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Posted in 2016

Competition King?

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I often see stories of people winning their entire lifestyle through competitions.

In the past I have been pretty lucky…but mainly through Gameshows. I’ve been fortunate enough to appear on all the following shows : Deal Or No Deal, Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old, Bullseye, Total Wipeout, Balls Of Steel, Tipping Point, Pick Me, Beat The Brain, 1 vs 100, Your Country Needs You and Show Me The Telly and I have won around £36,000 in gameshow winnings over the years.

When it comes to competitions, it’s a mixed bag. I once won a videotape box set of three Michael Caine films, but then also won tickets to a Natalie Imbruglia show and got to meet her afterwards. I have also won Leeds United tickets as well as tickets to see McBusted in the OMFG Zone (the bit at the front where you literally get hit with sweat!)

Whenever people have said “I don’t know how you manage it” I tell them the same thing…you have to be in it to win it.

After I finished up with work today I decided to do something productive.

So I decided to sign up to www.theprizefinder.com and start entering competitions. I decided that I would run a bit of an experiment and see what I could win in a short period of time.

I went straight for the “Closing Soon” section and all these were ending at midnight today…so I went for them…Tomorrow I will do all those ones for that day and see how I do.

I soon realised that there were going to be a lot of posts I needed to share on Facebook so I just set up another fake Facebook account in my name and had them all go through there so I wasn’t annoying any of my friends.

So my experiment has started and here is what I have entered to win so far :

  • Win an Open Bird Table and 10 Suet Cakes – Always happy to do my bit for nature
  • Win Limited Edition Dunkin Donuts Pop Tarts – Always happy to do my bit for my expanding waist
  • Win A mousemat set – They look naff and I never use a mousemat…but maybe only because I have never won one…
  • Win A handbag – A guy gotta accessorise 🙂
  • Win Nuxe Body Fondant Shower Gel – Sounds tastier than it probably will be
  • Win A Whitworths hamper – nibbles, always a winner
  • Win Soreen goodies – because you can never have too much maltloaf in your life
  • Win NOW Music CD’s – To be fair I am that out of touch with modern music, this would probably be quite a helpful prize
  • Win a £25 Wilko Voucher – I thought all the Wilkos shut down years ago…if so I might have problems trying to use this voucher
  • Win 1 of 3 x copies of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find them on DVD – cracking film to be fair so a pretty decent prize
  • Win a Headrest DVD player worth £142.99 – Althea would absolutely love this for the car
  • Win a Car Boot Organiser – If you have seen the state of my car boot, this is a perfect prize for me to win
  • Win a £20 Amazon Voucher – always handy
  • Win Wagon Wheels – Who doesn’t want Wagon Wheels? Especially when they are free. Then you can eat more than one and pretend they are as big as they used to be.
  • Win a Toffee Apple Candle – In case of a blackout…obviously, because thats the only time candles ever need to be used around the house
  • Win Oat biscuits – more nibbles
  • Win an Unwash Dry Cleanser – When I can’t be arsed to wash my hair…i.e. most days!
  • Win SockSnob socks – Fact : I never wear pairs of socks after the first time of wearing a pair. New out of the packet they get worn properly, after that its a free for all
  • Win a DIY geode Terrarium Kit – Will look nice in our garden…for about 5 minutes until it gets nicked!
  • Win a box of Lyons Coffee Bags – Wait….what? Coffee in bags? Bags of coffee? No….
  • Win 6 pairs of SoxInnaBox Socks – Same competition as above but on another platform…fingers crossed!
  • Win the Gluten Free Oat Biscuit Range – More biscuits…thank you very much
  • Win Charcoal & Mint Shampoo & Conditioner – Who doesn’t want to wash their hair in charcoal…you know that notoriously black, dirty stuff…
  • Win An overnight hotel stayJurys Inn, so cheap and cheerful
  • Win a BBQ worth £50 – Now we are talking – now if only I had a load of meat to win too to help out with this…
  • Win a £90 Family Meat Box – Ah, there we go
  • Win a Case of Wolfys Porridge – Mornings will never be the same again
  • Win a pair of Puma Mostro Trainers – For when I get the will to go for a jog…in fact, revoke my entry into this one…I will never get the urge
  • Win Makeup & Curry Kits – Not quite sure how these two things go together. Do you put curry on your face…or is there foundation in the Korma?
  • Win an Asus Thin & Light Laptop – Thin and light, two things I will never be. But a laptop would be a good prize
  • Win a Fruity Make Up Bag – For all that curry makeup
  • Win a PS Vita – Gaming fun…no games with it though…nice ornament
  • Win a BuyaGift Superwoman Smartbox – I think this is something to do with those type of red letter day type boxes, but with only stuff that women like, such as spas and makeovers
  • Win an Andrew James Digital Halogen Oven Cooker – I spend so much time in the kitchen I might as well use it to cook rather than delve into the fridge looking for what I can scoff
  • Win a Clarke CAG2350C Angle Grinder –  I am sure I can find a use for this somewhere. There must be an angle that needs grinding…or something!
  • Win a Lovely Dress – Lovely is a very subjective word
  • Win a box BAKKER BULBS – Unfortunately not of the “lighting a room”
  • Win a Crystal Hair Elastic – Its a bobble for your hair…why is this even a competition?
  • Win a stunning b.cherished lingerie set and three gorgeous Glitter Lip sets. – Wonder if it will fit me… 😉
  • Win A set of three Dr.PAWPAW balms – Soft lips for the win…especially whilst I am wearing that lingerie…
  • Win a 100ml bottle of Monsoon Rose Gold Eau De Parfum worth £35 – Accompanied with the lingerie and the lip balm I will be a strong confident woman again…
  • Win A power juicer – I need more power in my life
  • Win a Charcoal Body Silk Seamless, Yoga Bra in a size M – I don’t do yoga, I don’t wear bras (Although maybe I should) and I am definitely not a size Medium….and whats with the Charcoal again?
  • Win a Framed A3 Print from John Dyer Gallery in Cornwall – Actually pretty lovely…would look nice on the wall
  • Win 10 x pair of passes to No1 Lounges – For when travelling abroad in airports…which I probably won’t be doing for years…wonder if you can just use them and not fly anywhere.
  • Win A month’s supply of Get Fruity bars & £25 Voucher for Waitrose or John Lewis – I would find a lot more use for the bars than the vouchers….£25 in Waitrose and John Lewis doesn’t get you much
  • Win a Nerf Accustrike Blaster – I can be a kid again!
  • Win Two Elizabeth Arden Eyeshadow trios and a black compact – I can be beautiful again!
  • Win Six bottles of Encona – I can burn my arse with food again!
  • Win A sponge cake card and a pack of lemon bubbles – Most novel idea ever…it’s an actual greetings card, with cake inside it! What’s not to love?
  • Win a £50 Fuel VoucherAlways handy…especially if I have to travel the country to pick any of these prizes up…
  • Win 2 x A United Kingdom on DVD – Never heard of the film…but I will watch anything
  • Win a digital copy of Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin – always looking for something new to read
  • Win a £600+ Barbecue – for when the £50 BBQ above breaks in the middle of cooking all that meat
  • Win Red Nose Day Aquafresh Product Pack – Feel like I am doing my bit for charity with this one
  • Win Royal Rumble 2017 on Blu-ray – Amazing show….WORSE Rumble match in history
  • Win Hell Drivers on DVD – What?
  • Win Vengeance on DVD – Another shit film?
  • Win Eagles In The Storm by Ben Kane – Another shit book? I will give it a go though if I do win it
  • Win a Stay Puft soft toy – The pinnacle of all these competitions…and probably the hardest to win as it was Sky Movies and there was about a million people entered into it
  • Win a case of Vimto – Fact : I gave up drinking fizzy pop in December so this will come in handy…
  • Win A weekend break at Tannery Cottage near Leyburn – Always happy with a little getaway
  • Win a £100 Regal Bouquet, Ultimate Bath Set and Prosecco for Mother’s Day – My mum will be well happy with this
  • Win Ballantines Scotch Whisky – I don’t drink Whisky…but know people who do…REGIFTED!
  • Win 3 x Mario Lanza: The Best of Everything on DVD – This will be a thrill ride
  • Win 3 x Arrival Blu-ray – Actually REALLY want to see this…so I will hold off to see if I win
  • Win a DVD bundle with The Chamber – There is some proper decent horror movies in this collection…would be worth winning
  • Win Arrival on DVD – Again…but DVD this time
  • Win a £30 Party Bags and Supplies Voucher – The best part of any party is the party bag…would just get these for myself
  • Win a Champneys Spa Break + 9 R/up: A Case of Campbell’s Soup – i will be honest, I would prefer the runner up prize here
  • Win 2 x Acre 637 Cider Gift Packs – I will need to find someone who sups Cider
  • Win The Mirror by Deborah A Stansil –  Another book…I am going to be overloaded if I win them all
  • Win 10 x A bundle of Kong: Skull Island books – I wanna see the film so these would come in handy
  • Win a Pedro the Pirate Ship Trunki – A little something for the little one
  • Win a Horror DVD Bundle – More crackingly shit horror movies to watch
  • Win a 21 Pack of Chalkola Markers – So these are markers that you can use to draw on windows…the novelty of that will last about a minute
  • Win an Apple iPad Air 2 128GB Tablet – The jackpot?
  • Win a Fingerlings Baby Monkey Robotic Toy – The real jackpot!
  • Win a set of ChalkOla Chalkboard Markers – must be a big promotion on at the minute on these
  • Win Luxury Organic Bed Linen, Organic Lavender Room Spray + Candle – When is bed linen organic?
  • Win A Luxury Spa Day Experience – Christmas presents sorted out
  • Win 3 x A Salter Blender To Go – More Christmas presents
  • Win 5 x Bottles of Milton Washing Up Liquid – Got a pregnant sister…this will come in handy
  • Win a Doves Farm bread making starter kit – We go through bread like there is no tomorrow….this would be nice…if only for the smell!
  • 3 x Christine on DVD – Sounds poor
  • Win a Meal for 5 at Thaikhun – Restaurant wins are always good
  • Win a Bundle of Comvita Manuka Honey Products – Yeah, not sure what this is either
  • Win a £100 The White Company Gift Card – Gift cards for the win
  • WIN a Mailbox of Your Choice – Its a mailbox for your house…win win win!
  • 2 x A Luxe Pastel Set Worth £139 – Althea will probably get hold of these and draw all over the windows because she has done it with those other crayons
  • Win a Family Ticket to Cadbury World in Birmingham – MMMMMMM Chocolate!
  • Win What We Become on DVD – We will become slaves to shit films and books if all these prizes win!
  • Win a James Martin Compact Food Processor + Stand Mixer – Handy…or another Christmas pressie
  • Win Home Brewtique’s ultimate brewing kit worth £130 – Now we are talking!
  • Win a Family Ticket to see Running Wild in Blackpool’s Grand Theatre (4/4/2017) – This would be handy…we would be in the area that day…
  • Win a relaxing spa break for two at one of Champneys four health spas – Pretend we are posh if we win this
  • Win a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise for two – Pretend we are rich if we win this!

So there you go…that is almost all the competitions that are ending tonight. There’s some I didn’t enter as I couldn’t get to Bournemouth tomorrow or pick up a hamper from the Outer Hebrides at 3am in the morning…that type of thing…

A massive amount of competitions entered in one day…I wonder whether any of them will actually come in…keep your fingers crossed for me!

Posted in 2016 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Mission £100

OK…so here goes…I have just come up with a grand idea.

I am going to try a little experiment to see how far I can go with this.

Starting with just £1…I have to turn it into £100 before the end of 2016.

How easy do you think it will be?

If I lose the £1 I have to restart. I can obviously buy things to re-sell but they obviously have to sell to make the money back to reinvest. 

I cannot gamble at any point and I cannot accept donations from anyone. 

Any ideas that might help me along the way would be welcome…

Posted in 2016 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Nerve (2016) – Are You A Watcher Or A Player?

Hands up if you’ve played Pokemon Go, Flappy Bird or Appysnap…
hands-up

Thought so…and just for the record, if you played Appysnap you are the coolest of the cool.

All three were apps that changed the way people used their mobile devices. Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm, getting people out and about, walking the streets..and in some cases putting themselves into dangerous situations. The Flappy Bird revolution went so massive so quick that the owner of the game actually deleted the game from existance, leaving devices that had it installed being sold on eBay for thousands of pounds. Then there was Appysnap…only a small number of people got to play. Every day you were sent missions to your phone and you had to complete them. They were photos you had to take, doing things like taking photos of road signs, or pictures of someone riding on someone else’s back…and funnily enough is the closest thing to “Nerve” we have ever had.

“Nerve” is the brand new film to be released in the UK on Thursday 11th August. Adapted from the Jeanne Ryan novel of the same name. It was the most recent Cineworld Unlimited Screening…we got to see it 3 days before general release.

Player?

Set in 2020, Nerve is the app to have. All the cool kids are signing up and either becoming a “Player” or a “Watcher”. Their roles do exactly what it says. Players are sent dares to their phones and have a set amount of time in which to complete said dare to earn themselves cash. The bigger the dare, the bigger the prize. When Vee (Emma Roberts) is shamed by one of her friends into signing up for the game, she receives her very first challenge…to kiss a stranger…which leads her to Ian (Dave Franco) who is quickly revealed to also be a player in the game. When the watchers of the game realise that the two of them are hitting it off, they ensure they team up by forcing their dares to include each other.

Watcher?

With the world watching on, and players dropping like flies as they begin to fail the tasks set before them, Vee and Ian go from one fun challenge, to the next more-daring one, slowly increasing the danger, threat and money as they go along.

The film is fantastically put together. There are some genuinely tense moments througout. We have people walking across ladders suspended between buildings, and others laying on a train track avoiding a train as it passes by just inches above their head. You are genuinely rooting for Vee and to a lesser extent Ian. There’s some good laughs in there too, mainly from Vee’s friend base.

Emma Roberts puts in a fantastic turn as unpopular high school yearbook photographer Vee who takes grabs the world by the balls and quickly becomes the coolest kid on the block. Emma has come a long way from her Nickelodeon days in the teenage series “Unfabulous” where she played the most annoying teenager-cum-singer-cum-pain-in-the-arse ever. Singing all her woes and troubles whilst playing the guitar was never going to be cutting edge television but it garnered a few Teen Choice Awards. From there she moved into a few bit parts in a few films…but in Nerve she really steps up into a Lead Role and shows herself to be a real contender for bigger and better roles.

Dave Franco is just Dave Franco. He’s the same in everything he’s in. Very likeable though and his smouldering looks are definitely good for the female viewers. He is believable and fun whilst taking everything in his stride. It’s not a film that was ever going to test his acting ability to the max, and his role could have been played by a hundred different actors, but he does do a great job.

So to summarise, Nerve is a thrill ride. It’s fun, it’s also worrying that the film is set in 2020…and who knows what types of app will be available by then…will we all be running around the city completing dares for cash…? Who knows…!

nerve-quad-poster

Posted in 2016, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who you gonna call?

So last night I went to see a film a few years ago I never thought would have been possible…a new Ghostbusters film.

This, however was not the highly anticipated Ghostbusters 3 that had been banded about for years. Rumours of scripts being written then discarded were being thrown about everywhere. Every time Dan Ackroyd went into a interview he was asked the same thing…”Is Ghostbusters 3 happening?” or “Is Bill Muray going to do it?”…a script rumour got off the ground, everyone got excited, then it slipped away. In the meantime we lost the great Harold Ramis, a sad day for film fans everywhere, and effectively put the chances of a third film being made firmly on the back-burner.

…and then it was announced Ghostbusters would indeed be made again…and it would be a team of female Ghostbusters…and it would be directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig…

A whole group of fanboys and girls went into uproar. “How could this be made?” “They can’t have female Ghostbusters.” “They can’t do this?”…

“It’s going to be shit!”

I have always been firmly in the “It’s going to be shit” camp. My issue wasnt’t that the film had been remade (it genuinely intrigued me), nor was it an issue with having an all-female lead cast as complaining about that would just be massively and inappropriately sexist.

My issue was the director and the direction that the film was going to take. Feig’s comedy is a odd type. It’s that awkward comedy with long silences, with characters delivering lines that trail off in their delivery and can be very funny, but falls flat a lot of the time. Surely he was going to change that up for Ghostbusters.

Then the trailer landed…a whole world of fans screamed sacrilege and hatred towards it…me included. There was a vagina joke in there…in a Ghostbusters film…and that awkward moment between Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy’s characters saying “Let’s go” slightly out of sync with each other…it quickly became apparent that this was going to be horrific.

So last night, the night after the film opened…I went to see Ghostbusters…full of cynicism and bad feeling in my bones as the lights went down.

After an opening spook, we meet our main characters. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a school science lecturer just trying to get a full time job, but cannot be taken seriously when a book she wrote with high school friend Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) surfaces and completely discredits her.

When McCarthy and Wiig come together initially…it’s bumbling. Straight away you see them back in Bridesmaids mode, silly comedy, painful one-to-ones and the most unfunny “ghostly noise” gag ever. It was spiralling downwards quickly…

…then up pops Kate McKinnon’s Jillian Holtzman, an engineer and brilliant scientist who is always tinkering with gadgets and devices. She’s genuinely a breath of fresh air…and suddenly the film moves away from a Feig-fest of unrefined laughs into genuine likeability.

After Leslie Jones’ Patty Tolan witnesses a ghost on the subway and joins “the club”, add into the mix the dumb beefcake in Thor-himself Chris Hemsworth and we get the full Ghostbuster lineup in place.

What happens next is an actual treat. Everything surprised me about it.

It becomes it’s own film in the Ghostbusters Universe. You kind of forget that the original films happened. Its a little bit like watching the new Star Trek films when you love the old ones so intensely…but still enjoying Chris Pine in the Enterprise’s captain’s chair.

There’s some brilliant cameo appearances which had to happen to appease fans. They’re nice and unsubtle and there for the nostalgia purposes only…but they work.

The storyline isn’t all that bad either, Rowan North (Neil Casey) is using devices to summon up ghosts from the other side in specific locations in order to bring about the apocalypse…because of this, the ghosts start coming at us one at a time…before a huge onslaught later on.

The 3D is quite possibly the greatest 3D I have ever seen and uses a special trick to make it look even more impressive. Theatres show the film in a letterbox style with a black border around the film…and when needed, the action in the film spills over into the black border to really make it feel like the Proton Pack streams are coming out of the screen, or the ghosts are really popping out. It works…it works really well.

Yeah there’s still tonnes of awkward moments in there…but there’s actually quite a bit of decent comedy too…most of which comes from McKinnon’s absolute strangeness, or Hemsworth’s stupidity.

As the film went on, I found myself smiling more and more. They had actually pulled it off…a genuinely good remake of a much loved film. Will it ever be as good as the 1984 film? Hell no…and I would never pretend it would be. Lets face it, it never was going to be. But Paul Feig has taken a much-loved classic, updated it to the 21st century and thrown everything at it. It’s going to have haters…probably a LOT of haters…and I was going to be one before I saw it.

Go see the film…judge it for yourself. In my mind, this film has proven that you cannot properly say “it will be shit” until you have actually seen it. If you hate a film after seeing it, then fair play, all opinions should be respected…but give it a chance and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Now allow me to breath a massive sigh of relief and plan when I’m going to see it again…yes…that’s right…I want to see this film again.

So in summary, never judge a film by it’s cast, director, trailer, pre-conceived thoughts etc, and go and see it yourself. Strip away the moments of poor comedy, and you get an actual contender to be one of the best reboots ever.

Will I ever be wearing t-shirts with images from this film on it? Probably not. Will I continue to think that Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 are the main event? Yes.

But I can honestly say, that in 2016, once again…

Bustin’ Makes Me Feel Good!

Posted in 2016, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alien Isolation – Completed

Just turned off the Xbox One after FINALLY completing Alien Isolation. 

What a game!

Simply put, it’s the most frightening, atmospheric experience I have ever witnessed on a game. 

You really are there. You feel part of the crew aboard the Sevastopol, stranded out in deep space whilst on a mission to find the Nostromo (a ship you may recognise from “Alien”). 

You play the game as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s movie heroine Ellen and you start off on a fairly slow pace, knowing something is wrong and something big is about to go down. 

That thing that’s going down is The Alien…commonly known as “The Bitch” or on the 300th time she kills you, the “fucking bastard mouth-stabbing long-fingered slimy impossible to kill twat!”  She’s been called that on more than one occasion let me tell you. 

Once she turns up, the game goes into overdrive. Initially she’ll just be stalking the ship. But eventually she’ll know you’re there and she’ll come looking for you. 

The game is never the same twice. The Alien has a life of it’s own. One time it’ll be dropping from a bent directly above your head, another time she’ll come up behind you and spike you clean through your back and out I’ve the front before clawing at your face.

When she appears, you fine a way to avoid her. There’s no killing her here and essentially this is an entire game with just One bad guy…until the Droids come into play and open up a whole new world of pain. 

Save points are few and far between…ammo even more scarce. There are puzzles to solve in the way of unlocking doors through matching symbols, or powering up generators to get things active. 

You’re going to die. You are going to die a lot. Get used it…you’ll get there in the end. 

Such an amazing game. Absolutely terrifying but equally rewarding. As you hit the next save point the sense of relief flows all over you. 

Become part of the crew…but make sure you look up to overhead vents and suchlike 😉

Posted in 2016, Xbox | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prediction League 2016/17 now live

So excited!

Launched the 2016/2017 version of my Leeds United Prediction League.

Click the logo to check it out :

lufc

£15 for the season to play. Predict the score, 1st scorer, time of 1st goal and attendance of each Leeds United game this season (League AND Cup matches).

Looking at potentially over £1,000 in the prize fund…but it needs YOU to join today. Check it out, put your predictions in and let’s get playing.

Good luck

Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment