Mother Distracted

Mother Distracted

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Monday, 24 October 2016

Are You Britain's Most Fruitful Family - Share Your Life Hacks With Nature's Finest To Win £1000

We are all getting busier and busier and I find that there seems to be much fewer hours to get things done once the clocks go back (30th October at 2 am - don't forget!).

As busy parents it's good to have some tricks up your sleeve to get things done in double quick time, especially if you're juggling work commitments with the kids' social life and after school activities.

And getting things done quicker means more time to spend together as a family.

Nature's Finest, who make a variety of tasty potted fruits in juice are searching for Britain's Most Fruitful Family in a fabulous competition they are running on their Facebook page.

They recognise that family time is precious, but with parents often exhausted at the end of a working day and children focused on gadgets we forget to spend just five minutes together. So Nature’s Finest is on a mission to find and champion families who use simple solutions or life hacks to ensure time is spent together.

To enter the competition, families are being asked to send in the life hacks that help them to spend more time together as a family, encouraging others to try the same and embrace a fruit-ful lifestyle.

Inspired by the brand itself, Nature’s Finest offers a variety of tasty Potted fruit only in juice, with no added sugar. Making eating fruit on the go or at home a simple and easy task.

The competition runs from 24th October through to 28th November and the winning family with the best life hack will receive £1,000 worth of Sainsbury’s vouchers – ideal just before Christmas when food shopping bills get bigger.

Just leave your brilliant lifehack in the comments box on the Facebook competition post.

 So how do we save time in the Hobbis household?  Here's my 5 top tips.

* Invest in a slow cooker

Yes there's still a little prep time to make a warming beef stew or a veggie curry but there's nothing better than coming home to a hot meal that's just waiting to be dished up.

*Write out a weekly meal plan

If you can discipline yourself to do this you'll find you won't be hit by the 4 pm angst when you remember you're supposed to throw something together for tea.

Plus having a meal plan streamlines shopping, reduces your bills because you won't impulse buy and allows you to make better use of leftovers.

*Prepare lunchboxes the night before

You can bet the morning you're rushing to prepare a lunchbox is the time you'll discover muddy school uniform and need to get the iron out!

Make things easier by prepping the night before and sticking the whole lot in the fridge to keep cool.  A Nature's Finest Fruit Pot makes a healthier snack / pud to slip in as well.

*Delegate some chores to the kids

There's no reason why kids can't lay a table, put shopping away or (at a sensible age) help with basic chopping and food preparation. I used to peel the potatoes for mum when I got home from school.

*Agree a sensible switch off time for gadgets

We know that we are supposed to turn off our gadgets at least an hour before turning in for the night so having a set switch off time means you have a few more precious moments to read stories, talk about your day and just cuddle.

*Have a homework timetable

If you can it's good to have a designated quiet area for your kids to do their homework.  No TV, no music and no gadgets! It's also worth drawing up a basic homework timetable with the kids so that nothing gets forgotten.

This means checking their school bags when they get home on Friday afternoon because you can bet something will be remembered at 4 pm on Sunday.

You could also incentivise sticking to the timetable by offering a family treat as a reward.  Depending on your budget this could be a meal out, a trip to the cinema, a walk to the park, a movie night at home or even playing a board game altogether. The point is to ensure more quality time together as a family.

I hope I've given you a few ideas and please take a look at the Nature's Finest Competition.  I'm looking forward to learning more tips and tricks to make life just that little bit easier!

The Nature’s Finest product range includes: Peach, Tropical Fruit Salad, Mango, Pineapple and Mandarin in individual posts and sharing pots including Mango, Mandarin, Tropical Fruit Salad, Prunes, Peach, Pear, Pineapple.  There are also larger fridge packs in Peach, Pear, Pear with Peach and Pineapple, Prunes and Tropical Fruit Salad.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Angry Birds or Pigs? Who'll Win The #FrubesMoves Challenge?

Frubes, the largest portable yogurt brand has joined forces with The Angry Birds to celebrate the must-see family film of the year - The Angry Birds Movie.

Not only is there an on-pack promotion which gives you the chance to win a whole host of Angry Bird merchandise in a weekly draw, there is a grand prize of a fabulous holiday for four to spend six nights in the Bahamas up for grabs too. The competition ends on 31st of October so you'll need to get Frubes-Moving!

And to add to the fun, there is a great on-line game which involves a dance-off between the birds and those naughty pigs.

You simply choose a character and a style of music and you can challenge your friends and family to finally settle the question of who reigns supreme - birds or pigs?

Why not have a go at angrybirds.frubes.co.uk.

Frubes challenged us to show off our best FrubesMoves and get the kids dancing.  Caitin and Ieuan love to dance and I think it's an excellent way of getting kids to exercise in a fun way and to show off their creativity. There's something about dance that unites people and lifts the spirit, even if you've got two left feet.

Caitlin has been studying ballet for the past three years and is taking her Grade 3 Royal Academy of Dance exam in November. Ieuan has his own unique set of moves too (rather reminiscent of a funky chicken in places rather than a bird or a pig).

Frubes are tasty squeezable yoghurt tubes which can also help by providing vitamin D and calcium to build strong bones. They come in strawberry, red berry, peach and banana flavours and are ideal to add to a lunchbox or to give as a snack. You can find Frubes in all leading supermarkets priced around £2.

So who would you support birds or pigs?  Do you have some funky FrubesMoves?

"This post is an entry for BritMums' #FrubesMoves Linky Challenge, sponsored by Frubes."

My Problem Page - What Was I Asked This Week? (Week 42)

This week I'm talking about dating by text, trouble with solar panels and what to do when your glasses don't fit. A pretty mixed bag, as I'm sure you'll agree.  Sometimes though, it's the smallest things that cause us the biggest problems and all we really need is someone to listen to  us.

If you would like any advice, feel free to message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here's just some of the questions I've been asked this week.

Q: I found out my boyfriend is still friends with the girl he cheated on me with. What should I do? 

He cheated on me with her 3 years ago. I saw on the home screen of his phone that they were messaging via Facebook. I didn't snoop but I've found out that they have recently become Facebook friends again.

A: It sounds like they are both still in touch and given that he has already broken your trust once with this girl, I wonder why you have not confronted him about it. Unfortunately by taking him back, you basically gave him the green light to cheat on you again.

There are those who would say that you did right to give him another chance and that people do change. I’m with the other school of thought that says a leopard never changes his spots.

You need to ask him exactly what’s going on - otherwise he’s just playing you for a fool. When you took him back, did you do so on the condition that he broke all contact with this girl? I certainly would have done. And I’d certainly be asking him quite a few blunt questions now.

Q: Is he just not that into me if he isn't pursuing me strongly after 5 dates or is it normal to wait hours/days for him text and ask me out each time?

A: What do you mean by ‘pursuing you strongly’? If he’s texting you and asking you out for further dates then he is ‘into you’.

If you become obsessed by a timetable - by date 6 he must have declared his love, by date 9 he must have bought me jewellery, by date 12 we should be moving in together……. you sending him running for the hills. Try to relax.

I’m assuming he has a life of his own and needy isn’t attractive you know. 5 dates is very early days and you sound like you have spent most of that time glued to your phone waiting for it to ring or bleep.

Think smart, sassy and independent. Make him chase you. That way you will keep his interest.

Q: Can a high frequency noise from my neighbor's solar panel inverter cause permanent ear damage?

It is about 15-20 feet from my room and I can now hear almost the same high frequency noise at night even though the noise is not there (tinnitus). The solar panel system of the neighbor was activated about 4 days ago.

A: It’s unlikely. I have tinnitus and I know that stress makes it worse so in your shoes if I were worrying 24/7 about the panels, it would make me more sensitive to noise.

All you can do in this situation is talk to your neighbour and see if there is anything that can be done to reduce your exposure to the noise. Loft insulation? Sound proofing panels?

Did your neighbour have to have planning permission to install these solar panels? I’m assuming these are domestic panels?

I’m not sure if you’re in the UK but noise pollution can be reported to your local authority and there may be something they can do to help.

I’d advise trying to get your neighbour on side first rather than starting a dispute. You might be able to come up with a solution between you. A bit of positive action is needed here rather than stewing angrily about the din. 

Q: How do I relieve irritation that my eyeglasses cause to the area behind my ears?

A: It sounds as if you need to return to your optician to have the glasses fitted properly. They may be too tight.

An optician will be able to warm a plastic frame slightly to bend it into a more comfortable shape.

If you have a metal frame, it is possible you are allergic to the material they are made from (e.g. nickel). However, a poor fit is the most likely reason you are uncomfortable.

While you are waiting to see the optician, get some lightly medicated cream such as a hydrocortisone cream and apply lightly to help with the irritation.

Also, are you showering and not drying behind your ears properly? That might also irritate your ears.

Q: My girlfriend is not friends with someone she had an argument with, but I want to be friends with her. Is this ok?

A: The mature answer would be, yes of course it is OK for you to be friends with her. 

The realistic answer is no it’s not OK if you want to keep your girlfriend. It also depends on what the argument was about. 

I think most girlfriends would expect their boyfriend to take their side in an argument rather than their friend. 

If it was a silly argument and likely to blow over, I’d just keep quiet until things calm down. If it’s a serious rift then you have some thinking to do about where your loyalties lie because it sounds as if you will have to choose between the pair of them. 

This isn’t particularly grown up behaviour, as I have said, but I’m also interested that you seem more interested in taking the friend’s side. The argument wasn’t about you was it? 

You need decide whether you want to keep your girlfriend or whether being free to pursue your friendships is more important. And there’s no easy answer to that one.

Q: Is it time to move on if he hasn't contacted me 2 days after our last date? 

We have been dating a month and he never texted much but I guess my feelings are growing. Since he is texting less after spending more time, I am guessing it’s time to move on? If he was into me wouldn’t he text and ask to see me soon? I am big into communication, are we not compatible?

A: The only way you will find out is by asking him. 

You cannot have a relationship ‘by text’ - and if you are, I’d suggest it’s not a real relationship in any case - particularly if you are no longer teenagers. 

A month is nothing in terms of time to be dating. You are still getting to know each other whereas it sounds as if you have a wedding planned already. 

Have you considered he might actually be busy, or have things going on in his life that don’t involve you? If you don’t know what is going on with him then you haven’t learned much about him in the last month. 

Rather than playing ‘text’ tennis, why don’t you talk to him, get to know him and see if you want a longer term relationship. 

People don’t stick to a ‘texting’ schedule. Some people hate mobile phones and would prefer the good old fashioned method of communication - talking. 

You say you are “big into communication” - what you are actually saying is that you expect him to stick to your schedule. Can I gently suggest that’s a little bit controlling? 

Calm down, take a breath and stop obsessing. If he’s interested he will call but it is 2016 - you don’t have to wait for him to make all the moves. 

The only way you will find out if you are compatible is to put the phone down and spend time with him.

How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page here.

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