Thursday, 19 February 2015

New Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

When I was told that a New Nintendo 3DS was on its way to us, we were all really thrilled, especially me! Abby has her Pink/ White 2DS, and Clay has conveniently stolen my Red/ White 2DS and called it his, so I was left with nothing to play with (I get a big reaction from either of them if I touch any one of the 2DS, it's outrageous!). Now I have my own, and with the improved 3D feature, I told them flatly that they aren't allowed to touch it, even though Abby is old enough for the 3D feature.

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

The New Nintendo 3DS (rrp £149.99, currently in Black or White) comes nicely boxed, with a manual pack and detached front cover plate in the same colour as the 3DS. The front cover plate can simply be clicked in place, although you'll need a small screw driver to remove the back cover plate. The extra security is to protect the micro SD card and the rechargable Li-ion battery (1400mAh) hidden underneath the back cover plate. For those without nails, you can simply use the back of the stylus pen to remove the plates (grooves are on the side of the plates).

The New 3DS doesn't come with the charger, which is exactly the same as the one for the original 3DS so you can either use your current one or you can simply buy one for rrp £6.99.

What's New:
I haven't played with the previous Nintendo 3DS before, so I can't really do a comparison review, but I have done some research and the difference are as follow:

- New C Stick (the grey button next to the A, B, X, Y buttons), ZL and ZR buttons (located next to the L and R buttons) expand the control options
- Replacable Cover Plates (rrp £12.99) for customisation (currently only available on New 3DS not the New 3DS XL)
- Improved CPU means faster download/ loading speed
- New 3D function uses inner camera for the 3DS to recognise player's face, automatically adjusting the angle to give the best 3D experience
- NFC function for amiibo (Nintendo character figures which you can place on the touch screen panel, making them interact in compatible games)
- Pictures taken have better quality
- Data can be transferred wirelessly to and from your PC

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Although not quite the right DS to use for comparison, I'm so happy to find out that my new 3DS screen is much bigger than the 2DS one that we are used to! And because it's foldable, it's much more compact as well. Having the new 3DS makes me realise as well that the 2DS is indeed lighter in weight, making them much more suitable for young children.

Nintendo New 3DS, #new3DS, Nintendo UK

Data Transfer:
The first thing I did was transferring the data from our Red/ White 2DS to the New 3DS. The ease of transfer is great for those who bought the New 3DS as an upgrade, but it also automatically reformat the 2DS after the transfer, and the lack of options means that I couldn't just transfer a couple of games I play and leave the rest to Clay. I would have preferred that Clay can play his games on the 2DS, which is more suitable for him to use and so that I don't have to share my New 3DS, but everything was under the same eShop account, which was also transferred to my New 3DS, so he kind of lost his favourite games. I have since bought him some other games but he is missing his games.

3D Feature:
The great thing about the Nintendo New 3DS, especially when you have young kids who knows how to turn it on, is that you can set a pin and every time you load a new game in 3D, it will ask for it. The 3D feature is not recommended for children under 7 years old, so it's important that Clay won't accidentally play a game in 3D.

When you first set up the 3D function, it calibrates the inner camera with your eyes, and it does so a few times with you looking at the screen from different angle and height, so that when you move while playing, the inner camera knows where you are and can adjust the 3D setting immediately to adapt to your eyes. It is really very clever as the game remains 3D to me unless I go out of range (as in really out of range).

The other day I tried to take the above picture, and I saw the game in 3D even through the camera (shame the camera couldn't take a picture of what I saw). When I removed the camera between me and the screen, the screen appeared just like in the picture, with shadows, but within a second or two, it re-adjusted to my eyes and I can see it as 3D again.

Another thing I think was really clever, is that part of the game (using my favourite Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Leaf as an example - the logo in the corner, the converation bubble and text, etc) appeared right on the panel of the screen. I'm guessing that these are not 3D as the camera didn't pick up a shadow for them like for the 3D graphics in the back. I'm guessing that these are in 2D graphics, and because it is displayed in the front of the screen panel (seriously just guessing, based on what my eyes see) they look much sharper and stood out the most. It also creates a further illusion of depth, making everything even more 3D!

The maximum 3D setting was a bit too much for me, so I was really glad that they have considered this and allow players to adjust the effects accordingly.

Overall I'm really impressed with the design. Love the feel of the New 3DS (compared to the 2DS), especially the buttons; it feels strong and sturdy, and I can finally play my favourite game in a whole new level! The only thing, if I must, is that I find the stylus pen fairly small (the one for the 2DS is great!), making me wonder how guys use theirs? However, the touch screen panel at the bottom is more responsive than the one for the 2DS (or maybe because the screen is simply bigger), so I managed to use my finger instead in many occasions.

The Nintendo New 3DS is compatible with all the previous 3DS and even DS games.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Crayola's National Doodle Survey - what is your child like?

Crayola Doodles Survey, what children's doodles mean, children personality

It's safe to say that a person's personality is partly developed pre-birth (they were born with it) and partly developed during their upbringing (influenced by others including parents/ caretakers and peers). We can see a lot of us in Abby and Clay, yet they are so different. With Clay, we can still see much of his own personality, but Abby is definitely turning more and more like her friends and *ehem* me (feeling guilty).

Before she started Reception year, she was quite different, and now I find myself often wondering whether we and her peers have helped her develop her true personality, bringing it out from the little shy toddler, or have we changed her into someone she wasn't by planting new behaviour into her?

I'm obviously not the only person who's curious about this, as Crayola has recently commissioned a survey with the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), to find out what young children's doodles tell about their personality. The survey is focused on doodles from 800+ children in nurseries across the UK aged between 18 months to 36 months, which is the age group where children aren't as affected by others yet ("true colours", "still who they are" came to mind). Their doodles were analysed by a leading UK Graphologist Elaine Quigley (past chairman of the British Institute of Graphologists), who was able to draw out key observations on each child (e.g. stressed, confident, happy, etc).

While they observe what the children's characters are like, they also found some interesting results:

- 68% of all children who chose Purple Colour are girls, and around 31% are boys. (purple often means bossy or confident to call the shots)

- 72% of all children who chose Blue Colour are boys (blue is widely associated with sociability)

- Equal number of boys and girls chose Red Colour as a favourite (can mean activeness and energy, but can also indicate a prevalence of stressed out children in nurseries)

- Regional variations highlighted that East Anglian children were the happiest in the UK, with over 24% of them choosing to doodle in Yellow Colour, indicating a sunny disposition.

The findings are really interesting, so I thought I'd get Clay to doodle and show us whether he is what we think he is (a happy, cheerful little person!).

Crayola Doodles Survey, what children's doodles mean, children personality

As we weren't part of the survey, we can't really tell what Clay's doodles is telling us about him, but his colour choice Orange more or less told us that he is indeed a sunny character with lots of energy (unless orange means something completely different than a bit of red and yellow!)

I haven't done this "test" on Abby as her choices are already influenced by us and her peers, but her choice of Blue and Purple isn't very far off from the personality she is showing us!

For hidden meanings from our daydreaming doodles (random drawings, or when you are waiting on the phone), I have written a blog post back in 2013 that shows some really interesting findings as well!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Kitchen Trolley from Trueshopping

Kitchen Trolley, Trueshopping, Barbecue table

After a busy December and January, we are finally settling down! We've moved the rest of our boxes into a couple of rooms for now while we sort out the kitchen pantry and the garden shed, but we can finally enjoy most of the house! One thing we do lack though is storage space, and I'm getting desperate. I have no where to unpack all my baking equipment, and I'm not sure whether I actually have space for them even after the pantry is sorted.

So when Trueshopping, an online Home and Garden store contacted me, I took the opportunity to expand our kitchen storage! They have kindly agreed to let me review their "Chacombe" White Kitchen Trolley with Storage Space and Wood Effect Worktop (£59.99), which comes with 2 drawers, 3 baskets, 3 racks and lockable castors too (no run away trolley here).

Kitchen Trolley, Trueshopping, Barbecue table

Kitchen Trolley, Trueshopping, Barbecue table

The kitchen trolley arrived flat packed, but it's fairly easy to assemble. All parts including the tabletop have a lovely smooth finish, and the result is a lightweight, smart looking kitchen trolley that looks lovely in my kitchen. As the trolley is made from lightweight material, some edges might become damaged during transport (third party delivery), but Trueshopping has a fantastic customer service team and instead of just replacing the parts I need, they have sent me a whole replacement trolley for free on next day delivery! With online shopping, the last thing I want is bad customer service, so thumbs up to Trueshopping!

Kitchen Trolley, Trueshopping, Barbecue table

Now that I have extra storage, I ended up not knowing what to store in it haha. I think the baskets are perfect for vegetables, where as the racks will be great for hanging glasses or storing bottles of drinks. I placed some of my baking equipment on as illustration, but I've gradually changed it to store our breakfast, including placing our fruit tray and all sorts of breads on it. During Abby's birthday party I even used it as a preparation station and placed all the things I need for the party table on it first before laying them out. It's the perfect place for the birthday cakes without taking over my worktops, and I know that they will be safe there too.

Trueshopping sell all sorts of other Home and Garden products as well, and with their customer service, you can shop with them with a peace of mind. They also have a blog where you can find inspiration for your home projects! Here is one I really like, how to make your house look expensive on a budget, which was very useful for me as I don't want to splurge on everything I buy but I still want the full look!

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