Posted in Great British Bake Off, List, Posts, Review

The Great British Bake Off

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For those who don’t know, the great British Bake Off is a baking competition that is broadcasted in the UK once a year. It starts with 12 of the countries best bakers in the Bake off tent.

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Each episode contains three challenges:
A signature bake, where the focus is on a unique version of a particular treat, with flavour, design and a perfect bake being essential.

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The technical – a recipe is provided and all contestants make the same thing, but to perfection.

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And finally, the showstopper. This is where everyone shows off their creative skills, and creates something that looks and tastes AMAZING!!!

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Then at the end of the episode, the starbaker will be awarded,

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and one contestant will leave.

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OK, maybe I’m getting a little overexcited, but I’m not the only one! The first episode of this series was watched by over half of all TV viewers. So why is a programme about baking so popular?

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For me, it goes back to my family. We would all watch the latest episode together, and it would be one of the few things we would all watch – five children are hard to simultaneously entertain, especially when interests range from painting and rom-coms to rollercoasters and horror films. We would all sit and debate who had made the best bread roll, or whose cupcake would be the hardest to make.

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Part of the appeal is the pure simplicity, but also the skill shown. There’s no fake arguments, or heated fights and, best of all, no tacky romance. Instead, you can rest assured that the whole family will enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean to say that it is lacking in the humour department.

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Enter Sue and Mel.

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Presenters tend to annoy me. Not that I have much experience, books always beat TV, but on the rare occasion that I do was watch a programme, presenters seem to try far too hard to be likeable. However, the dynamics between the Bake Off duo only add to the enjoyment.

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Not to mention there constant success with finding cake related jokes…

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And tireless judge-mocking.

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But at the end of the day, they support those going through stressful bakes – what! Cakes are very anxiety provoking things.

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Each episode lasts an hour, long enough to leave you satisfied but not bored and the layout works well to spread out the best bits of the content.

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Mary and Paul provide a constant stream of stone cold criticism, but still point out the good bits. Part of the fun is glaring at mean judges.

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However, the real stars are the contestants. By the end of the first few episodes, you have a good feel for everyone and their strengths (and weaknesses).

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Everyone has their favourites, and each contestant has their own area in which they excel.

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You can catch the fourth episode this Wednesday at 8:00, but until then, here are some exciting moments of drama from past episodes.

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Posted in Comparison, Post, Review

Tablet comparison and Hudl 2 Review

I’ve been looking for a cheap and cheerful tablet for a while. My reasoning being that I have quite a few long journeys in my average week which can be very boring. I was hoping to find a bit of distraction in the form of a new gadget. I usually work if I have a car journey, but on a Monday, I am often rather anxious so cannot concentrate at all. So, I started searching online to find the best tablet for my requirements. I wanted:

  • A decent resolution
  • Good memory capacity (preferably with an SD slot)
  • Quick internet browsing
  • A screen big enough to watch films
  • A rear camera with good quality (my iPod had 5Mp so I didn’t really want much less than this)
  • Access to a large app store
  • A price that wouldn’t drain my savings account ūüôā

To help you make sense of the world of tablet comparing, here are some key terms:

PPI – Not an annoying advert asking for your money, it stands for pixels per inch. This is a more accurate way of reviewing the resolution, as what may be good measurements for¬†a small phone, would look pixelated blown up (e.g.¬† 800 pixels by 1000 would look¬†amazing for something small, but they would be stretched on a large tablet – while 100 pixels per inch is fixed, and will have the same quality whatever device it’s on)

RAMRandom Access Memory. Think of it as your tablets short term memory, while the harddrive is your long term. The higher the RAM, the more data a tablet can handle at any one time. Recent gadgets have been around 2GB – so you can check you’re up to date.

Processor/ core – The core of a tablet affects how quickly and easily¬†it can carry out multiple instructions, and allows it to run several operations at once (like my mum when she’s cooking curry, rice, peas, pasta, bolognaise and cake in the same 10 minutes). A quad core simply means that a computer chip is divided into four independent units (cores) that read and execute central processing unit¬†instructions. The core allows your tablet to have multiple apps open at the same time and interact between them, as well as speeding up browsing.

GHz Рthis is the unit used for measuring a computers speed. The higher the GHz, the faster it will be and the less likely it is to crash. Around 2GHz is plenty for the average computer so more than enough for a tablet.

Naturally, my first step was to make a spread sheet, so for anyone looking for a budget tablet, I’ve included this below. For comparison, I’ve also included my iPod touch, whose camera and resolution is brilliant, but speed leaves a little to be desired. Please allow me to apologise in advance for the appalling quality, it’s been through several different processes to try and get it to a file word press would accept:)Untitled

Oh the joys of colour coding!

As you can see, the Hudl came out on top, so that is what I bought after careful consideration.

With 273 pixels per inch, you can happily watch HD movies (but the standard definition ones look great too), and the 8.3″ screen makes it a happy experience for your eyes – say good bye to squinting at a tiny screen two inches away from your nose. The camera has 5Mp, so in theory should be able to take grain-free pictures which are clear and crisp (for a comparison, all the photos taken here¬†and here¬†were with a 5Mp camera) It is made by Tesco, so I was a bit worried it would be a¬†poorly made supermarket own product, but the reviews were good and the build looked sturdy. Finally, there had been a few concerns about battery. Some people had been unable to charge it, however, this was apparently fixed, so after triple checking the returns terms and conditions, I took a risk and bought it for a pocket-happy ¬£100. Note – you can also add on a case (usually ¬£12.50), screen protectors (¬£2.50)¬†and headphones (starting at ¬£5)¬†with 1/3 of the price taken off (I bought them full price though as I got nervous at the counter and didn’t want to ask…) As I’m prone to dropping things, tripping over chairs and sitting without looking, I also got a 2 year insurance pack for ¬£20. They’d run out so¬†customer service was very helpful and arranged for a pack to be delivered to my house for free:)

So, it all looked very promising! I’ve had my little Hudl (christened Kitty Katrina Hendrix –¬†after the version of android it runs on and the¬†surname of a character from Orphan¬†Black)¬†for about 2 weeks now. It does pretty much what it says on the packet. I can confidently say that the charging is no problem at all, although the battery life could be a little longer in an ideal world. It is beautifully fast – my only criticism being that with the thick screen protector on, the touchscreen isn’t as responsive. It’s fine without the protector on though. The resolution is beautiful, and all my apps, browsing and watching can be done effortlessly, on top of this – it has an impressive sound system! I’m very happy, but I will say, don’t buy it for the camera. It is significantly worse than that of my IPod’s and comes out blurred or grainy without the perfect light level. All in all though, a brilliant first tablet that does everything it should very well at a fraction of the price. Recommended:)

jj

Edit – It’s been 10 months now. I did have a problem with the audio socket where it wouldn’t play sound through headphones but we phoned up customer service and got the option of our money back or sending it to be repaired. I couldn’t get a new Hudl 2 as they no longer make them, and after all the research I’d done, I wasn’t too keen on buying a different tablet so we sent it for repairs. You can arrange a day for it to be picked up but the time isn’t specified – which is a bit of a pain for people who aren’t in all day.

 

The first time we got it back, the issue was only half fixed. The headphones would now work at certain angles – a bit annoying as it only took a slight knock for the sound to go. We sent it back again and this time it returned fixed! Yay:) Frustratingly, they also updated the software and it ended up deleting all of my data – including all of the interface personalisation and some in app purchases I’d made. All in all though, it was worth getting it fixed.

Of course, it is a bit pointless saying I still recommend the Hudl 2 though as it’s gone out of manufacturing…