The Family Friendly Features We’re Not Using On Our Kindle Fire HDX

Poor Mr P. Not only is he a blogging widow (his latest TV series he watches while I ignore him blog, of an evening, is The Shield) but for the last nine months, he has been the only member of our family without a tablet to play with.

He bought me an iPad mini for my birthday last December and the four-year-old has all but claimed our first generation iPad as her own (well, she may as well have it. It’s so old, many apps don’t even work on it anymore *shakes fist at Apple’s clever money making scheme*)

But Mr P was tablet-less. Sans tablet.

Which, I’m sure you can imagine, must have been hard for him. I mean, he only had his iPhone 5S, Apple TV and a MacBook Air to play with. Poor wee soul.

But brilliantly, we were recently given a Kindle Fire HDX and I thought it only fair that Mr P have it. And boy, is he like a kid with a new toy. Within minutes of unwrapping it, he had it set up and linked to his Amazon account, downloaded apps like Facebook and Twitter, and was setting up Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Kindle Fire HDX

What he hasn’t been doing is using any of the amazing family friendly features…

He hasn’t used the FreeTime feature which allows parents to curate content that their kids watch and control the areas of the Kindle that each family member can access.
He has watched the F1 on it.

He hasn’t used the feature which allows parents to have the Kindle shut off automatically at a certain time, so that when it’s kids’ bedtime or homework time, they can’t carry on using it.
He has played Fairway Solitaire on it.

He hasn’t allowed the four-year-old to watch many of the kids’ programmes on Amazon Prime Instant Video, including original shows like Annedroids, Tumble Leaf and Creative Galaxy.
He has surfed Buzzfeed on it.

He hasn’t allowed the four-year-old to watch Tangled, Peppa Pig and Toy Story, which are all available to stream on Amazon Prime Instant Video.
He has read the Hunger Games trilogy on it.

So while the four-year-old is not benefitting in any way from our lovely new toy, Mr P is happy. (And ssshh don’t tell him I sneakily watched a schmaltzy Miley Cyrus movie on it the other night.)

 

I’m A Sucker For Stationery

 

Gorgeous modern desk space

Is it just me who spends hours on Pinterest looking at images of stationery and gorgeous desk spaces? Since I started working mostly from home, I’ve been creating a little space for myself to get creative, and that means lusting after post-it notes, pens, motivational prints for the wall, and anything that looks chic and will organise my chaotic life. I’m sure I’ll take some snaps of my work area soon (when it’s finally finished…) and share them here, but for now, I want to share my favourite new website for buying cute little things to brighten up your desk – or just your life.

Ban.do is an LA based company that I discovered thanks to uber blogger Oh Joy! And I pretty much want everything they stock. They ship internationally (hooray) and I’ve already ordered a phone case. Here are some of my favourite things on Ban.do – which are your favourites?

Gorgeous Ban.do buys!

Dress up your desk!

Things That Are Making Me Smile This Week

Buying a new roll of pretty washi tape, reading a new book with my three-year-old, actually making it to the gym every morning for a week rather than talking myself out of it. These are all things that make me happy. It’s funny how little things can make you smile, isn’t it?

This week, these things are making me smile. It might seem daft, but here we go…

 

nice--things

The swimming costume was a sales purchase from Marks and Spencer. I couldn’t resist the bold print – and sshh don’t show it to my daughter because it’s for kids age 5-6 so she’s got at least a year until she can wear it!

Next, a gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M. One of those spur-of-the-moment purchases after seeing it discarded on a pile of pants near the till. Only £2.99 yet will bring my daughter a whole heap of joy when she wears the crown at her 4th birthday party later this month.

Gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M Continue reading

I’m Not That Kind Of Mum… Am I?

Starting school

When we have children, we gradually work out what kind of parent we are. We read books and magazines, read blogs, listen to experts, chat to friends, and it all helps us form an idea of the kind of mum we are.

  • Cloth nappies or Pampers lover? (Eek sorry environment! We had disposable nappies)
  • Pureeing purist or Ella’s Kitchen fan? (I was both, but definitely veered towards my pal Ella, as time went on)
  • Co-sleeper or the mum who says ‘back to your own bed!’ (I’m firmly in the latter camp)
  • CBeebies celebrator or telly ban enforcer? (Praise be to the telly box, I say)

Tiger mums! Attachment parenting! Stay at home mums! Helicopter parenting! *head spins and falls off*

Of course, there is no right or wrong, with all of these choices. They’re just decisions we make every day – we weigh up all the options and our circumstances and make a judgement based on what feels right. And even though I’ve been doing this ‘mum thing’ for nearly four years now, I’m finding that I’m still learning and discovering what kind of mum I am. This week, I learned that…

Apparently I’m the kind of mum who is upset about my daughter starting primary school

Nothing unusual about that, you might say. Until I tell you that my daughter isn’t starting primary school for a WHOLE YEAR. Yet, here I am, feeling incredibly sad at the thought. This week, I’ve been busy working at my laptop and a five minute check of Facebook (like you don’t do that too…) has left me welling up – all those little four-year-olds wearing a uniform, shoes polished and hair brushed neatly. Down our street, I see local children heading off to their first day, hand in hand with their mummy or daddy. They’re just so young. And that will be my daughter this time next year.

But I’m not the kind of mum who doesn’t want her child to grow up. If anything, I’m the opposite. When my daughter was a baby, I willed time to move faster so that I could have a fun toddler to spend time with rather than a ‘I’m giving nothing back to you’ baby (and if I’m being honest with you, so that I could escape my miserable PND-tinged maternity leave existence and get back to work). When other mums said things like “My baby’s growing up too fast!” I would smile and nod sympathetically and say, “Yes, mine too!” but inside I was punching the air and thinking “Isn’t it GREAT?”

And actually, I kind of stand by that feeling – every day, week and month, my three-year-old is learning and developing and it is amazing to see that happen. I love having chats with her and being surprised at what she knows (the other day we were talking about strangers and out of the blue, she said, “You can talk to strangers when you’re with your mummy and daddy but you can’t speak to strangers if you’re not with your mummy and daddy” and I could have KISSED her with sheer delight).

But apparently, I’m the kind of mum who is upset about her daughter starting school – a whole year in advance. Who even knew that was a thing?

 

 

I Bloody Love A Child-Free Break

 

Holiday essentials

Yessss! It’s September!

I’m pleased about the new month starting for a few reasons. It’s my daughter’s 4th birthday later in the month (so we’ll be having a big party – imagine 30 pre-schoolers running around a hall while Demi Lovato warbles Let It Go and you’ve got it nailed), it’s Mr P’s birthday this month (his celebrations might feature fewer Frozen songs) and all of the shops start getting lovely big coats, boots and chunky knits in (although who am I kidding? I can’t pull off a chunky knit without looking, hmm, chunky myself).

But the main reason I’m excited about September? I’ve got TWO child-free breaks coming up. TWO!

I was chatting with a good friend the other day about being away from our kids. It’s one of those weird things that, as a parent, leaves you feeling torn. On one hand, you know you’ll miss your children. But on the other hand… WOO HOO!

At the moment, I’m definitely veering towards the latter reaction. I know I’ll miss my daughter loads while I’m away but I think that cocktail drinking and book reading will soften the blow. So where am I going? Well, first up, next week, I’m off the Greek island of Rhodes. Mark Warner are taking ten bloggers to their Levante Beach resort for four nights and I can’t bloody wait. I’m thinking that four nights is probably the perfect number of nights for a child-free break, as I’ll love the novelty of feeling free without the heart wrenching misery of pining for my child. Of course, knowing she is at home with her dad will make it practically guilt-free.

Later in the month, Mr P and I are going to Barcelona for three nights to see family who are going to be holidaying there, and to celebrate Mr P’s birthday. The three-year-old (hang on, she’ll be four then!) will be staying with her grandparents while we head off on a city break. Every time I close my eyes, I can see red wine, tapas and the cobbled streets of the gothic quarter…

So does it make me a bad mum for being so excited (woooo!) about having two adults only breaks coming up? Of course it doesn’t. Just as it’s important to value your time as a family and create fun memories together, it’s important to have time out where you can be on your own or spend time as a couple. It’s healthy to have a balance and take time to think about yourself, what you want in life and what great things you could achieve next, and these are all things that people tend to think about when on holiday.

Of all the things (and there are many) that I’m looking forward to, about my child-free breaks, these are my top five:

1. Having a lie in

Do you even remember what they are like? No, no, I’m not talking about those lie ins your husband or partner might give you every weekend, where you’re woken at 6.30am by a stuffed animal being thrown at your head before listening to your child being ‘shushed’ lots while they’re taken downstairs for breakfast, then as you try to get back to sleep, all you can hear from the kitchen is: ‘I don’t WANT that bowl. I want the YELLOW one’ followed by the theme tune to Peppa Pig blasting from the TV. Not those lie ins. A proper one, where you don’t even stir until 9am and when you do, all you can here is silence. Lovely lovely silence. And maybe a bird chirupping from outside the window. Ahh bliss.

2. Being able to read a book by the pool

In my 20s, holidays meant two things: drinking wine every evening and reading books by the pool. They were a chance to properly relax and switch off from the real world. Now, holidays are about entertaining the kids whilst snatching moments of relaxation (thank goodness for kids’ clubs). They’re fun, but not the same. I’m going to take my Kindle away with me and read as much as I can.

3. Finishing a conversation

I don’t know about you, but if I have the three-year-old with me when I meet friends, I can forget about finishing a conversation. I can start lots of conversations, but you can guarantee that just as I’m getting to the crux of my point, my daughter will say, ‘Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!’ until I give her my attention. (She’s even taken to doing it and then when I say ‘Yes honey?’ she clearly has nothing she wants to say or ask, and so makes up something like ‘Why are you wearing a t-shirt?’) So being able to just chat and set the world to rights on holiday will be a treat. Continue reading