Let’s Move to Holmes Chapel in Cheshire!

Thinking of moving out to Cheshire? Take a look at the village of Holmes Chapel which is a nice area within easy commuting distance of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Holmes Chapel is a village in Cheshire. It’s quite small, the last census measured the population at under 6,000 and it retains an «old fashioned» feel (and I mean that in a positive way) compared to my previous experiences of living in cities and in other towns.

Geographically it is less than a mile from the M6 motorway which means you have easy access to the M6 and the M56 so it’s easy to get to Manchester, Warrington, Crewe, Stoke, Birmingham and obviously many places in between and all around. It’s also on the Crewe to Manchester train line so getting into Manchester is fairly easy as the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Holmes Chapel station also has a book club and has won lots of awards. Compared to the grim faceless and vandalised train stations you find in most towns and cities, it’s great!

The village has two primary schools, Hermitage and Holmes Chapel Primary both of which have excellent Ofsted and DFES results so it’s a great place to move to find a better state education for your kids. It also has a secondary school and attached sixth form centre which again, is very highly rated by Ofsted and is particularly strong in Science. In other words, if you’re looking to move to somewhere outside of the city so your kids can go to good local schools all the way through then it’s an excellent choice.

Because of the good schools and the good commuting opportunities, Holmes Chapel is relatively expensive compared to some larger more industrialised towns. The cheapest houses I’ve seen in recent months come in at around £160,000 for a fairly small 2 bedroomed terraced house. For a three bedroomed semi or terraced you’d probably be looking ar £170-190k and for a 3 bedroom detached house, over £230k. There are also lots of large 4 bed detached houses in the village which currently sell for anything between £270k and £370k upwards depending on where they are and what they’re like. It is possible to rent as well though, and three bedroom houses seem to be available for around £700 a month upwards.

Holmes Chapel has a lot of older residents because a lot of the housing was built in the 70’s with more in the mid 1980’s and bought as new by people moving into the area to take advantage of the schools, commuting and the general niceness of the environment. Many of these people are now nearing retirement. This means that there is a nice relaxed feel to the place and a stroll to the shops will generally produce many polite smiles, nods and hellos from people you don’t actually know. Again, a very nice and old fashioned attitude that has been sadly lost in many places where people scurry about in fear of being attacked or assaulted.

There is a Youth Club and a Leisure Centre and two private sports and leisure clubs which also provide excellent sporting and social facilities throughout the year. Holmes Chapel also has a library, doctors surgery, a dentist and an opticians alongside a variety of excellent local shops and businesses.

All in all if you are looking for somewhere to commute to Manchester or Warrington from where you can find excellent local schools then Holmes Chapel is a good option and well worth a look.

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Latest of Nike Soccer Commercials

The most anticipated latest advert of the series of Nike Soccer Commercials was released 29th of April, at the helm of the second semi final match between the Manchester United and the Barcelona Champions.

Directed by no other than Madonna’s guy, Guy Ritchie, Nike has successfully captured again the hearts of footy fanatics.

From the earlier campaign «How badly do you want to be a footballer?» the new publicity was dubbed «Take it to the Next Level». It features the blows and hung ups of a football dreamer as he climbed his way from his humble start to owning his national team jersey, and living the luster of stardom. The 2-min ad was made more interesting as presented through the person’s point of view, giving the audience a high feeling of rush and exhilarations. Something that is new among the series of Nike soccer commercials.

Adding intensity is the song «don’t speak (I came to make a bang) «- Which they really did, as sung by a band called Eagle of Death Metal.

Their words came fitting as:

«Don’t move, don’t speak, even whisper

There’s something happenin’ but don’t be scared

I’m too smooth, you never see me coming

I’m never in a hurry, I’m just movin’ fast»

Casts includes International football stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Materazzi, William Gallas, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arsene Wenger, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, and many more.

It may be another follow-you-dream stuff but the wit, humor, and heart showcased were enticing enough to make the drive another favorite. And this, as expressed by Ritchie, who is also a big soccer fan to Chelsea, was his biggest ad work to date.

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Liverpool Mathew Street Festival, August 2008

Although it’s been running for several years now, this Bank Holiday weekend I attended the Mathew Street Music Festival in Liverpool for the first time. The event was actually cancelled last year due to some political issues between the local authority and the organisers but it was claimed that this year it was back «Bigger and better than ever».

Although it started life as a celebration of The Beatles and their music and was almost exclusively located in Mathew Street, the event has now spread to the extent that it covers many different music styles and the number of venues for the events is now around 40! In addition to the large number of bands focussing on the Fab Four, there are tribute bands to many old and new artists, one or two originals and a significant selection of bands performing under the heading «new music».

Whilst many of these are indoor venues, pubs and clubs, etc., there are now six large outdoor stages in various locations around the city centre, which is almost completely closed to traffic. The largest of the stages is the «Tunnel» stage, situated close to the entrance to the Queensway Tunnel. With a huge arena in front of the stage, this venue attracted several thousand fans to its larger events and is where my visit began on at 1.00 p.m. on Sunday when I went to see «The Police Force», not surprisingly a «Police» tribute band.

As you might expect, they simply worked through a selection of the Police’s biggest hits and attracted quite a large crowd, many of whom joined in even though it was quite early in the day. The crowd was a mix of old and young and many had clearly come for a picnic, with tables and chairs dotted around, mostly on the edges of the venue.

After The Police Force, there was an interval of 15 minutes and I realised that this was standard across all venues, as this was probably the amount of time needed to go from one venue to another if you needed to do so. But I was staying firmly put because the Tunnel stage was about to play host to none other than Chas and Dave; not a tribute band but pure Cockney Gold, the original themselves, complete with Mick on the drums!

Running through «Rabbit», «London Girls», «No Pleasing You», etc., they quickly won over the audience and had a huge «singalong» atmosphere on the go. Who’d have thought it, on the banks of the Mersey? I was reminded of when Bjorn and Benny of Abba appeared at a U2 concert some years ago as this was widely acknowledged as the start of the Abba revival. Are we about so see Chas and Dave storm up the charts again?

After all the singing it was time for a drink at one of the many outlets dotted around the place, all of which seemed to charge £3 for a pint of lager or cider, or a glass of wine. But it was a decent pint and very cold, so was greatly appreciated. Incidentally, the seasoned festival goers were clearly noticeable as they all seemed to be carrying 24-can packs of Carlsberg, Becks, etc.

Overcoming the urge to go back to the Tunnel to see «Rocks Off», a Rolling Stones tribute, I decided that it was time for a touch of «what it’s all about» and so strolled down the normally heavily congested Dale Street and Castle Street to reach the «Beatlemania» stage at Derby Square.

Playing host to non-stop Fab Four bands, I arrived there in time to watch the curiously named «American English». Playing the usual repertoire, though more heavily focussed on the later stages of the Beatles music, they had a good look and a good sound. But in the breaks between songs, it was quite disconcerting to find that not only do they work on looking and singing like the Beatles, they actually try to talk like them (well, at least «Paul» and «John» did – the other two never spoke).

But they were pretty good and whilst the start of their show was to a smallish audience, thanks to a heavy shower, the latter stages had quite a gathering as the sun broke out. I was later told that this stage and its bands got steadily better as the day wore on.

But now in the 60’s mood, I headed away from Derby Square and went to the Exchange Street stage, dedicated to «Merseybeat». I arrived there in time to catch the back end of «Mike Pender’s Searchers», playing «Needles and Pins», followed by the one and only Merseybeats themselves. Playing to an audience which comprised significant numbers of people with grey hair (or no hair!!), this was also a well received performance.

Deciding it was time for another drink, I went to the Slaughter House on Fenwick Street. This is normally an Irish themed pub but they were hosting a performance by a man whose name I didn’t catch, singing lost of Bobby Darren, Sinatra, Dean Martin, etc. The music formed a good background to the shouting at the bar as I fought to get served!

After the refreshments, it was time to head back to the big Tunnel stage in time for the last performance of the day, that of «Roxy Magic». I reached there just as the previous act «Summer of Love», a 60’s tribute band, were finishing their show with «House of The Rising Sun». Approaching from the back of the crown, it was a fantastic sight as the crowd had swelled significantly as the day progressed, and even the «picnic» set were standing now.

And so to Roxy Magic. Fronted by a man in white tux, black slicked fringe falling over his eyes, this band really were the business. As always with tribute bands, they focussed on the big hits but clearly this is what the crowd were here to see and almost to a man were singing along to each and every word.

With a passing «Thanks» to John Lennon, they performed «Jealous Guy» before finishing with «Over You» and «Dance Away», bringing to an end the first day of the festival. Slightly foot weary, I had seen some really good shows but hadn’t had time for more than one of the Beatles bands, had missed the tribute acts «Led Zed», «Cream’d» and «Elvis Brettini» but was eagerly looking forward to day 2.

It is also worth mentioning that across all venues, the stewards and marshals did a first rate job, never more so than at the end of the day when the huge crowds dispersed and were safely routed away from the venues to the chosen route home.

There was only one place to be for the first gig on Monday and that was the Tunnel stage again to kick off at 11.00 with «Elevation», a local U2 tribute. Despite the early hour and no previous warm up, they kicked off with an explosion of faithfully reproduced U2 music, «Desire», «New Years Day», «Beautiful Day», etc. A fantastic audience sang all the way through most of the songs, culminating in «With or Without You» and «Still Haven’t Found….» Clearly a band who will be welcomed back time and again, I couldn’t help but thinking that they deserved to finish the day rather than start it.

After that, I paid my first visit to the Superlambanana stage at the top of Hatton Gardens. On Sunday, this stage had been labelled as «Pub Rock» and I hadn’t seen any of the acts, but Monday was labelled «Blues and Soul» and this was like a magnet to me! I arrived there in time for «The Sensations», billed as a «Soul Tribute» act. To be honest, they were simply a cabaret type group of one young lad and three girl singers, backed by a decent enough band. Trotting through some Motown standards they were OK, but I got the impression that the next night they would be playing at Butlins.

So I followed this with a stroll along Tithebarn Street to see «Square One», playing Coldplay music. I don’t know a lot about Coldplay but I do know that my children think they’re good, so decided to stay and watch. If I didn’t like them, I was ready to stroll around the corner to the Water Street stage to see «Dusty», the lady who recently won «The One and Only» show on TV. She was appearing on the «Divas» stage and was following «Cher», «Elton» and «Tina Turner», all the artistes from the same TV show.

But the young lads of Square One came up with the goods and kept a large audience, with a wide age range, very well entertained with some really good music. These were young, local lads and once or twice simply shouted out to the audience «What do you want to hear», and played pretty much all the requested songs. As I said, I’m not big on Coldplay but these lads were good.

By the time they’d finished, the Motown magnet was pulling me back and so I went back to the Superlambanana in time to see what was clearly a touring show, firstly with two young girls labelled «the Supremes», although they also sang some Martha Reeves songs, followed by «The Temptations and Four Tops», five American men who didn’t look like or particularly sound like either of the groups.

The girls who did the Supremes sang pleasantly enough although they seemed to be interested on having a laugh with each other and the second act sang well enough although at least one of them was out of tune. But the «Huggy Bear» type lead singer kept the crown entertained and I suppose on balance they were OK. The backing band to both artistes was worthy of mention with a four man brass section producing some really good sounds.

And so as the day moved towards and end, it was back to the Tunnel stage to see «God Save The Queen», The word spreading around town was that this was the band to see, and it was clear by the massive crowds that everybody had paid heed. The compere informed the audience that this band was from Argentina but included one local lad (strange?) and the tuning of the instruments, producing some very «Brian May»-like sounds, already had the crown chanting.

Then before you knew it, on came Pablo Padin, aka Freddie Mercury. Now this guy had his act off to a T. He looked like the man, sang like the man and strutted the stage like the man. It might sound a little cheesy, but it really was like being at a Queen concert. He had the audience eating out of his hands, screaming, singing, dancing and clapping along to all the old favourites. They even did a version of «Bohemian Rhapsody» which was just sublime and proved that Pablo/Freddie could play the piano as well.

The end of the show came all too quickly and Pablo’s reappearance in a crown and wearing an ermine cloak sadly wasn’t the prelude to an encore, just him taking a well-earned bow. But I have to say – if you ever get a chance, go and see this band! Incidentally, the compere advised the crowd that the band were playing again that night at the Cavern! Quite what they would be like with their explosion of sound in such a small venue is beyond me!!

And so the show and the festival was over for another year. I hadn’t had a chance to see tribute bands to Bowie, The Smiths, Blur, Amy Winehouse, Kaiser Chiefs and many, many more, neither had the opportunity arose to get down to the floating stage at the Albert Dock, where the 40th Anniversary of the UK release of «Hey Jude» was to be marked by the «Hey Jude sing-a-long», led by the 3000 participants of the World Fire Fighting Games, which also took place in the city over the weekend!

I went home with not much voice left, aching legs from all the walking, dancing and jumping but having spent very little money as all of the events were totally free. I am already looking forward to next year’s event and thinking that some more detailed event planning on my part will be needed to ensure I see all the top acts…but accepting that I’ll never get to see them because there are too many bands playing in too many places. And that can only be a good thing.

All I can say to you all is that if you weren’t there, you really missed it this weekend.

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Chicharito Hernandez – Top 10 Reasons Why He Is Better Than Rooney

Wayne Rooney has not done much to be a footballing icon. His actual skill with the ball has never been of the highest level. It’s time for the charade to stop. Luckily for Manchester United fans, Chicharito Hernandez is the hope that we’ve all been waiting for. At 22, he’s faster, hungrier, and is not prone to marriage scandals. And those reasons alone, despite his lack of experience, and having less championships to his name, Javier Hernandez is already better than Wayne Rooney, and more important to United.

10. Chicharito is a Bachelor

Hernandez is 22 good-looking (kind of resembles Kuno Becker’s character from Goal, Santiago Munez). He’s not dumb enough to get married just as he’s becoming one of the most popular footballers in the world. In fact he is still in college taking online courses. It shows more character to intelligently remain with his long time girlfriend, Lety Sahagun. They’ve has a 2 year relationship which is pretty traditional. Far from the cheat repeatedly with prostitutes, and lie about it, habits of other superstar players..

Even Cristiano Ronaldo has enough sense to stay a bachelor and paying off the girls he impregnates. Rooney’s personal problems have unfortunately have a lot to do with his current decrease of level of play. And it’s not the first time.

9. Chicharito Is More Humble

Chicharito Hernandez has been know through out the years for being one of the most humble players in Soccer. He still lives with his parents (they move to England with him, including his grandparents) he has online college classes and is a very well rounded individual. This stability at home with his family has undoubtedly has helped his career.

He has also stayed aways from drug and alcohol scandals (even though he was one of the players fined for having a party where there were allegedly prostitutes involved with the Mexican national team). He seems like the type of player who is centered and his personality and humble nature will keep him from trouble and keep his head in the game. Something Rooney has had a lot of problems with as of late

8. Marketability

Javier Hernandez is not only young and handsome, but he has a great personality and is very likable. Javier Hernandez at this point has more potential in marketing as Wayne Rooney does. Hernandez represents a sector of the world with little or no connection to English soccer, which presenting a unique marketing opportunity to United’s globalizing brand.

After Chicharito’s signing with Manchester United, the official website received over 50,000 new members from Latin america and the united states. Chicharito Hernandez is one of those players that we love to see succeed and it represents a great opportunity for monetizing that success for Manchester united.

Rooney was marketable at one point, but his recent scandals and poor performances and making it harder and harder each day for him to have the marketability that Chicharito is capable of achieving at this point.

7. Love For The Game

Now, there is no real way of anyone quantifying how much someone loves something, but you can look at peoples body langues and attitudes towards something. And Chicharito’s love for the game and the joy he gets from playing is obvious when you see him play. Chicharito plays with the same joy and happiness we all did as kids and it come through.

Rooney seems colder and doesn’t seem to enjoy the beautiful game as much as Chicharito.

6. The World Cup Chicharito

Not having played a full match at the world cup Chicharito still managed to have a breakout performance scoring 2 goals. 1 against France and the second against Argentina. Rooney played about 4 times as much as Chicharito and had a less than average performance.

The world cup also showed us that Chicharito is capable of playing against the big teams in the world, in the biggest stages in the world and not break with the pressure, it actually seems to making him better. Chicharito in the month prior to the World Cup and since the World Cup he has scored against these powerhouses Netherlands, France, Argentina, and Spain… not to include smaller sides such as Bolivia, Gambia among others.

All the world cup did for Chicharito was to display his ability to score on tough games, and all it did for Rooney was to show us that he is not player he once was… or thought he was.

5. Hunger to Succeed

Chicharito is one of the Hungriest players in soccer today. At this point he has nothing more than potential and great skill. But his hunger to succeed is what has brought him this far in such short amount of time. Unfortunately for Wayne Rooney he no longer has potential, and what is infinitely worse for a competitive athlete, it seems that Rooney has lost his hunger to succeed.

4. Dinero! (Money)

Everyone knows money is the fuel that drives most clubs’ decisions, making this the number one reason Hernandez, not Rooney, is United’s future first striker.

Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly very marketable, but his own image has long since surpassed his footballing ability. In other words, it’s a seller’s market. After winning little with an incomplete and aging squad, United should be able to garner around £50m for Rooney next offseason. Which is a lot more than he’s worth. United could buy several younger, better players with that money as Chicharito assumes the forward-running striker role for many years.

Hernandez is quickly becoming a hero for Mexico, naturally displacing the aged Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Rafael Marquez. Furthermore, his best years are ahead of him instead of behind him. Mexico is crazy about soccer, yet remains untapped by European clubs. It’s a completely new marketplace of opportunity for United, and they know it.

Most casual United fans, even those that occasionally buy jerseys, will be interested in anyone who plays striker for United, as long as he’s good enough. Hernandez is better than Rooney, in addition to having stronger character, being more consistent, better-mannered, and a far less hesitant star

Chicharito Hernandez is Manchester United’s emerging star who, despite being worth less on the transfer market, is already better than Wayne Rooney, certainly on current form. Yet, Chicharito still can grow and get a lot better, instead of the Rooney who, after now looks like a 40-year-old drunken sailor, much like he appeared in the Nike write the future commercial.

3. Style

Wayne Rooney is a midfielder playing forward. His best attribute is being a train-like tackler rather than a finesse finisher. Rooney has a great long ball as well as a great driven passes through the middle. Unfortunately he plays in a position that requires him being the receiver, not the passer. He loves to drop deep and track back, two tendencies which are fine in, but can be counter-productive to the larger picture when he’s playing as the lead forward.

As a more direct striker, Hernandez fits United’s scheme better, complementing striker partner Dimitar Berbatov’s creative style. The Bulgarian takes more joy in the final pass than scoring the goal itself. Chicharito supplements this perfectly, having the speed and inclination to be the first man darting into the box once his side opens up opposing defenses.

Rooney and Berbatov, though, often get their lines crossed, as both may abandon forward and drop deep; one out of frustration and impatience, the other from penchant and necessity. Hernandez is a more suitable to Berbatov’s and quite simply plays more like a striker than a roaming Rooney.

2. Quality

Rooney has not met his goal-scoring expectations. His goal tally averages to 13 each season on one of the world’s most dominant football clubs. Many resulted more from finishing a team-worked attack than creating through personal brilliance.

His current striker partner Berbatov is wiry, but shrugs off defenders easily because his body control and balance are both impeccable. Wayne usually fires himself like a freight train between or through defenders, using blunt-force trauma over agility, and can only rarely create by himself running at anyone.

Running is Hernandez’s specialty. The Mexican was the fastest player in the World Cup according to FIFA. Their guns clocked him running at almost 20 MPH. That’s one asset Rooney no longer shares and perhaps the single most important attribute of a through striker. Hernandez also shows a decent turn with his back to goal and an ability to finish with both feet. He is taller than Rooney and jumps higher.

With speed, athleticism, ambidexterity, and prowess, he has raw natural ability upon which more skill will continue flourishing, besides being the more effective of the two players on current form.

1. Potential

Rooney having played eight full seasons in the EPL is a very old 25. The period when most of his improvement would have occurred is over. Wayne hasn’t added or changed his game for the better in several years. In fact, he’s picked up some bad habits, losing the abandon and naivete that actually helped his earlier style.

Hernandez, a much fresher 22, has only begun to mature. The Mexican international has netted against Spain, France, and Italy, among others, this year. He plays happy, as opposed to Rooney, and shows none of the stress and disturbance than mars Rooney’s displays. Hernandez might already be better than the Englishman. At the very least, though, he has plenty of growth ahead of him during which to prove it.

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Football Betting Tips For Beginners

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and as a result many people bet on it. If you are a beginner and you want to bet on the world’s famous sport, here are tips that you should put into practice for you to be successful:

Bet what you know

While there are some betters who are gamblers and fans second, you should not be like them. As a beginner you should start betting on sports that you know something about.

For example, if you have been following Manchester United Football Club for a long time, you should start by betting on it before you move to other teams.

Time your wagers cautiously

In sports betting, odds fluctuate within a very short time; therefore, you should be very cautious. For example, the odds can fluctuate as a result of player injuries, breakthrough performances, and even as a result of action of other gamblers.

To be successful you should place your bets at the right time when you are more likely to make a profit.

Diversify your accounts

Online sportsbooks have different specialties. For example, there are books that specialize in European soccer leagues and others that specialize in the African league.

For you to get the most you should open accounts with multiple books so that you can have more options in terms of odds and the number of games that are available for betting. Having many accounts also makes it easy for you to shift your bankroll.

Make use of the customer service

Legitimate online bookmakers have well trained and professional customer service representatives who handle issues on behalf of the company. If you have any questions or problems, you should not shy away from contacting your bookmaker.

The good side is that there are many ways of contacting the customer service representatives. For example, you can contact them via phone, email, or live chat.

Start with simple bets

As a beginner you should stick to the basics and avoid complex issues such as between props, teasers, grand salami, and others. As rule of thumb you should start with basics.

Starting with simple bets protects you from losing money. The practice also gives you a strong foundation and you are able to learn how to bet like a pro within a very short time.

Take advantage of betting forums and message boards

These places have plenty of information that can be of great help to you; therefore, you should participate in them.

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Gordon McQueen – The Manchester United Giant

The enmity between Manchester United and Leeds United may very well originate from the War of the Roses, but in soccer terms the Roses rivalry started back in the swinging sixties 1960 when Leeds United were led by Don Revie and Manchester United by Sir Matt Busby.

Kilbirnie born Gordon McQueen began his soccer career at St. Kilbirnie. Mirren who signed him as a 18 year old. Impressed by the hard working youngster, Leeds United manager Don Revie eventually lured him to the high flying Yorkshire club for £ 30,000 in 1973. The Scottish stopper quickly managed to establish himself in the first team at Elland Road and he was a regular member of the vastly talented Leeds United side that went on to win the League Championship in 1974. However, following Revie's departure to manage the England team, Leeds were declining and hatred between the Elland Road players started to bubble over.

Brought to Manchester Utd by new manager Dave Sexton for £ 495,000 in February 1978, the Scotland international became one of the first well known Leeds United players to sign for the Lancashire club. At Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen linked up with former Elland Road team mate Joe Jordan who had made the switch from Leeds United to Manchester United only a few weeks before. Evidently, Leeds United selling two of their biggest stars to old rivals Manchester United did not go down well with the Elland Road faithful. Incurring the wrath of the Leeds supporters, the two players were targeted with booing every time they were appearing against their old club.

While at Old Trafford, Gordon McQueen helped Manchester Utd win the FA Cup final in 1983 after a replay against Brighton and Hove Albion. A rough and rugged player, McQueen went on to make a total of 184 first class appearances for the Reds. The blond giant stayed at United until 1985 when he finally announced his retirement from the game because of persistent injuries.

Eventually going into soccer management, he took over the helm at Scottish club Airdrieoninans in 1987. Known for his brilliance in the air, Gordon McQueen won 30 full caps for his native country after making his first appearance for Scotland against Belgium in 1974.

"But Manchester United are Manchester United. They are the bigger of the two clubs, and always will be. Even going from a place like Leeds, with all their household names, you noticed a huge difference. Manchester United weren't the best, but they were the biggest. " Gordon McQueen quote.

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Ed Hardy Flats – Super Stylish Ballet Flats For Women

In the fashion world, 2009 could easily be called, «The year of Ed Hardy»!  Ed Hardy Flats are no exception to this – they now are available in several different styles.  As long as you love the bold fashionable looks offered with this brand, there is likely one of these that you will love:

Chelsea – These flats have a quilted patent faux leather upper, each color having a distinctly different selection from the Ed Hardy prints.  Not only are the prints bold and gorgeous, there is a shimmery toe cap on the front of the shoe as well as a shimmering strip on the heel to truly set off the colors on the remaining part of the shoe.   Lovely!

Twisty – These have a similar general look to the Chelsea, however the toe cap is made from a solid color suede rather than a shimmering fabric.  The «Ed Hardy» logo is across the right side of the toe cap.  These flats have a more feminine appearance being closer to a pastel general shade and a fun bow tie on the outside-front of the shoe.  Even though these are a bit more feminine than the style above, there is absolutely no lack of bold patterns and style.

Sin City – Rather than having prints to set this style apart, these shoes feature bold silver studs on the left and right sides.  Colors are solid – there are some gorgeous bright shades to choose from as well as solid black.  The famous signature logo is printed on the sides of the shoe in the front.

Eye Candy – These truly live up to their name in terms of appearance!  They are absolutely gorgeous and are available in several colors and prints.  Suede toe cap with signature on the side – very colorful with bold and striking patterns.  However – from the reviews I have seen with these shoes there is a problem with the back of the shoe rubbing and being less than comfortable and more difficult to wear than the other shoes listed above.

There may be other Ed Hardy Flats in the months to come, but these four styles are perfect for ladies who love a style that could be said to be «out of the fringe»!

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Improve Your Fastball by Throwing Slower

If you have a good fast ball, by that I mean you can throw it consistently for strikes with some velocity; it's time to add another pitch. The Change Up is the pitch. The Change Up, once mastered, will make your fastball seem faster, give you an edge that every pitcher is looking for, and give you two pitches that are the only two pitches a young pitcher needs on the mound.

The change up is a fairly simple pitch to learn but must be thrown regularly by most pitchers in order to learn how to control it. The thought behind a Change-up is that it is just that, a change of pace. After you have established your fast ball, you throw the batter a pitch that looks like it's a fastball but travels much slower. A batter looking for a fastball starts his swing earlier and will generally miss or be out in front and pull a well thrown Change Up. Your give the batter something else to worry about by adding this pitch to your arsenal. The more pitches you have command of the more of an edge you have on the mound. When a pitcher throws a change-up he does so with the same motion as he throws the fastball with.

The following pitches offer a good place to start for pitchers whether rookies or they have some innings over their belt.

Circle Change

A Circle Change is called that due to the grip a pitcher uses to hold the ball. The thumb and index finger come together and form a circle. The ball is gripped with the reaming three fingers and held slightly further back off the fingers than with the fast ball.

When throwing the circle change a pitcher uses the same arm motion and speed that they do when throwing the fastball. The grip is different and since it sits back in the hand a pitcher cannot get the same velocity on the ball. A well thrown Circle Change will come down and into right handed batters.

The Palm Ball

The Palm Ball is a pitch that as the name indicated is thrown with the palm of the hand. The pitch can be a more difficult pitch to throw for some pitchers. All four fingers rest on top of the ball across as with the four seam fast ball grip. The thumb is placed on the ball like a fast ball. The ball is held deep in the palm the hand. When delivering the Palm Ball a pitcher again uses the same motion as he does on the fast ball.

Another variation that is hard to master and can be called by different names calls for a pitcher to balance the ball between the thumb and pinkie, both digits are on opposing sides of the ball. The remaining middle three rest on top of the ball. It is best thrown with a stiffer wrist. Again it is hard to throw. One who masters this adds a nice pitch to their arsenal.

The Three Finger

A simple change up to learn. The first three fingers rest across the top of the ball, the thumb to the side. Again the pitcher throws the ball as he would a fast ball. Sometimes simple is best and this pitch is easier to throw for pitchers that have smaller hands.

There are many ways to throw a change-up. The trick is to try different grips until you find one that works for you. Try experimenting with the way you grip the ball across the seams. When thrown correctly you change the way the ball comes across the plate. Remember the following when practicing your Change up:

  • Know that you are throwing the pitch to catch the batter off balance.
  • Throw the ball with the same arm motion as your fastball
  • Experiment with grips until you find the one that is right for you.
  • Practice throwing it regularly.
  • A good Change Up improves your fast ball.

The Change Up is thrown to keep the batter off balance. A well thrown change up can be more devastating than a great fastball. I have seen pitchers throw their change up and mess up the swings of some of the best batters. You have to throw regularly to improve. Master the Change Up and you just improved your fastball by learning a slower pitch.

Coach Rogers has been coaching, playing, watching and umpiring baseball for more than thirty years.

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Stansted Airport London – An Independent Travellers Guide

Of London’s airports, Stansted Airport is furthest from the centre of London, nearly 40 miles. The airport is dominated by low cost budget airlines and in particular Ryanair and easyJet, Europe’s largest low cost airlines.

The overwhelming majority of flights are European or UK domestic flights.

The airport also has significant charter traffic, particularly for the British travelling on package tours to the sun.

The main intercontinental and state carriers like British Airways, Virgin, American and Singapore Airlines all use London’s Heathrow or Gatwick Airports.

The airport is an established airport but was relaunched 15 years ago with a brand new terminal and infrastructure, including a direct rail link and motorway to London. At first it was a white elephant but the emergence of the low cost budget carriers has transformed Stansted into one of the fastest growing airports in Europe in the last decade.

Today, full capacity of the main terminal is within sight and a new terminal and further out a second runway is planned.

There are no surprises with the terminal itself, all the standard facilities are in place including choice of foreign exchange, pharmacies, news stands etc. There is a good range of eating opportunities ranging from fast food and pub food through to sit down restaurants. In common with all airports run by BAA, the owner, there is a lot of luxury shopping outlets. But remember, the vast majority of flights from Stansted are within the EEC and do not qualify for duty free status.

It normally takes around 30 minutes from touch down to exiting customs with most flights if you have luggage. There is an airport information desk immediately outside customs and a desk for AirportCarz who have a monopoly on taxi services at the airport. Taking a taxi to London is only used by a very small minority of passengers because of the distance and expense.

If your destination is London, the quickest option is to take the Stansted Express train. The train station is underneath the terminal so you just descend to the platforms by escalators or lifts.

The Stansted Express takes 45 minutes to London’s Liverpool Street Station and runs about every 15 minutes during the day. Last trains are around midnight. The fares on the Stansted Express are expensive, well over $US40 for a single return fare. The Liverpool Street terminus is also not very convenient for most travellers, being sited in the middle of the financial district of London, 3-5 miles from most of the most popular hotel accommodation. The train stops at an intermediate stop called Tottenham Hale, 10 minutes before Liverpool Street, an interchange with the London Underground (Victoria Line).

Many of the airlines will sell tickets for the Stansted Express, some at a discount, before landing at Stansted Airport.

The budget transfer option into London is to take one of four scheduled coach services run by National Express and Terravision. There is a large, modern coach station in front of the terminal, adjacent to the rail station.

The cheapest option is the Terravision service to Liverpool Street Station, the same route as the Stansted Express. The price is about half that of the Stansted Express Train. Downside like all road based transfers is the London traffic, on a good day the coach will make it in about an hour. National Express run services about every 30 minutes to nearby Stratford Underground at a similar price.

The other route taken by the coaches is Stansted to London Victoria. Both have return fares around $US25. The Terravision service is non-stop, the National Express service makes stops through central London, many of them close to the major hotel districts. The National Express service is a true 24×7 service, the Terravision service only stops for a couple of hours early morning. Some of the highest frequencies are around midnight Stansted-London and very early morning London-Stansted for the first and last flights when the Stansted Express and London Underground have shut down.

Because of the sometimes extraordinarily cheap fares of Ryanair and easyJet a lot of transcontinental travellers have found it cheapest to fly into Heathrow and then complete their journey to their European destination using a low cost airline from Stansted.

National Express run shuttle services between Heathrow and Stansted from the coach station at Stansted. There are usually a couple of services an hour, the journey taking around 90 minutes (though delays on the motorway are almost routine at rush hours). The fare is not cheap either. The return fare is about $US50. It is cheaper to use the indirect National Express service to Stratford and then catch the London Underground to Heathrow, but less comfortable.

If you want to stay over at Stansted Airport before a flight there are plenty of options available. Like all airport hotels at London, room rates are normally much cheaper at weekends than mid-week. If you are transiting from Heathrow or Gatwick which have much fiercer competition, you will probably find rates more expensive at Stansted, particularly in the budget sector.

Immediately adjacent to the terminal is the luxury Stansted Radisson SAS, the only airport hotel where you do not need a hotel transfer vehicle. This is perhaps the most luxurious hotel and at weekends rates can be fairly competitive. The original luxury hotel at Stansted is the 4 star Hilton Hotel on the airport perimeter. The Hilton Stansted runs its own shuttle bus from the coach station about every 30 minutes.

In the immediate vicinity of the airport is an Express by Holiday Inn and a Best Western. The consistently cheapest option is the Days Inn on a motorway services area at the entrance to Stansted Airport. It provides no airport transfer facility itself though of course there are taxis and a local bus service.

Apart from the chains there are a lot of independent hotels in the vicinity. These feature hotels for all budgets and tastes, ranging from Country House Hotels, to pubs to traditional Bed and Breakfasts. The countryside around Stansted is surprisingly unspoilt and there is opportunity to stay in a traditional market town or coaching inn for example.

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Some Feasible Options for Stansted Airport Transfer

Stansted Airport, which is located roughly 48km towards the northeast of Central London, is a hub of low-cost European carriers. In terms of passenger traffic, it is the fourth busiest airport in UK after Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. The good thing about Stansted Airport is that it is extremely well-connected with Central London by means of several modes of transports. Let’s take a look at some popular airport transfer modes.

Car- Unlike Gatwick Airport, where parking is a costly proposition, Stansted Airport has several cheap parking lots in its vicinity. You can choose anyone of them to park your car safely. If you have to catch a crack-of-dawn flight, the most feasible option for you will be book a reasonably priced airport hotel. A majority of overnight hotels offer exciting parking packages that can help you to save a lot of money.

Taxi- Taxi is the most convenient way to get to London Stansted. There are more than 500 companies providing first-rate taxi services at Stansted Airport. For a standard taxi, you will have to spend anything between £80 and £100. It will take approximately one hour to reach Central London, depending upon the traffic condition and the time of the day. At a slightly higher price, chauffeur-driven luxury taxis are also available. They are typically equipped with facilities as air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, Sat Nav, snacks, water, magazines and newspaper. You can book these taxis either by phone or by internet. If you have not been able to book the taxi in advance, don’t worry as it is possible to arrange for one at an appropriate desk at the International Arrivals Hall of the airport. Upon booking the taxi, the company will provide you the phone number of the driver. Use the number frequently to keep the parking charges to a minimum.

Bus- Terravision, Stansted Bus and easy bus are three major bus services that operate between London Stansted and Victoria Station and Liverpool Street Station. If you have time in hand, opt for easy bus. For as low as £2, you can reach Stansted Airport from Victoria Station. Terravision shuttle bus service is slightly expensive, but the time taken to reach the airport is lesser. The journey between Victoria and Stansted is completed in 75-minutes. However, the cost of the journey is £9.

Coach- Almost all major cities of UK are connected with London Stansted by long and short distance coach services operated by National Express. These coaches are available 24-hours a day, and they can be caught at various pick-up points.

Train- Beneath the terminal building of the airport, there is a station that is served by Stansted Express. Depending upon the time of the day, it runs every 15 to 30 minutes. In addition to Stansted Express, the station is served by other trains originating from Liverpool Station and the Midlands. If you book your train ticket in advance, you can save as much as 43 percent. This makes the train the cheapest mode of transportation.

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