitting the puck from one side to another and
builds plays and strategy into the game. when an icing call is made, the referee will stop play and
will call for a face off back in the offending teams defensive zone where the advantage will be to
the team on the offense.
As with most team sports, the offside rule still applies and is caused by one team member crossing
the blue line into the offensive zone before another team member who is carrying the puck crosses
into the zone. Passes cannot be made through the blue line into the offensive zone as the puck must
be first to enter the zone before a player.
It is possible and usual during a close game for the loosing team to pull their goalie during the
last few minutes of play allowing a sixth player to replace him helping to score that equalizer.
This can of course back fire if the winning team controls the puck and shoots from their end of the
ice to score an empty net goal!
These rules will become clearer the more games you watch. The game is fast - keep your eyes on the
puck! The games are entertaining, especially with the occasional dropping of gloves and fighting
thrown in. It is a great family sport with music being played at every game stoppage and would
definitely recommend giving it a try!