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Cast your mind waaaay back to when we were renovating this time last year. It was fabulous because we had great local builders, but horrid because we had a newborn, no sleep, a shed load of crazy leaking out and lots of fucking sand inside and out.
The outside of the house is still very much a work in progress because, like so many who have renovated before us, we have run out of money. Meaning the front yard is comprised of a 4m pile of dirt that then grew weeds. It's affectionately known as "the mound" by our neighbours. The backyard is slooooowly being done, bit by bit. There is now tufts of grass! There would be more but the bastard doves keep eating the grass seeds.
Despite the results taking forever to show, I'm really getting in to the gardening side of things and we have basil, parsley, rosemary, citrus trees, olive trees, an apricot tree, peas, carrots, lettuce, onions, chillies, strawberries and cherry tomatoes all growing, nay, THRIVING! I can't believe it! There are a few snails, too, but we can't be awesome at everything.
Being out there a lot with means I'm constantly back and forth to the shed to get my bits and pieces - I can't leave them out, secateurs and children apparently don't mix. I was lucky enough to receive a Garden Cart from crazysales.com.au to help me out.
I'm normally pretty good at putting together flat pack stuff, and I'm a master with an Allen key, but it took me a while to assemble this thing. The instructions were a bit hard to follow, my two enthusiastic helpers kept trying to spin the wheels, and there were a few washers missing; but it didn't change the way it worked so I just pushed through without them (I'm not an engineer, could you guess?).
It can hold up to 300kg and it's not a toy, there's even a warning on it. So of course the first thing my kids do is take it for a spin. I supervised, they got their jollies and now they leave it alone because things aren't half as fun when mum lets you do them.
I wheel it around then back to the shed and I don't have to lug everything. There is heaps of room and it steers really well. I like to pretend I'm at a garden centre when I wheel it around.
While the outside slowly comes together, I'm trying desperately to keep the inside clean. New floors throughout the whole house mean I'm a bit narky when it comes to sweeping - I can handle toys strewn everywhere throughout the day, but the sand that is tracked in, the millions of goddamn crumbs in every room, and the few dog hairs shit me to tears. I like to walk around bare foot and feeling the grit makes me cranky.
When crazysales.com.au sent me a robot vacuum cleaner to try out, I was over the moon because it can clean while I DO NOTHING! Or, as the case is usually, while I clean something else, prepare snacks, stop children touching dog poo etc.
The robot came fully assembled and even had a charge so I could use it straight away. To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be brilliant. The manual was a little lost in translation and it gave the impression it would be a cheap knock off, but I was actually really impressed by it.
It senses obstacles and drops, comes with a virtual wall and remote control, and goes back to the recharging base by itself when it needs to. It doesn't go completely in to the corners, but it gets pretty close - closer than I had imagined. I've been putting it on every few days in different rooms to gather all that damn sand, and it has been doing a great job and emptying out the bagless chamber shows me that it really is picking up lots of sand, dog hair, crumbs and dust but NO TOYS! It easily goes from the wooden floors to Tricky's carpet play mat without getting stuck, but I'd say it wouldn't cope well on shag pile.
In terms of volume, it is quieter than a standard vacuum cleaner and it didn't freak out the dog or the kids, so that's good! Check it out:
If you have filthy carpet then this little machine probably won't get it all out, but as a maintenance machine every few days it is a gem. Plus you can put a toy or a cat on it, film it, and become a YouTube sensation.
So, you wanna win one, don't ya? Right well there are three ways and you can enter as many times as you like with different answers.