Digital detox? Is it ever a good idea?

I’m off Facebook (and whatsapp). People who know me will know this is probably a bit hard for me to do as I rely on it heavily. It’s my primary messaging app, my school/PTA system, my newsreader, how I update family on our lives, crucial to elements of my work and my personal photo library/log for the kids…and on and on.

Over the past few years I’ve used it more than twitter and have all valued the feedback and interaction there much higher than on other channels.

But you can have too much of a good thing, right?

Maybe it’s my current state of mind or maybe it’s the recent election but I found myself veering between annoyance and self censorship on the platform. I wasn’t happy with either so for now, I’m off it.

Back here though where I hope to use the blog as a way to process some of the current things I am facing and struggling with as a working parent in a busy agency role.

More anon.

hard choices: dinosaur dig vs. senior management meeting

working mums parentingWhen you’re a working parent, there are always hard choices.

In the evening when I collect my 4 year old from after school club and it is gone 6pm before we sit down for dinner and do reading, I know she’s too tired to concentrate and to learn.

When I drop them at breakfast club without their hair brushed and don’t walk all the way down the path because I am already late for an early conference call.

When I am listening to them talk about their day whilst simultaneously cooking dinner and checking my work email.

Hard choices are always there.  Being a human is full of hard choices. Today I had to choose between a dinosaur dig or senior management meeting.

As we approached the school, sprog 2.0 in her civvies all ready for day on the school field digging for dinosaur bones, we realised she was the only one without a bucket and spade.  I’d skipped past a couple of kids in their uniform who’s mums had forgotten, thanking God that wasn’t me and feeling fairly smuggety smug and accomplished only to realise, she’d be the kid who had to wait her turn and share a spade.  Instead of throwing herself into the activity 100%, she’d be the only one without her own bucket.  She’s like I was, this kid.  These things matter.  They’re the shit you remember. The shit you remind your mum of when you’re older.

So I drove round the petrol stations and bought a bucket and spade having left child, eyes brimming, at school for the day and dropped it into school for her.  This meant I was late.  Late for an important meeting.

I’d usually choose the meeting but today I couldn’t.

Hard choices. But I think I chose right this time.

I <3 Camp Bestival the best of all

Where else can you wander, slightly squiffy, with a two year old on your shoulders from Henry Rollins for Breakfast through to The Gruffalo Live for lunch, Rolf Harris for afternoon team and the The Happy Mondays for Sundowners??!

Camp Bestival is a magical experience for parents and kids alike.  I would describe it as the Johnny Boden of festivals and yes, there is a fair amount of Joules wellies / Bugaboo dodging to be done but when it comes to a formula that both parents and kids will love, this has it nailed.

The Olympic themed event, which for many families was more like a fabulous holiday than a weekend festival, ended with the most magnificent 3D projection and firework show and really sums up how great it was.


LeapPad Explorer, Moshi Monsters or Lego?

One for my parent pals…

One of my clients – Hitwise – has taken a look at search volumes for the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) predictions for the top 12 must-have toys this Christmas.

The TRA didn’t rank the top 12 toys in any particular order, but using the top 10,000 search terms driving traffic to the Experian Hitwise Toys and Hobbies category in October this year, we can see the most popular toys by search clicks:

Christmas 2011 top toys search volume.png

Old faves were missed off the list – such as Lego, Playmobil and Barbie and as Hitwise noted:

Barbie, Playmobil and Scalextric were all more popular than any of the top 12 toys listed above. Barbie in particular received four times as many searches as the LeapPad Explorer.

We’re planning on getting the LeapPad for our 5 year old although given the amount of time my daughter spends “borrowing” my iPad, I am not sure if this will be seen as an acceptable alternative! With less than 50 days left, better get a wriggle on with the shopping anyway.


10 signs you’re getting old

Image courtesy of cienpie

  1. When buying a gadget/appliance, you forgo a huge discount on a grey market import to have the peace of mind that John Lewis provides
  2. You do research before buying white goods /  contemplate joining Which?
  3. You have a National Trust membership
  4. You use it
  5. You buy an extended warranty
  6. You celebrate a morning to yourself/ the kids being out by listening to Radio 4 and/or reading the Sunday papers
  7. You say (or even think) “aahhh, peace and quiet” at any point in your day
  8. You get an early night, despite the kids being out, as you don’t want to risk not having a full 12 hours sleep
  9. You can’t sleep past 7am anyway
  10. You buy a Christmas present before the end of September
*sigh* I tick far too many of these boxes….