Category Archives: Technology

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Mumsnet FreedomPop Review – 100% Free Plan Mobile Network

For the last few weeks we have been trying out the FreedomPop Mobile the 100% free Network for Mumsnet that offer a 100% Free Plan that includes 200 minutes, 200 texts & 200MB data every month for no cost at all.

Now when I first heard about it I thought it sounded to good to me true but after using the FreedomPop network fro nearly a month it is fantastic. You simply purchase the SIM card for 99p and it is a trio SIM so can be used in any phone and runs of Three’s 3G and 4g network. When changing over to FreedomPop you can keep your old number which makes life much easier or if you want to have a new number.


There is a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try FreedomPop out without any worries and with no contract at all you are not signed up to something for a couple of years like most networks.  If you do need for minutes, texts and data than on the basic free 200 package you get a month you can upgrade without being in a contract and still as you can see below even the premium deals are super cheap!

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We were asked by Mumsnet to let you know our thoughts about FreedomPop and the prime user was Oscar to see just how great it is for kids/teenagers to rule out ever getting a huge mobile phone bill from your child!

Who is trying the FreedomPop service?

Oscar is 7 years old and is trying out the service as he likes to play games on my phone and uses my phone to message and call his best friend after school.


Did you try the handset or the SIM only?

We were kindly sent the SIM and the Samsung Galaxy phone.

Why did they/ you want to try it?

I wanted to try it out as a network that offered 100% calls and texts seemed to good to be true and after reading stories of kids racking up huge phone bills Freedom Pop sounded like the perfect answer to stopping that. Oscar likes to message his friend on my phone and he feels very grown up having his own phone.

Was it their first mobile?

Yes it is Oscar’s first mobile. Obviously at 7 he doesn’t carry it round with him everywhere but after school he likes to message and ring his friends. He also pesters Daddy by ringing him as well and has been sending us very sweet messages.

Do you see FreedomPop as a mobile service alternative for both parents and children?

Totally! Their data packages are so well priced and I do use my phone a lot for my blog but a lot of the time that is on my Wi-Fi. I then pay a huge amount for data each month that I don’t use. Using Freedom Pop would bring my bills down massively. For kids/teenagers its just fantastic. Knowing you will never get a huge bill at the end if the month is a god send for parents that are worried about the cost of their children having a mobile phone.


How did your child get on with the phone?

Oscar found the phone really easy to use and the home screen is easy to navigate. The camera is great too and he keeps taking lots of photos. Writing a message is easy too with predictive test it has helped him to write the messages he wants to write without any help.

What did you like about the service? And what features would you like to have in the future?

I think the service is great. Like I said above having a service that does exactly what you need out of a phone network at an amazing price. It has made me realise just how much the network I am currently with are obviously ripping me right off! I can’t think of anything that I would add at the moment. Also being able to see who Oscar is going to call or text I am sure in the future when he is in his teens will come in very useful!

 

  • This post is in collaboration with FreedomPop and Mumsnet. All opinions are honest and my own.

Our Day At The Epson EcoTank #PrintingDory Event

Yesterday we went into London to the Epson #printingdory event to get hands on with the new EcoTank printer range at The Disney Store on Oxford Street. As Oscar broke up from school on Friday for the Summer he got to come along too and was so excited. We drove into London, parked up and walked round to the store and was shown upstairs to where the event was being held. When the lift doors opened we were greeted by a gorgeous brunch and drinks and Oscar was drawn straight to the photo booth basket of all of the characters in the new Finding Dory film which is released on the 29th July and we can’t wait to go and see it!

We were then given a short presentation from Leonie and Neil from Epson and Bobbi from Disney. So what are the new EcoTank printers all about? Epson’s new EcoTank range of printers features revolutionary refillable ink tank technology that offers an unbeatable combination of convenience and value for homes, home offices and small offices. You can now print without cartridges at a very low cost. Research showed that most people use around 70 ink cartridges over a two year period when using an old printer but now thanks to the Eco Tank way of printing when you buy a new EcoTank printer it comes with two years worth of ink which is up to 11,000 pages in black and colour! It truly is a printing revelation. When you finally run low you simply buy the additional ink bottles and refill your EcoTanks inside your printer.

I am someone who uses a printer a lot. From printing off boarding passes to photos to update our picture wall in our lounge and it is so annoying when your in the middle of printing and suddenly one of the colour cartridges becomes low and the rest of your printing is not as clear as when you started. I love that with the new Eco Tank printers you can just top up what ever colour is needed using the individual bottles. I did have a good look at the printer and the bottles and refilling the EcoTanks looks so simple and easy to do. I can’t wait to have our new printer delivered to try it for myself!

The EcoTank printers have a wide range of connectivity options making it so easy to print anything from your laptop, tablet device or smart phone using Wi-Fi with auto-setup, Wi-Fi Direct and Ethernet. These are combined with the simplicity of email print and the ability to print from your Android and iOS phones and tablets using Epson’s free iPrint app. EcoTank printers also support AirPrint. I often use the email function on my printer so whatever I need is ready for me to grab when I get home.

We then sat down and took part in lots of Finding Dory arts and crafts that Epson have put together with Disney which will keep your little ones entertained over the Summer holidays. Oscar loves doing art and crafts and it hardly costs a thing and we can spend hours making different things and spending quality time together. Research showed that most families over the Summer holidays will spend a whopping £1500 on days outs and activities. Epson have made some great and easy to make printable art and crafts activities and we made Squirt the turtle, some photo booth props and a pretty collage. There is also pop up cards, origami Dory and many more things to choose from.

We had a really lovely day and the boys enjoyed it so much! I can’t wait to get started using our new EcoTank printer and I will write another post so you know how we got on with it. Thanks Disney and Epson for a really special day!

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Aloka SleepyLights Review

A few weeks ago we were asked to pick one of the fun designs in the Aloka Sleepylights multi-coloured LED light range from Potwells. I knew Oscar would love the Robot design and when Oscar came home from school to find his new light set up in his bedroom he absolutely loved it. There are 26 lovely designs to choose from and six of these designs are now stocked at John Lewis and Mothercare.

John Lewis stock these designs:

Mothercare stock these designs:

So what is so great about these new amazingly fun children’s lights…… Firstly Oscar loves having a remote control and lays in bed constantly changing the colours and leaves it on a different colour each night. You can also leave it to rotate through the 12 different colours and the light gives off a soft and calming glow which is perfect for bedtime. Having the control is great for younger children too who can use the control which is great for practising their fine motor skills and learning all the different colours as well. The lights also have a side-lamp feature which leaves your light on a bright white glow which is also great for when you are reading a bedtime story and need a bit more light.

The light also has a dimmer function which is great and you can choose from four varying levels of brightness, it also has a sleep button which will automatically lower the light to create the ideal calm and dreamy environment to fall to sleep in. I also set the timer to turn the night light off after an hour saving the need to enter the room to switch it off as the evenings are lighter at the moment although Oscar sleeps with the remote under his pillow and turns it back on if he wakes in the night.


Oscar’s favourite light setting is the bright blue but my favourite without a doubt is the beautiful rainbow light show! Archie likes watching the light show too I am going to order the Giraffe light for him as it is perfect to have in a nursery.


The Robot Aloka SleepyLight has an RRP of £39.99 and I think is great value. Not only does it look great in Oscar’s bedroom but buying a SleepyLight will last you for years when using it from newborn.

Disclaimer: We were sent the light for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

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Thomas & Friends Start Your Engines DVD #TeamThomas

We are one of the lucky few that are in #TeamThomas and have sent the brand new Thomas & Friends Start Your Engines DVD which has never been seen before on TV and is due to be released on the . The DVD has six jam packed full of fun episodes all with a racing theme which Oscar loved. He loves anything to do with racing so this DVD went down a treat! Oscar also loved the mini games in between the episodes.


 The DVD has 6 new episodes, 4 bonus features and 2 new sing-along-songs which Oscar and Archie loved. Archie especially loved the sing-along-songs and bopped to the music. Oscar was very much team blue rather than team red, this is because he loves Thomas and also because he is a Chelsea fan 🙂 The DVD is great and a fantastic taster of the new Thomas film ‘The Great Race’ which is released at the end of the month. We can’t wait to go and see it!


You can also get involved with your little ones and join in with all the fun with #TeamThomas on the Facebook page and try and win some fantastic prizes!

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Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie Review

When we were given a code to download the soon to be released on DVD and Digital HD Download and Blu-Ray Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, Oscar was really excited. It will be available from Monday the 30th of May. Oscar and Daddy actually watched the film in the cinema last Summer when we were in Toronto, Canada and he absolutely loved it!

The film has all of the famous Peanuts characters in that I for one watched and loved as a child. You have Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved PEANUTS Gang making their feature film debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. I absolutely love watching old characters that I watched as a child come to life in 3D for Oscar and Archie to enjoy now and afterwards we can talk about what it was like when I watched it when I was their age.

Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. It teaches children that even if you are the underdog you can still achieve whatever you want. This is a great message to young children. Oscar often says to me that he can’t do something, or he isn’t good enough at a certain game or sport and I always tell him he can do whatever he wants to do if puts his mind to it and it really comes across in the film.

The film itself is refreshing to watch and perfect for cuddles on sofa on movie night on the tv or iPad and Oscar has also downloaded it on to my iPhone and has watched it quite a few times since we downloaded it over the weekend. It really is a lovely film and in HD the quality of the picture is amazing. Listening to Oscar giggle throughout is very sweet and it really is a film that you just smile throughout watching. I felt like a kid again and love anything that takes me back to my childhood.

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You can watch the film trailer below and get a snippet of how fantastic the film really is!

The Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is available in all good DVD stores and online from Monday 30th May on digital download, Blu-ray and DVD priced around £9.99.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

 

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EE’s ‘Light The Arch’ App & Our Visit To Wembley Stadium #LightTheArch

EE have launched their exciting new app which allows 7-11 year olds to ‘light the arch’ at Wembley Stadium. The web application is designed with children aged 7-11 in mind to learn the basic principles of coding, although Oscar is 6 and got how to use the app easily. So to celebrate the launch and try out the new app we were invited to Wembley stadium last Monday which Oscar was so excited about!

We arrived at the Club Wembley entrance and was shown upstairs to one of the boxes where Oscar couldn’t believe the amazing view of the pitch that we had. We were then given a tablet to use and Oscar designed through coding exactly how he wanted to light up the arch of the stadium. After he had finished and named his show the app transformed his design into an amazing display with a countdown and fireworks. He couldn’t believe it and had great fun using it.

The web application is endorsed by the educational technology charity Apps for Good and it is based on the technology used to light the arch at major stadium events. Apps For Good are supporting the new online tool and ensuring it gets into the hands of educators across the UK. They are an education technology charity working to transform education to help young entrepreneurs thrive in a tech driven future, which when I was told about I thought was fantastic. The Light the Arch initiative supports EE’s wider commitment to battle digital exclusion and get more young people into technology and coding. EE has pledged to get at least 100,000 people using the web app before the end of the year and after using it and seeing how much fun it is I am sure they will reach their target as children will love it! Amazingly the educational online tool is based on the technology used to light the stadium’s arch at major events and a lucky few will be able to see their design translated into a real-life display at the England match on 29th March!!

When using the web application you can choose from over sixty different colours and eight patterns to play with such as clap, sweep, twinkle and rainbow. You can then choose which way the colours go in the rainbow and also change the colour configurations and the length and of time and speed each part of the show will last. You can also add wording and when you want to add things such as ‘Goal Scored’, ‘Red Card’ and ‘Welcome to Wembley’. When we took the tour of the stadium afterwards the tour guide told us everybody when playing a concert at Wembley always uses the same three words; “Welcome to Wembley!”

After we had had a go on the application we were taken on a tour if the stadium which is fantastic and well worth going on. The history of the stadium is fascinating and Oscar’s favourite parts were sitting by the Chelsea shirts in the changing rooms and jogging out of the tunnel to the pitch. That must be so daunting for football players as until you are standing by the pitch I wasn’t aware of just how huge the stadium is with a whooping 90,000 seat capacity.

Afterwards we went outside the stadium to watch Oscar’s light show on the actual arch which was absolutely amazing and he is so lucky to have had the chance to do this! Thanks EE and Mumsnet.

Head over to www.ee.co.uk/light-the-arch to create your own light show to Light the Arch at Wembley Stadium and don’t forget to use the hashtag #LightTheArch to share with everyone. Don’t forget to share your video before the midnight on the 27th March 2016 to be in with a chance of having your light show used at the England vs Netherlands game on Tuesday 29th March.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a tablet as a token of thanks for this post.

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TalkTalk Mobile infographic-3

Mum’s Want Phone Calls Not Flowers This Mother’s Day

Did you know that two thirds of Mum’s happy to get a digital message rather than a card or flowers this Mother’s Day. Mum’s now spend on average 14 hours a week on their smartphone keeping in touch with the family. As a nation of smartphone addicts, we’re often criticised for spending too much time staring at our screens, but our devices are actually helping us to celebrate Mother’s Day – and mum doesn’t mind.

 According to a new TalkTalk Mobile study into the ways families stay in touch, 66 per cent of mums with children aged over 18 years would be happy to have a video call or message from their child rather than a card this Mothering SundayBusy lives, large extended families and distance mean only 53 per cent of mums will spend the day together with their child. Instead, 43 per cent of UK mums expect to receive a text or WhatsApp message from their child and nine per cent anticipate a video call, through the likes of Skype or FaceTime.

 Traditional ways of showing our appreciation have fallen in popularity as only 52 per cent of UK mums don’t think they’ll receive a Mother’s Day card and 63 per cent don’t think they’ll receive a present. However, 19 per cent of mums say they prefer modern communications to cards and 76 per cent don’t mind if their child doesn’t send them a card this Mothering Sunday, as long as they have sent a message or call. The advent of more affordable smartphones and plethora of apps mean families are using their mobiles more than ever to stay in touch. One in seven families now have a dedicated WhatsApp group and UK mums admit to spending on average 13 hours and 45 minutes a week on their smartphone communicating with just their family. I whatsapp my Mum all the time and send her photos of the boys throughout the week.TalkTalk Mobile infographic-3

 Seeing pictures of their children and grandchildren is considered the top benefit (99 per cent), followed by being able to receive texts and messages from them (79 per cent), and being able to receive instant updates from family members (53 per cent). As a result, four out of five mums with grown-up children say they feel closer and more connected to their family.TalkTalk Mobile infographic-2

 The top apps mums use to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren are:

 1. Text message

2. Facebook Messenger

3. Video chat e.g. Skype, FaceTime

4. WhatsApp

5. Twitter

One mum who’s been encouraged to take to technology by her grown-up children is singer and TV presenter, Cheryl Baker. “My twin girls are always on their phones and the only way I could keep up with what they’re up to was to get tech savvy,” said Cheryl. “I’m often away touring, which means we spend quite a lot of time apart but because the girls are never far form their mobile, we’re constantly in touch. I probably speak to them more now than ever.“ Dan Meader from TalkTalk Mobile commented: “Technology will never replace spending quality time together as a family, especially on Mother’s Day. But as the research shows, our mobiles are helping us feel closer to our loved ones. The message from modern mums is clear – it’s the thought that counts, not the way it’s delivered.”

TalkTalk Mobile offers SIM, smartphone and tablet bundles starting from £3.95 a month, which all include free unlimited calls between family members linked to the home account. TalkTalk is also currently offering 50% off for the entire the length of the mobile contract on its Small and Medium SIM-only plans. 

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Be Safe On The Roads This Christmas!

Christmas is a time where everyone’s social calender is jammed packed and most of us go on a work night out or out for drinks with friends and family to get us in the mood for the festive season. With this many people think its ok to have a few drinks and then drive home. As a parent this is worrying as when people drink drive they are not only put themselves in danger but everybody else on the road in danger too. As we are on the roads a lot over the Christmas period visiting family and friends with the kids it is worrying that there are people driving under the influence of alcohol that could potentially cause us danger.

A huge 744,000* drivers think that they will be over the legal alcohol limit when they get behind the wheel this festive season according to shocking research by The Co-op Insurance. The Co-op Insurance recently surveyed 2000 drivers and a massive 10% said that they would be having at least one alcoholic drink per night out over the festive period with nearly a fifth (18%) admitting to thinking that they would be over the legal drink drive limit when they take to the roads. This is makes me angry that such a high percentage of people think that it is acceptable to drink drive. Despite years of widespread anti drink driving campaigning, the main reason these people are planning to do this is because they believe ‘that it won’t harm anyone’ (31%). A fifth (20%) admit to drink driving being something that they have done before. Nearly half (49%) of drivers who are having at least one drink will be carrying passengers, and are most likely to have their partners and children in the car. To me that is just totally irresponsible! If you want to put yourself at risk that is one thing, putting children at risk because you want to have a drink is just crazy!

The Co-operative Insurance logo

From the people that took part in the survey the reasons/excuses to drink drive were the following:

Reason % who used this rationale
1 It won’t harm anyone 31%
2 A taxi is too expensive 28%
3 I don’t want to walk home 25%
4 I’ve done it before 20%
5 The roads will be quiet when I drive 18%
6 Alcohol doesn’t affect me 18%
7 I can handle my drink 13%
8 Alcohol doesn’t affect my driving 10%
9 Because I know other people who do this (drink and drive) 7%
10 I don’t want to rely on anyone else 7%

All of the above excuses do not weigh up the severe consequences of causing an accident and injuring someone or being caught driving over the limit. 28% say a taxi is too expensive, but if you get caught you could be paying an unlimited fine. According to the DVLA, those caught driving or attempting to drive whilst over the legal limit or unfit through drink can receive: 6 months’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine, a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years).  Some people who drink drive also rely on their car for work, so loosing their licence could mean loosing their job too. In fact 80% of you do. This could change your life over a drink!

I am always the designated driver as I don’t drink and would never allow Oscar and Archie to be in a car with anyone that had had even one drink. It is such an unnecessary risk and silly thing to do when you can get a taxi or organise between your group a designated driver. I know a lot of people that do that and everyone else pays for their soft drinks for the evening for being the designated driver.

The Co-op Insurance have made a fun tool to help you choose a designated driver within your group of friends. To make making the decision easier and fair they have come up with a great tool which would select a designated driver for you out of your friends/ family. Click on the image below to check it out for yourself. You simply enter the names of everyone going out and the wheel will decide for you. It couldn’t be easier to help you decide.

Be safe on the road this Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: This post is in association with The Co-op Insurance.

 

 

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My Mummy’s Zone Personalised Power Bank

Last month I was asked by USB Makers if I would like to have my new ‘Mummy’s Zone’ logo printed on to my very own personalised power bank. I am sure I am the same as most people who’s battery definitely doesn’t last all day long and I have to either charge it quickly when I am at home or plug it in in the car. I have thought about buying a power bank for ages as it would be perfect for me and save me a lot of worry when my phone is on about 10% and I always need a mobile when Oscar is at school in case they need to contact me.


Being a blogger I use my social media apps, camera and my WordPress app on my mobile phone a lot which drains the battery quickly. Now I simply carry my power bank in my handbag as it is so small and when my battery is getting a bit low I plug my phone into the pre charged power bank and charge my phone wherever I am. Then when I get home I charge my power bank back up again and it’s ready to be used again.

You can use it with tablets, smart phones, MP4 players, PSP’s and cameras. The power bank has a built in intelligent identification chip to identify different types of devices and their voltage and electric current. I am so impressed with how quickly my power bank charges my phone, it doesn’t take long at all.


USB Makers make loads of different personalised power banks in lots of great designs, shapes and sizes.  I chose the Venice design as it looks sleek and is flat and easy to slip in my bag. I think my blog logo looks great on it! You can also buy a multi connector to charge more than one device at the same time.
Branded Power Banks Mobile Battery Charger

Delivery and printing is free and orders can be turned about in 24 hours. They would make great gifts for friends or business clients. When ordering there is a minimum order of 10 chargers.

I also have an extra Mummy’s Zone USB power bank to give away, so enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway   Disclaimer: I was sent the above mentioned power banks for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

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Our Annual Snapfish Photo Calender & Competition

Every year we make Snapfish photo calenders as part of Oscar and Archie’s Nanny’s, Grandad’s, Uncles and Aunties Christmas presents and everyone always love them. My Nan always says to me in November time that she is looking forward to her new photo calender at Christmas. In total I order 7 every Christmas.

The calenders are really simple to make and you can choose from three different sized wall calenders, kitchen calenders, desk calenders and poster calenders and at the moment Snapfish have up to 70% off their calenders which expires on the 13/12/2015.

The calenders are ideal gifts for Christmas and In January I make a calender folder on my phone and put potential photos in it so that when November comes around and its time to make them I have some great photos to choose from and don’t have to go through the thousands of photos in my camera roll.

When making your calender you can choose different themed backgrounds and can choose different layouts for your photos and add text too if you want to. You can also add pictures on the actual dates so you don’t forget special birthdays, which I love!

Uploading your chosen photos couldn’t be easier. You simply upload them to your Snapfish account by downloading the app and simply uploading them from your camera roll and then when you log in to your account on your computer your photos are there ready and waiting for you. I use the app to upload photos to different folders all the time so I can get the best ones printed and posted directly to my door.

I am so pleased with our calenders for 2016 and I choose the largest sized wall calender which is 14”x11”, which is the same size that I choose every year. In my opinion it is the perfect size. They are £19.99 to make but obviously with the amazing deals Snapfish have running at the moment they are a lot cheaper, although £19.99 is an amazing price for such a fantastic quality personalised calender and is a priceless gift! My parents and In laws at the end of the year cut out all the photos I have put in the calender to keep too.

This is our first calender with both Oscar and Archie in it so is extra special and I think you will agree the calender looks great!

Snapfish have also given the chance for three of my readers to win and make there very own 8.5”x11” photo calender, so don’t forget to enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Disclaimer: We were sent the calender for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.