This time last year, life was quite different.
I was 5 months pregnant, working full time in a very busy role. We had just relocated two hours further south to be closer to our family.
Our new home, a four hundred year old cottage, was piled high with boxes and there seemed to be no time or energy to get unpacked and organised.
As the nights grew in and the days became shorter I found myself leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark too. Driving through the country lanes it felt like it was just “me and the moon”. I remember feeling quite exhausted and just desperate to make our new house a home for Ollie and for all of us.
A year later, little Rory is here and I am SO enjoying maternity leave and this precious time with both boys at home. No cardboard boxes remain and this old house, while certainly not perfect, really does feel like home.
This October, we’ve watched the leaves fall and spent our mornings crunching through them as we walk the dog, always collecting bundles of the best ones to take home and craft with.
The sun rises as we eat our breakfast together and sets as we finish our supper. I think there’s something about this season that just begs you to stay home, warm and cosy, while you watch the world whip by outside.
I’ve discovered I’m quite the ‘Home Bird’ these days. Nothing beats that feeling of walking though the front door on a blustery autumn day to be met with the overwhelming feeling of comfort and safely, isn’t it just the best?
All that said, I was a little anxious about this autumn/winter season. After all, there’s a reason that so many people don’t choose to live in a four hundred year old cottage in the middle of nowhere.
These big old walls sure do take some heating when it’s frosty outside. Even when the log burner is pumping out heat, our cottage windows are not double-glazed and the cold air whistles through them on a windy day.
We are also in a very remote “village”, if you can even call it that, with only one neighbour nearby. I suppose it’s a bit like going back in time, we’re so disconnected from the world.
So when Honeywell approached me about their new campaign #ConnectYourHome I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to connect our old home with the modern world. Honeywell asked us to review three devices that promised to make our home smarter and safer.
• The Lyric T6 Smart Thermostat, which provides comfort, control and saves energy.
• The Lyric C1 WiFi Security Camera, which allows you to always know what’s going on at home.
• And finally, the Lyric W1 WiFi Water Leak and Freeze Detector, which will spot a small drip before it becomes a big problem.
I’d heard about this kind of thing, but had always assumed it wouldn’t be compatible with an old house like ours, or perhaps not worth the initial investment. Maternity leave is making the purse strings a little tighter and we’d already had quite a shock when the winter heating bill arrived last year, this year we needed to be more sensible with our finances overall, despite the fact that I would be home so much more.
After three weeks with the devices, I have to say, we are so overwhelmed with the difference it’s already made to our lives I really wish we’d invested the moment we moved in last year. Everything is super simple to control from my trusty smart phone using the Lyric App.
In a bid to keep this simple, I’ve divided the remainder of this post into three paragraphs to cover each of the elements of the Honeywell products and how we’ve found using them at home.
Lyric T6 Smart Thermostat
This is the only device of the three that we tried that requires fitting by an engineer. It didn’t take him long and this modern slim line beauty had replaced our ugly old thermostat on the landing.
I found it really easy to download the Lyric App and get everything set up, which means it must be super easy, as technology is not my forte. Before I knew it, I was able to control everything about the temperature in our house simply by using my smart phone.
The main thing I love about this is the mindlessness of it. My postnatal brain honestly isn’t very reliable so being able to simply program everything from my phone means I no longer need to think about adjusting the dial on the wall, the thermostat does it all for me.
I’ve set the thermostat to know what time we wake up and go to bed so we’re not wasting any energy. Of course, if we’re away from home or I need to change it for any reason, this is super easy too, all using the Lyric App.
I like to keep the house at around 21 degrees while we’re awake, so the Smart Thermostat takes care of that, but by setting up ‘geofencing’ on my phone the thermostat knows when we’ve left the house and crossed the boarder and no longer require the heating on. When we return home again, it begins to heat up so we always come home to a cosy house at a perfect temperature. So simple, but such a great way to save energy and money.
It’s lovely waking up to warmth and comfort. The boys can play about in their PJ’s without having to wait for the house to heat up. That said, it hasn’t felt “too hot” in the time that we’ve had the thermostat either. It really is the kind of cosiness and consistency you would expect from a ‘new build’ house not a wonky old cottage like ours.
Lyric C1 WiFi Security Camera
This is another product that I didn’t necessarily feel we needed, but now I can’t imagine life without it.
I’ve talked in the past about how Colin often needs to work away, leaving me home alone with the boys at night. Halle, our lovely dog, is always here with us, but living so remotely there have been times where I’ve felt anxious about us being on our own.
The Lyric C1 WiFi Security Camera has given me so much peace of mind.
It’s a small and unobtrusive security camera that works round the clock to capture every moment in high resolution. You can watch a crystal-clear live stream of what’s happening at home – wherever you are. So easy to set up, just plug it in and link to the app and within moments your camera is ready to use.
We have ours set up in the window to see the driveway and front door, as well as the area at the bottom of the stairs. The sensor is incredible, activated even by a little ladybird landing on the window.
Just like the T6 Smart Thermostat, I use it with geo fencing, meaning that I don’t receive alerts when I’m in the house, only when I’m away. This means that when Colin is away, he can enable alerts, while we just get on with our evening. It gives me great peace of mind knowing he will also be notified should someone come to the door.
Home has never felt so safe.
Just like everything in this old house, we are prone to leaks and damp. Last December we had a terrible leak in the kitchen while we were out at work, which damaged all the skirting boards. It was a small problem that suddenly became very big and costly. If we’d had this Detector then that could have been easily avoided.
You simply place it in trouble spots wherever water could cause damage. So it’s ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, and utility areas. Ours is under our sink where we had the leak last year.
Should the same thing happen now, we would receive an audible alert. If we were away, we would be notified swiftly on our smart phones.
Even better though, is that if we were abroad, we could set it up for friends and family to be notified too.
Just like the security camera, this just takes a few minutes to set up. A simple idea that gives great peace of mind.
Overall, we are so impressed with the difference that these three items have made to our everyday life. Our old house feels cosier and safer than ever and I am SO ready for a special winter at home with my precious family.
I’m proud to say that this post is sponsored by Honeywell. All thoughts, words and images are my own.