DA Shopping Guide – New Year, Fresh Start, New You!

Hello 2024. It’s time to get rid of the old: the habits, stuff around the home and create a healthier work life balance for you and your household (including furry friends) to have more fun. Here are some of our favourite new ‘things’ to kick off the year – tried and tested for you!

Get new year tunes rocking – Belkin Soundform Bolt Earbuds

In our experience it’s good to have a few pairs of wireless earbuds. At some point you will loose charge, a bud, a case, or the whole lot! For under $50 these ones can be your everyday. We found they paired really easily to our iphone and ipad, though ‘seamless switching’ with Bluetooth® 5.2 tech did mean disconnecting one, to go to the other. The sound quality is pretty good, especially in the home where you may not need noise cancelling. The 6mm dynamic drivers provides clear sound if a little ‘tinny’ compared to other more expensive models. We love the lavender case and comfy design. The IPX4-rated materials coped well with a sweaty Peloton workout where the push buttons controls made it easy to play, pause, shift music tracks, and take calls with just a few taps.   One of my fav features is the Mono Mode which means I can use one earbud at a time to extend battery life and chat to a passer by on dog walk. It is missing the functionality of an app, no noise cancelling and no touch controls for sound. See Belkin for more $49.95

Belkin SoundForm FlowNoise Cancelling Earbuds

So if ‘Bolt’ are your everyday, ‘Flow’ is a step up on every level except colour choice (black only) plus, they are more comfortable. Under $150 will get you bang for your buck with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). The mic intelligently filters outside noise with a two second tap for Hear-Thru mode which works really well. The noise cancelling is excellent for the price point. I played around with sound via the Belkin app which powers
neodymium-magnet-equipped 12mm dual-layer dynamic drivers which creates clear quality and solid base for my EDM preferences. Battery life is good with close to 7hrs of playtime per charge. Fast charging too, it took ten minutes for another hour of playtime. Touch controls operate the same way as ‘Bolt’ but surprisingly no ability to change the volume, which was pretty much the only downside and something with workouts I really value as a feature. Worth the upgrade? Absolutely for the ANC, fit, and battery life.
See Belkin for more $149.95.

The best stylish addition to your bathroom – Cloud Nine The New Airshot Pro

Cloud Nine Airshot Pro

I have tried lots of expensive hairdryers at hotels, gyms and Airbnbs but nothing has blown me away as much as Cloud Nine with its sexy matt black design making my bathroom look cool. It arrives in a stylish sustainable unfolding box with magnetic interchangable heads which connect like a perfect lunar landing with a satisfying clunk. It’s small, shorter in length and lightweight which means I can get it closer to my curly locks without my arm cramping! It’s nimble. I have used bigger slightly more powerful dryers but the Eco-Precision Motor provides more power for its size and CleanFlow technology blows air in the reverse direction to propel dust build up out of the back, cleaning the filter. I do love how much quieter it is than other hairdryers. In fact, it’s possible to have a conversation over the soft roar. Two LED buttons have three settings each for temperature and fan speed. Simply hold down to nudge up the changes which switch impressively quickly. Smitten. We love it.

Pooch Health – McDowell’s Herbal’s new Therapeutic Range for Dogs.

Robert McDowell became a legend in the horse world as a leading herbal practicioner helping horses, and went on to write a book. His wife Catherine McDowell, Director and Master Herbalist at McDowell’s Herbal, has built out their practice to include a mind boggling array of healing solutions for our furry friends. We have been trying out a few products from their canine range. Our paw testers are Maggie & Georgia (greyhounds) and Rigby (the choc lab)

  • First up is the Poor Paw Balm, which reminds me of my red tube paw paw cream which use myself. This is 100% plant-derived with calendula & chamomile extracts, hemp, jojoba & cajeput oils and mango. It’s a dream to put on and Maggie’s dry paws absorbed it easily making them smooth and glossy. 
  • Roar Supplement Paste – I had to keep this in the fridge and its a big tub. It’s wierd looking and needs a good stir to amalgamate the fluids and the seed mix. A big spoonful goes into Georgia’s wet food and she doesn’t mind the taste at all. It’s packed with good stuff like millet & linseed meal, hemp protein powder, brewer’s yeast, kelp powder, apple powder, beetroot powder, carrot granules, chamomile powder and more.
  • Osteo Dog – Georgia broke her leg last year so we have been keen to use supplements to help the recovery. The herbs such as
    MSM and glucosamine HCL and green lipped mussel power focus on skeletal improvements to healthy joints, bones and cartilage, enriched with modern connective tissue.
  • Hemp Seed Oil – This is super trendy in humans and the girls coats definitley looked better with just a few drops a day into their food. plant-based hemp was easy for them to digest. Whilst they still have a bit of dandruff their skin & fur did look better. The other areas of benefit joints & mobility, mood & anxiety where a little more challenging to say if we saw a difference but we are going to keep going. This formula is 100% legal and contains CBD and THC within the legal limit, so Maggie did not break the law we promise.

Healthier Meals and regular mealtimes – You Foodz

Getting into a much healthier rhythm of regular mealtimes is better for our health. Habit expert Dr Gina Cleo shares this can disrupt our circadian rhythms, that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and various physiological and behavioural processes. So we took the plunge and ordered a weekly subscription. The box arrived on our doorstep on our chosen delivery window before 7am on Monday. The eight meals (for under $100) are cool packed and freshly made. It was an absolute treat to have work lunches sorted. Each meal is calorie controlled and packaging is largely sustainable. One of my favourites was the green chicken curry – slices of chicken breast in a mild coconut sauce, also the Mushroom & Cheese Tortellini is ready in 2 mins with a creamy sauce with touches of dill and the loaded lentil lasagne was all the better for thin delicate pasta layers. Mohit’s butter chicken comes with a mini naan and brown rice. The only meals which didnt work quite as well from a microwave perspective were things that benefit from being crispy like a katsu curry, though the flavour was great. New Year, New You, more sleep!

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


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