Top 5 Christmas gadget gifts to get this holiday season

Gold paper wrapped Christmas presents

It’s that time again! The most wonderful time of the year. The season that brings families together in the spirit of giving and joy. Depending on how good you are with picking presents, there might just be a tinge of terror mixed in with all the merriment.

We’ve all been either the perpetrator or the recipient of what can honestly only be described as a less than stellar gift. Maybe even a terrible one. We’re looking at you, pair of socks and multi-coloured, comedy sweater!

As much as we know that gifts are not really what Christmas is all about, it certainly helps to feel confident about the presents you bought and to see sincere joy and amazement in your loved ones’ faces. If in the past you’ve stood in shops, helpless and surrounded by too much choice, this article’s for you.

We’ve decided to take on the role of Santa’s elves and help you come up with some fantastic gift ideas. We’ll focus on gadgets in this post. Gadgets always make great gifts because they tend to be functional and useful, new ones are launched each year, and there’s such a variety available today that it definitely isn’t solely the domain of dads or teenagers any longer.

So, without further ado, let’s see what great Christmas gadget gifts you can get to help spread some festive cheer this season.

XBOX ONE X

Xbox One X

Proudly dubbed the “World’s most powerful console” by its creators, you can rest assured that any console gamer in your family would be absolutely thrilled to receive this gift. Playing games in native 4K HDR has been the dream of gamers for a long time now. To make things even better, all pre-existing Xbox One games will be compatible on the X so it’s a great choice as an upgrade. Especially considering the recent release of some big game titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Shadow of War that can now be taken full advantage of.

Who’s it for?

Practically any console gamer you know would be ecstatic with this gift.

Alternatives

  • PlayStation 4 Pro: Very similar to the Xbox One X, this console was brought out as a more powerful version of the PS 4. Although not as powerful as the One X, PS is known for the most tantalising, exclusive games.

DJI Mavic Pro drone

DJI Mavic Pro drone

What might have seemed like just a fad a few years ago, they have proved to be anything but. Drones are still popular and more in demand than ever. We’ve only recently begun to realise the potential for these awesome gadgets, for even the average person. From shooting incredible holiday videos to drone racing with VR headsets, they’ve captured the imagination. The DJI Mavic Pro Drone is a higher-end drone and comes packed with capabilities that more than justify that price tag. It has a 12.35 megapixel stabilised camera that can shoot 4K video in up to 30fps and boasts a 27-minute flight time.

Alternatives

  • Parrot Bebop 2: This is a more affordable and slightly lower-end alternative. The biggest downsides being that it’s not as easy to pack up and go as the DJI and doesn’t feature the same build quality.
  • GDU O2 Plus drone: A more direct competitor for the DJI Mavic, this drone features almost all the same capabilities and has a very similar aesthetic.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

Amazon Kindle E-reader

What better gift can you give to the bookworm in your family than a Kindle e-reader? A device that lets you store hundreds… even thousands of books on a single, hand-held, lightweight, portable, tablet-like device? What’s even better, is that the E ink electronic screens are anti-glare so that they don’t strain your eyes and can be read in bright light with ease. Some newer models also come with built-in LEDs to self-illuminate in low light conditions. To top it off, these devices provide you with the widest access to books straight from Amazon itself. The Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis are variations that come enhanced features such as higher resolution screens and the Oasis is even waterproof.

Who’s it for?

Anyone who loves books and is constantly on the go.

Alternatives

  • Kobo Glo HD: The Kobo Glo HD is a like for like replacement for the Amazon Kindle. It’s definitely one of their staunchest competitors in a market dominated by Kindle. This specific model has a similar screen and most of the same features as the Paperwhite.

Sphero R2D2 droid

Sphero R2-D2 app-enabled droid action figure

Since the start of the Star Wars story all those years ago, our hearts & minds have been captured by the adorable and capable android, R2-D2. This unlikely looking droid managed to be both cute, yet completely indispensable with its emotive beeps and bleeps and multitude of tools. The newest in a line of in-phone, app-controlled droids, this one promises to be just as much fun and rekindle your love for Star Wars.

Who’s it for?

It’s suitable for all ages. As long as you can play games on an app you can handle this droid. A fantastic gift for any Star Wars fan in your family or one who has a love for novel gadgets.

Alternatives

  • Sphero BB-8 app-enabled droid: The BB-8 managed to do the seemingly impossible: become a worthy successor to R2-D2 and be just as adorable. It came out a few years ago and reviews have been mostly positive.
  • BB-9E app-enabled droid: This is the “evil twin” of the BB-8. Most users will prefer the BB-8 but this is a great addition if you want to complete the collection.

We hope you’ve found some fantastic and appropriate Christmas gift ideas on our list! Now, with your shopping list done you can finally sit back, relax, and take in all the merriment going around this festive season. If nothing else, maybe you’ve found an idea for a present you yourself want and can now go hint to your family members. And don’t forget to set up your workstation for the new year with a desk from Jason L!

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4 Ways to stay motivated while losing weight

4 Ways to stay motivated while losing weight | H is for Home

For many people, losing weight is a huge struggle. The sad truth is 80% of people who lose weight following different diets can gain it all back and more. This could lead to a lot of health problems as we grow older.

Knowing full well that you have to lose weight is not enough. You have to establish a schedule or routine and really commit to it. When you decide to break a bad habit, you’re essentially changing your behaviour. There’ll be times when you feel inconvenienced by preparing healthy meals or tired from exercising and you start to relapse. Motivation comes and goes and it’s easy to fall back into bad habits. Here are four ways to stay motivated whilst losing weight.

Food diary

  1. Create a healthy meal plan

One of the reasons for gaining weight is unhealthy eating habits; consuming fast food every day, drinking fizzy drinks and fruit juices that are high in sugar and eating crisps, cakes, chocolates and the like in the middle of the night. So, it should come as no surprise that eating healthily will help you lose weight. It does not, however, mean that you should give up all of them. If you think that you don’t know enough about nutrition, a great way to start is by using a meal subscription service like Nutrisystem. A great article by Debra Moorhead provides a detailed review of different Nutrisystem plans and how they can benefit your nutrition. The key is having a healthy and balanced diet. Start by writing down all the food that you consume currently. Identify those that are unhealthy and only makes you gain weight then, search for alternatives.

Bathroom scales and measuring tape

  1. Track your weight loss journey

You’ve probably heard this before, but losing weight doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t get 20 pounds lighter from working out for hours a day and neither should you do that. While experts have different recommendations when it comes to the amount of weight you should lose in a week, they all agree that slow and steady weight loss is the most sustainable for the long-term. You can track your weight loss journey by starting to step onto the dreaded scales so you know your starting point. Create milestones and celebrate your successes. The idea is to keep you focused on the goal and see exactly how you’ve progressed over time. Don’t forget that losing weight shouldn’t come at the expense of failing to meet your nutrient needs.

Friends fist pumping

  1. Have a support system

An environment full of pessimistic people is bad news when you want to start losing weight. Losing weight is a personal commitment, therefore, you need to surround yourself with people whom you can talk positively about the journey. One of the reasons for binging and weight gain is depression. To have a positive weight loss experience, you must resolve any underlying psychological stress that you might have. Cut ties with people who bring you down and spend more time with family and friends who’ll support you no matter what, encourage you and even join you in your quest.

Walking a dog in a park

  1. Keep yourself busy

When you’re sitting and fantasising about losing weight, guess what? You’re not actually losing weight. Do you sometimes feel hungry even when if you’re not doing anything and have already eaten? This is because, in a relaxed state, your mind wanders and you’re more in tune with what’s happening to your body. You actually feel more tired, sleepy and hungry when you’re not moving around. So, why not visit an art gallery, walk around the park, go window shopping, take a yoga class, walk a dog, do whatever? You’ll be surprised at how being active can help improve your health and overall well-being.

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3 signs you might need to call a plumber

3 signs you might need to call a plumber | H is for Home

As a home-owner, you’ll sometimes be faced with repairs and other home improvement projects. While many of these fixes can be done without the help of a professional, some problems require expert knowledge. Plumbing is one area that often requires a professional and trying to fix plumbing issues on your own can turn into an even bigger problem.

Today, we’re going to learn a few signs that just might indicate that you need to call a plumber for backup.

Soldering a water pipe

You have a slight leak in your pipes

If you notice a small leak in one of your water pipes, you may think it’s no big deal. However, small leaks can turn into serious flooding in a matter of seconds. Small leaks can also be an indication that your water system needs a major overhaul. If you notice leaking pipes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Calling a professional plumbing service like Reckon Plumbing for those of you who are based in Los Angeles will ensure that your small leak is fixed before it’s too late. Water damage is a serious issue that could end up costing thousands. Get those leaks fixed so that your biggest investment is protected.

Shower head

You keep running out of hot water

When you take a shower, do you notice the hot water runs out before you’re finished? This could be a sign that your boiler isn’t working properly. In more serious situations, it could mean that your water heater is about to fail and should be replaced. But, only a qualified plumber can determine the condition of your boiler.

In some cases, boilers can be repaired. However, if your unit is more than 10 years old, you may want to think about having it replaced. If you do need to install a new boiler, you should allow a certified plumber to do the job. Boilers can cause house fires if they’re not installed properly.

Damp basement

Your basement always seems damp

If your basement is always damp or you notice water seeping from the walls, you should call a plumber. This could be a sign of a leaking water pipe or drain line that is hidden underground. While you can take measures to get rid of the moisture by installing dehumidifiers, you should have the problem checked out by a plumber.

As we’ve learned above, water damage is a serious issue that could cause many different types of problems. The worst issue you may face is a mould infestation. When there is moisture present in your basement, it will often attract dangerous mould. Once mould has taken over your basement, it can make your family sick and cost you thousands of dollars to remove. To play it safe, call a plumber as soon as you notice moisture in your basement.

These are just a few signs that it might be time to contact a plumber. Remember, there are many jobs that only a certified plumber can handle. They have the knowledge and tools to do these jobs properly, so when in doubt, always give them a call.

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Do you need a light like Needlite?

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

The clocks go back at midnight on Sunday, heralding the start of daylight saving time and winter. Justin doesn’t mind it, but it’s not a time of year that I look forward to – the long nights get me down-in-the-dumps. I find it hard to wake up and get going in the morning. It used to be much more of a struggle back when I commuted every day – waking up in the dark, coming home in the dark and spending those few precious daylight hours cooped up indoors. Does your mood change when the clocks go back in the autumn?

Boxed Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

Needlite ™ has recently sent us a pair of their daylight desk lamps to try out and review. They’re LED lights which emit a similar spectrum of light that you get from sunshine. They help alleviate negative mood changes and depression from the lack of natural light; and in so doing, can help improve work performance, productivity and creativity.

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

They’ve been set up, at the advised 45º angle, either side of a large table which we use for both office and craft activities – a simple, two-minute job. They’re sleek and minimalist – and look really great.

Needlite ™ iPhone app screenshots | H is for Home

You can operate the lights manually by finger touch control – or alternatively, you have the option of downloading an app for your smartphone (another 2-minute job) and controlling them that way. You can alter the brightness/dimness and even give yourself a little daylight boost if necessary.  You can also use the app to programme them to switch off at a particular time – a great way of letting you know that your working day is over!

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

I could feel the positive effects immediately – my mood lifting on the dark, drizzly day that we took these photos. Our work room faces almost east, therefore loses direct sunlight pretty early on in the day. With our new Needlite lamps, it will make it feel like it’s south facing!

I think they’re going to be a godsend this winter and they come highly recommended for fellow Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.

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Pretty Green Mathmos lava lamp collab

Pretty Green x Mathmos lava lamp | H is for Home

We’ve never actually owned a lava lamp – so were very happy to receive one of the new, limited-edition versions produced by the original manufacturers Mathmos in collaboration with Liam Gallagher’s men’s fashion company, Pretty Green.

Box containing a Pretty Green x Mathmos lava lamp | H is for Home

The Astro lava lamp is such a design classic – the idea of Edward Craven-Walker who founded the Mathmos company. The name ‘Mathmos’ actually comes from the French comic strip, Barbarella (later made into the cult classic film starring Jane Fonda). Mathmos is the bubble liquid force under the city – the choice of name becomes obvious when you see them in action. Introduced in 1963, it was an instant success, an icon of sixties and seventies interior décor. Their appeal has really stood the test of time. There have been all kinds of innovations and special editions, however the basic principal remains the same – and Mathmos is still going strong over 50 years later.

Recently switched on Pretty Green x Mathmos lava lamp | H is for Home Warmed up Pretty Green x Mathmos lava lamp | H is for Home

We opted to receive the pink and orange colourway for our Astro lamp. The lovely warm glow filled the room from the moment of plug in. As the lamp heats, the contents come to life. Initially stalagmite-like shapes form – then the classic globules develop. These globules gently rise, split apart and fall back down. Then they do it all over again, with slight variations to the movements and shapes formed each time. Edward Craven-Walker likened it to a repeating life cycle.

Pretty Green x Mathmos lava lamp on a vintage Ladderax shelving system | H is for Home

The atmosphere and warmth that they give to a space is quite unique – and they’re mesmeric to watch of course. If you’re in the mood to relax, there’s a little 2 minute clip below – just long enough to fall under its spell! (P.S. If you hear heavy breathing in the background, that’s Fudge our dog, not Justin falling asleep whilst holding the camera).

When it comes to lava lamps, don’t be tempted by lesser imitations. The brand authenticity, quality of materials, colour intensity and lifespan are all important factors that make the classic Mathmos the only real choice. In fact replacement bottles, bulbs and bases mean that your Mathmos lava lamp should last a lifetime.

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Thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store

Thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store

If you want conventional results, think conventionally and you’ll get them. However, if you want exceptional results, you’re going to have to explore nonconformity. In other words, if you’re trying to stand out in the world of e-commerce home furnishings, thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store will get you there. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

homeware & property internet icons

Zag when everyone else zigs

Of course, all of the players in your space have websites, but how many of them have a branded app to automate some aspect of the home décor process? Better still, how many of them are thinking of logically alternative places in which to advertise the existence of said application? Sure, they all advertise on decorating websites and home lifestyle websites. But when you think about it, people buying homes and moving into new apartments are the ones most likely to need new or additional furnishings.

Advertise your app as a home decorating tool on real estate sites and apartment rental sites. Partner with estate agents and leasing agents to offer new home-owners and tenants an exclusive discount when they use your application. In other words, look for logical places to be, where your competition isn’t going. When everyone else zigs… zag. This moves you beyond the cluttered spaces in which everyone in your business is trying to garner attention.

Online trading

Put your own twist on a successful concept

Rather than sticking with the tried & tested methods endemic to the furniture business, look around at what marketers in other industries are doing to see what you might be able to apply to yours. For example, Marshalls looked at the boards of its Pinterest followers then had YouTube and social influencers deliver items from their lists to their homes. The company captured the reactions of the recipients, posted them to social media and it became the marketing campaign known as ‘Marshalls Pin Pals’. Think of ways your business can tweak and apply this type of idea.

Shopping online with a smartphone

Seek new solutions to traditional problems

As you’re considering how to start a furniture store, finding new solutions to the drawbacks of selling furniture online and basing your marketing around them will set you apart from your competitors. An outstanding example of this in the furniture business is the ‘mattress in a box’ concept. One of the most difficult pieces of furniture to ship, the sheer size of a mattress makes it real burden. Companies now offer compression machines capable of drawing all of the air out of a mattress, which reduces the size and makes it less costly to ship. The air seeps back when the mattress is removed from the box, returning it to its original size. This will also work for comforters, pillows and other bulky air-filled items. Ideas like this one will give you a unique selling position to exploit.

Yellow sofa on an online shop

Think outer space

Treat every idea like a good idea when you’re thinking outside the box to market your online furniture store. Write every thought down and give each one serious consideration. What might at first seem to be the most ridiculous notion could well turn out to be the best idea you’ve ever had. Go beyond the norm when brainstorming – think in ‘outer space’. After all, if you aim for the cosmos and fall short you could land on a cloud of your very own. If your dreams are ‘grounded’ in reality, you’ll always be on the ground – with everybody else.