Fitbit Flex 2 Review

So a couple of months ago I decided to expand my little Fitbit family by purchasing the Flex 2, in addition to the Charge 2 I’ve had for almost 18 months now. Yep, I’m that crazy, but I had my reasons.

I love my Charge 2, it does everything that I need it to, but the only occasional both is that its a little on the large side, and as it can only be worn on the wrist, its not always the most stylish option, even though I have multiple different coloured straps to colour co-ordinate it! This is where the Flex 2 comes in.

The Flex 2 is the smallest of all Fitbit’s trackers – its even smaller than the Zip, which is the cheapest tracker option, and the first device I owned. It comes with a wrist strap that you can just pop the device into, or alternatively you can get a clip for it (not official Fitbit merch but super cheap on Amazon), and if these options aren’t pretty enough for you, Fitbit also offer a bracelet and pendant that the device slots into, and no-one would be the wiser that you were wearing a fitness tracker! I bought the bracelet, although I bought an unofficial version from Amazon because the official ones will set you back £79..

But how does it stack up as a device?

Being one of Fitbit’s cheaper devices, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles; I think had I not owned a Charge 2, I’d have been more impressed by it. Of course it counts your steps, and it does auto-track some activities quite well, and unlike any other charger (minus the new Iconic) the Flex 2 is swim-proof, so if you want to be able to track your swimming, this is the only device you can get, and this was another one of the reasons I chose it as recently I have been swimming a lot more. Other features of the device are sleep tracking, and you can set it up for reminders to move and also call and text notifications.

The main difference, however, between the Flex 2 and its family of devices is the display – its the only tracker that doesn’t have a proper digital display, instead just having a little row of LED lights that light up according the your goals; if you have your main goal as being steps, for every 2,500 steps you do, an LED lights up, so when you hit your 10,000 steps for the day, all the lights will be lit. This means that you can only keep track of one particular focus, and you can’t use your Flex to check the time, like I keep trying to do.. Now of course if you’re wearing it in a pendant or bracelet, or even clipped away somewhere, this isn’t going to bother you all that much, but for me I find this a little annoying.

The other features that the Flex 2 doesn’t include which my Charge 2 does is heart rate monitoring, stairs climbed and it doesn’t have any sort of GPS, so when it comes to running, my Flex stays in the gym bag.

Personally, I think its a good little device if you’re just wanting to keep an eye on your steps and activity, and it works great in the water if you’re a swimmer, but as I’ve mentioned previously, I think if I didn’t have a Charge 2, I would have been much more impressed by the Flex 2. I do use it, of course, but I tend to wear it on days where I want to make sure my steps are counted, but I’m not doing any other sort of workout, apart from swimming, obviously! I also sometimes interchange my trackers during the day, so I’ll get up and go to the gym in the morning with my Charge 2, and then switch it for the Flex to wear to work – and if you’re wondering, this all works fine in terms of syncing with the Fitbit app as it combines the data from the two trackers!

The RRP of the Flex 2 is £69.99, but you can find it as low as £40-50 if you shop around!

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Fitbit Flyer Earphones Review

I have been a Fitbit girl for about 5 years now, give or take some time off in between killing my little Zip in a washing machine and replacing it with my current Charge 2. I have always loved their fitness trackers, so much so that I have never been tempted to try any other brand, and so when they announced last year that they were releasing their first pair of wireless headphones, I was pretty convinced that I was going to want them. Lo and behold, they came in a copper/rose gold kinda colour, and I knew that I wanted them.

I got the earphones for Christmas, and have been using them for running/working out at the gym ever since, although I tend to alternate a little bit with my Urbanista headphones when at the gym, but I guess its been about 6 weeks of using them at least once or twice a week.

The only real concern I had with these, or any wireless earphones for that matter, is whether or not they would stay in my ears. Typically in the past I’ve never bothered running with earphones because of the endless struggle of having to push them back into my ears every 30 seconds, and I really didn’t want to be doing the same with these. However, the great thing about the Flyer is that they have an interchangeable design, so each pair comes with a few different sizes of the ear buds, and then also two sizes of both ‘fins’ and ‘wings’, which are both different fittings to help the earphones stay in your ears. I’d watched some YouTube reviews before deciding whether or not to take the plunge with these, and more than one review said that the fins were not great, but that the wings were awesome, so I’ve always used the smaller of the two wing sizes.

The wings tuck underneath the little inner loop of your ear – when I googled it, I saw a lot of websites referring to it as the rook, but that was mainly in terms of piercings, but maybe you know what that means! Because they’re rubbery and flexible, this means that they bend to fit the space and then keep a pretty firm grip there, and as soon as I tried this type of fitting I knew this would be the best type for me. What I really like about this is that there’s nothing going around your ear, like many wireless earphones have, so you don’t feel any real weight or pressure on your ears.

There’s a little on button on one of the ear pieces, and whenever you turn them on a little voice tells you how much charge the headphones have, which is really handy, and if the battery is running low during your workout, it will also pop up to tell you, and also tells you roughly how much time you’ve got left, which is pretty neat. There’s a little control panel on the adjustable cable for volume, and you can also press and hold each of the volume + or – to skip tracks, so you can keep your phone tucked safe away.

I’ve not had a single problem with the Bluetooth connectivity, and can easily walk from one side of my gym to the other before experiencing any sort of skipping. Before getting these, I have on occasion used my boyfriend’s Beats wireless earphones, and found that they skipped a lot more than the Fitbit, even when in close range with my phone, so that’s something! Once set up to your phone, they instantly connect every time you turn them on, and I’ve never had to faff around with having to reconnect them if I’ve not used them in a few days.

Sound wise, I have absolutely zero complaints. The music is clear, there’s no distortion from the rubber buds and they even do a little bit of noise cancelling too. Apparently there are actually two different sound settings, but I’ve always been pretty happy with how mine have sounded so I’ve never looked into how you change settings or what the other setting gives you!

Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with these earphones, and I certainly haven’t experienced the annoyance of constant readjustment and pushing them back in every time I go for a run. The one thing I would say is that it does take a little bit of time getting used to how you want the fit in terms of the attachments and the strap, so there’s a bit of trial and error in the first week or so, but honestly I do think these are a great pair of fitness earphone, which is ultimately what Fitbit designed them to be. My colour is officially called Lunar Grey, but there’s nothing grey about them, and I think they’re a really good looking pair of earphones, and they do also come in Nightfall Blue if the copper thing isn’t really your style.

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Urbanista Seattle Wireless Headphones Review

I’ve always thought of myself as being a strictly earphones kinda gal, but d’you know I think these headphones might have changed that for good.

I can’t remember exactly how I came across Urbanista as a brand originally, but I discovered their website and had been eyeing up these headphones for a while now, but put off buying as I wasn’t sure whether to get the wired or wireless model. My lovely friend Hannah had bought the rose gold corded ones and said they were great, but as one of the main reasons I was starting to look for headphones rather than earphones was that I wanted something that wasn’t going to bug me while running, as cables tend to do. That said, the wireless pair does also come with a cable, should you prefer to be plugged in every now and then, or if the battery for the Bluetooth is dead, so I guess I got the best of both worlds!

So I decided on the wireless, and despite thinking that it would be the rose gold pair that I would get, I actually bought the white ‘Fluffy Cloud’ pair from a Dixons Travel at Manchester Airport because they were a crazy good price – only £65, rather than the RRP of £99, and given that the corded ones are £59, I thought this was a steal!

Now being totally honest, the first pair I got were unfortunately faulty, in that the Bluetooth would only connect while plugged into power, which isn’t ideal, so I exchanged them for a new pair, which work absolutely fine thankfully! This experience did teach me, however, to never buy this sort of tech from an airport, because the returns process was an total nightmare that has me all kinds of annoyed with Dixons and Currys/PC World, so I would recommend you buy them either direct from Urbanista, or they are also stocked on Amazon, ASOS and plenty of other online retailers.

But, as I said, the new pair are perfect. I love the style of them, and I’m actually really glad that I bought them in the white as I think they have a classic look to them. They’re adjustable and also foldable, and the headband has some cushioning in it too, making them super comfortable across the top of the head, as well as the ears being nicely cushioned by the pads. The inside of the ear pads are marked with left and right, if like me you struggle, and its the ears that have all the controls – not that you could tell from just looking at them!

So underneath the left ear you’ve got the hole for the headphone cable which I mentioned earlier. The included cable is a nice heavy cable, so it doesn’t tangle and it doesn’t flap around too much while you’re walking/running. Underneath the right ear is the switch that turns the Bluetooth on, as well as a little blue LED light that reflects whether its on or off, and also comes on as red when the headphones are charging, and you’ve also got the charging port on this ear too, which is a standard micro-USB.

What you don’t see, however, are the controls for the headphones themselves, and that’s because physically there aren’t any, but the right ear cup has built-in touch controls so you never have to get your phone out to change or control the music. Simply swipe your finger in an upwards or downwards direction over the cup to control the volume, forwards or backwards to change tracks, and tap the centre of the cup to pause and play, and what’s great is that this works even if you’re wearing gloves! The only thing I would say is that these controls have about a seconds delay, so at first I would find myself hitting pause, and then hitting it again straight away when it hadn’t stopped, only to start it right back up again, or skipping tracks by swiping twice thinking it hadn’t worked, but you get used to this pretty quickly.

Now onto the important stuff, do they work well? Put simply, yes. The sound quality is great – I’ve read a few other reviews that complain the bass isn’t great, but as I don’t like a heavy bass anyway that doesn’t bother me, not that I really noticed any problem with it – and the wireless connectivity is flawless – I’ve been able to leave my phone upstairs and walk downstairs with the headphones on, and only get an occasional skip, but I’ve never had a problem when my phone has been well within range, plus I love the fact that I can zip my phone into my bag and not need to get it out to change tracks or fiddle with the volume. The official play time of these is 12 hours, but I’ve been using this particular pair for over a month now and haven’t needed to charge them yet, and what’s handy is that the battery level is displayed on my phone when they’re connected anyway. Also, while they’re not sold as being ‘noise-cancelling’, I think they do a pretty good job of it anyway!

If I had to say something negative, it would just be that the little LED light flashes about every 5 seconds when connected, which seems a little unnecessary, but that said, when you’re wearing them you can’t actually tell unless its dark out, so I’m really not too bothered by it! They can also be quite warm on the ears after a while if being used during exercise, so I would probably only wear these while running in colder months, and switch to earphones in the summer.

What can I say? These have totally converted me to the wireless headphone world, and I would reach for these over earphones any day!

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Are We The Next Generation of ‘I Remember When..’?

Last Saturday I walked into the Apple Store in Southampton’s West Quay shopping centre to pick up my iPad Pro. Said iPad Pro had been ordered online the day before, and courtesy of a Black Friday deal I had been emailed an £80 gift card which I was going to use to buy an accompanying Apple Pencil.

Upon entering the store, I approached a staff member with an iPhone, who simply entered my order number and within minutes another staff member appeared from a back room with my iPad (pre-paid) and an Apple pencil. He scanned the barcode for my gift card straight from my email using his phone, and I paid the remainder by putting my card into a device attached to said phone. I entered my email address on the screen, my receipt was sent to that email address, and I was free to leave the store.

During my entire time in the store I did not have to go to a single desk. There was no collection point or checkout, no lines or waiting areas, but also no chaos, and I couldn’t help but think, is this the future of retail? Will shopping become as simple as walking up to someone with a handheld device and getting an email confirmation of payment before I’ve even walked away?

Naturally, my brain went to all sorts of extremes, and I started to think about all the other things that have changed in my relatively short lifetime. As a young child I had cassette tapes and experienced the struggle of going to watch a movie only to find that no one had re-wound it back to the start after the last time it was watched. Now, I have DVDs and Blurays that I’ll often ignore if I can watch the same movie on Netflix.

We spend our childhoods listening to our parents and grandparents telling us to be grateful for x, y and z because they didn’t have that back in their day, yet already we’re saying the same thing to those who are as little as 5-10 years our junior.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always going to be things that don’t translate across age groups. There will always be TV shows that only aired for a few years, or crazes and fashions that died out as quickly as they appeared, but think of the enormous lifestyle changes that technology has brought us – I’m talking going from brick-phones to flip-phones to smart-phones, from the days where you could probably only pay by cash or cheque to now not even having to carry your purse because you’ve got ApplePay..

Things are moving so quickly that I can’t even fathom how things will work in even just another 10 years time. Will we even have to consciously pay for things or will technology become so advanced that you can just pick something up from a shelf and walk out and be charged automatically? We’re moving so far past what we’ve known so far, I don’t think we can even try to predict the future anymore..

Sorry for the ramble but does anyone else ever think about these things?

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Bringing the Movies Home*

We all know that going to the cinema these days is not exactly cheap. Chances are, you’re paying about £10 for your ticket alone, and then comes the popcorn craving, which of course means you’re gonna need the biggest drink they’ve got going, and suddenly you’re £20+ down. Ouch.

And sure, going to the cinema is the only way (legally!) to see the latest and greatest movies making their way to the screen, but personally I much prefer to be curled up on my own sofa when it comes to enjoying cinematic greatness. Luckily for us, technology is moving forward every day, and our TV screens are only getting bigger and better; first it was HD, now it’s 4K and OLED, and as I’m just about old enough to remember TVs being as deep as they were wide, screens like this Panasonic 4K Oled TV just blow my mind with how thin they are now, while still being packed with all these amazing features!

As a fan of a good movie marathon, over the years I’ve learned a lot about how you can make home seem like the cinema, just without saying goodbye to your bank balance in the process..

Get yourself cosy

I’ve always wondered why cinemas aren’t a lot more comfortable. For me, a blanket is a must, and I’ll probably be in my pyjamas, but you can do whatever you like – you could even build a movie den with duvets and cushions!

Have all your snacks at the ready

Cinema popcorn might cost a small fortune but at home you can make it for a fraction of the price, plus you can get more creative! Whatever snacks you get, be sure to have everything sorted before you hit play so you don’t have to pause the movie magic when you get peckish.

Limit the tech

There’s nothing worse than that person in the row in front at the movies who checks their Snapchat midway through the film, so if you can turn off your tech at the cinema, why not at home too?

Consider having a break

If you’re running a back to back marathon, don’t forget to allow time for toilet breaks or meals between films, especially if you’re trying to squeeze in a lot of films!

Set the mood

Turn the lights down, pull the curtains and shut out any distractions; this is your movie time.

Make the most of new technology

As I mentioned earlier, the tech behind making and watching movies has improved dramatically over even just the last few years, and if you have the tech, use it! I’m talking surround sound/sound bars for the ultimate sound experience, HD and Bluray for the ultimate visual experience, even 3D in some cases!

What do you do to have the ultimate movie night?

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*This post is a paid collaboration. All views are my own

The My Disney Experience Mobile App*

It’s magic at your fingertips! Plan, capture, and share your Walt Disney World vacation using this official app from Disney!

SONY DSC

If you like visiting Disney as much as I do, this will definitely come in handy. Let’s take a closer look at My Disney Experience’s features:

Explore the resort with ease

The My Disney Experience Mobile App allows users to explore the Walt Disney World Resort using the interactive, GPS-enabled map. The map isn’t just a plain one that points users from point A to B; it’s fun to use as it’s filled with cute designs that shows guests where they can find certain attractions and restaurants.

In addition to its awesome directional features, the interactive map allows users to find Disney characters’ greeting locations and times. It also shows the time for fireworks and parades. How awesome is that?

Plan your vacation

The app allows users to buy theme park tickets with ease. Bought tickets are stored in the My Plans section where information can be shared with friends and family. An alert will go off when your trip to Disney is getting close.

Make your trip memorable

This is where the app truly shines. Users of My Disney Experience can preview, purchase, and share Disney PhotoPass photos and videos. To the uninitiated, PhotoPass is a tool that allows guests to view and purchase photos taken by Disney photographers online and at theme parks. Whenever visitors have their photos taken, they’re issued a PhotoPass, which has the web address and a 16-digit ID number printed on it.

Apart from PhotoPass, users will be able to shop for authentic Disney merchandise with quick links to the all-new Shop Disney Parks app.

Thanks to technology, Disney is able to reach out to more people. With this app, first-time guests of Walt Disney World will have a convenient and magical stay.  

Apart from making apps, Disney seems to be quite active in the creation of new games as well.  Aside from its Disney Channel that has integrated games, Disney also partnered up with Yepi and the Club Penguin page — sites where the latest Disney games are now hosted. In the past, Marvel, which is now owned by Disney, used to have games hosted on the Pocketfruity site but that came to a halt when Disney decided to adhere to its family-friendly policies and pull all games from gaming sites. All of Disney’s games are now suitable for players of all-ages both online and offline.

Give the app a go by downloading it either on iTunes or the Google Play Store!

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What I’m Wearing – The Main Mouse

So I had a little rethink on my last Shanghai outfit.. I couldn’t decide on a final princess to Disneybound as, so I thought, given that its a brand new park full of fresh Disney magic, I should really do a little something to honour the boss mouse himself!

Mickey Mouse Dress

Mickey Mouse Dress# Tokyo Disney ears

Mickey Mouse Dress

Once again, self timer and auto-focus aren’t always my friends..

This outfit is entirely from my trip to Tokyo Disneyland. I couldn’t resist buying the dress, and although its a tad short for climbing on and off rides, that’s what shorts are for, right? Plus I think it was under £20! The ears are also from Tokyo, and have fast become one of my favourite pairs of ears because they go with everything and they’re sparkly without being too out-there!

By this time next week we should have just about arrived in Hong Kong (I think!) before we get the train to Beijing, but don’t worry, I’ll be sharing our full itinerary with you guys on Sunday! I am literally so excited for this trip, you wouldn’t believe it!

Are you excited to read about my Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland adventures?

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