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To uniform or not to uniform?

I’ve been challenged by the lovely people at 4imprint to give the idea of uniformity some thought and create a blog post around my thoughts about what it is to wear printed t-shirts as a uniform.

I have been wearing uniforms all my life, from when I started primary school in Romania at the age of six, many, many moons ago.

I remember disliking the feel of the plastic onto my skin but cherishing the identity the uniform gave me. I was a big girl, going to school on my own (those were Communist times still and both my parents had to work in order to be able to provide for us) and I belonged to a community of little people, all dressed up more or less in the same fashion as myself.

Fast forward six years and me being in my first year of grammar school, when monumental things happened to the leadership of the country and Romania achieved its “democracy” from 45 years of dictatorship. People were elated and they demanded freedom in everything, including from our school uniforms. An instant influx of bad quality jeans inundated the market and everybody decided that they were to be preferred to a uniform.

I hated it, the lack of uniform in my grammar school. It immediately turned into an opportunity to highlight the financial gap between families and implicitly, the children.

I still have photos I have hidden away in my mum’s home of me wearing horrid, baggy clothes, the only ones my mum could afford buying for us.

My clothes did make me stand out but not in a good way. I would have appreciated the uniformity of a common outfit for all the pupils in school at this point and preferred the anonymity of the uniform over the embarrassment of ill fitting clothes as a teenager.

I moved to Northern Ireland 10 years ago and worked as a teacher intermittently in a lot of local schools. I soon realised that even the teachers adhered to an unwritten code of uniformity for which I felt very grateful, as it gave me a sense of guidance and belonging.

Of course, when Emma started school three years ago, I welcomed the strict guidelines that came from her school regarding not only the code of conduct but also the school uniform.

I love seeing her all ready in the morning, looking sharp and tidy and I do know that she always feels a sense of pride when wearing her uniform, as it gives her an identity and and motivation to keep her behaviour in check as she represents her school while she is out and about.

Lately I have been working as a nanny and even there, I did feel the need of a “uniform”! The school where I did the pick ups is in quite an affluent area so my Joules t-shirt “uniform”, although comfy and informal, did reflect the intention to comfort to the environment.

I have added an infographic on the subject as well.

Do let me know what your thoughts are on the subject, I’ll be very interested in hearing other opinions on the subject!

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Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.

Bidvine – The App That Helps You Find The Professionals You Need

Emma and I have a wide variety of apps on our iPads, from reading ones to energy supplier’s ones to games and catch up T.V. ones.

Apps have become part of the day to day life of any contemporary technology user so I was not surprised when Bidvine approached me about their professional services bidding app. It only makes sense to me that in a world where we access entertainment, banking, T.V. programs and so much more via an app, to be now able to find professional services by the same means.

So, what is Bidvine?

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Bidvine is a service which offers easy access to professional services, from domestic cleaning to interior painting to lessons of any kind (piano, photography, personal training).

After the easy sign up step and choosing the service you are interested in, Bidvine sends your request to professionals in the area and within 48-72 hours quotes would arrive into your inbox, from up to 5 local providers.

Since I live in Northern Ireland, I chose to test photography services through the app, with the option of the professional travelling to us.

The process is simple and intuitive and I was done within minutes:

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Unfortunately, since the app focuses on the greater London area, we didn’t get a lot of offers so I wasn’t able to compare prices with what is already available when it comes to portrait photography in my area but I lived the app simply because it is easy to access, easy to navigate and provided you live in the area it aims at, probably easy to access services you are in need of.

I’d recommend it to any busy employees who don’t have the time to phone around or score the newspapers for local professionals. I love the bidding system which ensures you get a competitive offer. And all in all, the concept, I find it quite revolutionary and my only regret is that it does not cover Northern Ireland for now, as I would much prefer it to other means of finding professionals for required services within the home and more.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post, all opinions expressed are truthful and entirely my own.

A Christmas Present List and Lottie Dolls Giveaway

So, before I start, this is by no means a bragging post.

I am acutely aware of the fact that so many children out there who will not be visited at all by Santa this year. My heart breaks for all the Syrian children and the sustained attacks they have had to endure in the past months.

This is just a post to inspire other parents who are lucky enough to be healthy and well, living in a country where peace reigns, who can work to make their little ones’ dreams come true.

What has my seven year old girl been dreaming to find under the Christmas tree this year?

At the top of her list, we have had My Little Pony dolls and sets. I have been scouring the shops since November and managed to get her half price items and two for one sets so the house will be filled with glitter and pink ponies on Christmas morning :-).

I love it that she is still into dolls at 7. To me, that is a sign of innocence and playfulness and I will be happy to continue to buy her dolls for the foreseeable future if that keeps my little girl still little.

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The second item, which has been on Santa’s list for ages, but I only deemed appropriate for her age this year, is a camera. She loves seeing me taking photos for my blog and she would beg for my camera/phone every time something interesting catches her eye so this year, she will be able to do just that, at her heart’s content. I debated with myself for absolute ages and was very tempted to get her an instant one but the film can get very expensive, so I went for an underwater camera. Emma can swim but she doesn’t have the confidence to do it underwater just as yet so I thought this will encourage her to move onto the next level, when the time is right.

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Since Emma’s list to Santa was short this year and had only the items above, I took the liberty to add a few bits and bobs, all thanks to lovely companies with which I have been collaborating this last few months.

First of all, from Trends UK, I got a couple of the new Shopkins Kinstruction sets. Emma loves Lego and all Lego-like toys but most of her sets are Disney related so I thought these would diversify our collection of buildable toys and introduce her to the Shopkin trend.

It will also give us something to do during that week off school following Christmas, so perfect toy, really :-).

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If you have my on Facebook as a friend or have been following this blog for a while, you know that I always promote toys and websites that empower little girls to become everything they want to be, not what the society tells them to.

Within this line, I decided to choose, off the same wonderful website (I highly recommend it!), from the Discovery Kids range, the planetarium from which Emma will learn so much more about stars, and a telescope, which she could use at her daddy’s house to spy on seals, since he will be moving by the sea very soon.

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So this is it, this is what Emma will be getting for Christmas, more or less. I’m truly hoping that this Christmas will be her most magical so far!

But I will not finish this post without making this Christmas a bit magical for one of my readers as well.

You all know that I’ve been a huge fan of Lottie dolls and I wrote extensively about them last year and how inspiring I truly find them.

In September, as part of our ambassadorship, we were send another set of dolls, this time a STEM one to suit perfectly with the new educational trends in the UK.

Emma has been having great fun playing with them and dreaming about becoming a scientist, just like Robot Girl and an astronomer, just like Stargazer Lottie.

And now, just in time for Christmas, I would like another little girl to start dreaming big, about achieving her dreams of becoming who she is meant to be!

So, without further a do, here is the Gleam link where you can enter the competition. I’ll make it very short, so you can hopefully get the bundle just in time for Christmas!

Disclaimer: we have received some of the toys mentioned above for the propose of this post and giveaway. All opinions expressed are truthful and entirely my own.

iHealth Core Wireless Body Composition Scale – Review and Giveaway

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My faithful readers know that at the beginning of autumn, I embarked on a wellness and weight loss journey. I have done really well on it and to date, I’ve managed to lose over 1.5 stones, my goal being 2 stones and fitting comfortable into size 10 jeans.

I have changed my lifestyle dramatically since I started this journey, from the way I eat to the way I look at life in general. I have also started considering regular exercise from home (I know, all that weight loss so far has been exclusively diet related!) and sort of veered towards a semi-professional approach to weight loss as the weeks clocked in.

The one thing that professional athletes count on while training are accurate scales, which show not only the weight gain/loss but also the body fat percentage, water retention and so on. I do not, by any means, see myself as a professional athlete (not just as yet, anyway :-)) but this measurements can be important to anyone on a weight loss journey as well.

I have had scales in the house during the past few months but they always appeared unreliable so when the lovely people from iHealth Labs offered me the opportunity to review their latest iHealth Core Wireless Body Composition Scale I saw it as an opportunity to up my game when it comes to weighting. Literally!

What diferentiates the iHealth Core from the rest of the scales out there?

“With its sleek design and easy set-up, the iHealth Core provides a complete assessment of your body composition.  

The Core Body Composition Scale measures weight and BMI, but also calculates body fat indices, lean body mass, muscle mass, bone mass, water mass and your visceral fat rating.

It is useful to regularly monitor your weight and body composition to stay healthy. This allows you to track your weight and to avoid significant weight gain or loss that are often sources of complications. It also helps you to measure the effects of a balanced diet and of regular physical activity.

The free iHealth MyVitals app, on both Apple and Android devices, automatically keeps a history of your data using you WiFi connection and gives you the option to share your analysis information whenever suits you. For such an affordable price, this smart scale offers so much more than everyday scales. 

Beautifully designed, this smart scale meets rigorous accuracy standards in both US and Europe, and will look good in any bathroom.”

    Features:

  • WiFi Connected
  • Complete assessment of your body composition
  • Including weight, BMI, body fat indices, lean body mass, muscle mass, bone mass, water mass and your visceral fat rating.
  • Free iHealth MyVitals app for both Apple and Android devices
  • Keep track of your results over time
  • Can measure up to 400lbs weight
  • Share yours results with your family, carer and doctor

So, what do I think of it?

I totally love it, not only its sleek design but most importantly, its reliability. There are no unexplained jumps in my weight during the week, as it would have happened with my normal scales, which would have been too sensitive and alter their results depending of the incline of the floor.

I also love the app and the fact that each time I weigh myself, the results register into my account. No slacking excuses there for me then :-).

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There are also the more detailed facts that a medical professional will find very useful, if my weight needed controlled more drastically:

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 The lovely people at iHealth Labs also have a giveaway gift for one of my lucky readers, in the form of their own iHealth Core Wireless Body Composition Scale! They have also added a 20% discount for all my readers on their website, so do stop by and have a look at their amazing range of products!

The giveaway has very simple terms and conditions, visit and like the company’s Facebook page and come back and tell me which product or article from the page caught your eye!

 The giveaway will run until the 15th of December and the winner will be drawn randomly and announced in this blog post.

Disclosure: we were sent the scales for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely truthful and our own.

Congratulations, Christine McCann, the Random Number Generator drew your number! I’ll get in touch ASAP for delivery details. Many thanks to everyone else who entered, wishing you all a very happy Christmas and 2017!

 

Healthy Teeth, Now A Child’s Play – A Playbrush Review

I’ve always struggled with keeping Emma’s teeth clean. As any child, she goes through long spells when she refuses to brush, preferring to watch another two minutes of T.V. in the morning or pretending to be oh, so tired, in the evenings :-).

She started changing her baby teeth last year and her new front ones became very quickly a shade of unhealthy; that made other children make fun of her in the playground so when we were in Greece, she had them cleaned by a dentist. It was not a fun experience and she did promise to brush more often but come September, she swiftly forgot and went back to brushing randomly and chaotically.

Both my brother and myself have quite bad teeth and it is a real concern, keeping Emma’s healthy. I allow her to have sweets only occasionally and until now, we haven’t had to visit the dentist for any other reasons but the above mentioned clean up but I wouldn’t want her to get to the stage where she needs fillings…etc.

Sooo, when the Playbrush team approached us and asked if we wanted to review their interactive toothbrush, I was very curious to see what Emma would think of it. I did not have huge expectations, mind you, knowing how sporadic her brushing can be but…I couldn’t have been more wrong!

We got the brush last weekend and took it with us on our Daisy Lodge break. It was perfect timing, really, as I had plenty of time to download all the play apps and introduce them to Emma, with a maximal success!

I'm hoping this will transform brushing teeth from a chore into a fun daily activity! #review #blogger

A post shared by Mama's Haven (@mamashaven) on

 

So, what is a Playbrush, I hear you ask?

Here is a little video to explain the concept:

So, simply put, it is a chargeable device (it works with your iPad charger so don’t worry about forgetting it home when you travel!) which can be attached to any toothbrush. The genius of this toothbrush lays in the games which children get to play while brushing with the Playbrush. Not only are they fun and make the two minutes required for thorough brushing fly by, but also the device can detect their moves so it instructs them to brush in different areas and at an adequate speed, all through the paces of the chosen game!

(The games have even been updated with a Christmas theme and Emma has been loving chasing the reindeer, she says.)

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What has Emma thought of it?

As I said, I did not set with high expectations here BUT she has loved it! She now requests(!!!), miracle of miracles, to brush her teeth both in the morning and at night and does it properly as well, under the fun guidance of the apps!

There is a Christmas sale on the website at the moment and the Playbrush is down to £19.99 from £26.99. Well worth the peace of mind, if you ask me and well worth the fun brushing, if you ask Emma :-).

Disclosure: we were sent the Playbrush for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely our own and truthful.