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July 2013
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November 2013

Tesco to Sell Own Brand £99 Tablet - I Want One!

Woohoo, big news today that Tesco is rumoured to be about to release its own brand 7 inch tablet in the very near future.

Like many parents, with Christmas just around the corner, my family are currently in the market for a cheap tablet ourselves. Although we already have a couple of iPads, we also have four children, aged 13, 10, 8 and almost 2, who are constantly sneaking off with my husband's iPad. I keep mine all to myself so they know better than to ask for it but hubby is really fed up with getting in from work to find he has 3% power left! That's why this year we decided it might be time to buy one or maybe two cheaper tablets for the kids to share. We're not wanting to go too expensive but do want something reliable and so far have considered the Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, the latter of which we've seen on special offer and which gets great reviews.

I'll be keen to find out what Tesco's tablet looks and feels like (although if it does have a 7 inch screen that will be perfect for smaller hands!) and to see how it operates compared to the iPad which I know is in a league of its own but all the same, it'll be interesting.

The children aren't looking for anything too high spec - as long as they can play Sims and similar games and do a little research for homework purposes they'll be more than happy, but for us as parents the more reputable tablets on the table the better for all of us. Particularly for my poor fed up husband!


Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life

In recent and even not so recent years I've often found it difficult to relax. Most likely, the sole reason for this is simply that I lead a busy life, caring for our four children and my husband. It doesn't leave a lot of time for me to focus just on me and that means I often end up feeling stressed. It's not like I want or even need a lot of time to myself, but like most mothers, just a half hour here or there is all I desire!

I've often found that in those occasional half hours that I do manage to grab for myself that deep relaxation recordings help me cope with the daily stress in my life and I suppose I first started reaching for them when I was a student. Studying for what seemd to be never-ending exams in the hope of achieving my dream of becoming an English teacher, it was often difficult to wind down at the end of the day.

As the years have gone by, many things have changed. I achieved my dream but found that full-time motherhood became more important to me and that's why I made the almost overwhelmingly difficult choice to stay at home full-time. Not that I made that choice deliberately I might add. When I went on maternity leave just before my second daughter was born, I fully intended on returning to the workplace. However, it just never happened. I briefly thought about how childcare would work out and couldn't bring myself to leave the children with strangers. My parents and my husband's parents had been more than eager to look after their first grandchild but with a second it was more difficult for them and I didn't even ask as I knew it would be too much.

It wasn't an easy decision to stay at home as I had always loved my work and got a great feeling of excitement from helping young people to learn, but it had physically pained me when I had initially left my first baby behind with one set of grandparents whilst I left to educate other children. Somehow, the decision to become a fulltime mother was made for me without me even realising it - it was only as the weeks at home became years at home that at some point I actually thought to myself how did that happen?

These days, with four children who demand my almost every moment, I often look back on what could have been had I managed to secure a permanent job in teaching as soon as I'd qualified. I probably wouldn't have found it just so easy to walk away, and in fact probably wouldn't have done so, but since my early teaching positions were always temporary I just never went back after the birth of my second daughter.

Looking back into my own past always causes me mixed feelings. I know in my heart I've often made what were difficult but ultimately the best choices I could have made at the time, yet I still wonder incessantly about how I could be more productive in society. My husband tells me what I do is enormously important - as a full-time mother, I'm the one who takes the children on medical appointments, nurses them if they're ill and I do most of the school work, all the school runs and house-keeping. But my mind often refuses to quieten, questioning many of the decisions I have made and continue to make. 

Every day I look at working mothers and wonder how they manage and how I would have managed had that been the path I had ended up taking. I have many regrets but also many moments of clarity and when it all starts to become overwhelming help is never far away in the form of one of the many mp3 relaxation cds I have on my ipod. At the moment I'm enjoying some of my many Glenn Harrold recordings, in particular his solfeggio meditations series of which I have three. The recordings are based on an ancient sound system using certain frequencies which correspond to specific worries, stresses, hopes and dreams and I have found them remarkably effective and rather inspirational. Like many similar hypnotherapy/relaxation recordings, they start off helping you focus on breathing techniques which help you drift into a lovely deeply relaxed state before suggestions which help focus on problems or desires in your life. I usuallly fall into a deep sleep fairly quickly and usually awaken with a loud snore just as the recording ends!

What I really love about these recordings though is the background sounds and music, so much so that I actually bought myself a copy of just the background music which is composed and arranged by spiritual musician and healer Ali Calderwood, the man behind Anima.

Continue reading "Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life" »


Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book

BeBe GourmetRecently I reviewed Annabel Karmel's latest recipe book and it's certainly become one of our family favourites. Full of tasty and easy to adapt recipes, there's something to suit everyone's tastes in the family. So, I was excited to receive another baby recipe book to review recently, namely Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book, by mother of two Jenny Carenco of Les Menus Bébé.

A stunning book to look at, it is full of tempting and very beautiful photos of delicious meals which aim to help parents raise adventurous eaters from the age of 4 months upwards!

I'm proud of the fact that none of my children have ever been particularly picky eaters, something I firmly believe breastfeeding has helped with, although that's not to say they don't have certain preferences. For example, my eldest daughter prefers plainer foods and also eats raw rather than cooked carrots whilst my son absolutely adores spicy foods. My second daughter isn't keen on mushrooms but will take them if chopped up very small. And Sophia, the toddler, well she'll eat anything and everything. Consequently, Bébé Gourmet looks like a good bet for us.

Continue reading "Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book" »


Homework is Exhausting... and Not Just for the Kids!

Is it just me or do all parents find helping the children with their homework an exhausting, not to mention daunting, task at times? Having spent yet another night of broken sleep feeding my baby girl and all day running around after her, I have come to dread when my other three return from school needing help with never-ending homework! As they sit around the kitchen table squabbling with one another over who has the most or who has the least to do, I find myself inevitably rolling my eyes and wondering who to start with and how to explain all the things they need help with in a way which doesn't completely contradict how their teachers' have taught them. Of course they are all are exhausted too after a full day of learning and that doesn't help things... At times like this I can only be thankful we have the internet to help us - especially with maths which most definitely isn't my forte. At the moment my middle daughter is struggling a little bit to get to grips with fractions but fortunately, after a quick search online, I've found some great teaching resources to help her and me to deal with this particular subject. However this in itself also got me thinking about just how precious my pc is to me these days and how I'd be lost if anything happened it. Thankfully our home insurance covers it in the event of accidental damage - and with a very inquisitive toddler grabbing at it at every opportunity I'm just relieved it is covered!

Back to the homework though. After almost seriously considering joining a running club yesterday to help me cope with the stresses and strains of parenting, I've made up my mind that I do need to do something just for myself. Running isn't it though as my poor old knees just aren't up to it!

A few years ago I took some photography evening classes which I enjoyed immensely but because my hubby doesn't get home in time for the classes in his current job, that's a bit of a no-no for me these days. I love my blogging too but it's not exactly stress-relieving especially when I'm trying to write with a baby tugging at my leg wanting to go to the park. So I'm considering brisk walking. Before Sophia was born I walked a very brisk half hour every morning after dropping my other children off to school and before starting on the housework. It was a wonderful way for me to start the day, plus the joy of losing some excess weight and listening to long-forgotten favourite albums undisturbed always left me feeling invigorated afterwards. Since having Sophia however, I've found the motivation to get up and walk somewhere has gone. But with stress creeping up on me and all that homework help required at the end of the school day I know I have to just grab that pram by its handles and drag myself out that door. I know I'll feel all the better for it and hopefully, just hopefully, homework time will soon become a less stressful event for us all.