Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Safeguarding Our Tech Savvy Kids

Today's generation of youngsters take technical gadgets for granted. They are brought up alongside mobile phones, tablets, computers and the internet, both in the home and school environment. 

With children being exposed to technology from a younger age than ever before, it is likely they will have mastered the features and functions of many gadgets quicker than a lot of adults can. Even toys given to babies or toddlers introduce them to technology early in life, such as basic touch buttons and big screens that let them explore numbers, words and sounds. Long before many children go to school they will have played games on their parents' phone or tablet, or may even have one of their own.

Research has shown that nearly one in 10 children get their first mobile phone at the age of five, and over half of youngsters own one by the age of 10. A third of children under the age of 15 also have their own tablet.

With children having easy access to the internet via a range of devices it stands to reason that any responsible parent will want to ensure that their child is only viewing information that is appropriate and safe. Although it might not be feasible to keep a constant watch on what children are exposed to online, there are lots of ways that you can help to safeguard them from the risks.

Installing antivirus software to all of your devices should be your first strategy to keep kids safe online. A good antivirus package will keep spam, viruses, dubious content and other potential threats at bay. Make sure to keep your software up to date, however, as the threats can change over time as spammers and viruses alter their tactics.

Many devices now come with handy Parental Control features, so that you can set functions to decide exactly what your child can have access to. This can give you peace of mind that they are not being exposed to content which may be harmful.

Always instil the importance of being safe online to your children. Teach them not to disclose too much personal information online, particularly on social media, and if they come into contact with someone or something that upsets them, they should tell an adult.

Children can get hooked on technical gadgets, which may distract them from doing other things like homework or going outdoors and getting exercise. Consider setting time functions on devices so that they can only use them for a specific amount of time, giving you control over the frequency that they use them.

How much of a role does technology play a part in your life? At home or at work? Aalliyah is a super tech savvy kid and an avid YouTuber so does spend a fair amount of time online but everything she does is monitored and I will quite happily make her take a break if I feel her time spent online has became excessive.

I'd love to hear your thoughts..

*Post published in collaboration with Panda Security

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Summer Haul Of A Tween

In August I have what will be my second to last holiday of the year from work. Then come September that's it . The Christmas season starts and it madness until 2016 (Those in retail will not only relate but will also feel my pain) I am taking Aalliyah back to Blackpool for a 5 day mini break and one thing that she was in desperate need of was some new summer clothing for the glorious weather that I am ever so hopeful we will receive while we are away. Aalliyah has never been what you would call a "girly" girl always preferring to wear joggers, jeans, trainers and such over dresses, skirts and sandals. Recently though she has been keen to explore more feminine options when it comes to her attire (I think it's the secondary school influences) so I was more than happy to take her on a mini spree for some new holiday essentials. Now I am far from being well off, I barely scrape by at times and being a part time working mum appreciate a bargain as much as the next person. Take a look at some of the little gems we found..

We picked up these gorgeous floral cotton dungarees (£12) and festival style hat (£5.60) from Peacocks. Perfect for those summer days.

This gorgeous dress from Primark was a bargain at only £5 perfect to slip on for dinner or even as a cover up on the beach. We also couldn't resist this Aztec print T-Shirt for £3.. Perfect for layering.

Primark definitely came up trumps as we also spotted these gorgeous summer trousers at only £6 a pair. Perfectly cool to wear in the daytime but nice enough if you are off out for dinner in the evening. Plus you can never have too many shoes and at £3 a pair! then why not get one in every colour right?

Last but not least was some make up bag essentials (In the hope that my mascara would stop disappearing from my make up bag) We headed to Superdrug who I think are fab for make up! Aally picked a fabulous mascara (after trying on many) and went for a very subtle natural pink lippy.

We had a great time shopping and I think she got some gorgeous bits that I cant wait to see her in on holiday.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Welcome To YouTube

So I did it...

My first official YouTube video on my new channel..

It's not brilliant, it's not cleverly edited or amazingly shot but its out there in vlog land. As much as I love writing I have wanted to dip my toes into vlogging for quite some time now and I am excited to produce more videos and grow my new channel. I will no doubt be roped into some of Aallys Youtube videos along the way too!

I would love it if you could pop over to my new channel and give me a thumbs up or even better hit that subscribe button. I have lots planned and you will definitely be seeing more of me (and my sidekick no doubt) 

If you do have any younger ones at home that are YT users themselves then Aally has a very entertaining all be it crazy channel if they fancy popping a sub her way..

So here it is. The 40 second video that got me all a fluster! Why was I so nervous eh?

Until next time..

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

My Time With New Look Bingo

As a single parent I always have the best time with my daughter Aalliyah. Never did she make me feel like she’s a responsibility or a burden. I have to manage my home and work life and sometimes, I its easy to get stressed thinking about all my worries and issues, but Aalliyah always brings a smile to my face just by talking to me and making me laugh.

Aalliyah’s school decided on taking the students on a residential trip for the weekend (The first overnight trip she'd been on). I didn’t want to hold her back from the trip just because I’ll miss her. So, I had to straighten up and allow her to go and have fun. Staying at home without Aalliyah is a task for me so I called my sister over to my place to keep me company and have a girls night in. My sister and I decided to do something different which we hadn’t tried together before. She suggested the idea of playing an online bingo game. After a quick Google we came to a site called New Look Bingo and it showed me all the offers, welcome bonuses and promotions available. Initially I was hesitant in signing up and depositing any cash on a site I hadn't been on before.

I did not want to deposit right away so instead just tried out the free bingo online games in the 90 ball free bingo room. I tried and quite liked the game for starters and the welcome bonus was something which grabbed my attention. All we have to do is deposit £10 and we get to play with £75. The theme of the site is very well presented and enticing. We went on to play more games by just spending £10. We got quite drawn into the fun and thrill of the game we hadn't noticed how much time had flew by.

Even now after Aalliyah is back I still play a game or two on the New Look Bingo site after putting her to sleep. This site is a genuine stress buster for me on a quiet evening with a glass of wine. You never know, I may well hit the jackpot one of these days too...

Friday, 22 May 2015

Is Playing Out Getting Outlawed?

Kids on a Nottinghamshire street have been banned from playing football in front of their own houses. Their parents were even threatened with a £100 fine if they were caught.
It all kicked off after neighbours in Ena Avenue, Sneinton moaned to police about noisy children playing football in the street. They said they were worried a ball would smash a window or damage a car.
Officers said there were enough complaints to warrant a letter to parents warning them against rowdy behaviour that might damage property and letting them know they could be fined if their kids stepped out of line.
It’s not the first time children have been given a metaphorical clip round the ear for having fun.
Last summer, housing officials in Worcester sent four families in Wensleydale Drive a letter warning kids about playing in the street on health and safety grounds.

Not everyone has a nearby park or rolling meadow to run around in.

 Gone are the days when kids used to turn up unannounced on a friend’s doorstep, asking if they could come out and play.

Whatever happened to jumpers for goalposts and using chalky stones to draw hopscotch on the pavement?

Our children already live comparatively sedentary lives. So do adults, for that matter. Dads are more likely to be screaming at the ref on the telly and checking out the football betting news online than they are to grab a pair of shorts before heading off for a sweaty game of five-a-side.
It’s just odd that we’re told our children need more fresh air and exercise and, in the same breath, told to keep them indoors.

Perhaps this is just nostalgia talking. These kids from the 1950s grew up in a different world.

There’s more traffic around for a start which makes playing out a lot more dangerous than it was in our parents’ day.
But there’s also a lot more going on inside the house to keep kids happily entertained without setting foot outside the front door.
Loads of television and music channels, video and computer games create a virtual world that’s so much more tantalising than the real one.
Even texting and social media mean kids don’t actually have to see their friends to have fun with them.
The very idea of riding your bike up and down the street or skipping happily to a song in your head is now so far removed from normal life that campaigners have launched a nationwide scheme to bring it back.
Playing Out was set up in Bristol in 2009 when a group of parents desperate to introduce independent outdoor play to their children closed off their road to traffic for three hours.
Now the scheme has been rolled out throughout the country with more than 30 local councils signing up to positive street play policies. And more than 100 streets are regularly closed off to allow kids to play happily and safely for a few hours.
The project is helping families reclaim their share of the streets. It’s their neighbourhood too.

**Written By Jenna Wilson, Jenna is a freelance writer and mum of two from Nottingham. When she’s not running around after the kids she enjoys gardening, reading and a glass of wine or two!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Why Bingo's The Perfect Recipe For A Fun Night In

When you have kids, it’s kind of inevitable that you’ll spend more evenings at home than anywhere else. For a start, once you’re a mum, you’re too tired to go out that often! Also, there’s something nice about being at home and knowing that your kids are tucked up in bed. It gives you a warm and cosy feeling.
However, that’s not to say that the daily routine which nine times out of ten ends up with you slouched on the sofa watching TV can sometimes feel a little monotonous. Of course, it would be great if you could devote your evenings to a fulfilling activity such as sewing or quilting, or another kind of craft activity, but you need to have a certain amount of energy to do that kind of thing.

Is too much sofa time getting to you?

That’s why it’s great to have an alternative to TV and online bingo can be a great option. It’s a game that requires very little effort on the player’s part as the game’s software marks any numbers on your cards that correspond to the calls. So, you can just sit back and watch the game’s progress once you've decided which game to play and how many cards to buy.
Sites such as 32red, Booty Bingo and Take a Break also offer new players incentives to sign up. These are usually in the form of free playing credit. If you want to play any of the 32red bingo games, you can get an extra £32 of credit for every £10 you put in as a first deposit on an account. That will pay for many bingo games as they only cost a few pence at a time and, with a win or two, you could soon be adding to your playing fund.
Bingo’s a good game to play and not only because it’s good value and easy. With sites offering 24/7 schedules, there’s always a game about to start, no matter when you log in. It’s also a way to socialise, as once you have a game in play you can join the chat room associated with that game and share the fun with other players.
As well as being good to play when you’re home by yourself, online bingo is something you can play with friends if you’re having a girls’ night in. All people need to do is bring their phone or tablet and sign in to the same site as you. It’s just like going out to a bingo hall together without having the inconvenience of having to share the venue with other people! In just a couple of weeks’ time, people will be hosting Night In for Macmillan to raise funds for the cancer charity. You could host your own Night In and make it a bingo night!
Of course, bingo doesn't have to be saved for the evenings. It’s a great five-minute game for whenever you want a break. And, who knows, you could hit the jackpot while you’re playing one day!

**Article written by Diane. Diane is a mum to three, physiotherapist and a recent convert to the world of online bingo.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

5 Ways I Like To Spend A Night In

It's not often I go out on the town. Not anymore anyway. Now I am far from being ready to hang up my heels and go into early retirement but the whole prospect of going out on the lash just doesn't appeal to me as much as it once did. So more often than not I find myself indoors for the night and looking for a way to spend my evening and here are my top 5 choices..

1. Catching up with all my Sky + recordings. Ok so this is going to make me sound ridiculously sad but I have so many recordings set up on my Sky box, I very rarely get to watch any of them at the time of airing so literally have to catch up with everything and watch an obscene amount of programmes in one night. I get far too excited than I probably should at the thought of a whole night to myself with nothing but my Sky planner.

2. Our regular "Treat Nights". Since being on Weight Watchers , Saturday nights have become my treat night. Not only is it a day I look forward to because I can treat myself to something yummy but its also a day Aally has come to love also. She loves treat night more than me as it means pizza, popcorn and a movie. She is a big movie buff like me so loves to settle down in front of a good flick with a big bowl of popcorn.

3. Eyes down for a bit of bingo. I have played online bingo for a few years now. Nothing excessive just every now and then. I love the thrill of being close to a win and given that I cant always make it to the bingo halls online bingo is a far better option. I can socialize and win some money (hopefully) without even leaving the sofa. Most sites offer great bonuses for new players too. Just check out a bingo comparison site and see which big bonuses you could claim. Who knows you might be the next jackpot winner!

4. Game Night. Aalliyah is an absolute board game nut! As much as she is glued to her iPod or the Xbox most of the time, she loves nothing more than playing a good board game. I always make sure she gets lots of new games for Christmas so she has enough to last throughout the year. Game nights are brilliant and we love to get competitive with knock out rounds of monopoly, connect 4 and battleships live. She actually has around 4 games still sealed from Christmas that we are yet to try out so I think is game night is on the cards again soon.

5. Catching up on the chores. Ok I wasn't actually doing these in order but somehow the housework has ended up in last place (Funny that) Now I know most of us don't see housework as a pleasant way to spend an evening but with work and other things in the week, sometimes things just get in the way and I put things off until the next day (then the next, then the next) A pattern forms and before you know it the washing is piled high and the dust is an inch thick. Sometimes I enjoy just catching up on the cleaning at the end of the week.

So there are my top 5 ways I would usually spend my night in. Exciting eh? How do you spend a quiet night in if you are lucky enough to have one?

*Written in collaboration with