I like making the home a bit smarter and more connected to the world.

With my disabilities, the Amazon Echo, Ring doorbell and Philips Hue lights have been amazing. When I am in agony they allow me to do things that would put me in more pain to do.

Sadly our 12 year old 3D Plasma TV has had to be replaced, I kinda pulled it down when having a coughing fit, and thus had to claim on the insurance.

We have bought ourselves a JVC LT-40CF890 from Currys PC World, I know my normal advice would be to bug last years model for a better TV spec with the same money but I broke my rule.

The reason we bought this one is that it’s a Fire TV Edition system, so it will integrate nicely with our existing smart ecosystem. We will be able to use the Amazon Echo speakers to turn it in and off again, open streaming services change volume and switch inputs.

It’s also 4K with HDR, and yeah I know for the price I can’t expect the same as buying a £1000 TV, but you cut your cough accordingly and I am not gonna lie and say I am particularly snobby about TVs, as long as it passes muster with me I am happy.

The only thing we will still absolutely have to use a remote for us when using the Sky Q box because that does not have integration with Alexa.

To go alongside it we also bought a JVC TH-D679B soundbar. The speakers in the TV are only 16w and I have noticed that as the trend for TVs is to get thinner, it has meant that their speakers suffer.

Plus I want to have some amazing sound in the house, I won’t like about that!

The reason we went for this one is that it has HDMI with ARC so we can plug things like the Sky Q box, Xbox One and Switch into the TV and not have to then find a way to get the sound into the soundbar as it will be sent automatically via the HDMI with ARC thus saving on wires.

And amazingly our new thermostat arrived on Saturday night, a Google Nest Thermostat E, we got it free when we switched to SSE and hopefully this will help cut down our heating bills especially in the winter.

The package did also include a Google Nest Mini, but as our home uses Alexa instead of Google Assistant we are swapping with Paul and Mary for an air frier.

We still need to get another temperature sensor for it for winter that we can place in the office. Lindsay has shockingly poor internal body heat and I can be sweating like anything bad she is sat covered up in several blankets and jumpers and still be cold.

So we compromised and agreed that she would have a temperature sensor in the office on her desk so that the heating system would kick in if it was detectably cold where she works.

At the time of writing this, we will need to import this bit from the US as they don’t sell them in the U.K.

The biggest advantage is of course with mine and Megan’s disabilities, the heating will now be controlled via voice or our phones which means no more dragging ourselves downstairs to turn it on and the timings for it coming on automatically can be adjusted smartly and it won’t turn in when we are not home.

So on Sunday after our family breakfast which was breakfast quesadillas made by Lindsay I set to fitting the thermostat. That didn’t actually take all that long at all, about 30 minutes in total, the thing that took the longest was figuring out which cable was which as the wiring diagram in the old thermostat was terrible.

Took a couple of attempts to connect the thermostat to the internet, but that was the only problematic thing, the rest of it went quite smoothly.

The initial placement of the Thermostate we decided didn’t work and so it got moved to the other side of the room where it’s more visible.

Later that afternoon the TV arrived and my word it’s very light, Lindsay could lift it with one hand that’s how light it is, the Soundbar is heavier!

I decided to rip everything out and do a full clear out and clean up of the area, hoovering up any dust and crap, and tidying the cables up, as well as removing the PlayStation 3 and Wii which we haven’t used in a long time.

The TV installed really easily and the apps we wanted downloaded without issue, the only disappointment is that Apple TV+ isn’t available on the TV yet, but will be coming soon I am told.

I did have a bit of bother with the integration into the existing Alexa ecosystem we have, but that was because I didn’t realise the Xbox One was linked to the Echo so every time we tried to tune to say BBC One HD it tried to do it in the Xbox, but we got that one figured out in the end.

The Soundbar took zero effort to set up, it was a case of plugging and playing and the ARC handled everything for us without any problem.

The end result is fewer wires, a cleaner set up and fewer things plugged in under the TV. All that’s under there now is the Sky Q, Xbox One, Switch and a NES Mini and SNES Mini, and I’d like to add a Mega Drive Mini as well.

The only other thing we want to do is get a bit of wood cut so that the TV sits slightly higher so that the IR signal from the Sky Q remote will work from all angles, but that said, we can control the volume with voice now.

Earlier in the lockdown we had already changed up the Alexa setup and added some more Hue bulbs. Megan purchased an Echo Show 8 whilst it was on special off to replace the Echo Show in her bedroom. The Echo Show 8 takes up less room in her bedside and it allowed us to move the Echo Show into the Kitchen.

We also added white Hue bulbs in the kitchen at the same time and for mine and Megan’s desk lights.

The next steps to take in the plan is to get a Hue bulb for the spare room and a standard Echo speaker for the office so that the Echo Dot can move in there.

I eventually would also like to add Hue bulbs to the bathrooms but would be combining them with motion sensors so the lights go on when you enter the rooms without needing any voice commands at all.

I know some people might ask why I do this, but a big reason is that I enjoy it, it makes the home easier to live in, and as I said before the advantages of helping myself and Megan cope when we are having bad days can not be overstated.

Although a smart kettle may have been a step too far!

What I Am Modelling

Started the week by hitting the Blood Ravens Bikes and Attack Bike that I got from my second copies of those issues of Conquest.

First thing I finished was the Attack Bike with Multi-Melta.

And this was followed up by the bikes themselves, so now I have the ability to field a unit of six bikes with two Meltaguns.

I then put in the table the Glaivewraith Stalkers and Thorns of the Briar Queen as they use a similar paint scheme, the biggest thing that took time with these was actually the basing the models themselves were pretty easy to paint.

And whilst painting them I also finished off the Ophidian Archway.

I then built the Grenadiers, which took a bit of modelling as I couldn’t do the Vox Operators without modifying the Vox unit, I ended up taking the top part off and glueing the bottom section on.

I also built the 40 Chainrasps, and the stuff I got with Conquest, those being a set of Sigmarite Mausoleums, a Stormcast Eternals Knight Questor and a pair of Dreadblade Harrows.

Tomorrow I intend to do a bit more building before I prime these models. I am going to build the Untamed Beasts and the Chaotic Beasts.

Once that’s done it means that all the next 10 projects are built and primed.

So how does this leave my painting queue, well it looks a bit like this.

  1. Death Korps of Krieg Grenadiers Special Weapons Squad x 10
  2. Blood Warriors x 5 & Korgus Khul
  3. Canoness Veridyan
  4. Untamed Beasts x 9
  5. Tech Priest Manipulus x 2
  6. Stormcast Eternals Celestar Balista x 2 & Lord Ordinator
  7. Blightlord Terminators x 5 & Tallyman
  8. Chaotic Beasts x 12
  9. Chainrasp Horde x 40
  10. Blood Ravens Scouts x 10

The Chainrasp Horde is dependent on my having enough Grey Seer to be able to prime them, if I run out then they won’t be getting done.

What I Am Reading

Reading is still very hard but I am reading as much as I can.

What I Am Playing

We played a quick game of Blank on Monday night which Megan won, and we were even in the finish the game in two minutes rule and she managed to get rid of all her cards!

What I Am Backing

Lords of Vegas looks really interesting and if I can convince the girls I plan to back that.

What I Am Cooking

I did help Megan make Cheesesteak baguettes on Wednesday and they turned out quite nice.

She and I frustrate each other in the kitchen because we cook in very different ways but they turned out pretty nice.

What I Am Spending

Obviously the TV and soundbar!

I also picked up a coax cable to plug the new TV into the antenna we have on the house, our old one was in a bit of a state cause the rabbit likes to eat it!