A week ago we welcomed a new member of the household, Alexa (or Balexa as Alice likes to call her). Explaining the concept to Alice was quite funny, I was met with many questions like ‘who’s Balexa?’ ‘Is she a robot?’ Followed by a lovely song she made up ‘Balexa, Balexa play some music’. A high point for me was Alice playing the guess the animal game, a skill game where you have to think of an animal and Alexa asks questions until she can guess what you’re thinking. Alice answered each question confidently with a yes or no although it became more obvious she hadn’t quite grasped the concept when she said yes it has a beak and yes it has a venomous bite. She finally responded to ‘does it have feathers?’ with ‘doggy’. Alexa has already paid for herself in entertainment from the little one.
On to the real reason we invested in the Echo Dot. In my mission to become a ‘real’ adult I’ve been trying really hard to do better in the mornings. I am RUBBISH at waking up and my hopes of becoming a morning person after I became a Mum are waning 4 years down the line. I recognised that on top of my snooze button addiction my mobile was sucking up valuable time in the mornings. I decided the way forward would be to ban mobiles in the bedroom. Then reality set in, what if there’s an emergency and someone calls at night? What will I use for an alarm? How will I find out what ridiculous thing Trump has done overnight this time? That’s when I thought Alexa would help, and she really has.
After she arrived I downloaded the app, set her up on the wi-fi and linked her to my Bluetooth speaker. I’ve decided to use her next to my bed but you can get multiple echos to work together across different rooms if that’s your thing. Once we were set up I got going with enabling ‘skills’- essentially apps. I’m sure there are so many more features we can use but getting started these are my favourites so far…
This has been a real game changer. With a little bit of research to get me started I have been able to set Alexa to wake me up at my chosen time to music of my choice (so I can’t hit snooze!). Then I ask her to ‘start my day’, I’ve personalised my morning routine with a news flash from my chosen paper, local weather, music and she’ll even tell me something new to kick start the old grey matter. Our mornings have been SO much better as a result. I’ve been getting up early enough to enjoy breakfast at home and not be rushing, we even managed a short bike ride with Alice one of the days! Having more time in the morning is a much nicer start to the day and I’m hoping with Alexa’s help we can keep it up!
Question of the day
I was told about this one by a friend and had to try it out! Each evening before bed I ask Alexa to ask me the question of the day. I’m a bit of a quiz fan and love this, there are all sorts of categories from music to science and Alexa tracks your running score day by day. I was doing so well until Saturday evening when I lost my winning streak on a geography question 🤦🏻♀️
I love having music on around the house and this has been a feature we’ve used a lot so far. There are so many radio stations, playlists and songs to choose from, I’m currently using my Prime account but you can get Amazon Unlimited Music for a wider choice or use Spotify if you have an account. What I have really enjoyed is not just requesting favourites but being played old songs I had forgotten about when I’ve asked Alexa to play some music and been given a random playlist, it’s been fun to rediscover some old tunes.
Trump Against Humanity
Perhaps one of my favourite skills so far is this one. Alexa reads you tweets from Trump with a catch, the beginning of the tweet is as he wrote it but how it ends is either correct or been changed and you have to guess whether it’s fake news or not. This one has led to many face palms, laughs and covfefe.
There are so many more skills I’m looking forward to using. You can ask Alexa to compile lists for you, ideal for when you realise you need milk, get help with recipes whilst cooking, there are also some great sounding meditation skills that I can’t wait to try- I’ll let you know how I get on!
Inviting Alexa into our home has really helped me begin to achieve some of the goals I was hoping it would (and have some fun along the way!). I bagged the Echo Dot for £39.99, it’s on offer at the moment (usually £49.99) and it comes with free postage if you have Prime. If you fancy a bit of extra help with your mornings, a hand entertaining the kids or just a few laughs then be sure to check out the Echo range and see what Alexa can help you with here.
If you’re already part of the Alexa club let me know any tips if you have and if you’re enjoying the blog don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date!