blogging

I’m Back!

So as you may or may not have noticed, I literally disappeared from the blogosphere in the latter half of 2015. It wasn’t an intentional move on my part, but as it turned out my business really took off and between juggling being a mum, wife and part-time copywriter things all just got a bit manic. I didn’t really have any time to myself at all, and I was far too tired to even think about blogging.

However, it dawned on me over Christmas that I do really miss it. So I am going to make a concerted effort to come back here more often this year. At least once or twice a month. What I write may be utter boring drivel, but at least I will be making a little time for something I enjoy doing!

I hope you all had fantastic Christmases and New years, I can’t actually believe we are the end of January almost!
Dee xxx

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What a mum really feels when her kids go back to school

This week, up and down the country armies of parents will be cheering as their little bundles of joy will be returning to school! It follows 6(ish!) weeks of wonderful bonding time with them – and of course playing referee between them and their siblings 24/7! No doubt they have eaten them out of house and home, made too much noise, too much mess and not listened to what they were told. They have probably uttered the b-word at least 3 times each day … “Muuuuuum I’m BORED”. So yes, it’s a blessed relief when, for 6 hours of each day, they are someone else’s responsibility! 

I’ll be one of those mums tomorrow. Have you seen that YouTube video of the monkey dancing? If not it’s here: Monkey dance!

That will be me… All the way back to the car! 

But…. Whilst I’m dancing on the outside there will be a little piece of me that is lost on the inside. A tiny, microscopic piece of my heart gets chipped away each time they return to school because it means that they are one step closer to growing up. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know every day is a day older, a day more independent etc, but the first day back is a milestone. Another year further on in their education, another year of expectations of them to do well. Another year of them learning to be independent which, although I know they need to do, makes me worried about the time that they won’t need me so much anymore. 

Another year of worrying that they are happy in school, that they have good friends, that they aren’t being bullied and that they aren’t afraid to be themselves. 

So when you look at me, the mum on the school gates who is outwardly cheering that her little horrors have gone back to school, know that whilst I might seem heartless and like I’m wishing the years away, on the inside I’m a little sad, worried and emotional too. 

Good luck to all the kiddies who are starting new schools and classes this week, and those simply “going back to school”. I know you’ll do great. 

Dee xoxox 

Kids & Media Device Usage: How much is too much?

It seems kind of fitting that the day I intended to do this blog post, I came downstairs pre-8am to find the kids both sat like this…

kidsmedia

I posted the pic on my personal Facebook page with the caption “peace and quiet sponsored by Nintendo”.

We all know that kids are now exposed more than ever to a wide variety of media devices, and handheld computers like Nintendo 3DS’s are just the tip of the iceberg. From television – which seems almost primitive compared to some technologies – to Xboxes, iPads and Smartphones, most kids have access to one or more of these devices on a regular basis. My 8yr old has a Wii, a Kindle Fire, a Nintendo 3DS and an iPod touch. Oh and a tv/dvd in her room. My five year old has a Kindle Fire, a Nintendo 3DS and will be getting a tv/dvd from Santa this year.

With easy entertainment at the touch of just a few buttons, it is easy to embrace media devices. They are a great way to keep the kids quiet – as demonstrated by my picture this morning – without creating much mess or noise. When it comes to eating out in a restaurant, I almost always take the kids handheld devices so that they have something to keep them occupied if there is a long wait for food. My 8yr old always unwinds with a dvd before bed. The kids both love Minecraft and will happily sit and play it for an hour at a time without moving from their seats.

On the surface it all looks great. Mum/Dad gets some peace and quiet and the kids are kept busy relatively cost and mess free. And there is plenty of evidence that supports that media device usage does indeed have a heap of benefits, particularly in terms of language development. However, there is also evidence to suggest that too much screen-time can actually have a negative impact on some areas of kids lives.

So how much is too much? My friends over at California Cryobank have created the following powerful infographic detailing the pro’s and con’s of children using media devices. Their research clearly illustrates the effect that too much screen time has on our kids health and development. It’s thought-provoking stuff and well worth five minutes of your time to read – hence why I am sharing it with you today.

Feel free to like, share and comment on this infographic from http://www.cryobank.com entitled “The Pro’s and Con’s of Children’s Media Device Usage”.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dee xoxox

 

Shortlisted for a Design Award!

 

So this morning I woke up to an awesome email! One of my clients in Australia has been shortlisted in the category of “Best App Startup” in the 2015 Design 100 (Australia) APP Design Awards!

My client is HIKE POS – a retail management solution that bridges the gap between selling in store and online. Their service and associated products make retail simple thanks to a user-friendly platform and more features than you can shake a stick at including inventory tracking, employee management and comprehensive analytics.

Hike is a fantastic client to work for and the team has worked really hard to get their amazing business off the ground.

I am also honoured to be listed on their award shortlisting details :

Hike Awards

I am looking forward to getting stuck into more work with them after the summer break!

For more information on Hike then check out their website https://hikepos.com

For more information on the awards then please check out this link: http://appdesignawards.com.au/AUSAPPS15/entry_details.asp?id=14058&category_id=6898

Congrats on the nomination to Hiren and everyone else at Hike 🙂

Getting under the skin of Psoriasis

So I read this article in the newspaper this morning

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/6599095/Psoriasis-sufferer-proud-to-reveal-sores-to-the-world.html

And I just wanted to do a quick blog about it because I am full of pride and support for this amazing lady. Not just because she is incredibly strong but because I know her story – I know it because I have lived it.

Whilst I am not going to give you a full biography of my life with psoriasis, I will give you the bare bones of it.

I have suffered with psoriasis since I was 3yrs old. All through both primary and secondary school I was teased relentlessly by certain individuals who told me that I was ugly, that I had “the lurgy” etc. They told other kids not to hang around with me or they would catch it too.

My teenage years were the worst. I hated school. I had very few friends, I had absolutely no self confidence or self belief. Puberty made my psoriasis even worse and much of my hair fell out. I hid my skin under long sleeve blouses and tights that itched the hell out of me but were better than having my skin on show.

All through this time I was back and forth to the hospital, trying every possible treatment under the sun. Dozens of different steroid creams, soaking in coal tar baths, being smothered in emollients and wrapped in bandages. I couldn’t wait to leave school at 16 so I went to college instead. Unfortunately things weren’t much better there.

When it came to the world of work I was lucky to be able to get good employment, but one employer made my life very difficult. When my skin got so bad due to the stress of working there and I was hospitalised with life-threatening erythrodermic psoriasis, I was “let go”.

In my early 20s my skin started to improve a little and so I changed – I had a small circle of friends, I became outwardly confident to make up for the fact that inside I was still nervous about rejection.

My tale has a happy ending though. When I was 23 I met my now-husband. Granted my skin was mostly under control at the time, but there have been times when I have been suffering badly with it, particularly during my pregnancies when it is not possible to take drugs to keep it under control. But my husband is amazing – he has only ever seen ME and not my skin. To the point that he only really notices if it has flared up because of the way that it affects me – the itching, the slight depression that accompanies it worsening.

So now, 2015 and I am a happily married mum of two – which during my teenage years felt like something I would never achieve. I am still taking strong chemotherapy drugs which – touch wood – are working well to keep my skin under control. I can’t remember the last time I felt the necessity to cover my face with a scarf or my arms with a cardigan.

And whilst I am nowhere near as brave and strong as this beautiful lady is, I can honestly say that I am over hiding away. The important people love me no matter how my skin looks.

So I applaud this amazing lady for being so confident, so strong and so inspiring. She proves that true beauty is a whole lot more than what is on the outside.

If you would like further information on psoriasis then I can highly recommend that you check out https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis

Thanks for reading

Dee xoxox

psoriasis%203

The Bantams Bedtime Story 

I haven’t done one of these for a little while and I saw this the other day so have decided to share it with you guys…

  
It really struck a chord with me as in recent months there have been people in my life who have made me feel like utter crap about my physical and spiritual self. If not intentional, then I would like to think someone can be intelligent enough to realise that berating someone else’s choices and highlighting their flaws is not the way that friends behave. 

This was reaffirmed this evening when I was having a whatsapp rant to my bestie who is exactly the same height as me but has a different body shape. I was complaining about my short and dumpy mid-section. For a shorty (I’m 157cms) my legs are pretty long but the space between my boobs and hips is virtually non-existent – and yes before someone cheeky pipes up that is when I’m wearing a bra! 

So anyway I was having a bitch to the bestie and whilst she agreed with me in that way that only your BFF can, she also came straight back with compliments about the bits of my body that I deem better, and offered to help me work out what clothes are gonna work best with my shape. 

Now that is what a friend does!! 

So tonight’s bedtime story is this – surround yourself with people that always bring positivity to help you feel the best that you can. And be that friend back – counter every negative with a compliment. True friends build confidence not destroy it. 

Night folks xoxox 

The Only Way is Essex – Pubs, Hen Nights, Live Music & More!

Essex

Hello fellow bloggers!

Yet again I have been AWOL a fair while – this time owing to a combination of work and the dreaded summerholigeddon (2 weeks down, 3 and a half to go!). However I thought I would pop on and share with you one of my ongoing jobs that I am absolutely loving at the moment!

A while back now I started a contract providing blog posts for a website called iHeartEssex which is all about, yep you guessed it – Essex (UK for any of my readers across the puddle or the pond!). Its a fantastic website which looks at all of the best social aspects of life in Essex including the best pubs, clubs, restaurants, events, live music venues and more.

With the popularity of a reality TV show known as TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex) we also decided to focus on how to do a girls night out TOWIE style by visiting some of the salons, restaurants and clubs featured in the show. This blog post has been way popular so I thought I would share that, and a couple of the others, here with you. If you want to give them a sneaky share yourself then that would be awesome too 😉

The Only Way is Essex – How to do a TOWIE Style Girls Night Out!

Best Pub Gardens for Families in Essex

Best Live Music Venues in Essex

Hopefully once the gruesome twosome are back to school then I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming!

Thanks for stopping by!

Dee xoxo