HP’s stylish Mini 1000 PC , which caused a stir on US catwalks last autumn, has just been launched in the UK and we’ve just had an exclusive play with one of the first models available – we’re told the other is on display in a window at Harrods as we write… 

Vivienne Tam laptop

The cute new PC is embellished with a peony design by top fashion guru Vivienne Tam. It might just have a 10.2 inch screen, but it comes with all the latest technology software  – with 60GB memory storage and integrated webcam. It’s lightweight at 2.5lbs too, so perfect to pop into your handbag or show off out and about in its very own red protector bag. We love the attention to detail – for example, it has a special Enter bar that bears the Chinese symbol for ‘Double Happiness’.

The good news is that it’s going to be priced from a reasonable £449, and you can order yours here. All you need now is the perfect dress to go with it, so get inspiration by interactively strutting your moves on the catwalk: Click here to insert your head onto a model, change into a Vivienne Tam dress and get posing! Have fun! Emily


Stylish TVs from Sony

January 30, 2009

Last night I went to a launch party to see Sony’s new collection, fresh from CES 09Sony was obviously keen to impress the assembled journalists, PRs and celebs and had hired a cavernous, disused tram shed in trendy Shoreditch for the night. There was a light installation by artist Paul Cocksedge an arty short film directed by BAFTA award winner Tal Rosner shown on TVs suspended from the roof, and colourful cocktails flowed all night long – Sony really knows how to throw a good party. DJ-ing fashion designers Giles Deacon and Henry Holland provided the music, and I got chatting to Connie Huq of Blue Peter fame – oh, the glamour.

Sony party

Suspended TVs and a light installation at Sony's party

Sony launched four new products: the ZX1 – the world’s thinnest LCD TV so far; the Z4500 – a TV with ‘Motionflow’, a feature that means moving pictures are smoother than ever; the XEL-1, Europe’s first ultra-thin OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV; and the EX1, a TV that can also be used as a wireless picture frame for digital photos.

The Sony Bravia ZX1 is as thin as toast!

The Sony Bravia ZX1 is as thin as toast

The super-thin ZX1 LCD TV is impressive and great for hanging on a wall, but it’s the XEL-1 OLED TV that really excited me. Sony launched OLED TVs in Japan and the US last year, and they’re different from all other TVs so far because they don’t have backlights – instead, they contain organic particles that glow on their own when electricity is passed through them. It’s a process called – wait for it – electrophosphorescence, which is how fireflies glow. The fact that scientists can now replicate this glowing means that our TVs can be thinner than ever before – the XEL-1 OLED one I saw last night was literally 3mm deep! I wrote about the imminent European launch of an OLED TV in the January issue of Ideal Home, but I didn’t know who would be first to release one, Samsung or Sony. Sony pipped Samsung to the post, and the image quality is amazing. Sadly, I won’t be rushing out to buy a flashy new OLED TV – they’re £3,489 – and the screen size is a tiny 11 inches! I can’t help thinking Sony is taking the mickey a bit, as the same XEL-1 OLED TV is for sale in the US for $2,499 – that’s just £1,750! Over the next few years, prices will fall and screen sizes will increase, and pretty soon OLED will be the norm. Ellie














Sony's teeny tiny OLED TV

Sony's teeny tiny OLED TV – yours for £3,489!











I’ve just got back from a little trip to BAFTA in Piccadilly where Philips gave a sneak preview of their new 56inch LCDTV, which is the world’s first widescreen TV to display movies in “21.9” format – the way movie makers intended us to see their films.

With a sodapop and some bowl food (apparently what BAFTA calls ‘finger food’) in hand, I sat back and viewed the telly in action – the picture fills the screen perfectly, with no picture distortion or annoying black bars at the sides – it truly does give a stunning cinema-style experience, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own living room – or dedicated entertainment room.

Philips have yet to announce how much it costs and when it will be available in store, but check out our next issue of Ideal Home, where we’ll be exploring ways you can create a cinema-style experience in your home…in the meantime, make sure you stock up on DVDs. Emily


Let them eat cake

January 29, 2009

Emily and I have just sampled the new collection of retro cupcakes from M&S, so our New Year de-tox is officially over. The bakery team very kindly brought us some samples to taste and let us decorate cakes in a hands-on workshop. It all got a bit messy and I’m feeling slightly nauseous now!

The cakes were absolutely delicious, but they’re more like iced buns than real American-style cupcakes. The icing on them is made with fresh fruit, there are no artificial colourings used and all the cakes have a sinful gooey centre, too. With flavours like Lemon Meringue and Strawberries and Cream, I think they’ll be a hit – they’re perfect for weddings or birthday parties.

They’re due to be launched in M&S shops this April priced £2.99 for four. It seems M&S is planning to take on retro, independent bakeries such as Humming Bird and Treacle – let the cake war begin. Ellie

Percy Pigs combined with cake – heaven on a plate

Percy Pigs and cake combined – a dream come true