Don’t get me wrong. I love a summer holiday as much as the next person. The chance to get away from it all. Spend some quality time with the family. To relax, put your feet up and explore new places (or just plonk yourself on a sun lounger and sip cocktails by the poolside). Whatever floats your boat. But as a natural-born worrier, the prospect of going on holiday and leaving our home unattended for a week or two every summer also fills me with dread. Did we lock the back door? Did we close all the windows? Is our house safe without us physically being there?
I’d say, overall, we’re pretty vigilant when it comes to protecting our home while we’re on holiday…
- We don’t make a big song and dance about our holiday plans, only letting close friends and family know we’ll be away and for how long.
- We don’t have lots of spare sets of keys in circulation (only my folks and our next-door neighbour have one).
- Our home and contents insurance are all up to date, and we have locks on all our windows to stop any opportunists.
- We ask our neighbours to keep an eye on the house for us and collect our mail so that it doesn’t pile up on the doorstep.
- And – proving just how anxious I really get – I set up our kids’ nanny cameras so they record our front and back door, sending video alerts to my mobile anytime they detect any movement (it’s usually just the postman but you can never be too safe!).
But despite all these precautionary measures, there’s still one aspect of our home security that keeps me up at night, especially when we’re away. And that’s lighting.
There’s no clearer sign to potential intruders that you’re on holiday, than when your house is completely dark for nights on end. No lights on inside. No lights on outside. Clearly nobody’s home.
For this very reason, I’ve been meaning to install some proper motion-activated outdoor lights in our garden for ages. But with the whole house renovation project going massively over budget and taking much longer than expected, our garden and outside lighting plans have repeatedly been pushed down the priority list.
But I’m very excited to say that this summer, we’ve finally got it sorted thanks to Philips Hue, who recently got in touch offering to set us up with some key pieces from their outdoor lighting range to give us peace of mind this summer holiday season.
I can honestly say, their outdoor lighting products been such a revelation. And, as a gadget geek and self-professed paranoid holiday goer, they’ve ticked all my boxes too.
So, from the whole Philips Hue Outdoor lighting range, we picked out the following products to pimp out our garden and give us peace of mind ahead of our next holiday:
- Two Philips Hue Outdoor Welcome Floodlights (with separate Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensors to boost our home security);
- Two Philips Hue Turaco wall lights (to hang on our new external fencing and light up our driveway);
- One set of three Philips Hue Lily spot lights (both as extra security lights, but also to give us some mood lighting for long summer evenings in the garden); and
- The Philips Hue Bridge (the thing that links all your lights together and lets you control them from your smartphone, whether you’re at home or away)!
Here’s everything you need to know…
Philips Hue Outdoor Welcome Floodlight and Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor
When it comes to enhancing your home security, good floodlights are an absolute must. These Philips Hue Welcome Outdoor Floodlights are best in class!
Simple to use, with a cool minimalist design, they look great on the side of our house. When connected to the weather-resistant Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor (a wireless, battery-controlled unit that’s super easy to mount and set up – sold separately), they can detect motion from 12m (39ft), switching on in a flash to give the impression that someone is home (even if you aren’t).
What I really love about this product combo though is how easily they can be controlled and programmed via the Philips Hue app:
- You can turn them on or off from wherever you are (in the UK or abroad).
- They can be programmed to come on at specific times of day or stay on for set amounts of time after they detect movement.
- You can adjust their brightness and the sensitivity of the motion sensors (so they pick up absolutely anything or just movement nearby)
- They have an integrated dusk-to-dawn sensor, ensuring that your lights will only turn on when it’s dark outside.
- Plus, you can choose which of your lights go on when someone passes by the sensor – whether it be your other outside lights like the ones detailed below, or (if you have them) other smart lights set up inside your house – making it look like someone is always at home.
Philips Hue Turaco Outdoor wall lights
Ever since we started our house renovation project, I’ve dreamed of installing some outdoor lighting for our driveway, to welcome me home after a long day at work while lighting up my way to the front door. For far too long, I’ve made do on dark nights using the torch on my phone to avoid the piles of builders’ debris and get safely inside. But thanks to the Philips Hue Turaco Outdoor wall lights (which we’ve installed on our new fencing around our driveway), I no longer have to!
Completely weather proof, this light is packed with cool features to brighten up your home life and act as an extra security feature when you’re away:
- After connecting to your Philips Hue Bridge, the Philips Hue Turaco Outdoor lights can be fully controlled by the Philips Hue app, turning on and off at the touch of a button or on a predetermined schedule of your choosing.
- With its geo-location feature, you can also set the lights to turn on automatically when you arrive home, before turning off once you’re safely inside.
- From the app, you can dim the lights to suit your needs, and set them up with Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit and the Google Assistant to control them with your voice.
- You can even schedule the lights to mimic your presence whilst you’re away, turning on and off at specific times to make it look like your home.
- Plus, like the Philips Hue Welcome Outdoor Floodlights, your Philips Hue Turaco Outdoor wall lights can also link up to your motion sensors, turning on when they sense any movement nearby (alerting the neighbours if any unwanted visitors are lurking in the shadows or up to no good).
Philips Hue Lily spot lights
Now, if you like gadgets, you will LOVE these Philips Hue Lily spot lights. You don’t need an electrician to install them, as they plug into a standard plug or outside socket. So, they’re super easy to set up and use.
They come as a pack of three, with long interchangeable cables (15 meters!) so you can spread them out around your garden to up-light your external walls, flowerbeds or foliage, giving you the ability to paint your garden with 16 million (yes really…16 million!) different colour combinations or shades of white light.
So, whether you are having sundowners in the garden on a balmy summer’s eve, or have friends around for an impromptu knees-up, these lights can be adjusted from your phone using the Philips Hue app to create the perfect ambience; whatever the occasion.
Plus, like the other products I’ve mentioned above, the Philips Hue Lily spot lights can also be linked up to your Philips Hue Outdoor Motion Sensor, turning on and off automatically with your floodlights whenever motion is detected, to make it look like you’re at home.
I think you’ll have a lot of fun with these ones…I know I have!
Philips Hue Bridge
And last but not least, I’ve got to mention the Philips Hue Bridge, without which none of the cool features I’ve mentioned above would be possible.
The Philips Hue Bridge is a discreet little white box that connects to your Wi-Fi router and links up all of your Philips Hue lights (whether inside or out).
Once you install your lights and download the Philips Hue app, you can use the app to locate your Philips Hue lighting products, name them, and fully control them via your smartphone, whether you’re at home, away for the weekend or even abroad!
Without it, your lights can still be used in the old school way (on and off at the switch). But with it, the possibilities are honestly endless.
It’s been a long time coming but I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally have our outdoor lighting sorted. Not just for aesthetic reasons and to light up my way home after work, but to give me peace of mind that our house will be as protected as possible ahead of our next mini break.
So, thanks Philips Hue for sorting us out and here’s to safe houses and worry-free family holidays this summer!
AD – This sponsored post has been written in collaboration with Philips Hue to showcase their Outdoor lighting range