Sunday, 29 July 2012

The BMW i3 concept car at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.

The BMW i3 concept car at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
BMW will sell cars over the Web for the first time as the world's largest maker of luxury vehicles seeks an inexpensive way to reach more buyers to recoup spending on its electric models.
A direct online sales platform for BMW's new I sub-brand will be unique in an industry where, outside of small-scale experiments, competitors leave Internet orders for cars to dealers. BMW's range of strategies for the models, including a roaming sales force backing a limited showroom network, reflects the challenge carmakers face as low-emission vehicles trickle into dealerships to sluggish demand after years of development.
"There is considerable risk in BMW's approach of promoting the I brand so prominently," said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Science in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. "There is the image risk, if they don't succeed as quickly as expected, and then there's the main risk of costs, which can only be countered with high deliveries."
BMW opened the I models' first showroom Tuesday in London, although only prototype cars and informational materials will be displayed at first because the vehicles themselves won't go on sale before next year. BMW is spending about $3 billion developing the i3 battery-powered city car and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar, according to an estimate by Frost & Sullivan. Industry sales of electric cars last year, at 43,000 vehicles, were only 57 percent of the 75,000 deliveries predicted by Sarwant Singh, a London-based automotive partner at the consulting company.

Starting prices posted

The four-seat i3, scheduled to reach the market in late 2013, will be priced at about 40,000 euros ($48,500), Bratzel estimated. That compares with a 23,850-euro starting price ($29,388) in Germany for the 1-Series, the cheapest BMW-brand car. The i8, targeted for sale in 2014, will cost more than 100,000 euros ($123,221), according to Ian Robertson, BMW's sales chief.
Details of how I-model buyers, the website and dealerships will interact are "still in the planning process" and will be communicated later, Linda Croissant, a spokeswoman at Munich- based BMW, said last week. Sales will be focused on the world's major urban areas, she said.
The online sales option is aimed at a generation of drivers used to making daily purchases over the Internet, and will be an extension of the car configuration that most automakers offer customers to view models with desired options such as interior colors, seat materials and roof styles.

Test drives not an option

The Internet platform may take a while to catch on because "many customers will still want to go somewhere to look at and drive the vehicle before buying," said Ian Fletcher, an auto analyst in London at research company IHS Global Insight.
"With new technologies, there may be even greater skepticism about buying a car over the Internet, as in many cases you'll have to win the confidence of customers that it works and there is support for them," Fletcher said in an email.
The setup may help BMW reduce expenses: Internet sales require less than half the cost of distributing through a dealership, according to Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. That allows online car prices to be 5 percent to 7 percent less than showroom tags.
Still, BMW sees standard dealerships as "the backbone of what we are doing in the interface with the customer" for the I models, Robertson said in June at a press presentation at the sub-brand's Park Lane showroom in London.

Dealer selection criteria

Outlets will be restricted to dealers with high BMW-brand sales volume who have floor space as well as capacity to work with I models' powering technology and carbon-fiber body material, Robertson said. The carmaker has chosen 45 of its approximately 200 dealers in Germany to sell the i3 and i8, a ratio that will probably be similar elsewhere, he said.
Dealers will be designated as agents for the I models, which provides an "advantage" by keeping the vehicles on the carmaker's books, the association of BMW distributors in Germany said in an email.
Electric vehicles' disadvantages versus conventional cars include costly battery packs, limited ranges and the time needed to recharge. Consumer reception to models like the Nissan Motor Co.'s Leaf and General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt has been tepid.
"Currently available electric cars have a limited market success because they are a big compromise," said Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Credit Suisse AG. "Customers are not willing to compromise and spend a lot of money."

Carbon fiber bodies lighter

BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer started Project I at the end of 2007 as tighter emissions regulations threatened the viability of sporty sedans. BMW chose to create all-new vehicles that use expensive carbon fiber for a lighter body to make up for the weight of the battery system.
The approach contrasts with a decision by Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz Cars division to convert existing models, such as the van-like B-Class or two-seat Smart, to electric power.
To make its electric vehicles more attractive, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler's Smart brand offers to lease the battery separately from the car. The automaker has a target of selling more than 10,000 of the models next year, with a starting price of 18,910 euros plus monthly battery rental at 65 euros.
The I models' new technology poses risks for BMW, "but they have no choice if they want to keep their premium and image as an innovation leader," Ellinghorst said.
The i3 and i8 will probably be among BMW's lowest-selling models through 2024, alongside the existing Z4 roadster, according to IHS estimates. In 2014, the first full year of production, BMW will probably deliver 31,380 i3s, compared with 564,760 of the best-selling 3-Series model and 18,101 Z4s, a study by the research company shows.
BMW's stance is that the models should produce earnings from the start, sales chief Robertson said.
"We clearly, as a company, go into any product launch with the view of making profit, which is no different with the I brand," Robertson said. "This is a car line just as every other car line, and we intend to make profit from Day 1."




Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, 26 July 2012

property marbella, marbella apartmentsThe Spanish region of Valencia is followed by the Region of Murcia, among the Spanish regions is expected to seek support from the recent government rescue fund. The region of Murcia could be the next region in Spain to turn to Spain’s central government.

.
The region of Murcia government Ramon Luis Valcarel was asked about the Murcia region intends to seek support and said “of course” and added that he hoped the money would be available in September.
.
He said the Murcia region will likely have to seek the support of the order of 200-300 million Euros, but he did not know exactly yet.
.
According to Bloomberg News wrote to the Spanish newspaper El Pais at the weekend that six regions may seek Spanish aid. According to reports, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Castile-La Mancha, Murcia, the Canary Islands and possibly also of Andalusia have difficulty obtaining funding, and some of the regions are studying the possibilities to seek support from the Spanish government rescue fund.

.

All regions of Spain during the last 10-15 years building between 2-3 million new properties with buildings and businesses have borrowed so much money over the years so hårtransplantation that now they are sitting with large debt and spending that they can not pay. In Andalucia are Marbellaone of the municipalities that built a lot of Marbella apartmentsMarbella villas and property Marbellathat is now in financial trouble.

Paper Passion, a scent from Geza Schoen for Wallpaper* magazine, makes its wearers smell like freshly printed books. I suppose it can be alternated with "In the Library," a perfume that smells like old books.

Paper Passion fragrance by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, and Wallpaper* magazine, with packaging by Karl Lagerfeld and Steidl.

“The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Karl Lagerfeld. 

It comes packaged with inside a hollow carved out of a book with "texts" by "Karl Lagerfeld, Günter Grass, Geza Schoen and Tony Chambers."

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Guadalhorce Hospital has been completed in Cártama on the Costa del Sol, but it has been empty for several months with no opening date planned.

To continue installing the equipment in the hospital it has to be accepted as meeting requirement, and to show that hospital is as planned, but for that to take place it must be connected to the electricity supply.

The problem is that will cost two million €, although the originally quoted price was 300,000 €, to install the electrical connection required. Endesa say the problem is that to supply the hospital an electrical substation at Villafranca del Guadalhorce will have to be expanded.

Cártama Town Hall has said they cannot meet the extra cost, which has put the budget up five fold. Mayor Jorge Gallardo says he thinks the electricity company is ‘making the most of the circumstances’. 

However the Junta say they think the 2 million bill should be met by the Town Hall. They say the electricity contract was undertaken by Cártama Town Hall.

The Guadalhorce Hospital has been built thanks to an agreement between the Málaga Diputación, the Junta de Andalucía and the Cártama Town Hall, to give the district its long-wanted hospital. Many foreigners live in the inland area and have complained about the time to get to a hospital in Málaga.

 

Forest fires in the county of Alt Emporda, in north-east Catalonia, on 22 July 2012Officials say the flames have been fanned by strong winds

Forest fires raging in Spain's north-eastern Catalonia region have left three people dead, officials say.

Two French nationals drowned in the sea close to the border with France while trying to escape the flames, Catalonia's interior minister said.

Strong winds gusting up to 90km/h (55mph) have rendered one fire "out of control", he said.

All residents of the county of Alt Emporda - about 135,000 people - have been ordered to stay indoors.

The area is a main link for holidaymakers travelling to and from southern France. Traffic on the cross-border AP-7 motorway was reported to have been severely disrupted on Sunday.

Cardiac arrest

The two French victims were among several people who were trapped by fire as they travelled along the N-260 main coastal road near the town of Portbou and tried to reach the sea by climbing down cliffs, according to Catalan Interior Minister Felip Puig.

Map

The victims were a 60-year-old man and his 15-year-old daughter, Spanish media reported.

A 75-year-old man died after suffering a cardiac arrest in Llers, north-west of the area's main town, Figueres.

At least another 19 people have been wounded, including a French national who suffered burns on 80% of his body when he was caught in his car by the flames.

The fire near Portbou has been brought under control, according to media reports, while a much larger blaze further inland, around the border town of La Jonquera, was still spreading late on Sunday, Felip Puig said.

The fire, travelling at about 5-6km/h, came within 10km of Figueres, Mr Puig said.

A total of about 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) of forest are estimated to have been devastated in the area, according to the authorities.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network. James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer. He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy". According to Henry's research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier. The detailed analysis in the report, compiled using data from a range of sources, including the Bank of International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund, suggests that for many developing countries the cumulative value of the capital that has flowed out of their economies since the 1970s would be more than enough to pay off their debts to the rest of the world. Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests. Once the returns on investing the hidden assets is included, almost £500bn has left Russia since the early 1990s when its economy was opened up. Saudi Arabia has seen £197bn flood out since the mid-1970s, and Nigeria £196bn. "The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says. The sheer size of the cash pile sitting out of reach of tax authorities is so great that it suggests standard measures of inequality radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor. According to Henry's calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people, or 0.001% of the world's population – a tiny class of the mega-rich who have more in common with each other than those at the bottom of the income scale in their own societies. "These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become." TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Countries around the world are under intense pressure to reduce their deficits and governments cannot afford to let so much wealth slip past into tax havens. "Closing down the tax loopholes exploited by multinationals and the super-rich to avoid paying their fair share will reduce the deficit. This way the government can focus on stimulating the economy, rather than squeezing the life out of it with cuts and tax rises for the 99% of people who aren't rich enough to avoid paying their taxes." Assuming the £13tn mountain of assets earned an average 3% a year for its owners, and governments were able to tax that income at 30%, it would generate a bumper £121bn in revenues – more than rich countries spend on aid to the developing world each year. Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: "Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!" Much of Green's retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality. A spokeswoman for UK Uncut said: "People like Philip Green use public services – they need the streets to be cleaned, people need public transport to get to their shops – but they don't want to pay for it." Leaders of G20 countries have repeatedly pledged to close down tax havens since the financial crisis of 2008, when the secrecy shrouding parts of the banking system was widely seen as exacerbating instability. But many countries still refuse to make details of individuals' financial worth available to the tax authorities in their home countries as a matter of course. Tax Justice Network would like to see this kind of exchange of information become standard practice, to prevent rich individuals playing off one jurisdiction against another. "The very existence of the global offshore industry, and the tax-free status of the enormous sums invested by their wealthy clients, is predicated on secrecy," said Henry.


With a mane of blonde hair, endless legs and an impeccable pedigree, Cressida Bonas would certainly appear to be – as her friends suggest – ‘posh, pretty and perfect’.

And the 23-year-old model’s charms have not been lost on Prince Harry.

The Mail can reveal that the third in line to the throne has been kissing and cuddling up to Miss Bonas, the daughter of Sixties cover girl Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon.

Cheers! Harry keeps it together as he leaves the bash, surrounded by security, while Cressida Bonas left the event at 4.15am
Cheers! Harry keeps it together as he leaves the bash, surrounded by security, while Cressida Bonas left the event at 4.15am

Cheers! Harry keeps it together as he leaves the bash, surrounded by security, while Cressida Bonas left the event at 4.15am

On Wednesday night the pair went to great lengths to convince photographers they were not together – a tactic which, when it comes to the royals, is often the biggest clue that something is going on.

 

 

As well as boasting the ideal credentials to become Harry’s new princess, Miss Bonas bears an uncanny resemblance to the 27-year-old prince’s past amours, long-term girlfriend Chelsy Davy and last year’s summer fling, Florence Brudenell-Bruce.

Debutante: Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon in 1965

Debutante: Lady Mary-Gaye Georgiana Lorna Curzon in 1965

Indeed, like Miss Davy, whose seven-year relationship with Harry was often tempestuous, Miss Bonas went to Stowe public school followed by Leeds University.

She is a familiar figure in London’s upper-class social scene and as a teenager was labelled by society bible Tatler as ‘really pretty, really nice and absolutely obsessed with Eva Cassidy’.

Currently a model for luxury brand Burberry and an aspiring actress, she is said to be a ‘sweet, bubbly’ character and was introduced to the prince by her close friend, Princess Eugenie.

On Wednesday she joined Harry and his cousin for a party following the London premiere of Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, at the Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden – where they were at pains to walk in and out separately.

Miss Bonas was, however, quietly but significantly chaperoned by Harry’s best friend, Tom ‘Skippy’ Inskip.

When the pair arrived – separately again – at their second venue for the evening, Salon at Embassy Mayfair, Miss Bonas made a huge show of entering the Central London brasserie and nightclub with her arms around a handsome dark-haired decoy, who in fact was Eugenie’s boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank.

Inside the club, according to onlookers, it was not long before she and Harry ‘hooked up’ and were seen kissing in a corner.

Dressed in a clinging white dress and vertiginous heels, and with a plait in her hair, Miss Bonas left at just after 4am, jumping alone into a cab. Harry departed with his bodyguards just ten minutes later.

The liaison comes after the prince complained in a US television interview earlier this year that girls were put off by his title and indicated he was keen to settle down.

Miss Bonas is the daughter of four-times married and divorced Lady Mary, who was the It girl of her day.

Lady Mary – herself the daughter of pre-Second World War racing driver Earl Howe, a godson of Edward VII – has five children with three of her husbands. Miss Bonas was the product of her third marriage, to Old Harrovian Jeffrey Bonas, which ended in divorce in 1994.

Another of her daughters, Isabella – by her second marriage, to property magnate John Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe – was once falsely romantically linked with Prince William. She is currently engaged to Sir Richard Branson’s son, Sam.

Pedigree: Miss Bonas, left, with mother, sister Isabella and Isabella's father

Pedigree: Miss Bonas, left, with mother, sister Isabella and Isabella's father

Lady Mary was one of the most glamorous debutantes of her era, appearing in daring Sixties coffee table book Birds of Britain posing half naked and covered in engine oil as a nod to her father’s racing past. 

When asked last night about her daughter’s relationship with Harry, Lady Mary, who lives alone in a Chelsea townhouse, burst into giggles. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know anything about it,’ she said, amid further laughter.

A spokesman for Prince Harry, who hopes to return to Afghanistan as a helicopter pilot, declined to comment.




Friday, 20 July 2012

Afraid to fly? Can't get enough of planes? No matter your feelings about aviation, these retired jets make for a unique hotel experience. Rather than abandon out of work airplanes, these innovative hoteliers have transformed them from a means of transportation, into a destination in their own right.

airplanehotel02.jpg

Airplane Suite in Teuge
Teuge, Netherlands
Rates: From $461/night

The plane is an Ilyushin 18 and was built in 1960. In its first years, it served 
as a government plane for the DDR top dogs, including Erich Honecker. From 1964 to 1986 Interflug, an East-German airline company, used it for flights to countries like Cuba, Russia, China and Vietnam. The entire airplane has been converted into a single luxury suite for two guests. From your airplane suite, you will have a fantastic view of the 
platform and runway at Teuge airport.

More info and photos at Airbnb.

 

airplanehotel03.jpg

Costa Verde
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Rates: From $350/night.

We salvaged this airframe from its San Jose airport-resting place. We carefully transported the pieces on five big-rig trucks to the jungles of Manuel Antonio, where they have been resurrected into a unique jumbo hotel suite. Our classic airplane, nestled on the edge of the National Park in our Costa Verde II area, is perched on a 50-foot pedestal. At this height, you will enjoy scenic ocean and jungle views from the hard wood deck built atop the plane's former right wing.

 

airplanehotel04.jpg

Jumbo Stay
Stockholm, Sweden
Rates: From $52.32/night.

Jumbo Hostel is the world's first hostel housed in a Boeing 747. Stockholm Arlanda is the first facility in Jumbo Hostel chain. Night and day visitors will experience the unique feeling of staying inside a jumbo jet, retired and converted into a hostel and museum.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

tag heuer Tag Heuer Carrera Series, Luxury Watch Collection Tag Heuer Carrera Series Luxury Watch Collection leonardo di caprio Featured

Jack Heuer introduced the luxury Tag Heuer Carrera collection in 1964 and with almost one hundred years of experience beforehand, Tag Heuer had the expertise to make the perfect watch.

Named after the famous La Carrera Panamericana race, the watch is the essence of speed with its sleek style and automatic design.

The new collection has been released this year and has been endorsed by Leonardo DiCaprio. As a partnership they intend to benefit environmental charities such as The Green Cross.

This luxurious classic collection will not only look incredible on your wrist but aims to help environmental charities across the globe.

tag dicaprio1 Tag Heuer Carrera Series, Luxury Watch Collection Tag Heuer Carrera Series Luxury Watch Collection leonardo di caprio Featured

 

recreational island 0111 Luxury Floating Island   BMT Nigel Gee luxury island luxury floating island Henry Ward Helipad BMT Nigel Gee

The problem with being on the ocean is space is at a premium. Well thanks to Southampton based designers BMT Nigel Gee and recent design graduate Henry Ward that is no longer the case.

The Luxury Floating Island folds out to a floating platform and can be used for dancing, dining and entertainment and when you require it transforms into a private helipad.

After use the Island collapses down and is packed securely in the storage area. The Island was originally the final year project of Mr Henry Ward but BMT Nigel Gee managed to turn a concept into a luxury must have. The size of the Island when fully deployed is 10 metres by 8 perfect for those not so intimate parties.

.7553393 orig Luxury Floating Island   BMT Nigel Gee luxury island luxury floating island Henry Ward Helipad BMT Nigel Gee

 

recreational floating island by henry ward and bmt group zaxvu Luxury Floating Island   BMT Nigel Gee luxury island luxury floating island Henry Ward Helipad BMT Nigel Gee

“This project is a perfect match for BMT Nigel Gee”, comments Yacht Design Director James Roy.  “We recognise that creativity drives innovation and it is encouraging to see young designers such as Henry initiating ideas such as the Recreational Island.  We are strong believers in recognising that the creation and development of new ideas is best accomplished in a collaborative manner – bringing together unique capabilities to achieve the optimum result.”

Royal Malewane Bush Spa luxurious treatments 2 The Luxury Spa Award Winners 2012 Luxury Spas luxury spa awards holistic therapy Featured beauty treatments

If there is an award to represent the “bar of service excellence” in international spa service, The Luxury Spa Awards are it.  These prestigious awards are presented in various categories each year from thousands of online client ratings throughout the globe.

As the aesthetic and luxury industries continue to grow, competition for this international achievement gains in strength year on year.  Marinique de Wet, executive manager of the luxury spa awards stated: “The level of competition in 2012 were exceptional evident from the calibre of spas that were nominated by clients.  These spas stood up to the highest expectations and were tested by discerning spa-goers looking for the ultimate experience where only the absolute best is acceptable.” As well as raising benchmark for client service, the awards also aim to give recognition and thanks to the spa industry as a whole.

Winners included “The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina” in the United Arab Emirates who won the international award for the “Best Luxury Hotel Spa”.  This spa is conveniently located just a short stroll away from the sandy beaches of the Arabian Gulf.  It also has a direct link to the decadent Dubai Marina Mall.   Treatments at this salon for the face and body use only the most pure and organic Aromatherapy Associates essentials and NaturalBisse products.

Dubai The Luxury Spa Award Winners 2012 Luxury Spas luxury spa awards holistic therapy Featured beauty treatments

Other winners this year who took the idea of raising the bar of service excellence have achieved this on another level by offering their services in natural environments such as “The Grand Spa at Tabacon”in Costa Rica.  This top hot spring resort won the international award for the “Best Luxury Mineral Spa”. This spa provides treatments with a full view in open-air among lush gardens, tropical rainforest, hot springs and volcano as background. 

 tabacon The Luxury Spa Award Winners 2012 Luxury Spas luxury spa awards holistic therapy Featured beauty treatments

Similarly, the award for the “Best Luxury Safari” went to “Karkloof Wellness & Wildlife Retreat” in South Africa.  This spa is located in 3500 hectares of picturesque game reserve, in amongst the valleys, waterfalls and Acacias. The reserve is home to buffalo, black and white rhino, hippo and a variety of other wildlife, and roughly 300 bird species.

 karkloof spa sunrise villa1 The Luxury Spa Award Winners 2012 Luxury Spas luxury spa awards holistic therapy Featured beauty treatments

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Aman Spa London Aman Spa Mayfair, Luxurious New Escape In London Luxurious New Escape In London Featured Aman Spa Mayfair

This luxurious new spa lies in the heart of glamorous Mayfair beneath the Edwardian lobby of London’s Connaught Hotel. The Aman spa at the Connaught is the first Aman branded facility built outside one of the company’s hotel, the result of this separation is perfect relaxation and solitude.

The Aman Spa features five low-lit treatment rooms (one double and four singles) each containing a dressing area, a spa treatment area and steam shower as well as individual music systems. These personal areas ensure you escape and relax in your own perfect way.

The Aman Spa London 2 Aman Spa Mayfair, Luxurious New Escape In London Luxurious New Escape In London Featured Aman Spa Mayfair

An array of treatments are available to suit every guests needs from a range of holistic massages to healing therapies reflecting the renewing traditions of China, Thailand, India and the America’s. For a more in-depth session, The Aman Spa also offers a range of specialist complementary therapies such as reflexology, acupuncture and osteopathy.

The Aman Spa also offers a wide range of high-end beauty treatments, from relaxing facials to invigorating hand and foot care. For those looking for a more active visit, the Aman Spa also boasts a luxurious 60 square metre swimming pool and a highly equipped fitness studio.


 
Grabbing a cup of coffee
Description: Description: CF576CE06B56479DB8C5A48E42CA3BA9@HomeLT
  
Dining out at your favourite restaurant
Description: Description: 6903A9CEDEC24FE2BF0AD08A8938A39D@HomeLT
 
Spending some time at the museum
  Description: Description: 810C23D4F768471C975BAA3637C7E2F9@HomeLT
 
Meeting at a popular fast food centre 
Description: Description:   654B37223ED04EBEB25DD4F27DB38B76@HomeLT   
 
Relaxing at the beach
Description: Description: 3662D65E36084FE3B1DFB412B2301360@HomeLT   
Going to a game
 
Description: Description: 86E35EEDDDD8402D90B4DE9C978CB4BF@HomeLT 
 
   Going out on a date
Description: Description: E2E7E88F4CF34955A4CAA39B6C207ED2@HomeLT   
 
Taking a drive around town
Description: Description:   A68911474C964512942A7E70D8E5B158@HomeLT
  
I am thankful I belong to another generation  !!!!
 
“It’s become appallingly clear that our Technology has surpassed our Humanity” -- Albert Einstein

Oscar winners Steven Speilberg and his wife Kate Capshaw and family were joined by Daniel Day Lewis, his wife Rebecca Miller and their son Ronan for the three and a half hour gig.

The VIPs emerged from the Four Seasons hotel nearby and joined the 37,000 strong crowd walking into the RDS before taking their seats with members of the public in the stands.

Earlier in the day the ‘Schindler's List’ director joined pal and Wicklow resident Daniel Day Lewis in the Roundwood Inn for a spot of lunch. Day Lewis lives nearby on Annamoe with his family.

 

Emerging from one of four cars with blacked-out windows outside The Roundwood Inn, the 'Jaws' director (65) was accompanied by about 15 friends who are believed to have travelled with him to Ireland.

Spielberg and Day Lewis have recently worked together on Lincoln – a bio pic about the legendary US president which is tipped for Oscar glory on its release at the end of the year.




Friday, 13 July 2012

Tattoo
'It's wisest to pick someone whom you cannot break up with or divorce.' Photograph: Gary Powell/Getty Images

Tattoos are permanent reminders of temporary feelings – at least if you believe the report in Thursday's Daily Mail, which looked at "embarrassing" matching couple tattoos – designs that complement or complete each other across two, romantically involved bodies.

Yet there are millions of people who feel no embarrassment about the tattoos they share with their friends, lovers and even exes. Moreover, as with most perceived "new trends" in tattooing, this practice is one with a history far older than the current generation; it's a phenomenon that provides both an insight into human beings' fundamental relationships with their own bodies and the bodies and lives of those close to them.

 

Tattoos have been used as markers of association for probably as long as human beings have walked the earth, to mark tribal affiliations, regimental membership in the military, membership of fraternal orders such as the masons or US college Greek letter groups, and to signify gang membership.

The most common of these types of affiliative tattoos, though, is marking an attachment to a loved one. There's an old adage in tattooed circles that suggests getting your lover's name tattooed on you is a sure kiss of death for that relationship, and it's an old gag too: Norman Rockwell's famous 1944 Saturday Evening Post cover painting, The Tattooist, shows a salty sailor in the tattooist's chair, having yet another name added to an arm already full of the crossed-out names of past paramours. Even earlier, a cartoon in Punch from 1916 shows a "fickle young thing" – a well-turned-out young woman, as it happens – revisiting her tattooist to seek an amendment to the ornamental crest tattoo on her arm as she has, euphemistically, "exchanged into another regiment".

 

None of this seems to have affected the long-standing popularity of having names or symbols tattooed to commemorate couples' love and bond. Magazines in the 1920s reported the latest fad for newlyweds was getting matching tattooed wedding rings; preserved tattooed skins in the Wellcome Collection from the late 19th century feature names and portraits of lovers; studies of tattoos in the American navy in the 18th century reveal a large percentage of seamen of the period bore tattoos of the names of women; even Christian pilgrims in the 16th century were recorded to have borne the names of their wives on their skins, as tokens or identificatory marks; and records attest to romantic tattooing even in ancient Rome – St Basil the Great (329-380) is said to have condemned the tattooing of a lover's name that he observed on someone's hand. While I'd certainly never advocate getting a permanent mark of your relationship too hastily, it does seem that the instinct to inscribe a permanent token transcends the ages. Caveat amator.

 

Single tattoos that span multiple bodies appear to be a more recent phenomenon, however. In 1977, New York-based tattoo artist Spider Webb undertook what was probably the first conceptual art project to use tattooing, in a piece called X-1000, in which he tattooed single, small Xs on to 999 individuals, and, as a culmination, one large X on the final, 1,000th skin, conceived as one contiguous work. This tattoo, potentially spanning thousands of miles at any one time, was, Webb said, "the largest tattoo ever done at any point in history". In 2000, as the culmination to a performance art project begun in 1998 designed to highlight the horrific lives and plights of the homeless and hungry in Mexico City, Santiago Sierra produced his piece 160cm Line Tattooed on Four People, a single black line tattooed across the backs of prostitutes in exchange for wraps of heroin, as a symbol of their desperation, interdependence, and utter powerlessness. Sierra would later remark: "You could make this tattooed line a kilometre long, using thousands and thousands of willing people." In 2003, author Shelley Jackson famously published her short story Skin on the bodies of 2095, one tattooed word per person. These tattoos bring together strangers in common cause.

 

My favourite set of matching tattoos, though, are probably the ongoing collection of work worn by twins Caleb and Jordan Kilby, tattooed with matching work by influential and extraordinarily talented New York-based artist Thomas Hooper. If you must get matching tattoos with someone, it's wisest to pick someone whom you cannot break up with or divorce, and to get the work carried out by a tattoo artist who will produce a piece of work that will stand the test of time on its own terms.


Motors News

We're familiar with seeing tight leather on smoking hot women, and weird old men, but it's a first for us seeing a leather bound Ferrari F430.

There seems to be a lot of fuss over this leather bound Ferrari F430 in the UK with both The Sun and The Daily Mail reporting about it recently.

However, this isn’t a new car by any means as US motoring blog Jalopnikreported on the F430 way back in August last year. It’s a pretty cool, albeit manky, car so we thought we’d show you anyway.

It’s the work of a Latvian custom car company called Dartz who hit the headlines in 2009 when they created a $1.5 million ruby red SUV with whale foreskin-covered seats. Yes, foreskin…

Anyway, some high roller with more cash then sense decided it would be a great idea to cover his €170,000 Ferrari in dark leather.

The owner of Dartz, Leonard Yankelovich, said: "One of our very rich customers from the Cote d'Azur wanted a leather exterior and knew we could deliver.

"It took three of my staff 16 working days to apply the leather and finish. He was more than happy when he picked it up."

He won’t be too happy when he scratches it though.

Is this the most expensive way to ruin a Ferrari?

 To watch him panting after a spell up some twisty roads, you'd have thought he'd gone for some afternoon delight. It's the most breathless we've ever seen Mr. Harris, and for all the right reasons – perhaps it shouldn't be surprising when he's intentionally getting loosey-goosey in a coupe with an AMG-sourced twin-turbo V12 trying to put down 730 horsepower and 735 pound-feet of torque on some roads as thin as an olive branch.

He agrees with the recent review from EVO that the Huayra is truly sorted in the speed and suspension department, and he does decree the steering slow for the esses he's navigating, but unlike EVO, he loves the gearbox and he pulls off his review without any unfortunate squeaking.

And he loves the car. And its thrills. Check them all out in the video below.


If you tried to picture the world's most expensive car crash, you'd probably imagine a whole bunch of banged up Ferraris and Lamborghini supercars from the modern era, but in this case it's more about value than quantity.

In fact it was merely a two-car collision in which one of the vehicles was worth around $38.5m.

The car in question is an ultra-rare Ferrari 250 GTO that, according to reports, was crashed in France recently. Owner Christopher Cox, a businessman from the USA, was involved in an accident with another vehicle while en route to Le Mans while partaking in the 250 GTO 50th anniversary tour - an owners' event including Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer and avid Ferrari collector. 

It's not clear whether the vehicle was actually written off, nor whose fault it was, but given that the man's wife reportedly suffered a broken leg, it must have been quite a shunt. Some reports say the car was hit from behind while making a turn.

Cox's GTO had an estimated value of £20-million (NZ$38.5m). Another GTO, albeit one specifically built for Stirling Moss, recently sold for a record-breaking £22.7million (NZ$44.3m).

Cox's Ferrari was unusually painted in yellow and blue, rather than the traditional red, in honour of Swedish driver Ulf Norinder. It had been crashed before, by a previous owner in 1976, and depending the quality of repair, the latest accident shouldn't change the cars value as it is so incredibly rare.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Not too long ago, as I was putting the final touches on a client presentation, I stumbled across a surprising observation. The best insights in my report didn’t emerge in my office, during conference calls, or at meetings. They somehow appeared in the bathroom.

Research on the nature of creativity suggests my experience isn’t all that unique. Often, the most effective way of solving a difficult problem is simply walking away. The moment we allow ourselves to disengage from the individual pieces of a puzzle is the moment a solution appears. It’s why Albert Einstein regularly went sailing and why Charles Darwin planned his day around a countryside stroll. Thomas Edison simply napped.

In many ways, problem solvers are like artists. Taking a few steps back provides painters with a fresh perspective on their subject, lending them a new angle for approaching their work. Problem solving follows a similar recipe, but it’s not always the physical distance that we need. It’s psychological distance; mental space for new insights to bloom.

In a world where finding solutions makes up the crux of a typical workday, we are all artists. Cognitive artists. And to deliver our best work, we need revitalizing breaks. Distancing ourselves from our work grants us a broader view, activating a global perspective that precedes breakthrough.

So, why the bathroom?

If you’re like most office employees, access to sailboats, the countryside and a relaxing couch is in short supply. A walk to the bathroom is one of the few opportunities you have for disengaging, letting go of trivial details and refocusing on the bigger picture--even Steve Jobs recognized the bathroom's potential, insisting that Pixar only build two in its studios, to provide employees with maximum enforced mixing. Neurologically, it is during these moments away from your desk the right hemisphere of your brain comes to life, making you more appreciative of the forest and less sensitive to the trees.

While most of us give little thought to our workplace bathroom, there’s good reason to believe it can have an impact on the quality of the work we produce -- especially in organizations that rely on creativity and problem solving to stand out. Over the past decade, studies have shown that both our thoughts and behaviors are heavily influenced by our surroundings, in ways we often fail to recognize.

A few examples:

  • The sound of classical music makes consumers spend more money
  • The smell of cookies makes shoppers more likely to help a stranger
  • The sight of red hurts intellectual performance but improves physical performance

Psychological findings like these are now commonplace, pointing to one irrefutable fact: Our environment shapes our thinking in powerful ways.

Which brings up some intriguing questions: How can we make the most of our time away from our desks? Is there a way of designing bathrooms to make them more inspiring? And what can organizations do to maximize the insights its employees get out of each bathroom visit?

Recent research on the science of creativity provides some helpful suggestions.

Rethink Muzak

One of the ways we become more creative is by exposing our minds to a broad variety of stimuli. The wider the selection of information you mentally digest--whether it be foreign movies, experimental novels or exotic travel--the more remote associations you’ll have in your arsenal. Or, in laymen’s terms, the more creative you’ll be.

Hearing unusual music primes us to think different--inspiring ideas, emotions and experiences that increase the associations active in our brain.

Surprise The Senses

 Another creativity nugget: We tend to find more insightful solutions to a problem when we're in a good mood. One method experimentally proven for improving people’s moods is enjoyable scents. Positive scents don’t just make us feel better--they lead us to set higher goals for ourselves and experience a greater sense of self-efficacy.

Now, if you’re like most people, the restroom isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of positive scents, and partly that’s because of how hard custodians work to mask negative smells, leaving most bathrooms feeling like an assault on the senses. But in our case, that’s a good thing. It means the bar for surprising people with positive scents is that much more accessible. A few opportunities for enhancing the scent of a workplace bathroom: unusual soaps, exotic candles, and the hallway outside a bathroom, boosting people’s mood before and after a visit.

Encourage Mental Stimulation

Part of what makes bathroom visits a boon to creativity is that they represent one of the few times during the workday when our physiological attention is directed inward, mimicking the psychological experience of insight. But it’s not just inward attention that’s needed--it’s inward attention in the context of fresh ideas.

Think about the last time you saw graffiti in the bathroom. Chances are, not only did you read it, you probably thought about the person who wrote it, perhaps wondering what (the hell) was going through their mind. We can’t help but think about the things we see, but we can choose what we look at. Providing a diet of mentally stimulating material in workplace bathrooms can be done in a number of ways: posting unusual artwork, leaving out thought provoking magazines or using digital picture frames to keep the imagery fresh. The key is for the material to be stimulating and indirectly related to work you do.

Once upon a time, going to the bathroom was a distraction. Something that kept us from work; an unfortunate bodily shortcoming that compromised efficiency. But that world doesn’t exist anymore. Today, our economy is powered by an engine of insight. Creativity in the workplace isn’t a “nice to have”—it’s what keeps companies in business. Which is why it’s ironic that most office bathrooms offer a bleak and unwelcoming environment. One that discourages insight and implicitly chides us to get back to our desks.

There’s just one problem. Creativity doesn’t work that way.

And if the science has taught us anything about the creative process it’s this: Finding unexpected solutions often requires an unexpected approach. Why not start in the bathroom? 

The O2 mobile phone network crashed tonight leaving thousands of customers across the country cut off. Users were left stranded, unable to make or receive calls or send texts, as the firm - which has 23 million customers in the UK - said it did not know when the problem would be fixed. Some customers also had no internet access. O2, Britain's second-largest mobile phone operator, admitted it was unclear exactly how many people had been affected. It said ‘thousands’ may be experiencing problems. The problems began this afternoon for some mobile users, the network said. O2 are urging customers to check their Twitter and Facebook feeds for updates - but the company’s webpage which displays live information about network coverage crashed. A spokeswoman said the problem was not 'location-specific'. ‘The problem is an issue within part of our core network that is preventing some mobile phones from successfully connecting,' she said. ‘The problem is not location-specific. All possible resources across our and our suppliers’ engineering teams are being deployed to restore service as soon as possible.’ Thousands of angry customers took to Twitter to complain. BBC television presenter Huw Edwards (@huwbbc), tweeted: ‘6 hours of non-service and counting, simply not good enough, O2.’ One Twitter user, Kelly Jones (@kelly-92), tweeted: ‘Having a phone that hardly works usually is annoying, but this whole no signal on o2 all afternoon is beyond irritating.’

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cannes and Sundance are a little too highbrow for your tastes a new film festival launching in Minneapolis could be just the ticket. 

The Internet Cat Video Film Festival is being planned for August 30 on Walker Open Field.

While nominations are still open take inspiration from some of the contenders below that show cats in their element, showing off the finer side of being feline.

Scroll down for videos

Small fluffy kitten + tinsel on a stick = just the cutest game ever

Small fluffy kitten + tinsel on a stick = just the cutest game ever

 

This rather unique (and slightly bizarre) celebration of feline frolics is the first time a festival has been dedicated to kitties.

Organisers have clearly cottoned on to the cute cat craze sweeping the internet, with some clips being viewed by millions. 

 

 

More...

  • Man who left polygamist Mormon cult finds kitten encased in concrete in back yard 'as threat from sect leaders'
  • Survival of the fiercest: Wildebeest takes on 18ft killer crocodile... and there can be only one winner
  • Baby whale dies after getting separated from its mother during Alaska storm despite marine expert's round-the-clock battle to save it

 

Sensational videos of cats grooming, playing and generally just being too adorable for words have tugged at the nation’s heart strings.

So THAT'S why cats don't go bowling: Let's just say it didn't end well for this kitty

So THAT'S why cats don't go bowling: Let's just say it didn't end well for this kitty

 

Alien object: When you're this small even apples are frightening to behold

Alien object: When you're this small even apples are frightening to behold

 

All this cat needs do is cry loudly and her video is 'awww-ed' at by millions

All this cat needs do is cry loudly and her video is 'awww-ed' at by millions

Most recently Bub, a 'dwarf' cat with stubby legs and bulging eyes, became a major online hit.

 

She shot to fame after her owner dedicated a YouTube channel and Facebook page to her and it is not difficult to see why.

Born with several genetic mutations, Bub will remain looking like a kitten for the rest of her life.

And footage of her playing, running, even just purring, have had major success on the video-sharing website. 

Bub tucks into a yogurt: Who says you need to use a spoon?!

Bub tucks into a yogurt: Who says you need to use a spoon?!

 

This kitty has no tail but that doesn't stop her trying to chase it anyway

This kitty has no tail but that doesn't stop her trying to chase it anyway

Festival planners are accepting nominations for favourite videos, which can be submitted on the Open Field website. 

 

Nominations are limitless so if you can’t make up your mind just send in a few, then head on down on August 30 to see if any of the make the final cut or even win.

But hurry, submissions must be made by July 30, and there are so many to choose from!

Check out a few of MailOnline’s favourite kitty moments in genius cinematic form. What’s not to love?

Watch the videos here:

Categories

'Cheating' Chilean miner rescued (1) 'Codependency is not about a relationship with an addict (1) 000 inhabitants (1) A Pole Addict's 12 Step Program: Step 12 (1) ADDICTED TO LOVE (1) CONTINUE ENGAGING YOUR PRIMARY MATE (1) Celebs manage a quiet divorce (1) China’s aggressive new regulations aimed at cooling off the nation’s real estate market have led to the first decline in housing prices in 16 months (1) Courtney Cox was cheating (1) Depression (1) Hollywood ex-romance: Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan confirm their Split (1) INVEST IN A “PAY-AS-YOU-GO” PHONE (1) Jerry Hall former model and wife of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger (1) Joaquin Villanova (1) Juhu-based actress has lodged a case against her husband and his two brother-in-laws from his first marriage for cheating and threatening her. (1) Successful businesses must focus on relationship building (1) That was the best sex ever (1) Tiger Woods Tiger hole number 3 (1) What is Compulsive Sexual Behavior (1) as ‘outrageous’ for a municipality of 30 (1) but she didn't give up looking for me at just one strip club. (1) control battles take place (1) denounced the salary of the Mayor (1) has revealed her ex-husband’s addiction for poker and women. (1) husband was having sex with someone else (1) it is the absence of relationship with self (1) mood swings and irritability - these symptoms are more visible in men when they break up with their girlfriends. (1) signs of a cheating wife you can't ignore (1) “It was like she was stalking me. “She definitely knew who I was and wanted to meet me and talk things over (1)

Unordered List

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: The statements and articles listed here, and any opinions, are those of the writers alone, and neither are opinions of nor reflect the views of this Blog. Aggregated content created by others is the sole responsibility of the writers and its accuracy and completeness are not endorsed or guaranteed. This goes for all those links, too: Blogs have no control over the information you access via such links, does not endorse that information, cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided or any analysis based thereon, and shall not be responsible for it or for the consequences of your use of that information.

Blog Archive

Pageviews from the past week

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Members

Powered by Blogger.

Translate

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts

THE INTERNATIONAL MARBELLA SET

THE INTERNATIONAL MARBELLA SET

Popular Posts