The S+ Sleep Tracker by ResMed (£129.99)
The S+ by ResMed is the world’s first non-contact sleep tracking system that helps you analyse and improve your sleep from the very first night.
- Tracks and analyses your sleep patterns giving personalised, daily feedback
- Synchronises soothing sounds to your pre-sleep breathing, helping you drift off more easily.
- Will help you create your ideal sleep environment by telling you how light, noise and temperature affect your sleep.
- With simple text and voice tools for recording tomorrow's to-do list, go to sleep with a calm, uncluttered mind.
- Choose a time window that suits you and the S+ by ResMed Smart Alarm will wake you during light sleep.
My sleep is appalling, but I'm hopeful I can score a 90 one day. Kooky as it seems the first time, the calming sounds as you drift to sleep work well. There are 9 different choices, 2 of which both my partner and I are both more than happy to listen to, and we go to sleep really quickly (which isn't a change for him!).
I was sceptical before I tried the S+ from ResMed, and now I'm a big fan. The S+ actually gives you graphs and charts, and patterns can easily be spotted. Your caffeine, alcohol, stress and exercise are also noted before bed each day, so it allows you to ponder over the why? and spot the (often easy) changes that can be made.
Universe2Go is an interactive viewer, combining the real starry sky with the digital world using Augmented Reality (AR) and your Smartphone - wherever you are in the world.
Designed to fit absolutely any smartphone, using the genius power of foam and a pair of scissors, this is a really lovely viewer. The plastic is nice to hold, the viewer is not heavy, and it's well designed with an opening and well-sealing lid. There's a good, comfortable range of vision for adults and children. A strap and excellent quality soft protective case are included.
Using the app. and looking through the viewer, Universe2Go will recognise where you are and offer different options, starting by telling you which constellation you are looking at, and then more information if you keep your head still. It takes a little practise to control the 'on sky' menu using your head, but there are absolutely loads of different options to explore, even the Mythology behind the name and a 'quiz' game mode so that you can hone your knowledge. Look at whatever interests you, and learn about it. My partner will be ecstatic about this, it will keep him entertained for weeks...Full review will follow in the new year...
Eyejusters Adjustable Focus Reading Glasses (from £69)
Eyejusters are adjustable focus glasses that let you see at all close-up distances. In a range of styles and colours, made from acetate or stainless steel, or a combination of the two.
It's a sad day when you realise your eyesight is letting you down, and happens sooner than we'd like to admit. I was a mere 40 when I first realised I was struggling to read my screen by evening. Switching focus just from a laptop to a Kindle takes about an aeon by the age of 45, and Eyejusters are the perfect solution.
I expected these to be more bulky, but you can't see the adjuster when they're on - from either side. They don't affect my line of vision at all, yet it takes moments to turn everything into a whole new and exciting technicolour world of 3D. My partner is a definite convert - he likes to play with wristwatches and the teeny tiny bits escape him sometimes, even with his prescribed reading glasses.
MAGIX Music Maker (£34.99 until Jan 4th 2017) and MAGIX Music Maker Live (£69.99)
Having children or settling down doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams of becoming a rock star. MAGIX Music Maker is software which allows you to produce music like a pro. Perfect for any home DJ's or musicians who don't fancy picking up anything heavier than a virtual instrument. Making your own music has apparently never been simpler, and all on your PC using the mouse and keyboard.
Once you've mastered MAGIX Music Maker, there are more complicated add-on packs, including MAGIX Music Maker Live which, among other things, allows you to modify the beat in real time, start the bass drop or change the melody – all with just a click.
We've only had chance to have a quick look so far, but it seemed easy enough to pick our way around the basics. There's masses of room for progression, but plenty to entertain the complete amateur too. The Live version is swayed towards EDM, Trap and Hip Hop, but it all made me feel quite nostalgic...
ALDI Envivo Audio Bluetooth Soundbar (£49.99)
ALDI have scored some blinders recently with their specialbuys, and it's not only in the food department they're messing with the big guys.
The ALDI Bluetooth Soundbar offers a cinematic experience in the comfort of your own home, with a wireless range of up to 10m and a subwoofer for enhanced bass. Aldi will also have a 49” 4k Ultra HD TV (£329.99) on sale online and in store at the same time.
Barely minutes to set up and the remote control is completely intuitive. So far we've mainly used it for Karaoke, and actually the sound is excellent, with no noticeable feedback, drop outs or loss of clarity, even when my son squeals the high notes...
ALDI Mini DAB FM Radio (£29.99)
Aldi’s Mini DAB FM Radio (£29.99) has a stylish retro design and carry handle. Available in cream, black, green or red, it’s the perfect addition to complete a classic retro setting at home.
You can take this anywhere as it runs on mains or battery, and has an AUX input should you wish to use it as a speaker. This is a gorgeous little radio that works just as you'd hope and hasn't missed a beat so far. Good sound, intuitive controls and a nice clear digital display so I know immediately which channels to scroll swiftly past...
Zippo Windproof Lighter (from £14.95) and Zippo Windproof Hand-Warmer (from £20.75)
The iconic refillable Zippo Windproof Lighter isn't only good for the smoker. Anyone wants to light a fire outdoors can rely on it, even in horrific weather. They have a huge range of designs for all tastes, and can be personalised from only a couple of pounds extra.
Zippo also make handwarmers! A brilliant thing and classically beautiful. Fill, light, slip it into the soft warming bag and it will provide up to 6 hours of gentle, consistent heat. You are even provided with a cute little filler and they stand upright for easy filling.
Perfect for anyone who suffers with cold hands, and ideal at this time of year for anyone who spends time outdoors, including sports fans, walkers, people travelling on public transport and those who work outside.
Snapfish Personalised Gifts (£8.99)
Snapfish aren't particularly innovative or different, but they're really reliable and the quality of their printing is excellent. The colours are bright and the lines are sharp. You can make something in 5 minutes, or spend longer on collages, but personalised gifts always show you have spent that time, and the older the recipient, the more amazed they'll be by their gift! ALL mugs are 2 for the price of 1 until 20th December.
Sugru Rebel Tech Kit (£10)
Sugru is the extraordinary new mouldable glue designed for fixing, making and improving your stuff. It’ll stick to almost anything, then cure overnight into a durable, flexible silicone rubber that stays stuck (unless you remove it).
If you've not heard of Sugru then you've missed a trick. It may not be able to repair or upgrade everything, but it's close. The Rebel Tech Kit contains 4 single use coloured Sugru sachets, a scraping tool and a gorgeous tin to keep it in - as well as instructions for 14 different projects in the home. Great value at £10 and a present I bought my partner last year!
Light up the 'dark side' wherever you are with these minifigure keylights featuring Star Wars - The Force Awakens characters. Simply press their chestplate to light up their feet.
These are brilliant little torches that work plenty well enough for camping - I know this because I have bought several over the last couple of years and I've never replaced a battery yet!
Simoniz Car Care (£4-£5)
It's a truth that 88% of men are magnetic and cannot resist the lure of a vehicle on 4 wheels. Don't buy him a car washing kit, that's boring. Move it on a step with some of these from Simoniz...
I won't lie, I haven't tested the Tyre Shine or Alloy Wheel Cleaner, nor the Insect Remover, although I have used Simoniz products in the past. Simoniz started making car care over 100 years ago, so I think we're safe to assume they have got it covered.
Yogi Organic Tea (£2.39)
Boxes of 17 individually wrapped teabags, filled with specially blended teas to promote wellness and whole body harmony. On January 1st this could be exactly the kick-start needed to start on the road to becoming that healthy new man. Also useful for hangovers.
There are a whopping 33 different flavour choices, which are mostly really unusual and any tea connoisseur will enjoy trying them. Lime Mint and Ginger Orange are choices that really appeal to my partner, and he usually refuses anything hot without caffeine...
Butterkist Special Edition Popcorn (£1.49 per bag)
Popcorn makes an interesting change from the usual bars of chocolate in a stocking, no-one will recognise what it is through paper, or team it with a decent DVD and you've got a very thoughtful present, and an afternoon on the sofa....
Haribo (from 95p)
Stockingfiller favourite with kids and grown ups alike. Sadly not usually vegetarian (although they do have veggie Haribo in larger Tesco and online), these are the one food my partner would live on if it were possible.... This Christmas there are crackers, sweet tubes and even a special Starmix Xmas Bag....
And of course, if none of the above suits, there is always LEGO to fit any budget...
All of these items were sent to me for review. I have only added items I would have bought for my family, and I have used a glue stick to reseal everything so that I can give it to them at Christmas. Except the popcorn - totally ate that. And the S+... my excuse is I couldn't really hide that...