November 30, 2010

Wetsuit for Pierre the Penguin

Back in 2008 a penguin at the California Academy of Sciences was fitted with a wetsuit.

Pierre was then 25 years old and his feathers were thinning and not growing back. Poor Pierre was shivering and uncomfortable without the protection of his feathers. (A feeling I could identify with this summer before I discovered the benefits of wearing a shortie or full length wetsuit on holiday).

The Academy's senior aquatic biologist Pam Schaller was familiar with the warmth wetsuits provide for humans so she set about designing a neoprene suit for Pierre.

Pamela has written a paper called Why and How to Make a Penguin Wetsuit, where you can read the whole story and see more photos of Pierre and even patterns for the penguin wetsuit.

So, next time you are shopping for a wetsuit to keep you warm, spare a smile and a thought for Pierre the penguin who I believe is still alive and well at the Academy.

November 29, 2010

Furniture designed from Pool Noodles

We just had to share this stunning creation by designer Valera Velev based in Lynn, Massachusetts.

This quirky project called "Noodles" was intended to show that furniture can be created out of the most unusual materials, even pool noodles. Valera found one of the most interesting aspects to be that noodles can be twisted in any number of ways, ensuring every chair is unique.

Have you made something out of pool noodles? If so we would love to hear from you.

Insulate your pipes with hollow pool noodles

These hollow round pool noodles are available from FunSwimShop USA, so for all our American customers this one is for you.

Cut a slit down the side of each noodle using a sharp box cutter knife. You can then use the noodles to wrap any pipes which may freeze in sub zero temperatures.

A stitch in time saves nine!

Please leave a comment if you have other interesting uses for your pool noodle.

November 19, 2010

Introducing Snoozeshade - The Blackout Blind for Prams and Pushchairs

My daughter is now eight years old so this invention is unfortunately too late for me. When she was a baby I remember wishing on a daily basis that such a product existed. I firmly believed in her following a routine and taking naps in a darkened environment, but I also couldn't face being trapped in the house all day long. I'm therefore delighted to help spread the word about SnoozeShade® to other parents.

SnoozeShade is a universal fit buggy and pram blackout blind designed to fit most popular brands of three- and four-wheel prams and pushchairs with hoods or sun canopies. Your pushchair must have a standard one-per-child hood/sun canopy to fit a SnoozeShade. It is the solution to draping blankets and coats over the pushchair to try and get your baby off to sleep.

By blocking out light, sun and distractions Snoozeshade aids your baby to sleep in the pram or pushchair when you have to be on the go. Snoozeshade is excellent for holidays as the fabric has UPF50+ (the highest rating of sun protection). However as the baby can not see through the Snoozeshade fabric, it should only be used for naps rather than an alternative to full sun shades through which the baby can see out.

Let us know how you get on with your Snoozeshade. (It works for Denise van Outen!)

Life Jacket or Life Saving Hat?

Last night I stumbled across this very amusing invention by Samuel W. White. It's a "hat to prevent drowning" which was patented on October 14, 1840. Apparently he must have been inspired by the invention of the rubber balloon by Michael Faraday in 1825.

What did the "Dragon's" of the time make of this invention I wonder, and was it ever tested?

I couldn't help but wonder how we progressed from the "hat to prevent drowning" to the life jackets we have today. Some sources credit the modern life jacket to Captain Ward of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. In 1854 he created a cork vest to be worn by lifeboat crews for both weather protection and buoyancy. However, according to an article in the New York Times the first American patent for an "inflatable life preserver" was given to Peter Markus in 1928 with improvements in 1930 and 1931.This jacket is thought to have saved the lives of 98 of 100 men when the Macon crashed in the Pacific in 1935.

The Californian inventor named Andrew Toti is thought to have improved the vest by adding a crotch strap to prevent the inflated chest panels from riding up. The bulky device was heavily used by the U.S. military during WWII where it received the nickname "The Mae West".

The "Mae West" 
Since then there have been many advances and improvements to modern day life jackets, but I hope you've enjoyed the information I've been able to unearth.

Modern Life Jacket

November 11, 2010

Seven Sharks a SwimFin...

Festive Fin

Without the Christmas fin-ery...

Make learning to swim fun this Christmas with a gift of the revolutionary SwimFin swimming aid.

Worn on the back the effects of the SwimFin are self adjusting as the child progresses from beginner through to advanced swimmer. A beginner's body is lower in the water therefore the SwimFin is more submerged which gives the swimmer more support. As confidence and ability grows the body position will become more horizontal which raises the SwimFin out of the water giving the child less support.

It can be used to teach all four strokes and when lessons are done the SwimFin can simply be used for fun and games playing "shark".

We hope you like our suggestion for wrapping this gift, and we would love to see your photos if you come up with any other disguises!

November 09, 2010

Huggies Swim Nappy Video Gets 3,991 Views!

By far, the most popular of our YouTube videos to date!

It must be something about the way Carla describes the Huggies Swim Nappies that people just love :)

November 03, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We've had some fantastic and scary photos posted on our Facebook Page, thanks to all of you and great looking pumpkins!