Thursday, 21 September 2017

How to choose the Right Car for You and Your Family

(Guest Post)

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Yes, you might love your little run around, but with a growing family and different needs, does your current motor really cut it? Choosing the right car for you and your family signals change. Yet, change need not be a bad thing, nor does it mean that you have to sacrifice on style, elegance and speed. There are a huge variety of larger cars on the market to accommodate yourself, a growing family and even the dog, all fitted with the latest mod cons and ultra-modern technology. So don’t feel overwhelmed. Choosing the right car for you and your family should be a fun experience, read on to find out how to make the perfect choice for you and your family. Visit Honda Edinburgh to see a range of cars will suit your needs.

Is it kid proof?
Of course, having built in televisions and a state-of- the-art music system are ideal, but do be realistic when choosing a car that will accommodate both you and your kids. Buttons and dials are attractive to little hands, not to mention fiddly. Interiors could soon become sticky and difficult to clean if juice and snacks are spilt. Make sure that any model that you choose is easy enough to childproof and be sure to factor in space for a car seat, if your children are younger. Don’t forget to check safety ratings and take the time to do your research when choosing the right car for you and your brood, you will be able to find this online or if you decide to visit a dealership.

Mileage and fuel costs
Yes, it might be the most beautiful motor that you’ve ever seen, but choosing a car with poor fuel efficiency will be damaging to you and your bank balance in the long term. Not only does poor fuel efficiency mean that you will have to refuel much more often, it will also see you spend more on petrol as a result. Do read into how many miles your car of choice can do on a full tank and take time to compare this with other more similar models. You could be pleasantly surprised, and find something cheaper and comparable, with a better fuel efficiency rating.

Ease of use
If you can afford it, do invest in those little luxuries to make your driving experience a lot more pleasurable. From reversing sensors to a swish audio system, remember you are buying your car to make that transition into parenthood a lot more straightforward. There’s no shame in keeping with the times - you are the driver after all. Ease of use and safety should be top of your priorities – and will make any long journeys with the kids a lot more pleasant as a result.

So if you’ve done your homework and found your ideal vehicle, then driving your new motor home will soon be a reality.

Disclosure: This is a collaborated guest post

Friday, 15 September 2017

Chocolate Sprinkle Stix Kit by John Adams

The kids had so much fun with John Adams' latest food-craft kit - Chocolate Sprinkle Stix! It's been voted as one of the Best New Toys (Creative category) at the London Toy Fair this year, where I first saw the demonstration, and I'm glad that we got an opportunity to try it ourselves. I had to tell the kids to stop making and eating their creation to save space for dinner!

For the review, John Adams' PR team has kindly sent us everything we need with the Chocolate Sprinkle Stix kit: bread sticks, edible sprinkles and chocolate for melting. You'll need these too if you are to make your own yummy Chocolate Sprinkle Stix.

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

The Chocolate Sprinkle Stix kit (£21.99, suitable for children age 6 years+) comes with:

  • Base Unit (with detachable Sprinkle Dome Base and Spinner)
  • Chocolate Melter (with detachable Plug to seal the water in and Chocolate Melting Lid)
  • Sprinkle Dome Lid
  • Funnel
  • Sprinkle Tray (with 3 compartments)
  • Display Stand (4 slots)
  • Breadstick Holders x 4
  • Stirrer (for chocolate melting) and Spoon (to scoop sprinkles)
  • Instruction Sheet

Apart from the ingredients, you'll also need 2 x AA batteries and hot water (with an adult's help)

Like all John Adams' food craft, the quality of the kit is durable in a fun colour theme.

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

The process, in simple terms, of making yummy Chocolate Sprinkle Stix is easy: Melt some chocolate, dip a bread stick into the chocolate, then place it into the sprinkle dome. Add some sprinkles, then press the button to get it coated nice and evenly with sprinkles, and enjoy!

In detail, with some of our thoughts and tips:

First, set up the Chocolate Sprinkle Stix kit (you can slot the sprinkles tray and the display stand on the side of the base unit if you like) and place the ingredients nearby.

Chocolate Melting:
Fill the chocolate melter with hot (not boiling) water by pouring it slowly into the hole between the walls, while keeping the middle compartment completely dry (to ensure your chocolate won't crumble as they hate water!). Put the plug in to contain the water and you are ready to melt some yummy chocolate!

I have always been impressed with John Adams' food-craft kits that comes with a chocolate melter (in different sizes and shapes). They are very clever and allow children to melt chocolate safely and beautifully!

Do try to fill the chocolate melter with melted chocolate so you'll get more chocolate coated on the bread sticks.

The chocolate melting lid will ensure that just enough chocolate will be coated on the bread stick as it'll scrape some of the chocolate off the stick when you pull it out. You can remove the lid and give the bread sticks a thicker coating, but they might make the sprinkle process a bit more messy, especially if you let the bread stick rest on the spinner (chocolate will then spin off the stick!).

We didn't realise we should be turning the funnel around to seal the hole (that's for not reading the instructions fully), so sprinkles has been flying out of the funnel when the base unit was on. Do make sure that the bread stick holder seals the top of the dome completely as well.

I think our bread sticks were a little bit too thin (although very yummy) so they slid out from the holder, so make sure you buy the shorter and fatter bread sticks for this. There is also a guideline on the instruction sheet that shows you what the suitable length of the bread stick should be, should you need to break them into size.

Get Creative:
You can use all sorts of edible sprinkles that are out there, even edible glitter and coloured sugar, and I think you can even use little icing decorations too. You can also use assorted chocolate here, or Candy Melts for colours. The kids can really get creative with it to make some really good looking Chocolate Sprinkle Stix, although I'm not sure whether they'll last long enough for the display!

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

Kitchen appliance for kids, CHocolate Sprinkle Stix Maker, Party Food Ideas

Some of the kids comments are:

"Wow this is so cool!"
"I love the sound it makes!" (the sprinkles will rattle around. Watch the above video with sound)
"Ooo this is so fun!"
"It's really yummy!"
"Mummy try it it's really good!" (while sticking a stix right between my eyes)
"Can I make another one please??"

They enjoyed it so much they wanted all of us to try it, so they saved one (just the one, mind you) for daddy, who was working late. It must have taken them a lot of effort not to eat the lone stix sitting on the display stand, because none of the others lasted for more than a second outside the sprinkler.

I think that the Chocolate Sprinkle Stix is very easy to set up, easy to wash, the kids love it, and it'll be perfect for a play date or parties. It also contains the mess within the small area (unless someone decided to unlock the sprinkle dome), so it's good for parents like me who can't handle mess.

The Chocolate Sprinkle Stix is entering into the BlogOn Toy Awards, which sees the best toys voted by parenting bloggers at the BlogOn Christmas event next Sunday, and I'll be attending too. Good luck John Adams!

If you like the Chocolate Sprinkle Stix kit, you don't have to wait for that long as it's already available in all good toy stores and online now.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2 - White

Have you heard of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) mouse arm/ hand? When we lay our arm on the table, our hands will naturally tilt to one side with our thumbs at the top. While holding a traditional computer mouse however, our mouse hand is forced to sit on top of the mouse horizontally, which can cause discomfort around the wrist, or even in the whole arm. And when your hand stays in this position for too long, it can lead to RSI.

Understanding this, the Swedish company Penclic has designed a range of ergonomic mouse (and other computer accessories) that'll prevent RSI mouse arm problem, which are shaped like pens! They have kindly sent me the new Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2 in white for review purpose, and not only did it feel natural to hold, its sleek design is very chic too!

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

The white Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2 (RRP €99.99/ £79.99) comes in a cylinder container with an acrylic-like display unit. A rechargeable AAA battery, USB charging cable, white velvet pouch, technical specification leaflet and quick guide booklet can be found in the cylinder's base.

I normally don't talk about the packaging, but I really love how the Penclic mouse is being presented.

The Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2

  • is connected to PC or MAC wirelessly via Bluetooth (for PC that doesn't have Bluetooth, you can buy a Bluetooth USB Adapter)
  • has 5 buttons (left click, right click, middle click, backward and forward) and a scroll wheel
  • is set to 1200dpi
  • can be used on almost any surface without a mouse pad or tablet (might be slightly less responsive on very smooth surface)
  • can be used as soon as the rechargeable battery is fully charged (non rechargeable batteries can be used as well, but make sure you don't charge them), and with every day use, it's suppose to last for approximately a month before it needs recharging
  • will switch to energy saving mode after being inactive for 10 minutes

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Mouse B2 has 2 parts, the pen at the top where you hold, just like you would a pen, and the base that looks like a traditional mouse but much smaller.

You'll find all the buttons on the pen part, with the buttons for left click, right click and middle click along where your index finger can reach, and your thumb controlling the buttons for forward and backward (previous and next page on your browser, for example).

The base is where the battery, on/ off button, Bluetooth connection button, light and wheel are located.

Unlike the demo Abby helped me with in the above picture, which is done before we understood B2, you would control the wheel with your middle finger. My ring finger and pinky will then fall naturally on the right side of the base. But when I don't need the wheel, I can just hold the mouse with my index and middle finger, exactly like when I'm holding a pen.

Of course, everyone will hold it differently, but it definitely has a comfortable grip. I won't say that there isn't some getting used to, after all I've been using a traditional PC mouse for over 20 years! It is however not difficult like you are holding something completely new (it's like a pen after all), and it being very light in weight (compared to my previous PC mouse anyway), it felt easy to control it.

The light indicator on Penclic's Mouse B2 turns blue when it's connected through Bluetooth, flashes green when it's being charged, solid green when it's fully charged, and red when it requires charging.

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

Penclic Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2, pen shaped mouse, mouse for RSI mouse-arm people

We tried connecting Penclic's Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2 to my Android smartphone and our smart TV, and it worked well with both. Since I used my PC most, however, I wanted to test drive B2 with it, but it didn't have Bluetooth technology, so we bought a Bluetooth USB adapter. You'd search for B2 on your PC just like you would on your smartphone.

Although I lost a USB port (my PC mouse and keyboard were connected to the same USB port, so I can't do a direct replacement without losing my keyboard as well), I don't really mind, and although I'm still trying to get used to B2's speed (it's so light in weight, when I click a button it sometimes moves, causing a drag than a click), I do prefer to use it over my old mouse as it's comfortable and better looking!

I also like the precision B2 offers me when I edit pictures. I can click and drag the cursor to exactly where I want it, where as with the traditional mouse, I had to learn to overlook the imperfection.

I'm using B2 on a smooth surface without a problem, it's only when I need to wake it up from sleeping mode, I have to move it to a rougher surface (my crafting mat) and click before it will wake up. Not a problem as my crafting mat is always here anyway, but if you encounter the same problem where your mouse won't wake up, try put it on a rougher surface.

Overall I think Penclic's Wireless Bluetooth Mouse B2 is a great mouse to use. It does take some time to get used to especially when you are already used to the traditional mouse, but we've all held a pen before and it really is like holding a pen, just with extra buttons. It is designed ergonomically to prevent RSI, while looking good on your desk at the same time. And only takes up a small amount of space too. It also makes whatever you do look more professional, in my opinion.

If you are doing anything on the PC that requires precision work, Penclic's mice will definitely be more suitable for the job. I wouldn't necessarily say that it can replace a stylus or a digital drawing pen, but for other precision work, it will do the job, and I don't need another gadget for it.

You can buy Penclic's mice from Penclic's website, as well as Amazon UK.