Are HDMI cables really worth as much as they sell for?

1 Mar

It’s the weekend, you’ve had a long stressful week at work but now it’s over, you’ve just got paid and you’re off out to buy yourself that new HD TV you’ve been staring at through the shop window for the last 3 weeks.  You walk in the shop and head towards your new TV only to be pounced on by John the sales assistant, who kindly asks if you need any help. We both know that whatever your response is, he’ll help anyways but that’s okay, nothing wrong with being polite.

You’re in front of your new TV and ask to purchase that one, and after much deliberation and sales pitches for a TV worth twice as much, John agrees. Then comes the worst question “Do you need a HDMI cable” Unless you already have one at home, then you’re going to need one but I bet you anything  the cable he will pick out is £80.

Stop there.

How much?! 

At this point all you do is laugh, buy your TV (without the 5 year extended warranty John offers) and purchase a HDMI cable online for £5. Here’s why.

There have been many tests carried out to find out if there’s any significant difference between an Expensive HDMI cable and a Cheap HDMI cable. Surprisingly, there’s literally no difference whatsoever.

The only time you will notice a difference in HDMI cable quality, is when the cables get a bit longer. For example, a £50 25 metre HDMI cable may produce a slightly better picture than a £5 25 metre HDMI cable.

Most major retail outlets will talk absolute rubbish and lie to your face just to get you to purchase one of these ridiculously overpriced cables, so do what I do and challenge them to prove it. Nobody at Currys in Huntingdon will speak to me anymore as I made them look like fools when I asked them to plug in my cheap cable next to an identical setup that was using an expensive cable.

Smug Ram wins this battle 

I don’t have much to do on weekends.

Getting Ready On Your Wedding Morning

28 Feb

Getting married is one of the more important and memorable days of your life, and organising one is no easy task. For those who are very organised and love to plan, it might even be a challenge, but one they will gladly take on. For those who don’t plan one day to the next, hiring in a wedding planner is always an option to make sure things run smoothly. Friends and family members are usually eager to help out too as it is such a special day and they want to keep it personal.

One thing that can slip many a brides mind, is actually getting ready on the morning of the big day. The time leading up to the date that is circled on your calendar with a huge red circle, is so hectic and full of tasks to do and things to remember that the actual day can be forgotten about slightly. If you haven’t started your planning yet and are thinking ‘there is no way that I will forget things to do when I’m getting ready’, you might want to rethink and take some notes just in case!


You will want to keep aside an outfit to throw on the morning of your wedding day. Many brides opt for a t-shirt however it is a much better idea to wear a shirt or zipped top. When taking your t-shirt off to get changed you might mess up your newly done hair or knock your perfectly placed wedding tiara, whereas a shirt or zip top can easily be undone without going over your head. Many brides will not be able to avoid putting their bridal gown over their head, but if you get a pillow case and place it over your head you should be able to keep your hair in place and avoid any make-up being transferred onto your dress.

Make sure you choose somewhere that will have plenty of room for yourself to get ready and the bridesmaids, you don’t all want to be squashed in the same room. Also make sure you have people there on hand to just help you get ready who isn’t one of your bridesmaids. They will concentrate on getting ready first and might run late and not be able to help you out.

Tuscany, Dreaming of Italy

25 Feb

Perhaps nowhere else in Italy are the fruits of the earth, and the fabric of life, so vitally and vibrantly apparent as in Tuscany. The region’s infinite list of artisan accomplishments and cultural contributions- including but certainly not limited to the Italian Renaissance – has inspired countless lovers of creativity, critical thought, and simple,sumptuous cuisine. By taking advantage of the rental opportunities in
Tuscany – among which are many fine apartments, as well as larger Italian villas for rent, you can take your place alongside filmmakers, poets, writers, craftsmen, and
culture buffs, who have found in Tuscany a place to call home. With magic
woven into every moment, Tuscany provides a pattern for harmony in keeping
with the patch-work landscape comprising hilly slopes, a western-bound
coastline along the Tyrrhenian Sea, and sparse plains.

If Italy’s northernmost cities claim to be the economic bastions for the nation, thenTuscany is, in its own right, the cultural nerve center for the same, with
its main hub in the regional capital of Florence. Art, music,
wine-tastings, countryside excursions and endless churches present
themselves for further study and enjoyment; and indeed Tuscany’s reputation
as a birthplace is not confined to these areas alone. The unified Italian
language owes its inception to the dialect spoken here, while musical forms
taken for granted in modern times (such as the opera and symphony) also have
their root and origin in the long-standing Tuscan tradition of ingenuity.
Its provinces include no less than six declared World Heritage Sites, among
which is the Cathedral of Pisa;

its vineyards produce world-renowned wines
such as the acclaimed Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. No stranger to diversity, Tuscany emanates a inimitable style, thanks to a long

succession of influences: from Etruscan and Roman periods, through medieval
culture (still visible in the town of Siena), to the present-day Italian
Republic. Religious tradition and sacred art abound in countless cathedrals,
offering up frescoes, sculptures, and paintings for the admiration of thousands who make the pilgrimage to see them. Regal palaces,
artifact-filled museums, vibrant piazzas and smaller villages are woven
through this Tuscan tapestry, offering delightful discoveries and
fashionable flair thanks to the booming clothing industry, third to China
and Japan in global exports.

But you don’t have to travel to the four
corners of the world to fully appreciate the sweeping scope of Tuscany’s
impact on civilization. By making your home here, each day will give you the
chance to attest to the full weight of Tuscany’s glory – an experience best
felt just by walking down the street, tracing the footsteps of genius in the
likeness of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, both of whom had their
stomping grounds here. With all its awe-inspiring options, Tuscany still
finds a way to remain steeped in simplicity, offering an unforgettable
lifestyle to all who bask under its golden sun.

Stay Safe Applying for Loans Online

24 Feb

It seems like these days you can’t go online or turn on the TV without seeing ads for loans and easy cash. During the credit crunch we got scared of taking out loans or buying things on finance, but with people’s budget’s stretched we are again turning to finance options.

Loans can be extremely useful, and if you are able to meet the repayments a loan should be empowering and helpful. However problems arise when you agree to a loan which you cannot pay back. Sometimes this happens because your income is insufficient, or because the loan has an unreasonably high level of APR, and perhaps you were unaware of exactly how much you’d have to pay. Even worse are companies who use your loan application to get money from you or steal your details and commit fraud – this generally happens online.

It is perfectly possible to find safe, convenient and reputable loans online and have an easy application process. Just watch out for these points and you should be fine:

  • A lender or broker should be accredited by the FSA/Better Business Bureau, as well as any industry specific bodies such as SAF for the automotive finance industry.
  • There should always be the option for you to speak to someone as well as/instead of applying online. Customer service agents should answer questions that you have clearly, with no obligation for you to take the loan. If you feel pressured at any point by the company withdraw from the process.
  • It should also be easy for you to withdraw from the process at any point before payout. An application form completed online should not be taken as acceptance of any loan terms – you need time to consider the repayments and ask any questions before formally accepting.
  • Never give cash or your bank details during the application stage. Reputable lenders will need key pieces of information such as your address and income, but they won’t need your bank details until you’ve been approved and accepted the terms. Good lenders will also not need any cash upfront to process your application – this is a scam which should be avoided.
  • Secure loan companies will have website security. Look for the SSL logo that tells you the site is safe.
  • Do some research about the company and look for wider online signals. Do they have a Facebook page? A twitter account? What are the online customer reviews like on independent review sites? If you can’t find much about them then this should be a red flag. Applying online should be easy but they should also have real people ready to help you.
  • If you’re getting a secured loan or something specific like used car credit then a reputable finance broker/lender will have stipulations about the vehicle, ie age, cost and also the accreditations of the dealer from which you’re buying it.
  • Don’t let a need for cash cloud your judgement. Sometimes when you need cash quickly it’s easy to do things you wouldn’t normally consider, and to think that it will probably be ok. Use your common sense and ask for advice from friends. Remember, you almost always have a choice and you should never feel that a high interest loan or a dodgy lender are your only option.

What Having Eczema Has Taught Me About Beauty and Life

23 Feb

I’ve suffered from skin problems in one form or another all my life. I’d break out, freak out, head to the doctor, get some creams and feel better. Then another episode happens and the cycle begins again.  I’d cry, stress, and scream in the past, not really considering that if I looked within and asked the questions I needed to ask would help me.

Now I’m no longer that naïve teen and have learned some lessons along the way as I blossomed into an adult. I still have skin breakouts from time to time, and as much as I hate it, I’ve come to accept that my body doesn’t always function optimally all the time. I’m not perfect.

In the fifteen years or so since my first eczema breakout, I have learned a lot about what is considered ‘beautiful’, and how to approach life. Here is some of what I have learned:


I stopped going to the dermatologist a long time ago because all I would do is sit in the office for five minutes, and walk out with creams, antibiotics and steroid pills.  My skin would clear up and then it would flare up again.  Over the years I started looking at more natural solutions to clear up my skin, including what I was eating.  It took longer than a few days (unlike those creams), but my skin eventually cleared up.  I didn’t like the experience of the doctor because in the end there was not much discussion about what was going with my body and 5 minutes isn’t really enough time to diagnose anything. By learning to slow down and really looking at other solutions taught me that it is ok to wait a little while for results to come.  I apply this approach to other aspects of my life as best I can.

Nobody’s Perfect

I used to get angry at models and other people I know for having flawless skin. I had a friend that would complain about her body, but she had beautiful skin! I realized then and there that everyone has something they don’t like about themselves. Also, people who appear to have beautiful skin might have problems with things like weight or other diseases. We all have flaws. Mine just happens to be my troublesome skin. I learned to focus on what parts of my body that I think am beautiful, like my eyes.

Health Comes First

Having eczema forced me to figure out what was causing these breakouts. After many years I was shocked to find out that diet plays a large role in skin health. If my digestion isn’t working as well as it should, then my skin breaks out.  I’ve learned to appreciate these breakouts in way because it gives me a visual clue as to the condition of my health.  I’ve moderated my diet because of this, and established a more disciplined routine through yoga.  If I’m not healthy, my skin will show it.  I noticed that my mind feels better, and I am happier as a result. I learned that if I put my health first, then good things will follow.

Beauty Comes From Within

It’s nice to have a good body and beautiful facial features but what does that matter if you have a horrible personality and have no friends. I have been fortunate in my life to have great friends who look beyond my physical imperfections and like me for who I am. During instances where I have bad breakouts and feel self-conscious, it is those very same people that tell me ‘you are beautiful on the inside’. In the end, do you marry or fall in love with someone for their looks? What happens if you get older and your beautiful face fades away? I try to focus on having a beautiful personality these days, rather than looking physically beautiful.

In hindsight, I am glad that I am able to learn all these lessons. It’s too bad that I have to have a condition like eczema to force me to do so.

Sarah Li Cain loves yoga, travel and photography, and blogs about all of the above at

Feel free to follow her on twitter @slicain

The Top 4 Children’s Toys Made from Plastic

22 Feb

Plastic Injection Moulding is something that has been at the core of American manufacturing for nearly fifty years. There is such a wide variety of goods on the market that are made from moulded plastic these days that it would take forever to list each and every one, and some still would be forgotten on that list. But one of the widest categories of plastic goodies is something that you probably forgot about. Toys! Many children’s toys of the recent few decades are in fact just moulded pieces of plastic. But don’t tell your kids that! Here are the top four most popular children’s toys of the past few decades, all of which are just glammed-up chunks of plastic.
1. The Cozy Coup

This one takes the cake as far as popularity goes. Who didn’t have a cozy coupe to cruise around in when they were youngsters? I know I did, and when I was too big to drive it around my little sister got plenty of use out of it.    

First manufactured in 1979 by Little Tikes, a company based in Hudson, Ohio, the Cozy Coupe was one of the first plastic moulded toy cars in the US. By 1991, it was selling 500,000 units per year! It beat out the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord that year as the bestselling car in America. In 1998, the New York Times called it the bestselling car of the decade. It recently celebrated it’s 30th year of production in 2009, and was added to the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.

2. Barbie Dolls

This popular brand of Mattel Dolls first came about in 1959, and has since taken the world by storm. Barbie has not only dominated the market for young girls toys with its dolls since 1959, but it also has released television shows, movies, books, video games, cosmetics lines, clothing, and countless other products  as well. It has been estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold all over the world to date, and Mattel claims that is sells an average of three Barbie dolls every single second!

3. Lego Sets

Lego sets were first introduced in 1949 by a Danish company called Lego, which comes come from “leg godt” or “play well” in the Danish language. They were first introduced as simple interlocking bricks which could build a variety of things and then be taken apart and used again. However, they were far different from what the current lego brick looks like, and in 1958, they were redesigned to something more akin to their modern counterparts. From the 1960’s and into the 21st century, Lego has released thousands of different sets, with themes such as pirates, the Wild West, medieval castles, Vikings, and outer space.

4. The Rubik’s Cube

While not necessarily a toy specifically for small children, the Rubik’s cube is

nevertheless a classic among both adults, young adults, and children everywhere. Invented in 1974 by Hungarian Sculptor and Professor of Architecture, Erno Rubik, it was first sold as the “magic cube” and then the Rubiks Cube starting in 1980. It is a solid cube that has nine colored stickers on each side, each individual cube in the Rubik’s cube being hinged allowing to be slid and rotated around it’s central core. The object of the puzzle is to make all of the colors on a particular side match.  In fact, contests are still held today to determine who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in the fastest time.

Article written by Josh Bailey
Josh is a blogger and SEO content creator and copy-writer for Apex 77 Studios
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Unisex clothing from Indikidual – a great option for parents

22 Feb

Being a parent in tough economic times is not always easy, and while you want your child to have a range of great, creative clothes you are also minding your own coat

pocket to make sure that you don’t overspend on items which realistically will only last your child a few months.

If you have a boy and a girl then this can be a challenge – after all you are buying two completely different sets of clothes for each child and this can become expensive, so what if you could purchase items which were specifically designed to meet the needs of both your kids regardless of whether they were boys or girls?

Introducing Indikidual’s range of unisex clothing…

…Clothes that are designed for your kids, clothes that are designed to be mixed and matched, clothes that can be worn by boys or girls and they can be equally as fashionable! A great way for you to save money and a great way for your kids to have a bit of fun mixing and matching clothes and really putting their own stamp on exactly what they are wearing.

Kids love colours and to be honest they aren’t all that fussed about designer labels and names, what they really want is colours, styles, shapes and designs that they can really make their own and the ability to pick and choose between them and that’s where the Indikidual brand can really help you to keep your child happy and comfortable at the same time.

I want well-made clothes that will last…

Children tend to make holes in even the most durable of clothing, so when you are purchasing clothes for your child it’s absolutely essential that you pick the right ones which can really last throughout any activities that they might put them through.

Indikidual manufacturers all of their designs to the highest standards, and although you might pay a little extra for them, they are incredibly long-lasting and durable. Comfort and style are two key elements of dressing your children and you will find that this brand really gives you the tools that you need to be able to do this effectively, while still meeting the high standards that you would come to expect from a top notch brand such as Indikidual.

Skiing in Passo Tonale

21 Feb

For those wondering what it’s like having a holiday in the Alps, allow me to describe what you can expect as a beginner skier based on my recent vacation to Passo Tonale, Italy.

After a quick flight from London Gatwick, 1hour 40 minutes, and a 2 and a half hour transfer we were in the Alps. We arrived in darkness around 7pm and all to be seen were snow cannons and our beautiful hotel, Grand Hotel Paradiso.

We had already pre-booked our meal, which quite literally was a dinner fit for a king.  Five rich courses with fresh meat and seafood with locally sourced wine which never seemed to end, didn’t let the -20 degrees temperature faze us.

The next morning we awoke to snow, beautiful snow white snow which didn’t turn to slush or go brown – shock horror for all the British! The slopes looked ready for us and being surrounded by the monstrous Alps only led to the excitement. After getting kitted out; it is usually cheaper to hire ski equipment at the resort just inform them in advance, we headed to the nursery slopes. It was here my legs did not want to do what I was being asked or what my brain was indeed trying to instruct them. A simple “Ski right down to the other instructor” my legs translated this simple instruction to “Ski right” which ended with me screaming, unable to stop and throwing myself to the ground for safety if nothing else. After an hour of getting to grips with my new ski legs, we took to a few blue runs. We left a couple of our friends (surprisingly not me) on the nursery slopes to get started whilst the rest of us took the chairlifts up, adrenaline kicking in and ever so eager to “own” the slopes. Although, when feeling that you’re about to “own” the slopes do not under any circumstances get too confident on your second run. That lesson was learnt the hard way, after skiing too fast, flipping in the air and landing with a ski impaling my leg, this is neither the best look nor feeling to start your holiday with.  There was a brief yet intense discussion regarding air transport, before smiling and ensuring all that I was OK – another lesson, don’t lie. The rest of the morning was spent limping on and off ski lifts and attempting to only use my right leg; again not a great idea as you will only end up, quite literally, going around in circles.


Aside from the above antics, the views were beautiful and experience amazing which I will be returning again very soon, I do believe I have the “ski bug”. Regardless of which way we looked there were the Alps with a snowy setting, alpine scenery and most importantly friends and families having a fantastic time together. We prefer to go at the very beginning of a season as the prices are lower and the slopes are not crowded. This is also a great time for families to go so their little ones can enjoy the slopes without worrying too much for other skiers bumping into them, this also applies to beginners.

Upon deciding that my leg had deserved enough abuse, I convinced a friend to start our après-ski early. We ventured to the very modern Alps Wellness hotel and enjoyed a few treatments before relaxing in front of their open fire. Once our team had enough of the slopes, one threw a tantrum due to loss of feeling in their hands; lesson four to always remember thermal gloves and not those from the local Londis.

We always research our locations before we go, we check for snowfall, snow conditions, transfers, hotels, location, when their season starts and what companies actually fly there. Something else which is also important to us is the transfer time to local resorts.

We check this information in case of the want for a change of scenery, if there are any events –luckily this year we saw the ski world cup Night Slalom in Madonna di Campiglio. When you are planning your ski holiday have a look around online for online promotions, vouchers and discounts on group bookings this will help you get the best ski deals for yourself and group. There are also great publications which can help you find the best places to ski and snowboard across resorts worldwide.

Author Bio

Amy McGinty, located in the UK, is an avid travel blogger and experienced freelance writer. She enjoys skiing, finding the best holiday locations around the world and researching online for the cheapest travel deals.


Twitter:  @amy_travel

Enjoy The Outdoors This Spring

20 Feb

Winter is not the most inspiring time of year to venture out into the great outdoors. For seasoned professionals they will be out there come rain or shine, seeing the different weather situations as challenges. However for some the thought of wrapping up nice and warm by the fire can be a more enticing option! The good news is that spring is nearly upon us so it is time to dig out your walking boots, get some new outdoor clothing and head for the hills!


Whether you enjoy going out alone, with a club you are a part of, with friends or family members, make sure you utilise any sunny days that you get. I’m going to take a look at some the great things you should venture out and do this spring.


First of all if you are looking for something free and enjoyable, there is noting better than going for a good walk. You can walk at whatever pace you like, leisurely to take in the views or in strides to give yourself a workout and get to places quicker, whichever suits you best. National Parks are the perfect places to go walking with a wide range if dedicated routes and information points so you can direct yourself towards something you want to see. If you love wildlife and flowers walking can be even more of a treat in the spring time, with stunning bluebell fields and baby lambs jumping about in the fields, children will really enjoy seeing these too!


If you prefer being on water rather than on land then there are various lakes and rivers that will fill your needs for water activities. Many places offer canoe hire and the equipment to go with it, for example in Norfolk at the BroadsNational Park you can go canoeing and kayaking and it is a great way to explore and see the park.


If you want to get a few miles under your belt on your outing why not go on a bike ride? If you own your own bike and your family, friends etc. do too, it won’t cost you anything and you can feel the lovely breeze as you cycle around and take in views. 


You can always stop off at a café or picnic area to gather up some energy from your food too.

Whether by foot, boat, bike or other way you fancy getting around, enjoy what nature provided and take in a deep breath of the great outdoors and enjoy your outings!  The Peak District is a fantastic park to cycle round with a number of routes dedicate to those on wheels.

How Can Facebook help your Business?

19 Feb

Facebook is the number 1 social media tool available; unfortunately the powers that be at Facebook know this and have started a heavy handed approach to its advertising revenue stream. What this means for business is that the majority of your fans will never see the things you post. It has long been mystery as to how Facebook chooses which posts are visible in your feed, especially if you have not hidden any content from anyone.

Well for business owners with page likes the drive to have you pay for your posts has meant that around 7% of your fans will see your non-promoted posts. This is a huge blow for business that entered social media as a way of free advertising and was a great way to promote and sell products. So with this clampdown on page content how can Facebook be used as a valid promotional tool? Here are some top tips:

Competition time

By far the best way to drive more page likes, shares and activity on your page is to have competitions. Give away products free to your customers or special offers. Running competitions doesn’t have to cost the world and as an alternative to paid advertising this is a much more customer friendly way of approaching marketing. There are thousands of pages, groups and forums set up to promote competitions and often this can lead to numerous shares, new likes and activity. Getting interested parties into your shop is key and if someone is entering the competition to win a product chances are they already like the type of products you sell. Competitions can be done in a number of ways; Put 5 product pictures up and have users comment name of person they wish to win under the picture they want, Have them caption a product or have them share the post to be in with a chance. T-shirts can be a great giveaway as they are cheap and used by everyone, with a slogan or design incorporating your branding will also further the advertising of your products.

Go Viral

Getting a picture, phrase or post that goes viral is a great way to boost your brand. Always use unique pictures taken or made by yourself as using others material is never good for business. If you are based in one particular location or provide a niche product then relating your pictures to this subject will be the best approach. Be funny, people like to laugh and are far more likely to share a funny picture or meme than a written update. Ensure the humour is not offensive however as this could damage your brand.

Ask questions

Ask your customers opinion on topics within your industry or niche. This helps to promote your post but also engages and makes the customers feel part of the brand. Customers also like to think they are experts and can often help if you are selling a product, the simple psychology being ‘the cool kid’ syndrome where everyone wants a product if they see other cool people buying it.

Get feedback

Recommendations on Facebook are valuable to other customers and will help greatly once Facebook’s new social search becomes increasingly popular. The feedback can be directed once purchase is made, having a link enclosed with the receipt or emailed with the invoice is the best way. Also approaching customers asking for feedback is a good way to drive up our recommendations. Often businesses are shy about approaching customers but it builds brand loyalty and customer engagement is a key way to ensure future sales and relationship building.

Be the best for something

Look at one specific product or service you offer and understand how you can be the best for that particular product. This also will create cross sales but drive certain niche to your website. In fashion industry for example being the best for everything is difficult as you are competing with huge multi nationals, so one geographical area or product would be the ideal choice. Handbags or accessories which are low margin could be a good way due to the lower competition for these search terms than traditional clothes items. You want to ensure you are at the front of peoples mind when they think about a product and this is often easier the more niche your products are.

Once your Facebook audience has grown then ensure you are publishing no more than 2 updates a day, the more you post the less they are seen so ensuring the quality is good and relevant is important to keep your fans engaged with your brand. Also having cross platform strategy will help improve your Google rank, having twitter, Google+, foursquare and other pages will help your online visibility and whilst other mediums are not as popular with Facebook’s dwindling new sign ups one of these could be the next front runner.

Written by Steven Hill