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Facebook, get your act together!

Facebook’s community standards have always been questionable. I mean who bans breastfeeding photos but allows pornographic images? It really baffles me. I was however absolutely gob smacked when I saw a series of REALLY disturbing images in my timeline. The photos, who had originally been shared by a guy from New York, had several thousand likes and shares and showed a dead baby covered in blood. The baby looked like it was a newborn, merely a couple of hours or days old, and it was dumped on the side of the road or in some sort of bush. It was the first thing I saw that day and the image didn’t leave me all day.

I was disturbed, disgusted and instantly reported the images thinking that they’d be removed within minutes of Facebook receiving my report. Wrong! A couple days after filing my report, I received the following message:

facebook agrees with disturbing photos of dead baby in a bush

What on earth is wrong with Facebook? How can it be alright to spread images like that when children as young as 13 years old are allowed to have a Facebook account? Some parents let their children onto the website at an even younger age. I know I absolutely wouldn’t want Amy to see it: not now, not when she’s older. Not at all to be honest and I find it wrong that Facebook supports that these images get spread around the internet.

There was no escaping from them either. It wasn’t in a private photo album, no it just popped up in my timeline and it left me thinking about it all day. What I found even more disturbing is that until now over 200k people have shared the photos – without any reason. They weren’t connected to a news story that might have helped to raise awareness or educate. No, it was purely disturbing and wrong?

Have you had a similar experience? Do you think Facebook’s community rules work and what should and shouldn’t be shared online?

PS: I have decided not to share said images on my blog because I find it wrong to share something as graphic like that on my personal blog. If you really desperately want to see them, send me a message and I can share a link, but I won’t pop anything on the blog.

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How to teach children to play fair and share in 5 steps

Fairness and loyalty are two of the most important characteristics to me. I am fiercely loyal to my friends and family and I can’t deal with injustice – I have to stand up and say something, if I see that someone isn’t treated fairly.

Fairness and loyalty however are also characteristics that are close to us as customers and consumers. If we spend our hard-earned cash on a product or service, we hope that the service provider values our custom no matter how long we’ve been shopping with them and no matter how long we’ve had our wages paid into our account with their bank.

NatWest agree and that is why they have started their Hello/Goodbye Campaign, a campaign that ensures that all costumers are treated equally. This means, that you are offered the same great deals as a new customer, that you won’t have to go online to search for the best deal and that you won’t be sold deals that get more expensive by the day. Thumbs up, I say! It’s great that a bank practices values that are so important to me as a person and a mum.

How to teach children how to play fair and share

Playing fairly, taking turns and sharing with their little friends isn’t something that comes natural to children, but is something that they have to learn throughout their childhood. Of course, you can give them guidance and help them along the way – gently and without creating bad feelings between the children involved:

1. Remind them of rules before they start to play

2. Encourage positive behaviour by giving feedback “Great sharing”, “Aren’t you playing nicely, well done”

3. Offer reassurance when you see a conflict arise, e.g. “It’s your turn soon”, “After Lola is done, it’s your turn”

4. Look for solutions together, e.g. “You both want to play with this. What can we do now?”

5. Distract, if the situation escalates, e.g. “It’s Toby’s turn now, why don’t we play hide and seek meanwhile?”

How do you encourage your kids to play nicely and share?

I’m working with BritMums and NatWest on this project and have been compensated. All opinions are my own.

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Halloween at Windmill Hill City Farm

Windmill Hill City Farm Bristol 1

We love Windmill Hill City Farm, so when we found out that they were organising fun activities for Halloween, my friend Liska and I thought that it would be the perfect place to take the kids to get into the mood for the scariest of all festivities.

We met at the farm at around lunchtime with the idea to have a quick spot of lunch before letting Amy and Aaron roam around, but the two had different plans and happily fed the ducks before exploring the farm.

tree climbing at windmill hill city farm

They climbed trees

hiding behind bushes at windmill hill city farm

and hid behind pushes

skeleton trail at windmill hill city farm

They spotted skeletons in the trees

pigs at windmill hill city farm

and watched the pigs.

Windmill hill city farm halloween

They admired the sheep

Massive spider web at Windmill Hill City Farm

and pretended they got caught in a spider web.

Windmill Hill City Farm Bristol Loch Ness Monster art installation

They found the Loch Ness monster made from rubbish

hollowing out a pumpkin

before picking their pumpkins, drawing on their designs, hollowing it out

pumpkin carving at windmill hill city farm

and handing it over to us mummies for the final touches.

Amy showing off her carved pumpkin

Amy was very happy with her little friend.

We had a fantastic day, glorious weather and great fun playing and exploring. So much so that we were the last ones to leave. After a late lunch, we headed over to the farm’s playground and the kids had an absolute blast running wild, climbing and playing in the sand. It was beautiful and so warm that you could easily forget that it’s actually autumn.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

If you live in Bristol or surrounding areas, why not check out the farm. You find more info here.

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A Guide to Unusual Art Supplies

When your hobby is arts and crafts the opportunities to be creative are limitless. But along with a healthy imagination sometimes you need a new medium or artistic path to go down in order to take you to unchartered territory. One way to kick start a new creative chapter in your hobby is to explore new materials and use different techniques. You may find your new favourite medium to work with or it may just give you ideas of using other materials in novel ways.

Here is a rundown or some unusual art supplies for you to try. You can get many of the products below at superb supplier www.georgeweill.com, so have a look around, order what takes your fancy and experiment on new creative pathways.

Tjantings

tjantings art suppliesUsed in the Indonesian discipline of Batik in which the artist dyes fabrics and creates patterns using wax resistance. Tjantings (or cantings) are beautiful pipe-like instruments used to apply the fine lines of the wax designs to the fabric. The width of the wax is cleverly controlled by the heat of the wax.

French Curves

These templates often made of plastic or sometimes wood or metal, much like rulers, are great tools for get different degrees of curves in a picture of pattern you are producing. You can also use the tool for cutting curves in fabric or other materials with a craft knife.

CMC Powder

Carboxymethyl Cellulose powdered granules is used in silk paper making. Silk papermaking is a more professional version of papier mache sculpture. Using silk fibres mixed with CMC, the artist can make textured paper/fabric or 3D sculptures. It’s a great technique for making tactile pieces or adding 3D details to pictures.

Felting Needles

make cute little felt animalsFelting needles create 3D objects or work to embellish fabrics during the felt making process. Needle felting is a fantastically creative hobby which involves jabbing the felting needle in wool fibres to form sculptures. You can use needle felting to create anything from puppets to details on garments.

Marbling Paints

For an interesting effect marbling paints create mesmeric effects and can be applied to card, paper or fabric. As well as the paint you also need a marbling medium such as carrageenan or methyl cellulose and a comb or cocktail sticks to manipulate the pattern.

Natural Art Supplies

natural art supplies like leaves and petals

Alternatively, you can use materials found in the great outdoors for your next project. There are some wonderful ideas on the world wide web to give you inspiration on how to turn nature into art. Leaves are a favourite of a lot of artists; spray paint them, collage with them or simply preserve them in wax. Some people like to paint pebbles, there are all sorts you can do with twigs or you could create stamps using potatoes.

Which art supplies do you use when crafting? Do you use specialist material or di you try to keep it as simple as possible?

 

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4 Small Changes You Can Make to Enjoy a Healthier Lifestyle

It can be hard making big changes in life. Habits can be tough to build or break, and the energy and time commitment needed is often too much to handle. However pursuing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to involve big changes, just one smart step in the right direction can pave the way to a healthier life. Making small changes to begin with will increase the likelihood of wanting to stick with these changes and wanting to do more to stay in good health. Here are four small ways you can adapt your lifestyle to lead to a healthier you.

Find an exercise partner

find an exercise partner to help you maintain a healthier lifestyle

A motivating fitness partner will help you to reach your fitness goals – you can motivate, challenge and help each other out. How often have you found an excuse to not go to the gym? It’s easy to find a reason to skip a day of working out but with a fitness partner you have a commitment and are more likely to go as you know you’re letting someone down if you cancel. Your fitness partner will be there witnessing your achievements and successes which is a great motivator when he/she acknowledges your flatter stomach or toned arms.

Buy a food processor

making fresh smoothies or juice can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle

A food processor is a worthwhile investment as its saves time and is easy to use. We are bombarded with information that encourages us to eat better, yet it can be difficult to fit in that all important ‘five-a-day’. With a food processor you can blend together all your favourite vegetables or fruit to make delicious soups or smoothies, allowing you to have your ‘five-a-day’ in one meal. We are encouraged to cook from scratch to avoid preservatives which can be a time consuming task. A food processor will save you plenty of time by doing all the chopping, grating, grinding and mixing for you. You can buy one of these multifunctional products at www.electricshop.com.

Go to bed earlier

go to bed earlier for a healthier lifestyle

An early night can change your lifestyle in many ways. Going to bed just an hour earlier can make all the difference. If you haul yourself out of bed earlier in the morning your energy levels can be greater which means you can squeeze some time in at the gym (with your new exercise partner) or an extra hour at work. Many of us drink endless cups of coffee a day to keep us alert and awake. An earlier night might mean you can lose the caffeine addiction – and save a few pennies while you’re at it.

Cut out processed foods

Processed foods are an illusion that often appear to be healthy, stating that they are low fat, low carb, containing omega-3s etc. However, they are usually loaded with added sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup which are strongly associated with some of the world’s leading killers including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Reducing processed food can lead to a range of health benefits including more energy and losing weight. For those who are reliant on processed foods you will start feeling healthier in as little as a week.

How do you make sure you stay happy and healthy?

 

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My holiday must-haves when holidaying in the UK

holiday must-haves

I love exploring new countries and trying out new things, but when I’m on a short break in the UK, I’m a creature of habit. I guess it’s because I know that I can have all the products that I enjoy on a daily basis whereas on a holiday abroad the adventurer in me comes through.

When holidaying here, I like to take my favourites with me:

My Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash

I have used this body wash every single day for the past two years and I’m not prepared to make an exception on holiday. The scent of lime is incredibly refreshing and gives me a kick start in the morning.

Fruit Tea

I don’t know what it is with people in the UK, but wherever you go, the only tea available is Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. I don’t like either of them, so always make sure to pack some bags of my favourite fruit tea – usually something cherry or berry based.

Chargers for everything

I seem to have a phobia of being disconnected from the outside world, so whenever I go somewhere, I triple check that I have chargers for absolutely everything on me – my phone, my camera, my laptop, Amy’s Leap Pad and everything else there is.

Magazines

I’m a magazine addict, so before every holiday or short trip, I pack some of my favourite magazines. With Amy around, I don’t really have much time to read them, but I always think that holidays are different – usually they’re not and I bring them all back home without having even touched them.

Towel

I know it’s odd and I also know that most places provide you with towels during your stay, but I have a huge grey beach towel that I take absolutely everywhere. It’s so soft and the perfect size to cover your entire body in after a quick shower in the morning or a long soak in the bath. It takes up masses of space in my suitcase, but I never travel without it.

What are your holiday must-haves? Is there anything you never travel without?

This is my entry post into the holidaycottages.co.uk UK holiday must-haves competition

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Are Halloween costumes age-appropriate?

Haunted house Halloween Pumpkin Kitten Halloween Pumpkin

I have blogged about Halloween a couple of times over the last couple of week. I’ve discussed make-up ideas and outfit choices and made it quite clear that certain costumes are a no go for me because they’re simply not age appropriate in my eyes.

At the time I thought I might be a spoil sport, but a recent study among 2000 people in the UK, conducted by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, revealed that I am not the only one who isn’t too keen on the majority of Halloween costumes available (more details here):

  • 66% of women stated they thought costumes on sale were over-sexualised
  • The majority (76%) of those aged over 55 felt that the costumes on sale for children were not age appropriate
  • Parents are not impressed with children’s Halloween costumes on sale, with 83% finding them to be inappropriate for the age at which they are marketed.

Surprised? I’m not! The motto in stores seems to be the gorier the better and it becomes a real struggle to find Halloween costumes that don’t show bones, open wounds or leaking brains. Admittedly, it’s fairly easy to find cute and fun outfits for girls as they can always go as cats or witches, but costumes for boys are usually everything but age-appropriate, if you ask me.

Amy as a witch ready for our Halloween party

Frankenstein, zombies or the Grim Reaper are only a few of the costumes available for boys in all the mayor supermarkets and I personally think there are more age appropriate alternatives out there. To be fair, I wouldn’t mind not dressing Amy up at all, but I don’t want her to miss out when all her little friends go trick or treating. I didn’t when I was little and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out at all. Okay, Halloween wasn’t as commercialised as it is now, but it wasn’t until my 16th birthday that I actually dressed up for the very first time – as angel! Not exactly gory, but I think out of 20 party guests to our Halloween party only 3 looked really scary and let me tell you something: it was absolutely fine and didn’t mean that our party was any less fun. It’s not necessary to look scary and gruesome to have fun, especially not when your three years old.

What do you think about the Halloween costumes available for children? Do you think they are age-appropriate? Do you even need Halloween costumes to have fun and celebrate?

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The kitchen of my dreams

With our move a little less than three weeks away, I have been thinking about interior design more than ever. We will be downsizing quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean that I want to compromise on style and storage space, especially in the kitchen. I haven’t quite decided on the style I want, but mood boards are a great way to play around with different colours, surfaces and styles and that’s exactly why I have created a couple of them.

So far, this is my favourite. It’s modern, colourful and I hope it will cheer my up when I pop in there for my first cup of tea every morning:

my dream kitchen

A must-have for me are built-in appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers. I’m not so strict with my fridge, but anything that comes underneath a counter just looks so much better, if it ties in with the overall design of the kitchen. It’s sleeker, looks less cluttered and makes your kitchen so much more expensive than it might have actually been.

Another important aspect is the flooring. With an active pre-schooler prone to spills, it’s essential that it’s easy to clean, good quality and not too light. Let’s face it, none of us wants to spend all day cleaning up and mopping the floor. Tiles or hardwood are great options that with the right design and colour are timeless additions to your kitchen that will last you for years and years to come.

Despite liking colour, I prefer surfaces such as worktops and cupboards in neutral colours. That way, the room doesn’t become too overwhelming and can easily be changed, if you want something new. A feature wall and accessories are a fab way to inject some colour or even patterns and textures. Think curtains, fruit bowls or blinds – the possibilities are endless and they will really give your kitchen some character.

How does your perfect kitchen look like and what are must-haves?

Disclosure: This is a promotional post in association with BEKO.

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Throw a Game Village Bingo Party for the girls

bingo with the girls

When you’re a mum, it’s not always easy to get child care so that you can meet up with the girls in the evening. One way to get around this is to stay home and have a virtual night with the girls instead.

And what better game could there be to base that girls’ night around than bingo? Online bingo is being played all over the world by millions of people every day, and as well as offering the potential to win some amazing cash prizes, it also gives people a social outlet too. As there’s no need to concentrate on the game itself because the software will daub your numbers that match the calls automatically you can play bingo while you chat to friends in the bingo chat rooms.

It’s simple to pick a game that suits everyone who’s going to join you and to choose a time to all sign in to the bingo site and be online together.

And if you’re introducing new players to the site, they can take advantage of the welcome bonuses that are available. At Game Village Bingo, new players can also make their money go further. Deposit £5 and get a bonus of £20 added before even buying your very first ticket.

And if you think the idea of staying at your own house to play bingo with your friends feels too remote, you could always get together with your laptops at one person’s house, leaving your partners to mind the kids at home. It could become a regular event, with a different person hosting each time. All you need to do is have a decent internet connection so you can all get online at once, and have enough drinks and snacks in for everyone.

The beauty of hosting your own bingo parties is that you can be as chatty and as loud as you like with your group of friends without any risk of disapproval from other players – as might happen in the bingo hall in town. And, of course, your little cherubs will be tucked up in bed, knowing that mummy is never too far away!

Disclosure: This is a promotional post. Image by Anders Ruff Custom Designs.

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Win a Samsung Microwave with Birds Eye

Frozen food giants Birds Eye have just launched two new products to add to their steamed vegetable range and to celebrate they are hosting a Pick and Mix event at Waterloo station where commuters can choose their favourite vegetables and have them steamed for a quick lunch.

win a microwave with birds eye

Obviously not everyone lives in London and that’s why the Pick and Mix stand comes to you, well, at least virtually. Over on Birds Eye’s Facebook page, you can Create Your Steamfresh and win fabulous prizes like a weekend break, stylish mircrowaves and more. All you have to do is pop 6 vegetables onto your virtual chopping board and create an award-winning combo.

Before you run off to try your hand at creating your own Steamfresh, make sure to enter the giveaway below. Birds Eye are kindly offering one lucky reader the chance to win a brand-new Samsung microwave. It’s compact, features a ceramic enamel interior that is easy to clean and will never scratch or crack, hygienic and odour free.

To enter, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below following the instructions provided. Please make sure to fulfil the mandatory entry requirements first before moving on to earning extra points. Invalid or faulty entries won’t be counted or entered into the prize draw. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway