SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, 8 September 2017

Blog therapy

Hey readers,

Some days are really crap, you wonder how you are going to get through them especially when it is only 9:30 in the morning.

I am so teary because I have reduced one set of medication. I know it is only a side effect and will be worth the pain in the long run. But right now it is a struggle especially when I am so needed during the summer holiday.

I am not very good when people demand me for long periods of time.  For me being autistic it is mentally draining and a real battle. I need to switch off and sometimes I just need to escape to my bedroom for some peace for five.

I feel a bit suffocated as well as being in a flat and the weather being rubbish. I just haven't got the motivation to anything when I am so tired.

I feel so guilty for feeling tired when I should be on the ball but sometimes I question My ability to parent such as today. I know this is just short-lived and because I am frustrated, that being said I have to battle with these thoughts.

I feel pulled into two ways to right my personal feelings as one side of me thinks I am being silly. The other side feels it is cathartic and may help someone.

It is amazing how powerful words on and just writing down your thoughts can really help even if there is no solution. It is a bit like therapy and that is one of the reasons why I love to blog. 

As in real life, I am rubbish at expressing myself to others. Words seem to get mangled up and I stutter and shut down. Again this is influenced by my autism.

So, that is why I turn to my blog as a place of comfort and release of emotions. I don't feel judged and it is a place where I can freely write without having to worry about all the other social aspects involved when speaking verbally.

Cheers for reading X
 

Monday, 4 September 2017

ROXI Electric Jukebox Review **AD**

Hey readers,

I was lucky enough to be asked to review a ROXI Electric Jukebox. If you haven't heard of this product then think of a music streaming entertainment service enhanced with karaoke, a choice of live worldwide radio stations, a game of name that tunes with many genres to choose from and more.


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What's in the box/ how it looks.

The packaging is a smart, well-designed affair with an outer card sleeve protecting 
an inner box that contains the well-protected kit.

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Sliding a new box from a thick outer sleeve always makes me tingle with anticipation as there is normally something of good quality waiting to be revealed and the ROXI Electric Jukebox hub with its accompanying remote/microphone certainly looks the part as you pop the lid of the inner box open.

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The ROXI Electric Jukebox hub and remote/mic are nestled into their own snug compartments in a strong card tray. Under that is another tray that holds three cables:

* Power Adapter - 240v, 3 pin transformer plug to 5v 5.5mm power jack.

* HDMI cable - 1m long, male both ends for video/audio connection to your TV.

* USB cable - short USB cable to charge the remote/microphone.

ROXI Electric Jukebox comes with a full year premium subscription membership to get you started (then £52 a year which I believe is about half the amount that some others charge).

 A nicely laid out paper guide is included to help get you into the fun as quickly and easily as possible.

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The ROXI hub is 27mm high and about 130mm square but rounded more like a lozenge with a matt plastic concave top incorporating a shiny 'eJ' logo and a smart flush-fitted, soft-lit power button. The front face includes 'E L E C T R I C   J U K E B O X' in shiny block letters. 

The base of the Roxi hub is convexed down to a soft silicone ring that means wherever you place it, the ROXI hub shouldn't leave any marks. 

A really neat feature is a 'keyhole' inset into the base to allow you to hang the ROXI hub off a screw on the wall behind your TV. All the sockets are located in the back of the Hub and include:

 Power; HDMI; Ethernet; USB; Audio.
All in all the ROXI hub is very smart and whether you choose Charcoal, Blue or Coral, it will look good anywhere but is well enough designed to hide behind the TV should you wish.

The Remote/Microphone is wireless and created in the same smart style as the ROXI hub with the matt finish and an 'eJ' logo near the base. It is made from a soft feel plastic, is about 175mm long, 30mm square with rounded edges and feels really pleasant to hold and use. 

The top section of the remote/mic is cloth as it is a microphone but is still as smart and good quality as the rest it Down the front of the remote/mic is: 'OK' button, fast forward, pause and 'voice search' button.

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SETTING UP.

Setting up ROXI takes less than two minutes using the supplied power lead to a 240v socket and then the supplied HDMI lead between the jukebox and your tv - easy as pie.

Internet connection is easy enough, you can either:


* Plugin an ethernet cable (not supplied) direct from your router into the jukebox and you have an instant internet connection.

* Switch the jukebox on with just power and TV connected- the jukebox immediately asks for your WIFI password so type it in and off you go.
If like us you use a 'Wireless Station Access List' for extra WIFI security then you will no doubt be looking for the MAC address of the jukebox - I gave up looking and it doesn't show in the list of available addresses on my router. 

 I turned the access list off, connected the jukebox using the WIFI password then refreshed the router page, hey presto, there was the MAC address for me to copy and paste into the Wireless Station Access List; switch the security feature back on the router and then sign the jukebox out and back into the WIFI network again. I can't help but think it would be much easier if the jukebox's MAC address was supplied printed on the machine.

NAVIGATION THROUGH MENUS / REMOTE CONTROL.

The on-screen menus of the ROXI Electric Jukebox are easy to navigate around and the icons used are easy to understand so you don't get confused like I would normally.

 Whenever a text is needed, an onscreen keyboard pops up just like on a smartphone. To move your on-screen cursor all you have to do is point the remote at the screen and wave it about, pressing 'OK' when your cursor is in the right place. 

It feels a bit strange at first but then you realise it is just like moving a computer mouse about but in the air. To make life quicker and much easier you can use the 'mic' button on your remote and voice recognition does the rest for you with no problems recognising different accents.

I can not seem to get voice search to work in the 'Party: Karaoke' mode though which is a big shame - I shall email the ROXI team and update this when I find out more.

FEATURES.

There are tens of millions of tracks at your fingertips for you to listen to and these can be searched individually or you can jump into different genres to inspire your choice.

 There are global radio stations and even a section specifically for children's stories (a perfect way for them to wind down before bed).

A good feature that we like is that once you start a song or playlist, you can still navigate through most of the menus with the music still playing in the background and the information of the current song a the bottom of the screen.

In addition to this, you can select the current song at the bottom of the screen and look at the tracklist or album/single detailed information which then provides a link to find more music from the same artist. As you are doing this there is always the option of a simple click to add a track, album or radio station to your favourite.

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The home screen gives you a small settings 'cog' icon for WIFI connection, Family Protection, Visualiser on/off, auto TV wake when ROXI is switched on, and general product information. The main options on the home screen are:

Party:

* Sing With The Stars - karaoke to millions of songs with an individual song, artist or album search, classic karaoke suggestions, modern, top artists or browse by genre.

* Name That Tune - One of the worlds top music quizzes with a choice of 16 genres to guess as many songs in 30 seconds or less with the ability to record high scores for the family. The really fun game against the timer and a bit of friendly competition for the family and friends.

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* Party Playlists - 10 genres of party mixes to keep you bouncing.

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Discover:

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* My Playlists - make your own.

* Tastemakers - playlists by celebrity curators such as Sheryl Crow, Robbie Williams, Alexander Armstrong (Danger Mouse! my children shout when they hear Alexander's voice on the radio). In total, 6 celebrities with 33 playlists between them.

* Moods - many playlists categorised under 13 genres such as Romance, Workout, Zumba, Road Trippin' - plenty of choice to just press play and let the music work its magic.

* Genres - loads of playlists under classic genres such as Rock, Pop, Electronic.

* Featured - unusual Genres that are great to explore: Children's Stories, The Brits, Jacaranda, etc.

My Music: a place to find all your saved:
*Playlists.
*Albums.
*Songs.
*Radio Stations.

Search: find the individual song title, album or artist:
* Voice Search
* Test Search
* Recent Searches
Extras:
* Radio - find you're stored My Favourite radio station or search through Popular Radio, Radio by Genre or individual station search.

* Sound Machine - Relax, Meditate or Sleep - set the timer for auto-off and chill out to relaxing sounds.

* Photo Frame - turn your tv into a living photo album by linking to your Facebook photo albums.

OVERVIEW / ENJOYMENT.

My kids love the karaoke with ROXI Electric Jukebox and find it ace, my eldest is learning to read so the karaoke helps encourage him to learn new words in a fun way. You do not have to fear about young children hearing foul language as there is a 'Family Protect' feature that you can enable prevent the little ones hearing the things you may not want them to.

I find it easy to use and finding music is quick and fun. We can take it in turns with the microphone or share it.
 Independent research found that 66% of parents wish they could spend more family time together**. 

That is why this device is good as it offers an opportunity to share some time together as a family and create happy memories. 

The amount of ready to run playlists are great as it introduces us to new music. I enjoy beating my hubby's high score in 'Name That Tune'.

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When it comes time to relax for bed the Sound Machine section under Extras is fantastic and also includes White Noise and the sound of Heart Beats which are great for soothing babies and getting them and the parents off to sleep. 

The company's ethos of, "Music at home should be for sharing not headphone-wearing" is true - we love sharing our old tunes, our parent's old tunes and also exploring new tunes with our children.

ROXI is great but I have a few criticisms:
In the karaoke the 'next lines to sing' are very dark and so hard to see, it would be great if they could be a little brighter or use a light blue and yellow mix so we can be better prepared for when the new line comes up. 

What happened to the little bouncing ball that helps us with the timing?

The microphone can be very echoey  but that might be us getting used to how to hold it correctly.

The volume really needs more control, we have to have the TV turned up loud because the music is so quiet and even with the microphone turned to low our voices through the TV are still deafening. 

I think having 3 volume sliders would improve the sound: one for the music in general; one for the mic and one to control the volume of the music while the mic is being sung into.

As the jukebox is only running on 5 volts and draws no more than 2 amps maximum (according to rating on the transformer plug) I don't understand why it doesn't use a USB power socket.

 As most modern tv's come with USB outlets for such things it would keep things tidier and would give us the opportunity to swap the lead to whatever length we need (the supplied power lead is only 1 metre long)

Overall, ROXI Electric Jukebox is a fantastic piece of kit, simple to set up, lots of choices and a slick design making it appealing to the modern person. 

It is a fantastic tool to add to family or group entertainment and will be great for Christmases or birthdays.
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I have also done a video of going through the menus etc so you can get a better idea as exactly how the electric jukebox works
https://youtu.be/odLF6GVQcOw

Cheers for reading X

**Research carried out July 2017 by censuswide for electric jukebox sample 2000 UK families with children under 14 years old. 

I was given an electric jukebox in exchange for a review. However, all opinions expressed are my own entirely. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Save some cash this Summer 

Hey Readers,

We are in the midst of sale season so what better time than now to grab a bargain. I have checked some of the hot deals that are currently available online. A brilliant site to check out is Love The Sales is the place to go to find the top bargains online. The site gathers over 600 UK retailers all under one site so it is easy and hassle-free to find a bargain that you want. There are so many items whether it be homeware, accessories or clothes the world is your oyster on this site!
In this post, I have selected five items that tickle my fancy. Check out on these corkers of a bargain down below.


1) How beautiful are these Fred Perry

mint Kingston twill Dusty trainers. They look so comfy and perfect for the autumn school run. I love the colour and something different to add to your wardrobe. Originally the trainers cost £50.00 but now you can grab them for £30.00.


2) The second item is a Vivienne Westwood  hali checked taffeta dress. Was €498.00 now you can get it for €249.00. I love the fit and it looks so floaty as well.

3) Look at this beautiful long, red jumpsuit from Dorothy Perkins.  It is a cracking bargain as you can still wear it during autumn/ winter by layering it up. It costs now £17.99 and the original price was £29.99.

4) Is this classic Fred Perry gingham shirt. I just love gingham and it looks really funky in a shirt. It did cost £59.99,  now cost £41.99.

5) Another top deal from the wonderful Dorothy Perkins is this lovely black cold shoulder top. Great fir casual wear and is very versatile. Was £26.00 now £10.80.


What I love about all these items is they will have plenty of wear and I can wear them throughout the year sbd wear them for a good few years, which makes this frugal person very happy indeed.


There are so many good finds in the sales could not possibly add them all. What kind of things have you found in the sale? Do you love a good sale?


Hope this has inspired you and thank you for reading X

This post was via LoveThe sales.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

I, Daniel Blake. (review)

Hey readers,

The other day I watched I, Daniel Blake and thought I would give a review of it, as I personally absolutely loved it and probably be the best movie I will see this year.

I, Daniel Blake - Northern Fiction Alliance

First thing is first, make sure you have plenty of tissue as it is very moving.If you want to find out about social issues then this is the film for you. 

OK, it looks at the absurdity around benefit sanctions. If you don't comply to what is asked of you from the benefits office then basically they can reduce your benefit rate. Some of the requirements are ridiculous. 

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you are claiming JobSeekers benefit you have to prove that you have actively been looking for work for 35 hours a week. 

Furthermore, you have hard evidence to prove you have done that, in the movie the lady says suggestions such as getting a receipt? Or get a photo of you actually handing in the CV! 

Sometimes ‘the system’ is absurd especially as a high percentage of claimants are poor and needy which makes them vulnerable to being exploited. This is evident when watching this film why I would say this.

If you don't have enough points you don't get qualified for employment support allowance (which is basically the old Income Support) and therefore have to go on Jobseekers Allowance in order to survive. This is exactly what happened to the main character in the film, called Daniel Blake.
He had a heart condition and the doctors explicitly said he cannot work due to his poor health. However, due to the judgements of the so called 'professionals' he did not meet the criteria. It is absurd the treatment met and when Daniel had the strength to fight because you need it to appeal he died without seeing the results.

We can only assume that it was likely down the stress and poor health conditions because he was sanctioned for silly rules. Consequently causing him to sell all his items in his home because he had no other income for heating or food. The stress on top are all definitely had an impact on Daniel’s health.

One good thing about the film is the relationship struck up between Daniel and a women called Katie, they met each other at the jobcentre. She was sanctioned and Daniel was horrified when overhearing the argument between Katie and the employee at the jobcentre.

 The reason Katie got sanctioned was she was late for her sign-on (few minutes) because she came from London a few days and was lost, therefore getting a reduced amount of benefit. This is really hard for Katie as she has two children to feed, get school uniform etc. 

She moved away from London to do better for herself because otherwise, she would still be living in a shelter. The fact of the matter is if you want to live in London you have to have money. Therefore, most poor people will move out for the area simply because they cannot afford such high rates of living.

One issue that comes up in the film is the way that DWP treat people on benefits like animals and are seen as statistics rather than individuals. 

Daniel wrote a piece he wanted to share in the appeal but sadly didn't get the change so Katie read it at his funnel. I feel this pretty much sums up the social injustice around DWP and a brilliant ending to sadly more truthful story over fiction.

 ‘I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar nor a thief.
I am not a national insurance number, nor a blip on a screen. I paid my dues, never a penny short, and was proud to do so.
I don’t tug the forelock but look my neighbour in the eye. I don’t accept or seek charity.
My name is Daniel Blake, I am a man, not a dog. As such I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect.
I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing more, nothing less. Thank you.’

Cheers for reading X

Friday, 10 February 2017

PTA (Parents to Avoid).

Hey readers,

When my son started school I came across the PTA (a parenting teaching association) not to be confused my parents to avoid the acronym
though very tempting!

Basically, what it means is that willing parents join this group to talk and discuss issues regarding school. They involve teachers and some parents which allows them to have a fairer and less biased view to voice opinions etc.

I have found that there is a lot of favouritism involved with parents of the PTA. The children get more mentions in assembly,  the winners of the raffle tend to be mainly the PTA parents or staff and generally it just feels like a cliché where they have the upper hand.

I kind of get irritated by the fact that they sell ice lollies or biscuits after school. I object to this because I feel that it is forced pressure for the parents to buy things, especially when you can't get out the gate without your child clocking the stand. 

Then you have to deal with the constant pestering from your child to buy something. I also find the message of healthy eating that the school try to promote external services a bit pointless when they sell junk food after school.  

It does seem pointless trying to encourage healthy eating when you can't consist with the stuff you do within school.

I have been so skint before that I just didn't have the cash to spare and the guilt/embarrassment of saying out loud to your child you do not have the money is just wrong.

It makes you feel crap as a parent and causing conflict on the way home when no parent can be arsed to deal with that. 

Nothing is more stressful with dealing with an argumentative child when you have to deal with trying to get them home tired in the first place. It just means that the child is grumpier it is double the stress, which is really not needed.

Pierce The Veil nope pierce the veil dont no no no GIF

I hate social pressure and appears that PTA feeds of this.  All they seem to do is try and make money in raffles or whatnot. 

I just don't like the idea that money seems to be the main concern. I don't like that fact that it represents parents and gives some parents more control and possibly influences teachers.

I just don't see the point in PTAs. The goal is to get the fullest co-operation from home to school. I don't want to know if it means stressing over money and the waste of time of having to do mind-numbing boring stuff when I could be at home sitting on my fat arse drinking a brew.

 I suppose it is ok if it is your thing but I just hate the constant pressure. I certainly wouldn't trust PTA, they appear to have too much time on their hands and tend to make us other parents feel lower than them.  This is my experience anyway, could be totally different somewhere else.

 aint nobody got time for that GIF
Cheers for reading X

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Letter to the lady in the resturant 

Hey Lady,

Yes, I see you give me evils, I know what your thinking, how dare I bring my child to the restaurant and the check of it to let it scream blue murder. 

I know your children are perfect sitting there ignoring each other with there electronics. I don't care normally, but when you judge me, I will judge you. 

Your subtle involvement is merely rude and unhelpful. I am a parent of two young children and they are not perfect nor is my parenting. Yes, they make noise but that is there right and sometimes it can get out of hand.

 However, us parents are trying to deal with the situation and stop the horrendous noises. Your judgement really is unhelpful, to say the least.

You see we were travelling back home from a long day visiting relatives and it was a bank holiday. My hubby really wanted an Indian and to be honest he is a bit of foodie. 

I on the other hand much prefer McDonald's with children, at least no one judges you when your child if it decides to have a tantrum.

But why can't we eat in a restaurant, there is no law that says we can't. We are just left to feel rubbish because we are not performing seals.

 I know you would love us to 'control' our child but I am too liberal for that carry-on. Why should I hide behind doors or feel ashamed my child is not perfect, he is three for God's sake and can sit no longer then five minutes if we are lucky. 

But he needs to learn the rules of the game, needs to test his boundaries, more important mummy and daddy need to fucking eat and this is the only place to get food this time of the day.

The tuttering doesn't help anyone and you are not squeaky clean here either. You are four adults getting pissed further and further into the night and making your own ridiculous loud volume. 

Now, this doesn't normally bother me but if you keep looking at me every other second, it bothers me. you made me feel shit and a bad parent. 

I am no one near perfect but for I try, and nothing is worse for someone with social anxiety to feel that they are constantly being judged. 

So next time please think about your actions, you may want instant action but it has left me feeling pretty crappy and desperate to escape, much to the annoyance of my husband.

Next time I am not asking you to be my friend,  all I want is you to try to be a little more understanding, it would make a huge difference.

 It would break down the whole judgement that seems to happen frequently when we go out to adult-type places. 

Giving parents with little self-confidence the encourage to go out with the child. Even if it is just to a restaurant to eat without feeling judged.

Yours sincerely,

The mother with the screaming, overtired and not always have the vocabulary to express himself three years old.