I have new shiny things, and I am in love with them!

I’ve been on a bit of a spending spree recently. That’s not really like me – I don’t really have the money for a big splurge. My idea of a spending spree is buying three books from Waterstones when they’re not in the buy two get one free deal!

However, thanks to all the lovely people who buy my books, and a bit of canny eBaying, I’ve been able to indulge my passion for all things shiny and Apple related. This is a big thing for me. Keeping my house in one piece and Alfred the Great in the style he has become accustomed to isn’t cheap, and I don’t make a fortune at my day job. Oh, I get by, I’m not one of those starving authors so often found in the nineteenth century, but there’s not a lot of money for luxuries. Since taking up writing I’ve been able to treat myself to things that I would never have been able to afford before, and I’m so grateful to everybody who has bought one of my books because you’ve made that happen for me. I know that materialism is bad, and you shouldn’t judge your happiness by the things you own, but the sheer pleasure you get when you finally get what you always wanted – it’s wonderful! It’s like Christmas morning when you’re little. My readers have given me those feelings of excitement and giddiness, and I want you to know just how grateful I am. Thank you so much!

It started small, it really did – I upgraded my Apple watch to the Series 2, as its water resistant and can now track exercise while swimming. As that’s the only exercise I willingly do, it always narked me that there was no way of recording it on the watch. I sold my watch and used the money to pay for the vast majority of a new one – well, a new second hand one, anyway, which for me is the same as a new one! Of course, as Alfred the Great caused my ankle to swell up and my foot is still painful, I haven’t actually exposed it to any water other than a shower, but I will!

Once I had done that, I started to think about my laptop. I love my laptop – it’s big and purple, really powerful and you can singe the side of it with a Yankee Candle and it still works perfectly. Ahem. The only problem is, it’s bloody heavy. When I went to a recent Blushing Books writers get-together, there was no way I could take it with me as I wrestled with Britain’s railway system. I took my little netbook instead, and I watched sadly as the tiny thing completely failed to do anything I needed it to. So, I started poking around eBay, looking for a replacement.

I’ve never had a Mac, despite having an Apple Watch, iPod, iPhone and iPad (all second hand, all eBay-bought). I’ve always thought them as far too expensive for what you get, and I don’t think that I’m wrong about that. However, Windows just doesn’t handle iTunes very well, and syncing my iPod has been a bloody nightmare. Sometimes the laptop acknowledges that it’s there but refuses to sync, sometimes it claims that there’s something wrong with it and I should get it fixed. Once in a blue moon, I can actually change the audiobooks on it, and that is a joyous day indeed. As I have so many Apple products and a bad way of managing them, I decided to see if I could justify spending some money on a secondhand MacBook Air.

I’m so glad I did. Not only did I get one in very nice condition for its age (it’s seven years old) and my sense of aesthetics is pleased by the slim shininess of it, but every iProduct I have syncs immediately, with no problems. It’s so ridiculously light that travelling with it won’t be a problem, and I was able to find a pretty computer bag that matches the folders that I keep all my writing bits and bobs in.

It cost more than a brand new Windows netbook would, which made my inner accountant very unhappy, but the sheer convenience of it makes me override the feeling of panic at the price.

Of course, once barriers are broken, it’s hard to stop. Before I really knew what I was doing, I had a new (again, read second-hand) iPhone, partly funded by the sale of my previous phone and a few other items I had cluttering up the house. I justified it, sort of, with the knowledge that buying the handset works out much cheaper than having a contract with a mobile phone company. I’ve been free of obligations to one of those for years now, and I didn’t want to return to one. My previous phone, while working perfectly, couldn’t handle the bluetooth connection to the Apple Watch and playing podcasts/music as well. I’d have to charge it halfway through the day or watch it turn itself off by half past five. This new one (new-ish) cost four times as much as I’d paid for the previous one, but I get the feeling that it will last me four times longer.

For reference sake, three years ago I was still using an iPhone 3s. Upgrading to the latest version is something that I think I can allow myself!

I thought I was done. I mean, I now had spent a small fortune on some very nice second hand items and my desire for shiny things had been sated. There were no more lands to conquer.

Except that the new iPhone doesn’t have a headphone jack. You can use a nifty adaptor and plug your headphones in through the power slot, or you can buy the wireless Airpods for a ridiculous amount of money.

Our of curiosity, I checked the eBay price and nearly choked on my Diet Coke. Who on earth would pay that price for a pair of bloody headphones? I looked at the price on the Apple website and was surprised to see that they were considerably cheaper to buy directly from them. I live very close to an Apple store. I had already spent a lot of money (for me!) on new (for me!) Apple goods. I didn’t really need the wireless headphones .

Oh, but I’m glad I bought them! Good lord, the sound quality is amazing. Far better than the 99p headphones I usually buy, which is really not surprising when you think about the price difference! They work with my phone, my MacBook and my iPad – currently I’m upstairs in the office, working on the Windows laptop, while listening to¬†Rivers of London¬†by Ben Aaronovitch being streamed from my MacBook downstairs. The Airpods have no wires to get caught on chairs or door handles, and I can already imagine the ease I will have in listening to podcasts while hoovering the stairs, which currently involves me juggling the phone, headphones and a Henry Hoover on a very steep staircase, not helped by the face that Alfred the Great has a long term plan of attack for Henry Hoover so he thunders up the stairs and launches himself at the inoffensive vacuum at least twice every time I get it out. Not having headphone wires trailing everywhere will make things a lot easier, believe me.

They’ve paired with everything with no problems whatsoever, unlike every other pair of wireless headphones I’ve tried in the past. Again, price was possibly an issue here, as I always bought the cheapest set I could find. They come with a charger case that keeps them topped up when you put them away, and, frankly, they just look cool. Not the greatest reason for buying them, I know, but what the hell. I know people that spend double the price of the headphones on one pair of shoes, or a quick weekend away. These headphones are more practical than a pair of expensive shoes, and will last longer than a weekend holiday.

And anyway, if I decided that I don’t like them anymore, I know that I can get a fortune for them on eBay!