Home Technology

This is a sponsored post by Legal and General, they’ve written about home tech here and asked me if I’d write a post about Home Technology. They came to the right place!  We went to Curry’s a couple of weeks ago, and I was amazed at how much new home technology is out there now.

One quick wander round a store and we saw…

A floor cleaning robot (small children were torturing it with bit of large paper, poor thing), an LG Washing Machine which you can control from your smart phone, TV’s you can voice activate, wifi lighbulbs (no idea why you’d need those but they looked cool!) and the new massive Dyson ‘fan’ which frankly looks like wonderful black magic.

It was one of those trips to the shops when you realise as an 80’s child, that you do in fact live in the future.

So this has made me think, as a techie household we really have a surprisingly small amount of home tech. The most interesting thing we have at the moment is a kettle where you can choose the temperature of the water and that is surprisingly handy.  We are fairly pragmatic about tech though and I think that it has to make your life better/easier to warrant the extra expense of buying it. I am the woman since unplugging the microwave a month ago, I’ve only plugged it back in twice…maybe I don’t need it anymore!

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But what would we use?  I think if we were staying in this house we’d get the boiler changed and I’d have something like Nest installed to control the heat in the house from my phone, that would be amazing and save on bills.  In fact I think the next house that will be something we install fairly soon after we move in.

I love the idea of this ‘Energy Egg Smart Light Switch‘ which turns off lights when you’ve left the house or the room. It’s my husband’s dream product!

Bluetooth speakers are now cheap and everywhere it seems, you can even get them in lightbulbs which I LOVE the idea of these Playbulbs just make me happy and I think I’ll have to get some.  They even do them for the garden now too.

Now if I had the money, and the right sized kitchen this is a perfect storm of two of my favourite things, an Aga you can control from your iPhone…..but that is a lottery win wish!

I asked my friends on Facebook to see if they had any new home tech and what they thought of it.  Here’s what they said…

Helpful Mum from ‘You’re not from Around Here‘ says ‘Our robot hoover is amazing. It cleans the dining room and hall for me so I have a few less jobs to do. It’s a Roomba iRobot. When B&B guests have finished, I clear the dining room and pop the hoover in there. It means I never have to hoover the dining room. It also does the hall, which leaves fewer jobs for me. I don’t use it on the bedrooms because it tends to get stuck under beds.’

Old school friend James recommends the  Xiaomi Mi Band  – ‘it’s great, buzzes to alert you to messages / calls on iphone and android, it’s a fitness and sleep tracker (like fitbit etc) and costs ~£12 (unlike fitbit etc!).  Waterproof and battery lasts between 30 and 60 DAYS between charges.   If you’re on android 5.0 + it acts as a trusted device to lock and unlock your phone so if you’re out of range it locks the phone automatically and unlocks it when you’re in range’.

Nik from niksargent.com – ‘withings scales; withings blood pressue monitor; withings pulse (health monitor); Philips baby monitor & Philips IP cams; bekin wemos; lifx lighting; easybulb lighting; pebble watch; Tile trackers; And soon to be re-instated our fully connected IOT bumblebee nest environment (Spin remote on order; Flic trackers on order; netatmo weather station on order; heatmiser neokit on order) – (for the avoidance of doubt, these are all internet connected devices)’

His top tip for lighting is ‘cheapest smart/wifi bulbs I have found are the easybulb range – just installed about 15… sadly they can’t be controlled by the ifttt.com service, whereas the lifx bulbs can…’

Do you guys have any amazing home tech that your use, or think is worth buying? Would love to hear about it!

***Sponsored post and I will get a little cleaning floor robot…and it will probably die of dog hair inhalation***

Hunstanton 

We were all exhausted in dire need of a break, so we went to Hunstanton which is about 40 minutes from home. I booked The Lodge which is in Old Hunstanton, in the attic which was just amazing! It’s beautiful with a sea view, just what my soul needed!

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We went for a wander down to Old Hunstanton beach and along the coast to Hunstanton, taking in the beautiful views

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How adorable is this cottage?

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And then there was this…

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I happily used the bubble bath provided, and locked myself in the bathroom for an hour while Paul and L chilled in the lounge. Heaven!

And this is how I finished off the day, in the garden

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We really, really must go again soon!

Kitchen Re-Furb Reveal!

As most of you know, a new kitchen has been on my to-do list forever!  It’s small, but extending it would cost a fortune I don’t have.

Over the years I painted it, got rid of the faux Oak and that’s looked ok for a good few years, we got rid of some cupboards and got a dishwasher in.  But paint only lasts so long and it was looking really tired and we’ve decided that we’d like to move. I saw from the Estate Agents faces when they were valuing the house, that they saw the kitchen and the state of it was a problem. The rest of the house is fine, but there was lots of muttering about well the kitchen will need ‘some work’.

Thankfully a new franchise opened in town that does doors and worktops and general refurbs for kitchens. The cabinets of mine are fine, need a clean inside like everyone else but are solid and good. The tiles are an inoffensive country cream and the sink and tap are about three years old so I thought I’d keep those.  So we thought about it, got a quote for new doors, worktops, drawer fronts and drawers (mine were ancient and falling apart), kick boards, pelmets and infills with fitting and we went for it…and I am so so so pleased we did. It looks wonderful!

Here is the before:  (floral tablecloth is there to stop me using the disconnected sink!)

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After three days of very hard work by the lovely kitchen fitter who was an amazing craftsman, it now looks like a new room. The only real disaster, was when the ancient induction hob was being lifted out it cracked an broke! So a new one had to be ordered, which is much better than the old one. Thankfully none of the tiles popped off when the worktops were coming in and out which was a worry.  But here is my brand new shiny kitchen!

After:

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The floor was skimmed to make it flat and then filled in where we’d taken a cabinet out for the dishwasher. Then we had Rhino Floor laid over the tiles.  It looks amazing and I’m glad I went with it rather than tile as it makes it a bit warmer in there as there isn’t any heating.

I’ve moved the microwave and popped in on top of the fridge freezer as we hardly ever use it. It’s made a massive difference to the corner where the bread bin is, the room weirdly seems a lot more spacious now there more counter space.

I am one happy girl!

Tweens and Social Media

I originally thought my daughter was a bit odd, she isn’t interested in social media AT ALL.  I mean nothing, she doesn’t want a Facebook account, not interested in Instagram, mention Twitter and she’s out of the room.

To be honest she’s not even that interested in Facetime or iMessage. In her eyes they are a necessary evil she needs on her iPad, so she can message me for more food when she’s in another room or to talk to her grandparents. But mostly for me to get her food!. I had a quick look and my nieces and nephew’s also don’t really seem to use Facebook that much and neither do my cousin’s kids – all of whom range between 11 and 23.

They, it seems are not alone. I was reading a report this week that tweens and early teens are now rejecting some ‘traditional’ social media like Facebook and are now using apps like Snapchat because they (in theory) have more security and anonymity.

The other shift is for private accounts or accounts with false names to protect their privacy.  I think that’s an excellent idea, I’d have hated all my young adult mistakes scattered across the internet forever more – my 25th Birthday especially should never, ever, see the light of day!

It’s great they are thinking into the future, because once it’s out there, it’s out there. Interestingly L banned me from putting her name on here when she was about six because she didn’t want to be ‘Googleable’.

Now she’s 12 all she has a gaming name that is a made up name so she’s untraceable and unknown to those at school.  Maybe the message taught at school and at home to stay safe on the internet is really getting through?

How do your kids use social media are they heavy users or are they not into it?  Do they use it differently to you?  I would love to hear!.

 

Review: Flamingo Gifts

I’m still slaving over making the office back into a bedroom. In the middle of the book sorting madness (SEVEN bin bags went to charity!) I had an email from Flamingo Gifts asking if I’d like to try any of the items on their website. Yes I would! I really needed a nice little present to cheer me up..this job is never ending.

Miss L has been having some horrible (hormone related) nightmares of late so I picked a Gummy Bear nightlight hoping that it’d be of help and it was super cute.

I chose for me a horses head squirrel feeder. We’ve only recently started getting squirrels in the garden so I thought it’d be nice to encourage them. Also because I am basically a small child, I thought it was hilarious!. But I’m sure they’ll enjoy the nuts I’ve put in there once they figure it out.  I gave the last choice to Miss L and she choose a hand held old school mirror. I swear she’s been watching way too many Disney movies of late. It’s now living on her desk, so it’s getting lots of use, I suspect trying to sneak on makeup is coming soon.

They turned up the next day and we’ve been enjoying them ever since. The Gummy Bear nightlight has been a god send, it’s the right level of light and not on all night as there is a little switch at the bottom you can flick to give it a timer,  so it’s not eating the batteries by being on all the time.  Also you squeeze it’s tummy to turn it on which just makes it way too much fun too use! 

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Gummy Bear Lamp

Thanks so much Flamingo Gifts! You brightened my week!  Go check them out some interesting gifts :)

**Full disclosure I relieved the above goods for this review**

 

 

No Sew Roman Blind

I’m in the middle of converting the office from hell, back into a lovely sunny little bedroom.  Half the room is now painted but the new coat of paint made the window dressing look really tired and dated. So what to do?

It’s a small room so I wanted to keep a roman blind (no small children sleep in there, I wouldn’t use it in a child’s room) and this is mostly for show to sell the house. I popped on the internet and looked for new ones and they are really expensive for a large window £60 upwards and eBay had similar prices and I didn’t have that much in the budget.

So I took down the old one (ancient Ikea), had a look at it and apart from being dusty and sun bleached it wasn’t too bad as it still worked. I had a look on Pinterest and saw some posts about recovering roman blinds so I figured why not?  Here are the posts which helped me if you want a read : Chic Little House  Susie Harris Blog  Home Stories A to Z they’re all really useful and use different methods to the one I used.

Now I can’t sew, buttons, hems…yeah that’s about my limit!  So I measured the blind, bought some fabric from our local fabric shop and some wonder web iron on. Total £33.

What you’ll need:

Fabric – a bit too big to cover so you can make hems

Wonder web

An Iron.

Important note! **Make sure you have some thing under the fabric if you are ironing on something like a rug, I used a towel as I didn’t want to damage the rug. Some rugs would just have melted!**

How to:

This is a big blind 120cm wide and almost 2m long so this had to be done on the lounge floor.  So layout your old blind.

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Take a while and lay the fabric on top and get the pattern straight – this will take a while and drive you a bit nuts. If you have any sense, pin it in so it stays in the right place (I didn’t do that and as a result it took twice as long to do!) trim it a little too big so you can make a nice hem.

Then get your first edge, cut some wonderweb and iron it in. This is the scary part!  I started at the top (cut a couple of holes for the hanging loops) and the worked my way down the sides and then bottom last.

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I faffed about and followed the edges of the folds in the blind and wonder webbed them in too. I probably didn’t need to do that but I thought it might give a nicer finish.

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laying out fabric

As you can see here I should have left more of an edge on the fabric and I *just* managed to pull it off! phew!  But edge it all the way round with a nice hot iron.

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Once you’ve edged it all the way round pop it back up and you have a lovely new blind! I’m really pleased with how it’s worked, if it’s still hanging at the weekend, I’ll be impressed!.

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North Norfolk Half Term Day Out

Had the most wonderful day yesterday. The weather was amazing and OH had the day off so we headed up to Brancaster for a walk on the beach, and then to The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe for a slap up lunch.

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I’d love to live in Norfolk one day, if you’ve not been I’d throughly recommend it , it’s such a chilled relaxed beautiful place. It’s definitely a little hidden UK jewel and well worth a visit.

New Year, All Change

Ok that was a break and a half wasn’t it?  How are you all?  Good New Year so far?

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January was a whirlwind, lots changed and we had a lot to think about.  I’ve finally given up running Violet Posy Design, it was taking up all my time and I wasn’t earning a lot of money. Now OH has a full time job we can afford for me to give it a rest for a bit.  I had a great run though, and worked with some of the most amazing bloggers. I had a blast! I can’t thank them all enough for making my work days so much fun, and I made some awesome new friends along the way. That’s actually was what made it so hard to give up.  Thanks everyone for all the work you put my way and for all being so amazing.  It feels a bit weird not to be working on anything, so when I finally get really bored expect this site to change loads :)

The other change has been that after 11 years of ‘shall we stay in our home/move/emigrate/oh crap we’re out of contracts again’. We’ve decided to move locally and leave our little 1930’s house. The hunt is ON!

House hunting after so long is a bit odd. Last time Miss L was 6 months old and we were in a 2 up, 2 down Victorian terrace, which had been a love at first sight home. The day we walked in there I knew it was our house, waxed wooden floors, high ceilings, perfect for childless twentysomethings who didn’t care about on street parking.  Three years later….not so much. Ever tried carrying a weeks shopping and a baby in a car seat, for 3-5 streets?  It’s not easy and I don’t recommend it!

The house we live in now pretty much sold itself to me by having parking for 3-4 cars, a massive garden and lovely big bedrooms and it was the cheapest house we looked at!.  We didn’t have a massive amount of furniture, bed, cot, two sofa’s and my £5 dining room table bought at a car boot and a couple of inherited dining room chairs someone gave me when her Mum died.  This house was supposed to be the 5-7 year house, it turned into the 11 – 12 year house and now we are bursting at the seams.

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How will I leave my beloved bathroom??

So what do we all want from a house this time round?  This is supposed to be the 25 -30 year house, our proper ‘grown up’ house that we can grow into and old in. We’ve looked around a good few houses and there hasn’t been anywhere that I’ve utterly loved.

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There’s been one which was very sensible (above), one that is massive but needs work and a couple that are no bigger than what we live in now. But going around different houses is really good for your mind set. You can imagine living somewhere else and you see that actually you’re own home which I never see as being that perfect is in fact actually pretty lovely and it’s helping me say goodbye to our house, which is going to be very hard.  Wish us luck!

 

 

 

 

Thrifty Christmas 2014

I’m a rubbish blogger, I’ve just not had time to run Thrifty Christmas this year as it takes up so much time. This time round I’ve started a Pinterest with all the cool ideas I’ve found from around the internet.

If you’d like some inspiration have a look, there are some lovely, simple ideas there that anyone would love to receive. :

Follow Liz’s board Thrifty Christmas on Pinterest.