All quiet on the unwanted calls front

After charging the phone for 24 hours prior to connecting to the phone line, I was in a position to test the call blocking system.

I called from a mobile that wasn’t already added to the contacts list I was advised that a call screening system was in place and to give my name. After leaving my name the call rang for a while longer and then I was answered. Trying again with someone else making the call I heard the name announced and was advised which buttons to press to accept the call and add the number to contacts, to accept the call on this occasion only, or to reject the call.

It was simple enough to use and I could hear easily enough when speaking to people on the phone.

I used the Wizard setup with the phone sat in the cradle during the initial 24 hours before I could use it, so that the batteries got their best start in life, but I could still play.

A PIN is required to set up and use the call blocking, it is also used for remote accessing the unit, should you wish to.

There is a speaker phone function, speed dial function and remote access function, to name a few of the useful aspects of the phone. It is possible to add VIP numbers and make internal calls between handsets too.

I found that the length of the electrical and phone cables were a good length and this means that I can position the phone away from from my router to avoid conflict.

The phone comes with a quick “set-up and user guide” of 43 pages, if you want more in depth information you will need to go to to download the full manual.

I like this set and I am pleased with my purchase.

Get your own BT8610 [click on the image for more information or the link if no image is visible]:

BT8610 Twin Digital Cordless Phone With Answer Machine & Advanced Call Blocking

Save on your mobile [click on the image for more information or the link if no image is visible]:

I’m on giffgaff and want to share the love. Order a SIM and you’ll get £5 extra credit when you activate with £10 or more.

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Get £20 off on accessories when you buy a OnePlus smartphone on [click on the image for more information or the link if no image is visible]:


OnePlus 3T review and discount on accessories

The OnePlus 3T is one of the most comfortable adaptable devices available. The hardware switches are customisable to allow the user to adapt their device to suit their own needs. Likewise the buttons can be adjusted as the user wishes, or simply disabled and software buttons used instead. Features of the 3T then, the ‘Shelf’ as it is called, becomes available once you flick all your screens from left to right. On this ‘page’ it is possible to select widgets for the apps of your choice and have them available at a swipe or a double tap of the home button. I for example have Weather, blog, voicemail, recent apps and a few more on my shelf. Gestures are always popular and the 3T has the main ones:- flip to mute and 3-finger stroke for screenshot, plus various gestures that are completed when the screen is off to activate the useful functions of music, camera or torch. The status bar at the top of the screen can be as naked or as busy as you want, simply select the items required in the Icon Manager and style your phone your-style. Usability for those who struggle to see so well! Not half bad actually. I have the font and display size set to large and it does mean my spectacles stay in the case most often. I also have personalised the theme and accent colour and activated the lift up display that was enabled in the last OTA update – when I lift the phone it displays alerts without me having to do anything. I really like the camera front and back for both being 16MP, with 4K video on the back and 1080p on the front. Overall the 3T is an extremely user friendly phone, easy to see and use. I love it! If you want to get £20 off accessories when you buy your own OnePlus then use this link to get your discount:

Wahl dog guillotine claw clippers

I bought these as a last ditch attempt to keep my dog’s claws trimmed. I had been using human nail clippers but they were not easy. My dog has a phobia about her paws being touched, so would run away and hide as soon as she saw the clippers. On the occasions when I did clip her claws she would scramble and try to climb over my shoulders to get away from the clippers. When examining the performance of the human nail clippers (which used a pincer cutting style) the nail was not cut in the correct manner for dogs nails and on occasions did cause the nail to split.

I have made do over my dogs life by leaving long spells of not clipping her nails and then trying to get her used to the human nail clippers, this hasn’t worked for either of us.
I was really anxious about switching to guillotine claw clippers because they didn’t look easy to use and I wasn’t sure how to use them, either. I bought a set locally and looked up online for information on how best to use them. Then set about trimming her claws with a guillotine clipper and it was okay, but! The clippers made a loud click when I used them, just like the pincer nail clippers, so I had the same ‘run away’ problem. Then the problems started, the clippers were made of plastic and the pivot was devised from two plastic lugs on one handle inserted into the opposing handle. Because my dogs nails are very hard I had to apply a fair amount of force to guillotine her claws and the lugs would pop out, locking the handles in the closed position, with a loud ‘clack’! This of course frightened my dog and increased her fear of having anything done to her paws, and more running away. I did manage to get my money back on those.
To the guillotine clippers in the title then, these were an Amazon add-on item, so I felt comfortable giving dog nail management another final attempt. They arrived quickly (thanks to Amazon Prime) and were well packaged. They are made entirely of metal (from what I can see anyway) and they are comfortable to hold in the hand.

Having tested them on my dog I am able to clip two of her nails before she leaves me, they do not make a loud noise – in fact they are quite quiet, and she doesn’t hide or run away, she just moves away and sits staring at me (waiting for a treat).

I am able to shave off a thin sliver of nail or snip off a nail as needed. 

The clippers are comfortable in my hand (if you want an idea of how big my hands are in the photos, the span across my palm is 8cm just above the base of my thumb) and easy to manipulate, making me feel more confident in clipping my dogs nails and therefore able to accomplish the task more easily. I’m really glad that I took one final chance on guillotine clippers.
I got mine here [click on the image]:

Essential oil aromatherapy diffuser 

This is my new essential oil diffuser. It is made by TaoTronics and holds 300ml water, which is great to save having to refill the tank.  

The main features are:-

  • Touch sensitive controls 
  • Soft multi-colour LED ambient lighting 
  • Timer mode 
  • Low water protection 
  • Alarm beeper 

    Included in the box are :-

    • TaoTronics Aroma Diffuser 
    • Power Adapter 
    • Cup 
    • User Guide 

      It runs on DC 24V 650mA (14W), the Water Tank Volume is 300ml (10oz).

      Working time is 11 hours on Low Misting; 6 hours on High Misting. 

      It is simple to use :

      • Remove the tank cover and lid
      • Add up to 300ml water into the water tank 
      • Add 2-3 drops of essential oil into the water 
      • Put the lid and cover back on 

      Once plugged in the device beeps once to indicate it is in standby mode. Ensuring that there is enough water in the tank, press the power button to set the diffuser running. The power button controls the timer and Misting levels by the use of long and/or repeated presses. A small LED indicates the current mode. 

      An additional feature is the ambient lighting, which automatically cycles through different colours; or it is possible to select a static colour or none at all.

      The small instruction booklet is clear and easy to understand, the cautions are explicit and tell the user what to do and what not to do. For example, the device should only be drained from one side to avoid water getting into the unit. This is clearly marked on the unit side so that the user does not forget. 

      I have had the device 2 weeks now and I have used it most days. I have emptied it and dried it after each use. It is working well and scenting my living room very nicely. 

      Overall I am pleased with the diffusion and ambient lighting effect. Some people have reported that it is noisy, however I haven’t found it so. The video gives an idea of the humming and ‘plupping’ noise it makes, I had to stop my clock to video this because it’s tick was too loud, so hopefully that gives a more representative idea of the volume. 

      I got mine here [click on the image]  

      Oneplus 3T

      EDIT: Discount referal code for OnePlus 3T:-
      With the code above you can receive £20 off the price of accessories when you buy a new mobile phone direct from OnePlus.

      I have wanted a new smartphone for about a year now. My old iPhone 4S’s battery does not last half of the day anymore (it is over 5 years old now). I want a phone that does all the up to date things, has a bigger screen (so that I can see it) and looks good as well.
      About three months ago I was all for a Samsung S7 Edge but having checked how much I could get on trading in a brand new version of the phone, I discovered that I would only get £300 when I was expected to pay way over £590 for a brand new one.
      So, I decided to wait for the launch of the S8, as I thought that the S7 Edge would reduce in price dramatically once the S8 was launched. However that has not happened and my iPhone is dying quickly.
      When he heard that the S8 was only £50 more than the S7 Edge my partner suggested that it was well worth getting the S8 instead, if there was so little between the price of the two phones.
      After a time of waiting for prices to drop, my partner asked me why I was so hung up with the Samsung? I tried to explain that it was the number one rated smartphone for 2017 and that I wanted to get the best for my money when I switched phone.
      So he asked me what else was there out there?
      I was taken aback, I hadn’t even thought about it. So I said that I didn’t know. What had he seen?
      He did a quick search and suggested that I look at the OnePlus 3T, which was the number two on the list of top smartphones. Why hadn’t I thought of looking further?
      The key things that I was looking for were a screen that I could actually read and overall greater functionality in general. I also wanted a battery that lasted longer than a day.
      With that in mind, this is a summary of the information that I gathered and the information from the review’s that I read :-
      Please note that I have not listed all the functionality for any of the smartphones mentioned, and I have only mentioned things that I have picked up from reading reviews made by other individuals. I have not (yet) tried any other phone, whether those mentioned, or other brands. Therefore this blog is just a lot of words taken from other people and the brand websites; and in no way is it a reflection on the products mentioned, whether positive or negative. It is entirely up to each individual to do their own research to determine which product is most appropriate for them (as I have done and noted here).

      S7 Edge
      Made of a metal and glass build with a curved display, it is IP68 water resistant, and was available in black, blue or gold
      It has a sim-tray, which supports a microSD slot, and there is also a microphone. At the bottom is the headphone jack, another microphone, a speaker and a microUSB port for charging. The screen size is 5.5-inches.
      Apparently the S7 Edge tends to have about 25-35% of battery life left at the end of the day, while power drops more suddenly during intensive tasks, but it has exceptional standby time.

      It has a microSD slot tucked away with the nano-SIM, Qi wireless charging, and the device is IP68 water- and dust-resistant too, so it should survive in water for 30 minutes to depths of 1.5 metres.
      The fingerprint-sensing Home button is on the back, next to the camera.
      It has Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back which should offer a little more protection, but allegedly it doesn’t appear to and it is said that the Samsung S8 feels like a delicate phone.
      To prolong the 3000mAh battery life, a new Galaxy S8 will be set to display at 1080p rather than quad-HD. The battery will need to be charged every night. Samsung has switched to the reversible USB-C port, but wireless charging remains an option.
      The downward-facing speaker is apparently terrible, with the sound itself tinny and distorted at higher volumes.
      It has a single 12-megapixel sensor behind a wide f/1.7 lens, while on the front there’s a new 8-megapixel sensor with an f/1.7 aperture. It has autofocus, which remains a rarity on selfie cameras, and takes great pictures too.

      Oneplus 3T
      The OnePlus 3T is 7.4mm thick and is made from a single slab of aluminium alloy. At the bottom of the phone there is a speaker, a USB-C port and a headphone jack.
      Along the left edge is a three-level Alert Slider to toggle between notification profiles (choices are:- all, priority or none) . Below this is the volume rocker, and on the opposite side the power button.
      There’s a front fingerprint sensor, which also acts as the Home button, flanked by capacitive Back and Recent keys that are only marked by a backlit dot, rather than their standard icons. This is because you can swap their positions in the OnePlus 3T’s settings.
      The button setup means you can do away with Android’s on-screen navigation buttons, freeing up more of the display; or turn on the on-screen navigation in the settings. You can also choose different shortcut actions for double-press and hold inputs for any of the capacitive buttons.
      The OnePlus 3T supports dual SIMs, but the second SIM slot does NOT double as a microSD card slot, so there’s no expandable storage.
      There are 64GB and 128GB capacity options of the phone. NFC means that you can use Android Pay.
      The OnePlus’ ‘Shelf’ is accessible by swiping right on the Home screen.

      This houses your recent contacts, recent apps and a management centre that shows your storage and battery levels, as well as how much data you have left if you’re on a limited tariff. If you don’t want to use Shelf, you can just turn it off.
      OnePlus’s rear-facing camera is the Sony IMX 298 16-megapixel sensor with 1.12-micron size pixels. This is paired with an F/2.0 aperture lens that supports Phase Detect Autofocus with optical image stabilisation. The introduction of electronic image stabilisation when shooting video allows for up to 4K at 30fps. OnePlus says the 6GB of RAM is actually used for the Camera app to help boost its responsiveness.
      The front-facing camera uses a 16-megapixel Samsung 3P8SP sensor and an F/2.0 aperture lens. It’s more than adequate for selfies or for video chatting as it’s a far higher resolution than you’ll find on most phones.
      The battery is 3,400mAh. OnePlus has its own quick charging technology, called Dash Charge. This requires use of the supplied OnePlus Dash Charge USB wall adaptor and OnePlus USB-C cable. All of the temperature regulation occurs in the dash charge adaptor itself, meaning only thermal regulated current reaches the phone, so it shouldn’t overheat or have to throttle its charging. This also means that if you’re using the OnePlus 3T while it charges, the charge rate won’t need to slow down.
      Dash Charge means that you don’t strictly have to leave the OnePlus 3T plugged in overnight if there’s a reasonable amount of charge remaining.
      The OnePlus 3T remains the best Android phone you can buy in its price category with fantastic performance, great build quality and an improved battery life, but now that it’s edged towards £400 and beyond, it’s not quite as big a bargain as its predecessor.

      Discount referal code for OnePlus 3T:-

      With the code above you can receive £20 off the price of accessories when you buy a new mobile phone direct from OnePlus.

      And while you are benefiting from that discount, if you live in the UK, why not get a bonus credit on a new SIM at the same time. If you order a new Sim card via this link, activate it and top up with £10 or more, you will receive £5 extra free credit:-

      I switched to GiffGaff about two years ago and it was so liberating to be able to tweak my plan to suit my needs on an ongoing basis. There are months when I know that I shall use more data or minutes than I regularly do, so I just buy the goody bag that meets my needs for that month. Otherwise I just let my regular plan renew each month and don’t have to think about my phone allowance.

      Now that I’ve had the OnePlus for a while
      I took a look at the 3T in real life on Sunday 28 May and decided that I liked it, my own phone arrived on Tuesday 30 May. I got straight on with doing a SIM- swap to a nano-SIM so that I could get started with my new Android phone.
      I’ve had to export my contacts from ios to Google, not a hassle if you use an app, but the images linked to the contacts don’t transmit across so I’m still working on updating those.
      The battery life is fantastic in comparison to my old iPhone 4S, it’s even lasting a day and a half on heavy use on a dodgy Internet connection running at seriously snail-like mbps, plus Bluetooth etc. If the levels look low I plug in the dash charger and have a full charge in real quick time. I tested it, from 0% to 100% took 1 hour 31 minutes!
      The camera is meeting my expectations and then some, it has zoom on the video and it is easy to switch between camera and video with the swipe of a finger. Sound on the video is clear, with a bit of wind boom as you’d expect with an unprotected microphone, but it isn’t horrendous.
      It is hard to comment on how quick it is online as my Internet is lousy and will be until fibre is available around here. But the 4G is really quick, so I can’t complain.
      Sound-wise the OnePlus is far superior to my old iPhone, so much clearer and I have been told that it is much clearer for the person I am calling too. So bonus points for clarity. Ditto on the in-car Bluetooth connection for quality, too.

      My fitness band desire

      I am currently tracking my steps with an app on my now rather old iPhone and finding that it is draining my battery big style. So I have been looking at getting an activity band to wear on my wrist [thereby making the app redundant so that I can a) stop using it and save battery life on my phone, and b) delete it from my phone and free up some space].

      I did a bit of research on the various bands, reading reviews and recommendations. I wanted something to track two things [above all else]: steps and sleep! I also wanted the device that I chose to have a good length of time in use, in between each charge of its battery. From my research I narrowed it down to a few bands that were of interest. In a year’s time I think it would be good to remember why exactly I picked the band that I will be wearing (hopefully) still. With that in mind, this is a summary of the information that I gathered and the information from the review’s that I read [Click on the images for more information]:-

      Garmin Vivosmart HR

      This has good reviews for most functionality, but the heart rate monitor lets it down, in its accuracy. It is an accurate sleep tracker apparently, which really attracted me to it as a go-to purchase. The band is 25.3mm wide, has a battery life of up to 5 days and it is also waterproof up to 5 ATM. Then I found out about the HR+, so thought that I would probably rather have the next model up if it didn’t cost much more. That was this band out of the picture then!

      Garmin Vivosmart HR+

      I really thought this was the band for me! It has GPS and a sunlight readable touch screen, alongside the step tracking. It is available in purple (so far all the bands that I have looked have been available in a colour somewhat near purple, but this one is really purple!), which is my colour of choice. Like the previous model it can receive smartphone notifications for texts, emails, phone calls and social media. The band is 25.3mm wide, is waterproof to 5 ATM and has an advertised battery life of 5 days. What stopped me buying it? The fact that the band is non-interchangeable meant that it was not the band for me. I like to be able to extend the life of my watches by replacing straps as they wear out, and I anticipated that I would do the same with any activity band that I bought. The fact that this isn’t possible for this band, nor its predecessor, means that these Garmin bands are of no interest to me now.

      Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

      This has a colour touchscreen, GPS and all the usual activity monitoring, as well as smartphone alerts and music control. It has a quoted battery life of 5 days from full charge, charges within 2 hours and has memory enough for 7 days worth of detailed activity tracking. It is also water resistant and has music control functions (if you have music on your phone – I don’t!) And, a big bonus (one of my requirements) is that Fitbit sell accessories and replacement bands for the Blaze. However, given that I want to track my sleep and the quoted dimensions for the watch face are 40mm wide, I didn’t think that I would be comfortable wearing this day AND night, so I excluded this one from the start. I also read in a review that ‘sweat’ stops the heart rate monitor working on some units, which seems to defeat the point in having a unit that has HR functionality, so for the price, I excluded this model.

      Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Tracker and Sleep Wristband

      The Flex comes with TWO wristbands, an instant win there, and it’s battery is purported to last 5 days. It is 14mm wide and looks to fit neatly on the wrist regardless of body size or gender. it is also water resistant (including sweat, like the other water resistant bands). BUT, I don’t like that the only display it has is 5 lights to tell me how I’m doing. This band requires you to check your performance on the app. Sorry, that is not for me!

      Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate and Activity Wristband

      The Charge HR tracks your heart rate, steps and sleep. The band is a neat 21mm wide and like other Fitbits is water resistant. This one had a lot of good reviews and seems accurate, though there are a lot of complaints about build quality, the battery and the heart rate monitor. I looked for replacement bands for this one and couldn’t find any, so once again that puts this model out of the picture for me.

      Fitbit Alta

      I am running out of options now! This one had better give me something!
      The Alta band is 15mm wide, it is available in ‘Plum’, replacement bands are available (metal, leather and multi-coloured bands for a wide range of looks). It comes in 3 sizes, including one to fit my tiny wrists. The band is water resistant (sweat, rain and splash proof), it tracks 5 days of detailed motion data and totals for the previous 30 days. Battery life is up to 5 days, and it charges within 2 hours. Notifications can be received from smartphones for calls and text notifications (iPhone 4S and later and leading Android and Windows devices) as well as calendar alerts on the display. The Alta band track steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes and it has Auto Sleep Tracking and Silent Alarms.

      I have deduced that if you want a heart rate monitor, for wrist-based versions, the straps are non-replaceable / non-interchangeable, and you would be better off purchasing a chest strap version for accuracy anyway.

      Please note that I have not listed all the functionality for any of the bands mentioned, and I have only mentioned negative things that I have picked up from reading reviews made by other individuals. I have not (yet) tried any activity band, whether those mentioned, or other brands. Therefore this blog is just a lot of words taken from other people and the brand websites; and in no way is it a reflection on the products mentioned, whether positive or negative. It is entirely up to each individual to do their own research to determine which product is most appropriate for them (as I have done and noted here).

      giffgaff a few months on

      I joined giffgaff a few months ago and have decided that the decision was a sound one, on both an economical and experiential basis. I have saved over 50% in monthly fees and have received 150% more data, based on my previous contract with a major telecoms provider.

      Both the website and the app are great at keeping me informed about my usage of my allowances; plus towards the end of each ‘goodybag’ I receive an email summarising my usage and recommending the level of goodybag that will give optimum allowances for an appropriate level of expenditure and maintain the service level provisions that I have been using.

      There are two ways of buying airtime from GiffGaff: a ‘goodybag’ which gives an allowance for calls / texts / data; or a straightforward ‘pay-as-you-go’ airtime allowance, which is used up as you make use of your phone. Both of these can be tracked through the app and topped up as required.

      There are also some freebies when you join GiffGaff; you get:

      • Free call numbers: 0800 / 0808 / 0500
      • Free Facebook text updates
      • Free giffgaff to giffgaff calls/texts for 3 months after a top up.

      Also, the more of your contacts who use giffgaff, the more you’ll save in call / text time (due to the free giffgaff to giffgaff calls and texts).

      You can add your credit or debit card details to your account and set up a recurring goodybag; or if you prefer, you can buy a goodybag each month and ‘queue’ it, so that it follows on immediately your existing goodybag expires.

      did I say that GiffGaff also recommend the best goodybag for you each month, based on your recent usage?

      JOIN NOW and if you join via the link below you will get £5 credit and I’ll get £5 Payback

      I just joined GiffGaff and I am happy to recommend it to you

      I just joined GiffGaff and so far I’m really liking it. 

      The culture is friendly and the prices are too. 

      Apparently each person can earn payback points by sharing how good GiffGaff is, so here is my share link:- I am only sharing it because so far I’m very content with the service I’ve had from GiffGaff. 

      Order from julieshort before the end of May and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win a £500 Amazon voucher.

      Please order your SIM via the link above link if you also think GiffGaff is worth a try as well.

      Remember, you will need to top up by a minimum of £10 to activate your SIM card. But if you order your free giffgaff SIM card through the link above, you will also benefit from an £5 extra credit for free when you activate your SIM.

        At todays prices (May 2015) – the 3G £10 goodybag gives you 500 UK minutesunlimited UK texts and 1 GB Internet for one month. Plus, you will still benefit from free giffgaff to giffgaff calls and texts on top of that.    
       At todays prices (May 2015) – the 4G  £12 goodybag gives you 500 UK minutesunlimited UK texts and 1 GB Internet for one month. Plus, you will still benefit from free giffgaff to giffgaff calls and texts on top of that.

      Your queries are answered by agents who have an interest in responding to your queries, so you are more likely to get a result from your questions.

      I switched from a business provider who said that there was no ‘customer service’, but so far the response to my searches on GiffGaff have been more useful than that business provider has ever provided.

      Winner for GiffGaff then!

      Things work out as they’re supposed to…

      I’ve believed in this ethos for as long as I can remember.

      I can quote examples, such as

      not getting a dream job and being absolutely gutted, then landing a job that made a fantastic different to my life and elevated me to a role I would never have achieved if I had succeeded in landing the original position. Or,

      being denied reconstruction surgery as I was an unsuitable candidate 5 years before I then went on to hear about an innovative new procedure that was much more appropriate to me, my lifestyle and my body.

      Now, I’m looking to replace my car, I know exactly the car that I want and had the opportunity to buy something almost exactly matching my criterion. I went back to look at the car on Sunday, having test driven it the previous weekend. I could tell someone had test driven it and the sale literature was missing from the interior of the car. It was sold!

      I was really disappointed, now that it was sold, I really wanted it. However, I realise that although there is nothing available at the moment that offers me such a good package, if I wait a while a better opportunity will come along. I just need to be patient.

      So I’m not worrying about my missed opportunity, it was not meant to be and things will work out as they are meant to.

      When they do, I’ll let you know

      OAuth functionality on Twitter means apps won’t work

      I had been using 3 applications on my Nokia N900, using a different one for some of my twitter accounts. Witter for my personal one, Mauku for a fun one and TweeGo for my work-based account. Unfortunately since Twitter removed access for any applications not using OAuth, Mauku and TweeGo have stopped working. I had hoped that the developers would update their application, so that I could keep 3 open at the same time and therefore keep tabs on my different accounts. Unfortunately that is not the case and I now have to relying on Witter and web access now!