Tag Archives: Reviews

Jenkins the Hare

I love beautifully told and illustrated children’s books. I still insist the kids have a library of books, even though I am all about eReaders myself. There is something to be said about holding a book like this in your hands, some of them are more like a piece of art and Jenkins the Hare is no exception.  It’s gorgeous. This book was imagined, designed and made in Australia by Demelza Haines and Adam Murphy.

Find the book here!

“Meet Jenkins the Hare: a smart, sweet, little fellow. He has many friends and is thought of as very loyal and loved by all the animals, especially the younger ones. Jenkins is always thinking of new games to play and fun to be had. His favourite possession is his beautiful, stripy scarf. One day it goes missing and he must go through the woods and retrace his steps to find it, meeting all of his friends along the way.”

My children loved this book. It is an adorable easy to read story for little children that has a kind Wind in Willows feel to it, and it teaches the value of friendship and helping out a mate. I was a relaxing read, something that you look for in a short bedtime story. I throughly recommend this book. I want to hang the whole thing on the wall. If you are looking for a gift that will have people asking where did you find that? I suggest you check out Welly’s Wonders.

Jenkins the Hare comes from the team at Welly’s Wonders, a husband and wife team who happen to have oodles of talent. Check out their page for more about them, because there is just too much to tell you about here.

And you know how I said I want to hang the book on the wall? Well they’ve taken care of that too. You can get very high quality A3&A4 prints of beautiful illustrations from Jenkins the Hare and their other book Burton the Brave, they are quite timeless in my opinion and we now have one hanging on my office wall.

Welly’s Wonders also have a gorgeous line of onesies, shirts, cardsbibs and blankets featuring Jenkins and Burton. Do check them out for a truly unique gift for the next baby shower.

One of the fabulous prints.Disclaimer: while we were gifted a book and print in return for the review, the sentiments are sincere. We loved Jenkins the Hare! 

Jenkins6

 

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Itty Bitsy photo printing

The Canon Selphy printer is a quite a portable little machine. Sized about as big as a lunchbox, it can be taken to events with the optional battery pack. So you could set up a Photo Booth at a party and send people home with a souvenir! It has its own wifi and the app to do your printing with is very simple. So you can send pics from your camera, iPhone or iPad (and android devices too I hear), edit in your favourite app and then print out a mini masterpiece. Printing is limited to 6×4 and down. You can get square stickers too for your instagram pictures, and other shapes. I see a lot of scrapbooking or project life potential here!SELPHY-CP910

 

Each paper pack is a complete printing kit, containing the cartridge for you to print your photos.  So far I am very impressed with the quality and colour of the resulting prints. I’ve sent a few through the mail as postcards and from all reports they have made the journey unscathed, the printed surface doesn’t seem to scratch like previous home photo printing paper options I’ve tried. The pricing isn’t too bad either, you can get your hands on a big start up bundle at Costco for $120AU. I am getting a surprising amount of use out of this little printer. It is a lot of fun. #NotSponsored

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Filed under Photographic, Reviews, Technology/Gadgets

You can’t get this Otter wet.

I have been hunting for the right case for my iPhone 6 plus from the moment I got it a few months back, and since my most favourite cases (being the Lifeproof kind) have yet to hit Australian shores.  I’ve had to make do with the limited cases available.  I didn’t want to bend my phone and the only one I’ve found in this narrow market that is capable of stopping that so far, is the Otterbox Defender.

It's a huge bitch!

It is a VERY bulky case, it doubles the phone thickness at the very least and probably a smidgen more.  My children laugh at my when I’m on the phone, and ask if I’ve mistaken my iPad for a phone.  But Otterbox is known for ruggedness not style. Seriously though, I’ve got no pockets this thing will fit in.

It features a tough polycarbonate plastic shell that covers the whole phone, then a rubbery outer synthetic slipcover wraps around that to absorb shocks. It comes with a belt clip holster that swivels from landscape to portrait, and doubles as a stand which you will use more than you think.

In Australia it comes in black and black (my white phone looks a bit silly in it), unless you pick up a grey market one on eBay, or pay big bucks in postage to get a coloured skin direct from Otterbox. 

It will survive a drop, and has done so on many occasions now, and it has a built in screen protector. Which is probably essential to the whole protection deal, but the one or two millimetre gap between the screen and the protector drove me insane. I made SO many mistakes just trying to type one simple message, I end up ripping the screen cover out.  I’m not kidding that screen cover made being accurate near on impossible.  

If you remove your phone from the case, the fingerprint recognition will not work anymore, the sticky of the film membrane that covers the home button doesn’t appear to be designed for more than once use. So I had to take that out too, because I also use that feature on my phone a lot. I removed the phone to clean it (prior to any modifications), because despite its all encompassing appearance you can still get sand in the case. Given the nearly $100 price tag Australians enjoy for this case, I’m not impressed, it works (with these slight modifications) but no longer providing the protection I want.

When I look at this case next to the hubs iPhone 6 sitting all snug and sleek in it’s new LifeProof case, I’m pretty sure my Plus blushes.  I think it’s back to the drawing board with this one please Otterbox, rushed to market and not tested enough.  Also if it is named after a water habituating creature why isn’t it waterproof? Just wondering.

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Reviews, Technology/Gadgets

The Iron Maiden – Phillips PerfectCare Aqua

Most of you would know that I’m not an ironing person, if there is a lazier way to do something I WILL find it.  When word got around that I was test driving an exciting new iron, the Phillips PerfectCare Aqua, well lets just say I could hear my mothers surprise from my house.  Hey with eight people in one house some corners are going to get cut. But what we also have in this house is a lot of uniforms, work, school and cadets. It comes up to quite a lot of pressing. We are an upsized family. We have an upsized car, upsized house, upsized washing machine, dryer, well everything really. So it’s only fitting that we upsize our iron.

Meet the Iron Maiden (yes I’ve named it).

Philips PerfectCare Aqua GC8635

That’s a 2.2 litre water tank on the base, yep it’s a whopper. I won’t lie to you. It does take up a lot of space. I opened it up and baulked at the size, but then I figured out that you don’t have to have it on your ironing board. It can still be easily used when placed next to the board, I iron next to my kitchen bench so it sat there, the cord to the iron from the base is quite long so it worked well.  There are accessories you can get, including this purpose made ironing board, which I’m kinda maybe going to order. It turned out to be quite an amazing appliance to use.

This is only $99 too!

A surprising thing about this iron is that it doesn’t have a temperature dial.  So there is no cotton, wool or the seldom used silk setting, I’ve never successfully ironed anything silk which is why I don’t have silk anymore, but I digress.  The reason it has no dial is this; “One perfect setting for all your clothes. Always the perfect combination of steam & temperature because: 1) Advanced Smart Control Processor sets the perfect combination of steam & temperature 2) The ultra powerful cyclonic steam chamber delivers powerful constant steam for all your fabrics.”  

I was dubious, but it did what it said it would flawlessly, and I’m pretty sure it gets creases out faster than my classic style iron.  If I was going to take in ironing to earn a bit of dough on the side, this would be the iron for the job. Especially with the pressurised steam generator, using that option made it even quicker.

PerfectCare Pure delivers a powerful continous steam output up to 120g/min and an additional steam boost up to 220g. It is ideal for perfect and fast crease removal and for vertical steam.”

Ploughing through all kinds of fabric.

It is easy to fill, with no spills like my classic iron that has that tiny funny angled spout, which I never manage to fill without dribbling it down the side of the iron. The iron clips back into the base for storage and makes it easy to carry around, the whole unit packs up easily.  It does look like a complex beast of an iron, which would probably startle a lot of people, but it is technologically advanced but simple to operate.  Not having to wait for the temperature to adjust with each garment was the best bit for me, which you might not realise takes up extra time when ironing, and I don’t have that much time to spare.  I didn’t even need to use any sprays or starch. It has been a very helpful addition to our busy household. But don’t think that it is just suited to large families, anyone who is after a crisp professional result with their ironing is a match for the PerfectCare Aqua as well.

Disclaimer: I have been gifted the Phillips PerfectCare Aqua as part of this review.

 

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iMax-ed out…

Everyone always asks me about my car. What do I drive that can carry all these kids, it must be a bus? Until two years ago it was, we had a Toyota HiAce minibus, a huge beast that could fit nowhere but could carry a dozen people. Upgrade time came along and we decided we needed a safer vehicle, given the travel we do. Now remember I am writing about my particular model of iMax which is a 2012, they may have changed a few things by now with the newer ones.

The good stuff about it…

It is safer, air bags in all the usual places, and an engine and bonnet between me and the world. Because previously the engine was under my seat. The size of the boot (or trunk) is massive. It looks nice, everyone comments on it. It seats eight, and I’ve seen some models with a ninth seat in the front. It can fit in most car parks, mini bus drivers will appreciate that. You don’t have to get out of the car for mcdonalds, yay drive through lanes I can fit in! Reversing sensors are great and probably compulsory when driving a rectangle vehicle.

Technology, it talks to my iPhone, love that. I can make/answer calls from the dash without touching the phone. I can listen to my playlists, and get siri to do my bidding. Separate climate control for the rear if you want, or you can flick it over and the kids can’t change it. The front row of seats are comfy and lots of leg room, there is two glove boxes and cup holders. Huge pockets in all doors which hold a lot of crap, I mean books/drink bottles/toys. Cup holders for the back row too. It’s price isn’t bad for the size of vehicle you get either, especially compared to similar vehicles at the time. Servicing only has to be done every 15,000kms instead of ten.

And the bad stuff…

Big big HUGE blind spots, you can lose a whole intersection behind the windscreen pillars. You will need to lean forward and look around them at roundabouts. And don’t get me started on what you can’t see behind you.

Baby seat anchorage points are limited to the middle row, a pain in the arse given the new laws mean more kiddy carseats for longer. And its very hard to do the seat belts up once you have the carseats in place, I am still swapping my kids seats around trying to work out a good configuration a year later. Oh and you enter the rear seat by moving the whole middle row, so if you have a few seats that the seat belt goes through as well as the anchor, be prepared to have to redo the belt through the back of the kiddy seat every time.

While not a big deal, colours are limited. We had a choice of silver, silvery blueish, black and white. I am still yet to own a red car. If you are thinking of getting the fitted floor mats, don’t bother because they catch up under the chair runners which are constantly in use, even though they velcro to the floor. You will get the shits with them and take them out in a week trust me, so glad the car yard threw those in because at two hundred bucks a set I’d have been annoyed. The petrol version is a bit gutless with a full load, and can’t tow anything bigger than a trailer. The rear window openers, a pop and prop open deal, which cracks them open well just a crack. Which is what I expected on a van as we’ve had them before, I didn’t expect them to rattle so much I’m scared to drive with them open, the dealer says he fixed it. Uh huh. I know I know a rattle isn’t a big deal, but it does sound like the window is going to fall off. And another reason we went for a van instead of another mini bus was noise, you simply cannot have a conversation in a diesel mini bus, this means children get louder too.

There are so many tiny things that irritate me about this car, I could write pages, little things like there is no handle for the front passenger to pull themselves up into the car as there is for the driver. The aircon seemingly has only two settings, hot and cold. But even though I’ve said all this, I still love the car, simply because it is decidedly better than any other car we’ve ever owned, but remember we owned a Kia that the engine died in before getting to 100,000kms. So you know, for comparisons sake I’ve got some low starting standards.

UPDATE: Come November 2013, I smashed it. My beautiful black mummy van with the dark windows was no more. I now have a silver one, the same colour everyone else in town bought too, last week I stood in the supermarket car park trying to open someone else’s van. Children have accidentally jumped into the backseat at school pick up, thinking it’s their mums van, I think I need some kind of big sticker down the side of it.

You will be pleased to know it took the head on hit very well, I wasn’t injured nor where the small men in the back. Written off, our insurer gave us a new one. So, we now have a new model and it has only a few differences (a few buttons inside are different), but the squeaks remain and here I was happy about finally sorting that rattle issue. And this particular van has more glitches (more than the old one, my reversing sensors don’t work in the cold weather) that again nobody can find on service days, can you believe it ;)

So in a couple of years we will part with this van, hey Toyota have you got a 4WD people mover on the cards anytime soon?

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Filed under Complaints Dept, Kid Safety, Rants & Stuff, Reviews