Unboxing the Zavvi Retro ZBox

Zavvi Retro ZBox 2

I was recently contacted by Zavvi, who wanted to know if I’d be interested in reviewing a Zbox for them.  To be honest, I had never heard of a Zbox, so I had to do a bit of googling.  Zavvi, if you’re wondering, are the folk who bought out Virgin Megastores.  They sell DVDs, film merchandise and other exciting things.  Their Zbox is a monthly box full of exciting nerdy things.  Obviously I said yes to reviewing one, since I am a big nerd.

Each box has a specific theme.  This month the theme was “retro”, and its contents focussed on old school games from the 80s and 90s (a classic gaming era!).  I was super-excited to receive the box in the post, and the box itself is cool.  Look at it above!  Sonic!!  This box will not fit through your letterbox, so if you order one make sure you’re home, have a nice neighbour or your postman knows your secret hiding place.

Zavvi Retro ZBox

A Zbox costs £19.99, and I was quite impressed at the amount merchandise included.  There was a white t-shirt (not included in photo, I will be doing a separate blog post on this), a notebook in the style of a Dreamcast console, a Lemmings door sign, Sonic socks and a Pacman fake Lego model!

When you order the box, you indicate what t-shirt size you want, and they do women’s sizes.  I don’t think they did when they launched the boxes in January, but they have since adjusted stock to include women.  This is great, because too many geeky t-shirts are only available in men’s sizes, and it’s not fair!

The socks are “one size fits all”.  One size does not fit all, and these socks are huge, so just be aware of that!  However, I love novelty socks so I will wear them anyway.

I really wanted to write a whole blog post about Lemmings, but I have restrained myself as I suspect most of you don’t care.  However, let me just say this: Lemmings is one of the favourite games of my childhood, and Zavvi score many life points for both remembering the game and including it in their retro box.  If you too loved Lemmings as a child, you’ll be excited to know there is a javascript online version you can play.  I discovered it a few years ago and spent a few hours trying to save all my lemmings.

I think most have us have probably played Pacman at some point in our lives, so for me a Pacman toy was very welcome.  It’s a fake Lego-type toy, and I need to build it.  I’ll be showing you the completed model in a separate post.  I will also be reviewing the notebook separately.

Included with the box is a small leaflet explaining the box contents, and sharing fun facts about the box theme.  Since this box had a retro theme, the facts were about the rise of the gaming industry, and some of the games included in the box.  There was also a voucher for playing a game for free online, but I don’t play many games on my computer nowadays so I haven’t used it.

I’ve tried a few subscription boxes, and this is definitely one of my favourite iterations.  I love films and games so the theme is definitely to my taste.  In addition, you don’t have to subscribe in advance as with many boxes.  You get an email when orders open for the next month’s box, and you can then decide if you want it or not.  As mentioned, the box costs £19.99, and they sell out pretty quickly.  Next month’s box theme is Animation, and you can order it here.  I’m not in to animation so I won’t be ordering the April box, but I will definitely be having more boxes in future as I’m sure they’ll be doing themes that fit my interests.  I need them to do another space box, as I missed the January box with the cosmic theme and I want everything that was in it!

I received this box for free, but these words are all my own.  Thank you to Zavvi for offering the box to me for review.

A walk at the reservoir

I went for a walk at my local reservoir on Wednesday.  I haven’t been since last autumn, and there are changes afoot.  There was a digger restoring the track down to the reservoir when we arrived, and it looks like they have been installing new pathways and felling trees around the reservoir walk as well.  It will be interesting to see if all this work is actually an improvement when it’s finished!  I tend to find that with rural locations like this it’s sometimes better left alone as a grass walk and messy trees!

I spotted some frogspawn in a stream leading away from the reservoir. It might sound odd, but I haven’t seen frogspawn for years (except in other people’s photos!). I was quite excited to see some! I didn’t find any frogs though.

03.25 Frogspawn at a stream near the reservoir.

There weren’t many birds around, which is unusual, but I guess all the work that’s been going on has probably disturbed them. I saw ducks, geese, sparrows, a cormorant, pheasants, pigeons, coots and these two great crested grebes.

Great crested grebe

There is a tiny patch of gorse near the path and it was flowering, which was lovely to see. Everything else looked a bit grey and cold, so a splash of colour was very welcome!

Gorse flowers

I took some photos of the fox top I made so I could show it all to you, as the original photos I took were rubbish!

Fox top wood portrait

It was cold without a coat on, so I hope you all appreciate this!

Lamy Al-Star rollerball in copperorange

Copperorange Lamy rollerball 1

A few weeks ago I bought a Lamy Al-Star in the new copperorange colour (not a typo, they insist on contracting the two words like that. I don’t approve).

This purchase in itself is not shocking news, given my well-known love of Lamy pens, and indeed my love of the colour orange.  What is odd is that I bought a rollerball instead of a fountain pen.  I don’t know why I did this.  I don’t even like rollerballs.  They never write smoothly and the ink line is always thicker than you want it.  But, in a moment of madness I ordered a rollerball.

I repent at my leisure.  I still don’t like rollerballs, they still don’t write smoothly, and the world would be much better off if we all used fountain pens and pencils.  When I rule the world I’ll make it a political priority.

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The pen is a nice colour though.

If you would like to make poor stationery decisions that you’ll regret at a later date, you can buy the Lamy Al-Star rollerball from Bureau Direct like I did.  Sign up to their e-newsletter; you get discount codes for purchases.

(I didn’t get paid to write this. If I had received the pen for free, I would have asked them to swap it for a fountain pen and to ignore me if I ever suggest I like other writing implements.)

First week of March photo a day project

I’m still doing my photo a day project.  I’ve also started compiling the first few months into a book that I’ll print at the end of the year, which is exciting!

Before I share my photos from the beginning of March, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve added a new photo to my Fox top post, as the original photo was a bit rubbish!

Below are my photo a day photos.  I’m steaming along!

First week in March photos

Are any of you doing a photo a day project?  Leave a link below – I’d love to have a look!

Fabric shopping and daydreaming

More fabric shopping

I might have ordered some new fabrics… Again.  There are so many fantastic prints on sale at the moment!

I ordered these from Plush Addict.  I’m still in love with all of their stock.  I’ve discovered they have a wish list function on their website, so I can start saving fabrics now to buy at a later date.  Good idea!

The tree print fabric at the bottom of the pile in the photo above is for a garment of some kind.  I don’t know what!  I just loved the fabric.

The three packs are all fat quarter bundles, and are for various quilts I have planned.  I will show you those in more detail when I start them, but that may not be for a few months.

Adaptable women

I’m currently reading Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach, and I came across this comment about women that I wanted to share with you today.

How, I wondered, did we become the women we are? Was it just the accident of birth that ultimately placed some of us at the Ritz, drinking champagne, and others on the streets, begging? Or was it the fragility of permanence— the stunning ease with which an entire life can be broken and changed, in minutes, on an ordinary day. And why was it that I could imagine myself being any one of these women, doing whatever I had to do to make my way through the world?

Women do that, I thought. They learn to adapt. I watched my mother do it, and my grandmother too. Through marriage and divorce, through too little money or too much, too many children or too few, through sorrow and joy and all the longings that were not and never could be named, women, I learned, adapted.

At first the lives of women frightened me. They seemed so fragile, so dependent on fathers and husbands and brothers and lovers. Gradually, though I noticed how supple their lives were beneath the surface. Then I realized it was this flexibility that enabled them to survive. I saw, too, that sooner or later, by choice or by chance, most women faced the task of adapting to a future on their own. When at my most optimistic, I thought of it as independence; in darker moods, as survival. Either way, women had to do it.

Jelly Belly Friday

On Twitter there is a tag called Jelly Belly Friday, where people share photos of their cat’s belly (because they are soft and squidgy.  I realise if you don’t own or like cats that seems like a really random thing to do!).  I thought I’d share some pics of Archie today, including a belly photo.  Enjoy!

Archie on the floor

Archie on the floor 2

Sleepy kitty

Happy Friday!

Some random photos from life

I have some photos to share that I’ve taken recently, that aren’t part of my photo a day project.  I keep accumulating random photos that never make it into blog posts!

Dotty jeans and socks

Dotty socks and dotty jeans!  This amused me.

iPhone 6 yellow cover

I bought an iPhone 6 last month, which meant I needed to get a new phone cover for it.  I bought this cover off an Edinburgh seller on Etsy.  I wasn’t planning to upgrade my phone this year, but then my phone company (O2) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and I got this really cheap.  It’s always worth talking to your phone company and being indecisive as they often reduce the price of things!  My new contract and phone has ended up cheaper than what I was paying before with my 5!

Ducks crossing

I love ducks.

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I’ve worn my plimsolls for the first time this year.  I need to buy some new white ones as the rubber on these is starting to crack (they’re three or four years old).  They’re Ethletic shoes, which are like Converse, but made with fair-trade materials and FSC-certified rubber.

Mini daffodils

The mini daffodils in the garden rockery are now flowering.

First marigold germinated

My first marigold has now germinated. Yey!

Leatherman Squirt PS4

Leatherman Squirt 1

I have a new toy to play with!  I’ve written on here before about my love of penknives (I’ve discussed Opinel and Victorinox knives).  I’ve actually bought I think two new knives since that post which I’ve never mentioned on here, but I wanted to talk about the Leatherman Squirt PS4 today, which I got for my birthday.

It comes in several different colours, and it’s small and adorable!

Leatherman Squirt 2

I love the way it looks and feels in my hand.  The pliers are spring-loaded which is brilliant, and it  comes with a ring to attach it to keys.

Leatherman Squirt 3

I already have an Everyday Carry penknife (also blue, but a small Victorinox which you can see in this post), but I am thinking of switching it for this one.  I don’t know, I haven’t really decided how to use it yet.  It is beautiful though so it will end up with some kind of everyday use so that I can play with it.

Cat with Leatherman squirt

Archie wanted to take part in the photos.

Would you be interested in a post about all the penknives I own, where I discuss which are my favourite and why?