Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pay As You Go from Three - Nokia Lumia 520 Review

It's a long time since I've used as Pay As You Go mobile phone. I think I must have been a teenager at the time, so well over 13 years ago (gosh I'm getting old)! So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Nokia Lumia 520, one of the many available Pay As You Go phones on Three I was intrigued to find out how much had changed since my days as a Pay As You Go user.

The Phone - Nokia Lumia 520 

To be perfectly honest, my expectations weren't very high. In the past I've found that the quality of Pay As You Go mobiles isn't usually the greatest unless you can afford to spend a lot upfront buying one of the better models. I had expected that would still be the case, but the Nokia 520 easily exceeded those expectations.

The Nokia Lumia is a very attractive handset. I received it in black and it looks very sleek, but the phone is also available in an impressive range of vibrant colours from pillar box red to cyan blue. It feels sturdy in hand, not flimsy or cheap despite how slim the phone is, and I was impressed by the screen size (4 inch - 400 x 800). I found the screen resolution to be better than I expected, all images on the phone are very clear for the screen size.

The touch screen is beautifully responsive and I haven't had any issues using it so far. I also found out through a little bit of online research  that the touch screen on the Nokia Lumia 520 works even if you're wearing gloves! I did actually try this, and I can confirm it's true! Certainly good to know for the winter months. I think this is an impressive feature considering the affordable price point of this handset. The only part of the handset I was slightly disappointed in was the lack of a flash for the rear facing camera. There isn't a front facing camera either, so this might be a bit of a dealbreaker for those who love taking selfies. However, if you do still snap a few too many pics the phone can easily store them, since the phone can accommodate an impressive 64GB microSD card.

So what's my overall impression of the handset? Easy to use and well designed. A big thumbs up!

As someone who is used to using android and apple devices (I have both),  using a Windows phone was a bit of an eye opener for me. Initially I was a bit daunted by the set up, but it took just a few hours until I was familiar with the apps and the phone. It really doesn't take long to get to grips with this phone, even if you aren't very tech savvy, as the menus are pretty easy to navigate.

Features of the phone I was particularly impressed by were the inclusion of Microsoft Office and OneNote. The microsoft Office app lets you create, view and edit documents, presentations and even spreadsheets on your mobile.

I also liked the way social media is set up on this phone.  It's quite straightforward and easy to navigate.  Simply access the People app, this gives you an alphabetical list of all your contacts (including thumbnails).
Tapping on someone brings up all their information – from email and phone number right through to birthday or address (if you have it stored of course).

Swipe right from the contacts page and you'll access the 'history' screen, this shows all communications between you as well as their recent posts and updates on social networks.
Swiping to the left will take you to a 'what's new' screen, which combines accounts like Twitter and Facebook into a single feed, displaying recent activity without having to use a separate app. As someone who spends a lot of time using social media, this set up is really great for me. It saves me time going between different apps to keep up with everyone!

I could go on and tell you more about  the phones features but I don't want to bore you! So I'll just wrap it up and say that this Windows phone really has some great apps and features, the bonus being that they are all easy to use! All round, this is a great phone for the price.

Pay As You Go

Along with the Nokia Lumia 520 handset, I was given a Pay As You Go SIM card to try out. I'm really impressed by the prices on Three's Pay As You Go service. With calls charged at only 3p per minute, 2p per text and 1p per MB of data it's a very affordable option if you're looking for an alternative to a contract. I seem to remember Pay As You Go prices being much higher and maybe they still are on other networks, but not on Three!

Topping up your mobile is easy too. You can:

  • Buy a top of voucher at the Supermarket, petrol station or any other shops where you see the Top Up sign displayed.
  •  Top Up using the Three App (available free on iTunes or Google Play)
  •  Top Up at the ATM (Top Ups available at 1000's of ATM's across the UK)

 I really did enjoy using the Nokia Lumia 520, it's a good affordable mobile with lots of fantastic features and would be ideal for anyone looking for a great Pay As You Go deal with Three. I don't think I'm quite ready to switch from my Three contract yet, but it is something I might be more willing to consider in the future given how affordable and flexible the options are.

*I received this product for the purpose of review.  All views and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Father's Day Gifts - Dove Men + Care & Radox

As you know, Father's Day is fast approaching and I've been scratching my head wondering what gifts Holly and I could give to her Daddy. He really isn't one for showy or expensive gifts and always gives us a telling off if he thinks we've gone overboard! So the search was on to find something he would enjoy using that didn't break the bank either! 

Whether he's pottering about in the garden (it's his pride and joy) or at his weekly kick about at the 5-a-side football pitch, Holly's Daddy really enjoys coming home to a warm bath or nice refreshing shower.

That's why I think Radox and Dove Men + Care products would make really affordable gifts for any Dad this Father's Day. 

Radox Muscle Therapy Bath Soak (RRP £2.31) is great for soothing those tired muscles after a day of sports or outdoor activity. There's also Radox Stress Relief Bath Soak (RRP £2.31), ideal for relaxing after a busy day at work.  Is dad more of a shower man? Then for an invigorating shower why not treat dad to some Radox For Men (RRP £2.15)?  

TOP TIP - If like me you love Radox, you can always steal borrow some when he isn't looking! Shhh! I won't tell if you don't!

If a relaxing soak in the bathtub isn't quite what you're looking for,  the Dove Men + Care duo gift pack would be make an ideal alternative. The Daily Care Duo includes a Clean Comfort anti-perspirant deodorant which 48 hr protection against odour and sweat, and a Clean Comfort shower gel with MICROMOISTURE technology to protect the skin from drying out. This is the perfect set if you like your partner to smell clean and fresh - I know I do!

I definitely think any of these products would make fabulous Father's Day gifts and even better for me and Holly they won't leave our purses or piggy banks empty! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Review - Little Big Songs by Jerry & Co

We all know toddlers love music, well mine does anyway! My 2 year old Holly loves listening to new songs and learning to sing and dance along to music.

 That's why I was thoroughly delighted to review Little Big Songs, an album of music made specifically with preschoolers in mind.

The album consists of 11 delightful songs on a variety of themes. The CD comes with an accompanying lyrics booklet complete with some lovely illustrations which makes it almost look like a little story book! The first time we listened to the songs we did it with the booklet in hand so we could read the lyrics and look at the pictures as we sang. Holly thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We've been listening to the CD for a few weeks now and on numerous occasions Holly has asked that I put the CD on for her. So as far as she is concerned it's clearly passed the toddler test!

As for me, I really enjoy this CD too. I often find music aimed at toddlers can be rather annoying and a tad repetitive, often with silly or nonsensical lyrics. However, I don't feel this is the case with Little Big Songs at all. Each song tells a story and the tunes and melodies are lovely.

Our particular favourites on the CD are the opening song "Scrub-a-Dub" which is a fun little song which we've made our own actions to. We also really enjoyed "In the Family", "What's the Time Mr. Wolf" and "Pipes and Taps".

We tended to favour the more up tempo songs (like the ones I've listed above) but there is a good mix of styles on the CD. There are some slower songs that would be perfect for quiet time with your toddler or even to play before bedtime. In particular the songs "Ladybird, Ladybird" and the delightful "Goodnight, Mr Moon".

Overall this is a great CD for anyone with children of preschool age. I'd definitely recommend it if you are looking for some music for your child, but it would also make a great gift too. I certainly think Holly and I will be enjoying these songs for a long time to come!

* I received this CD for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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