Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Why do we share on social media? & online safety

Why do we share on social media?

A personal outlet? Validation? To get encouragement? Agreement? Provoke a debate?

We all have that friend who writes a cryptic Facebook status and then multiple people comment "Are you ok?" "What's up?" "Text me."

Social media is part of our every day lives now.  We probably share things without even realising.  My own children are shocked that I grew up and existed without Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I actually shudder at what images could be out there from my teenage years. I'm glad we didn't have smart phones with the ever ready camera setting.

I do worry that social media is making our children grow up prematurely and they see things that their young minds aren't ready for.  I have a few friends (very sensible nice people) who allow their children on Facebook etc underage (For information the age limit is 13).  Peer pressure is a huge issue but age limits are there for a reason.  Will I eventually cave? I hope not.  So far my daughter is not interested although is a huge YouTube addict.  I'm aware she can obviously view things on there that are not age appropriate but I do check.  I've made both children very aware never to share personal information, share pictures or join chat rooms and fortunately this has been discussed a couple of times at their school.

I'm a blogger so sharing is what I do and there's a balance.  I do feature my children in posts but they both know and so far don't mind.  I never include pictures I think they would be embarrassed off or that identify a school logo or name.  Of course if someone was desperate to find me they probably could but Northampton is a very big place.

Some bloggers/vloggers do daily updates and reveal many aspects of their lives.  Their audience connect and their platforms grow.  I always liked writing for its solitary existence and being known was never what I wanted but statistically a brand with a face sells.  I have considered if I need to put myself out there more but so far have decided not too. I'd love Life in the Mum's Lane to be known throughout Northamptonshire but not necessarily Emma Jones.

I do however love social media and can while away several hours scrolling through various platforms.  It's become a strange hobby. 

What do you think about social media? Do you overshare?  Or have concerns about your own children?

If you are concerned about child online safety here's a post a wrote a couple of years ago with some top tips.  This is primarily aimed at 5 to 7 year olds but has useful information for all ages.

Internet safety for children

Think U Know

Emma xxx

I'm tired! (humour)

Before you have kids you might say I'm tired, I'm bored, I need a break.

This may well be true but my god once kids arrive these statements go up to a whole other level!

I'm tired - You have no idea. Caffeine and the fact you have a little people to look after is all that is getting you through the day. Is it bedtime yet?

I'm bored - Having a baby/young child can be profoundly boring. It's ok you can admit it. They sleep, eat, can't talk. As they get older it's all Biff, Chip & Kipper books (shoot me now!) and soft play hell.  It's boring. Even when they get older boredom can set in.  Ever fancied being stuck in traffic daily on school runs, watching your 100th swimming lesson and 1000th episode of some good awful cartoon. Fun isn't it.  Good job we love our kids.

I need a break - After days/weeks/months of a little person attached to you yes you need a break! Remember that you can pass the child to their dad/mum/family/friend etc and chill the hell out! It's allowed just remember to relax and not check your phone 50 million times. 

On that note I'm tired. Is it bedtime yet?

Emma xxx

Saturday, 20 January 2018

February half term. Things to do in Northamptonshire

For us February half term is week commencing 12th February and includes Pancake Day and Valentine's.

I always find February half term is about chilling out a bit after the rude reality of returning to work/school after Christmas.  It's still gloomy and cold but the nights are getting lighter hoorah!  However if we stay in for too long cabin fever sets in and my son in particular starts climbing the walls.  So here are some ideas for what to do this half term.

Mini Meadow Farm NN6 6HZ.
Lambing season runs 12th February to 31st March.
I love this farm it is fairly small but has loads to do, feed the animals for a small extra charge, there's a new indoor play area, lovely cafĂ©, huge indoor sand pit and if the weather is dry great outdoor play equipment. £4 per person.

West Lodge Rural Centre NN14 2SH.
A much bigger farm but this is reflected in the cost.  I've been several times for Halloween and loved it.  I've never actually visited in February but with lambing plus other babies being born I'm sure it will be a great day out. Per Person £6.50 online and £7.45 on the gate. Under 2's free and family tickets available.

Waddesdon Manor HP18 0JH - Super Hero week
Go on the trail and solve the clues and riddles to claim a reward.  11am to 3pm.  £3 per child and normal ground admission applies.

Stowe - Half term Women of Stowe trail
10am to 5pm.  Grab your coat and boots and take part in this self led trail. Booking not required.  Normal ground admission charges apply.  £12 per adult and £6 per child. Under 5's free.  National Trust Property. 

Half Term Fifa Soccer School at Northampton Town Football Club
Sessions run 14th, 15th and 16th February.  11.15 to 1 with half hour lunch break and then more activities 1.30 to 3pm.  For ages 8 to 15.  £15 per child with sibling discount.

Evenley Wood Garden NN13 5SH
Snow drop days.  3rd to 28th February.  9.30 to 4pm.  £5 per adult and children free.

Coton Manor NN6 8RQ
Snow drops.  17th to 4th March.  £7.50 adult and £3 child. 
I visited her for the Bluebells and it was gorgeous and I also went in the summer holidays but in typical British weather style in poured with rain so we had tea and cakes and cut our visit short.  Coton Manor is a lovely garden with flamingos, ducks and chickens roaming the grounds.

Wicksteed Park NN15 6NJ
10th to 18th February 10.30 to 6pm.  8 rides open £6 per person.
Astroslide & Dropslide, explore the Treetop Walk and Sycamore Circle, get dizzy on the Carousel and Sway Rider, get a hole in one on Crazy Golf,  and enjoy the Meerkat Burrows.
Wicksteed Park

Abington Park Museum
14th February Valentines Workshop time slots 1.15-2 .00 2.15-3 3.15-4 £3 per child suitable for 3+ years.
16th February Chinese New Year Workshop time slots 1.15-2 2.15-3 3.15-4 £2.50 per child suitable for all ages.
You can book online or call 01604 838110
Abington Park Musuem Booking

And finally of course an indoor play centre is a blessing and a curse during half term.  The kids can get rid of their energy and you can have a cup of tea/coffee but the noise can be horrific and I'm always mildly concerned about the ball pits!!!  For children (like my daughter) that have outgrown an indoor play centre Boost Trampoline Park is a great alternative.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Stanwick Lakes in Northamptonshire

Stanwick Lakes is one of our favourite places for some fresh air and exercise in Northamptonshire.  It suits both children (aged 7 and 10) and I love it too.

Stanwick Lakes is off the Stanwick roundabout on the A45 in Northamptonshire 8 miles from Wellingborough.  For Satnav purposes the postcode is NN9 6GY.  The site is open from 7am to 9pm (7pm in winter) and Visitor centre for information, snacks, toilets and indoor toddler play area is open 10am to 5pm. Car parking charges vary depending on time spent there and season.  Currently £2.50 in winter and between £3.50 and £5.50 in the summer. (Cash only parking)

The most impressive thing for the kids is the enormous central play area, with climbing frames, slides, swings, water play areas, sand and tunnels.  On either side is a walk/cycle track for you to explore.  One way takes you to the obstacle course for older children.  My 7 year old finds some parts challenging and its great fun.  The other way takes you on a nice loop and past a zip wire, tyre swings and rope bridge.  There are several bird hides too and lots of lakes.  The whole area is very popular with families, walkers, bird watchers, cyclists and horse riders (permit required).

In the summer months it can get very busy an I've often ended up in the overflow car park but in the winter it is quite quiet and a great way to blow away the cobwebs.  Do be prepared for mud though as in the Winter months (especially if we've had lots of rain) certain areas can get boggy especially the obstacle course area.  My kids love it though.  Mud and puddles equals fun.  Just remember a big bag to put all the muddy stuff in and maybe some spare clothes.

In the summer lots of families take picnics and the kids playing in the central area wear swimming costumes and run about for hours.  There's also a BBQ area next to this for super prepared families.  So take along a disposable BBQ, your sausages and enjoy!

Tyre swing

On a very muddy/hot water fun day!

The rope bridge

Zip wire fun

Beautiful views
The site also runs a holiday club which might be of benefit to some families.  It is run during Easter, May and Summer holidays providing activities for up to 23 children aged between 5 and 11 years. 3 time slots are available 9am – 3pm £22, 8.50am – 5.10pm £25 or 8.30am – 5.45pm £28.

Next time you are in the area I 100% recommend Stanwick Lakes.  Both children give Stanwick Lakes a 10 out of 10!  We really do love it you'll have a great time.

Emma xxx

Why not join me on Facebook

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For loads of days out ideas click on the link below for an interactive map and reviews.

Days Out Now