Category Archives: Uncategorized

York visit update

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A visit to the docs. Things are not right.

What a week and a half I have had. Last Sunday I woke up to find I had blister type things on my face. They were right across the right hand side of my face. I decided to keep and eye on it to make sure they didn’t get any worse, which sods law, they did. Right down my cheek from just below my eye down to my chin. This also meant they were in amongst my whiskers. They were sore. I rang the docs and managed to get an appointment pretty quickly for after work. I was expecting them to say they were bites or an allergic reaction to something.

When the doctor took one look at them she rushed out and down the corridor. I heard her urgently asking another doctor to quickly come and have a look as it looks like another the same as the other one earlier. The two doctors came in and the second doctor took one look at my face and confirmed that I had in fact developed Shingles. You could of knocked me down with a feather. I never even considered that option. I was all for it being bites. How wrong I was.

I got prescribed tablets to combat it and warned to try and avoid coming into contact with the elderly, people who are pregnant and people   who have a low immune system. I had to tell him my job involves going to elderly peoples homes. They seemed quite sure I would be ok with these customers as long as I didn’t get too close initially. I did as requested.

Since then it seems to of got better. They scabbed over and become very itchy and sore, but not weeping, which is good. As well as taking my tablets I have been using antiseptic cream on my face to try and sooth it. Today I was told I will no longer be infectious.

I have read that Shingles can be caused by being run down. Recently, for quiet a few weeks now, I have not felt my normal self. I have felt totally out of sorts. Virtually every night I have been finishing my dinner then going to bed absolutely shattered. I’m talking about 7.30 at night sometimes.

As well as always being tired, I have been losing weight without trying even after eating pizza, or pie and chips, and having ice cream every night. I also have been feeling really sick every morning. Sick to the point where I physically want to vomit at the very thought of having some toast. Yesterday morning I had a quarter of a slice of toast. I’ve also been peeing a lot even though I’m not drinking a great deal. I know there is a history of diabetes in my family but all tests I have had in the past have come back negative.

Like I say, things are not right and I want to know why.

Due to the way I’m feeling recently, I have been to the doctors and requested a full blood test. That was done today. I should hear back within 2 weeks, unless something serious is discovered, then they will get in touch straight away.

I am sick of feeling like this. I need to find out what is causing it. Its been going on way before the Shingles started. Lets hope, they find a reason why this is happening.

Bad day here we come

Thanks to the pain meds I am taking ( Maxitram SR ) my sleeping pattern is screwed. I am having all sorts of very vivid dreams which is resulting in me being very restless. This morning the cats, or one in perrrticular decided to make as much noise as possible and meow to feed him and let him out. Being restless anyway, I jumped out of bed in a right old foul mood and let him out of the window. That was it, I was awake now. Way way earlier than I wanted to be. A good 2 and a half hours before my alarm was set to go off. Hopefully a nice coffee with calm me down.
Its going to be a bad day today. Back at work after a week off and in a bad mood already. Joy oh joy.

Trip to The International Centre For Life

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Today was one of the days we had planned for while were all off for the week together. We went to Newcastles Centre For Life. Wikipedia states that The International Centre for Life is a science village in Newcastle upon Tyne where scientists, clinicians, educationalists and business people work to promote the advancement of the life sciences. The centre’s own website ( click here to go their website ) has this description. “Based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, almost 600 people from 35 countries work here: researchers, doctors and nurses work alongside people in the fields of education, public engagement and business. What unites everyone is a passion for science.

At the heart of the science village is the Life Science Centre, which attracts around 250,000 visitors annually. Life’s public engagement programme attracts a broad audience for exhibitions and special events, and the education team deliver the biggest schools’ science workshop programme in any European museum or science centre.

On site partners include Newcastle University, who chose Life for the location of their Institute of Genetic Medicine; the NHS Newcastle Fertility Centre; the NHS Northern Genetics Service and several young and vibrant biotechnology companies.”

Today though we wanted to go to visit it’s latest exhibition,’Robots’. The new exhibition Robot features over 40 robot models, cyborgs and androids – full size models, heads and toys – from TV shows and films from the past 60 years. The first one we saw as we stood in the short queue enter was one of the gold Daleks from Dr.Who

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Being from the generation that grew up watching Dr. Who every Saturday night and being scared of the Daleks I was chuffed to see this, but to me, whats better than seeing one of the new Daleks? Seeing one of the older ones from when I was a kid. The kind Tom Baker used to wrap his excessively long scarf around to overcome the cold hearted metal beasts. There was one such Dalek at the exhibition. They has even given it a name. ‘Bruce’. As I was nearly giddy with excitement like a little kid, I had to get a selfie with Bruce. It was funny as it was a fully moving Dalek. I went and stood beside it and asked him to look towards the camera. His head spun round and pointed straight at the lens. After the photo, his sucker came out to give me a high five. I can honestly say, I have never in my life say I have high fived a Dalek before.

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Even Georgia got in on the act and had her photo taken with Bruce and got a high five at the end

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The main Robot exhibition was a lot smaller than I was expecting in all fairness. Considering all the advertising and hype I had heard about it, I was expecting more to it. Saying that, it was still really good. There was robots from Lost in Space, Star Wars and Robocop, Heads from iRobot, and Bicentennial Man plus props etc from Star Trek and Mars Attacks

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We went to a 20 min show called Hubble at 25. Which was about the 25 year history of the Hubble telescope. It featured some amazing photography which was nearly 3d in effect. It was one of those curved screens so it really captivated you. It was well worth the visit.

There was also a,little thing to mess about on and experiment with. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people just walk by it and not even bother looking at it. Its like a table with a built in screen and lots of perspex blocks. When you moved the blocks around or position them in different ways you creat a connection to the other blocks and create synthesized sounds> It was great fun. I wish I could of had one of these at home to mess about with.

All in all, despite its being 26 pounds for the 3 of us to get in, we still had a great time and had a good laugh. Its good honest, educational fun for the whole family.

The Liebster Award

Thank you so much to Livi for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Here are my answers.

What is your favourite social network and why?
I don’t really have one favourite. I would say its between Google+, YouTube, Twitter and of course WordPress. I use all of them every day.

Do you speak any languages other than English? Which ones?
No. I have never learned another language. Just out of laziness really. I would love to learn to speak another language fluently. I know how to say a few simple things in Greek ( and a swear word ), but thats it.

Love or loathe blog awards?
No real feeling about them. Basically because I am not active enough or good enough to even be considered for one, but for others, they can be good, especially for newcomers to the blogging scene.

If I gave you £100 what would you spend it on?
A new battery for my Flip camera thats died from lack of use. Maybes new spectacles.

Do you wear slippers?
No. I may wear socks around the house if my feet are cold. I do own a pair of slippers that I got as a present but never wear them.

If you could change 1 thing in your life, what would it be and why?
To get a job I am happy with.

What’s the best piece of advice you have heard?
Just be yourself.

What are your feelings on inspirational quotes on the internet?
Some are thought provoking, some mean nothing to me.

Could you live without music?
No way. I love my music. When I’m in the bath, I must have music on, same while I’m do the dishes or cooking a meal.

Do you keep a physical journal/diary?
No. Only YouTube videos and my blog, even though they will be classed as digital.

You can have 1 talent bestowed on you, what do you choose?
To play a musical instrument perfectly. Something like guitar, sax, bass guitar, or piano.

My questions for you are:

From everything you own, what do you cherish the most?
What is the favourite place you have visited in the world?
What advice would you give to a new blogger to help them have a successful blog?
What was the last thing you laughed at?
What is you favourite hobby?
Describe you personality.
How tall are you?
What weather do you like the most?
Do you believe in ghosts?
Are you a good cook?

I am tagging:

Jaime from The Olivers Madhouse
Kim from Northumberland Mam
Kate from WitWitWoo
Fudgecrumpet from Fudgecrumpet.com

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Avantree Sacool Pro Bluetooth Headphones review and discount code

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When my Avantree Sacool Pro noise isolating headphones arrived I was surprised at how small and slim the packaging was. I was expecting a larger box for some reason. That was a pleasant surprise.

On unboxing I found A nice little black sturdy carry case with the Avantree name embossed on it, the cool looking red and black Sacool Pro Bluetooth headphones,mini USB cable, spare buds, instructions and the normal Avantree advertising for some of their other products, and their warranty / support card.

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Being a man, I jumped straight in without even reading any of the instructions of reviews.
having already used a pair of Jaybird Freedom headphones in the past I already knew how to pair these. Simply hold the power button for several seconds and the little LED on the headset flashes blue / red. I love the fact they auto pair. No need for pairing codes.

I love my music loud. I cranked up my normal 80’s stuff on my Galaxy Note 3. Wow, was I in for a shock. Compared to all the other headphones I have used, which include Bose, Beats, Jaybirds, as well as stock Samsung or Apple ones, these have such a deep bass to them. It took a bit for me to get used to that much bass. I love a nice deep bass tone to my songs and to be able to hear the bass guitars but sometimes, on some songs, it would be nice to be able to reduce the bass a bit, so I ended up using Poweramp which has a built in equaliser. Saying that though, most songs I listen to these Sacool Pro’s have a lovely sound. One thing I will say I have noticed is the middle tones seem to be less. These have nice bass and treble but the middle needs a bit more to it, but its only a bit, in my opinion. Some people may prefer it like that. Another thing I have notice is how loud these get. I mean LOUD!! So loud that the were distorting the songs a bit. Thankfully that was just for the test as it was at a volume I would not listen to normally. Mind you, listening to Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me was fun. Hearing the bass drum nearly throbbing my head as did the bass line on Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.
I got my wife to test them out, while we were in the garden today and I could not hear a thing from the headset, even though her head was bobbing away to the beat. Non of that annoying over bleeding of the treble that you hear when you sit to someone on the bus or train.
The design of these headphones is really nice. They are so light, only 18g. Some headphones hurt after a while, but I have not had that problem with these. While I am doing stuff on my laptop I have my Sacool Pro’s paired with my laptop and have my 80’s music blasting though them. I could be on the laptop for a few hours easy but there is no irritation from the headphone. No achy ears. In fact, just today, I had been working in the garden with them on, and after finishing off and coming back indoors, I could not find them. I went back out and checked the garden and the shed with no luck. I did eventually find them. They were still hanging round my neck from where I left them ( so I didn’t lose them ) when I took them off. They are so light I didn’t even notice them there.
They are a nice design Black with a red border and red buttons and wire. Very stylish.

Capabilities

The Avantree Sacool Pro incorporates Bluetooth 4.0, which from what I can gather uses less energy so should not eat your battery like some bluetooth devices do. This means listening to music you can get up to 8 hours, and talk time you can get up to 8.5 hours. In my opinion thats really good for headphones such as these. Ive had some bluetooth audio devices in the past that died after a few hours.
They also support aptX® to compress the audio data stream between the headset and the phone. aptX® significantly reduces the bit rate without affecting audio quality or introducing latency issues. So, with aptX® you can enjoy pure wireless CD-like quality sound whenever and wherever you choose.

You can connect 2 phones to these at the same time. For headphones, I do not see the reason for this unless theres something I am missing. Surely you would only listen to music on your own device or on one device at a time.
They also come with voice prompts. They tell you when you are powering up or off, when you are connected, or disconnected, and when you are pairing. These are the first headphones I have ever known to do this. This sort of thing is becoming a regular feature in a lot of Avantree products such as some of their car kits.

I tested the voice dialling facility of these and it worked perfectly first time. No problems at all.

The Sacool Pro’s will connect to ALL your mobile phones and tablets, and will connect to a Mac ( I am doing that now as I type ). I do not have a Windows pc to test these on but as long as you have a bluetooth adaptor, I would assume it would be fine.
The are a very secure fit and should have no problem staying in place if you are jogging or working out at the gym or doing aerobics as the wire loops over and behind your ears then behind your head.

The cost of these is amazing for what you get. You are getting a really fine pair of bluetooth headphones for only $49.99 ( 33.51 ukp ) at todays rates. My Jaybirds were 3 times that but perform no better that the Sacool Pro’s.

A little bit about Avantree. They are committed to environmental stewardship. Whenever possible, they use recycled and/or naturally bio-degradable materials for packaging and boxing. In manufacturing their products, they adhere strictly to RoHS standards which were enacted to eliminate the use of hazardous substances during production. That has got to be a massive thumbs up for Avantree. Being environmentally aware and doing what they can to help the environment is a huge thing.

Cons

The only thing I can think of for a con is the lack of or reduced middle in the sound. Apart from that theres nothing That I can say bad about these. I love them.

Pros

Where do I start??????

The style, the sound ( bass and treble anyway ), the volume, the comfort, the weight, and definitely the price.

Check them out at the Avantree website here

I have to say apart from the slight lack of middle on these, I love them. They will definitely be one of my go to sets.

Avantree have kindly provided me with a 10% discount code to give to you guys. This is only for the Sacool Pro headphones and will not work on other items. To use the code, please go to the Avantree website and place an order and enter the following discount code 10steAS8PMSA9V27Y40

Avantree Cara II, Bluetooth 4.0 aptX handsfree car kit/speakerphone review

Avantree Cara II, Bluetooth 4.0 aptX handsfree car kit/speakerphone

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Having used the Avantree Cara II, Bluetooth 4.0 aptX handsfree car kit/speakerphone for a week now in the car, and using it several times everyday I have found it a total good replacement for my old car kit which was clipped to my sun visor and always got in the way.

The Cara II is a cool, sleek looking little device that will look great on any dashboard. Its simple to fit. It literally only took seconds. Just decide where in the car you want to place it. You will need to have it somewhere close to the car stereo to be able to plug the aux jack into it. Made sure the desired area is clean, dust and grease free. On the magnetic mount peel off the sticky back and firmly press it onto the place you selected. Thats all there is to it. The only other thing is to plug the jack plug into the Cara II and the other end into the aux jack of your car stereo.
One thats done, select aux on the set and when you get a call, the sound comes through your car speakers. This being said, its also one of the annoying things to me as I cannot play the car radio channels at the same time. If the stereo is selected to play radio, I found it turns off the speaker on the Cara II.

Although I have not tried this feature, the Cara II does come with the ability to voice dial ( if its enabled on your phone first ).
The Cara II comes with the ability to have two phones connected at the same time to it, which is really handy if your on a car journey with someone else. This is a neat idea I have not seen on any other handsfree kit before.

One thing that confused my a bit was the two velcro disks stuck together in the pack. Unless I totally missed it, I could not see any mention of these in the enclosed instructions. The only disk shaped thing thats mentioned in the instructions was the magnetic mount, but not the velcro disks.

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After a week of using this in the car I’m more or less happy with it. It looks great, but the cable, gets in the way. When it works correctly, its really good, with good sound and from what I’m told most of the time, by my callers, really good quality at their callers end as well. There is a problem I have had with my Cara II, that bugs me a bit. There have been quite a few times where the Cara II announces that my phone is connected but when I get a call, the people say I sound distant, as if, the speech is going through the mic on the phone rather than the Cara II. Sometimes it does not transfer the audio to the Cara II to go through the car speakers, but stays on the phone ( on Samsungs ) automatically, when a call comes through so I don’t get the sound of the caller, rather I get a very distant voice from my phone trying to be heard until I realise what is happening.
It has been reported by a couple of people Ive rang from the car using the Cara II that it takes sometimes up to 30 seconds for my speech to start going through the Cara. From the call connecting to Cara working fully, speech seems to be picked up very quietly, a bit like its going through the mobile phone mic. Hopefully they will get that sorted for future updates of this device.

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One thing I would suggest is looked at for future updates of this device is the LED light. If the Cara is not directly in front of you at a perfect angle ( which it wouldn’t be if you’re driving, then you cannot see the LED to make sure its still switched on. The light is tiny.
Another thing I would suggest is including some additional magnetic mounts so that they can placed in extra places in case you need to move the Cara or in a second car.

Despite the couple of MINOR niggles with the device, after a couple of weeks using it now, I am still really pleased to have this in my car. Its a good looking small device that does not look out of place ( apart from the cable ) and when its connected on the call fully, gives a good clear call quality, and the the music transfer from the mobile to the car stereos just tops it off nicely.

Not what I was hoping for

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Well I did my Monday weigh in today expecting maybes to of at least lost one pound. I wasn’t expecting much as we had a few takeaways last week for different reasons but every day bar one, I had Nutribullet drinks at least once a day. So I was hoping for a pound. Nope, it wasn’t to be. Since my last weigh in which was about 2 weeks ago, I had gained 3 pounds. I’m now 17st 7lbs. I’m not too disappointed, as tomorrow we ALL start our diet. Yesterday and Saturday I bought more fresh fruit and veg. The fruit bowl is a bit on the full side. So much so, I am also using our old fruit bowl as well so thats 2 full bowls so no excuse for not having fruit.

The reason we are starting the diet tomorrow and not today is because today is Gee’s 14th birthday and we are planning on going out for a meal tonight. So after that indulgence, its all hands to the pumps and eating healthily.

Our new Eternity floor lamp.

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Avantree PowerHouse High Power Desk USB Charging Station review

I was kindly sent the Avantree PowerHouse High Power Desk USB Charging Station to review. Its the sort of thing that will be enormously useful in our house.
Let me first explain what the charging station is. This is taken from the Avantree website. It is a desk USB charging station and is a perfect solution for charging your multiple devices at home or the office. It can store and fast charge 4 deiveces simultaneously and will keep your desk or table top tidy. It features 4.5A High Power, fast charge your tablet and Smartphone. It is user configurable with stylish colours.It is a compact size and has a great space-saving design. It is smart compatible – it auto adapts to iPad, iPhone, Samsung Tab and ALL iOS and Android devices.
The Velcro system manages cables and keeps them hidden – for a tidy desk or table top!

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As I was about to go away for 5 days with Dee, Gee and her friend, I knew I would need this device more than ever given the amount of electronic devices we would be taking with us. The night before we left I unpacked the powerhouse and set about deciding which of the coloured pegs and supports I wanted.

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The peg covers simply fit onto and over the smaller white pegs to give you the trendy design you want. This is one of the things I would like to see a change on. As it is, its great. I really do like it, but firstly, the option to purchase lots more colours would be fantastic and secondly the design itself. Some people, such as my daughter have their iPads in a case. Mine has hers in a griffin survivor case as she has dropped and damaged it a couple of times. These cases get to be a pain if being taken off on a regular basis which would loosen the clips on the case. As it goes, the case makes the iPad to thick to stand on the powerhouse and though charging is ok, it would have to be lay flat beside the powerhouse. Sort of defeats the object of it, so what I suggest is they maybes rethink the design of the stand where the phones stand. Instead of having pegs stick up and fixed to the device, have it with lots of holes where you can move the pegs around to accommodate different thicknesses.
Another improvement I would make, which may well come in the future anyway is to have more USB ports to charge from. Maybes 8 if thats possible. And maybes the inclusion of a 3 pin british socket for times when USB is not the required charging option.
The final improvement I would make, or rather addition, is to have this come with a carry / travel case. I was really worried that, even though its made of hard plastic, that it would get damaged when I travel.

( Please excuse the mess. I was in such a rush trying to get everything sorted to go away, set up of the powerhouse was done in a hurry. You could make it look a lot tidier. )
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The first night I was very well happy with the powerhouse. Even though I rushed setting this up and didnt fully wrap the cables up properly in the included velcro straps, I managed to charge My Samsung Galaxy camera, a spare camera battery, my ecigarette ( see it not just for phones ), and my phone, all at the same time. Normally I have these taking up wall sockets. As I was charging GoPro batteries in other wall sockets this meant I was only using 3 sockets, not 6. I even used it in the caravan we stayed in for the 5 days, and on the train and in the hotel when we went away for the weekend.
Basically, if you are one of those people, or families with loads of things to charge, this is for you. I have not experienced any of the ‘trickle’ charges you get from some chargers where they take ages to charge. This charges the same as if your device was plugged into the wall directly.
What sort of things does it charge? Well, as long as the device charges by USB, then this will charge it. Whether its a phone ( Apple or Android ), tablet ( Apple or Android ), ecigarette, sat nav, dash cam, camera, you name it, it will more than likely work as long as its USB.

Currently ( at the time of this being published ) they are being sold for 29.99 UKP here

Thats a great price for this amazing handy piece of kit.