Turning your house into a smart home

I love tech. Anything that makes my life easier and is proven to save time is a win. It’ll be an instant add to my collection, no questions asked. Smart technology is no exception.

Rewind to my time at Uni, and my housemate had just bought Philips Hue Smart Bulbs for his room. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with turning my flat into a smart home. I hadn’t been able to justify doing so, however, without a non-student loan income.

As a salaried teacher, smart tech finally feels worth the investment. I’ve been using the MEKO stylus and Teckin’s smart plugs for around two months. Have they been worth the investment?

MEKO does it better

Looking to starting my year as a Newly Qualified Teacher next month, I thought of two very important factors:

  1. What can I do to cut down on all of the scrap paper I’m using at school?
  2. How can I make my rucksack any less heavy? 

The first point is very important to me because I’d have to sort and file (or throw away) scrap pieces of paper into various folders. As much as I enjoy being organised, that’s a classic case of productive procrastination.

The second point, however, is the more important one because of how much weight I’m expecting to have to carry on my shoulders every day. While on placement, I carried a wad of paper, a laptop, lunch and textbooks, which really made my muscles moan. As I’ll be driving to work next month, rather than taking public transport, as I was last year, this will be less of an issue, but cutting down on how much I’ll need to move between classrooms can only be a good thing.

Here’s where the stylus comes in. I’ve substituted my laptop for an iPad and am now equipped with a pairing of the MEKO stylus and OneNote (which I recently justified still using in 2020). As a result, I can leave my 400-page notepad at home and do all of my note-taking and lesson planning on my tablet.

Do the same and your shoulders will thank you.

But why the MEKO stylus and not the Apple Pencil?

The answer is simple: it all comes down to price. Currently, the Apple Pencil retails for £120. MEKO offered their stylus for a quarter of the price – only £30 on Amazon. While I haven’t used the Apple Pencil, all of my research points to the devices doing practically the same thing, with Apple’s only advantages being its magnetised connection with the iPad and the ability to do gradient shading.

What this tells us is that, if you’re an aspiring artist, you should go elsewhere. But if you’re in the mood for taking notes and doodling, the MEKO stylus is a must-have.

Check out my Amazon Affiliate link for the MEKO stylus:


Trust in Teckin smart plugs

Before buying these smart plugs, they were on my wishlist. They didn’t stay there for very long. I quickly snapped them up and started using them – almost exclusively for lighting.

I’ve got three lamps that turn on automatically when the sun sets. They also come on whenever I tap a button on the app or say ‘Hey Google, turn on my lights’. I’ve also set up an automation called ‘summer good night’. When activated, all of my lights are switched off and my fan comes on. Cool, right?

The four plugs cost me £30 and tend to fluctuate around that price, but it’s currently £40 for the same product, which is why I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link to a bundle of three for the more affordable £25.

It’s a product that’s easy to set up, just be sure to log into your web browser and split the WiFi frequency into 2G and 5G outputs. For some reason, the plugs can only connect to 2G; knowing this in advance will save you a lot of future frustration.

For setting up an affordable smart home, I cannot recommend these plugs highly enough. For my Amazon affiliate link, click below:


Which technologies do you want to see in the spotlight next?

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