You know something? What with having children and everything, we don’t get out much in an evening. It would be nice, once in a while, to pop out to our local for a couple of drinks, or dance away at the Blitz Party like we used to before kids, but actually I rather like having people over at our house for an evening. I like to host, to plan a menu, have a few glasses of wine and not worry about finding baby sitters. Having a big night in with friends and family usually means us all eating at the dining table, eating far too much food and maybe playing a game like Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride afterwards. However, the kind people at Three Mobile sent me a Alcatel One Touch Pixi 7 and a Google Chromecast so when my sister, brother-in-law and niece came to visit it seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with some technology and see what a tablet can do to a Big Night In.

Big Night In

Chromecast is a great little device that allows you to broadcast various bits of media onto your TV. Firstly, it’s really easy to install. All you have to do is download the Chromecast app onto your phone or tablet, plug the Chromecast itself into a HDMI port on your TV, follow a couple of instructions on the app and you are ready to play. Chromecast supports a number of apps like Netflix and BBC iPlayer so you can sit and watch all manner of things on your telly. We watched a few things on the iPlayer (mostly episodes from the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off) and it is by far the easiest way to watch BBC programme compared to using the red button or via our cable TV box.

Big Night In

While we ate our pizza and garlic bread and supped Prosecco (and failed to eat the salad I made, why does that always happen?), we listened to music via YouTube and then Betsy drew pictures using Rube which is a very basic drawing app, but she utterly LOVED seeing her work appear on the TV screen as she drew.

Big Night In

The winner of the night though was Google’s Big Web Quiz. It’s a brightly coloured, funny, fast paced game show where each player answers questions they see on the TV screen by using the Big Web Quiz app on their own phone or tablet. Within minutes of playing this we were already talking about playing this with everyone at my folks’ when we’re next there together. It kept us entertained for ages and ages.

Big Night In

The other winner of the night was a snack I made for the evening. It was a marshmallow toffee popcorn and it was gooey and oh so sweet and man, I think I want to make this everyday, diet be damned.

Marshmallow toffee popcorn |

My mouth is watering just looking at it. It’s very easy to make too. You need:

100g of butter (make sure it’s salted)
90g light muscavado sugar
40g mini marshmallows
70g popping corn kernels.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a small pan. Keep on a low temperature so the sugar can dissolve. While that’s doing, pop your corn in a big lidded pan going by the packet’s instructions (or use some microwave corn, whatever’s easiest for you). Once popped, go back to your butter and sugar and stir in the marshmallows until they’re melted. Pour the whole mixture over the popcorn, give it a good mix and you are done.

We’ve really enjoyed having the Chromecast. It’s been used most days I think and we’ve had friends round on other evenings and the Chromecast has made an appearance every time. The One Touch Pixi 7 tablet is a very basic tablet, and the camera isn’t very good, but the screen resolution is clear and Betsy and I have enjoyed playing the Cbeebies app on it (and I’ve discovered how much better the Kindle app is compared to reading on my phone). Lovely. Again, it’s something that’s been used every day now. Check out all the tablets that Three Mobile have HERE.

A Chromecast and Alcatel One Touch Pixi 7 were sent to me in order for me to write this review, but all opinions are my own.

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