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.

 

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.

Natural & Clean eco products review

Dry Carpet Cleaner

Dry Carpet Cleaner

Emily L tries out some eco-friendly cleaning products.

I’m sensitive to most cleaning products, they just seem slough off my skin and leave my eyes streaming, so I’ve always got gloves on and windows open during a spring clean.

This also means that I’m very conscious of the cocktail of chemicals I’m washing down the drain, and try to buy eco products where possible. But they’re not always very good!

This month, Natural & Clean, who offer a range of cleaning products using (when possible) only 100% recycled, biodegradable products, sent us:

  • Natural & Clean Whoops a-daisy! – £4.99
  • Natural & Clean Spot Remover Wipes – £3.43
  • Natural & Clean Spot Remover – £3.43
  • Natural & Clean Dry Carpet Cleaner – 500g – £5.19

As we have a four year old boy, we get a lot of drinks upturned on the floor, and we have a baby girl, we get the odd splash of baby sit gracing our carpets, so it was the ‘Whoops a-daisy’ that got first outing.

It’s a fine powder that you sprinkle liberally over a spillage. It then soaks up the liquid, turning into a rumbly gel that you simply hoover away. And it works well.

The spot remover spray is for those unexplained marks that always seem to appear, even when you ban shoes from the house. You spray it on to a cloth and then carefully work the stain out. It didn’t shift a smear of boot polish I’ve been battling for a while, but it shifted all the other marks I could find.  The spot removed wipes do the same job, but added onto wipes for convenience.

The dry carpet cleaner is very effective as well as being pH neutral and containing no solvents, bleach or phosphates. You brush in the little particles with the supplied brush and then hoover it away. I tried it on a high-traffic piece of carpet and it now looks cleaner than the rest of the room – oops. I’ll definitely be using it again.

All in all, a good range.

Fade out eye cream – a review

FADE OUT WHITE ANTI SHADOW BRIGHTENING EYE CREAM, 15ML

Emily L reviews a tinted eye cream that promises to keep dark circles at bay.

I have seriously bad dark circles – it’s to be expected, I’ve got a 4 month old baby, but actually, they’ve always been pretty bad, so anything that promises to reduce them is worth a go.

I’ve been using Fade Out for about a month now in a bid to improve things. Here’s the blurb:

“Reduce under eye shadows and delay the signs of ageing. A tinted eye cream specially formulated with light reflecting particles to instantly hide imperfections. Enriched with Vitamin A to hydrate and assist the production of collagen helping skin appear firmer.”

For me, it does seem to be working to reduce the pigmentation, but not enough that it’s the only weapon in my bag. I’ve found that putting on a good quality moisturiser, then Fade Out, then my trusty caffeine-enriched roll-on concealer pretty much hides the dark circles completely (well, 90%), smoothes my wrinkles and reduced puffiness. It’s the best combination I’ve found so far. Even the husband noticed.

Priced at £8.99, I’d say it’s definitely worth adding Fade Out to your usual skin care and make up routine.

A tube of Fade Out was provided free-of-charge for the purposes of this review. All reviews are 100% honest.

Win the Ava multi-functional handbag from Mia Tui

This competition is now closed. Congratulations to our winner: @mummylion

This month we have a lovely multi-functional handbag from Mia Tui to give away. We think you’re going to like it…

If you looked in my handbag on an average day, you’d probably be horrified. Peering into the depths today I can see:

The Ava handbag

  • notepad (full of a combination of work notes and my son’s scribblings)
  • pens (where’s my pen? I’m sure I had some pens?!)
  • iPad (in a protective case – I’m not mad)
  • nappies (some in a bag, some strewn about)
  • babywipes (threatening to leak)
  • Halloween party bags (yes, I know it’s December)
  • my keys (somewhere at the bottom – I locate them by sound)
  • tissues (clean ones – I’m not that bad)
  • a scattering of receipts (why don’t I just bin them?!)
  • my makeup (never where I can see it when I need it)

This is where the Ava bag proves handy. On the outside, the Ava bag is a stylish, understated tote bag, but on the inside you get:

Inside the Ava bag

  • Two clear internal bags with hand strap
  • One matching clutchbag with hand strap
  • Water bottle holder
  • Key clip
  • Sunglass holder
  • Safety clips so you can secure your insert bags for added security
  • Phone pocket
  • Pen holder
It’s not designed specifically with mums in mind, but it certainly works well for me, a working mum who needs to carry a combination of baby supplies and work bits and bobs, all wrapped up in a professional looking bag I can take into meetings and grab things from without rummaging.
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Win the Mia Tui Ava bag

The Ava bag retails at £49.99 but we’ve got our mitts on one to give away. To enter the prize draw to win the Ava handbag:

The Ava - strap detail

  • Tweet: “Win a stylish multi-functional @MiaTuiBags designer handbag from @MumsOnTheBlog http://bit.ly/uPutdQ”
  • AND leave a comment below with your Twitter ID.

For up to four bonus entries, you can also:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway will close at 8pm UK time on 26th December 2011 and a winner will be selected at random.

Prize draw T&Cs - Disclosure: the Ava bag 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.