First Trip to the Theatre

On the 18th March Noah got his very first experience of the theatre and it was an absolute success.

For Christmas, Auntie had bought us tickets to see the ‘Direct from the West End’ stage performance of The Tiger Who Came To Tea (one of Noah’s favourite books) at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. We had lunch with Auntie and David before the performance and from the moment he saw the stage he was captivated.

In fact the look of sheer wonderment when the performers took to the stage left both David and I blubbing like babies, thank god the lights were low at this stage.

His expressions were awe inspiring and I found myself studying his reactions to nearly everything, thus missing a large part of the performance itself. He eagerly got involved with the audience involvement pieces and was leaping around with the best of them, when it came to ‘Tigercise’


The actors; Abbey Norman (Sophie), Harry Howle (Daddy, Tiger and others) and Ashley Tucker (Mummy) were perfectly cast and worked with child audience wonderfully even from the first moment where they entered the auditorium silently, then slowly built their voices up so as not to scare or frighten the youngsters.

They were simply brilliant.

As was Noah. I was worried that maybe an hour having to sit still would be a bit too much, that his attention would dwindle and he’d lose interest but I really had no cause for concern. He was, quite simply mesmerised.

So that’s that, his theatre days have started. I am now on the mailing list for Northcott and will be eagerly looking out for more children’s productions.

I’m a little upset that we’ve missed out on seeing the Northern Ballet’s performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears as it is now fully booked anywhere near here. He would have LOVED that, but hopefully we’ll get to see another child’s ballet before too long.

Ozeri Turtlemeter – A Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Turtlemeter, the Baby Bath Floating Turtle Toy and Bath Tub Thermometer by Ozeri. Since working with Ozeri I have struggled to find fault with any of their products. They always smart looking, neat, easy to use and do as they say ‘on the tin’ and this is no exception.

What they say

The first Baby Bath Thermometer built into a fun and safe Turtle Bath Toy. The Turtlemeter activates instantly in water with no annoying buttons or switches. The Turtlemeter dynamically calculates the bath water temperature every second, and displays the temperature with 3 different color screens, with Blue indicating Cold, Red indicating Hot, and Green indicating Just Right. Compliant with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the Turtlemeter is safe and fun both in and out of the bath tub. Ships with 3 AAA batteries included. 

Excerpt taken from Amazon 

Packaging

As with all Ozeri products, packaging isn’t excessive. Although I was rather disappointed in the hard plastic display casing, though thankfully scissors weren’t needed to open it. Having said that, this and a cardboard insert is the only packaging involved.

  

Set up

None. Just chuck it in the bath. I kid you not! 

The temperature is displayed instantly in a window on the turtle’s back and also has a colour screen with three colours for easy reading.

  

Blue – Too cold

Green – Ideal

Red – Too hot

The temperature is measured every second.

The battery compartment is secured by tiny cross head screws. It uses 3 x AAA batteries and comes ready to use.

My Opinion

Brilliant bit of kit. Attractive, robust, easy to use and easy to read (colour coding means no need to google the ideal temperature a child’s bath should be). Even my son gives it the thumbs up, he’s often seen wandering around hugging it to his chest and chasing it as it bobs around the bath with him.

As of day of publication this product can be bought via Amazon for an incredible £9.99. I really can’t stress what a bargain this is.

**This product was gifted to me for the purpose of this review**



Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale – A Review

I have been given the opportunity to review the Ozeri Epicurean Digital Kitchen Scale which is kind of fortuitous as my ‘old faithfuls’ are beginning to tire somewhat, much to my chagrin.

What They Say

The scale boasts a shatter resistant glass weighing platform which is completely separated from the touch buttons to ensure the highest possible accuracy. An award winning contoured base that is layered with an arced reflective glass sheet for enhanced sturdiness meaning it stays in place during use.

It has two instant response touch buttons for easy operation.

Equipped with high precision sensor technology that weighs up to 8000 grams (17Ib 10oz) in units of 1g (0.05oz)

Precision Tare feature instantly calculates the net weight of ingredients.

Large high contrast LED screen.

Includes 4 x AAA batteries with an easy access battery compartment.

Packaging

Once again, good old Ozeri comes good again. Not excessive and pretty much all recyclable. The scales came in a recyclable plastic bag (check your local recycling guidelines), protected by two cardboard packers to secure the scales in the box. A separate piece of cardboard to encase the scales and then in a cardboard box. One paper instruction manual (one language).

 

Set Up

After much searching, and quietly cussing, I found the provided batteries in the battery compartment. As with the Ozeri CardioTech I found it quite hard to open the battery compartment and again thought I’d broken it on removal (I hadn’t, but it certainly wasn’t ‘easy’). The scale uses 4 x AAA batteries and a ‘Lo’ will be displayed when the batteries need replacing.

Place scale on a flat, hard surface.

Ensure the scale weighing platform is empty.

Press the On/Tare button to turn on. “HELLO” is displayed briefly during start up followed by ‘0’ when it’s ready to use.

Press the ‘g/Ib:oz’ button to select your preferred unit of measurement.

Place item to be weighed on weighing platform.

Voile… The weight will be displayed.

Tare Feature:

Press On/Tare button.

Place empty bowl/plate/dish onto the weighing platform.

Choose unit of measurement.

Press On/Tare button to reset scale to 0

Add items to be weighed.

Net weight of your added items will appear on the display.

If you need to weigh more ingredients then press On/Tare button again and add next ingredient and continue as needed.

Opinion

These scales are a really stylish addition to my kitchen, clean lines and modern with a mirror like finish (unfortunately, watch out for finger prints). Easy to clean and the weighing platform easily unscrews for a more thorough clean.

Really easy to use, no difficult set up, just stick the provided batteries in, choose the unit of measurement you prefer to use and go. I compared them with my trusty old scales for accuracy and they were pretty much bang on.   

 

So what more can I say? They do as they say on the tin.

The display is large and easy to read and I think I may be retiring my old ones in favour for this more stylish addition to the kitchen family.

**This product was gifted to me for the purpose of this review**

Ozeri CardioTech – A Review

I have been given the opportunity to review the Ozeri CardioTech Premium Series digital blood pressure monitor with colour alert technology.

Packaging

Once again, as with all the Ozeri products I’ve reviewed, packaging isn’t excessive at all. The product comes in a compact case which was protected by a single recyclable (check your local recycling centres) plastic bag. A paper instruction manual and all enclosed in a compact cardboard box.

 

First Impressions

The product itself is sleek enough to look at. It looks sturdy and easy to use AND comes with 2 x AAA batteries (don’t faint now).

 

Functionality

This product measures your blood pressure, pulse rate and detects arrhythmia, is pretty easy to use and on first use I didn’t even look at the instruction manual I just popped in the batteries (the battery compartment lid was pretty tough to get off, to the point I actually thought I broke it on removal but didn’t) checked I had it on the correct wrist, pressed the Power button then the Start button. I will note here that I’ve used these hundreds of times before in my line of work.

How to Use

Place the cuff on your bare skin.

Hold your left arm in front of you with your palm facing upwards. Apply the cuff so the monitor is on the inside of your wrist leaving about half an inch between the top edge of the cuff and the palm of your hand.

Wrap the cuff around your wrist comfortably (not too tight) and secure in place.

Keep relaxed. Sit in an upright position and rest your left elbow on a table or cushion keeping your palm facing upwards and insuring the monitor is at heart level.

Press POWER – The screen will then give you the toon to choose a user (1-3). Press the UP or DOWN arrows to select (the default user is always 1). Note this selection can only be altered during the flashing start up period, once the 0 stops flashing a confirmation beep means the device is ready to use.

Press START – the cuff will inflate (approximately to 170mmHg)

Result – your systolic amd diastolic pressure will be shown on screen along with your pulse rate. The screen will also display in a colour.

  

Functions

The colour displays on screen are Green, Orange and Red, these are used to indicate systolic and diastolic health according to the World Health Organisation. 

Green – Normal;    Orange – Prehypertension;    Red – Hypertension.

The cuff calculates average blood pressure. It stores 1197 blood pressure readings with date and time recall (399 readings x 3 users)

Detects Arrhythmia.

5 year warranty.

All in all a great portable blood pressure monitor. It does what it says on the tin, it’s easy to use and I like how you don’t have to google the result to find out whether you’ve got a healthy blood pressure, it simply tells you that by colour.

I also like the arrhythmia detection too, as someone who sometimes suffers palpitations from time to time it can give peace of mind.

**This product was gifted to me for the purpose of this review**

 

Snoozeshade – A Review

What amazing weather we’ve had again recently. There’s nothing better than blue skies, bright sunshine and heat, it’s the best … Unless you have a toddler/baby that only naps whilst out walking in the pram.

Last year was particularly hot and I investigated pram shades as I thought that they would be preferable to the awkward and rather annoying parasol I had purchased for our Jané Trider.  I quizzed friends who had them, and whom subsequently hated them, and had a good old look at theirs only to come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to waste my money on one.

The main reason? They’re black! Black absorbs heat! I would be cooking my already hot bod baby! So I went back to spending the summer battling with the parasol and clipping muslins to the hood of the pram and draping them over the legs of my DS to protect him from the rays of the sun whilst still trying to keep him cool.

I was recently lucky enough to be gifted a Snoozeshade Plus Deluxe cover for our pram. I was sceptical, thinking it was going to be just like the others I’d seen and left it on the side until the weather became such that I could use it. My skepticism was totally unfounded.

The first thing that struck me was that, hallelujah, It wasn’t black on the outside but silver grey thus capable of actually reflecting some of the sun’s heat. It’s also made of breathable fabric, not just a nylon mesh making me rest a little easier knowing I wasn’t going to be putting my child in a potential oven.

It’s easily fitted to the pram with plenty of elasticated, popper fasteners (no noisy Velcro in sight, thank god) making it fully adjustable to, I would imagine, any pram. It’s got a zipped vent in the top which you can use as I spy hole. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my pram’s design, this vent doesn’t work for us but I tend to leave a corner of the main opening unzipped.

  

There are 4 ways to create shade and help your baby sleep. The front of it also opens fully so there’s easy access to your child.

  

A mesh front zips into the opening to achieve a lookout mode which shades your child whilst allowing them to see the world around them.

  

Once asleep you can popper the outer fabric shut to achieve Snooze Mode.

  

When not in use these two layers fold neatly into a hidden pocket at the bottom of the shade so it always looks neat and stylish.

  

When not in use the shade is compactly stored into it’s own mesh drawstring bag each can be kept in the pram basket.

Approved by the Melanoma International Foundation, simply put the Snoozeshade has become my must-have essential item that is never removed from the pram. I highly recommend it to anyone, it’s worth every single penny.

Ozeri WeightMaster II – A Review

I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to try out and review the brand new to the U.K. market, Ozeri WeightMaster II 200kg/440IbDigital Bathroom Scales which feature BMI and Weight Change Detection.

In light of my battle against the bulge I was thrilled when this opportunity came up, convinced that my ancient bathroom scales were the cause of my misery. They weren’t, of course, but accurate they were not. Of course I will miss those good days when they weren’t accurate and weighed light.

I’ve been using these scales for a week now and from the outset I blooming loved them. What a fantastic bit of kit! They’re fairly light and slim making storage easy and I find them attractive to look at.

  

Packaging

Once again, as with all the Ozeri products I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, the packaging of the product isn’t excessive at all. The scales come in a plastic bag, 2x recyclable cardboard protective strips, an instruction book (in all languages known to man) all contained in a recyclable cardboard box. The less things that go in my bin the happier I am, as is the environment.

  

  

  

What They Say

  • BMI with Weight Differential Detection — Instantly displays your BMI (Body Mass Index), current weight, and your net weight change since your last weigh-in. It also calculates your net weight change from the average of your last 3, 7 and 30 weigh-ins to help provide a comprehensive understanding of your weight.
  • Accurate Weight Tracking with 30 Day Memory — By measuring your weight once a day, the Ozeri WeightMaster II empowers you to instantly see how your current weight changes from the previous day (e.g. -0.3 kg), the average of the last 3 days (e.g. -0.8 kg), the previous week (e.g. -1.1 kg), and the previous 30 days (e.g. -2.4 kg), all displayed on an intelligent LCD with color alert technology.
  • Smart LCD with Color Alert Technology — For users who want to focus on their weight trend instead of the actual numbers, this scale displays your weight change in color, with a GREEN illumination for weight loss and RED for weight gain, providing a visual form of intuitive feedback so you can see if your weight is trending up or down day to day, over the last 3, 7, and 30 days.
  • Immediate and Flawless Results — Performs and displays all calculations on the scale’s LCD without complicated synching or data connection failures common to more expensive wireless and Bluetooth alternatives
  • Robust Construction, Industry-leading Capacity and Built-in Intelligence — Weighs up to 200 kg with auto-recognition technology for 8 unique users at home, at the office, or at the gym. Automatically calibrates with StepOn technology and auto-powers off. Features a slip-resistant grooved ABS exterior reinforced with a tempered glass interior, and non-slip scratch-resistant feet that won’t damage flooring. Treated with Microban® antimicrobial product protection that disrupts the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria and helps maintain surface cleanliness


Getting Started

Setting up the scales couldn’t be easier, to the point I didn’t even need to open the manual other than for explanation of codes.

To change between Kg and Ibs hit the switch on the underside of the unit. I stumbled across this as no hint was given in the manual.

1. Press the SET button

2. Use arrow keys to scroll through the programme number (P1-P8) and select appropriate programme number.

3. Press the SET button

4. Set your height by using directional arrows

5. Press the SET button

6. Stand on scales

Simples.

What the scales do:

The scales have Step On Technology meaning, well just that… Step on them to start. They power off after a short period of time to conserve battery life so no need to turn them off.

Once you’ve set up the scales and inputted your personal programme information the scales automatically recognise who you are, so no need to select your individual programme before weighing.

Wait until the scales stop flashing which means your current weight is locked in and then watch to see whether you’ve gained, lost or maintained.

The scales display your current weight and BMI then will scroll through a series of coded averages:

L1 – Net weight change since last weigh in.

L3 – Net weight change of last 3 weigh ins.

L7 – Net weight change of last 7 weigh ins.

L30 – Net weight change of last 30 weigh ins.

The scales Colour Alert Technology will also give you a visual indicator of whether you have lost, gained or maintained. If the display turns Red, you’ve gained. If it turns Green, you’ve lost. If it remains Blue, you’ve maintained. I personally find this the best indicator for me, having spent a lot of my life suffering with eating disorders I find that I can’t afford to start obsessing about numbers so I’m just happy when the display shows Green.

The scales are really robust, as my toddler has kindly tested by launching them across the kitchen floor on a number of occasions, and the fact they’re treated with Microban is an added bonus.

My Opinion

On the whole I love these scales, I like the way they look and what they do, they are simply the best scales I’ve ever had. 

Unfortunately, like every other scale on the market I’ve found you have to use them on a hard, flat surface. Not only this but I am having to use them in exactly the same place on the floor. I’ve found that if moved to a different location (by only a couple of inches) I can go from losing 2 oz to gaining 3. Whether we have a particularly uneven floor is unknown, I just make sure I use them in the same place.

They certainly get a great big thumbs up from me.

**This product was gifted to me for the purpose of this review.

Centre Parcs Winter Wonderland

We have not long come back from our very first family holiday where we spent 5 days (8th-12th December) at Centre Parcs Winter Wonderland, Longleat Forest with our 1 year old son, Noah.

It was truly magical. A friend told me it hurls you into Christmas head first and she was right! From the moment I saw the snow clad entrance signposts I was catapulted into all things Yuletide.

We had to queue a bit from the main road to get checked in but the queue moved quite swiftly until we got to the arrivals lodge where there are about 12 check in ‘windows’. Check-in was quick, friendly and hassle-free, no need to get out the car. We were greeted warmly by the arrivals host and gave our name and lodge number as we’d forgotten our reference number. She toddled off to check us in and returned with our keys and welcome pack, showed us in a map where we needed to go and sent on our way, the whole process took no longer than 10 minutes.

Luckily we arrived a few minutes before 1500hrs so didn’t have to wait to drive to our lodge. Due to the nature of Centre Parcs visitor vehicles are only allowed on site between 1500 and 2300 hrs on the day of arrival (Mondays and Fridays) and only up until 1000hrs on day of departure (Mondays and Fridays). Outside these times it’s only site vehicles and the land train allowed.

Getting to the lodge was a bit of a bun fight. People seem to forget how to drive in there so be careful, cars all over the roads and drivers too concerned with looking at signs to lodges than the road, it was a bit hair raising. We found our lodge fairly easily, we had chosen Woodland Lodge 416 in the Pine Area on booking as it was on the outskirts of the park and in an area fairly close to the main arenas. I would highly recommend these peripheral lodges as we seemed to have more privacy when it came to windows… The main living area windows just looked out onto forest and in a lot of the inner lodges you could see right into the kitchen/living areas from the roads.

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View from lounge window

The Lodge
We pre-booked the Woodland Lodge 416 in the Pine Area and were suitably impressed.

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On arrival we were amazed how big the lodge was. You entered the lodge into a hallway which had a separate toilet and a huge storage room which housed a vacuum cleaner and other cleaning implements, boot rack and a proper drop-side cot. We chose to use the travel cot we brought with us but the instructions on the one provided were easy to follow and it looked spotlessly clean. This was a great room to put the pram in too.
This hallway lead onto the main living area with the kitchen (on the right) and dining area (on the left) at the front of the property and the living area at the back with sliding doors opening onto a patio with chairs and a brick built barbecue area. We didn’t use the barbecue (for obvious reasons) but there were instructions stating to only use the barbecues supplied at the Parc Market. All that could be seen from this patio were pine trees and a small window into next door’s living room. This main area had wooden flooring with a rug in the lounge area.
There was a big chalkboard in the kitchen/diner area with a nice welcome message from housekeeping plus a bowl of chalks which Noah enjoyed (probably less than we did though).

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The kitchen was well equipped with four ring gas hob, gas oven, microwave, dishwasher and plenty of cupboards. 4 dishwasher tablets were provided as was a spare bin bag, a few tea bags, coffee sachets, sugar and UHT milk.
The bin has two compartments and a message asking to recycle. The recycling and general waste bins are located on the road outside the lodges, ours was right outside our lodge which was handy.
The bedrooms were either end of the lodge. The twin room located off the dining area and the main double and bathroom off the kitchen. Both rooms were carpeted and had hair driers as standard at a small vanity area. The bed linen was of good quality and despite the fact there were only two adults all beds were made up and towels provided for four.

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The lodge had gas central heating that was controlled by a thermostat in the main living room. We thought it was on a timer initially until we read the lodge’s ‘instruction’ manual and realised that by upping the temp on the thermostat the heating would kick in, I think it’s set fairly low. There is also an open fire which can only be used with fire logs again bought at the Parc Market. We pre-ordered a pack of three which were there on our arrival and just happened to have a free one so had enough for the week.
The lodge was spotlessly clean and in good working order, no real signs of wear. If I was to find fault I’d say the cushions on the lounge could do with being removed and the sofa hoovered, also underneath the sofa… I only discovered this whilst checking for any toys Noah may have posted somewhere.
The highchair was really good too, though I did have to put a cushion behind Noah so he didn’t slip and slide everywhere but this was no issue.

Bike Hire
We had hired two bikes, a trailer for Noah and helmets prior to arrival and when we parked the car we went to the cycle hire on the way back to our lodge. As we’d pre-booked we headed straight to the front where we were quickly assigned bikes and helmets. Criticisms to be made were that we weren’t given any instructions on how the bike worked and pretty much sent on our merry way with no information or safety talk. Helmets didn’t fit neither my partner nor Noah (too small and too big respectively). It wasn’t until we got back to the lodge we realised we had no bike locks, something we had read were provided. We popped back the next day and told to help ourselves from a big bin at the collection point. It would have been nice if the guy had told us this on collection, but no real harm done.
A nice additional service they could provide would be to deliver (and collect) your bikes to your lodge for you, with a baby it was a bit of a mission and we would have gladly paid a little extra for such a service.

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The Subtropical Pool
Wow… Just wow! What an arena!
Changing areas were spotlessly clean providing individual male and female cubicles. Separate male and female communal changing and family changing cubicles (with pull down changing unit and nappy bin) which all had two doors, one in and one leading to pool. Lockers were huge and plentiful. Take £1 coin for these. There were two giant body driers (like at Alton Towers) which were a novelty. Showers plentiful and powerful and leading into pool through a foot trough.
The pool area itself is really impressive, lots of plant/tree coverage giving it a jungle feel and this main pool has a wave machine, Tarzan would call out five minutes prior to activation. Off the main pool there was a little swim through ginnel which lead to a whirlpool area which Noah loved, this opened into the flume landing pools too.
Next to the main pool is a toddler and separate baby pool area with mini slides and warmer waters… Only criticism is the areas were largely taken up by lounging parents watching their older children meaning us with teeny tinies couldn’t get in until they vacated the area.
Taking a little jaunt upstairs you will discover a café, cabanas which you can hire, flume access and the entrance to the outdoor pool which had a ice plunge pool and entrance to the rapid ‘ride’. This area was truly magical amd I can imagine in the evening even more so. In true Winter Wonderland style it was highly, but tastefully decorated and there’s something decadent about being in the cold outside but in warm steaming waters.

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All the flooring was cleverly cut stone meaning it was totally non-slip. Considering there were a lot of people there the pool never felt crowded and we took Noah into all areas (bar the rapids and slides, of course) in an inflatable seat with no real difficulties.

Also, point for parents, photos are not prohibited in the pool area… Something we missed out on as assumed it would be banned as is the case in so many public swimming areas.

The Parc
The resort is beautifully kept with plenty of staff keeping everything in tip top condition. Included in the price of the holiday are Adventure Playgrounds, Children’s Soft Play Area, Subtropical Pool, Cycle Paths and the Beach (yes, there’s a beach). There are dozens of bookable activities from indoor and bar sports to outdoor and water sports and activities. My only criticism is that there isn’t anything for the really tiny ones to do, everything seems to be geared to the 3 years and up.

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We spent a lot of time walking (for N’s naps) and cycling around the Parc. The cycle paths are very well maintained and where there is a steep road for vehicles there is always a wooden cycle way which either goes into the forest, as the road drops away into a dip, maintaining a flat path or where a hill does need to be climbed they are sloped nicely, obviously at a gradient acceptable for wheelchair users, even I managed to cycle up from the Lake to main area without breaking a sweat.

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There is a land train that runs around the Parc every 20mins to half an hour which is quite sweet, not that we needed to use it. Apparently you can’t take a buggy on board so be wary of this. One day they did have an issue with one where it leaked diesel and obviously hadn’t been discovered until it had driven around the Parc a few times meaning everywhere reeked of diesel and the roads (having just rained) were a tad treacherous under foot/wheel as no one did a clean up operation on it. A little annoying as everything we wore seemed to smell after cycling.

There are a vast array of restaurants to eat at. We only ate out twice and did this at Hawtons as it was close to the pool, open and friendly (despite the bottom of my water glass falling out soaking me in ice cold water). The vegetarian food there was lovely and fairly reasonable.

The Parc Market
In reviews this got quite a lot of negative comments due to price. We didn’t find it that horrific to be fair, living in a seaside town we have local shops that charge more than they do so I think a little unfair to criticise. You can pick pretty much everything you need up here though if you’re in a rush and there’s a queue, don’t expect it to move quickly.

Winter Wonderland
This is set up in the Market Square and is truly magical. There are lights in nearly every tree, snow, real reindeer aswell as 4 singing reindeer, Glühwein, Santa’s Workshop where you get to meet Santa himself and lots more. Noah was totally mesmerised despite being able to really get involved with it all.

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All in all we were blown away by the whole experience and intend to book again for next year. It really does throw you head first into Christmas.

Ozeri 4x3motion Digital Pocket 3D Pedometer with Tri-Axis Technology – A Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the 4×3 motion Digital Pedometer by Ozeri. Seeing as I seem to walk forEVER to get my LO asleep I was interested to see how far I’d walked and, more importantly, how many calories I was burning.

I haven’t had a pedometer since they were first put on the market. In those days you had to wear the device on your hip and it would notch any movement made on and count it as a step therefore giving you a less than accurate result on the whole and who didn’t shake the hell out of them to notch up more a few more miles?

I was intrigued by the claims that this pedometer gave and looked forward to testing it out.

What they say:

The world’s most advanced 3D pedometer. Unlike other pedometers that do not work accurately unless placed vertically, the 4x3motion Digital Pedometer utilizes the latest generation in Tri-Axis technology to provide superior accuracy in any position, whether up, down, flat, on its side, or at any angle. Moreover, the 4x3motion Digital Pedometer utilizes a Digital 3D Acceleration Sensor which is far more accurate than mechanical sensors used in other pedometers.

Compact, sleek and ultra slim, the 4x3motion Digital Pedometer fits is any pocket and is the ultimate personal trainer. Used by professional 100 mile ultra runners such as Evan Kimber, the 4x3motion Digital Pedometer records your steps, distance, average speed, calories burned, and time spent exercising, and displays your data on a new bright LCD with a night view backlight. The 4x3motion Digital Pedometer filters out vibrations and only begins counting after it detects a sequence of continuous steps for greater accuracy. The 4x3motion Digital Pedometer ships with a Lithium battery, a bonus strap and instruction manual. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. (taken from their Amazon description)

My opinion:

On receiving the product it was neatly packaged, not over packaged at all with a simple plastic, moulded case that wasn’t too big for the item, a mini screwdriver to use on the battery compartment, a lanyard and a small paper instruction leaflet.

The product itself is really natty. I was given the black one which was sleek and very lightweight. It came with a black lanyard which could be fitted to enable you to wear it round your neck, this however wouldn’t thread onto my pedometer as the outer fabric on the leash just kept coming away exposing the inner core making it impossible to thread so I just put it in my pocket.

It has a really neat interface with only four buttons and it only took a couple of minutes to set up following the simple and easy to follow instructions and you can choose between metric or imperial when it comes to your data. The only thing I would say is that you have to input your stride length. I had to google this as I had no idea how to do this. Basically you put a mark on the floor and put the heel of one foot onto it then make a regular stride, then mark where your toe is on your front foot then simply measure the distance between and this is your ‘Step’. This needs to be fairly accurate so the device can calculate how far you’ve walked.

It also has a 7 day storage function so you can track your week’s activity.

I did find that on first using the pedometer it didn’t count any steps but then rushed through ten steps in one, this is normal apparently because it needs to detect a sequence of continuous steps and all in all, when I counted the device was pretty darn accurate.

I ran it alongside a GPS Walking app on my iPhone to check accuracy and the two were pretty close in distances though I appreciate my stride isn’t exactly the same length at all times. The time didn’t falter but the calories varied hugely, the pedometer giving the lower reading and this is the one I took on board, the app calories burnt were hugely exaggerated, in my opinion though I wish it was true!!

One really annoying thing about the device (in addition to the leash threading debacle) was that whenever I sat down with the pedometer in my back pocket, it reset itself, therefore losing all the data up to that point and having to go through the whole set up process again. It’s a shame I couldn’t get to use it on it’s lanyard to see how accurate it was in that position.

Would I buy it? If I was in the market for a pedometer I’d definitely trust this one, it’s accurate and good value for money with Amazon reducing the £39.99 RRP down to £15.95 (at the time of this review going to press). On the whole a good bit of kit and better to use than running your battery down on your smart phone by using an app.

Oh, and yes, you can still shake it to clock up the steps should you wish to do so, you just have to do it in a more rhythmic manner.

**This product was gifted to me for the purpose of this review.

36 Weeks Old

This fortnight saw you turn 8 months old, amazing to think you have been part of me for 17 months now. I seriously can not remember what my life was like before I knew about you. It sounds contrived but it’s true. It was always something friends said when they had children and I never really understood what they meant until I had you. What I did with my time back then is a source of intrigue.

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To make up for last fortnight we’ve done quite a lot this time round. The fortnight started with a lovely weekend as a family. On Saturday 19th we did lots of walking, down to The Weir where you and daddy had a nice swing together and you tasted your first chip 😏

Then down to Tommy Jack’s where we saw Kate and Grayson for a little chat. On Sunday you woke up a little wheezy but we decided to take a trip over to Budleigh to see Uncle Dan, Auntie Sam, Ella and Tom. You had your first bounce on a trampoline and you loved it, as did Ella and Tommy who, again, found you fascinating and doted on you. It’s lovely to see you all together, I just wish you were closer in age but there’s not a lot I can do about that one.

You were as good as gold and had a lovely day although that night you terrified us with your breathing at midnight so Daddy and I didn’t get much sleep, you on the other hand slept soundly after the initial meltdown. You were still a bit wheezy in the morning so I took you to the doctors. Of course you didn’t wheeze when we saw him but he checked you over. Your lungs were clear and temperature ok so we just had to monitor you. At the time of posting this you still have it but we now know it’s phlegm that you just need to cough up, it’s slowly going.

The weather has been simply incredible but because of this we’ve been pretty much trapped inside after our early morning strolls so we can literally ‘chill out’ under the ceiling fans. Though the ladies and babies did get stuck with us one Thursday as a massive thunder storm took us all by surprise.

On the 28th I took you home to Lyme Regis to spend a few days with Auntie. I bought an O Baby travel cot but had to purchase an extra mattress from Argos as it’s so hard, a fault all travel cots seem to have reading the reviews. It is nice and easy to put up and down though and doubles up as a play pen it’s so sturdy. Of course you don’t particularly like it as a play pen but it does buy me time to at least go to the toilet or put the washing on.

We had a lovely time at Auntie’s where you were doted on by both her and David who didn’t quib at nipping out and getting you a paddling pool and some fruit to save us a trip. It was so hot but we enjoyed al fresco meals and long walks along the Cobb and Marine Parade showing you my childhood haunts. Caroline and Grace came over to see us too bringing us a cot and highchair so we have one to leave there saving me carting them to and fro.

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On the way back home on the 30th we stopped off at Uncle Dan’s so we could drop off Ella’s birthday present and had a nice walk along Budleigh seafront and a naughty sundae. You also had your first sit in a proper swing at the park there, you appeared to like it despite it being a little on the large side.

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On the 1st we spent the day in the car driving up to Farnham for Jen and Phil’s wedding on the 2nd. You did amazingly well despite the awful traffic meaning it took a couple of hours longer than we had anticipated. We stayed in fleet at the Premier Inn there. Talking of travel cots, I wish I’d brought the mattress with us that we’d bought. The one provided was awful and you didn’t settle in it for long before we brought you in with us. I was so proud of how well you behaved in the restaurant that evening. It was late when we ate and you were so good, unlike the other little boy that was there screaming the place down (and he looked to be a little older than you).

Health
You’re still holding on to this mucus on your chest so I think I might take you to the docs again on Monday.

Teeth
Lots of drool, lots of chewing but no sign of anymore coming through just yet.

Firsts
Trampoline on 20th July.
First doctor visit on the 21st July. It was very strange seeing your name come up on the screen.
On the 22nd you started climbing things… Anything so you’re up on your knees. You look so proud of yourself when you do it and are fast wanting to bring your feet under so you stand but haven’t quite mastered this yet.

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By the 24th you were climbing to standing and have since mastered this nicely, even daring to let go of own hand.
An 8 hour straight sleep on the 27th.
On the 28th you had your first night in your new travel cot.
The 29th saw your first time on the Cobb also your first splash in a paddling pool.
First time in a proper swing on the 30th at Budleigh Salterton’s park by the sea.
The 1st saw your first trip along the A303 past Stonehenge… You were thrilled

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Character
You’re in a Wonder Weeks leap phase at the moment and are a little more clingy than usual, in fact I can barely put you down without you whinging, crying or crawling over and climbing up me to be held again. Then you spin around and want to get down again, and so the cycle continues. You do love your pram though and calmly sit in it, expecting a trip out no doubt. You love the outside too, in fact you can’t get enough of it which is a shame that it’s so blooming hot at the moment as it means we’re holed up indoors to keep you cool.

Muscle Development & Coordination
Movement: You’re climbing up and over everything now, nothing appears to obstruct you without a concerted effort to conquer it.
Sitting: Mastered
Standing: You’re doing this brilliantly now, with support of course, and you look so proud when you’re up even letting go so that you’re only holding on with one hand.
Coordination: Improving daily. You love tapping and banging things together and rarely miss your mouth with your spoon now except when a little over zealous.

Speech: Same.

Entertainment
Anything and everything that you can climb so you’re in a more upright position. Drumming… You’re properly banging blocks together and on things now and will mimic us when we tap on things that make a noise.n fact mimicking is your new favourite pastime, be it sticking out tongues, drumming, tapping or facial expressions you are mimicking us… It’s kinda cool.

Sleep
On the 27th you slept a FULL EIGHT HOURS STRAIGHT!!!! You didn’t do it again!

Growth
I haven’t got you weighed this fortnight.

Feeding
New tastes: Chips (naughty I know), Melon, Blackberry, White Potato, Bean Pate, Three Bean Chilli, Macaroni Cheese, tea cake,
You’re finally making a concerted effort to drink now but soon revert back to hurling your cup around. You seem to be dropping some milk feeds at night and don’t seem to be feeding as often during the day either.

Due to a drop in milk feeds (I assume) my cycles have returned which has been met with panic, panic that you will soon no longer need me, stupid I know as you’ll need me for a few years yet but the thought of our special bonding, quiet time together may soon be over is really quite upsetting.

Green Earth Pan by Ozeri – A Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Textured series 20cm Green Earth Pan by Ozeri.

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Being a new mum and now (recently) cooking for my little boy I’m more aware and nervous about using my old, slightly battered non sticks as I know that the non stick is degraded and am well aware of the health risks surrounding this.

It’s a known fact that non sticks use a synthetic coating called PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) and at high temperatures this degrades and emits fumes that have been documented to be lethal to small animals and birds, affecting their respiratory system and is also harmful to humans. This of course is information I have willingly, until now, chosen to ignore but with a baby my priorities are different. His safety, health and well being are my number one priority.

When this opportunity arose I jumped at the chance after discovering that the company’s products are free from PTFEs using a natural ceramic, called Greblon, as a coating instead which boasts non stick ‘perfection’. Because they don’t use these traditional non stick coatings the products are, therefore, made without the use of PerFluoroOctanoic Acid (PFOA) which is one of the worlds most ‘persistent pollutants of the environment’ and is linked to some cancers when ingested. This Eco friendly claim also got my attention. With an environmental background I do try my hardest to make choices in life that will conserve, rather than damage our environment to enable future generations to enjoy what we do now. Granted I don’t always make the right choices for, usually, economic reasons but I do try where I can and would rather pay a little extra for an environmentally aware product than not.

What they say:
The Green Earth Pan’s ceramic coating is 100% free of PTFE and PFOA. In addition to being completely eco-friendly and ultra-safe, the Green Earth Pan’s natural ceramic coating is far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces. With better non-stick properties, the Green Earth Pan by Ozeri allows you to cook with as little as half the amount of oil normally used, and it makes cleaning a breeze. The Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is made of the highest quality anodized aluminum that allows for even cooking and fantastic browning without the risk of hot spots. It boasts a magnetized bottom for rapid heat transfer on induction stoves, and a heat resistant Bakelight handle. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

My pan arrived a couple of weeks ago and the first thing I decided to review was it’s packaging. Packaging is a pet hate of mine. We use far too much oil based, non recyclable products to simply make an item more appealing to the consumer. It’s a disgrace and something even Eco friendly companies are guilty of.

Packaging
The pan’s packaging consisted of:
One recyclable cardboard sleeve which fitted snugly therefore not excessive.
One plastic bag
One rubber band
One easy to follow instruction leaflet on one piece of paper
One easy to peel off sticker

In the grand scheme of things not a bad effort despite the plastic bag which I’m sure is purely to protect the entire product during transportation and retail but I didn’t have to use scissors and this is always a bonus.

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The Pan
It’s a beautiful looking pan in my opinion. It is a vibrant lime green which injects a nice bit of colour amongst my stainless steel pan rack. It’s got a nice weight to it feeling sturdy without being too heavy either (650g). The handle feels solidly joined to the pan, there’s no give at all there. The handle is

Cooking
Before first use they recommend you season the product with quarter of a teaspoon of oil, pretty standard practice. It certainly lives up to the claims that you need a lower heat and far less oil, this really surprised and amazed me. As for it’s non stick claims I whole heartedly agree with them, it is truly brilliant and best if all I have no fear of using a metal fish slice as it doesn’t scratch like traditional non sticks do.

Cleaning
What can I say, it’s amazingly easy to clean. Scrambled egg pretty much wiped off with kitchen roll except around the handle fixing screws which needed a little more attention. I can’t see this changing over the course of time as it seems more hard wearing than traditional non stick coatings. I’ve left it overnight before cleaning, without soaking, and have had no trouble cleaning it the following day. The other half has even cooked and cleaned it… That’s a test in itself!

Price
Current retail price for this product is £39.99 but Amazon currently have it at £23.99 with free UK delivery. Well worth the money, I’m hoping it’ll last me years instead of cheaper end non stick that get ruined in this house within a year

I’ve been using the product every day now for three weeks, using metal utensils and a wide variety of ingredients and it still looks brand spanking new.

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In three simple words, I love it! Trouble being I now want the whole range :/

**This pan was gifted to me for the purpose of this review.