A few days ago, I had a very nice e-mail message, from Andrew at Dobbies. He’d seen my blog and liked it, noticed I had done a review previously (back in the summer, I reviewed some Bunting I was sent by another online shop) and he wondered if I would like to review one of their Christmas Lights products.
I had heard of Dobbies before – they are a chain of Garden Centres in U.K. – though I hadn’t visited any, since our nearest one is some distance away. However, I didn’t know they had an online shop! As they’re a well-known and reputable company, I thought it would be fine to work with them and I agreed to the review.
I hope you’ll like to see what I have been sent and to read what I thought of it!
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So, a couple of days ago, this arrived:
Inside, all nicely packed in scrunched up paper (I love that brown packing paper, it’s so useful – it feels like a freebie when I get a parcel packed with that paper!)
Good package for the lights too. Nice and stiff, so they couldn’t get broken – either in the post, or on the shelf of a shop.
They looked so nice and twinkly in the photo – would they be any good?
Unpacked everything. There are 10 lights, with little starry covers and small spikes to push into the ground (those were packed in a little bag). There was also a package with a mounting and ground spike for the solar unit, that provides the power for the lights.
The back of the solar unit has an on-off switch and a control to choose whether the lights flash or not. See the little ground-spikes on the lights?
When I switched it on, the lights came on – it was ready-charged and they all worked (the kitchen was quite dark, as it’s winter time).
So, off into the garden to set it all up. Here it is, all laid out on the grass. Each light has a bit of cable between, linking one to the other, then to the solar unit.
This is the power unit and its mounting set.
Ground spike for the solar unit – it pushed into the ground quite easily.
I started to attach the mounting to the solar unit, but realised that it would be flat and not get much light. Also, mounting it like this would mean it was difficult to access the switches to turn the lights on or off and allow them to blink/flash.
I took the mounting section off and re-positioned it, so the unit would face upwards and I could get at the buttons.
It pushed onto the ground spike without any problems.
I pushed the little ground-spikes into the ground and put each light on top, spacing them out as far as they would go. They stretched about 9ft in total, along the edge of our shrub border.
Sherlock came and inspected everything, to make sure it met his approval.
Once he was happy with everything, he came back into the kitchen! This is the view from our kitchen doorway - the doors are glass, so it’s nice to be able to look out at pretty lights in the border.
This is one of the little lights, looking lovely against the green and the dark soil. They’re quite small though, so they don’t stand out too much – subtle – after all, it’s in the evenings we want to see them!
In the dark…. At 4:30pm I went into the kitchen and this is what I could see through the back doors (eeee!!)
Twinkle, twinkle, little star…. how sweet!
They stayed on for quite a while, though I don’t know how long, as it was too cold to keep the blinds open, but there is a built-in timer that turns them off after 6 hours, so they don't stay on all night and use up the whole battery.
They do look great though and I think I may move them to the front garden over the Christmas period. They’ll be a bit of a welcome for the post-lady – and Santa of course!
They need a good long time to charge up, the first time you use them, so the following day they didn’t stay on for very long, but if I turn off the battery unit, I think they’ll perk up over a few days and will then look very nice in the evenings.
It’s also possible to put another rechargeable battery into the solar unit, so if I’m really keen to have the lights on, maybe I can give it a bit of extra support on days with really poor light quality. They did come on again today, at dusk, and were still on when I went out to the recycling bin, so they're working okay (it's just been a misty and dull old day).
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So, thanks to Dobbies, I have some very pretty lights to cheer up the chilly winter evenings in our little corner of the street.
And guess what? I have also been asked to make a Guest Post for the Dobbies Blog, with a tutorial post (clue, it involves stars and paper!!). Watch out for this in the very near future, with a companion post here on my blog too!
See, I told you I’m a Lucky Blogger!