Junior Jams headphones Puro Sound labs

Puro sound labs Junior Jams headphones review

My children have no idea how lucky they are.

I realise this will make me sound incredibly old, but when I was little we only had a few hours of children’s television each day.  Now my children have access to pretty much anything they want to watch, at any time of the day.

I sometimes wonder how my parents did it.  How they coped without having something to plop us down in front of, to keep us entertained when they needed a few minutes peace.

Other times though I think they had it good.  They didn’t have to listen to the absolute nonsense that my children like to watch on YouTube.

Lucky for me though, I don’t always have to listen to it either because we have some brilliant kids’ headphones for them to pop on.

 

We were sent a pair of Junior Jams headphones from Puro sound labs to test out a few weeks ago and we have well and truly put them through their paces.

The headphones come in a lovely, sturdy box that lets you know straight away that these are a great quality item.

 

One thing I really like about these is that they don’t look childish.

They’re designed specifically for children but they’re still cool and quite classic looking, so they should last as the children get older.

 

Inside the box is a great little storage case for the headphones.

It’s quite rigid rather than soft, so it feels like it will really protect the headphones if we take them away with us somewhere.  I also love that we can put them away in the case at home when they’re not  being used, so I don’t worry about them being accidentally sat on!

 

The headphones themselves sort of collapse and fold in on themselves so you can fit them into the carry case.

I love this space-saving idea, and it makes the headphones really convenient to take places with you without them taking up too much space in your bag.

 

Once you get the Junior Jams out of the case it’s really easy to click the ear cups into the right place.  And they feel lovely and sturdy once they’re up.

Nerys has worn these quite a bit since we’ve had them and says they’re really comfortable to use.  She loves the padded ear cushions which are much softer than the old set of headphones that Rhys sometimes uses.

As for Rhys, he’s really amused by how much sound these block from the room when you have them on.

Every time he wears them he comments on how it sounds like you’re underwater.  I think this is amazing; considering these are children’s headphones, the quality is just as good as an adult pair.  Puro Sound Labs have made sure that these Junior Jam headphones have brilliant sound quality, as well as isolating 87% of ambient noise.

 

One thing I love about these headphones is that they’re wireless.  So I’m not worried about wires getting tangled up and the children love that they can roam about the room while still listening to their videos.

They were really easy to link up to our devices over bluetooth, it only took a few minutes and we were up and running.

 

The batteries in these should last for up to 22 hours of use, and we’ve not had to charge them yet.

When they do run out you can recharge them with the usb cable that comes with them, or use the audio cable to turn them into wired headphones.  What’s really cool is that if you have 2 pairs of these you can use daisy chain technology (and the cable supplied) to link them together so 2 people can listen to the same thing at the same time.

 

We’ve all been really impressed with the Junior Jams headphones.

The children love how comfortable they are and the fact that they can move around while wearing them without worrying about being attached to anything.

I love the fact that they’re such amazing quality, they are absolutely built to last.  I also really like the fact that they volume level is limited on them, so I don’t worry about damage to my children’s hearing.

And on top of all that, they look good too.  I really can see the children still using these for years to come, because they’re not something they’ll grow out of any time soon.

 

You can get Junior Jams in pink or blue from Amazon and you can find out more about these and other headphones from Puro sounds on their website.

 

Disclaimer:  we were sent a pair of Junior Jams headphones for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

brownie-recipe-001

Simple brownie recipe

Brownies.

Ahh, brownies.

Honestly, can you beat a good brownie when you need a chocolate fix?!

I’m not sure you can!

Now normally I would tell a nice story about making these with the children and about how much fun we had, but I have a feeling if you’re reading this you actually really just want the recipe.  So, here you go:

 

 

What you need:

  • 150g (5oz) unsalted butter
  • 300g (11oz) caster sugar
  • 200g (7oz) dark chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g (3.5oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Handful of chocolate chips

brownie-recipe-001

 

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4) and grease and line a cake tin (one that’s about 20in square).
  • In a large pan melt together the butter, sugar and chocolate.
  • Once all that’s melted and mixed together, stir in the eggs and then the flour and cocoa powder.
  • Pour the mix into the cake tin and then sprinkle over the chocolate chips.
  • Bake for just over 20 mins and then check to see how it’s looking.  You want it so it’s just set to get the right fudgy texture, so you need to check every now and then to get it right.  In my oven it takes about 28 minutes to get it just right.
  • Once it’s looking good, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool before cutting into pieces.
  • Sprinkle with some icing sugar if you want to make them look even prettier.
  • Eat.  And eat and eat and eat.

 

These brownies are nice and simple, and so, so good just as they are.

But I’m already thinking of things I can add to have a bit of variety now and then.

 

Here are some of my plans:

  • A layer of After Eight mints in the middle of the batter.  And then some sort of minty glaze on the top.  Oh  yes.
  • More chocolate chunks stirred through the batter.  Some white and dark chocolate would be good.
  • Some fudge chunks mixed in with the batter.
  • Little bits of reese’s pieces stirred in, and then a layer of peanut buttery goodness on the top.
  • Get fruity and try these cherry brownies from Mummy Vs Work.

Do you like your brownies classic and simple or are you a more-the-merrier kind of person when it comes to yummy additions?!

Leave me a comment and let me know!

simple-brownie-recipe-uk

 

easy to watch netlix films this autumn

9 easy-to-watch movies on Netflix this autumn

With the seasons changing and the nights getting darker earlier, this is the perfect time of year to curl up and watch a film or two.

The thing for me though is that I hardly ever just watch a film.

I tend to watch them while I’m working, or reading other blogs, or scrolling through Facebook.  So I tend to go for films that aren’t too taxing.  Nothing that requires me to give it my full attention.

And Netflix is absolutely delivering on that front this autumn.

 

Here are my picks for the best easy-to-watch films on Netflix at the moment:

 

He’s just not that into you

One of those films with the central character (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) having her storyline run alongside a few others featuring couples that all sort of know each other in way or another.

It’s got Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper in it, as well as some other pretty big names and is just a great easy watch.

 

Always be my maybe

This Netflix original is fairly predictable but still well worth a watch.

Hell, it’s worth watching for Keanu Reeves alone.

 

What to expect when you’re expecting

Another film that follows a handful of different couples, this time on their way to becoming parents.  I like all the different stories that are told in this film, even the heartbreaking one that I think is handled really well.

It’s nice and easy to watch, but still makes me laugh every time and cry too if I’m honest.

Isn’t it romantic

The other films on this list will tell you that I love a good romantic comedy, so I quite liked this play on that genre.

Rebel Wilson’s character is an architect who hates romantic comedies.  Then she gets knocked out and wakes up in a world full of romantic comedy cliches.

It is silly, but then it’s supposed to be and it did make me laugh several times.  There’s a nice moral of the story about self-love too which I quite like.

 

Pitch perfect

The first and the best of the pitch perfect movies.

I’ve watched this quite a few times now and it’s just really easy viewing.

 

Dirty dancing

A classic.

One we’ve all seen so many times before that you don’t need to pay any attention at all, and some nights that’s just what you need.

 

Bad moms

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn making us all feel better about not being perfect parents!

 

The duff

This was a new one to me when I first found it on Netflix but I’ve watched it several times since then and always really enjoy it.

It’s a high school movie about a girl finding out that she’s the duff in her friendship group.  Duff standing for Designated Ugly Fat Friend.

Not entirely believable when she’s played by Mae Whitman but if you just go with it it’s a good film to watch when you want something light and easy.

 

I feel pretty

Another twist on the old bump-on-the-head-wake-up-different theme.

This time Amy Schumer’s character wakes up from a bump on the head believing that she’s slim and beautiful.  With the confidence this gives her she goes on to get a job that she absolutely loves and thrives at, as well as finding a new boyfriend.

The end message of course is that she never really looked any different.  Everything she did and achieved was because of who she is, not what she looked like.

And I just love this film for Michelle Williams, she is brilliant in it.

 

Have you spotted any other good easy-to-watch films on Netflix lately?

What’s your go-to movie to put on when you don’t want anything too taxing?

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Classroom tricks to try at home

9 classroom tricks you should try at home

My children are both in primary school at the moment and as they work their way through the years, with different teachers along the way, I’m realising that we can learn a fair bit from the way the teachers handle things in the classroom.

Here are 9 tricks that teachers use in the classroom that you can try out for yourself at home.

 

1. Work with your child to solve problems

One thing that the teachers do really well at our school is involving the children in problem solving.  If there’s an issue they don’t just step in and resolve it, they ask the children involved how they think they should move forward.

This is definitely something we should be doing at home as parents as well.

I know I’ve jumped in before and told my children what course of action we’re going to take, when really I should stop, slow down and ask for their input.

Letting them suggest ways to solve problems will teach them so much more than just making the decision for them.

 

2. Set your expectations in advance

This is something we’ve tried to do over the years.

It’s too easy to forget sometimes that our children don’t know everything.  As adults we know that you don’t run riot in the library, but your young child who’s not been there before doesn’t know that.

So before you go in you need to set your expectations of how they need to behave in that situation.  Explain that libraries are calm places and we don’t run around and shout there.

This is something that teachers do really well.

If the class on going on a trip somewhere the teacher will explain before they get on the bus all about where they’re going and how the children are expected to behave.

 

3. Display your house rules

Schools will quite often have displays up on the walls that list the rules that everyone is expected to follow.

Our school has a few brightly coloured displays dotted around reminding the children of the school’s ethos of being kind, being thoughtful and listening (to the teachers and to each other).

This is a great idea to use at home as well.

It might be that you put up a list of the things that the children need to do each morning, like get dressed, brush teeth and so on.  Or you could create a list together as a family of rules like knocking before going into someone’s bedroom, or a poster of family mottos like ‘be kind’ and ‘be silly’.

 

4. Point out when they’re good

When you give a child time and attention when they’re doing something good, they’ll be less likely to act badly just to get your attention.

Teachers do this in the classroom by drawing attention to the children who are behaving nicely, instead of giving attention to those who are being more noisy and disruptive.

You can do the same thing at home by making a big fuss and praising your child when they put their shoes on the first time you ask, or sit nicely at the dinner table.

 

5. Give them the chance to burn off some energy

Rhys is a really high energy child and finds it hard at times to sit still and focus.  So his teacher will let him round around the yard a few times, or up and down the stairs, to get some of his energy out.

Once he’s done that he’s much more able to concentrate on his classwork.

If your child has a lot of energy then you can use this same idea away from school too.  If you’re going to go somewhere like a museum where you need your child to be a bit quieter and calmer, then give them a chance to run around and burn off some of their extra energy before you go in.

 

6. Be consistent

When you have a class of 30 children it’s so important to stay consistent with how and when things are done.

The school day follows the same pattern and rhythm pretty much every single day, so all the children know what to expect and what they need to be doing.

When you have this kind of structure and consistency children tend to be calmer, more productive and better behaved than if the day didn’t follow any kind of routine.

You can do the same thing at home by bringing in a gentle routine to your days.

If your child knows that maths homework always gets done on the same night after school there’ll be less battles and less drama over it.  In theory anyway.

 

7. Learn to adapt to each child

We’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing teachers teaching our children so far.

What I’ve noticed is that they take the time to get to know all the children in their class.  And wherever possibly they adapt their teaching style and approach to the different children.  They work to adapt to the way the children learn, rather than expecting the children to adapt to the way they teach.

If you have more than one child at home then this is definitely something to keep in mind.

My children are so different in lots of ways, and so we have to adapting our parenting style at times to find what works best for each of them.

You might find that your oldest child responds best to a really structured routine, knowing exactly what is happening when, while your youngest is happier in a more relaxed set up where you can go with the flow a bit more.

 

8. Whisper, don’t shout

A lot of teachers take this approach to dealing with a class that’s getting too loud.

Instead of shouting over the noise, they talk really quietly.  This way the children have to quiet down to hear what they’re saying.

This could be well worth a try at home.

 

9. Try using non-verbal cues

If the whispering trick doesn’t work to get your children’s attention then try this other classic classroom trick.

Remember in Kindergarten cop when the head switches the classroom lights on and off to get the children to stop running riot?  This is something that teachers do quite often.  It’s an easy way to get attention without having to use your voice.

You can try it at home with your children too.

I know that in our house switching the TV off is a very effective way of getting the children’s attention!

 

 

Do you do any of these things with your children at home already?

Are there any other tricks that teachers use that would work really well at home too?

Please do leave me a comment and let me know!

When can my child walk to school alone

What age can my child walk to school alone?

Walking to school is great because it allows children to get some fresh air and exercise. However, it’s not always appropriate for your child to walk to school without an adult.

Of course, this depends on your child’s age, maturity and the general safety of the route. Your child needs to understand stranger danger and the rules of the road so that they don’t get into any type of trouble.

So what age can we let our kids walk to school alone? Here’s some more information from an independent school in Hertfordshire.

 

When it comes to teaching your kids about road safety, the younger they are the better.

The sooner they start to learn, the more independent and confident they will feel when it does come time to walk to school alone. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut legal age when it comes to this sort of thing; it’s up to you as a parent to decide if you think your child is ready, as you know them better than anyone.

 

If you have a youngster who pays close attention to their surroundings, is cautious and responsible, then they are probably ready to walk to school alone.

On the other hand, if your child is easily distracted and tends to act a bit silly, then it’s probably not appropriate for them to navigate the streets alone.

 

Of course, there are other factors to consider.

For example, is the road quiet or is it filled with fast cars during rush hour? Are there other parents and children walking the same route that could keep an eye on your child for you? Are there any dark, dangerous alleyways along the route or is it all out in the open?

Ask yourself these questions and if you feel uncomfortable with any aspect of the route, then don’t allow your child to walk it alone.

 

There are so many benefits to walking to school, so it’s a great habit to get into with your children when they’re young.

Walking with them from an early age is a great way to teach them about road safety, as well as letting them get really familiar with the route.  And as they get older you can watch them closely and start to judge for yourself when you think they’re ready to try it without you.

 

This is definitely one of those situations though where there’s no hard and fast rule.  You really need to make the decision based on your child and your situation.

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

How to get through the why phase

How to get through the ‘why’ phase without losing your mind

Parenting, especially in the early years, seems to come in phases.

The newborn phase, the multiple teething phases, the sleepless nights phase.  Knowing that these things are just phases, and they’ll end soon enough, is what has got me through the toughest ones.

And there is one phase in particular that can drive you to the edge of insanity.

The ‘why’ phase.

 

If you’ve been through it, or are stuck in the middle of it right now, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

That phase when almost every thing you say to your child is met with that one little word.  Why.

It normally comes when children are around 2 or 3 years old and it. is. exhausting.

 

There is a little trick you can try though, that just might save your sanity.

 

All you have to do is turn the question back round to them.

Next time they ask you ‘why’ about something, instead of trying to explain the answer to them (or make up an answer depending on how random the question is), try this.

Respond to the question with, “hmm, I’m not sure, why do you think?”

 

More often than not they’ll come up with their own answer to the question.

Then you just need to nod along, maybe add something like “that sounds about right to me” and then you can all move on with your day!

So simple and so effective when you just can’t come up with another answer to another why.

 

One more thing that can help when you’re stuck in this phase is to understand what is really happening.

Quite often when our children ask ‘why’ they’re not looking for the type of answer we want to give.  They’re looking for engagement and general information about the subject they’re asking ‘why’ about.

So if your child asks why they need to put their shoes on, they don’t just want the answer ‘because we’re going out’.  Giving them that answer will generally just result in them asking ‘why’ again.

What they want is to engage with you.  To understand the world.  It’s really obvious to us that we put shoes on to go out, but a two year old who is still learning about the world may well still question it.

So when you have the chance, and the patience, try answering some ‘why’ questions with broad information about the subject.  Talk to your child about why people started wearing shoes.  Tell them about the different types of footwear we have, and the reasons we wear wellies in the rain and flip flops on the beach.

 

This phase can be absolutely exhausting, but if you can see it as your child wanting to learn about the world and make sense of things that possibly make no sense at all to them at the moment, then it can be a bit easier to get through.

And keep in mind that this is just a phase.

This too shall pass.

And in the meantime, remember you can always turn the question round on them if you need a break from the bombardment of whys.

 

This post is linked up to KCACOLS with A moment with Franca.

Benefits of nursery for young children

The benefits of nursery

Deciding whether or not nursery is the right path for your child can be quite a challenging decision for many parents.

For others, nursery is less of a choice and more of a career demand. Whatever the reason for sending your child to pre-school, you can feel happy in your choice knowing that there are many positive benefits, as explored below by a nursery in Somerset.

 

Other than allowing parents to continue working, one of the biggest benefits of nursery is that it prepares your child for school.

Essentially, it gets them used to being away from you and allows them to adapt to a learning environment where they have to follow rules and be respectful to others. Their learning will be structured and stimulating, allowing your child to play and develop in an exciting environment.

They will also experience mixing with other children and develop confidence when interacting with adults other than their family members. Nursery staff are specifically trained to create a safe, productive, happy environment for your child.  

When Nerys was 2 I was working from home so she didn’t need to go to nursery.  But we decided to put her in, just for 2 mornings a week, so that she could start to get used to spending time away from me.

The plan was that it would help her when she came to start Rising-threes after her third birthday and it worked out really well for us.  She adapted so well to that class having spent time away from me at nursery.

 

Nursery is also brilliant for helping your little one make new friends and develop important social skills that they will carry with them through life. Some examples of such skills include talking, listening, sharing and taking it in turns; all important for normal childhood development. 

They can learn some of these skill at home and at baby groups of course.  But the experience of going to nursery is different and they’ll learn so much more there, and have all sorts of different experiences.

 

Playtime at nursery will allow your child to develop balance and co-ordination and they will have access to equipment that you may not have at home, such as a sandpit or a climbing frame. Essentially, your child will be able to explore and develop a huge range of skills whilst at nursery, from communication and listening to physical development and creativity. 

 

There are a few other options for childcare, including nannies and au pairs.  And you need to spend time as a family looking at your options and deciding what is best for you all. 

From my experience though nurseries are a great option.  My children both went to nursery for a while: Rhys out of necessity because I was working full time and Nerys out of choice to ease her in to spending time away from me.  We found that both of them got so much out of their time there, and it really did help them both prepare for starting school. 

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post