Is technology hurting our families?

Foresters, the international financial services organisation, is encouraging parents to cut back on their family’s use of technology. But why?

Last month saw the UK launch of Tech Timeout, a campaign which aims to get families to take an hour away from technology daily in order to spend more quality time together, free from techy distractions.

Rebecca Bell, Project Leader from Foresters explains: “While there is little doubt that technology plays an important part of all our lives, there are fears that extended use by children can have far reaching affects including lack of developmental skills and even depression”.

This is a concern echoed by many organisations, including charity Family Action, which is reported to have released leaflets advising parents to turn off their communications devices and spend some more time with their children. The fear is that if parents give too much attention to mobile phones and television over traditional family conversations, children will suffer, both in terms of their family relationships, but also in terms of reaching speaking and listening milestones.

Ms. Bell explains: “We are inviting parents to pledge their support for this initiative and take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices for one hour every day, for a week.” Doesn’t sound too tough, does it?

You can sign up, and get useful tips, at www.techtimeout.com

Win a gorgeous Babymel Ruby Rucksack worth £69.95

How do you fancy getting your hands on this gorgeous designer handbag, designed for parents who need to be hands free?

This trendy backpack is lightweight, functional, versatile and we have one to give away!

Made from a soft, leather feel fabric with contrast, faux leather detailing and silver Babymel studs, it features five internal compartments, an insulated bottle holder, padded changing mat and wipe clean linings throughout. Perhaps the most useful of this style’s features is its additional, adjustable top strap, which converts the Ruby into a casual shoulder bag. Its built in strollerstraps enable the bag to be easily attached to a stroller when needed.

The Ruby’s magnetic flap top and easy access front pockets keep essential items secure and accessible at all times.

How to enter

If you want to be in with a chance of winning, you must:

  • Tweet about this competition: “Win a gorgeous @Babymel_UK Ruby Rucksack worth £69.95 http://bit.ly/XWeVx1 via @mumsontheblog”
  • AND leave a comment below telling me that you’ve done it.

You are entitled to up to six bonus entries, if you:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway will close at 11.59pm UK time on 31st December 2012 and a winner will be selected at random.

See the prize draw T&Cs - Disclosure: Babymel is providing this prize for the purposes of the giveaway. No payment was received by Mums on the Blog. Listed on ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions, Loquax Competitions and Competition Hunter.

 

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.

 

Little Fashion Gallery to stock H&M/UNICEF’s ‘All for Children’ online

H&M’s ‘All for Children’ range

Have you seen H&M’s super cute ‘All for Children’ Collection? We like it because it’s being launched in collaboration with UNICEF with a view to protecting children’s rights in cotton producing areas of Tamil Nadu, India.

If you don’t have an H&M near you, fear not. Little Fashion Gallery has just announced that it has been chosen as the exclusive e-tailer of the range when it launches on the site on 18 October 2012.

All for Children is a unique five-year collaboration project between H&M and UNICEF and has been created around an illustrated book, which will be sold with the collection. The book tells the story of two children playing and having fun with some animals and an evil magician who casts a spell on them. The animals conjure up a plan to help the children to protect themselves against the magician who has banished them to the moon! The children break the spell and organise a party to celebrate their victory and to show their appreciation to the animals.

The collection includes both dressy and casual pieces all with a unique design and refined details. Materials used include cotton, wool and silk all of which have been worked together to create a playful spirit which is dedicated to children. The colour combinations are soft and autumnal: greys and navy are mixed with amber and aubergine. And pastel shades like old rose and nude are combined with shades of brown and green.

The clothes themselves are for both boys and girls and in addition to clothing, the collection also comprises around 20 accessories and interiors products including stickers, a tent and even an elephant lamp!

Sizes range from 92cm to 128cm (approx 1 – 8 years) and the collection itself will be easily recognisable as it features a special ‘H&M All for Children’ hang tag which explains all about the collaboration between H&M and UNICEF.

Will you be trying out the new range?

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.