Thursday, 28 July 2016

Pedigree Feeding Trial Summary

Our feeding trial with Pedigree has come to the end and the summary video is now available to watch on Youtube:

We spent 6 weeks earlier this year testing Pedigree complete both wet and dry food.  To start with I was a little put off at the amount of wet food they had planned for us - 3 pouches a day.  I am not keen on wet food, neither the cats nor the dogs have ever been fed, I am not keen on the smell nor am I keen on when you inevitably get some on your fingers, I just find it a bit yucky!  However on our nutrition day (post here) I learnt about how beneficial it is to feed them wet food as well as dry.

Actually the wet wasn't too bad as it looks quite appetising, it has little chunks of meat and veggies in it - actually looks a bit like a Sunday roast!  However it probably isn't something I would continue to feed, the pouches are easier than tins but they do still smell the bin out a bit so you have to take them out to the dustbin.  When you are running round after a 3 year old, a couple of dogs and cats as well,it really isn't something I can be bothered with.  Sweep enjoyed it though and I think if I didn't have so much going on in life or if I had a dog that was suffering from crystals in the bladder etc then it would be the food I would want to use as it does look better than anything else!

The dry, Sweep can be a bit of a picky eater but he enjoyed the dry also and they are decent sized biscuits so they can't just be inhaled and do have to be crunched which in turn is good for their teeth.

Dentastix - all of my dogs get on well with these apart from Sweep, they did make him sick and I am not sure why.  I ended up giving them to my sheltie and my welsh sheepdog and they are fine with them.  Possibly it may have been he was rushing them and not taking his time, I would like to have tried him on the Dentaflex as they are a bit harder to chew so he may have been better with these.

I did find that his stamina levels increased during the trial and now the trial has ended and he is back on a different food I have noticed they have dropped slightly.  While he was on Pedigree he didn't seem to tire easily when throwing a ball or agility training however now he does tire a bit quicker as he did before the trial.  Otherwise I didn't notice an awful lot of difference, he enjoyed his food more though!  His coat was as shiny as it has always been.  However you don't know what is going on inside, he may have been healthier inside but that is something we will never show because there weren't any outward signs that his health had changed.  At the end of the day it does come down to cost and with three dogs to feed I couldn't afford to feed them all Pedigree.  If you can afford it I would say go for it, it has changed my opinion of Pedigree and I really believe in the company in that they are trying to feed the good!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Sony Xperia X Mobile Phone Review

I was given the new Sony Xperia X to review via Mumsnet and Sony.


I was surprised to have received a rose gold Sony X.  I just assumed it would be black,  it is a lovely colour - a very subtle metallic pink hue, very girlie!

The phone itself feels a nice size and is lively and slim to hold, it is the same size as my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  It was easy enough to set up,  I already have an android phone so I am used to the interface. I downloaded the Xperia app on my samsung to transfer all my apps and contacts etc, it was so easy to do.  I looked forward to testing the camera as that is my 'thing' and was the reason I had gone for my current phone.

On first impressions it looks and feels like a good quality phone and the touch screen is responsive.  The only thing I don't like so far is the fact there isn't a hard 'home' button like on the iPhone and Samsung.  This home button is via the touch screen at the bottom.


Photography is my thing, the Sony Xperia X has a brilliant camera on paper:
  • 23MP camera with Predictive Hybrid autofocus - Xperia X's object tracking technology helps your subject stay in focus even when moving
  • 13MP front camera for low-light selfies
  • Super fast - from standby to capture in less than 0.6 seconds
I liked the idea of the standby to capture feature, Sony feel their X Moment is important.  "An X Moment is a split second in time that means something to you that’s here and then gone. It could be a baby’s first steps, achieving a personal goal, a sporting achievement, your dog’s whimsical expression, or just a random flash of happiness and hilarity. It’s a moment that you’d love to capture perfectly that’s all too missable if you, or your phone isn’t up to the job."  Using the #WhatsYourX hashtag Sony want to see as many brilliant X Moments shared across social media as possible, with the best ones being retweeted by their @SonyXperiaGB handle.

Here is a review using various setups, click on the smaller photos to enlarge them.
SAMSUNG (TOP)                                 SONY (BOTTOM)
So for starters we will look at Sony's object tracking technology.  My dogs compete in agility and I thought this would be a good test for the phone.  However it couldn't keep up with the dog and he wasn't in focus, in comparison the samsung (top) coped well for a phone camera and there wasn't too much motion blur.


SAMSUNG (LEFT)                                                                       SONY(RIGHT)
Another shot where the Sony did track my nephew coming down the slide and although the quality looks okay, when you zoom into it, you can see it becomes quite pixelated and the quality is lost.  It also makes skin tone a bit reddish.

SAMSUNG (LEFT)                                                                                          SONY (RIGHT)
What I also found with the Sony is that there is quite a lot of shutter lag when in object tracking mode (when you haven't been tracking an object it isn't too bad). The photos above were taken as my daughter was jumping and the Samsung took the photo pretty much as it happened in reality but you can see the Sony missed the moment really.


SAMSUNG (LEFT)                                                                              SONY (RIGHT)
Low light, the camera performs well in low light and actually in the above images, the Sony reflects the colours better than the Samsung.  However the Samsung was a moving shot and the Sony was before the Carousel started, yet the Sony is a little soft when you looking closely.


SAMSUNG (LEFT)                                                                 SONY (RIGHT)
A still image in low light, the Sony really does overcompensate for the lack of light and completely washes out the skin tone and almost over exposes the image.



SAMSUNG (LEFT)                                                 SONY (RIGHT)
Another couple of images, these were taken without zoom and then cropped down, I have to admit I am quite shocked at the quality of the Sony image, it has lost an awful lot of detail if you look at the edge of my daughters fingers, they are still crisp on the Samsung, considering this is only a 12mp camera as apposed to Sony's 23mp.
SAMSUNG (LEFT)                  SONY (RIGHT)          
As in the image in the car, again the Sony over exposes the image and the skin tone is washed out.  This was taken via quick capture which means you can shoot the image while the phone is locked and it is really quick, when it works though as 50% of the time it didn't work and didn't capture the image.  It is a great idea though as quite often you can miss that X moment (See earlier blog post) as the phone takes too long to unlock.



SONY (TOP )                      (SAMSUNG (BOTTOM)
I like the colours that night mode produces on the Sony, however it does lose quality in the image again but it doesn't try to lighten the image too much like the Samsung does which then makes the sky look too light.  Whereas the Sony reflects the colour of the sky properly.


SAMSUNG (LEFT)                            SONY (RIGHT)
Finally onto the selfie mode as another highlight of the phone is the 13 MP front camera for low light selfies.  Again the skin tone is far too cool and a little bit reddish like earlier, the quality doesn't seem a lot better than the front camera on the Samsung.



My overall opinion of the camera unfortunately isn't a good one, I wish it was as on paper it sounded brilliant and I did really want it to be as good as it is made out to be.  Perhaps I am too harsh a critic as photography really is important to me.  My current phone perhaps spoils me as the camera is brilliant, but hubby's iphone 6s is as good as mine and the Sony isn't a patch on either and from the way the Sony is marketed it is made to sound like it should be as good as the market leaders if not better.  I am sorry I just cannot live with the washed out colours and pixelated images. 

It did take a good macro photo when my bengal cat wanted to see what I was doing! Lol.


Sony also claim the following:
  • Smart battery management bringing you up to two days battery life
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 650, 64-bit Hexa-core processor
  • 5" Full HD Display with 2.5D curved glass edge
  • A range of four colours - graphite black,  white,  lime gold and rose gold
On the battery point,  they say it can last up to two days,  I generally found you could go a day without charging and I found the same when my Samsung S7 Edge was new.  Now it is a couple of months old it doesn't last as long so it will be interesting to see if the battery stays this strong in a couple of months time.  With regards to two days battery this can be done but you have to put the phone into battery stamina mode which then means you can't use all of your apps,  GPS is off,  email sync is off, vibration is off etc.  So the reality is nobody would ever actually do this,  I know I would never and nobody I know would.

The processor is fast and on the same sort of level as my Samsung. The display is nice and bright, they claim it has a curved edge but it's not like my Samsung,  more like my hubby's iPhone 6s - just the very edge has a slight roundness.

With regards to the display, we looked at the same photo on my Samsung s7,  hubby's iPhone 6s and the Sony. The Samsung seems to have quite a warm display, the Sony seemed to cool the photo too much and the iPhone sat in the middle.  The Sony definitely didn't replicate the true colours of the image as it is a nice warm image and the Sony really did cool it down too much.

If you are looking for a good quality all round phone it is a good contender and does look smart. 

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not been paid, I have however received the phone in order to review. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday!

I always do some photos of Macy for each birthday, here are this year's shots.

Monday, 4 July 2016

WhatsYourX - X Moment

What's an X Moment I hear you ask, I wondered the same.  It is a phrase (or hashtag) coined by Sony which means a “split second in time that means something to you that’s here and then gone." We have lots of X Moments in life from baby's first steps to your cat's expression  when he first sees himself in the mirror!  A decent smartphone will capture this moment as you always have your phone on you, you wouldn't want a phone not up to the job.

Here is my X Moment - this is Macy after her first ever show on her loan pony. She isn't 3 yet and loved every minute of the day, she was so proud of her haul of ribbons and so were we! The sun shone all day and it was this shot that really captured what a wonderful day it had been, Macy was pleased as punch. It was captured with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and despite Macy running towards the camera and moving her arms, it still captured the moment clear and crisp in auto mode. #WhatsYourX ?

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not been paid, I have however received a voucher as a token of thanks. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Spectrum the Bengal Cat

Just couldn't resist boring you a bit more!  Spec is so pretty, a lady who is part of the Bengal Cat Club makes these blankets and it looks lovely against Spec's colour so I took some photos of her.  She is still a bit hand shy when you go over her head to stroke her as she thinks she is going to be grabbed.  With the help of some squeezy cheese we are helping her overcome this.  She will come up and does love a fuss, she is the sweetest tempered cat.  A great hunter, the Da Bird toy can be flying in the air at such speed and she catches it with ease, she is a real athlete!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Spec the Bengal Cat

Spec (Spectrum) is our beautiful seal lynx spotted bengal she is a charcoal which gives her the really dark mask.  She is a real sweetie and has a wonderful coat which feels like velvet to touch, she is wonderful with Macy and they enjoy playing together.  Unfortunately my other bengal has gone blind due to PRA and she really is quite standoffish now because of that so it has been a shame to see Macy want to interact with her but Spice just can't.  However Spec has really brought Spice back to being a crazy bengal again and she loves her.  She is a wonderfully healthy cat and we are looking forward to sharing more of our life with her and hopefully producing some nice healthy and stunning looking kittens.