Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Points Mean Pounds

One sunny Sunday back in October 2006, I enjoyed a nice drive along empty dual carriageways running parallel to, but a few miles away from, the very congested M6. My journey was over much more quickly than usual and I arrived home relaxed and and cheerful instead of stressed, tired and irritable. I'm not sure, but I think I probably then had a glass of wine or two to round off the day.

A few days later, the postman delivered my NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution for those of you that are fortunate enough not to know). That's right, the nice quiet dual carriageway out in the countryside had a 50 mph speed limit and I'd been doing 57; silly me - oh well, 3 points on my licence and a £60 fine.

A few more days later and believe it or not, another NIP flops onto my doormat. Same day, same journey, different dual carriageway. Speed limit 40 this time and I'm doing 51. Another £60 and another 3 points on my licence. After all those years of driving without an accident or a speeding ticket, I'd been careless enough a) not to notice the drop in speed limit and b) not to spot the camera vans waiting to collect the fines and points from myself and countless other motorists.

That's what prompted me to invest in my Road Angel. Not only does it give me an audible warning of where fixed and mobile cameras are sited, it also tells me the speed limit so I know immediately if I need to slow down.

It's not just points on your licence and the fines that cost you. Points can mean pounds on your insurance. Make sure you shop around - see the car insurance posting.

Car Insurance - Complacency Costs Money

When I first started driving, I bought my car insurance from the same company that my Dad used. Then I cottoned on that it was pretty expensive compared to the amount some of my friends were paying, so I started to use a broker. The broker saved me a lot of money initially, but then I found that each year the premium would creep up and they wouldn't be recommending a change of insurer. I found myself phoning around various brokers and insurance companies to try to get the best deal.

Life's much easier now. All I have to do is visit moneysupermarket.com and let them do the hard work for me.

Why not try them? All you need to do is to answer some questions about yourself and your vehicle and they'll come up with a list of quotes for you - then simply click through to the insurer of your choice and decide whether you want to proceed.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Apple's September Music Event Boosts iPods

For millions of potential iPod buyers there was some pretty good news at Apple's eagerly awaited Music Event on September 9th - cheaper and better iPods.

The list price of the iPod Touch 8Gb dropped to £149 and there are two new iPod Touch models, the 32Gb and 64Gb which, according to Apple, feature "better performance, richer graphics and Voice Control".

The big news, however, is the introduction of the new iPod Nano with built-in video camera, a larger 2.2 inch screen, FM radio and VoiceOver (which speaks the names of the tunes you're listening to). Up to 30 frames per second of 640x480 pixels video can be shot and then synchronized to the Mac with iPhoto software or to the PC using PC photo software. The FM radio comes with Live Pause, which allows live radio to be paused and rewound up to fifteen minutes.

The new Nano is available in 8Gb or 16Gb versions and you can purchase from John Lewis, PC World or Comet.

Of course, iPods aren't the only way to get mobile music, Advanced MP3 Players  sell just about everything you need (including iPods) for your mobile musical and video experience

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Automatic Cookers Rule The Roast

De Dietrich DOP895X

Home cooked food, but without too much hassle. I wanted to find labour saving devices that would help you (and me) to serve up home-cooked food with as little effort as possible. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that my servants are!

Before you start you need to get shopping. These days you can get all your food online, either from leading supermarkets or for rare treats like caviare and truffles, why not try a specialist retailer like London Fine Foods.

When your food arrives at the door, you need to keep it fresh. Where better than the fantastic Liebherr USA style fridge-freezer with its enormous 22 cubic feet storage capacity?

You can't do much in the kitchen without slicing, mixing and whisking so you really need a good food processor. The versatile Magimix Cuisine 5200 will be your obedient sous-chef.

Why bother with cookery instructions when the equipment knows what to do? With the De Dietrich DOP895X cooker you can simply select one of the 16 automatic cooking programme and forget it. After cooking your meal,  keep it warm in the Hostess Connoisseur Heated Trolley. Then wheel it to the table and serve up.

After you've enjoyed your meal, you'll probably have to load the dishwasher yourself, unless you can get a volunteer. The Siemens SN26M290GB can handle up to 14 place settings and runs at a pretty quiet 46dB.

While you're loading the dishwasher you can be pre-heating the Delonghi EC71 Espresso Coffee Machine which will brew up to a litre of delicious coffee, which you can serve up with some of the fine chocolates from the Chocolate Trading Company.

If all of that seems too difficult, you really do need servants, or maybe just the nearest takeaway. To find the nearest takeaway simply reach for your satnav ..... (but maybe we'll leave that for another day).