Friday, 5 February 2016

Protecting our teeth from Acid Wear with Pronamel for Children

I was brought up on a regular diet of dental care. . . by which I mean my Mum took me to the dentist 6 monthly like clockwork, we often had those little red disclosing tablets to show up the plaque (which incidentally, I keep meaning to try out with  Ben and Chloe) and I always remember my Grandparents commenting when people had nice teeth and reminding us of how important it was to look after our one and only set.  

I've been very lucky with my own teeth thus far.  I only had my first filling in my early 30s, shortly after having Chloe.  I blame pregnancy for that one!  It was a pretty heavy going root canal performance in one of my front teeth and not a very pleasant experience I can tell you!  Aside from that I had a couple of wisdom teeth removed and that's as far as my dental interference has gone until now!  There is nothing worse than having painful or sensitive teeth.  It's a pain which is inescapable and really does take over your face.  I will never forget waking in the middle of the night crying in pain before one of my wisdom teeth was evicted unceremoniously by the dentist!  I wouldn't wish dental problems on anyone. 

Of course I hope my own children are as lucky with their teeth as I have been.  I'm always conscious of protecting their teeth from sticky sugary sweets, aware of the potential damage that too much squash can do.  However in recent years dentists have becoming increasingly concerned about the damage which can be caused by the acids found in fruits, juices and soft drinks.  This Acid Wear is really worrying as it's caused by foods we know to be healthy.  The foods we thought were the right thing to feed our little ones, are the very ones which could be damaging their teeth permanently.  Of course this isn't to say that we should all stop eating fruit and drinking juices altogether, more that we need to be careful to limit the number of "acid exposures" on our children's teeth.

Adult teeth start to put in an appearance at around the age of 6 and these new teeth are for life, if we look after them properly!  At our last trip to the dentist it was emphasised that we needed to be especially careful with Ben's new teeth as they were at their most vulnerable in the early years whilst the enamel is soft and thin.  If the enamel on your teeth is allowed to be softened due to Acid Wear it will slowly be worn away and once it's gone, that's it.  Your enamel cannot be replaced.  

Pronamel for Children toothpaste is designed specially to protect children's teeth from Acid Wear and tooth decay.  They are understandably keen to raise awareness of the risks of Acid Wear amongst parents after a recent survey of 2,000 UK parents found 38% of 12 year olds and 44% of 15 year olds are showing signs of dental erosion on their incisors and 36% of those surveyed didn't know what Acid Wear was in relation to teeth.  How can we protect their children from damage if we don't even know the risk is there.  If you asked me if I thought an apple or an orange was a good snack for my kids I'd say yes in an instance.  And yes, it is better than sticky sweets or crisps - of course it is.  But in the same breath, those acidic fruits are slowly damaging their teeth.  It really does feel like we can't do right for doing wrong doesn't it?  I know I will be adding Pronamel for Children to my shopping basket this weekend! 

As part of this drive to raise awareness of the risks of Acid Wear, Pronamel for Children are holding a Twitter party on Tuesday lunch time (9th Feb) - and you know how much I love a good Twitter party!  We'll be chatting about children's oral health and Acid Wear in particular, with Professor David Bartlett and the team from Pronamel for Children on hand to answer any questions.  If  you want to join in the conversation and discuss any tips or concerns you have about Acid Wear then join myself and @tots100 at 1pm using the hashtag #Pronamel4Children - there's even the chance to win an iPad!  ·

*This post is in collaboration with Pronamel for Children and Tots100*

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Low Cost Printing with Epson EcoTank - Review

We haven't had a printer at home for years.  So long in fact it could quite easily have been before we were even parents.  The print quality was poor and it was expensive to keep topped up with ink so it ended up collecting dust and we got rid.  We've managed for quite some with printing things out at work or the library or wherever, however it's a pain having to think ahead when we have tickets which need printing out or when I need to sign a contract and get it back to a client asap.  I also found I missed the scanner when I was sending timesheets into my supply agency and had to keep taking photos of them on my mobile phone - so professional!  We've kept talking about getting a new printer but, as with so many of these things, we've never got round to it.  

When we were offered the new Epson ET-4500 to try out I jumped at the chance.  Being able to print things out at home would feel like something of a luxury!  Of course I immediately worried about the cost of upkeep - we all know that printer cartridges can be a pure fortune right?  Not so with the Epson EcoTank range.  This baby comes with 2 years of ink included.  Ah right, so it's going to cost loads to refil those when they run out then?  Wrong again.  The easy refil tank system is surprisingly cheap with a new bottle of black ink coming in at under a tenner.  I was won over. 

Eposon EcoTank Printer
It's a fairly tidy size considering what it can do!
The Epson EcoTank series of printers are aimed at homes, home offices and small offices where low-cost printing is top priority however despite the low cost the Micro Piezo technology ensures there's no drop off in print quality.  Even on the super cheap paper I picked up from the supermarket, the quality of a black and white print is pretty sharp.

Little girl colouring in
Making the most of some colouring sheets
As an added bonus to the super cheap print costs; the ET-2500, ET-2550 and ET-4500 offer print, copy and scan features.  (If you've never had a scanner at home, you will find so many uses for it that you hadn't even thought of before!)  The ET-4500 (which is the model we have) also has the option for fax.  I couldn't tell you the last time I had cause to send a fax, in fact I didn't even really know they still existed, but it's nice to know the option is there!  In order to use the fax capabilities the printer does need to be connected to your phone line which isn't all that practical in our house as it would leave the printer on the floor behind the TV - not particularly accessible and, erm, rather dusty.  

Luckily fax isn't top of my wish list of features and I was far more excited by the prospect of wireless printing.  Being able to print directly from my laptop, mobile phone or ipad without faffing about plugging in extra cables is something of a joy I must admit!  In the week or so we've had the printer I've scanned Ben's drawing for a blog post, printed, scanned and emailed back a contract to a client, printed colouring sheets for the kids, printed out a diary sheet for Ben's class teddy and generally got quite excited about how much easier it is to have a printer at home.  A printer which isn't going to cost me an arm and a leg to run!  The quality of the black and white prints is great but the colour prints are perhaps a little washed out for my liking - that said I'm not about to use it for printing out photos to frame and if I was I would certainly buy the proper paper.  The quality is certainly more than adequate for our home printing needs.

Child's drawing
Scanned drawing. 

In terms of initial set up I would say it took us (by which I mean mostly Dave) about 45 minutes to unpack it and run the first print.  Much of this time was taken up by removing lots of bits of blue sticky tape and updating software etc on my laptop.  The actual set up was relatively painless (though Dave did managed to stain his fingers blue which lasted for a few days!) and we haven't experienced any problems with it since.  All the devices in the house have picked it up and printed without issue. 

All in all I'm thrilled with our new printer and confident that I can use it freely without fear of having to remortgage my house to buy a new print cartridge in a fortnight's time!  Admittedly it's a big investment initially compared to your average home printer but over time the savings in ink will more than pay for themselves! 

*Disclaimer - We were sent the printer free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own.  This post contains affiliate links*

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Tried & Tested Tuesday (Week #5 - 2016)

Whooo January is done and dusted for another year! Welcome in February, we're so happy to see you!

Welcome to the third year of #TriedTested! Of course we wouldn’t be able to say that without you lovely lot returning each and every week to link up your favourite reviews and taking time to read and comment on others.  We have always been really proud of the fact that the bloggers joining in with #TriedTested are keen commenters; let’s face it there’s no point in linking up if you’re not going to get lots of lovely people reading your post is there – so gold stars all round.  You’re ace, keep it up!

Please have a quick read through the points below to make sure you know how things are working:
* Tried & Tested is open on Tuesday – from 8am to midnight on the same day

* We’d love to share your post on Twitter – please tweet us your link @Lollinski & @FamilyFever) along with the #TriedTested hashtag and we’ll retweet that for you

* If you’d like Colette to tweet you a reminder each week when the linky is open then please drop her a tweet (@Lollinski) and she’ll add you to the list

* Each week we feature our two favourite reviews from the past week and we have a super special “featured blogger” badge! If you are this week’s featured blogger we will send you over the code which we would love you to add to you blog post or sidebar!

So if this is your first time here then welcome along, where have you been? You can find out more about #TriedTested and how to join in here.  If you’re a regular then welcome to you too, it’s lovely to have you back! Crack on, link up and share some commenty love – let’s face it, that’s what makes linkys work.

This week we have loved:

5 of the best wooden toys for toddlers from Hello Archie.  We both love wooden toys (who doesn't) and had quite a wish list by the the time we had finished reading this post.

Afternoon Tea at The Delaunay from The Mama Story. Who doesn't love a good afternoon tea?  These pictures had us drooling!


We don’t have lots of rules for #TriedTested however the ones we do have are really important:

* Please do make sure you visit your hosts Family Fever and We’re going on an adventure to leave a comment on the posts we have each linked up

* Try to comment on a couple of other posts as well if you can – we know that people really appreciate the feedback!

* We do ask that you link a maximum of 2 posts each week to keep things fair for everyone – if you choose to link up an extra post please make sure you visit extra posts in the linky to balance it out.  (Additional or irrelevant posts will be deleted out of fairness.)

* Please don’t link up a linky or comment on other people’s posts asking them to join your linky too as it’s really not good etiquette!

We do our best to visit each post to leave a comment but we can’t promise to get round everyone every week, life has a tendency to get in the way.  Kate recently moved into a new house with no internet!! *screams* Blogger hell right?

We would love it if you grabbed our badge and popped it on your post too so other people know where to find the linky.

We're going on an adventure

Monday, 1 February 2016

Safer Internet Day with Intel Security

Next Tuesday (9th February) is Safer Internet Day.  A day to celebrate and 'promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people'.  As a parent and a primary school teacher I'm painfully aware of the potential dangers lurking around the Internet for our children and young people.  Of course I'm also aware of the benefits.  It's about balance isn't it?  It would be easy to just ban our children from using the Internet at all but of course that's not really practical and they would miss out on so much.  What we need to do is make sure we educate them, and ourselves, about how to keep them safe. 

At 6.5 Ben doesn't have a massive amount of access to the Internet.  He has his own tablet which he is allowed to use downstairs, in sight, for a limited amount of time each day.  It is set up with high parental controls so only approved apps and websites are accessible via his own personal profile.  He can't download anything without us putting a password in first. 

I asked Ben what he thought a safe Internet looked like and he said "ask your Mum and Dad to help you, don't click on things you think look good without asking" which I have to say was about as good an answer as I could have hoped for from a child of his age.  I was pretty pleased with his response.  He's right.  It is our responsibility as parents to keep the Internet as safe as possible for him.  Part of that responsibility is in education - it's our job to teach our children about the dangers of the Internet, without scaring them half to death, and about how to use it responsibile.  I think it's also really important as parents we keep up to date with the latest social media and apps that our children might be using.

"Safe internet is using it with a grown up except a stranger"

Of course this is all well and good for Ben, but what keeps the Internet safe for us as adults?  Not a day goes by (or an hour more likely) that I don't get some sort of phishing email pretending to be from my bank, paypal, some random millionaire in the Middle East.  Protecting myself from phishing emails is about common sense, being aware of the email address they've come from, checking them for errors, not clicking clinks . . . but there's always the risk that someone will manage to hack my passwords.  We all know we should make sure we use differnet passwords for everything, using upper and lower case, numbers symbols, sandwiches . . . ok I took that a step too far . . . but coming up with a million differnet passwords and remembering them is something of a challenge isn't it!    Security software such as McAfee LiveSafe or TrueKey offer trusted protection to keep your devices and passwords safe (or in the case of TrueKey a means of avoiding using a password at all). 

As part of the build up to Safer Internet Day, Intel Security are offering you the chance to win a family ticket to Bletchley Park - Please be aware this giveaway is being hosted across a number of blogs and managed externally.

*This post is in collaboration with Intel Security and Tots100*

Alphabites - A No Nonsense Breakfast Cereal

We all know that breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, setting us up for the challenges ahead.  Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to snack, find it easier to concentrate, are more productive, live generally more glamorous lives . . . OK so I made the last bit up but I think it's fair to say that the benefits of getting a good breakfast inside you are far reaching. 

I've always loved my breakfast and I'm pleased to say that Ben, Chloe and Amy do too.  In fact I would go so far as to say all three of them are cereal fiends!  I'm really conscious of the cereals we buy, opting for what I would call fairly standard, plain cereals - Cornflakes, Weetabix, Cheerios.  You won't find anything obviously "rubbishy" and super sugary like Frosties or Coco Pops on our breakfast table.  However, over recent years we've all become much more aware of how the cereals we thought were good for us (I'm looking at you Branflakes) are actually more sugary than we would expect.  Oh great.  Thanks for that.  This article from January of last year lists the top 10 most sugary breakfast cereals and is a sure fire hit list of ones to avoid in my book!

Alphabites Cereal

With this in mind I was interested to try out Alphabites with the kids as part of National Breakfast Week.  Now for a start they look like a bit of a novelty cereal (tell me that being able to spell your name out in breakfast cereal doesn't have novelty factor?) which means you might just get away with the kids not even realising you're trying to replace their usual breakfast with something a bit healthier!  But, more importantly, they genuinely are a healthier option than the high sugar offerings which are often marketed towards our children.  With no refined sugar, salt or "any other nonsense" I was keen to see if Alphabites would be well received in our household!  

Sweetened with coconut blossom nectar (which as an added bonus contains double the calcium of milk - yes I know, you really do find calcium in the most unexpected places!) rather than refined sugar, Alphabites are subtly sweet and crunchy.  Ben and Chloe are both quite keen on the idea of "sugar swaps" at the moment, this is clearly something which has been discussed at school as part of the Change 4 Life "Sugar Smart" campaign.  I chatted to them about how Alphabites are a healthier option, one with less sugar and they were keen to try them.  (Probably so they could go to school and tell their teachers how healthy they had been!) 

Ben ate the lot and asked for seconds!  Chlo wasn't quite so keen but she can be more fussy with her breakfast anyway so I wasn't so surprised.  The second time she tried it she went "crunchy" (which is code for no milk!) which she much preferred.  Whilst I'm not sure any of them would pick Alphabites out of a cereal line up - they were all happy to eat it when given it which I think is a win for a healthy option much of the time!  For me, I'm just happy to know that they're eating a cereal of worth, something which would set them up for the day and thanks to it's naturally low GI status, would maintain a steady blood sugar level through the morning.  

If you're on the look out for a healthy breakfast cereal, Alphabites are definitely worth a try and can be found in your local supermarket! 

*This is a sponsored post*

Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Chewy Adventure!

Adventures are always more exciting when shared with a friend right?  Amy was excited to meet "Chewy" this weekend - in fact her first words when I pulled her from my bag were "Ahhh like it!"  (I rather thought Chewy was a "he" but Ben insists otherwise and has been coming up with a range of alternative names for her such as Helen or Pearl . . . )

Chewy is the latest arrival from Cheeky Chompers and is first and foremost a teething toy. Easy to hold and made from soft natural rubber with plenty of hippoy features and nobbly bits to gnaw on, Chewy is bound to appeal to teething tots. 

Of course I no longer have teething tots in my house *breathes sigh of relief* but that doesn't mean Amy is past the stage of enjoying having a toy to carry around with her whilst we're out and about.  Chewy is perfect for this as she's easy for her to hold onto (as well as having a harness strap which can be attached to my bag, her pushchair or just provide something else for Amy to faff about with - I should point out that she promptly removed it).  Chewy's also just the right size for me to shove into my bag without it taking up too much room.  I may be a little biased towards her as I do so love hippos! 

This weekend, Chewy has been everywhere we have . . .   

We've had a girlie Saturday morning out at the shops and the obligatory trip to Costa for cake and a hot chocolate.  On Saturday afternoon, Amy and Chewy had a cheeky snooze before we went to visit Nana.  I took a fab photo of Amy have a good old chomp on Chewy's ears which I'm sad to say I appear to have deleted.  Sunday, we went to watch Aunty Custard playing Roller Derby which is always fun!  It has been a miserable weekend weather wise so there's been a whole lot of indoor adventuring. 

Tomorrow we're back to normal, it's Monday and a wet and windy school run beckons.  I'm quite sure Chewy will be joining us too! 

*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post*

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