The Love To Dream Swaddle UP


As any new Mum can atest there is nothing like a good nights sleep.  I can’t tell you how many nights I have spent counting how many hours or even minutes of sleep I plan to get, will get or didn’t get.  We have wrapped babies, played white noise, rocked, patted, bounced and willed babies to sleep.

Third time around I am trying some new tactics.  The first one being a swaddle!  I have wrapped both Master O and Little Miss A when it was sleep time and found I had no end of problems.  Escape artists, unwrapping and rewrapping between feeds, wraps that never seem to be the right shape or size, babies being wrapped and still managing to kick blankets off! We have experienced it all.  So once our newest arrival was here I called for help on our Facebook page.  What could I do differently this time?  The overwhelming answer from our community was a SWADDLE!  

A Love To Dream Swaddle UP.

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The Love to Dream team also read my cries for help and sent me “Swaddle UP” to put to the test.

After a good laugh at how our big buddha baby looked all snug as a bug we put him to bed.  From that first night on I found he slept for longer between feeds and also was able to resettle more quickly after a feed!  Brilliant!

So what do I love about this product?

  • The Startle Stopper. Love To Swaddle UP has a unique design that helps calm the startle reflex.  You know that sudden jerky movement the baby does with its arms that “startles” them! Well by having their arms wrapped it calms the reflex allowing them to stay asleep!
  •  Arms up. Unlike wrapping, the Love to Dream Swaddle UP allows babies to sleep in their natural position with their arms up. Our bub was already an arms up sleeper so this swaddle was perfect!  It also allowed him to suck on his hand which he loves!
  • No escaping! The swaddle also offers an easier, safer way for babies to sleep as it reduces the risk of them wriggling out or getting tangled in loose wrapping. 
  • The twin zipper.  It was just so easy to do a midnight nappy change!  His arms and body could stay warm and snug whilst I only had to unzip the bottom!
  • Works with the weather.  We live in South East Queensland.  With an April baby we have experienced warm nights AND Freezing mornings all in the space of a week.  I love that I could put him in the normal swaddle on average nights and then layer him up in the Love to Layer On Merino when it got cooler!  This meant there was no need for blankets!  

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Possibly the only con was that he outgrew it so quickly!  We are already into the next size!  But then again he is one big baby (6.3kgs and 64cms at 2 months) and very broad across the shoulders .

Love to Swaddle UP is available in a range of styles, sizes and colours.

I can only dream what it would have been like to have this product for my previous two babies.  It’s on my baby shower gift list for all pregnant friends!

and because caring is sharing…..

I have a Love To Swaddle UP to giveaway to one lucky reader.  

Just enter via rafflecopter below and tell me…

What feature of the Swaddle UP would you love the most? 

 

 

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Delicious Bento Lunch Ideas

 Let it be known, I am the mother of THE PICKIEST EATER.  Little Miss A started out well and as a baby would eat anything that came her way, but somewhere after the age of 18 months we found our selves with a child living off vegemite sandwiches and air.  

I do have hope.  Master O was actually much the same until he started Kindy.  Suddenly with an increase in activity, his appetite increased!  He also went to a Kindergarden with a strict RUBBISH FREE lunchbox policy.  Lunches had to be rubbish free in every sense of the word, no plastic wrap or packaged food and no junk food!  I was even sent a note home, in trouble for sending  in blueberry muffins!   But suddenly he wanted healthy food.  Everyone else was eating it and peer pressure in its finest form kicked in.  I now had requests for sultanas, carrot sticks and sushi! We started making our first Bento Lunches and never looked back.  

Our bento lunches are really just package free food in compartments.  I don’t get fancy and haven’t until now bought special cutters or food picks.  Little Miss A loves looking at pictures of  the fancy shaped lunches (especially the Hello Kitty ones) so I am going to give a few a try this year.

So for some inspiration…….

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From The Yumbox Blog, co founder Maia created this yummy bento lunch.

SUSHI!  This one is especially for master O who not only devours Sushi but cucumber too!  I have never thought to cut it into little sticks before.

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Another great lunch from the Yumbox blog

PASTA.  Both kids love pasta and will eat it in any shape or form.  This opens up a whole heap of grain opportunities.  I am thinking pasta teddies, ravioli and macaroni.

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From Another Lunch. One of the first Bento Blogs I ever read!

Salami.  I always think ham and chicken for Protein but Salami would be a winner for both children.

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From Wendolonia. This is the best BENTO blog! This is where I first read about the Yumbox!

RICE.  When all else fails we cook Little Miss A some rice.  Bento supplies often have rice moulds and I would love to give these a try.

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When the mamabelly family became interested in a household rabbit, the lunches followed the theme of the children’s interests! What a brilliant idea!

Bunnies!!!!  Remember her Bunny Birthday?  Just maybe this will be the way to get her to eat carrots? 

 

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Another bento from Wendolonia. I love that she calls the sliced carrots, carrot coins!

Popcorn!  Actually counted as a grain!  Who doesnt love popcorn!

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From Ladybug Lunches. Fantastic reviews and great lunch ideas for a picky little ladybug!

Those little flower hams would be gobbled up in a second.  Master O loves corn but I have never thought of putting it in a lunch box.

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This is cuteness extreme from Bent On Better Lunches.

Lady bugs, this would be the envy of the Kindy playground!  Way too cute for words and such simple but effective ideas.

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Another Bent On Better Lunches Bento! This is a yumbox tray out of the yumbox!

Take any slice/biscuit/muffin and use a cookie cutter to cut it into a heart and it instantly looks appetising! 

I truly believe by supplying small portions of many different foods, in a creative and fun way, that my picky eater may just try something new!  

All of these Bento’s are created in the Yumbox lunchbox and can be found (along with many more!) on my Pinterest boards.

Funky Elephant ~ Review and Giveaway

We love craft.  To be more precise, Little miss A loves craft, Master O will do it reluctantly but always enjoys the end result, and me, well to be honest I think I have more fun than them!

The hardest part of creating craft projects for my two, is thinking of an activity they will both enjoy doing.  It has to be easy enough for Little Miss A but creative enough for Master O aged 6.  It also has to be an activity that requires easy to find resources.

Well Funky Elephant have thought of both.  A “Funky Elephant” subscription allows you to receive a monthly trunk full  “interesting projects to complete! Watch them get creative and learn through craft, activities, role play and fun projects”

When they say a complete kit they mean complete….

The contents of a Funky Elephant “Trunk”

There was everything for two or more children to complete two different craft projects.  EVERYTHING even a drop sheet to keep the mess contained!

 Little Miss A Loved painting her little family of stick people! 

They both loved giving their “family” clothes, “goggly” eyes and string hair.

They turned their stick family into a hilarious puppet show! 

The trunks are available in a 2, 4 or 6 moth subscription and are literally delivered to your door and adressed to the child, making receivng the package half the fun. This would make a great Birthday gift, especially if like us, many of the little kids in our lives live 100’s of kilometres away! We could have a bundle of fun delivered straight to their door. The trunks are great to keep on hand as a riany day bonus or even a school holiday boredom buster.

Even better we are giving away 2 x $25 vouchers for you to receive your very own Funky Elephant trunks.

 Simply Enter via rafflecopter below and tell us?

What would you love about a Funky Elephant “trunk”?

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The Tooth Fairy

Another mythical creature is getting ready to make an appearance in our household. The Tooth Fairy! Finally after 6 years and 4 months, Master o has a wobbly tooth!.  He is one of the last children in his class to loose a tooth so needless to say the event is highly anticipated!  So I am searching for a new family tradition to begin.  A tooth fairy tradition.

The Tiny Letter

 

Source: etsy.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

 

Source: etsy.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

Never fear you don’t need to figure out how to do this yourself!  These come as printables and can be found on Etsy.  You simply print and assemble your personalised letter at home!

The Tooth Tin

 

This idea could easily be made at home.  A simple tin, some scrapbook paper and a cute label.  A safe place to keep those teeth as they await the fairy. 

The Printable Letter/Collection

Source: hellobee.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

Source: etsy.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

This is one option I will be taking up.  A whole series of printables for the occasion from letters, certificates, boxes, stickers, even a note to hang on the bedroom door. 

The Fairy Door

Source: indulgy.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

 

This is one of those ideas I first posted about on here years ago but have never done for myself.  I think the opportunities this could provide for many different occasions is HUGE.  For our Christmas Elf, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and maybe even a Reward Fairy!

The Tooth Pillow

Source: etsy.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

It is so nice to see a range of boys and girls pillows to hang on the childs bedroom door.  I love this idea as it is something that could be passed on to the next generation as well.

The Certificate

 

 

I want something like this to keep for my own record! Which tooth fell out, how it fell out and when! A magical way of keeping memories for years to come. I am thinking I may do something like this on the project life journalling cards, ready to put in the album.

So what adventures does the tooth fairy get up to in your house? 

Managing The Family Finances – Part 3 – Saving Money On Your Bills

 It’s time to get on track with the family finances.  If you are following this series you will now have….

1. Done Your Homework – Using bank statements you have outlined the amounts coming in and going out of your accounts. You have also sorted these items into categories (Non negotiable, and recorded the frequency of the payments (Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly, Quarterly)

2. Created a Family Finance Folder – This is where you will “file” away all family financial papers, particularly, bills and receipts. This folder is sorted into categories such as Rates, Mortgage, Electricity, Phone, Internet, Insurance. It is best to have one section for each separate category for example, a separate section for each type of insurance (Health, Life, House, Car) You will see why this works best in the next step!

You are now ready to……..

GET YOUR FINANCE FOLDER  ORGANISED!

Family Finance Folder Form

Family Finance Folder Form

  • Print out the FAMILY FINANCE FOLDER FORM (Above).
  • You will need one for each category of your folder.
  • Glue this form on the inside of each divider in the Family Finance Folder.
  • Record on the top part of the form “the details” for each company. This includes the company name, phone number, your account number, policy name, phone pin numbers and internet passwords. By doing this, each time you need information about that company or need to correspond with them you have everything you need in one place. If you don’t have all of this information, don’t worry as we are about to fix that!
  • The bottom “Correspondence” section is for you to record, any correspondence with the company. This includes any phone calls or emails sent or received.

NOW ITS TIME TO SAVE MONEY!

  1. Ring Each company.
  2.  Firstly check all the details are current and ask for your customer number or any other information you don’t currently have on your FAMILY FINANCE FORM.
  3. Now ask them to give you a deal! Literally that’s what you need to ask.
  • Is this the best deal for me?
  • Have you got any better deals seeing as though I have been a loyal customer for “x” amount of years?
  • My circumstances have changed and I want to save money but stay with your company, what do you suggest?

Companies want to keep business and you will be surprised with how quickly they will offer you savings!

Also consider: 

  • Is your package negotiable?
  • Does it still suit your needs? (Do you really need all the Foxtel channels? Do you use STD calls or do you need less data allowance on your internet)
  • Can you package multiple items to save money ? (E.g Car, Health and House Insurance or Phone and Internet)
  • Can you commit to a longer term plan in order to save money?
  • Have you seen a great deal at another company? Many companies will price match their competitors.

This week by doing this I halved our Foxtel bill and realised we were hundreds of dollars in CREDIT with our rates.  I organised to have that amount refunded to us so I could use it to pay off our credit card!  When any money is in Credit it is earning them money, not YOU! How we got in Credit?  We paid more than the required amount by paying fortnightly via direct debit instead of quarterly as the company suggested.  Over the period of 2 years we saved over $600!!!!

By recording the details of this on the correspondence form you have all the information you need in case of disputes, errors in payment and to remind you to call again in 6 months to check for more deals and SAVE MORE MONEY!

Any other tips for saving money on your bills? 

8 Perfect Paint Recipes from Pinterest

There are some VERY clever Mums out there on the Interwebz.  Unlike me who has been a teacher for a long time and a mum, they have manage to fine tune the most amazing “Homemade Paint” recipes!   

 

FIZZY PAINT

 

This one comes from Kidspot. It is perfect for using on the driveway, footpath, concrete or pavers. The paint is an unusual fizzy consistency that the kids go crazy over! It is easy to wash off and can be made with things you probably already have in your cupboard!

GLOW IN THE DARK PAINT

 

Who wouldn’t love glow in the dark paint! If you are looking for ANY kids craft ideas, Growing a Jeweled Rose is the blog to go to! You can buy flurescent paint but glow in the dark paint works best for this. Besides the glowing ingredient everything else you will be able to find right at home.

BATH CRAYONS

Source: kiboomu.com via Larissa on Pinterest

 

 

 

Years ago I bought some ice cube trays from ikea that were a long cylinder shape. They were intended to be able to be used to stir your drink with the ice cube, but i have found a different use… Bath Crayons! We LOVED bath crayons but unfortunately the black and blue got into the grout and has stayed their ever since. These are easily made, much cheaper and cleaner too.

PUFFY PAINT

 

 

I LOVE THIS PAINT. It is a staple in our paint collection as it is so easy to make and use. A tip is to use it on cardboard or buy some art paper books that have a thicker cartridge paper in them. We bought squeeze bottles from Riot Art and Craft but sauce bottles from your local discount store work just as well.

EDIBLE FINGER PAINT

 

When I say edible, it really mean non toxic. This recipe uses items from the kitchen cupboard, so although not tasty it is totally safe for accidental finger suckers. Finger painting is brilliant for fine motor strengthening and I have to say, besides the mess, I find something soothing about finger painting. Finger paint on some plastic sheeting (available by the metre at Spotlight) and then “print” their creation onto a piece of paper by laying it on top!

WATER COLOUR PAINT

 

I haven’t attempted this one yet as I am still trying to figure out what corn syrup would be equivalent to here in Australia. We love watercolour paints mainly for the easy clean up factor. They dont stain, last forever, and give the most beautiful effect especially over the top of a drawing.

SHAVING CREAM PAINT

Source: havingfunathomeblog.blogspot.com via Larissa on Pinterest

This is the first paint recipe I ever made! It was such a favourite with my Preschool class it saw many reincarnations. Green St Patricks Day paint, Red Christmas paint….the list goes on. Once again I love this recipe for it ease of creation and clean up. The kids go ga ga over this. It feels so nice in their little hands! Best bit is you can even play with it in the bath. The main ingredient is shaving cream. The cheaper the better I say. Just make sure you buy Shaving CREAM, not shaving GEL. Yes I am speaking from experience!

CHALKBOARD PAINT

 

This one is not for the littlies. Chalkboard paint can get quite expensive but not if you make it yourself. All the ingredients for this recipe can be found at the local hardware store. This is great for reusing and repurposing household items or would be great for mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift making at school. Or even for some decorating projects around the house!

You can find all of the original links underneath each image. These blogs are ALL AMAZING! So what paint are you keen to try first? Have a recipe to share?

Warm Winter Breakfast

I must admit I am not a breakfast eater. I know, I know, it’s the most important meal of the day, but in the midst of the morning rush, I often simply forget to have breakfast.  

Breakfast in our house has to be quick, easy and be able to sustain two very energetic children until morning tea time.  Toast, doesnt quite fill them up, cereal is good but on a chilly winter’s morning (it was 1 degree here yesterday) nothing is as good as a bowl of warm oats! 

Hubby has long preapred “porridge” for himself and master O.  Let me say “prepare” as in with military precision, in which the perfect amount of oats to water ratio is achieved, they soak over night and are then cooked to perfection with constant stirring on the stove top.  SERIOUSLY!  So unless he is here to make breakfast, “Porridge” is not happening. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So in an effort to try the whole porridge making caper, I did my homework.  I have been assured there is really no need to “soak” my oats over night and even in fact you can make porridge in the microwave!  That’s more my style.  So introducing  The My Pigeon Pair version of a “Porridge ” breakfast.

1. Take UNCLE TOBYS Oats Quick Sachets.

2. Add milk or Water to fill line

3. Microwave for just 90 seconds, stir and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Yep it was seriously that easy!

 OR YOU can add step number 4 and get all fancy like me and decorate!

You read right!  I love to decorate the porridge! If it only takes me 90 seconds to make, then I can surely spend another 30 seconds making breakfast fun!

  • I am talking Honey Smiley Face with Sultana eyes and nose!
  • Banana Letter O especially for Master O.  I cut the banana into pieces and put them into an O shape on top of the porridge.
  • A Milo “Love Heart” using my cappucino stencil!
Best of all it is a breakfast rich in fibre, full of natural energy and nourishing!
And to capture your own creativity Uncle Toby’s are giving away a Canon camcorder  and a Winter’s Worth of Uncle Toby’s Oats Quick Sachet’s
to one lucky My Pigeon Pair reader! 
Simply enter via Rafflecopter below and tell me….
How do you have your Oats? 
 

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Williams Sonoma Experience

For the last few years I have been green with envy.  Envious of the United States who seem to get all the AMAZING stores!  Finally Williams Sonoma has opened shop HERE IN AUSTRALIA!  

So Why Australia? 

Their first stores outside of the United States are right here Down Under.  It was’t just our incessant begging that got them here.  Outside of USA, Australia has the biggest e-commerce purchases of Williams Sonoma products!  I know I have contributed to that number over the year!

Where in Australia?

Williams Sonoma encompasses four stores, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm.  All fours stores have opened at Bondi Junction, Sydney.  This homewares hub is at the top of Oxford St Mall right opposite Westfield Bondi Junction. Word on the street is that A Melbourne and possibly a Brisbane store will be on the agenda eventually.  For now you can ORDER ONLINE and have them ship ANYWHERE IN AUSTRALIA!

The Stores

We started at Williams Sonoma.  

These store fronts are divine.  Think Marble with these gorgeous deep navy steel doors.  There was a collective sigh as we entered and the store literally smelt as good as it looked.

The merchandising in these stores are second to none.  Each display is so thoughtfully and beuatifully presented.

Creative Director Anna Last talked us through the Williams Sonoma Brand and products.  Anna used to work for MARTH STEWART LIVING so she know what she is talking about.  Meanwhile I was coveting that gorgeous silver urn and glass hanging lanterns!

This is what you call sensory overload and we have only just stepped through the door.

  This is a juicing station.  Want to buy a new juicer?  This juice station is complete with fridge for you to whip up your own juice or smoothie.  What better way to find out if the product is right for you.  The stores equipment stations “are designed to encourage interaction with customers”  they even had a coffee bar so that you could sample their coffee range.

So I am already hyperventilenting by now and here is what you find at the back of the store. A COOKING SCHOOL.  The FIRST EVER Williams Sonoma Cooking School.  Take that States.  We finally beat you to it!

You know how much I love me a white kitchen and this one was remarkable!  Marble bench tops, copper pots, white talls, sky high glass windows and of course a CHEF!  The Williams Sonoma cooking store offers a variety of 12 person cooking classes that are even suitable for beginners.  Vlad the chef is there to inspire and to teach you how to use the latest equipment.  You can book a cooking class by calling +612 8973 5800.  They are also hoping to run cheese making and bread baking classes.

I am kicking myself I didnt buy some of this napery!  I know that The House that A_M built bought some and fingers crossed she posts some pics of her purchases. 

The back of the store has some amazing windows overlooking the streets of Bondi and Westfields.  I loved the colours of this dinnerware.

I wish I could have bought this tray and a large plate but they were just too heavy for my suitcase!

There are too many phenomenal things to mention about these stores but let me just say this.  Williams Sonoma has set a new bar for Australian Retail.  a very high bar. With store fitting fit for a luxury home, personalised service, gift registry’s and a hands on approach to meeting customers needs,  Williams Sonoma is not just a place to shop. It is place to meet, eat, drink, try and learn. 

I think they might teach a few retailers a thing or too as well.  

P.S Want to get a better look inside?  Here is a Video Clip from A Current Affair! If you look closely you can see me waiting to go in, but blink and you’ll miss it!

FIRST LOOK – ACA

The Complete Guide to Meal Planning

I have written a lot about meal planning.  It is the single biggest saver of money, time and sanity in our house.  So as I update our latest Meal Planning template I thought it might be worth establishing a single blog post with all of our Meal Planning templates, ideas and tips!

2 years worth of experience here peeps! 

But let’s start at the very beginning, because it is a very good place to start..

1.Meal Planning 101 WHY YOU SHOULD MENU/MEAL PLAN? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

including a FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATE!

 

I have to say that this template works so well I used it for a whole year before I started changing it.  I have only started working on another one as I now mainly shop at Aldi and needed my list in a different order.  The highlight of creating this template is seeing it in use!  I will never forget a friend opening her pantry and seeing it hanging inside!

 2. Attacking The Grocery Shopping.

 

 

I get stopped in Aldi all the time with people asking me where I got my list and bags from!  Those amazing reusable shopping bags are from Aldi!

3. Creating a Menu Board.

 

 

 

This was a time consuming project to create but once it is up and running it is a great way to ensure you plan balanced meals across a week, fortnight or month!

4. Great Lunchbox Plans.   

5. Lunch Box Planning – FREE DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATE!

 

and here is the update Meal Planning template I am working on!

It’s not as “pretty” as the other one but it has a more comprehensive shopping list and is in the order of the aisles at Aldi at Woolworths.   This is just a sneek peak at it, I will tidy it up a little and get it ready for YOU TO DOWNLOAD! 

I have 4 templates, each with a different Monthly Shopping Category.  

So there you have it

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MEAL PLANNING!

If you have any questions about meal planning or grocery shopping leave me a comment HERE!!!

Tomorrow I will share with you my 5 Favourite Weekly Meal Plans! 

Transform your life with LG Optimus-G.

Although I run a blog and work online I am not the most tech savvy mumma.  I can navigate a website, pump out a blog post but do not ask me how to get skylanders working on the x-box or how to synch your phone to your computer!    So when the opportunity arose to try out a new smartphone I was a little hesitant.  Try something new in the comfort of my own home, sure, i’ll give it a go.  But try something new in the company of other way more experienced bloggers and tech gurus?  Hmm this deal will need some sweetening.  Throw in a lovely dinner, a few strawberry dacquari’s and the opportunity to have an amazing giveaway for the My Pigeon Pair flock…..I’m in!

So the latest and greatest smartphone on the market is the LG – Optimus G.  

Ok so you had me at Optimus.  That is something I know all about…Transformers.  BumbleBee, SideSwipe, Shockwave, Sentinel Prime and of course Optimus Prime.  I can tell you all about their “powers”  how they fit into the transformers story and wether they are “goodies or baddies.”  Now we have some common vocabulary.   

The new Optimus G is the perfect life transforming device.  Throughout the evening I learnt how to use it’s camera, video, note taking, internet searching, emailing and social media sharing tools. This is one awesome multitasking device.

That is something else I know about, multitasking.  I am a work from home/car/cafe/playground/swimming pool Mum.  I am a freelance writer, resource creator, run a blog and a household.  I use social media A LOT.  I take photos of everything from what’s on sale at the supermarket, to easter craft and my latest DIY project.  I video my child wearing a bunny costume in the Woolworths meat department and my death defying children running in the yard whilst it’s hailing.  My phone needs to do EVERYTHING.  and this phone does!  

The list of features is beyond anything my current iPhone can do.  

What I loved;

This was a feature I literally needed the day before!  We were looking at a house and were trying to call a real estate agent.  With no pen or paper we resorted to the husband remembering the first half of the number and me remembering the last half!  It took us three goes to get the right number!  With quick memo I can jot things down on the screen of the phone, with my finger, whilst on a call!   

Ok so this one is great for the kids as much as me!  It means they can play the games on my phone on the TV!  Or use the big screen to view catalogues on the Internet.  Now the whole family can share in my IKEA/Pottery Barn dreaming!

Ok so don’t ask me HOW this works but what it does is BRILLIANT.  Some how the camera function takes 5 shots before you have even pressed the shutter button.  This means you have 5 shots to choose form when you take a picture.  You never miss that critical moment!

For me these were the key selling points.  There is also the whole memory/processing/HD stuff but for me it is more about having a multitasking device with great hands on features to make life easier.

Would you like to make your life “Easier” with a tool to make multi tasking a breeze?

WELL “My Pigeon Pair” IS GIVING ONE AWAY!

This is not an April Fools Joke!  

Simply enter via Rafflecopter below and tell me….

What Optimus-G feature would “Transform” your life?

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

I was not paid to write this post.  I did receive an LG Optimus G to review and keep. All opinions are my own.