Hoaey shower head review – the cheapest way to transform your shower

Hoaey shower head review

When I first read about the Hoaey shower head I was very skeptical about the claims made by the manufacturer. However, once I read the reviews, I figured that hundreds of positive comments couldn’t be wrong.

Our old Triton enrich really wasn’t up to producing decent pressure anymore

My electric shower was a few years old but like many cold-feed showers was pretty useless. I had thought about fitting a power shower but this would involve lots of new pipework in the bathroom as well as the installation of an electric pump. I could probably manage this myself, but to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered.

So when I saw the Hoaey (and bearing in mind Amazon’s really easy returns policy), I thought I’d give it a go. At the price is seemed a no-brainer not to.

What the manufacturers say

The manufacturer claims that the Hoaey shower head can do lots of things. It claims ionic beads which can remove the chlorine from water and all sorts of other things about better skin.

The Hoaey shower head appears to improve water foaming

I can’t be completely certain about this, but I feel that the Hoaey shower head improved the foaming action of my shampoo. I live in a hard water area where it’s known that certain products struggle to foam, but I feel that there has been an improvement.

Pressure feels much better

Changing the shower head hasn’t altered the pressure that the shower pumps out, but it has improved how the shower feels. And that’s what it’s all about, right? The holes on the Hoaey are much finer than the conventional shower head and that contributes to the perceived pressure feeling much more improved.

Hoaey shower head

Does the Hoaey shower head work on electric showers?

Yes, it does. I found fitting the Hoaey shower head to my Triton Enrich really improved the perceived pressure and gave a much better spread of water. You can also use it on a mixer shower if you have one.

Easy to fit

It’s really easy to fit the Hoaey shower head – it just twists on to the existing pipe with a standard thread and all washers are provided.

Summary

If you’re looking for a low-cost and effected method of imrpoving your shower experience, or looking at a way to update your tired old shower, you need to buy a Hoaey shower head. They really are worth the money.

Why you should Stop reading Parenting books

Why you should Stop reading Parenting books

As a father of two children, one of whom is soon to become a teenager, I’m always surprised by the shear number of books available for expectant mothers and confused fathers. I’m also utterly flabbergasted by some of the utter trite the authors peddle which is why you should stop reading parenting books immediately.

Some of the advice in these books is quite unbelievable, so I’ve decided to use my parenting experience to dispel some of the advice.

Playing white noise to help a baby sleep

This is, in my opinion, utter bollocks. The idea was suggested by a doctor who published a book (obvious money-spinner) and decided that white noise is great for babies as they are used to noise and don’t like quiet environments.

I can count on one hand the times that we struggled to get our children to sleep and when we did have a problem we just played a storybook on a CD player in the bedroom. This would very quickly lull the baby/toddler to sleep; it worked like a charm and I regularly suggest it to new parents who report great success.

Some parents, however, decide to adopt the idea of playing white noise to help the baby sleep. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing one of these devices you’ll know how annoying they are. The baby sleep and everyone else has to put up with a terrible hissing noise that sounds like a 1940’s wireless.

Instead of subscribing to this idea, just make sure you don’t make your home silent when your child goes to bed. Keep the TV or radio on. Have conversations. Cook and do the washing up. Your baby will quickly adapt and as they grow they’ll be used to sleeping in an environment where the rest of the family doesn’t have to tiptoe around as soon as the baby goes to bed.

Setting an ‘optimal’ temperature in the babies bedroom

There are thousands of parents buying baby monitors which not only allow you to talk back to your child but also to consistantly monitor the temperature of their bedroom. This does very little other than add completely uncessary stress to the parents who end up walking around looking at a temperature read-out every 5 minutes.

Throw the thermometer out of the window – you don’t need this overpriced piece of paranoid crap. Humans have this thing called a central nervous system. This built-in system makes you know if you are hot or cold. Walk in the bedroom. If it feels just a tiny bit chilly that’s OK – your child is wearing clothes and has covers on them. If the room feels too warm then the room is too warm; turn the heating down.

It really is that simple and another reason why you should stop reading parenting books.

Don’t leave your baby to cry to sleep

I find this one very interesting. Apparently an ‘expert’ decided that letting a baby cry themselves to sleep will result in separation anxiety or in the child hating you in later life. This theory is now being peddled accross the internet leaving yet more parents in limbo with some parents calling the practice “Victorian”.

Now of course you don’t want to leave your baby to cry if you’re unsure they are safe. Crying can be a sign of pain or illness. Remember though that your baby learns very quickly and will soon realise that if they cry they get attention.

There comes a point where all parents will have to decide whether to let the baby cry it out or not. My advice is this: of you know the baby is doing it for attention then leave them alone and let them cry it out. Yes it’s hard and no one likes to do it but if you don’t then you’ll always be running into the childs bedrrom every five minutes and they will wrap you round their little finger before you have time to realise what’s happened.

There is evidence to support this. Marsha Weinraub, Professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia found that babies should be left to go to sleep on their own, even if that meant they cried for a bit, after conducting research on the sleep patterns of 1,200 children from birth to 3 years.

There is no rule book for parenting.

The above are just some of the reasons why you should Stop reading baby and toddler parenting books. Most of them are written by people to make money, nothing else. Each author is looking for that next trend (fad) to help promote sales.

Instead, use common sense. Speak to friends. Ask your own parents or family. There is no rule book when it comes to being a parent and billions of babies have grown into adults quite safely without silly noises and ridiculous monitors.

Stop buying into these ideas – stop buying the silly books – Why you should Stop reading Parenting books – stop adding unnecessary pressure to your life.

Be a parent. Enjoy it. Don’t stress it.

Why I left the Labour Party (and how they tried to get me back)

 

I got home from work today and opened my post to find a letter from the Labour Party with the heading ‘YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS IN ARREARS – CALL 0345 092 22 99 TO RENEW TODAY’. The letter Labour had sent me should have read ‘We’re sorry to see you’ve cancelled your membership – please consider rejoining’. Instead, some wisearse in the party decided to go along the route of “arrears”; a tactic I’d expect from the Tories.

I cancelled my Labour Party membership back in February. Not because I didn’t support Jeremy Corbyn (I still do to a degree) but because I was sick and tired of some Labour MP’s and local labour membership consistently bitching and whining about Corbyn; despite him being given a very clear mandate by hundreds of thousands of Labour Party Members.

I had decided that I was no longer prepared to pay good money to support a party which refused to get behind their fairly-elected leader. I had decided the money spent on my membership would be better given to a local charity, which I promptly did. Somewhere local where the money could make a real change rather than being wasted on sending stupid letters.

It felt to me as though there were so called socialist party members who were refusing to allow the party to remain a socialist party in an ill-judged craving for a return to the ’New Labour’ Blair years (there you go, I said it, queue to comments from the Blairites). Here was a Leader trying to ensure the Labour Party fought every anti-socialist policy the Conservatives tried to squirrel through parliament, yet many senior members refused to support him in favour of bettering their careers. In my mind that’s not socialist politics; it’s selfish politics.

I was also very disappointed with Corbyn’s poor approach to the pre-Brexit discussions. He seemed to suggest he wanted to leave the EU unlike a majority of Labour supporters. He did pretty much nothing to convince the electorate to vote remain. Then again, neither did Theresa May…and she ended up as the bloody Prime Minister.

You’ll understand, therefore, why I was pretty pissed off to receive a letter from the Labour Party telling me that my (totally optional) membership was ‘in arrears’. I’ve been a Labour support all my life. My parents and grandparents were also Labour supporters. I’ve voted Labour at every General Election and (almost every) Local Election. However, I will no longer pay money for the party to consistently send letters out to the membership trying to enforce Corbyn’s mandate. I refuse to pay to support for more leadership elections.

Like the Labour Party I believe that victories are the product of ordinary people working together. Therefore, my work will be focused locally. I’m fed up with the in-fighting in the PLP. My efforts must therefore concentrate of helping people on a local level in the community where I live – where it really matters – and not just on election year.

Is this the end of the Labour Party as we know it?

This is a phrase that’s been banded around by the Murdoch press for many months but I can’t help but thing are heading that way. We have a Party with a democratically appointed leader that the majority of the paying membership support, but that a third don’t. Sadly, the third that don’t support Corbyn seem to be those with real clout – senior MP’s, many local Councillors and some other decision makers in local ranks. Many of these people seem more interested in beating the Tories with a stick than actually focusing on the elements which make the Labour Party what is should be; a party based on fairness, on local community, on socialism. Only if we win on those grounds at local level can we expect to win at Westminster.

Gig Bag – Suggestions and reviews for Performers & Techs

As a musician, singer and occasional sound engineer, I find I have to carry lots of equipment with me to gigs. I had various bags (one for a microphone and various leads, one for my Macbook Pro) and another with various bits and pieces in it. What I wanted was a Gig Bag – just one bag that I could keep all my staple gig items in from one show to the next regardless of whether that day I’d be singer or sound teching for a show. You know, things like some spare leads, a couple of mics, a few tools, a lead tester…that kind of stuff. Something I can just grab and go without the need of packing each gig but based around music unlike my Everyday Carry.

It got me looking around for options. As you’ll already be aware bags come in different shapes and sizes from small handbags to large suitcases. Prices also vary significantly. So what are the best options for a gig bag? These suggestions link to Amazon for ease of use:

24″ foolsGold® Holdall – from £12.99 – my recommendation

This gig bag is actually the cheapest of the bunch and the one I settled on. It’s a reasonable size but not so big it will take up too much space in the van or car. I was attracted to the many pockets on the outside of the bag which are great for organising leads or smaller items in. It’s a robust bag that I can also sling a few clothes in and my Macbook. Simple and strong. Recommended. >>See more here<<

20″ Clearwater compartment bag – from £19.99

This is the gig bag for the person who really want to compartmentalise their gear.  With 8 adjustable compartments, the bag provides the travelling musician with lots of scope to organise items into sections. >>See more here<<

 

Max IP67 Hard Waterproof case – from £30

Smaller than the others, but packing a punch in terms of the durability, is the Max IP67. It’s hard and waterproof. Ideal for travelling on a plane or somewhere that your gear might be thrown around. It also boasts a pressure relief valve. >>See more here<<

FlyGear 32 Inch Large Folding Wheeled Holdall – from £11.99

Looking for something with wheels? Then check out the FlyGear 32 Inch Folding Wheeled Holdall. Sadly this bag doesn’t have many external pockets but it does have the added advantage of being easily folded away when not in use – ideal for someone with limited storage space. It’s also the largest of the bags reviewed here. >>See more here<<

Got your own suggestions for a Gig Bag? Disagree with something I’ve said? Then please leave your comment below and I’ll be sure to reply.

Decorus UK ‘Whistleblowing’ warning letter

My employer recently received a letter on 9th March 2017 from Cambridge Regional College advising that the company I am currently studying an apprenticeship with – Decorus UK Ltd – are being investigated due to a “whistleblowing allegation”.

The letter was signed by Paul Skitt, Assistant Principle.

As a result, Tutors have cancelled their existing appointments with Learners pending the outcome of the investigation. This is somewhat annoying for me as I am currently studying an NVQ and BTEC in Management with Decorus UK and have almost come to the end of my course.

No contact from Decorus UK Ltd

I was disappointed that the first I heard of this incident was the letter from Cambridge Regional College. One would have expected that Decorus would have made the effort to contact and reassure Learners in advance.

On receipt of the letter I called my Tutor who advised that there was nothing to be concerned about and that Decorus were confident the matter would be resolved very soon. It would later transpire that this was not exactly the case; calls to Decorus UK just rang and rang between 24th and 27th March 2017; I gave up calling at this point.

What next?

The letter from Cambridge Regional College told me to contact Jamie Hall on 01223 226348 or jmhall@camre.ac.uk with any questions. Jamie called me back quite quickly and reconfirmed the contents of the whistleblowing letter. He said that I should wait until the investigation was completed and either way either Decorus UK or Cambridge College would be in touch. In the meantime I should hang on to my folder.

He assured me that either way I will complete the course and that if Decorus UK are unable to complete it,the college will provide a tutor to finish the course with me.

Using 4G as a business Internet solution

When my company recently moved premises, we found a great plot of land. Previously a farm, it had plenty of space for our expanding business, lots of storage and plenty of space for a new purpose built office. The problem was that the BT Broadband connection was a maximum of 1.2MB due to the distance from the Exchange, which was never going to be suitable for 8 users checking email and carrying out their daily activities.

Like most businesses, our company had grown use to high-speed internet so we needed to find an alternative to the poor-quality speeds provided by the BT infrastructure. Satellite Internet was an expensive and slow option, so we turned to 4G for options.

4G has become much more widely available in the UK recently with speeds and coverage increasing all the time. Unfortunately, the coverage information provided by Ofcom and the mobile phone networks in relation to data coverage is poor and not very accurate which can make it a bit of a lottery when trying to decipher where there is a good 4G signal. To find out I asked a number of staff with mobile phones on different networks to visit the new location. I asked them to download the Speedtest app onto their smartphones and we then checked each networks speed in the area. In my case it was EE and 3 with the strongest signal and faster speeds.

Adding the router to the network (LAN)

It was important for me that I could integrate the 4G internet connection into my companies Local Area Network (LAN) and I wanted the router to be the DHCP server. To do this I decided I would purchase a 4G router and after some research settled on the Asus 4G-N12.

The N12 console is very straight forward to use

Getting the system up-and-running was fairly simple. I ordered a SIM from EE and plugged it into the slot on the side of the router. Once the router was on I logged into the Asus control panel by going to the IP address 192.168.1.1 and using the username admin and the password admin. Once I was logged in the router’s admin screen the firmware automatically ran me through the setup process. All I needed was the SIM PIN which was written on the packet (you may need to call your mobile provider for this). In my case it was 1111. Once all connected I was instantly able to connect to the building in wifi option of the router.

Locating the router

One of the disadvantages of the router I purchased (and the problem with most in the price range) is that there is no option for adding an additional 4G antenna. I could already get a reasonable signal with the router on my desk but I knew I’d increase it if I could get the device higher up. So, I added a longer ethernet cable to the router and placed it on top of the false ceiling in our office. Up there I was able to achieve 25mb speeds very easily which was a considerable improvement on the BT connection.

After speaking to our handyman, we decided we could probably improve this even more if we could build a tower and locate this to the roof of the building, thus improving the line-of-sight to the nearest 4G mast. As the router is 12v, we discussed perhaps making a simple 12v solar-powered system for it, but for now it was good enough.

4G router up high
Can you see me? We placed the router up high above the false ceiling to improve reception.

Data allowance – the major obstacle with 4G internet packages

The problem with using a 4G network for an office internet connection is the cost. Although some networks claim to offer ‘unlimited’ internet connections, my research discovered that none actually do. The networks either cap your usage under a fair usage policy or they throttle your speeds. This means that you are somewhat limited to how much you can use the internet before you begin to occur some expensive additional charges.

I had to enforce some new rules in the office. One was to stop one of my colleagues streaming their favourite radio station. Another was to block access to Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook (which of course they shouldn’t be using at work anyway, right?)

What I did notice was just how much data was used for even basic Internet usage and the checking of email. I also discovered that Microsoft Windows 10 (which is what all of our computers run) uses a surprising amount of data just checking for updates.

Obviously some of these issues needed to be resolved if we were going to truly use 4G as a real alternative to BT fibre.

4G Reliability was a problem at first

Our first few days weren’t too great when it came to reliability.

New OFSTED approved pre-school opens in Monkwick

A new OFSTED approved pre-school has opened for Monkwick and the surrounding area.

Little Polar Bear Pre-School is providing care from 9am until midday from Monday to Friday, including free 15 hours government funding per week for 3 to 5 year olds.

“We’re very proud to be able to provide this new service for the local community” said Managing Director Olha Kozlovska.

Based at the Scout Centre behind The Parade on Queen Elizabeth Way, Monkwick, any parents interested in their child attending the pre-school should call Olha on 07504115447 or send an email to littlepolarbearltd@gmail.com

 

Is your tech spying on you?

As more and more products incorporate voice control and facial reignition, so does the required to hand over personal information to make these devices work. But did you know that your tech might be spying on you?

It’s now an accepted fact that Big Brother may be monitoring you in your very own home after evidence was uploaded to the Wikileaks website which proved that the CIA, in coordination with MI5, could hack Samsung televisions into bugging devices.

Voice recognition is constantly monitoring your conversations

Look at the example of a voice controlled Smart TV, which can change channel by voice control. For the system to work correctly it needs to be constantly listening out for your command.

You might think this is harmless. In fact, there is evidence to show a more dark and secretive force at work.

Government departments can turn your tech into bugging devices

Now consider your phone. It’s with you almost all the time, and if you’re an Android or iPhone users there’s a chance you make use of Google Home or Siri. If you do, it means that your phone is constantly listening out for your command; which means it’s quite possible that it too could be turned into a bug. No longer do the spy agencies need to tap your line: they can listen to you whenever they like.

And how about Alexa? She’s listening out for you, too. What is there to stop a software expert from getting your tech spying on you?

Your laptop may be spying on you

Most modern laptops and Macbooks are provided with built-in cameras. There are many stories regarding hackers installing malware into your computers enabling them to secretly take over control of your camera. Known as ‘webcam hacking’, Antivirus giant Norton have warned for some time about the risks.

Nothing to hide – nothing to fear?

Of course, there is a strong argument to say that if you’re not engaging in illegal activity you have nothing to worry about. In effect, you’re trading your privacy for the convenience of using such devices.

Are with sleepwalking towards George Orwell’s 1984?

The fact is that we can now be monitored by the State. It’s fact, no longer fiction.

You may trust this current government, but what would happen if a new crazy government took over who you didn’t trust and wants to monitor your beliefs? What if the bugging technology fell into the hands of our enemies?

How to avoid tech spying on you

The simply way is to switch off the voice recognition systems on these devices. After all, is using a remote control really so difficult to change the TV channel?

Another simply tool is to place some black electrical tape over the camera lens on laptops and tablets.

 

 

Everyday Carry | What’s in your EDC kit?

Ultimate EDC

The Everyday Carry (EDC) is the latest in practical clothing designed to allow you to carry essential items in one easily accessible storage bag. It contains all he items you need to carry on your person, daily.

I was first introduced to the EDC by my son who is interested in Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE). He carries a number of items in his including his mobile phone, some scissors, a little first aid kit and a mini screwdriver set; all very practical items.

For some people the idea of the Every Day Carry is in case of some sort of military warfare or social unrest, but I’m not expecting an attack from the French any time soon (see below for the full survival everyday carry list). However, my job is office based and I also attend constructions sites occasionally, I like to go walking and I’m also a Scout Leader, so the idea of the EDC appealed to me as a practical way to carry essential items around.

After reading many reviews and watching various Youtube videos, it quickly became apparent that the best EDC is the OneTigris Molle EDC – but what to put in it?

Essential items for my personal and work EDC

For me, there were a number of items which are essentials for my EDC, and some which I might use on occasion. These are:

A quality pocket multi-tool like this – it has all the essential tools you’ll need including knifes, pliers and screwdrivers and is high quality
Mobile phone – well you need to be able to call people, right?
A twin-tip Sharpy – thin and thick ended so that you can write and mark)
My bank card – seems obvious, but so often forgotten!
Some cash – in case of emergencies or if the car park payment machine isn’t accepting cards
A small good quality LED waterproof torch like this – helpful at night and useful when I’m surveying (although your phone may have a flashlight app built in)
A couple of sticking plasters and a bandage – just in case!
A couple of alcohol-free wipes – good for cleaning minor cuts or your hands
A decent lighter – lots of uses, obviously
Some electricians tape – can be used for all manner of things including taping bandages
A backup USB charger – extra power for your phone in case of emergencies like getting stuck on a train or miles from home
Some paracetamol and ibuprofen – who knows when a headache or fever might strike?

EDC for survival

This is when things become a bit more serious and when you’re trying to decide on items for a survival EDC you’ll need to focus on your area of expertise, as well as the laws in your country (for example, it would be usually be illegal to carry a knife in the UK unless it was a with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, e.g. a Swiss Army knife). The same goes for guns.

Preppers on the other hand might be looking to create an EDC in case of a sudden state of lawlessness in a country or disruptions in social or political order. I don’t expect that will occur anything soon in my country.

When selecting your Everyday Carry items, you need to think about the practicle uses and sizes of the items. If you can’t think of a good scenario for including something in your EDC, don’t.

Needles and thread in your Everyday Carry can sew up up just like John Rambo…

For example, you’ll need something to defend yourself but also for killing animals for food or cutting plants. You’re going to need water and a method of making it safe to drink. You’re also going to need something to fix and open things.

I’ve created the ultimate Everyday Carry survival list for those looking for a practical Every Day Carry, perhaps for hiking or mountaineering. Chances are you’re going to need a bigger EDC bag for this list. Here goes:

  •  a mobile phone – this should be unlocked (i.e. not tied to any network) so that you can switch networks if required. In the UK you can call 999 without a SIM.
  • a good quality folding knife – you’ll need to cut/kill things
  • a waterproof pouch – to keep your electric items dry during bad whether or if you have to wade through a river
  • a mechanical, waterproof watch (electromagnetic pulse (EMP) proof)
  • a compass
  • a hat – to protect you from sun and rain
  • a Sharpy – get the one with the thin and thick ends
  • a small notebook – even helpful for leaving messages
  • an LED torch or flashlight – makes sure it’s LED as the batteries will last much longer
  • a small first aid kit
  • a whistle – you might need to draw attention to yourself, especially in water at night
  • a good quality multi tool – this one has everything you need
  • some string or paracord – various uses including making a fishing line
  • a fire striker
  • a needle and thread – good for repairing clothing and even stitching yourself up in the event of a deep wound
  • a good quality lighter
  • bandana or neckerchief
  • a tin opener
  • a small solar charger
  • water purification tablets
  • some pain killers and anti inflammatory medication
  • collapsible bottle – for storing water

Why are there no guns or ammo on the list?

I my country, it’s illegal to own many types of guns without a licence so I’m not going to encourage it. Realistically, the likelihood of the UK coming under any sort of martial rules any time soon is extremely low, regardless of what the Survivalists might otherwise like to think. I’m proud to live in a country where the Police aren’t armed so I’m not including them in my list. What you do is up to you.

Make use of your phone

Mobile phones offer a range of uses for survivalists, which is why I’ve mentioned carrying a USB backup power supply or at least a couple of spare batteries for your phone.

Most phones have detailed maps which you can download (free). They also have GPS, flashlights, mirror apps and a range of other survival apps.

Some other apps include the SAS Survival Guide, a compass, knot tying guides and first aid.

What’s in your Everyday Carry?

Got something to add to the list or want to make some suggestions? Then please feel free to get in touch and share your ideas in the comments section below.

Commitments and Blues Brothers Experience comes to Braintree for one night only

Commitments and Blues Brothers Experience

A local Commitments and Blues Brothers Experience comes to Braintree for one night only on 22nd April 2017.

Fronted by Richard Alcock and Ritchie Hicks who have been performing on the East Anglia circuit for over 14 years, ‘Committed to the Blues Brothers Band‘ brings the songs of two cult-classic films together providing two foot-tapping shows in one evening.

The first half of the show is a trip down memory lane to 1991 Dublin where Andrew Strong and Robert Arkins supplied the vocals to some of the greatest covers of soul music ever to glaze the big screen: ‘The Commitments’.

The second half of the show transforms the theatre back to 1980 when Jake & Elwood (originally played by John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd) bought their Saturday Night Live characters to life in what would be arguably the most famous musical duo of all time; scoring 7.9/10 on IMDB.

“The music of the films go together so perfectly” said founder of Committed to the Blues Brothers Band, Richard Alcock.

“You just can’t help but want to dance to these hits. They’re all classics in their own right” he said.

Live Audio-Visual

The show also includes live audio-visual effects supporting the show, projected on the big screen behind the performers.

Tickets cost £15 and can be purchased at the Braintree Arts Theatre website or by calling 01376 556354.