Now it isn’t every day you get asked to review a phone – and the chances often don’t swing by just when you are in need of one but it seems Lady Luck was shining down on me and decided to rescue me from my ancient HTC Radar after an unfortunate accident befell my old Samsung.
The phone I was given the opportunity to review? The new Asus Zenphone 5LTE. Now forgive me for being a little ignorant but I wasn’t actually aware that Asus made smartphones until this opportunity came up and this had me all the more excited waiting for it to be delivered. I’m a big Android fan and much prefer it to Apple and the dreaded Windows operating systems so was looking forward to having another piece of beloved Android software in my hands.
SIM & BATTERY LIFE
The first thing I always check out on a new phone is the expected battery life and what type of SIM it takes. The Asus Zenphone 5LTE takes a micro SIM as is the norm for most smartphones these days. The battery life so far has truly impressed me – it has lasted me the whole day, only beginning to warn me of low battery just before I am going to bed. Having been used to various other smartphones whose battery lives are appalling, it is refreshing to see a phone that can hold such an impressive charge. The Zenphone also offers a smart saver mode with three options available for users to choose from, enabling your battery to stay alive for longer.
The display of the Zenphone 5LTE is 5″ with a 1280 x 720 resolution. This is not the highest resolution you will see in a smartphone but enough to still be considered HD. I am much more used to phones with smaller displays and higher resolutions so it took a bit of getting used to, however I think I am there now. The only niggle I have is the inability to see the screen in direct sunlight – although I haven’t really got room to complain during this cold winter, have I?
I am very clumsy so I was worried about the quality of the phone – I’ve been known to crack a few cases and smash a few screens in my time but I needn’t have worried. The casing feels relatively sturdy for soft back plastic and although smashing the screen is always a worry with a smartphone, I’ve been so careful with it due to past experiences and hoping to keep it that way!
As I’m sure most other bloggers will agree, there are a few things we look for in a smartphone. A decent camera and the ability to download all of our favourite apps – check and check. This phone offers both, leaving me extremely happy.
The camera is an 8 megapixel rear facing camera with an LED flash and auto focus. There are a number of different options available when taking a picture but so far I have just used the basic features and been impressed with the results – one such picture is shown to the left and I have been spamming Instagram with pictures too after weeks without it! I’m looking forward to getting some real Christmas crackers when it comes to pictures this year!
Talking about the camera leads me nicely into the responsiveness of this device. I’m loving how quickly the phone responds to taking a picture – almost instantly – because there is nothing worse than having to wait for ages for that shot to be taken – especially with a stubborn toddler like mine!
The Asus Zenphone 5 LTE’s responsiveness is nothing to be sniffed at – it responds almost instantly with no lag and users can easily move from app to app. A great function to aid with the responsiveness is the fantastic Glove Touch function – a must in the depths of winter!
We’ve all been there – having to take our gloves off so that we can use our phone – so it has been great to see some smartphones adding such a feature in recent years. The Asus Zenphone 5 LTE is one such phone, offering the function with just a click of a button. Seeing as I am always in gloves in the winter and always on my phone, I was curious to see if it really could work or whether I was just getting my hopes up.
The outcome? Very impressive. I was fearful that the feature wouldn’t really work but as you can see, it is easy to select what it is you need and easily swipe across. The function is easy to find on the home screen – simply pulling the notification bar down on the top right hand side of the screen brings down a menu with a variety of options. Select the Glove Touch function and the phone is good to go.
Whilst the screen resolution and camera aren’t as great as other smartphones on the market, the Asus Zenphone 5 LTE sure does put up a good fight. Retailing at £199, the phone offers an affordable alternative to the other phones on the market and does so with style.
PROS – Great battery life, fantastic Glove Touch function, stylish design, affordable, runs on Android.
CONS- Lower resolution than other smartphones, inability to see screen in direct sunlight despite alternating brightness.
Would I recommend this smartphone? Certainly, The Asus Zenphone 5 LTE is perfect for those who are on a budget but still want a great smartphone that has all that they need. Running the Android operating system means access to a variety of great apps that most people require or want when buying a phone and the long battery life is also a huge selling point for me.
I may have been ignorant when it came to Asus and smartphones before but I certainly won’t be from now on. In fact, I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer next.
We were sent this phone free of charge for the purpose of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Recently launched in the UK, Imune Nurture are natural drinks for children. Launched by Derek and Lucie Sanders after failing to find a product to naturally boost their families immunity, the drinks are suitable for children over 2 years of age.
Every pouch (200ml) is packed with the daily amount of key ingredients for a 2-5 year old – vitamins B6, B9, B12, C, D, Zinc and Calcium are all packed into one little pouch! These help to strengthen immune cells, support brain development and much much more.
Jack is quite lucky in the sense he doesn’t get anywhere near as ill as some other children do. That being said, his immune system could probably do with a boost and since he likes to drink either squash or milk – he does drink water but would much rather either of the other two! So this fruity water seemed the perfect middle ground.
We were sent two boxes to try – one a pineapple & orange water and the strawberry & cherry. I knew straight off the bat which one he would prefer and I was right – strawberry & cherry definitely disappeared the fastest in this household! I also tried a sip of both and can definitely see why the red pouches are his favourite!
Whilst I’m unsure how much they are helping his immune system, he has managed to completely bypass Steve’s cold apart from a slightly blocked nose – he normally gets the whole lot and is pretty miserable and snotty for a week. I obviously cannot put that down to these alone but they may have helped.
These are also great as we can take them out with us and he can drink one whenever and wherever he likes. We did have some teething problems at the beginning when he couldn’t work out how to drink from it – there is a anti-spillage device to stop any drink being spilled when the lid is off but Jack wasn’t pressing down on it so no drink was coming out. However, he is only two and at the lower age range of their target audience so I’m sure older kids would manage just fine.
We will definitely be picking up more of the strawberry and cherry flavour in the future but would probably not buy the other flavour again as it seemed a little weak. They are a fab price too – these are sold at Tesco in packs of 4 for just £2.99. You can visit their Facebook and Twitter for more information about any of the products.
Safety is paramount when it comes to travelling in the car and even more so when you have young children. When we picked our pushchair system during pregnancy, we were lucky to find a great deal which included a car seat. When it came to Jack needing a new one, we spent ages looking for the right one before settling with the one we have now.
You may have seen me mention before that I am a Britax Mumbassador which means I often share Britax news or campaigns with you, occasionally hold giveaways or do the odd product review. Britax recently sent me the Britax King II LS Car Seat to test out – and that we surely did!
When it first arrived, Jack instantly claimed the box as his own and had a great time throwing things in there and popping his head in and out of it – Steve managed to capture these shots but Jack insisted on hiding inside a lot of the time! We decided that in order to give this the best review we could, we would pop it in the car a couple of days before our drive to Bluestone – thus we could test it out on a couple of small journeys before really putting it to the test on the long drive to Pembrokeshire.
First things first, I love the simplicity of the colours – black and silver with red accents. I see so many black car seats with bright colour panels on the seating part – really? Car seats really don’t have to be aesthetically pleasing as long as they do the job properly and keep your child safe. That being said, this has an attractive design and the instructions label on the side is very clear – making it easy to work out how it needs to be put into the car.
Steve is definitely the car person and I always leave him to put the car seats in – his car, he knows best and I would rather have Steve fitting a car seat and know it is done properly than try and fit something and failing miserably. Below is the official Britax video for fitting this car seat:
The Britax King II LS Car Seat is designed for ages 9 months to 4 years which means Jack is currently using it at the optimum time, being right in between these ages. The weight limit is 9kg to 18kg. The car seat itself has measurements of 67cm height, 45cm width, 54cm depth and the car seat itself weighs 10.3kg. This may seem a little heavy when putting into the car as most car seats do – however, when you consider it seats a child up to 18kg and you would probably be lifting them in to put them into the car seat…it really isn’t heavy at all.
The car seat is forward facing with a light and sound indicator which helps you to harness your child to the right tension for your journey – an innovative feature that really makes the journey safe and comfortable. There is also a patented seat belt tensioning system ensuring the seat is tight and secure in the car. There is a five point safety harness with one pull adjustment, making it easy to adjust the harness to ensure it is the perfect fit for your child. I personally struggled with the safety harness, I couldn’t do it up at first. It was really tough so Steve took over – I have got the hang of it now but it is worth bearing in mind.
As well as safety, comfort is key – and this seat offers comfort in spades. With soft padded full side wings, a softly padded cover and performance chest pads, maximum comfort is guaranteed whilst safety remains paramount.
A feature that we really liked was the number of reclining positions. Our car seat only has the upright position plus one recline whereas the Britax King II LS seat has four – this was perfect on our long trip to Wales as it meant Jack could sleep without being disturbed. Safety and comfort is clearly key when it comes to this car seat and we found the trip to Bluestone and back a pleasant experience with it.
Jack was quite happy on the drive down and didn’t seem to get fidgety at all – a clear sign he is comfortable! He even slept for about an hour – and he looked so comfortable, I wished I could do the same in such a comfy chair!
I am very impressed with the Britax King II LS car seat. Whilst I still adore the one we bought a while back after plenty of research, this car seat definitely exceeds it in quality – with the innovative light and sound indicator to the sheer number of recline positions (perfect for napping children), this product cannot be faulted. The only thing I can really say is that practice makes perfect when it comes to doing up the harness – I now have it down pat!
The Britax King II LS car seat is a Kiddicare exclusive and is available to buy here for £170 with a 12 month guarantee and Kiddicare price guarantee.
A couple of months ago, I was one of a handful of selected bloggers chosen to review a mid-week break at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
An opportunity that really couldn’t be missed, you can imagine I was very excited when I heard about it and eagerly applied – cue even more excitement when I was selected! There would be 3-4 bloggers and their families each week throughout June, enjoying a mid-week stay. It was great to stay the same week as two of my best blogging friends but we didn’t get much time to see each other with so much to do!
I love holidaying in the UK but had never visited Wales – Steve had though and had often visited his aunt nearby so although the journey was long and tiring, we didn’t get lost! We left very early and had planned to be there around 3.30pm, however we had to stop at Steve’s parents on the way which put us behind on time.
We finally arrived at around 5.30pm and checked in with ease – the booking office is literally as you drive in, you give them your name and they give you your access card and a welcome booklet – which I obviously read as soon as I possibly could. We took our car down to the lodge and unloaded all our stuff before quickly popping to the supermarket off site to pick up a few bits. We then dropped our groceries off at the lodge before driving back to the long stay car park where it would remain until the end of our holiday apart from a few trips off site.
We dropped the car off at the long stay car park on the first night and took a little walk through The Village to see what activities and amenities they had to offer. As the time was getting quite late, we didn’t do much but popped into The Tavern for a quick bite to eat. The food in The Tavern was very reasonably priced (there are a selection of restaurants but this is the most affordable in price) and was extremely tasty – Steve even proclaimed their creamy mash to possibly be the best he had ever tasted!
The next morning saw a bright and early start as we went to take another look around the village and get immersed in some of the activities. Jack was a little too young for some but there were some things he loved. Before we left, Kerry and her family popped round to say hi – and Jack and Amelia were very cute together! Check out my Instagram for a cute video of the two of them.
After they left, we took a leisurely stroll down to the village. We visited the bakery first of all – Jack wanted to buy absolutely everything – but we settled for some simple food. The staff were really lovely and attentive and this ensured we went back numerous times during our stay.
Knowing we would possibly go off site one day to test out the activities nearby, we took a quick detour into the offices to see if they had any leaflets…as you can see, they had loads! We had planned to use a buggy to get around the site but unfortunately they were booked up for the whole week – so I would definitely suggest booking one before your trip!
The treehouse and adjoining park were big hits with Jack – and most of the other children staying at the park, it seems. We didn’t get to spend as much time here as we would have liked but it was nice to see something that catered to children of all ages – Jack would have stayed there all week if we had let him!
On the Tuesday afternoon, we decided to pop over to the Adventure Centre as it seemed to be suitable for ages. Indeed, we saw older children scaling the rock climbing walls and teetering on the ropes high above our heads but Jack, Max and Amelia were more than happy to play in the ball pit, explore the treehouses with us parents (to great comedic effect!) and their particular favourite, play with the lego and huge Connect 4. I tell you, put any child in front of lego and they will be happy for ages!
We kept meaning to pop to the Blue Lagoon waterpark but we didn’t have time to fit everything in on our mini break – the day we wanted to go was the day it poured down with rain so we decided to visit the zoo instead rather than splash about in the wet only to dry off and venture out into the wet again. We did take advantage of the train service throughout the week though when our tired legs couldn’t carry us any further – our lodge was one of the furthest away from the car park so you can imagine that it took a while to walk there – after all, Bluestone is a big resort! The views were breathtaking though!
Of course, sometimes we just wanted to chill out in our lodge and as you can see, we had plenty of room to do so. Our lodge was based right by the lake which meant we had a beautiful view to look out onto – but it also meant some visitors in the morning in the form of a flock of ducks. The people staying in the lodge next door often fed the ducks their leftover bread so of course, when they saw us devouring some toast in the morning with our curtains wide open – they wanted in! Jack was very amused by them and it was quite nice to know we had little visitors to wake up to every morning.
We took a walk around the lake a few times but didn’t do it too often due to the sheer number of baby frogs hopping around – we saw plenty of squashed frogs and we had to keep watching the ground very closely for fear of stepping on one. Steve helped a few back onto the grass near the water but there were just too many of them!
The lodge itself was very spacious and I have no real complaints – only that the lodges aren’t very child friendly in some respects. Bluestone have plenty of activities for children but all the kitchen drawers were easily accessible and the oven was a simple tap on which Jack could reach – potentially very dangerous. Luckily, we kept our eyes on him at all times but I do believe that is something that could possibly be addressed.
All in all, I was very impressed with the site and plan to go back very soon, as soon as finances will allow. We were very impressed with the activities available, the amenities on offer (the bakery and The Tavern pub in particular!), the scenery was amazing and the staff were extremely friendly. Although we plan to go back soon with Jack, I also plan to go when he is a lot older so he can really take part in some of the other activities they have to offer – there is such an extensive list such as rock climbing, archery and much, much more!
If I had to find anything negative to say about Bluestone, it would be the lack of toddler proofing in some of the lodges plus the lack of buggies available – we will definitely be booking in advance next time! Overall, we had a very positive experience and plan to visit again very soon.
(A mid-week break stay in a Caldey Lodge from Mon-Fri in July 2014 is roughly £899 although this price will vary at different times of year)
We were given free accommodation and access to some activities for the purpose of this review
I hadn’t heard about CLIF until I was contacted about them a couple of weeks ago – and now I am hearing the name everywhere – I even heard it on Two Broke Girls the other night so when pitched to me as America’s favourite energy bar, I can wholeheartedly believe it! Having recently launched in the UK, I was sent 6 bars to try – 2 of each flavour (which was very handy as it meant both myself and Steve could try one each!).
Now available in Boots and Tesco stores nationwide, CLIF bars contain fibre, protein and 11 different vitamins including B6 and B12. These are carb rich and are perfect for a source of energy wherever you are. There are six flavours to choose from (Chocolate Chip, Crunchy Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Blueberry Crisp, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut and Chocolate Almond Fudge). We were sent the Oatmeal, Macadamia and Fudge to try out..
So what did we think?
My favourite by far was the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, it was the right sweetness for me and I found it really set me up for the day. Always a fan of raisins so the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut went down a treat and despite me not being a fan of almond in the slightest, Chocolate Almond Fudge surprised me – and actually tasted great! I am often lethargic in the mornings, especially working from home – I sometimes feel no sense of urgency to go and do something however these gave me the energy I needed to get stuff done that I had been meaning to do for ages!
Steve was quite impressed with both the macadamia and walnut offerings but with a dislike of almond that is greater than mine, he wasn’t a fan of the fudge offering – this, of course, is simply a personal thing – he doesn’t like anything almond flavoured!
Would I recommend? Definitely – and that is why I have a competition from CLIF for you all today! It is UK only and will end at 23.59pm on the 10th of July.