Living without the internet – could you do it? I did… sort of!

Long story short, we lost our internet connection at home, we now have a temporary solution (EE box thing) so for about 6 weeks I was surviving on my phone’s 4G data….

On the one hand it was a really nice break! I’ve written before about being addicted to my phone... it felt almost liberating to only check my email/FB/twitter a couple of times a day instead of a couple of times an hour. I didn’t miss out on anything!

I got shit done! I ticked off things from my to-do list that had been on there for months and months!

I got smart…. If baby S was asleep in the car I’d drive around finding places where I could access free WIFI from the comfort of my car! I used free internet in our local library….

You see the thing is, it’s only when you don’t have the internet you realise how integral it is to our lives…. online banking, googling anything e.g. Phone numbers, directions, opening hours, online shopping – food, booking holidays (!), booking anything, staying in touch with people… friends but also people like solicitors, estate agents when you’re buying and selling houses…. watching anything on YouTube or catch-up TV…. hearing of any breaking news… and of course blogging went out the window!

So I’m glad to have it back and not have to worry about the cost of my mobile phone bill. But hopefully I’ve learnt how to use it a little bit less for the non-essential stuff and try to live in the moment a bit more! We’ll see….. have you ever given up the internet?! Could you?!

Advertisements

How to keep kids safe on social networks – #ShareAware

Thankfully, baby W is too young for me to have to worry about what he gets up to online. But I know all these fears are ahead of me and it’s already something I worry about. From what I understand, kids from a very young age know how to use the internet including how to bypass rules and settings put in place to protect them!

So when the NSPCC got in touch about their new campaign called ‘Share aware’ I thought I would share the info with you in case your children are of the age where you’re worrying about them using the internet.

Basically, Share Aware is an online guide that parents can use, to help them:

  • understand the risks of different social networking sites
  • start conversations with their children about these risks

The website is full of stats (e.g. which social networks are most popular with children, how many children have social media accounts even though they’re not supposed to!), tips and advice. Even though it’s full of information, it’s not overwhelming at all – the website is very easy on the eye and clear.

Check it out yourselves here and help to spread the word on Twitter etc using the hashtag #ShareAware

Small print: I wasn’t incentivised to promote this campaign – it’s a good cause that I’m happy to support

Top 5 apps for new parents

Here are some smartphone apps I’ve found useful over the last few months (as a new mum!) that I hope you will too….

  1. Baby Connect – an app that you can track everything from feeds and nappy changes to milestones and medical information on

You might remember that I first mentioned this app in my breastfeeding story – I found it really handy to track when the last feed was, which side etc. Over time it was crazy to see the overall time feeding go down from about 6 hours a day to a more manageable 2-3! It was also handy to check in the morning how many times during the night I’d been up – however tired I was, I always managed to use the app!

 image image

Now that baby W’s feeds and naps are far more regular, I don’t really use the app any more but like I said I did find it really useful in those first couple of months. It’s an expensive app (£3.99 I think) but it has lots of other features that I didn’t end up using like tracking their weight/height, photos and milestones, oh and nappy changes (I forgot, I did track nappy changes at a time when we seemed to be doing it every 5 minutes!), and you can use it for more than one baby/child.

2. Wonder weeks – keeps track of your baby’s development leaps

This was recommended to me by a friend and I’m so glad. Every time baby W is grouchier than usual, I check the app and I can see he’s in a ‘developmental leap’ and that explains why his mood is slightly different – he’s learning new things and taking in lots of information! I’m not sure how widely these leaps are used e.g. by health professionals – I’d not heard of them before this app – I guess you can think of them as a type of ‘growth spurt’?

image image

Either way, the app has been bang on so far, and gives lots of info about the leap and what to expect afterwards…. it will be interesting to see if it carries on being so useful as I can see that the start windows (based on baby’s age, by week) become a bit wider so might get harder to tell if he’s in a leap or whether there’s something else happening?

At the moment we’re in leap 5 aka ‘the world of relationships’ where he’s learning about relationships and distances with people and objects… very interesting!

3. 23 snaps and Tinybeans – photo sharing apps

As you know, I don’t post photos of baby W on the blog. I almost kept him off Facebook too but relented in the end and add a few every month or so…. as much as I’d love to show him off, I didn’t want to spam Facebook friends with daily photos of him whereas close friends and family want to see as many photos as possible!

Screenshot from 23 snaps (sorry no baby photos!)
Screenshot from 23 snaps (sorry no baby photos!)

That’s where these apps come in – they’re private social media networks. Upload your photos, and send invites to people who you want to have access to them. All very safe, very easy to use and manage, and ends up being a great online, timelined record of baby’s photos, and status updates! I’ve mostly been using 23 snaps, which I love, and now have just started using Tinybeans too as I won a photobook with them (via Jenna at Tiny footsteps’ review and giveaway :).

Hopefully using these has kept Facebook friends happy at not being spammed… and I know many family members have really appreciated the 23 snaps updates as they’re not on Facebook.

4. Free prints – photo printing app

So you’ve sorted out your online photos, but what about printing them off? I think it’s nice to have an actual copy of photos plus I’d lose all of baby W’s photos if I lost my iPhone so I’ve been using Freeprints to print them off.

image

There’s no catch – it’s a great deal, you get 45 free prints a month and just pay the postage which is £3.99. For more than 45 prints, you pay £0.09p per print. I’m on my third month and can assure you that the quality is as good as the value! Also, I made a mistake on my first order but Michael from their customer service team sorted it out for me very quickly – great service!

The only downside I’ve found is if you’re uploading a lot of photos, it can take a while but I think that’s probably the same as most other photo printing app

5. Moonpig – greeting card app

This is only relevant if you’re like me and like sending actual birthday cards in the post and not just writing on people’s Facebook walls 😉 This app is great – it’s really easy to use, to upload photos and edit text using one of their templates – within just a couple of minutes you’ve created a personalised card and posted it to the recipient!

image image

Including postage, cards cost £3.60 which I think is pretty good – a decent card can cost as much as that these days! Saves you leaving the house to ever buy birthday cards again, and these ones are better anyway as your friends and family will be delighted to see your little munchkin on the card!  I’ve used it at least 10 times now – 3 father’s day cards, a wedding and lots of birthdays – I’ve now gone down the prepay route which gives me £5 free credit on a £20 spend!

The only downside I’ve found on this app is that you can only order 1 card at a time – so on father’s day I had to do 3 separate transactions – still only took minutes though 🙂

So there we have it – some of my favourite apps from my early parenting days! What do you think of this bunch? Do you know of any alternatives? What have been your essential apps (apart from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!!)? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below….

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Addicted to my iPhone

My name’s Heledd and I’m addicted to my smartphone…

I think it all started when baby W was a wee newborn and we’d have some epic feeds… 1 or 2 hours glued to the sofa or bed and as much as I love staring at his gorgeous face , I needed something else… Something to keep me awake…

Scroll, scroll, scroll, swipe, swipe, swipe……

He’s now nearly 4 months old and I feel addicted…. I am constantly checking Facebook and twitter! Facebook used to be where I kept in touch and up-to-date with friends. It still is but now I’m also a member of about 10 mummy groups where there’s always dramas, people to help, people to ask for advice…

Ditto twitter, i set up a new account to go with this blog, and so my feed is 99% parenting-related, obviously v useful to a new mum like me! I can check both a gazillion times in a few minutes, and I can guarantee that not much will have it happened since I last checked!

But like I said, I guess it’s habit… A habit that’s just gotten worse (like most habits I guess?)

This all sounds petty… Why does it matter?

Before W came along I’d always said I wouldn’t want my children addicted to iPads and phones like so many kids seem to be. So with me being addicted to my phone, I’m not giving him the best start am I ?! When I mentioned my addiction in baby group last week, a mum to a 6month old said her baby was already wanting to/asking to play with her phone. This mum, and another, both admitted to sneaking a look at their phone while feeding/ playing with their babies, like I do!

Each to their own, but for me, it’s laziness… I might have messages that I haven’t replied to for weeks, but scrolling and swiping are so easy… So lazy! I don’t want baby W to inherit a lazy habit… and I don’t want to miss a thing while he’s awake! Don’t get me wrong – I’m  sure he will end up playing with iPads and iPhones – but in moderation, not all the time like his mummy!

Today it stops. My challenge for the week ahead is to leave my phone in another room to the one I’m in. I will only check my phone when baby is napping (so about 3 times a day) I will check it when daddy comes home and takes over for an hour. I will then check it again before bed. This will be similar to my blogging rules – I only blog when baby W is napping in the day… Evening time is time for me and my other half and weekends are family time.

I don’t really check it when I’m out and about – it’s more of a sofa habit.

Find out in a week how I get on… Will my right hand hurt any less? Will I miss out on anything? Will I feel like I’m missing a limb?!