Saturday, 25 October 2014

How to Choose an Appropriate Video Game for Children

Age appropriate and educational games that me and both kids enjoy from Nintendo on 3DS/ 2DS
I know a lot of people, including specialists, said that children learn best through playing with toys than watching TV and playing games (including online short games, video games, apps, etc). But we are in the digital age now, and I think that a good balance between educational toys, fun toys, digital toys and games will only help children do better than worse.

I think the main problem with digital games (I'll call it that for now, just to make it easier), is that you have to make sure that they are appropriate for your child, just like how you would choose an appropriate toy for them to play with. There are a lot of games out there that looks fun to play, with cute characters and pretty pastel colours, but are only suitable for adults (and some aren't even suitable for adults!). If you aren't familiar with them and just let your child take their pick, the result can be fairly damaging (seriously, violent shooting/ killing games? There really is no excuse there is it? They are obviously not suitable for children under 16/ 18!).

According to GAME junior's research, appro 40% of parents aren't sure what video games are suitable for their children. So how do you choose a suitable digital game for your child to play, that is age appropriate, fun and educational? It is actually really simple, all entertainment contents (e.g. films, DVDs, video games) have a PEGI age rating -  3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. Use that as your guiding point to make sure that the game you or your child choose is suitable for their age. For example:

PEGI 7 age rating means that that the content is only suitable for age 7 and above to play/ watch, ie, not suitable for children 6 or below.

Do note that the PEGI age rating considers the age suitability of an entertainment content, but not the level of difficulty of a game.

Now you know about the PEGI age rating, the next thing to do is to find that game amongst a huge collection of games, and I recommend checking out GAME junior section to make it easier.

GAME has recently launched their junior section online and in stores, where parents can easily find games that are suitable for children aged 12 and under. This is not saying that everything is suitable for children under 7 for example, but you can easily use the PEGI age rating under the junior section to find the right ones for your child, instead of exposing them to the vast amount of unsuitable choices and cover photos. Teaming with the Top 10 charts on their site, you can easily find the most popular game that is suitable for your child.

For young children, I also recommend Nintendo 2DS/ 3DS games, as Nintendo do the most young children appropriate games that can be very educational. The 2DS console (link to our review) is one of the cheapest on the market as well, so if you want an affordable console that can endure rough handling by young children and plenty of cute, fun and educational games, do check them out.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Dyson DC43H Mattress Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

It's Indoor Allergy week, is anyone or their little ones suffering from allergies? When we reviewed Dyson's DC41 Mk 2 vacuum cleaner, I realised why we have been having allergy reactions - our previous vacuum cleaner wasn't doing its job properly! Now that we've got a Dyson to do a proper job, I thought that we are safe. But the lovely people at Dyson has pointed something else out that I wasn't thinking of, or more accurately, trying not to think about - Dust Mites! Eeek!

I was invited to their London press office, together with many other lovely parent bloggers, to check out their latest product launched just this month - the handheld DC43H Mattress vacuum cleaner. It is designed purposely to vacuum allergens that has been hiding inside our soft furnishings, including mattresses and sofas.

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week
The power of Dyson DC43H!
Some (horrifying) facts pointed out to us:

- There are up to 3 million dust mites hiding inside an average bed
- There are 500,000 particles of dust in the average cubic meter of air. 50% is dead human skin cells.
- Humans shed about 30,000 – 40,000 skin cells per minute, or about 28 grams per month
- The average square meter of carpet has 1,000 dust mites. Each critter produces up to 30 droppings a day. It’s these droppings that most people are allergic to.
- Moving around in your bed disturbs dust mite droppings which then stay airborne for at least 30 minutes
- Dust mites don’t just live in mattresses and carpets – sofas and cushions are ideal environments too.

- Dust mites can’t survive extreme temperatures. Freeze delicate bed sheets to kill them.
- Vacuum mattresses regularly to pick up skin cells and dust mite faeces.
- You can kill dust mites by placing items like toys in a plastic bag, freezing them for two days and letting them thaw naturally – this will kill the dust mites as they cannot survive the cold.
- Removing shoes before entering the house. Otherwise you will be walking in nasty chemicals, pollen, dirt and dust straight into your home.
- Make up brushes (NOOO!!) aren’t to be forgotten either. To kill these mites pop them in the freezer for a few hours and this kills all the mites.

Seriously, after this, every time I see dust I think of the million mites instead of dust. So when I tested the DC43H on our old, dodgy mattress that has caused skin irritation, I was cringing all the way!

Before we move on to that, I want to introduce you to our new gadget that will protect us from these pesky little horrors (actually, Abby said they are helping us to eat up all the dead skin so they are good bugs! Well, we have Dyson to do that now and if their droppings cause allergy and possible asthma attacks I rather them gone!) from now on - the DC43H:

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

The lightweight DC43H handheld mattress vacuum cleaner (RRP £220.00 with 2 year guarantee) weighs only 1.32kg (much lighter than the handheld vacuum cleaner we have), has 28AW suction power, and a Boost (I called it Turbo lol) button to boost that up to 65AW. It combines 3 key Dyson technologies - Dyson Digital Motor V2, Root Cyclone Technology and Motorised Mattress Tool (click here for specification details). The DC43H also comes with 2 additional tools, and can use other Dyson universal tools too.

The DC43H is specifically designed for vacuuming mattresses and other soft furnishings to remove allergens hidden deep inside. You can use it to clean the floor like other handheld, but it performs best to vacuum powder-like dust. For a quick vacuum with a proper vacuum cleaner, Dyson have the DC58 range or other previous models you can find in their Handheld section.

We really like how lightweight DC43H is, and even Abby can use it. It takes a gentle press to trigger the power button, though I would prefer that the button stays pressed instead of being a press and hold one. I can see the need of preserving power (it can last up to 20 minutes, or 17 boosted after each full charge) though.

Now, my first test on our dodgy mattress. My fellow bloggers were given baking powder to do the test, but I think I'll just show you why we are throwing this mattress out (well, also because the spring is broken, but no way am I vacuuming it again).

I do think that, the reason why it's horrible for me is that I see the fine dust as wriggly dust mites but not fluff from the fabric. Imagine every single speck of it wriggles under a microscope...*cringe*.

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week
What came out from the tested area *screams inside*
So, from what seems like a clean mattress on the outside came that much powder from the inside, and I don't believe fabric fluff is that powdery... come to think of it, the mattress we sleep on is even older than this one... so we will starting fresh once we moved, with new mattresses that will be cleaned every so often.

If you are someone who never clean your matresses, or doesn't have a powerful and easy to use tool to do it, I definitely recommend Dyson's DC43H.

#NoHiddenDust, Dyson DC43H cordless handheld mattress vacuum cleaner, Indoor allergy week

While being at the press office, we were also introduced to their latest Dyson 360 Eye Robot that has just launched in Japan, and will be launching in Spring/ Summer 2015. I've always wanted one of these since I saw a competitor one, maybe I'll get this for my birthday!

And there is also the Dyson Hot and Cool that can be used as a bladeless fan during the warmer days and heater that switches off as soon as it topple over during the colder days. Don't you just love multi-purpose gadgets?

For more about Indoor Allergy week with Dyson, follow the hashtag #NoHiddenDust and see why Dyson is the best in combating allergens.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Miioon Swoopercape

Halloween, Miioon Personalised Swoopercape, Children super hero costume

Abby went to her school's Halloween Spooky Disco last night and we were glad that she went as a Superhero Cat (Clay went as Batman!), which is different than the ghouls (this year some parents went all out with their children's makeup lol, we were frightened away by quite a few!), witches, pirates and princesses (Abby went as a peacock princess last year, so I have no problem with pretty dress up on Halloween. In fact, they eased my eyes a bit from the frightening makeups lol). Initially she was going as a normal cat, then her Miioon Swoopercape swooped in just in time to transform her into a superhero!

Halloween, Miioon Personalised Swoopercape, Children super hero costume

Halloween, Miioon Personalised Swoopercape, Children super hero costume

We have loved Abby's Ruckjack from Miioon so much (featured in last year's Christmas Gifts Guide) that we bought Clay one as well (you can spot them in most of the kids' outdoor pictures!). We are very happy with Miioon's quality, so when they offered us a Swoopercape to review, we accepted it, knowing that it would be great for the kids to roleplay with. I'm really glad that it has arrived before Halloween too!

Miioon's Swoopercape (one size) can be bought as a pre-designed version (£19.99 each), which comes in a specific pattern and colour for each alphabet, or you can customise it to your liking (£19.95 each). They come with matching mask and sonic wristbands, all can be strapped with Velcro, and both wristbands and Swoopercape are made with 100% Polyester shiny and really smooth fabric. The light weight fabric makes the Swoopercape fly in the wind just like a Superhero's cape should be.

Select product
Left: Select Emblem shape   Right: Select Emblem Colour
Left: Select Alphabet   Right: Save design
Customisation is very easy as it's designed to allow children to go through the designing steps themselves. Once saved, parents can go to the treasure chest and place the order for them.

2 years old Abby
We are very happy with the quality, and Abby-cat looked really good in it! There won't be anymore pillowcase-capes I guess, unless they start fighting over the Swoopercape!

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