Screen time and me.

AD this is a collaborative post

Being a parent is a funny old game. You worry about everything. A neverending list of potential issues have to be on your RADAR. If you aren’t on alert then you might get blindsided and franky, who has time for that?

We risk assess everything for our families constantly to ensure that good choices are being made and so that those balls we all juggle are kept in the air. To keep our spouse and our children safe and well. 

What about us?

Who amongst us is guilty of not taking a moment to risk assess ourselves? I know I am. When Vizulize asked me to examine my screen time habits, it got me thinking. 

How much is too much? When should Mums and Dads switch off?

My mobile phone is the first thing I reach for in the morning (usually to check what ungodly it is I have been woken at this time) and then it pretty much stays close all day. I use it far more than I don’t. It is also the last thing I use at night. My business is conducted online so I have to have my phone and my laptop for that. I write using my laptop. I spend massive chunks of the day browsing social media. 9 times out of 10 I will catch up on the news and current events online so that’s more screen time. Not to mention watching programmes and clips on the go. 

Vizulize have created a #screentimestats infographic and it makes for interesting reading

Vizulize - ScreentimeStats Infographic

What can I do?

It makes sense to me to want to be more present. I frown upon my children spending too much time looking at screens so why shouldn’t I apply the same rule to me!? (well, mainly because as a parent I also reserve the right to be a hypocrite…) 

So, here is the plan. 

I have set myself family hours. Being a work from home self employed Mum means that working hours are hard to set so I have gone the opposite way. That is, I have assigned hours during which I will not engage with work. So, between 4 and 8 every week day the laptop will be off and my phone will be in my bag. This will allow me to be present and engaged with Moose and Bess after school. I will also set up my alarms and alerts for the following day, 90 minutes before I go to bed so I have screen free time then – I recently signed up to Audible so that’s how I will spend that time. Wait, am I old now?!? 

This doesn’t sound like much but honestly I know it will make a massive difference. Social media is great to a point but it can easily make you feel like crap if you let it. Add to that the actual physical repercussions of spending too much time at a screen – dry eyes, headaches, numb bum.. and I feel like switching off is the only way forward.  

 

 

Driven to Distraction – 10 tips on how to not lose your mind on a family road trip

AD This is a collaborative post

I cannot pretend that I am the best driver in the world. I mean, I’m okay but the fact that I did have to complete a speed awareness course last year and my youngest child does occasionally shout things like “hey idiot, are your indicators not working?!” when playing with his toy cars should probably give you an idea of the level we are at here. 

Kwik Fit have launched a campaign called Driven to Distraction. It really gets on my norks when I see other drivers using their mobile phones when driving. I may be the sort of chump who gets caught doing 35 in a 30 limit but using my mobile while in the drivers seat is a massive nope for me. I hope for you too? Driven to Distraction hopes to illustrate just how much a mobile phone can slow down your reaction time using an interactive quiz. 

 

Generally I tend to keep car journeys where I am driving to a limit. Because of my propensity to ocular migraines thanks to a rare eye disease I now prefer to drive short distances but that doesn’t leave me immune to distractions when driving. 

Children are a driving hazard

There is something about being in a car that makes my children lose their minds. Maybe it’s them being in such close proximity to each other? I dunno but it’s true and it happens almost every time. Get them into a car and there is usually an argument. Over the years I have got better at preempting this so here are some tips that you can use the next time you need to go on a road trip.

  1. Allow plenty of time and plan your route. It’s a lot easier to stay chilled if you aren’t driving cross country by accident having missed your turn off. 
  2. Children love a services. By children I mean me (and probably you) so plan to have rest stops and grab yourself a coffee. You will probably need it and definitely deserve it.
  3. Give them a hand in choosing an in car playlist – not too much of a hand though. We once did a 2 and a half hour trip with only a Bing Bunny CD. Not fun. 
  4. Invest in some in-car entertainment to keep the kids busy. If we could have watched dvd’s in the car growing up I honestly believe my Dad would have less wrinkles.
  5. Let the kids have a role in planning where to go – You can steer this or dress it up to make them feel important even though, lets face it, you were always going to the same place.
  6. Have a snack box at the ready. We all get hangry, children are no exception.
  7. Allow your child to choose one of their toys to bring on the car journey. Not LEGO though or you can expect hours of trying to locate a teeny tiny brick under or in a car seat. You have been warned.
  8. Drive when it fits in with your kids’ routines. Not always possible but, you know, try..
  9. Make sure the kids are comfy with the appropriate, properly adjusted car seat and clothing. Don’t allow them to wear a thick coat in the car. 
  10. Do the relevant car safety checks. Trust me, you do not want to be breaking down at the side of the road with small children. Nobody keeps their sanity in that scenario. Tyre pressures, oil levels, windscreen squirters, check them all before you leave.

Living Arrows Week 45 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

 

 

The first photo this week was found on my camera after our trip to London. Bess must have taken this selfie in Kings Cross station while we were waiting for our train. I loved the huge poppy that had been put up for remembrance day. We had a brilliant time in London watching the musical, Dear Evan Hansen. The subject matter (teen suicide and the aftermath) is hard going in places but it is very well written and she wanted to see it so badly. 

Our second photo this week is of Moose making himself a sandwich. He is my baby and it’s so hard for me to admit that he is getting bigger whether I like it or not. He asked if he could make himself lunch, and I thought, why not. Note to self, we need more jam.

 

 

Living Arrows

WOW! Stuff Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak Review

[Ad Gifted] We were sent this product for the purpose of this post

The whole Harry Potter mania passed me by a little bit. I had a couple of friends who adored the books but I never really saw the appeal. Obviously when the movies came out I was familiar with the premise but again, I wasn’t really “into” it. 

However. When my eldest, Col, started becoming interested in the franchise I did start to pay attention. We rewatched the movies together and it was through his eyes – as it so often is when you have children around – that the magic felt a bit more real. 

For his birthday one year I booked for us to go to the Harry Potter Warner Bros studio tour. Even at this point I was a bit nonplussed. That all changed over the course of that visit. Fast forward to a few hours later when we emerged from our tour filled with Butterbeer and a new found love of all things Potter. 

Since then I have read the books, seen the movies and even worn the t-shirt. I have been sorted into my house (Ravenclaw, since you asked) and can recite most of the spells. 

The cloak of invisibility

When we were asked recently whether we would like to have a play with an invisibility cloak, it wasn’t a tough decision! 

Fans of the books will know that the invisibility cloak was given to Harry in The Philosophers Stone. Previously owned by his father, and crafted from the cloak of Death himself, the invisibility cloak was used many times throughout the Harry Potter series. 

wow! stuff invisibility cloak

What’s in the box?

Well, not a lot to be honest. Inside the box you will find a set of instructions, a phone stand and a cloak. The cloak has been made to look like the cloak in the movies with a grey and silver design on a velvet material. The other side of the cloak is a bright green material. The cloak is definitely long enough for most children and teens (and even adults) to be able to play around with it to great effect! 

wow! stuff harry potter cloak

How to play?

The first thing you need to do is to download the free WOW Stuff app (available on Apple and Android) and enter the unique code on the instructions to link the two together. 

The green lining of the cloak acts in the same way as a green screen. Used in conjunction with the app, you will disappear when wearing the cloak on the outside. 

What did we think?

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to set up.

You have to be really careful not to move the phone while recording otherwise it will fail and you will need to have another go. It is simple to set up. Simple to use too. The cloak itself is great quality and a good size. Definitely a winner for any Potter fan! 

The RRP of the cloak is £59.99 but it is currently on sale at Smyths and many other retailers!

 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop – Bowie Beamheart Review

We were sent this product for the purpose of this post. All opinions are our own

If there is anything that I have learned from being the Mother of 3, it is this; Toy companies love a bandwagon and children are drawn to slime and gloop. Basically if a toy looks like it will take longer to clean than to play with, kids are IN!

We were recently sent a new slime/gloop themed toy. For the reasons given previously I was pretty sure Moose would like it but me? The jury was definitely out on that. 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop is quite the name isn’t it? Full marks to whoever decided not to go catchy but to go long. I think 3 Goo’s is a good number to be honest. You wouldn’t want anymore, would you? 

I have to admit though, Bowie Beamhart is cute. She (we are going with she) comes packaged in a box that looks like a flying saucer spaceship. 

What’s in the (spaceship shaped) box?

Inside the box you will find;

  • A large Goo Drop Doll
  • 1 x Candy Comet
  • A Goo Drop stand
  • 1 x bowl
  • A whisk
  • 1 x Regoovintaor
  • 5 x glitter fills
  • 2 x slime sachets
  • 1 x passport
  • 1 x glitter seal sheet

How does it work?

The idea is that your child is able to make their own slime. By adding just water (up to the handy fill line) they can stir their way to thick, gloopy delight. Then they can add the glitter bits to customise their very own galaxy slime. 

Each glitter fill packet can be resealed which means they can be used more than once. I quite liked that. 

Once your child has made their slime it is time to move on to part 2. That is, you have to “feed” the slime to Bowie Beamhart. This is done by using the reegoovinator (it’s a syringe)

You are supposed to hold the reegoovinator in the slime and pull the plunger up to fill it. You can but it is a bit slow going – we ended up just spooning it into the syringe. Much faster.

When your reegoovinator is full, you pop it into Bowie’s mouth and fill her up! 

Because Bowie Beamhart has a see through body you can see the slime sloshing about in her tummy. Moose thought this was utterly hilarious. Once this starts wearing a bit thin it’s time to get the slime out. This means taking the Candy Comet out of her mouth and pressing her tummy to make her do a “comet vomit”. 

What did we think?

As predicted Moose liked the slime mixing. He especially liked that he could add the glitter fills. Bowie is pretty cute and Moose loved being able to see the slime inside her. 

The comet vomit was a great touch and much appreciated by my 5 year old who currently loves anything vomit or poo related. I found her surprisingly easy to clean. Just remove her head and wash her out with water. Because she is so easy to clean I think this considerably increases how much play time Moose will get with Bowie. 

Goo Goo Galaxy Slurp ‘n’ Slime Goo Drop is available from Smyths as well as other retailers and is priced at around £29.99 

hugging on the sofa