Wednesday 31 July 2019

Could Headphones Be Damaging Your Hearing?

We all like to listen to music sometimes but did you know that listening to music through headphones could be damaging your ears? If you listen to music regularly and you like to turn it up loud, you could be doing long term damage to your hearing. If left unchecked, this could lead to irreversible damage to your ears and you might end up with permanent hearing loss. That doesn’t mean you can never use headphones again, but you do need to be careful. This is a quick guide on how to tell whether you’re doing any damage and how to use your headphones safely. 

Things To Watch Out For 

If you catch the signs of hearing damage early on and take steps to prevent it, you can avoid permanent damage. The first thing that you should look out for is any sign that you’re struggling to hear as well as you used to. If you find that you’re asking people to repeat themselves a lot or you constantly have to turn the volume up on the TV, that’s a sign that your hearing is starting to fail and you need to look after it. 

It’s not just hearing loss that you need to watch out for either. If you have a ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, that could be caused by listening to music through headphones too loud. Most of the time, it’s not permanent but if you continue to listen to music at the same volume, you might find that the ringing is there the majority of the time. If you do find that you have ringing in your ears on a regular basis, you should read this free tinnitus treatment guide to see if there is anything that you can do. Things, like changing your diet, reducing stress, and ensuring that you get enough sleep can help to relieve the symptoms but in more serious cases, you might need hearing aids to help manage the symptoms. 

If you experience any pain in your ears, either while you’re listening through headphones or shortly after, that’s a very bad sign. You should stop listening immediately and if the pain persists, speak with your doctor. 

How To Protect Yourself 

Listening to music through headphones is fine and it won’t damage your hearing, as long as you know how to do it safely. These are some of the best ways to protect your hearing when listening through headphones. 

Often, people turn the volume up on their headphones because they want to shut off any outside noise. When you’re doing a workout, for example, you don’t want to hear anybody else around you because it breaks your focus so you’ll turn the volume to max. But if you invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones, you won’t need to do that because the background noise is reduced. Usually, a set of larger headphones are better than small earbuds that fit directly into the ear because they block out more of the background noise. That means you can still shut out the rest of the noise but you don’t have to listen to music too loud and risk damaging your ears. 

The 60/60 rule is a good guideline to follow if you listen to music through headphones on a regular basis. You should never put the volume above 60 percent and you should only listen to music through headphones for around 60 minutes per day. That way, you can still listen, but you’re limiting yourself so you don’t do any damage to your hearing. 

Most music players and phones have a volume limiter built in. You should check the setting and see if you can set a limit so you never exceed a safe volume when you’re listening to music. If you don’t have a limiter, you’ll just have to keep a close eye on the volume and make sure that you don’t exceed the 60 percent limit. 

As a general rule, you should try to keep the volume below 85 decibels. For reference, 30 decibels is a whisper, 60 decibels is a normal conversation. The closest to 80 decibels is busy traffic in the city centre. If you’re getting close to the sound of a blender, that’s too loud at around 90 decibels. Listening to loud music once in a while isn’t going to cause hearing damage but if you’re doing it regularly, you might end up with permanent hearing damage. 

Nobody thinks that it’s going to happen to them until it does, so you need to change your habits now before it’s too late. 

*This is a collaborative post*


Baby Shark Let's Go Hunt game and puzzle review

Baby's the song us parent's love to hate. My youngest was the one who came across this phenomenon on youtube and she has been singing the song and doing the actions ever since. She always looks so cute as she enthusiastically sings and dances along. Who would have thought it would have become such a huge sensation? So much so that there are now toys based around the song.

Ophelia was super excited when a box from the postman arrived containing the Baby Shark Let's Go Hunt game and the wooden sound puzzle. She was already overly happy and grateful with both games but that soon turned to being absolutely ecstatic when hubby popped the batteries in each game and she realised the song featured in both.

Hide and Seek Wooden Sound Puzzle
The puzzle is suitable for children ages 2 and up and it requires 2xAAA batteries. It's bright and colourful which makes it very eye catching. The puzzle is simple to to complete and easy to handle with the pieces being quite large in size.

What makes the puzzle stand out the most is that when you place the pieces in their corresponding slots, the tune starts playing. So if you were placing 'mummy shark' in the puzzle, the mummy shark park to the song plays. Ophelia thought this was amazing.

The puzzle is great for learning and matching colours, hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Let's Go Hunt Game
This game can be played by all the family even though its recommended age is four years and up. The idea of the game is to go fishing for baby sharks and collect as many as you can to correspond with the colour of your fishing rod. We also just play it without using colours and just try and collect as many as possible. 

As the game spins around the 'baby shark' song plays continuously which both my girls loved. 

Even though Ophelia loved the wooden puzzle, I think this was her favourite of the two things we received.

The game requires 2xAA batteries which aren't included in the box. 

I'm giving away one Let's Go Hunt game to one of you. All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter form below.

Terms and Conditions:
  • Prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered
  • Winner is selected at random via Rafflecopter
  • UK entrants only
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer - We were sent these games to review for our blog in exchange for our honest opinion*

When Was The Last Time You Just Sat Down And Relaxed As A Family?

If there’s anything that can symbolize 2019, it’s a continual rush, a sense of digital isolation, and sometimes, social disenfranchisement. A family have every opportunity to overcome this, but it can be hard to implement the solutions. This is where deciding to make real, fundamentally important changes, such as sitting down and relaxing as a family, can make the most difference. 

When was the last time you did this? We’re not talking about Christmas or a birthday, or taking an evening meal together (although this can also be wonderful.) We mostly mean the art of relaxing, sitting down on the sofa, talking and perhaps experiencing something together like a movie. If you haven’t had that for some time, it can be that you miss doing so. This is a saddening and quite upsetting state of affairs. But there’s no reason why this should be considered a distant possibility. Let us help you enact changes to these ends, pushing you forward to an experience you most want to keep:

Schedule For The Same Time

It can be hard to bring everyone together for an impromptu meeting. Your daughter might have a band recital, your son might have a sports event to go to, or you might all just feel tired on a particular night. When your family expects a nightly meeting and fun experience, they will likely be more encouraged to stay part of it. Perhaps every Friday night you might watch a movie together, setting up Chromecast towards your big screen Why not decide to order nice food together during this, or perhaps bundle this with other activities you can enjoy? The more, the better.

Treat Yourselves

Ordering takeout food such as beautiful Chinese or Thai meals can help the family come together and enjoy food they might not usually eat. This can certainly bring people together and help a sense of shared optimism. There’s almost nothing better to bring people together than eating food and trying new things through that activity. This leads to discussion, jokes and comfort. Then, a nice sit down on the sofa after as you feel bloated and truly full up. We all know the feeling. There’s a strange sense of satisfaction and guilt to it. And it’s always best felt among family.

Spend Some Time Outside
In the beautiful midst of summer, a gorgeous barbecua, and outdoor pool (inflatable or perhaps a feature of the house,) and the ability to relax and sit around can be some of the best stress-busting you will ever experience. Spending some time outside gives you that true possibility of deflating, of once again eating good food, and of drinking a glass of wine or two. Connect with your family by asking them how they are, an update to see how things are proceeding. It shouldn’t be forced.

You’ll find true comfort and a worthwhile evening spent with this advice. So what are you waiting for?

*This is a collaborative post*


Sunday 28 July 2019

Peppa Pig's Big Red Car Review

Peppa Pig has been Ophelia's favourite TV programme for years. She has quite a few Peppa Pig themed toys so she was delighted to receive Peppa Pig's Big Red Car to review. The idea for imaginative play is that Mummy and Peppa Pig are going on a picnic. 

The new big red car comes packed full of entertainment. In the box you get:
  • The Car which plays a tune
  • Mummy Pig and Peppa Pig in cute picnic outfits
  • Removable hat for Mummy Pig
  • A picnic hamper that opens
  • A table/blanket
  • A small BBQ
  • A bottle of drink
  • Plates with food on them
  • Batteries 2xAAA included (hooray)

Ophelia was over the moon when she opened the box. The push a long 4 seater car is a good size and is sturdy. It's quite lightweight to handle and carry. It fits 4 characters in total (small sized ones in the back). The car comes with Peppa Pig and Mummy Pig but if you already have any others from the collection then they will also fit.

Her favourite feature is the fact that the car plays one of the familiar tunes from Peppa Pig when you press the steering wheel.

She also loves the fact that you can open and close the boot which is where you can store all of your picnic essentials. 

She hasn't stopped playing with the car since it arrived. She often takes it out with her if we are going places and for once we actually don't mind as it's light to carry and all of the accessories can be stored in the boot so there's no chance of losing them.

Overall, Peppa's Big Red Car is a great toy which has provided hours of entertainment so far. You can find it at Smyth's Toys retailing at £24.99

*We were kindly sent the car in exchange for a review. All of our opinions are our own and are honest*


Thursday 25 July 2019

Looking After Your Sight: Why You Should Visit Your Optometrist 100%

Your eyes are a work of art. By evolutionary design, they are beautiful and fascinating to look at. But when you consider the clarity of the information that they send to your brain, it's absolutely amazing. 

But imagine if it was all gone. If one day, you could no longer look at flowers or your pets. You'd miss seeing the smiles on the faces of those you love. You wouldn't be able to sit and read your favourite book, or scroll through Instagram.

Don't take your eyesight for granted. It's one of the best senses to have, and without it, life would become a massive challenge. 

If you have not had your eyes tested in a long time, then you need to book in to see your optometrist as soon as possible. Keeping your eyes healthy is so important. 

Your Eye Test

Your optometrist will discuss any health issues you may have. They will ask you about any headaches or migraines that you may suffer with, as well as questions about your lifestyle. 

An eye test is pretty straightforward, and in all will only take around twenty minutes to half an hour. You'll be asked to wear a set of lenses and read from a letter chart while the optometrist switches these lenses to understand your eyes better. 

This test is looking to see if you either short-sighted or long-sighted. If your eye is too long, or too short, the distance the light travels through your eye can cause problems with the image your brain receives. If you are short-sighted, then you will struggle to see distances clearly, while being able to see up close clearly. For long-sighted people, the reverse is true, and anything close up will be a blur. 


For short and long-sightedness, your optometrist may ask you to wear corrective lenses. These lenses might be worn all of the time, or just while doing certain activities. 

You can look at getting glasses or contact lenses. There are benefits to both, and ultimately the choice is yours. 

Biotrue ONE day Contact Lenses are simple to use and disposable. They don't require fiddling around trying to put them in solution every night. You don't need to panic if you lose a lense. They are straightforward to use, and after a few uses will feel natural and comfortable. 

Monthly contact lenses are similar, except one pair will last you a whole month. You'll need to clean them every night.

Contact lenses are available in most prescription strengths and can even be worn if you need varifocals. They are relatively inexpensive compared to how much they have cost in years gone by. 

Spectacles have long been the most popular choice. Every style you can imagine is available and for every face shape. 

Glasses can be very fashionable, with many people choosing to wear glasses even when they don't need them. 

A visit to the optometrist needn't be a stressful time and dealing with problems with your eyes now, can save you in the long run. 

*This is a collaborative post*


Our Top 6 Must Do's at Folly Farm

Folly Farm is one of our favourite days out in Wales. We have visited every year since our girls were born. There is so much to see and do, whatever the weather.

Folly Farm recently asked us if we would like to become annual pass holders and share a year of adventures with you all. As you can imagine we couldn't resist. 

The first thing we wanted to share was our favourite things to do when we visit.

Our Top 6 Must Do's (in no particular order) are as follows:

1) The Rhino Enclosure 
The Black Rhino are located at the Kifaru Reserve which is a fantastic, large area. Being able to see these critically endangered animals up close, is pretty special. Even though the area is big, we have managed to spot them every time we have visited. 

2) The Jolly Barn 
You can spend hours in The Jolly Barn. There are farm animals, play areas, a train ride and opportunities to cuddle some of the animals. Our girls love milking the play cows and feeding the goats.

3) Penguin Coast
The Penguins always manage to put a smile on our face and make us laugh. They seem so charismatic. There is low fencing around their home so you feel a part of it. There is also a viewing glass for underneath the water where you can watch them swim.

4) Vintage Fairground 
The Vintage Fairground is indoors so it's ideal if it's raining or during the winter months. It allows you to step back in time and enjoy the thrills of a proper Vintage Funfair. The games and rides are chargeable but it's very cheap.

5) The Lion Reserve 
The Lion Reserve is huge and we love watching the pride. Although we're never sure if it's us watching them or them watching us.

6) Carousel Woods
Carousel Woods is usually our last stop of the day. It's a huge indoor play area where the kids can let off some steam before we drive home. There's an area for little ones and bigger kids. 

Keep your eyes peeled on my blog, Youtube and Instagram so you can follow our year of adventures.

**Thank you to Folly Farm for gifting us with the Annual Passes for a year**


Saturday 6 July 2019

Top Tips to do Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in One Day

We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for one day only. We managed to go in both parks and pretty much did all the rides we wanted to. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of Universal Studios in one day.

1) Buy a Park to Park Ticket
Make sure you buy the park to park ticket which will allow you into both parks via the Hogwarts Express. You could go from Universal Studios to Islands of adventure or the other way around.

2) Get an Express Pass
There is no way we could have done everything we wanted to without the express pass. This enabled us to go into a separate 'quicker' queuing area and bypass those long lines. 

3) Eat Breakfast Before You Arrive
Don't waste precious time you have getting breakfast at the park. Eat before you get there and arrive just before opening.

4) Make Use of the Child Swap
If you have young children that can't ride bigger rides then be sure to make use of the child swap system. Most of the rides have an area where one parent can wait with the children whilst the other rides on the attraction. When the parent finishes the ride they simply swap and the waiting parent heads virtually straight onto the ride. 
The Harry Potter child swap areas were very good as they had tv screens showing Harry Potter films. 

5) Go Midweek
Both parks are always quieter during Monday - Friday. This is usually when kids are in school etc.

6) Go at the Right Time of Year
Where possible try and avoid any school holidays. Remember to check both American and UK holidays to ensure you find the best time.

7) Have a Plan but be Flexible 
Have a rough plan in mind of what you want to do before you arrive including which rides you want to go and what shows you want to see. However, it's important to remember to be flexible too and be prepared to change any plans. If a ride queue is very short when you walk past it, then ride it straight away. Do not wait to follow your plan.

8) Wear Comfortable Shoes
You're going to be on your feet most of the day so make sure you have comfortable shoes. I recommend some form of trainers but wear whatever is going to make sure your feet don't hurt throughout the day. 

9) Have a Quick Lunch
Don't book a sit down table service style meal for lunch (save that for a late dinner). Pop into one of the quick service style restaurants such as the Kwik-E-Mart in The Simpsons area.

10) Don't wait for the front or back seating of rides
We all love to ride the very front or the back of rollercoasters but often those lines are the busiest. If you have more than one day then yes go for it but for one day only I'd advise against it.

I hope these tips are helpful. One thing that is important to remember is that you probably won't have time to get on every single ride and do all of the shows, so go with that idea in your head. If you do manage it then, then that's a bonus but if you don't, then you won't be too disappointed if you've already preempted it. 

*Disclosure - Our one day family park to park tickets with Express Passes were gifted to us by Universal Studios.*


Tuesday 2 July 2019

Our Kids Demand Our Attention... But We Mustn't Forget Our Parents!

Being a parent is a full-time job. For many of us, it’s a full-time job on top of a full-time job. It’s not just the time and effort that you put into feeding them, caring for them, creating a home that’s healthy, safe and happy or keeping a watchful eye on them where needed. It’s not even the way in which they’re constantly on our minds, even when they’re at nursery or school. It’s the way in which when we look into their smiling faces, it feels as though there’s scarcely enough love in our hearts (or the world) for them, let alone anyone or anything else. 

Parenthood changes us. Quite literally. It reorganises our minds so that even big things like our jobs or our careers can pale in comparison to our parental responsibilities. However, as much as we adore our kids and take our responsibilities as parents seriously, we mustn’t neglect our own parents. They gave us life and made us who we are. They imbued us with skills and knowledge which even know help us to navigate the rigours of adulthood life. 

No matter how up to our elbows we may be in parenting, we can never afford to forget that...

For better or for worse, they made us better parents

Our own parenting style is made up of a “greatest hits” of our Mum and Dad’s parenting style. You’ve taken everything you loved about being a child and ensured that your kids get the same. They may have had some shortcomings or got things wrong (none of us are perfect) but you’ve found ways to improve upon the upbringing they gave you to help your kids get the best of both worlds. For better or for worse, your parents have made you a better parent!

As they get older, it’s up to us to take care of their needs

We’ve relied on our parents throughout our lives, even when we’re all grown up. Even after they’ve given us all we need to start our adult lives, they’ve been there to give us help and advice. They’ve helped us with everything from changing nappies to getting a mortgage.

As they get older, however, they will start to need to rely on us a little more. This may be something as small as driving them to the supermarket or it can be something as big as choosing a nice care home like Porthaven for them when they’re no longer able to look after themselves. The better we stay in touch with them, the better able we are to take care of them when they need us. 

While they’d never admit it, empty nest syndrome is definitely a thing

When we’re all grown up we usually can’t wait  to flee the nest and start our new lives as grown ups. Whether this is moving away to university or getting a place of our own, it can leave an empty nest which may be more jarring and emotional for our parents than they’re prepared to admit. Keeping in touch with our parents as often as possible can be a great way to reduce the effects of empty nest syndrome.

So give Mum a call today or meet up for a coffee this week. Ask Dad if he fancies a trip to the pictures. After all, reminding someone that you love them is never a bad idea!

*This is a collaborative post*

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