‘The-Swing’ range of innovative swings: A relaxing way to burn calories?

Recognising that swings do not have to be confined to the enjoyment of children, the Outdoor Toy Company, have launched a range of award-winning high quality swings for the home and garden designed for children and adults alike.


The aptly titled ‘The-Swing’ series comprises of a unique multi-swing which can carry as many as ten children at the same time, a super-stylish ‘Dreamliner’ range that provide an extremely relaxing alternative to the settee or outdoor canopy, as well as a range of therapy swings designed to provide relief and rehabilitation techniques to neck and back pain, as well as, the Outdoor Toy Company informs us, even ‘burn calories’.

If you are looking for an alternative to snuggle up on in front of the TV, or looking for a conversation-provoking piece of outdoor furniture to gaze up at the stars on a clear summer’s night, or looking to keep the kids entertained at your child’s birthday party, this German-made range of innovative swings may be just what you’re looking for.

Unlike ‘made in China’ products, like most things made in Germany, ‘The-Swing’ range is robust and is unlikely to break at the first slightly overweight adult or child for that matter unable to resist the comfort, luxurious and fun oozing from these products.

The-Swing range comes in a variety of colours and sizes and consequently are highly flexible in where they are positioned. Not only can each swing be attached indoors onto wooden beams and ceilings but they can be fixed outdoors onto tree branches, as well as being attached to a standard swing frame using the supplied standard fixing ring.

Prices start from £198 but obviously vary a great deal depending on what model of swing takes your fancy. Personally I’m in favour of that one that burns calories whilst you lay there.


Clean up in style: The latest and greatest in vacuum cleaners

Who would have thought you could be stylish while you’re vacuuming? Well Yat Wong-Jones, buyer of small electrical appliances at John Lewis, who, we suspect, is going to turn out to be the Gok Wan of the gadget world, reckons you can vacuum AND look fabulous.


His choice for stylish cleaners? Well if you want 1940s glamour, you should opt for the Oreck XL4 Upright vacuum clearer with Multi-Vac Canister. Not only does it boast chic, retro styling, but it is half the weight of a conventional model and has a C-shaped handle, which reduces stress on your arm, wrist and back (personally I think the best way to avoid this stress is to get someone else to do the housework but if that’s not an option this is the next best thing). Its bristles are shaped in a double helix (this must be the science part), which means they can lift up embedded dirt from your carpet, and sweep hard floors without scratching them. The bag features a Saniseal system, whch closes the bag as you remove it, so no more nasty accidents with bags full of fluff and dust. The price for this glamorous model? £295

Contemporary domestic goddesses (and gods) should opt for the Sebo Airbelt D2 Storm Cylinder vacuum cleaner, which has been designed in conjunction with the German Design Council. It has a Turbofan motor, which uses turbine technology to get the best results. It also has ‘parking’ and ‘carrying ‘ slots to make storage simple, and its on/off button can also alter the power levels. All this contemporary coolness for £229, exclusively at John Lewis.

If you prefer the futurist approach – and hate pushing a vacuum across the floors – opt for the i-Robot Roomba 555 vacuum cleaner, which can cover up to four rooms on a single charge, and is able to find its way into hard to reach areas such as under furniture and around wall edges. You can preset it to clean while you are out, and it also has anti-tangle technology so get out of cord tangles and tassels. When it’s done, it heads back to its home base to recharge – all for the princely sum of £349.

Finally, if you’re a city slicker, the Dyson DC35 Multi Floor vacuum cleaner is likely to be more your style. This is a lightweight cordless cleaner, ideal for those with little in the way of storage space. It has a motorised floor tool that uses ultra-fine conductive carbon fibre brushes to remove fine dust from hard floors and stiff nylon bristles to agitate the carpet to dislodge and remove ground-in dirt. Finally, a combination accessory tool with a wide nozzle picks up crumbs and large particles. It also converts to a brush tool for dusting, so you can get your cleaning done quicker. This lightweight cleaner costs £199.

All the cleaners above are available from John Lewis. Style tips from Yat Wong-Jones, will, we suspect, cost extra!

RetroTouch: Let there be light – wirefree light

Usually, any changes to the lighting in your home have to be carried out by a qualified electrician, which can be a pricey and time-consuming affair, especially if you have to take time off work to wait for them to appear.


Not only that, but if you want to add light switches, you’ll need to have rewiring done and either live with unsightly cable covers, or have channels dug in the walls and then you’ll need a plasterer to sort your walls out as well. If, like me just the idea of it leaves you losing the will to live, you’ll be happy to hear about a new innovation from Retrotouch.

The Completely Wireless Switch – RTS 2020W allows you to add light switches into awkward places – the porch, conservatory or loft for instance, without the need to rewire.

Just fix the 2 Way Touch light switch to the wall and you’ve got an extra light switch. Sure, it’s not cheap at £84.99 but its probably cheaper and quicker than calling out an electrician.

The light switch can also be used to bring light switches within easy reach of the disabled.

The wireless switch is paired with a wired switch, so it works rather like a remote control (with a reach of 20m). These switches are easy to install by a DIYer and cost £41. Up to four wireless switches can be paired to one master remote switch.

The wireless switch is available in chrome trim or glass versions and can be matched with coordinating Retrotouch plug sockets.

The single remote control can be used to set the brightness of your lights (cutting down on energy bills) or to set up a security light system for when you are away (meaning you can switch it off as you leave the house, perhaps leaving a light on in the living room and bedroom to make it look as though someone is in the house)

The switches can be purchased from www.retrotouch.co.uk.

There’s no smoke without Firetext

You’ve got your fire alarm, you’ve checked the batteries, but have you ever thought – well, that’s all very well and good, but what if no one’s around to hear the thing go off?

Obviously that’s what the good folk behind Firetext thought too, because they came up with a smoke alarm that uses text messages to alert home owners when the alarm is activated.


The Firetext was one of just four finalists in the Inventor of the Year competition at the Ideal Home Show this year, and is now available on ‘pay as you go’.

The smoke alarm can store up to four mobile phone numbers, so you could for example, have yours, a neighbour’s, a family member’s or friend’s number included. It could be a particularly valuable resource for anyone with elderly or disabled relatives, who would know that the alert went to a nearby person.

Firetext inventor Matthew Newman came up with the idea when he bought a new house. “I travel a lot for work, and I moved into a house last year that needed a lot of renovation, so I was always a bit concerned about an electrical fault leading to a fire in the house while I wasn’t there,” he says. ?“I was looking for a smoke alarm that could text me to tell me if there was smoke in my house when I was away, but I didn’t want one that had to be wired into the mains. When I couldn’t find one on the market, I invented my own.”

It is particularly useful if you travel for work a lot, have elderly or vulnerable relatives, for those who are hard of hearing or disabled, landlords, small business owners – even pet owners who leave pets on their own in the house.

Firetext is undergoing 12-month trials with the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Alzheimer’s Society.?

Paul Bordoni, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service group commander of fire safety (prevention), said: “We particularly think this type of alarm is greatly beneficial to carers of the elderly or those with severe disabilities who wish to live independently.”?

Firetext is available from www.firetext.me and costs £89.99.

CarPET pet hair remover

Imagine this…You’re about to go for that all important job interview and you’re feeling and looking confident in your new black ‘power’ suit when you get up from the sofa after finishing your last minute preparations and one last coffee, and doh, your covered from head to toe in white dog hairs. With spring in full flow, pets everywhere are shedding their winter coats, meaning hellish situations like the one above are, for many, a more than likely scenario. Although such stomach-lurching situations can thankfully be avoided thanks to The CarPET, which boldly advertises itself as being the ‘most effective pet hair remover ever designed.’


Simply wipe this small and bright orange gadget across any surface leaching with pet hairs, including rugs, carpets, clothes, furniture, car upholstery and even horse rugs and pet coats, and the CarPET will lift, gather and remove hair with minimum exertion required.

Being small and compact in size, the CarPET can be conveniently stored in a car glove box, a kitchen drawer, your sock drawer or even your handbag. Without the need of electricity or batteries, this nifty little gadget can be used literally anywhere with an effectively infinite lifeline.

According to the “best ever pet hair remover’s” website (which we believe is probably a limited category), Great Britain is spending £250 million annually in electricity bills dealing with excessive pet hair. Reiterating this shocking fact the CarPET press release goes on to liken this staggeringly large amount of money with the same amount of electricity needed to power every home in a city the size of Cambridge!

What’s more, costing just £5.95 plus P&P, we can afford to give the CarPET a run for its money.

OK, so we get the point that the CarPET is an environmentally-friendly, economically-friendly and super convenient method to free your home and car of unsightly pet hair!

To order the “best ever hair removing product” visit: www.besteverpethairremover.co.uk

Samsung’s Navibot Silencio: Grime fighting robot

For the vast majority of the population who dislike cleaning, languid thoughts must have entered your mind as you nonchalantly vacuum up, about transferring your much disdained household chores on to robotic cleaners. Samsung Electronics Company UK may have just converted our unflappable daydreams into a firm reality, with the birth of the Navibot Silencio, a robotic cleaning device that provides hands-free automated floor cleaning, and, at long last, taking the ‘hassle’ out of cleaning.


At the heart of the Navibot Silencio are two CPU control clips, which function as the machine’s ‘brain’, by telling it where it has already cleaned. An integrated camera provides a Visionary Mapping System, which takes 30 photos of a room every second, and in doing so, creates a virtual map, which effectively informs Navibot of the safest, quickest and most convenient route around the room.

Unlike other robotic cleaning systems, and even the Navibot Silencio’s predecessor, the Navibot, Samsung’s new device is significantly quieter, meaning busy cleaning adversaries can get on with other activities without being disturbed by a noisy robot.

Featuring turbo-powered cleaning, the Navibot Silencio guarantees maximum suction and will eradicate even the heaviest of dust and debris from you floors. Other cleaning options include a new floor cloth accessory that safely and effectively cleans hard surfaces. This speedy, silent and smart robot has even been built with a high-grade HEPA filtration, which means that the air it expels is free from dust and allergens.

What could be better than coming home from a hard day’s work to spotless, gleaming floors? One of the Samsung’s Navibot Silencio’s greatest assets is that it comes equipped with a scheduling function, which enables users to set their robotic housemaid to vacuum up whilst they are not even at home. Users need to worry that they will return home to find their robotic cleaner in pieces and in a tangle of wires at the bottom of the stairs, as by containing 39 censors and a Virtual Guard navigation aid, the Silencio is protected from potential problems such as falling down the stairs, whilst the Virtual Guard also serves as a wall that creates an invisible barrier that the robot cannot cross.

As for the monetary damage, the Navibot Silencio will start from £499 and will be available from all major online and high street retailers from April this year.

Parago home contents insurance iPhone app

Hey let’s talk about home contents insurance! Did you just fall asleep? I know I did. Yet as a pulled myself back to consciousness, draped over my MacBook Air, I realised that protecting my svelte over-priced laptop from thieving hands was probably a good idea.


That’s where Parago come in. Whilst there are conventional means to insure your valuables, I’m unlikely to use them and mediating a dull task via an app is a sure-fire way to get geeks interested.

On average, every household is unwittingly under-insured by 30 per cent on their home contents policy, with the majority discovering the shortfall only when they make an insurance claim; at which point it is too late to rectify.  Furthermore, over 90 per cent could not make an accurate claim in the event of a major loss. Of course this is using data supplied by Parago, who clearly have a vested interest in you insuring your property – but to be fair there are lots of things in a house that you simply overlook – and insurance is always a tedious and complicated business.

ParagoHome.com is simple to use, and can be accessed via a PC and/or Apple iPhone/iPod touch. 90 per cent of the asset discovery and recording process can be done whilst on the move.  The application enables you create to a virtual image of your home and add contents to each room with the aid of asset icons. You can then take high resolution pictures of all your assets (including audio equipment, home furnishings, jewellery, children’s toys, artwork and clothing) and attach these to the asset icon.

You can also store photographs of receipts, invoices and certificates against each asset. Accessing your account via a PC will enable you to add more data to each asset should you not be able to locate any paperwork. ParagoHome.com helps you record every asset at its true value, ensuring you have all the information needed for a fast-track claim.

Parago also helps you to insure typically neglected items. When I thought about what needed insuring, my mind went to my computer, consoles, TVs and related media (like my film collection). It never occurred to me to insure my clothes (the average UK wardrobe is worth £10,000 and my Scud the Disposable Assassin T-Shirts are priceless), my kitchen goods (like my oven, washing machine or fridge) or even my carpet. Parago is especially good at focusing your mind on these items, and wandering your house snapping pics of everything you possess is a strange experience but one that probably needed doing.

The Parago app is £4.99 and the online tool costs £2 per month.

Vier shower system: The perfect shower – before you step in

Showers are great – except for those first few minutes, when you stand there shivering as you try to get the temperature right and avoid scalding your nether regions or dodging the freezing flow of water before it gets to the perfect temperature – if indeed it ever does.


But now, gadget lovers, thanks to some technical wizardly, it is possible to use a wireless console to get the shower set up before you’re even undressed. In fact, you can set up your perfect shower while you’re still in the bedroom watching breakfast TV.

Vier is a digital shower system, with the option to buy a wireless console that works up to 10 metres away from the bathroom. The Mira Vier (which is Dutch for four) has a wall-mounted console, along with the optional wireless devices. The ‘warm up’ facility lets you set up your ideal water flow and temperature, and then the system pauses, until you are ready to get in the shower.

If you hope to save money on energy bills and water use, particularly if you have a water meter, the ‘eco’ setting, which ensures a moderate flow of water will be a bonus. There is also a digital clock display, so that you can check how long you have been in the shower – good for saving water, and for making sure you’re not late for work!

The Mira Vier has four spray patterns, which can be activated by flipping the showerhead. The shower can be ceiling or rear-fed and can be used with a pumped or high pressure valve to suit your home’s water system.

Prices start from £799, with wireless controllers costing £179 each. See www.bathstore.com for more.