what-can-two-year-olds-use-a-tablet-for
Mum's finds, Parenting

Does a 2 year old need a tablet?

As we get closer to the festive season, I’ve been wondering what on earth to get Travis for his third (!!) Christmas. With his birthday in October, I start to feel at a loss of what to get.

We are so fortunate to have such a loving network of friends and family that spoil Travis, so he doesn’t particularly need anything at this moment. Add to that the fact that hes too young to really want and persist about certain things (at the moment!), and accounting for the fact it will then be another 10 months before he gets another big present from us, and it all gets a little bit daunting.

So I decided to purchase a tablet as his main Christmas present this year. Even when I popped my card into the reader in the O2 store, I could hear twenty-something me saying “what does a toddler need an actual tablet for?” And I know many other parents (and non-parents) will be thinking the same. Whilst there are a million reasons that tablets are seen to be bad for children, there are also some plus points and benefits for parents (sanity) too.

When I was younger and childless I used to look at kids in restaurants glued to iPads or see little ones nag at parents for a shot of their phone – I’ve even seen kids sitting in the park on a tablet (!) All of which made me instantly recoil in horror and think, how could that be good for such a little mind? Truth is, without kids you don’t really understand the situation, and unless you ask someone why they’ve given a kid a device or what they are doing on it, you’ll never really know if it’s as bad as what your brain is telling you.

Now with my parent hat on I can see so many benefits to this little piece of portable technology and believe there are actually many things a 2 year old can use a tablet for. Here are just 5 of them:

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1.Watching things you don’t want to

I’ll be the first to confess, this is the absolute number one reason that swayed me to getting the tablet in the first place. I’m all for watching some CBeebies (especially if there’s a beaut bedtime story reader!) but with YouTube and Netflix and other streaming sources meaning that kids expect to watch things on demand, it can be difficult to control the timing of watching things. It can also be hard to control what your kid likes, thanks to auto playing and recommended suggestions from the likes of YouTube.

At the moment, Travis’ favourite thing to watch is remote control fire engines and trucks that change colour and teach him colours. Whilst they aren’t exactly x-rated or offensive, they are a tad repetitive and boring. There’s only so many times I can watch the same fire engine be driven to the same (fake) fire and watch it get put out by this remote control marvel. Similarly with the colours videos, though add to that a regular argument between a toddler and a grown-ass woman about whether the truck turns purple or pink!

So for me, having a tablet he can watch these things on, albeit on a limited time frame, saves a portion of my sanity, and means he doesn’t have to be in the living room to enjoy it.

2. Interactive learning

There are so many educational apps out there for kids at all stages of development. Whether it’s a fun game based on a cartoon character that lets you sort out shapes, or a simple screen where you tap animals to hear the noises they make, there are loads of interactive learning games for toddlers available on apps. Again, I feel like if the screen time is limited, it’s no more harmful than watching TV or doing similar activities not on a screen (with plastic toys that are unable to biodegrade for example).

3. Travel

This is another top reason in our book for getting the tablet. My own personal tablet was bought in 2014, but was quite possibly made earlier than that. As such, it’s getting to the point where apps are no longer able to update and so it’s not reliable for us to take when travelling. Whether it’s a long car ride or a plane/train ride where your little one can’t exactly get up and wander off, tablets can be a good way to incorporate the above into your travel plan, meaning a 2 year old is content watching fire engines or sorting shapes or watching a movie from one little device rather than having to pack 40 toys, games etc with you.

For me it sure beats the alternative of tantrums when he can’t get out and move around, or the polar opposite – a danger nap at the wrong time of day!

4. Playing with mum and dad

Nobody said that kids had no option but to use tablets by themselves, doing solo activities. In fact, most basic games can be played on tablets, whether it’s drawing and colouring or learning and counting. Mum and dad can always join in, picking a colour or singing along. YouTube can be a great resource for nursery rhymes with subtitles (because I swear there were never as many nursery rhymes when I was wee!) and dances or actions, meaning everyone can join in.

5. Growing with your child

Rather than a plastic toy that may only be in your toddlers favour for a few months, destined for a charity shop or recycling by the next December, a tablet is an investment that can grow with your child. Basic counting and naming apps too childish for your kid now? Simply find some newer ones which will stimulate their mind and educate their growing brain. As they get older they can use the tablet as a library and even homework tool (if the tablet is much better than my 2014 friend which is past its sell-by now!) meaning that there’s less wastage and you – or Santa – has actually got great value from a Christmas present for a 2 year old.

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look-for-a-book-west-dunbartonshire-free-activity
baby and toddler activities, Free things to do with toddlers

Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire

One thing I love about where I live is the amazing community spirit. It mat be one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, but what we lack in our pockets we make up for in kindness and good spirits.

The latest example of that is the Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire initiative which was recently started by a local mum. Having seen something similar in another area, she decided to bring the idea to our neighbourhood which has got everybody in the community spirit.

What is Look for a Book West Dubartonshire?

According to their Facebook page, it’s a thrilling activity for families which injects fun and excitement into reading, by combining it with hide and seek. Essentially, children are invited to hunt for books around the local area, which have been hidden by other children. Books are hidden in parks, at the school gates, in the leisure centres and local cafes and anywhere that makes a good hiding spot really.

Each book is hidden with a cover note from Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire, saying congratulations on finding the book, and encouraging finders to read and keep, pass on or re-hide the book once they have read it. Finders are also encouraged to hide their own books for other boys and girls to find.

The power of social media is what really drives this fun game – clues as to where books are hidden are shared in the Facebook group and conversely parents share pictures of their happy children who have found books. The cover note with books strongly encourages the use of social media to share findings and be part of this community game.

Taking part in Look for a Book West Dunbartonshire

Its really easy to take part as all you need is a dry day to get outside and get hunting! We looked on the Facebook group to see if any books had been recently hidden nearby, and if any clues had been shared. This game is so popular in the area that books can literally be found within 15 minutes of a clue being shared online.

Unfortunately we haven’t found any books yet (though not for lack of trying!) But we did take part and hide some books locally. The cover sheets to accompany the books are available to print online, and most of the local West Dunbartonshire libraries have stocks of the cover sheets and plastic wallets to keep books dry. We just did it the old fashioned way and wrote our notes by hand.

We picked our spots and set off to hide some books from our bookshelves which Travis was no longer interested in. At this stage in his life, I’m too scared to give away some of his more loved books to others (if we don’t read Mr Happy at Sports Day every bedtime, I think his world would implode) but a lot of the participants have given away some of their favourite books, and well-loved ones that they have grown out of. Others have bought books especially to hide, though there’s no obligation to do that.

Free fun for all the family

The best part about this initiative is that it’s all-inclusive. There’s no cash barrier and no age barrier – books are hidden for all-ages from baby books right up to YA fiction. If your child finds a book and you/they think it doesn’t suit age or topic-wise, then you’re welcome to re-hide it for someone else to find, whilst you search for another to read. Additionally, the only ask is that you hide books back – this can either be the same book you found, or a book your child already owns. Either way, this costs you no money to participate in, and you get to enjoy two activities with your child – getting outdoors on a book hunt, and enjoying story-time later.
This has honestly got to be one of the best uses I’ve seen for social media and one of the quickest-adopted community schemes (RIP chain mails) in my area and I’m so thankful that we can take part. If you’re reading this and you’re not from West Dunbartonshire – why not set up your own Look for a Book game in your area?
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Mum time

5 minute mum makeup

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at worrying (remembering) about makeup at the best of times. Now I’m a mum, I find it even harder to fit a makeup routine into the mix, and am lacking motivation most of the time.

However that lack of time doesn’t stop me noticing that actually my face can look dull and tired, or a breakout can takeover my chin, or actually, sometimes, you just look a bit more approachable when makeup is covering all the flaws. Plus, it’s nice to look and feel nice sometimes. So I’ve devised my own sort of 5-minute mum makeup routine that can get you from bare-faced to bright-eyed without too much effort.

Here’s how I do it:

Moisturise!

I confess, I’d love the time to be able to cleanse, tone and mosturise every single day, but it just isn’t feasible. That said, a good moisturiser or primer is key for makeup to sit well (on my face at least!). I use Astral Cream and have done since I was a teen and used to nick my mum’s, and genuinely can’t flaw it. I’ve spoken about the many benefits of this wonder product here before.

The face part

Foundation, blush and powder – no more, no less. A comfortable foundation base, followed by a sweep of blush, then set in place with some powder usually does the trick. The products I use for this are all Avon – True Cream to Powder Foundation, True blush and Mark Loose Powder Foundation – but obviously everybody has their own makeup preferences and budgets. This simple face brightening usually takes 2 minutes tops – and that’s if I have to add a bit of concealer in to cover any breakouts.

Eyes/brows

I find that to get on the go, a good brow and mascara product are all you need. I am a self-confessed mascara junkie, and have found loads of favourites over the years but for the moment I’m really digging Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Volume 2, which only needs a couple of strokes of the wand to create a dramatic, lengthy lash effect. For my brows I use Beautaniq fill & tame brow gel – it’s cheap and cheerful and came from my Birchbox – something which I shout about regularly. Again, a couple of sweeps of this sort out your brows by taming rogue hairs and filling in any gaps.

Lips

Last but not least, a good lip balm or sweep of favourite lippy does the trick to get you on the go – no need for any faffing around with lip liner or coats of gloss on top of colour. For me, I sometimes skip this step (ensuring I’m not sporting foundation lips!) as I find lipstick on my coffee cup annoying, but in the winter my dry lips normally demand it. Currently, my favourite lippy is Charlotte Tilbury Superstar Lips in signature shade Pillow Talk, but it could just as easily be a Rimmel lippy for under a fiver as I tend to go for shade and texture over anything else.

 

And that’s literally it. That whole routine takes 5 minutes tops. Granted, I could take longer contouring or adding more coats of mascara, eyeliner etc, but this routine is enough to give coverage and appear bright eyed and natural, without too much time or effort – because, as we know, toddler mums are rarely afforded such luxuries!

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nordic-c-arctic-berry-lumene-skincare
Mum time, Mum's finds

My Winter Skin Saviour: Nordic-C Arctic Berry Cocktail

Now that the clocks have changed, winter seems to instantly be upon us. Living in Scotland, that means a sudden change in temperature, from mild, hitting-double-digits days to ice-cold mornings and cold, dark evenings. Since that seems to be the only time I’m out during the day (at least on weekdays) it definitely plays havoc on my skin.

Thankfully I’ve found what seems to be a miracle cure so far – for my face at least. Lumene’s Nordic-c Arctic Berry Cocktail Hydra-Oil would not necessarily have been my immediate go-to for a skin saviour, as I tend to be quite wary of oils. However I received it through my Birchbox subscription and it claimed to be for normal/dry skin (which I feel mine is in the winter) so I thought I’d give it a bash.

*I’ve completely tried this product off my own back (well, with a nudge from Birchbox) and have no affiliation with Lumene*

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Trying out Nordic-C Arctic Berry Cocktail

The first thing I noticed, aside from the cool packaging, is the beautiful smell. Arctic berry is definitely one of my favourite scents I didn’t know existed until using this product! At this point I was almost sold without it even touching my face, but was still stlightly wary of having a really oily complexion after using. After an internal battle, I opted to try it for the first time right before bed, for any damage limitation purposes!

The product itself comes in what looks like a hair serum bottle, you know the ones with a wide pump? You’re advised to shake well before using 1-2 pumps on your face, so being a scaredy cat, I opted for just 1 pump first time round. Fast forward 8 hours, and I was amazingly surprised by the results.

My face wasnt oily at all – it only felt slightly damp until the product dried in. Miraculously, my cheeks felt as smooth as Travis’ bum and when checking the mirror, I looked visibly brighter and more awake, despite having broken sleep (toddler-mum life!). There was a nice subtle glow on my cheeks in particular, which surprised me after just the first use.

The product advice for best results is to use the serum after cleansing and before face cream, which makes sense. However, as I was worried about over-oiling my skin I didn’t use a cream after the cocktail, and still noticed fab results the next morning. Possibly as the temperatures drop into the minus and skin starts to suffer more, I might think about popping a cream on afterwards but I wouldn’t say it’s essential if you’ve got pretty normal skin.

 

What’s in Nordic-C Arctic Berry Cocktail?

The brightening oil cocktail is 100% vegan and contains loads of great vitamins for your skin. Packed with vitamin C, B3 and B5 as well as omega acids and the purest arctic spring water, it’s no wonder skin is beautifully hydrated and noticeably brighter after just a single use!

Unlikely Mum Verdict

I have to say I’m sold on this one. For me to use an oil-based product on my face and actually be really positive about the results is telling. I’ve used Nordic-C Arctic Berry Cocktail on my face several times since the initial trial, and have to say it makes a difference. Even if I’m running late (typical working mum weekday) and use this in the morning with no other products or makeup, it shows. Skin is hydrated and more alert – it’s amazing how much more awake you can look in a 10am meeting after just 4 hours of sleep with this on!

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