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I usually eat Walkers crisps, but for a change I decided to go for some of the Sainsbury's own brand crisps. I was expecting them to be awful and no in no way as good as Walkers crisps, but I was pleasently surprised! The Sainsbury's crisps have a much more subtle taste than other brands of salt and vinegar crisps, which are usually alot stronger and have a much more vinegary taste which alot of people do not like. The Sainsburys crisps were, I think alot easier to eat and had a kind of "sweeter" taste. Alot of people might not like these crisps, but I have tried both salt and vinegar and ready salted flavours and a definetly prefer the taste than brands such as Walkers that I find too strong. The crisps are quite good in the fact that they dont have any artifitial ingredients, just potatoes, sunflower oil, salt and salt and vinegar flavouring.
Overall, I liked them alot, and the cheaper price than brands such as Walkers will probably convert me!
Google Maps in an online mapping service which, for me, has grown to become one of my most used sites! Mapping sites such as Multimap etc have been around for a while, but Google Maps has become one of the most used recently. You can view maps in the standard mapping graphics or on "sattelite" view which uses ariel photographs to give a true birds eye view of the location you are looking at. I have found this very usefull for planning journeys, so you can actually see how the roads look for real unlike on a traditional map. You can calculate directions between different points and it will work out the shortest route, plus directions and estimated distance/estimated journey times. You can also see live traffic information for motorways and major roads, the roads will be coloured green if traffic flow is good, yellow if its a bit slow and red if there are many delays. One of the best things about Google Maps is "Street View". This enables you to view street level, 360 degree photographs of most roads in major cities and move along the streets as if you were actually there! I have found this very usefull for planning journeys as you can view entrances to places and find car park spaces etc.
Overall, I have found Google Maps to be an extremly usefull service and use it very often, even if it is to find the distance or journey time to a specific destination!
I used easyjet.com for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say that I am very impressed. This is in fact the first time I have actually booked flights either online or offline and it was a very pleasent experience. The Easyjet site looks a little bit cluttered when you first go on it, with a few links advertising Easyjets many services, but slap bang in the middle there is a box to choose you flights. All you need to do is specify your departure airport, destination, dates and the number of people that are flying then click "show flights" and the site will find the available flights for you. The site will then show a information in the form of a grid of the flights available and their prices. It shows all the flights for the day you specified, plus the day before and after. It points out the cheapest fare for both inbound and outbound flights for you (although these are often at inconvienient times). The good thing about Easyjet, as apposed to other flight operators is that the prices shown are the full prices of the flights (including taxes, airport charges, checkin charges etc). There are only a small number of things that you can add ontop of the price. Once you have selected which flights you want, you can continue to the next page where you can add extra things such as baggage, travel insurance, sports equipment etc. On the next page you can book a hotel if needed (but you can easily skip this part) then its time to pay! All very simple and straight forward. Easyjet are a ticketles airline and, usually a few seconds after you have paid, your "eticket" is emailed to you, you then print this out and use it when you check in on the day of your flight.
One of the disadvantages of Easyjet is that you cannot book seats on a flight, so you are not guarenteed to be sitting next to the rest of your group. I decided to pay an extra £12 to get "speedy boarding" which makes sure you are one of the first people onto the plane.
Overall, the best site out of the other low cost airlines I tried and very easy to use. I was also very confident when purchasing my flights that the price I was looking at was the final price, and they were not going to add on any obsurd charges at the end!
Oyster Cards are a form of prepay payment system used on public transport around London. They have been around for a couple of years now, but I have never really bothered to get one, mainly because I hardly ever used the bus, and if I went into London, I would buy a travelcard. Since Janurary of this year however, Oyster cards have been accepted on overground trains, so I popped down to my local newsagents to get one. There are no forms to fill out, just a £3 deposit for the card plus whatever you want to top up your card with. Oyster cards are a "contactless" form of technology, each card has a tiny RFID chip and ariel embedded into it, to use the card you simply touch it close to an oyster reader, and your payment is deducted from your prepaid balance. On buses you simply "touch in" and the start of your journey, however on trains, tube, DLR and trams you are required to "touch in" at the station/stop that you start your journey and "touch out" when you end it so the card knows how far you have travelled and can charge you accordingly. Oyster cards will always be cheaper than the equivelent cash fare and there is a "price capping" system which ensures you will never pay more than the cost of a daily travel card. The cards can be topped up at many Oyster ticket stops, which are at tube stations and newsagents around the capital, your nearest can be found on the Oyster website. You can also top up online which is very handy, however you need to nominate a station in which you will start a journey so that the top up can be transferred onto the card. This will need to be done within 7 days of purchaing your top up online.
Some of the bad points that I have found with Oyster are if you are entitled to a discount (16-21 railcard for example) it can be difficult to get the discount put on the card (I had to try 2 newsagents to get my discount, and when I did, I had to wait ages for them to work out how to work the machine and authorise the discount!). I have also heard from some people that keeping the card in your pocket next to a mobile phone can interfere with the RFID chip in the card and cause it to stop working.
Overall though, a very usefull way of paying for travel around London, especially now since it can be used on almost all forms of transport including buses, tubes, trams, DLR, overground trains and river boats!
Short term Oyster cards can also be bought for visitors to the capital, and with only a £3 deposit to get one (which can be redeemed buy taking your card back to any ticket stop) its worth it even if you dont bother to get the deposit back!
I recieved this book for Christmas and have been reading it intermittently as Im not a big reader. It would not have been my first choice of book, but certainly of the type I read and I was happy to recieve it as a gift. The book is more or less a diary of Dara's latest tour of the UK, but he uses this to make observations of English peoples behavior compared to his native Ireland aswell as other countries. He starts the book by noting a radio phone in show in which they were discussing a recent survey showing England being one of the best places to live in the world where, in response to this, almost every English person that phoned in was disputing this, and was convinced that the survey was wrong and England was one of the worst places to live. During the course of the book, Dara makes other observations like this and questions why the English have some natural persuasion that their country is terrible. He also makes plently of other observations of English traits aswell as talking about the different places in the UK that he visits on his tour. In each chapter, Dara talks about different areas of the country his tour takes him to, and explains what happened the shows. This is interesting to hear about and might be better is you have seen him on the tour or bought the DVD as you can read about his thoughts of the shows. Overall, an amusing and interesting book!
The Pioneer CDJ1000 has become really an industry standard in recent years for Djing in the industry. Most clubs have them installed, and the majority of events you go to Djs will use them exclusively or alongside traditional vinyl decks. The CDJs are a very good and clever bit of kit, down at a super basic level, they are CD players....they play CDs, but they allow a DJ to manipulate the music in many ways. Firstly they replicate a vinyl deck, there is a pitch slider (to increase or decrease the pitch) and a deck that behaves in the manner of a vinyl deck and allows you to scratch, "nudge" the track back or forwards slightly and stop the track with your hand and move it back and forwards as though it was a vinyl record. There are many things the CDJ can do that decks cannot, such as being able to set loops, reverse the track and set cue points that can be saved to the device or an externeal SD card to hold thousands of cue points for hundereds of tracks. Being a CD player of course, means you dont have to have a huge collection or records on you, in fact the CDJ can playback MP3 files, which means hundereds of tracks on one CD. I would not recomend this however, as if you are willing to spends alot of money on this, you must be serious about DJing and performing in quite good venues with at least a sound system which is a bit more than two Peavey speakers on stands. I would therefore not recommend anyone using MP3 files, as the sound quality is questionable, WAV files would provide a much better sound.....but I guess MP3 is fine for practicing! Now to some of the things I dont like about these units 1) Cost, these are very expenive, over a grand each so probably only really for serious DJs. 2) Build quality- They cost alot but still look a bit cheap, they are made of plastic and are not that durable. I think Pioneer have a problem here, if you are going to charge so much money for these, they could at least have made it out of metal, would look much nicer and be more durable in my opinion. These get dirty easily in a club situation and its so easy to spill drinks over them, and considering they have so much electronics in them...this is a big problem, so be careful! Definetly spend about £70 extra for some good flight cases for them. 3) They are delicate- The platters can break really easy and as I said, drinks and mositure really mess with the insides of these!
Overall, a very clever bit of kit that can add to your Djing performance, however definetly only for the pro DJ, think very hard before investing in some of these, probably best to hire for a bit first. Also if you are a DJ used to decks, definetly get some practice on CDJs before buying, as alot of DJs find it hard to go from vinyl to CDJ as they are so different.
I originally went on trip to the cinema with friends intending to see another film, however when we got there, we discovered that it was fully booked, so an impulse decision at the till led us to see Law Abiding Citizen. I was rather disapointed at not being able to see the film I wanted to see, and after remembering some trailers I had seen for Law Abiding Citizen, was not looking forward to it as it seemed very political and a bit boring. However after seeing the film, I was so glad we didnt get into the other film as Law Abiding Citizen must have been the best film I had seen in a long time. I wasnt too familiar with the main actors Gerald Butler and Jamie Foxx, obviously I had heard of them but I couldnt really name any other films they have been in, but I must say they fitted the roles of the charaters very well, and the acting was superb. I thought the storyline was very good, a bit hard to understand at some points, and you are sometimes left thinking "why did that happen" but it all comes together at the end. It starts well, and goes straight into the action. It was definetly my type of film, I like films that are "clever" like Oceans Eleven where there is a clever twist. Law Abiding Citizen was definetly this type of film, had lots of action and some good old fashioned gore, which was good but without being silly (such as films like Saw where its only purpose is to be as shocking as possible). There were some funny bits in the film, and I was totally imersed in the story, not once did I have to look at my watch wondering how much longer the film would go on, like I do with other films (I'm very impatient). Definetly a film for grown ups however, as there is a lot of swearing, gore and depictions of rape and drug taking. I thought one downside of the film was the ending, is was a bit weak, but after thinking about it, theres not really many other ways the writers could have ended the film without it being even more undramatic and boring (you will have to see the film to understand what I mean).
Overall, the perfect mix of good writing, acting and action! Definetly recommended!
The Gadget Show is an hour long television show broadcast on Channel 5, on Mondays at 8 in the evening. The show is all about gadgets and technology and is very interesting for people who are into their gadgets. The show is hosted by Suzi Perry, Jason Bradbury, Jon Bently and Ortis Deely and usually follows the same running format. There is usually a main challange where two of the presenters go againts eachother in a gadget based contest. For example, in recent programs they have had to learn a new skill using only the internet to learn and then demonstrate their skill whist judged by an expert. There is the Wall of Fame part of the show where two presenters put forward the case of a gadget or piece of technology to go onto the Gadget Show Wall of Fame. The decision is between two items of similar use, for example VHS and DVD or Mac and PC, the decision of what ends up on the wall is made by Jon Bently. There is usually a part of the show where items are reviewed the find out which is the best eg HD Tvs, Blu Ray players, Surround sound systems etc. There is also usually a part of the show showcasing new technology that could be around within the next few years.
Overall the show is very entertaining and informal to watch and can definetly help you to find new technolgy or give you an opinion on a product you might want to purchase. I would recommend it to gadget lovers, but there are aspects of the show that will appeal to every one.
The Secret Millionaire is a program that I find very interesting to watch. For those that have not seen the program, a successful buisiness person is sent to a deprived area whist being undercover. They usually go back to a place where they grew up and have to live on the equivalent of jobseekers allowance, or £51 a week which is a hard task for someone who is used to not having to worry about having enough money for food etc. Whislt undercover, the millionaires live in run down areas of cities and volunteer at charities and organisations that help people in need. They will meet individuals who themselves are struggling and learn what life is like for the people they meet. At the end of their visit, the millionaires reveal who they really are and give the different organisations and people they have met a cheque to help continue their work. I find the program interesting to watch for many reasons, firstly to learn about people who havent are not as lucky as others, which makes you realise how privilaged alot of us are. Secondly, to see how the millionaires cope living on a small amount of money and in run down areas. It is interesting to see the people out their that are trying to help the less fortunate, and lastly it is great to see how happy and overwealmed the people are when they are given cheques by the millionaires. Overall, a great, interesting and emotional program which ultimately gives the millionaires a chance to help many less advataged people.
Now Thats What I Call Music 49 was released in 2001 and when listening to it, reminds me exactly of that time! I dont mind this album, usually the Now albums from this time are full of cheesy, poppy tracks that I would never listen to but this does have some good song. Ok, most of the second CD isnt the best but CD one I do like. Some of my favourite songs on the CD are "The Rock Show" by Blink 182, "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus and "Pyramid Song" by Radiohead. There are a few cheesy songs on here such as "Its Raining Men" by Geri Halliwwell but I guess theres someone out there that might like that kind of track. There are quite a few big names on the CD such as Robbie Williams, Stereophonics, U2 and Gorillaz. According to the Dooyoo link to this album on Amazon, they seem to have it for sale for £8.30. I would say that this is a bit much, as the album is 8 years old and isnt the best Now album you could buy. If you could find it cheaper, or even second hand for around four quid to a fiver, Id say it would be worth it.
Now Thats What I Call Music 52 is a two disk compilation album realeased in the summer of 2002. Weirdly, the case and design of the CD packaging and inserts dont really seem very summery and remind me of winter more than anything. The white background and silvery bits with gold text just seem cold and icy, whereas other Now summer albums are orangy and have summery colours. Looking at the track listing, it does not immedietly fill me with excitment, lots of songs by bands that arnt really my cup of tea, S Club Juniors, Liverty X and Britney Spears for example, but there are some decent songs on there. One of my favourite is "Blurry" by Puddle of Mud which is a pretty good rock song. There is also "Just A Little Girl" by Amy Studt, a song I probably would not have ever heard before if I did not have this album. There is also "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" by Oasis. Apart from these songs, the other 39 songs on the album are probably ones I would skip! I guess some people would like Ronan Keating, Scooter, and S Club 7 but there are songs and artists on this album which to me are just rubbish like The Reelists with "Freak Mode" and "Forever" by someone called "Dee Dee"
Definetly not one of the best Now albums, there are much better ones you could get!
JD Wetherspoon is a chain of pubs which also serve food (I guess you would call them a Gastropub). They are found all over the UK and are one of my favourite chains of pub both for dink and food. JD Wetherspoon also own LLoyds Bars which are similar to their pubs, but have more of a club feel in the evenings.
All the Wetherspoons I have been in have a good atmosphere, it is however slightly different to a landlord run pub because it is part of a chain and has managers etc, so you dont get that friendly feel as you do with say a nice small country pub.
The food in Wetherspoons is always good quality and comes quickly. You pay before your meal and it usually takes no more than 10-15 minutes to be cooked. The food is quite cheap with basic meals such as bangers and mash and fish and chips from £2.99. There are more expensive meals which usually use better quality ingredients but are still relatively inexpensive. I usually go for a beer and a burger deal, which gets you a gourmet burger and pint for about £5.99. They are special days such as grill night and curry night where they offer special deals. Even though the quality and price of food here is good, I think I still prefer rival pub chain "Ember Inns" as the food seems slightly better.
The range of drinks in Wetherspoons is good, they have most largers, bottled beers, spirits and a few soft drinks at good prices. There is also a good range of real ale, which I dont drink but they always seem to be pouring it for other customers. The prices are exellent, on a Monday there is a "Monday Club" offer where certain drinks have discounted prices. The list of drinks on the Monday Club deal changes every so often, but you can get a Budweiser for 99p and JD and Coke for £1.29 which is amazing value!
Overall, Im a fan of Wetherspoons, the food could be a tad better to keep up with rivals and the decor in my local definetly could do with modernising. They could also provide a wider range of bar snacks, only a few falvours of Walkers crisps are available in my local. During the day, it is also good for families.
Now Thats What I Call Music 50 was released ready for Christmas back in 2001. The album does have some decent tracks on it considering that music the year it was released was going through a bit of a cheesy phase. Having said that, this album does also have some cheesy party like songs aswell, but this could just be as it was released in the Christmas season. Songs such as "Uptown Girl" by Westlife, "Hey Baby!" by DJ Otzi, and "Mambo No 5" by Bob the Builder are some of these songs. They are good for party tunes, but really something I would admit to ever listening to or having on my iPod! There are some decent songs such as "A Little Respect" by Wheatus, "Fat Lip" by Sum41 and "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm. Overall Ive at least heard of a lot the bands on here, which unlike previous Now albums is pretty good. Out of the 44 tracks on the album, Id say Ive not heard of only about 4 or 5 of the artists. There are some tracks though I cant stand, "Things That Go Bump In The Night" by Allstars is just a terrible cover and "21 Seconds" by the wanna be gangsters So Solid Crew is just terrible mainly because I cant stand the band.
Overall, not a bad album, Id certainly buy it if I was looking for party songs, or was looking for a present for a young child...and it looks like Amazon have it on sale for a penny if the Dooyoo link is to be believed! At that price its a bargain!
Ahh Toblerone has to be one of my favourite chocolate treat since I was a child. The triangular prism shaped Swiss milk chocolate bar has been manufactured in Switzerland for over 100 years. The original bar comes as a whole bar, but individual triangles are broken off before eating. It is made with tasty chocolate with small nougat pieces embedded in it. The bar is packaged in a box the same shape as the chocolate and wrapped in foil. It comes in different sizes as well as different varieties, these range from 35g to 4.5kg and is available in dark chocolate, white chocolate, fruit and nut and honeycomb. My favourite has to be the dark chocolate one, however they are all tasty. A good purchase is a "selection box" which has indiviually wrapped triangles of all different varities together in one box. Overall, I would really recommned Toblerone, its a favourite present around chistmas time and I look forward to receiving them. One downside would be that the chocolate can be quite hard, especially when kept in the fridge and I have hurt my own teeth on them a few times, so be carefull if given to children. The nougat pieces can also get caught in your teeth which is a bit annoying!
Now Thats What I Call Music 58 is a 2 disk compilation brought out in 2004. This is one of the better Now albums that I have owned, a lot of other editions just seem to be filled with mostly rubbish tracks and artists that I have never heard of, with only a handfull of decent tracks. This edition however is a suprise as I have heard of most of the artists on it, in fact out of the 42 tracks, there are only 7 artists I have no knowledge of! On some other Now albums, this would be the other way round. Some of my favourite tracks on the album are "Hey Ya" by Outkast, "Matinee" by Franz Ferdinand and "In The Shadows" by The Rasmus. There are also lots of other great tracks by big names such as Britney Spears, Kylie Minougue, McFly, Busted, Razorlight and Black Eyed Peas. Its good to see that the Now albums have started to include for rockier songs and got rid of the club, dance rubbish that was on alot of the albums in the early noughties. The price is a bit much for an album thats five years old, the Dooyoo link to it on Amazon has a price of £16.59 which is pretty steep, my advice would be to shop around, or buy a second hand one one from Amazon where it can be bought for about 50p.