Burning The Candle At Both Ends

candle

 

Parents with children who love Me To! will have heard the question “Where did the time go? on numerous occasions and just like the characters I looked in my diary today and uttered that same question in horror.

Today is the 25th January, by the end of the month I need to complete a series of tasks which at the moment seems rather impossible, I should really stop writing this post and start on the more important things like my self assessment which hasn’t been started and the information I need is lying in two large storage boxes under the stairs.  I could also be finishing my NCT branch accounts ready for the quarter end, I’ve had a few issues this month with mystery payments going into the account and I won’t be able to close with these outstanding.

Finance aside I have a 66+ page newsletter  due to go out to members and although I have asked for member stories and information I’ve only received 1 double page so far so it looks like I will be writing the rest myself.  Finally I have 2 pieces of work to complete for a client’s brochure, I need to write around 1500 words on each peace and so far I have 0.

Running a house, being a full time mum to a toddler and a teenager, writing two blogs, volunteering, writing a cook book and working as a freelance writer really does start to take it’s toll after the festive period when work takes a back seat, my time management skills seem to be non existent at the moment meaning I’m procrastinating far too much so  I’d love to hear from people in a similar position to see what sort of tips and advice they have to offer.

I’ve always been someone who likes to burn the candle at both ends, at the moment I seem to be burning it down the side too!

The Ugly Side Of The Internet

This is a post I really don’t want to write, it’s actually making me feel sick as I type and I’m not really sure how to put what I have to say into words especially when I’m so angry and sickened with some of the people who come to my blog each day.

We all know how marvellous the internet is, it allows us to find information in seconds, book a holiday, purchase shopping, talk to relatives via video call, study for a degree and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Unfortunately there is also a downside to the internet, I suppose there has to be to balance out the good, it’s always the way.

Back in 2011 I wrote a post about a new shampoo I had tried on Lucie’s hair, if you’re not a regular reader of my blog Lucie is my teenage daughter who will be 15 this year.  The blog post in question was titled Naked for Kids 2 in 1 Jam Sandwiches Shampoo, I was excited to share this post with my readers because the shampoo was 97% natural and contained no parabens, SLS or petrochemicals, we loved it and I wanted other people who had children with eczema to love it too.  I hadn’t been blogging for that long at the time of writing so my pictures were small however in my opinion they gave a good indication to how the product worked. What I wasn’t prepared for when I wrote the post was the sheer volume of search terms that has brought perverts to my blog since 2011.

I get on average between 65-70 hits a day on collective search terms using the word ‘naked’ I personally don’t count these when I’m asked for my stats as I know they are not true blog readers they are unfortunately sad and twisted people who are looking for something my blog can’t offer them. I’ve thought about deleting the post or changing the title  but why should I? I’m not in the wrong here, the company who designed the shampoo obviously thought it was an acceptable name to use!

Safeguarding children

I googled the name of the shampoo and found that the first link on every page was a link to report child abuse imagery to google, how horrifying.

Both of my blogs are read by my friends and family, my daughter and hopefully my son when he is old enough to read, it’s a space for me to share thoughts, feelings, document products we have used, places we have been and it gives those close to us who no longer live near to us a chance to feel more connected to my little family.  I know that because my pictures and information is stored on this blog that it can be viewed by anyone in the world, my pictures can be taken and used and my information copied I’ve seen it happen to bloggers many times even though it’s illegal.

I was reading my summarised search terms over the past 30 days earlier and as some of the search terms are becoming rather sickening it’s prompted me to write this post mainly to vent and also to make sure people remember that it’s not only likeminded people who stumble upon blogs but depraved perverts too.  below are a selection of the search terms used to find my blog, what makes me sick is the fact that each person who landed on my page and realised that I wasn’t offering what the wanted probably did manage to find a picture of an innocent child who no longer has their innocence.

6 5 4 3 2 1

This is my blog, my space, my family, you won’t find any naked children here no matter what disgusting search terms you use, the only nakedness you will see is a shampoo which is 97% natural and contains no parabens, SLS or petrochemicals.

On this blog you will find a family, happy children playing with toys, adventures on a day out, people wearing clothes, people using skin and body products and children being children.

I never imagined back in 2011 that a simple bottle of shampoo would be something I would be talking about years later.  I talk to my daughter about internet safety on a weekly basis, I’ll do the same thing with my son when he’s old enough to go online.  Internet safety for children is a huge worry for me as it should be for any parent, I get a constant reminder each day when I look at my search terms about how many immoral and sick people there are in society each day and I can only hope that one day someone develops a way to eradicate all forms of child abuse so we’re free to talk about a shampoo that contains no nasties without perverts looking at our children and our children can be safe online.

If you do have any concerns about Images you have seen online or have any concerns about the welfare of children the following links may be of use:

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

Fair Play for Children

NSPCC

Gov.UK

Safe Network

CEOP Command

 

 

Revision Hints and Tips

Lucie is 14 years old and currently in year 10 at school, most of her evenings are spent with her head in a book (her choice) and because of her sheer determination to succeed she has excellent predicted grades at GCSE level. At the start of term in September this year Lucie was in panic mode, her scores were good but not what she wanted and she has worked so hard to improve her grades meaning she has jumped from a C to an A* in some subjects.   Last week was parents evening and every teacher we visited said the same thing to me, they could tell that Lucie was passionate about the subjects she was learning and they also knew that she was doing a lot of reading and practise at home.

It won’t be too long before mock exam season will be upon us and Lucie will be locked in her room cramming into the small hours, it’s going to be hard enough for her with a toddler in the house!

Lucie finds that having a revision timetable helps especially when you have lots of important tests that fall around the same time and uses a white board for this so things can be easily erased and changed.

Making flash cards work for her as a revision technique, but her favourite revision method is to do practice papers, she has them for each of her subjects and although I can’t always mark them as accurately as a teacher could it gives her a good idea about how well she has done.

Research has shown that shorter 20-30 minute spells work best because a person’s concentration levels are higher; this coupled with exercise – even just a short jog – and making sure your kids find the right balance between study and leisure can all help in achieving top marks.  Lucie does regular exercise outside of school including jogging and Zumba which she enjoys and will continue with during her exams, it allows her to get out of the house and not only improve her fitness but socialise with her friends.

But what else should students take into consideration when it comes to effective revision?

Recent research from malt loaf makers Soreen has shown that being hungry can affect a person’s ability to make decisions and concentrate. Clinical trials carried out as part of the study showed that hungry participants were twice as likely to make the wrong decision compared to participants who had eaten.

The research also found that hunger pangs can significantly increase feelings of irritation and anger, which can adversely affect concentration. This shows just how important it is to ensure that your kids are fuelled during this time.

Regular snacks consisting of a slow release carbohydrate will keep glucose levels in the brain from plummeting, which impacts negatively on concentration. By combining the snack with some good quality protein you can slow the release of the carbohydrate and ensure the brain is working as efficiently as it can.

Lucie is really bad for skipping meals especially when she is busy or engrossed in something like homework projects, she has recently told me that she would prefer to have a selection of snacks in Tupperware boxes brought up to her room such as mixed seeds, dried fruit, nuts and flapjacks which will hopefully keep her energy up.

The video below has some top tips from Dr Christy Fergusson on how to make sure your kids are in the zone when it comes to studying.

 

Gifts Via Post

This year I’m doing things a little differently when it comes to Christmas gift guides, a lot of the blogs I read tend to do the same sort of thing and newsfeeds get swamped with the same products which is great for the brands mentioned but not so great for the reader who may be looking for something that’s a little bit different.  I thought I’d make my gift guides this year useful and hope that other people like me might just be looking for the same sort of thing.

My first gift guide instalment is gifts that can be sent via the postal system and I’ll concentrate on the items that fit into the large letter and small parcel category because if you’re sending an item via post you want to keep your postal costs down.

This year I won’t be visiting my family or friends until after Christmas, the 28th and 29th December to be precise so I’m posting my presents, some of the items in this guide are the actual items I’ve purchased and others are one’s that I would have purchased if I had more money to spend on people.

Tactus Smootch phone case

The Tactus Smootch (from £9.99) is a reusable phone skin and protective case for hands-free photos and videos.  The case has micro-suction technology allowing you to stick your phone to smooth surfaces including glass and mirrors, without leaving a sticky residue.

If the gift recipient is a fan of taking a selfie or using facetime this could be the perfect gift.  There are seven colours to choose from meaning there is something for everyone.  The Tactus Smootch is available as skin for the iPhone 5/5s and as a protective case for the iPhone 6.

TheSundayGirlCompany_1084314_FrenchJoiedeToileRetr

The Sunday Girl Company has a fantastic range of aprons for adults and children, my favourite is the royal blue sweetheart adult apron (£24.99) but I’d be happy with any of the  ultra glamorous range. ‘Let Them Eat Cake’, inspired this French Joie de Toile design which would make the perfect gift for someone who likes to keep stylish whilst entertaining. The collection incudes a Little Miss Sunday Girl apron in Royal Blue for mini Mademoiselles (£14.99).

BerylBettyGifts_1082450_Eventhoughyourefarawayyour

This beautiful silver plated bangle (£14.95) by Beryl Betty with a subtle twist would make the perfect gift for a friend or loved one who you don’t see often enough.  Inscribed with the words ‘Even though you’re far away…you’re in my thoughts every day…’ Bangle’s are presented in an organza bag with a care card inside a black box tied with ribbon ready for you to present as gift. The bangles are silver plated and in time the plating will slowly wear off to show a copper coloured bracelet.

burts bees

The Burts Bees Endless Shine Trio (£9.99)  contains mini tubes of Blush, Pink, Wink, and Flutter would be a perfect stocking filler for someone who likes a bit of shine from their lip product.

Magnets cream fridge

These fridge magnets (£10 for 12) from Instajunction are a great idea for sending pictures of yourself of your children to friends and family who don’t live near, you might actually like them so much that you decide to keep them for yourself!

 

travel walletPeople who love to travel will love this Travel Wallet (£29.95) from Hampton Blue.  The travel wallet is made from leatherette with a bicycle and floral design on the outside. The design includes a bicycle, flowers, suitcase, bird print and some cute stitching. There is also the inscription ‘Packed and Ready To Go’ on the front cover.   Inside you will find lots of different compartments for passports, a pen, hotel information, documents, tickets, currency and also spaces for essential cards and other tickets and information. There is also a small zipped pocket with a scissors pull for lose change. The wallet is fastened with a grey leatherette strap with stitched heart motif.  Just perfect for travelling in style.

 

bookmarks

The Little Mr and Mrs bookmarks (£5.00) by Little Man Shop would make the perfect present for a couple, If you love the idea of these but don’t have a couple to give them to you can also choose from snowman, little man and romance bookmarks which are equally adorable.

pop goes your name

I can’t think of a better gift to buy a child than a Pop Goes Your Name CD (£12.95).  The POP Goes Your Name album is a collection of fun and upbeat songs, personalised for your someone special. Children can experience a selection of musical styles, with catchy melodies and sing-along lyrics whilst hearing their own name being sung back to them. The songs are written for children in their early years. From Noisy Farm to Rock it Out, the album is full of themes and sounds that children can recognize and understand and is guaranteed to get mum & dad’s feet tapping too!

 

The Adventures of The Cuddle Pirate

The Adventures of the cuddle pirate

 

The Adventures of The Cuddle Pirate is a fabulous series of children’s books written by Kelly Elsworthy and Illustrated by Becky Dench.

It’s never too early to instil into your children the importance of healthy eating and in each of the books you will travel over land and sea with the Cuddle Pirate and his shipmates, embarking on great adventures and discovering tasty healthy food on the way!

The book doesn’t just have healthy eating heroes, there are a whole host of baddies like Sugar Shark and his gang who just love junk food. They like drinking fizzy pop and eating sweets, chocolate and crisps. Their mission is to ruin all of the healthy food the Cuddle Pirate and his crew discover on their journeys by sneakily adding sugar to it.

cuddle pirate picture

The characters are colourful and fun and the members of the Cuddle Pirate’s gang all have food related names such as Pickles the parrot and Tomato Tommy the ship’s cook.

The Cuddle Pirate is captain of the “Grapevine Galleon” and leader of the crew. He’s big, strong and cuddly!

He knows when little boys and girls eat up all the good things on their plate. And for those who do, the Cuddle Pirate sends them cuddles in their dreams.

The Cuddle Pirate carries a tiny telescope which magically grows bigger and bigger so he can see for miles across every ocean. This helps him to spot the nasty old Sugar Shark and his gang who are forever trying to spoil the crew’s quest.

cuddle pirate pictures

The books are not only a fantastic read for children but for adults too, although Arthur is too young to understand about the importance of healthy eating he really enjoys looking at the pictures in the book and sits and listens to the story over a couple of nights.  I find that by describing the picture in the book it helps Arthur to improve his vocabulary as he is using words that he might not usually come across.

My favourite character is the Sugar Shark, he reminds me of Dr. Claw who is Inspector Gadgets nemesis, Like Dr. Claw the Sugar Shark never can quite manage to act out his nasty plan as he want’s because the Cuddle Pirate and his gang are always there to stop him.

cuddle pirate recipe

Each book has a recipe, the one shown above is from the first book The Adventures of the Cuddle Pirate and the Giant Jelly, it’s a great trifle which Lucie and Arthur made together (Arthur helped to put the swiss roll in the bowl).  Not only does the book encourage healthy eating it also provides a recipe to allow your children to become creative in the kitchen.

You can find more information about The Cuddle Pirate and purchase the books here.  We love these books so much that we also bought the kindle version from Amazon so that we can read when we’re out and about.

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