Wednesday, 10 August 2011

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

Ok, for any of you that have read my previous post Ghost of Christmas Past, I feel a follow up is definitely in order.

From that post it was clearly evident that I was pretty unimpressed with my husbands Christmas gift of choice for me and as I receive the first of my Christmas stock for this year it has inspired me to reflect on the gifts we gave and received last year.

Leading up to Christmas 2009, the 'e-Reader' was launched and my husband, the gadget FREAK, asked me if I would want one. My response was a flat "No".

For those of you that have not read my Ghost of Christmas Past article my reasons for the resounding were as follows;
  • I'm a big book reader and I love a Book
  • the touch
  • smell
  • sense of "how much have I read" or "how much is left"
  • chapters
  • page turning
  • and perhaps the smallest of reasons, I get eye strain from reading on the PC/laptop/mobile phone.
In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn't have judged the book by its cover (for want of a better expression!). I have given my Kindle a good 7 months of use and the operative word there is USE.

I have used it. Well, I haven't just used it it has become my bedtime companion EVERY night. I am ashamed to say (based on my highly ungrateful and emotional reaction to the prospect of receiving it) that I love it. I cannot imagine my life without one.

Lets look at the pros

  1. Luckily for me, my husband thought ahead to the logistics of my reading in bed (the only time I get a chance to read anything), of a night and sussed that he would not like a light on for the duration so he bought me a lovely leather case with a light that is powered by the Kindle itself. The light can be pulled out to be on or tucked away when reading in daylight. I think the case with the little light was about £50, which is expensive BUT my case still looks new, it is REAL leather and of course there is the added wonder of the little light. There are obviously cheaper alternatives available.
  2. Added bonus of the case protecting the Kindle itself - although this does make it bulkier to carry around. (I am a mum though so small handbags are not my thing)
  3. The Whispernet. What an awesome invention! There is nothing more frustrating than sitting watching a loading screen waiting for a download to finish. Not being able to switch the device off until it is finished or just waiting in anticipation of the book, song, programme you are downloading. Amazon you have this sussed 'cos this is fast, effective and fan-bloomin-tastic. Everything is delivered in seconds from the Kindle store.
  4. Ah the Kindle store! Easy to navigate, easy to find what you are looking for and it's a clever little invention that links to your amazon account giving you access to recommendations and your wish list!
  5. Free eBooks. Now I couldn't talk about this wondrous little contraption without mentioning that (we all love something for nothing) that there is a whole wealth of literature that can be downloaded FREE. Yes, FREE. There is a whole list of books on a whole range of subjects that are FREE to anyone that wants them and there is a "Top 100" list of the most popular ones.
  6. Storage. It stores all your 'current reads' or 'want to reads' in one place. Bye bye to the pile of books down the side of my bed that gathers dust!
  7. Auto Switch Off. I often fall asleep when reading. It is the one thing guaranteed to send me into the land of nod when I am struggling with my insomniac tendencies and the blissful element of my Kindle is that it switched off after a period of non activity. A highly economical feature if you ask me. Time saving too as I don't have to wait to recharge everyday.
  8. Battery Life. I charge mine about once a week, if that. It largely depends how much I download or how long I read for. The battery lasts longer if you switch the wireless connection off after downloading a whole library of new reads (I can NEVER just download one book!)
  9. WiFi. This wonderful little library package is easily connected to WiFi. It disconnects when you want it to and reconnect pretty damn quickly.
  10. Size. I know I have touched on this above with the case and all, but when not in its protective case I genuinely could see this slipping into my handbag or briefcase on a daily commute. With its case, which is a must have for me as it gets chucked in the bottom of my changing bag and the light is invaluable, it is well protected and would last a long haul journey in a suitcase. Although quite why you would pack it and not read it on a flight I do not know.
  11. It is great for KIDS! I have a lot of children's classics (all of mine have been downloaded FREE) to hand all the time which I can call on to keep MissBean occupied while waiting for her brothers to do swimming lessons. I can also see that when BigBean is older and can read, I will buy him his own one to read to encourage this invaluable life skill.
  12. Finally and perhaps the most important point. I have read from this little baby for hours on end, when I am already tired, in bright sunlight and in the dark (with help from the book light) and I can honestly say I have never suffered from any kind of eye strain whatsoever! It is really easy to read from this screen and I applaud Amazon for their technological development to make this the case.
I have quickly discovered that in this technology driven world, that time to sit and read a book is perhaps becoming more and more of a luxury. I simply don't have the time to do it apart from a few minutes before I fall asleep of a night.

Having this versatile little contraption to hand has made a big difference in my life albeit very subtly and mostly without me noticing, but it has given me back time and more opportunity to indulge in a much loved hobby. It has also opened up availability of a lot of literature that I may have missed on my reading journey.

There you have it. I am converted. Long live the Kindle!

As a footnote, I would like to add that I have not effectively made use of the annotation or highlighting facilities which is why I have not included them in my review above.

I would also like to add that I have not been asked to review this product, it is something that I felt that I needed to share.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lunch 4th Aug 2011

Estranged Husband "I can't believe there is nothing for me to eat and you need to borrow my card to go shopping for food"
Me "Well the clue was in what you just said and your standing order hasn't hit my account yet"
Husband "don't worry about me I'm just moaning cos I'm hungry"
Me *does scout around on the 'net to find anything that he can have for lunch and be delivered. Find nowt* "Tell you what, I was gonna head to seaside or science museum today, what time do you normally go to lunch? We'll come and meet you and me and the kids can do London today"

His silence speaks volumes....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Summer Hols - I'm surviving are you?

I have to say the fear of god was upon me when I realised the week before the end of term that the summer holidays would be upon me in a flash. What with the final week consisting of non stop 'events' at school and preschool I was more than aware that I needed to get my bum in gear and arrange something (anything) for the kids to do over the 6 (7) weeks summer holidays. Last year was bearable, this year would be HELL ON EARTH with 4yo in full time school and 3yo in preschool, well not in their respective establishments!

SO, I started to investigate. Then I reeled at the cost of every blooming summer holiday activity available through our local district council and I opted for a more frugal (yes you may read 'cheap') alternative.

Thats not to say that I haven't paid for anything, however I am sticking to the adult pays and the kids go free options.

Week 1 was a success with a trip to RHS gardens (£7.50 for me, kids under 5 go free), a picnic in the woods, going to play rangers (free day out ran by council!), joining the circus stars at the library and even some school work!

The library was a resounding success and the 4yo is quite excited to borrow a book (shame I can't get him to read it. Still I have another 5 weeks to work on that!)

I will keep you posted as the weeks go by and hopefully  might offer some inspiration to someone else along the way.