Who Wants Apps? WeWantApps!

When I treated myself to an iPad a couple of months ago, I knew I wouldn’t have it all to myself, but I didn’t realise how much my 4 year old son would love it. He now refers to it as “my iPad” and, frankly, he’s right.

The only problem we’ve had so far has been finding the right apps for him. We’ve installed many that have turned out to be too easy (the educational ones) or too simple (the games) and he quickly gets bored. Others have proven to be more suitable for older kids, leaving him frustrated.

So when I was asked to review WeWantApps! I jumped at the chance. Released worldwide on 22nd August, it has been designed to recommend age-appropriate apps for young children (0-14 years old). With several categories to choose from, including Games, Education, Books and Learning for Life, it could make it so much easier for parents to find the right apps for their kids.

The first thing I noticed was the really user friendly interface. It’s very easy to select your search criteria: age, category (Education, Games, Books or Other), Language, Platform (iPhone, iPad or Universal) and Price (Free or Paid). Then you simply hit “Search” and within seconds the results are generated. My search for free iPad books in English, for the age range 4-5, provided an impressive 254 results. We are now the proud owners of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” (recommended age 4-6), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (age 3-8) and “Toy Story Read-Along” (age 4-10).

As well as making it quick and easy to find the most suitable apps for your child, WeWantApps! lets you share your favourite apps with other parents and friends, and checking out the apps they love. The Daily App recommendation is handpicked by the WeWantApps! team and is a good way to discover new apps that you might not think to search for. Every single app has been reviewed by the WeWantApps! team, giving parents peace of mind that their iPhone or iPad is a safe place for their children to learn and have fun.

My son and I will definitely continue to use WeWantApps! I was getting fed up searching online for app recommendations, and the sheer volume of the results means I’m bound to find at least a few that appeal to my little one. He has just started school, so I’m pleased to have a simple way to find lots of educational apps to make learning fun.

The only improvement I can suggest to WeWantApps! is to allow parents to narrow their search further within the category, for example by searching for a keyword or topic (such as animals or nursery rhymes). However it’s still early days for this app, so I’m sure plenty of improvements are on the way…

For WeWantApps! updates, new features or surveys check out  www.wewantapps.com. You can also like WeWantApps! on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure: No payment was received for this review. MOTB bloggers write with honesty and integrity at all times.

 

Swish Your Way to a Stylish Bump!

Alex Longmore

"Baby bump stylist" Alex Longmore

Claire Jeffreys is digging her maternity clothes out of the loft and planning to swish…

Ok. So who really likes shopping for maternity clothes? I certainly didn’t – especially late in my pregnancy when walking to the front door was enough to make me want to lie down and have a little nap. Traipsing round the shops was just not an attractive proposition. I was the size of a whale – why on earth would I want to spend an afternoon queuing with a bunch of skinny minnies in Top Shop? And shopping online for clothes just didn’t have the same appeal as it did in my pre-pregnancy days of skyscraper heels and funky little dresses.

If you can relate to this, you need to start swishing!

Stylist to the stars (including yummy mummies Amanda Holden, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Bunton and Sophie Ellis Bextor) Alex Longmore has joined forces with new mum Jenni Falconer, Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure to encourage women to hold a “Maternity Swishing Party”. This gives mums and mums-to-be the opportunity to swap all the maternity and baby clothes they no longer need, and raise money for Tommy’s, the premature baby charity, at the same time.

The Maternity Swishing Campaign launches in London on Friday 22nd June, with Jenni Falconer hosting the party and Alex Longmore attending to give mums advice on how to dress to get the best out of their bumps! One of the aims of the campaign is to encourage mums across the UK to hold their very own “swishing|” parties to donate unwanted maternity and baby clothes to a better home, while raising money for Tommy’s.

So once you have swished and have a whole new wardrobe of fabulous maternity clothes, how do you go about putting stylish outfits together that will both accommodate and flatter your growing bump? And what can mums-to-be do to feel good about themselves, even in the later stages of pregnancy? I spoke to Alex and she gave me the following tips:

1. Dress in proportion.

2. Always choose colours that suit your particular skin tone.

3. Go for soft materials that feel great against your skin, like silk.

4. Embrace your bump! Instead of swamping it in baggy tops and tunics, try some more fitted items to really show off your beautiful pregnant form. You won’t have it for very long, so make the most of it!

5. Don’t feel that you have to ignore the latest trends, just because you’re pregnant. Cut images out of magazines and create your own “mood board”, to remind yourself that one day you will be back to your regular shape, and can wear whatever you like!

6. Treat yourself! Regular manicures, pedicures, facials and trips to the hairdresser can make a huge difference to your confidence and self-esteem.

7. If you want to splash out, go for a beautiful bag instead of clothes. This is an accessory you’ll be able to wear whatever shape and size you are!

8. Above all, don’t feel that you have to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes. Get swishing!

To download a Maternity Swishing pack and find out everything you need to know to host your own swishing parties, including tips from celebrity baby bump stylist Alex Longmore, visit the Comfort Zone UK Facebook page . To learn more about the amazing work Tommy’s does, including funding medical research into the causes of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage, visit Tommy’s. 

 

Win a copy of You Can Be Happy

You Can Be Happy

You Can Be Happy

When Mums on the Blog editor Emily asked who wanted to review ‘You Can Be Happy’ by Professor Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman, I was immediately interested – but also sceptical. Despite suffering from periods of depression (including antenatal and postnatal depression), I have always given the self-help section in the book shop a wide berth. I actually find memoir-style books about depression far more useful, motivational and comforting, such as the fantastic ‘Sunbathing in the Rain’ by Gwyneth Lewis.

So the book plopped through my letterbox and I unwrapped the paper to reveal a Mr Happy yellow cover, emblazoned with the words ‘You Can Be Happy’ beaming up at me. Can I, Professor Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman? Can I really? Is it that simple?

I should add at this point that I do consider myself to be a happy person. My family, friends and work keep me happy (and sane). I know, however, that my depression is still there. I’m pretty good at keeping the black dog at bay, but its still bares its teeth to snarl at me now and again. So I’m curious to see if this book helps me rethink my approach to happiness in general and provides me with useful ways of managing it in the long term.

‘You Can Be Happy’ is based on the psychological research and clinical practices of its authors, but it has none of the psychobabble that too often fills the pages of these self-help books. It’s an easy – and, I must admit, enjoyable – read.

If you’re interested in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), mindfulness or positive psychology (all highly significant in modern psychological practice), this is the book for you. Despite my initial scepticism, having worked through some of the exercises in this book I think there is a lot to be said for mindfulness and positive psychology.

You Can Be Happy has lots of practical tips for feeling more positive, and manages to convey these without preaching. You can dip in and out of the book, doing the exercises you feel will help the most, and go back and read any chapters that you found particularly helpful whenever you like without having to reread the entire book. The index at the back of the book lists the activities within each chapter, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. While many self-help books can appear daunting, this is a really user friendly one.

I wouldn’t say that this book will change your life, but it is a good introduction to CBT and I imagine it would give you a boost if you are feeling low or feel as if you need to move up a couple of notches on the happiness scale.

Win a copy of You Can Be Happy

We’ve got a copy of  You Can Be Happy to give away. To enter the prize draw:

Tweet: I want to win a copy of  You Can Be Happy
AND leave a comment below with your Twitter ID.
For a bonus entry, you can also follow @mumsontheblog on Twitter.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway will close at 8pm UK time on 14th June 2012 and a winner will be selected at random. UK entries only. One set of entries per person.

Disclosure: the book was given without charge to Mums on the Blog for the purpose of this review. Another is being provided for the purpose of the giveaway. No other payment was received. MOTB bloggers write with honesty and integrity at all times.

Two mums, three kids and a stork

social shopping for mums

Two mums, three kids and a stork

Meet our Mums: Claire Jeffreys

Normally, I’ve got plenty to write about. Words swim around my head and I need to grab a notebook and pen to write them down before they get lost in the deep, dark recesses of baby brain. The only real problem I have with writing is finding the time to do it, between changing nappies, ferrying the kids here, there and everywhere, fighting my way through a dozen loads of laundry, and trying to get a fledgling business off the ground.

But when someone says a certain three little words, my fingers freeze.

Write about yourself.

So I’m copping out and I’m going to tell you about my new baby instead. No, I haven’t added to my brood (two children are plenty for now). The latest addition to my life – one that demands just as much attention as a newborn, and is the next best thing in terms of challenge and reward – is StorkUp.

social shopping for mums

StorkUp was conceived last year and actually has two mummies. Fiona and I met through a local Facebook group and quickly realised that apart from having young children (three under 5s between us) we had lots in common – including something of an obsession with internet shopping. We both loved and were frustrated by it in equal measure. We wanted to find the best products for our children, at the best prices. Not too much to ask, surely? Unfortunately, in our experience, it seemed to be.

So we decided to do something about it. Several months later, we’ve just invited our first pool of beta testers to try StorkUp, a social shopping community for mums and mums-to-be. It’s a place for them to discover, organise and share all the great baby and children’s products they find online. It’s going to bridge the gap between online shops, review sites and parenting forums, and make deciding what to buy for our kids easier, less time-consuming and a whole lot more fun.

Starting a business can be exhausting and frustrating. Juggling it with family life makes it even harder. As if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, I decided to start a blog a few months ago. When my son was born in December 2007, I started taking photographs – lots of them. I diligently printed them and created photo albums documenting every stage of his first two years. By the time his little sister came along in August 2010, the photo albums were a thing of the past. I still loved to look at them and remember those amazing early days of first-time motherhood, but I had long stopped updating them.

So my blog, At least Daddy can cook…, is an alternative. It’s a random collection of photos of my children, recipes (as I try to match their Dad in the kitchen) and tales of family life, past and present. It has become my virtual diary – something to help me remember these changing, exciting times.

For exclusive pre-launch access to StorkUp (i.e. a sneak peek before the rest of the world), Mums on the Blog readers can click here to sign up. If you refer three other mums to StorkUp, you become a Founder Member and get lots of special perks!