Category Archives: Ideas

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

I finally made a brave decision and went for Xiaomi Mi Band 2. Well, it’s almost a no-brainer for me since it was one of the cheapest of all fitness band. I was not sure what I will gain from going for those higher-end smartwatch or fitness watch. After all, I was using my mobile phone majority of the time to tell me the current date and time rather than a watch, which I was wearing most of the time. In fact, my watch was either showing incorrect time when daylight saving time changed or incorrect date after a month without 31 days and I did not take notice of it.

Before I made the purchase, I looked online in order to know how to differentiate an original Xiaomi Mi Band 2 and a fake one as I was quite worried that the one that I am going to buy will turn up as a fake one. The post came and thankfully, it did not take long for me to verify that the one I bought is a real Xiaomi Mi Band 2.

Anyway, I have had Xiaomi Mi Band 2 for about a month now and I have used it for telling me the time more than the watch I used to wear. In some way, I am quite glad that I did not spend more than a hundred pounds for a fitness band or a smartwatch. In other way, I am hoping that the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 could do more. Well, what more can I ask for when I bought it only for £32.

When I first looked for fitness band, I was hoping that it could track how well I sleep and also act as a silent alarm. To be honest, I am quite satisfied with how Xiaomi Mi Band 2 tracks my sleep. It is controlled by the Mi Fit app and it separates my sleep session into light sleep and deep sleep. During the sleep session, it will also track my heart rate but the information is not shown in Mi Fit app. I guess it uses the heart rate data to determine whether I am in my light or deep sleep.

For the silent alarm, Xiaomi Mi Band 2’s customisation is limited. Basically, you set a time and when it vibrates, you press the band to stop the alarm. If you do not do anything, it will vibrate intermittently. What I find is that the alarm will also stop if I shake the band.  That leads me to think that the alarm will stop once it thinks you have woken up. However, it does not always work. Most of the time, there were no subsequent alarm. I am quite a deep sleeper, so it does not work for me.

Fortunately, there are other apps that are compatible with Xiaomi Mi Band 2. I believe that Mi Band Tools is the most talked about app for Xiaomi Mi Bands. I bought it but I wish I did not. Mi Fit app is quite sufficient for me without the extras in Mi Band Tools. The one works best for me is Notify & Fitness app for Mi Band. It shows the heart rates which are recorded during sleep session and it has an alarm function which cannot be turned off using the band. How cool is that? With the latest update, it can show the full text when I get a text message or Whatsapp message. Well, this function is annoying as there is no way to turn off the vibration when the band is displaying the message. Imagine that the band keeps vibrating while displaying a message of hundred words long. Bear in mind that Xiaomi Mi Band 2 can only show a small line of scrolling text. The app does have a note saying that it is a limitation of the band. I am hoping that it is more of a firmware rather than hardware issues. It is worth noting that when I bought the band, it is not even possible to show a line of text. When receiving a call or a text, only an icon is being displayed. Caller ID was added after that and third party apps make use of the caller ID line to display custom texts.

Some users said that their Xiaomi Mi Band 2s only need recharging every three weeks or so. I probably need to recharge it every 10 days or so. I believe it is because I use the alarm quite a lot. As I am a deep sleeper, the alarm has to work harder too.

Overall, I am quite satisfied with Xiaomi Mi Band 2. Sometimes, I did not even realise that I was wearing it. Smartwatches look cool but I think all of them require charging on a daily basis. Furthermore, I do not think that it will be comfortable wearing smartwatch while sleeping. Having said all these, I could actually do without it. It is just another gadget to keep myself occupied. It is interesting to see the data but not essential. I do not think that I will recommend it for people who are serious about keeping fit indoor or outdoor.

Fitness Band

Before, I was not interested in fitness band at all. It was until recently, the week leading to Black Friday sales to be precise, when I saw the Fitbit Flex 2 on a 50% discount. I started to read its specifications and discovered a silent alarm feature. It is actually quite a simple function where it vibrates to wake you up. To tell you the truth, I have been carrying my phone to sleep; set it to aeroplane mode, set and mute the alarm so that it only vibrates. Well, I have a 5.7″ Nexus 6P and it is not really an ideal alarm clock to be carrying while I sleep.

Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Flex 2

At 50% discount, the Fitbit Flex 2 is still quite expensive at £30 – £40. It does not have a screen and only a number of LED lights as indicators. Hence, the search for the cheapest and best fitness band begins.

It’s around Black Friday period when I started looking for any deals. I thought there would be a lot but there were not. Withings had a few Fitness watch products on sale and they were still quite expensive to me, priced at more than £70. The best price was their Withings Pulse OX at £40, which was at 50% discount. I always quite like Withings products as I thought they are quite innovative. At one point, I almost bought their Withings Home Network Surveillance Camera. I considered for a long time and finally decided that we do not actually need it.

Withings Pulse OX
Withings Pulse OX

Anyway, my purpose of having a fitness band is to wear it almost 24/7 and utilises the sleep tracking function. So, wearing Withings Pulse OX while at sleep does not seem like a good idea as it looks quite bulky. Hence, the search goes on.

I know that my brother has just got a new Xiaomi Mi Band which is like the Fitbit Flex and it is a lot cheaper than Fitbit Flex. I then started to search for Chinese fitness band products. There are lots of them. It turns out that they have launched a new Xiaomi Mi Band 2 back in June.  It is a basically like a Xiaomi Mi Band with a screen and enhanced Heart Rate monitor.

Unfortunately, Xiaomi products are not officially sold in UK. The easiest way to find them is through eBay and Amazon. However, it is difficult to find trusted seller as there are already fake Mi Band products in the market. Basically, Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is priced around £30. It could be cheaper on China’s official websites but there could be tax added when the item arrived in the UK.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2

I believe this Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is actually what I want. It is cheap and it is small and it should be quite comfortable to wear it in bed. I have been watching reviews and most of the reviewers commented that they did not even feel like they were wearing it after some time. I shall do a little bit more research into Xiaomi Mi Band 2 although I am quite certain this will be the product for me, unless Fitbit magically reduces all its products to half price or more.

Painting

Painting is one of my strongest DIY skills though I still have problems when choosing the right paint for the right surface. I tend to choose water-based paints because they are more environmental friendly and easier to wash. However, I bought some wood paints from IKEA and even though the instructions are to wash the brushes in water, the paints don’t come off easily from the brush. The primer and varnish came off quite easily but not the IKEA paints.

Anyway, I completed painting my dining table and chairs with a different color each; yellow, orange, red, grey and blue. They were then topped with layers of varnish just to toughen them up. At first, I was a bit worry as to how the paint will cope because the dining area are probably the most used place in the house. Mee thought about buying a piece of glass to put on top of the dining table but we thought that it would have to be custom made to size and it’s probably going to be quite expensive to order one. We then thought about getting a table cloth but that would mean covering the newly painted table. We might as well not paint it in the first place. I then browsed on the internet and saw a wholesale linens from premiertablelinens.com website. If I hadn’t painted the table, I would probably order table linen from them. They look great and they would have been easier to maintain buy just buying a few sets and wash them when they get dirty instead of having to waste hours of painting.

Anyway, I have done the painting and we now decided not to cover the dining table with anything except placemats. So far, the paint holds and it’s not as fragile as I thought it would be.

Organic

Organic is the word that Mee and I are looking for every time we do our food shopping. We are proud to say that we try to buy organic as much as possible. We have had our first organic vegetable bag order from a local farm this week and we are really feeling positive about it. However, one vegetable bag is not quite enough to cater for all the food that we eat. We still have do visit supermarkets to get the rest of our food. Tesco used to be our main shopping place but we find ourselves going to Sainsbury too mainly because Tesco has stopped some of its organic produce. I actually tweeted Tesco and I got a reply saying that their sales on organic produce has dropped by half and the management has decided to pull out some of the worst performed products. It doesn’t quite make sense to us as we would have thought that it should be more and more people buying organic produces.

A couple of months ago, we have bought a Samson masticating juicer. It’s one of those slow juicer which squeezes the fruits and vegetables to get the juices rather than using blades. It is suppose to be good and keeping all the nutrients in the juice. Just by saying that it’s healthier than normal juicer, they are of course more expensive. There are no covers for it, hence, I am trying to see if one of those mixer covers would fit. Again, those covers are not cheap too.

Organic lifestyle definitely has some effects on our bank balance. However, we feel it’s worth it since just by eating organic, we feel better already. In a way, we also help local farm. Organic sales in supermarket drops probably because more people are opting for vegetable bags and boxes from local farms.

Unwell

Mee had fallen in about two weeks ago. I had been busy taking care of her and she is recovering well. In fact, I am certain that she is fine now. It’s just that she hadn’t bee eating regularly and it’s only the last couple of days where she has really shown the sign of her normal appetite. We even bought a fairly expensive thermometer just to monitor Mee’s temperature as she wasn’t getting better from her fever of 38 to 39 degree Celsius. She’s been to the GP twice and the A&E once. Apparently, the doctors didn’t seem to be to concern about the fever. The last doctor we saw, he suggested Mee for a blood test in 10 days time and he also made sure that we have an appointment with him to look at the blood test results. I thought he was the nicest doctor we saw so far. Not that we saw a lot of doctors here, but he was very patient and not using the common sense attitude.

Since this little incident, we have been buying as many organic products as we can for our daily meals. We are also ditching our fruit juicer for a masticating juicer.  Masticating juicer is thought to be able to retain the nutrient and mineral of the fruits as well as getting the most juices out of the fruits.

At the back of my mind, there’s always the thought of what will happen when we live too cleanly. I would have thought a little bit of dirt is supposed to be good. When I was young, my digestive system wouldn’t work with oily food. I put it down to the fact that I always eat at home. As a family, we only went out for a meal probably no more than 10 times a year. When I left home for college, I was suffering from stomach pain the very first night. I couldn’t say that I am healthier but my digestive system is definitely better than before. Hence, eating too ‘cleanly’ or ‘organic’ is a bit worrying for me.