Shopping

Shopping Guide: Watch Features You Should Look Out For

wrist-watch-205837_1280Although smart phones that have timers, clocks and other features that are traditionally found in watches have started to replace watches, digital & classic watches found in Tesco and other retail stores still have a place in the world. The  classic mens watches out on the market are generally fairly priced and come with exceptional features that make them good investments. This makes watches great feature rich accessories that can add a touch of class and great functionality to any ensemble.

Digital Watches

Digital watches are making a comeback. Even excluding smart watches, digital watches come packed with useful features. Timers, alarms and tracking multiple time zones are fairly standard features. Advanced features may include barometers and weather alarms, altimeter to measure how high above sea level you are and heartbeat monitors. Modern smart watches are small computers strapped to your wrist, boasting music, Bluetooth support, health monitors and so much more. Prices can range quite high, but standard functionality exists in base models as well.

Power requirements for digital watches are something to consider as well. Most take batteries, either replaceable or rechargeable. Smart watches, with their increased functionality, have higher power requirements and most models need recharging daily or more often when being used heavily. Older model digital watches can expect their battery to last for months or years with normal use.

Traditional watches

Traditional watches are a mainstay of style and as such, the aesthetics and brand name are as important as their functions. At the core, the watch must keep accurate time and these types of mechanical watches use either a mechanical spring that needs to be wound periodically, or quartz crystal that uses electronic movements. Features of these mechanical watches might include multiple faces that track time zones, built in stop watches and other meters that can be used reliably from mechanical power.

Some very key features of traditional watches are their power source. Some use a main spring that must be wound daily or sometimes weekly. The slow release of tension from this spring is what powers the watch. A variation on this power source is the automatic watch that uses the motion of the wearer to automatically wind the main spring. If the watch lays stationary then the watch will wind down. Quartz watches use an electrical system to keep time and as such can be built as solar powered, using A photovoltaic cell to power the watch. mechanical watches can also rely on battery power, similar to a digital watch. With analog watches, there are many options.

Whether looking for a functional and elegant traditional watch or a feature rich digital watch, there is something for every need and want when you go watch shopping. Timekeeping coupled with things like time zone and weather tracking powered by batteries, the sun or something as ingenious as the motion of your body are all available. Watches have come a long way since their humble beginnings and its safe to say they will continue progressing far into the future.

Baby · Family · Kids · Personal

Six Things They Don’t Tell You Before You Have Your Second Baby…

1. Having One Child Doesn’t Prepare You For Your Second.

In terms of the practical stuff, i.e. bum changes, making bottles, bathing what equates to a greased-up eel with no neck control, if you’ve done it for one kid, you’ve probably got it dialled in by the time number 2 comes along. In terms of every single other aspect of parenting? Good luck, because more often than not, it’s back to the drawing board. Sausage and Burrito Baby may look alike, and share certain traits such as their kindness and ability to share, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Sausage was one of those babies who was so easy going, she almost parented herself. Burrito Baby has needed every second of my attention since 11am on 17th February 2014. She is just about as high maintenance as high maintenance gets and her temper is genuinely scary at times. I’m not saying I’d change her in any way, but I literally learned nothing about caring for a kid like her from her elder sister.

2. You Will, Very Occasionally, Favour One Over The Other

Listen, having favourites is one of those big no-nos about having multiple kids, and I’m not saying that you’d ever genuinely choose one child over the other, but sometimes you do think “God, I wish you were more like your sister/brother”. Every kid has desirable and undesirable traits and seeing the bad parts doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you human. In fact, sometimes seeing fault in your children can actually make you a better parent as it allows you to approach parenting from a more objective point of view.

3. Sometimes Your Heart Wins Over Your Practical Side

It’s really easy to be pragmatic and practical about certain decisions, but there are times when your heart takes over and changes the way you see things. For instance, Husband and I have kept almost every scrap of Sausage’s clothing in case we needed them for a second child, to save money and because baby clohes are often barely used by the time they’re grown out of. However, when BB came along, there were certain things that I just couldn’t put her in because they were JUST. TOO. SAUSAGE. Seeing her in certain babygros seemed all wrong and even though I thought we’d barely need to buy anything new, we bought a bunch just to make it fair.

4. Parenting Them Equally Can Be Almost Impossible At Times

Husband and I said right from the get-go that if we ever had a second baby that we would parent them in exactly the same way as we did with Sausage, making all of the same decisions as we did before. In reality though, this hasn’t worked, simply because our lives are completely different now. Sausage didn’t leave the house until she was 6 weeks old. BB came with me on the school run at just 6 days old. Sausage ate only organic fruit and veg pouches when she was first weaned. BB has food intolerances which meant her diet was different and difficult to manage at times. Sausage was spoon fed with almost every bite of food until she was 3. BB is never happier than when she’s gnawing on a corn on the cob by herself. It’s never going to be possible to do everything  the same because they, and we, are different people.

5. You Will Never Stop Feeling Guilty

I hate to tell you this, but having two children makes your guilt function increase, not just two-fold, but exponentially. As well as all of the normal feelings of guilt that us parents get, you’ve now got the added guilt of spending too much time/attention on one child, not enough on the other, not doing things the same for them both, telling one off when the other never really needed telling off, dragging one out on cold mornings for the school run, spending all day with one while the other is at school, taking one to soft play while the other is grafting over SATS…the list is absolutely endless and it never gets better.

6. There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect Age Gap

There’s five and a half years between Sausage and BB, almost to the day, and at times, the age gap can be great. I get to spend time with Sausage while her sister naps, and she’s old enough to have been really switched on and pragmatic when it comes to helping me with things or understanding that sometimes, her sister needs me (although, refer back to point 5 in regards to that…). However, there are also things which aren’t so great. I think Sausage assumed that BB would be an automatic playmate when she came along but it’s only now that they’re 15 months and almost 7 that they’re even beginning to play together. Having said all of this, I know loads of people who had their kids closer together who’ve said that they fight like cat and dog and largely cannot stand the sight of each other, so I don’t think it’s possible to ever get it ‘just right’.

BRITAX Mumbassador

Britax Sponsors the Bliss Buggy Push

900_nsrqc1308845756As you probably know, the Mum’s the Word family were chosen as ambassadors for Britax and are huge fans of their products. Our Affinity has been all over the country with us, transporting Burrito Baby around London Zoo, Tropical Wings, Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres (frequently!), Drusillas Park and Hello Kitty Land, as well as many other places and numerous walks up and down Southend seafront! I adore the Affinity for so many reasons, not least of all how comfy BB looks when she’s in it, but also for the easy handling and soft suspension. It’s a great buggy and the perfect partner for the Bliss Buggy Push, a 5km family walk which aims to raise money for the special care baby charity.

LOVING the sunshine today, but v.grateful for the canopy on June's @BritaxUK Affinity!

A photo posted by Mum's the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Here’s the blurb:

This is the third year that Britax will sponsor the charity initiative, and following the success of last year’s 40 events, organisers say the 2015 fundraiser has the potential to be the biggest one yet.

Bliss is once again encouraging people across the country to organise a Buggy Push at a park near them to raise money to help premature and sick babies as well as their families. One in every nine babies is born premature or sick – that is around 80,000 babies every year.

Partnering with Miffy, the iconic children’s character, the headline London Buggy Push is taking place on 13 June to celebrate Miffy’s 60th birthday. Alongside sponsorship of the event, Britax will also be offering families the chance to win one of its stylish and award winning Britax Affinity pushchairs.  The three highest fundraisers who take part in the main events at either London, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh will be able to select a light-weight Affinity in their preferred choice of colour and take home the matching Cosytoes and Changing Bag – the perfect prize for any mums on the go looking to make a fashion statement.

Amy Voller, Brand Director EMEA from Britax comments, “As a brand devoted to helping families find their freedom, we are delighted to once again be working with Bliss. Through this partnership we can not only encourage parents to get out and about with their little ones, we can also raise awareness for a fantastic cause that is very close to our hearts. We are behind every single family that choses to take part – best of luck!”

If you’d like to organise your own Bliss Buggy Push or find an event near you, take a look at the Bliss page. To find out more about the Britax Affinity or the rest of their range, click on the link to head over there.

Shopping

How to Save Time and Money at the Supermarket

SupermarketSupermarkets are experts at persuading shoppers to buy things that they don’t really need. This cycle often leads to stocked cupboards filled with food that nobody in the family will ever eat and which eventually ends up as waste. According to the BBC, the UK wastes over £12bn worth of food each year which could have been avoided if shoppers knew exactly how to save both time and money while at the supermarket.

Shop Online

You can buy almost anything online and for a great deal cheaper too. Shopping for food is a lot less time consuming if you’re organised and thanks to online shopping and fast delivery services, people no longer need to wait in long queues at the store. It is also easier to compare prices on the web to ensure that you get the best deal possible, so make sure to shop around before making any big purchases.

Plan Ahead

Before you hit the shops it may be worth sitting down for a few minutes to write out a budget and shopping list. If you have a budget set for each shopping trip then you are less likely to overspend in the store. Only withdraw the amount that you have set yourself for the week and try your best to avoid making any unnecessary purchases. Planning ahead will save you a lot of time as you will go into the store knowing exactly what you need and where to find it.

Don’t Waste Food

Try your best not to waste the food that you already have in your home. Many people tend to forget about the things hidden in the back of the cupboard and end up re-buying them again. Have a look through your cupboards in the kitchen before you go out shopping. Buy only what you need and remember to never shop whilst hungry as this will end up making you buy more things that will probably just end up in the back of your cupboard. Make sure anything you buy that you won’t eat is safely frozen for use later on – if you need more fridge freezer capacity, view appliances online.

Coupons and Vouchers

If you have a look online, or through a newspaper or magazine,  you are bound to come across a coupon sooner or later. Many supermarkets release vouchers and coupons to use on selected store products. Collect as many of these as possible and use them at the till to benefit from discounts and special offers.

Cheaper Brands

Just because some brands are more expensive than others does not necessarily mean that they are any better. According to www.moneysavingexpert.com, if you can’t tell the difference between the lower brand level goods, then why pay more for it? This is a good point and it shows how dropping a brand level or two will not only save you money but you may find even better products. Try to opt for the cheaper branded goods such as a supermarket’s own labels to help you to save money on your weekly shopping costs.

Review

Star Stable Review

Star-Stable-5Sometimes, having two kids with a large-ish age gap can mean that it’s tricky to find ways to spend one-on-one time with your eldest. Burrito Baby gets me to herself all day while Sausage is at school and although we’ve tried to maintain certain activities, like swimming, that Sausage and I do together, sometimes fitting things in around naps and bedtimes can be hard. That’s why, when I was asked if we’d like a free membership to Star Stable for Sausage and I to play together, I jumped at the chance.

Sausage is pony mad, having done some casual lessons for the past few summers, and loves anything to do with them, so the chance to design and name her own personalised pony within the game was definitely right up her alley. We downloaded the game and it loaded up with ease, even on my slightly decrepit laptop. Within the game, you use the directional keys to move around, along with the mouse for clicking on menu items, which made it a doddle for Sausage to get the hang of.

The actual environment within the game is really attractive – galloping through meadows in various weathers makes it feel really authentic, and although I’ve never actually been on a horse in real life, there’s something about the way the horses move that looks really lifelike – no mean feat for a game which doesn’t require a top-end graphics card to run.

One thing that Sausage really liked was the requirement to actually care for your horse within the game. Trusty steeds must be fed, watered and groomed, otherwise they simply won’t perform properly, giving a really ‘all-round’ feel for what it is to own a real horse, which require a lot of upkeep.

There’s a chat window which can be opened within the game, allowing you to interact with other users while you trot around, and although this is something I’d be slightly wary of if Sausage were to play the game by herself, playing it together means that I can keep an eye on any chatting that goes on, and to be completely fair, there seemed to be entirely innocent chat about school and the game going on, leading me to think that the boards are closely monitored.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t only played the game whilst Sausage has been around. More than once over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself with half an hour to spare and have been drawn in by the game, which I find oddly relaxing! There’s something about the slightly soft focus and gentle background music which I find really soothing and I could easily wander around for hours if Burrito Baby let me!

Having played other online games of this type before, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Star Stable to be as good as it is, but the graphics, game play and character options were all really impressive. If I could add one MINOR criticism, it would be that it’s only possible to play as a female character, and while I get that the game is mostly aimed at tween girls, it would be nice for there to be a couple of male character options in case boys wanted to get involved too.

All in all, Sausage and I are really enjoying Star Stable and would definitely recommend it to other girls, aged 6 and upwards, as well as to Mums who want a nice game that they can enjoy with their little ones, to give them some quality time together without costing a fortune or even needing to leave the house!