Tag Archives: Music

Staying Calm in The Car

Hello!  I’m still here, I’ve just been hassled to bits with the kids and life in general so I’ve not had time to breathe, let alone blog.  Before I go on to try and update a bit more Fortnight in France, I just want to introduce a guest post from Sainsbury’s Money Matters.  The photo below is definitely not Horace and I by the way.  Horace would never wear a hat like that, and the sun doesn’t tend to be as bright a blue around here either, more’s the pity….  However we do bicker like mad in the car at times, and the bit about back seat drivers certainly could be us.  I swear one day Horace will chuck me out of the car for saying ‘Do you think we’re possibly, just a leeeetle bit too close to that car in front?’  whilst sitting as far back as possible in my seat, closing my eyes and miming pushing an invisible break pad with my left foot.

Ps. I can’t stop this blog from typing in itallics, sorry.  It’s an obstinate kind of blog it seems.

Staying Calm in the Car

From disputes over directions to quarrels over the quality of the driving, there are a million and one things to bicker about on a long car journey. So we’ve devised ways to keep cross words to a minimum when you’re on the road. Read on to find out how.

Problem: Strain over navigation

According to a study of 2,200 people by Halfords, most arguments in the car are about navigation and following directions. While a third of us argue over the route to a destination, two thirds say disagreements flare up as a result of their partner’s poor map reading. In fact, 80% of women and 65% of men complained their partners didn’t even check the route before setting off! And while en route, 85% said they argued because the driver refused to ask for directions.

Solution: Before you set off, look at your route with your partner and agree on the best way to get there. Take a map and a sat nav – your best defence against getting lost.

Problem: Disagreement over radio station/music choice

We might adore our partner, but that doesn’t mean we love their obsession with thrash metal. Which explains why 20% of us argue over in-car music or radio station selection, according to a survey of 3,000 people by SEAT.

Solution: Understand one thing – you might never love your partner’s questionable music taste. But you can show a bit of tolerance and agree to compromise. Why not listen to each other’s choice of music for 30 minutes, and then swap?

Problem: Cannot agree on car temperature

It’s the height of summer, so your partner has the window open and the air conditioning on, and yet it’s raining and about 12ºC, so you’re desperate to put the heater on. This situation is more common than you’d think – 15% of in-car arguments are about having the heating too high and 14% are about the air-conditioning being too low, says SEAT.

Solution: This is a fairly easy one to crack. If you feel the cold more than your partner, take some extra clothing to wear in the car. That way, the air conditioning can be on and you will still feel warm. There is no need, however, for the windows to be open as well – choose one or the other.

Problem: Designated driver dispute

You’ve planned a big night out with your partner and friends, and you really don’t want to drive because you want to enjoy a few glasses of wine. The trouble is, so does your partner.

Solution: The easy answer is to go by cab, or arrange to stay at your friends’ house or a cheap B&B so neither of you has to drive back. If those options are out of the question, one of you is going to have to drive. But being a designated driver should be a shared responsibility, so whoever agrees to drive shouldn’t have to do it next time.

Problem: Constant backseat driving

There’s nothing worse than being continually told how to drive by your passenger, or having your motoring skills constantly undermined by them. Is it any wonder that 20% of those surveyed by SEAT have argued with their partner about backseat driving? And if the driver becomes distracted by such comments, it could lead to an accident.

Solution: If you’re a passenger having a go at your driver, but you don’t actually want to get behind the wheel, keep your criticism to a minimum. The occasional justified comment is fine, but don’t go on. After all, if you really feel unsafe, get out and walk, or do the driving yourself (provided you have the right car insurance cover

Equally, if your passenger is constantly complaining about your driving, instead of getting all worked up, think about what they’re saying. If they have a point, alter your driving for both your sakes. But if you disagree, tell them to put up and shut up.

Blue Microphone – The Snowball!

Blue Microphone – The Snowball!

Very seasonal I thought!

It was snowing heavily on the day this arrived in December.  How perfect! A Snowball on a snowy day I remember thinking! This is one snowball you wouldn’t want to chuck across a playground though…

I’m really impressed with this microphone, it claims to be the world’s first professional USB mic, and it picks up sound very effectively without having to go so far as to use a recording studio.  Excellent!  Personally I’m not a singer or a performer, but I am very interested in vlogging and being able to communicate via my computer and maybe even podcasting one day.  This is one snazzy piece of kit that will make these activities so much easier and sound so much more professional.  I aim to use it a lot as the days go by.

One thing I like about this is that it works well with both Macs and PC’s, which is really convenient.  The Snowball is remarkably sturdy too, it comes with its own stand and just feels nice and solid besides looking  beautifully shiny and swish.  It looks like a quality bit of technology and its credentials back that up.  The Apple website has them for sale HERE, all the tecchie details are shown there if you’re want to know more about the specifications.

To begin with, when you open the box you find: A Snowball Microphone, a 6 inch stand, and a USB cable.  Once set up you have to play with: a professional condenser microphone which is ‘plug and play’ and ready for use (no additional software necessary) and it is surprising easy to fathom.  If you’re a band wanting great sound, this is said to be the ideal choice, and if you’re a blogger wanting to expand your horizons, I’d recommend it too. Should you want a viewpoint other than my own, take a look at the reviews on HERE.

All in all I’d say this is a practical product that is worth investing in if you want decent sound as well as decent pictures on your videos or blogs and for your band if you have one.  I’m too old to be in a band and I can’t sing so don’t even try to egg me on….

Testing....testing... 123....

Plus!  The Snowball doesn’t need batteries because it’s USB!  Just a little aside.  (This is a little bug bear of mine, everything in this house runs out of batteries all the time – at least this won’t die on me!).  I forgot to mention, this is dual capsule design and is unique because it features a three pattern switch-cardioid with 10db pad, and omni.  I don’t fully understand what that means as yet, because I’ve only just started playing with it, but as time goes on I’ll be using it in future blogs and letting you know just how these features pan out.

This Blue Snowball was sent to me to review and to repeatedly say ‘Over and Out’ and ‘Roger!’ at.  No other financial reward was given.

Raise funds for Breast Cancer Care and have a clear out!

Raise funds for Breast Cancer Care and have a clear out

A guest post, I thought I’d include this as it is for a good cause, and I’m all for decluttering too (because I’m so good at it…..*lies through teeth)

Across the globe, nearly each and every one of us has done something for charity at one point in our lives. Whether you ran a marathon for Breast Cancer Care or donated clothes and food for homeless shelters, everybody will have done their bit to help others.

It’s a nice feeling helping others, there are so many people worse off than ourselves, and it is important for us to do our bit. The latest trend in raising funds is to have a full clear out of all of your out of date entertainment and sell them through Music Magpie for charity.

How to have a clear out for Breast Cancer Care

Every household is full of things like CDs and games, and you can also get money for these when you sell DVDs online for cash. When you find the opportunity to have a clear out, it can be an exciting time as you wonder what you can use that extra room for – it is also time to start the feel good factor.

All you need to do is get on musicMagpie and scan the bar codes of your CDs, DVDs and games to see how much they are worth. If you aren’t interested in getting the pennies or pounds back, then you can send the money direct to charity via the icons on the website.

By donating to charity, you can do your bit for helping the lives of others simply by trading in things that you don’t want or need anymore. It’s so simple as well – all you need to do is scan the product in, find out how much you can raise and then print out a FREEPOST label to send to the company. Alternatively, if you are giving many products then a free courier service is on offer to collect them directly from your door.

Why now is a good time to donate

Let’s face it, the happiness of Christmas also comes with disappointment – there are many presents that you didn’t really want. Research shows that this year people have traded in more than ever using Music Magpie, so is it time for you to get rid of ‘Thriller’ or the latest Green Day album?

Every home is on the brink of bedlam, where there are more products in your property than you can actually house. So, why not start clearing that chaos to make a cleaner house for your family, and help charities achieve their goals.