Norton Anti Virus and London Zoo

I know the title is a bit random, however I was invited along to visit London Zoo by Norton, the people behind the anti virus systems most of us have heard of.  If you haven’t, try and take the time to read more HERE

Parental controls management lets you easily access, set up and run Norton Online Family right from within your Norton Control Center.

I took my kids along and we were treated to a guided tour around the zoo, followed by a very yucky but interesting talk about insects, not your average insects mind you – big ones, fat ones and slimy ones with the opportunity to TOUCH them!!!  Well I didn’t but I did manage to stand really close to them.  My kids weren’t much braver but I can’t say I blamed them.

The purpose of this event was to get a forum going amongst parents about online safety. As a mother of 4 children who are very computer/i-pad/phone/blackberry savvy, what they have and don’t have access to is very important to me.  I hear horror stories of children seeing really inappropriate things and the scary thing is that most of the time, parents are none the wiser.  Children seem to be in a bubble of complete privacy, especially as they get older and with the click of a cross on the screen, what they were looking at can be gone as they see mum or dad approaching.

At the talk, which was also attended by journalists and their children, we were told the importance of online protection as children are becoming more savvy than adults and at increasingly young ages.  My older two are 12 and 11 and are prime examples of girls who’s thumbs work quicker than the speed of sound when using their blackberrys.  They know so much, technology wise but fortunately my husband is an IT guru and he’s ahead of them and has many blocks and announcements to his own emails if anything inappropriate is sent to or from them and even searched for.  I know this may seem extreme, however they are still young, no matter how mature they think they are and until they’re old enough, we have to be in control of what goes on as much as possible.

What brought this home to me more was when the Norton representatives explained that we wouldn’t let our children meet people or go out without us knowing exact details and we should treat online interactions in the same way.

My girls were probably the oldest children there and were asked by Norton what technology they have access to and they were more than happy to offer their knowledge to the onlooking adults. They are also taught alot  in school about online dangers. Lots of wows (in a shocked way) were heard in the room as they freely offered snippets of information.  Some of the adults there had no idea of what goes on in the world of online and some parents were quite vocal on what they would never let their children do or access on the internet.  In my mind I was thinking – wait until they reach 10!

In an age where there are many community websites geared towards kids, we have to arm our children with the knowledge and awareness to protect themselves online, because unfortunately, although Norton can help with inappropriate material reaching our computer systems, they can’t help with who can access these sites.

So although for the most part it’s ok and fine and nothing untoward is going on, we do need to be aware to protect our children.

Help Raise Awareness…

Amelie Lewi is a beautiful little girl who lives with her parents in Hither Green.  She was tragically diagnosed with Tay Sachs.

Tay-Sachs disease is a progressive neurological genetic disorder. To find out more READ THIS.

Her parents, Daniel and Patricia Lewi were told in 2011 that their little girl is suffering from the terminal illness which has no known cure.  They have started a campaign to raise £3million for a clinical trial into the rare disease.

The disease usually starts affecting children at six months old, and most victims do not live past five.

When I read their story I cried. I Cried for them and this cruel blow they’ve had to endure. Cried for this beautiful little girl who doesn’t deserve this.  But also when I imagined how I would feel if it had been one of my children who had been diagnosed.  I instantly felt the need to spread the word and I’m hoping that all our lovely readers will either let their friends and family know about this story or donate or both!

Anyone can be a carrier of this defective gene and it was only afterwards that Amelie’s parents discovered they were both carriers.

You can DONATE HERE and help them with their fight for a cure and for more research.


Mila Moo – Vintage Inspired

We’ve recently taken on a beautiful collection of vintage style girls dresses by Mila Moo. As soon as I saw them, I knew that I wanted to add them to all the other wonderful things we love at Home & Kids

Go to our website to see more.

Inspired by her daughter, Mila and her own childhood playing in enchanted woods, Mila Moo is the brainchild of Francesca Chetta.  Mila Moo aspires to capture the past using vintage inspired patterns and updated Liberty print fabric to add a touch of the present.

I don’t know about you, but the whole thinking behind the inspiration instantly brings the collection to life for me.  I can imagine my own daughters running around in fields and woods wearing these very special dresses.  I know that it’s in the pipeline for Francesca to design some boys clothes soon and I can’t wait!

Mila Moo has also designed a collection of nappy covers which are as cute as can be. Also made with Liberty fabric, they are definitely the perfect solution to cover up nappies.

Unfortunately I don’t have any babies to use these on but I know that should the need ever arise to buy an original and beautiful gift for a newborn, these will be it!

Other news

Local man, Darren Harlen is swimming 2.35 miles between Hampton Court and Kingston Bridge to raise money for his son’s school (Lee Manor). How inspiring! Click HERE to donate.

I’m thinking of going along to this, sounds like so much fun and a great way to celebrate the Jubilee whilst taking part in a completely independent shops, shopping experience! Can’t wait to share my experience with you, or even better go along for yourself!

I’ve been invited to the launch party at Hamley’s of Gosh Monsters, for a new book by Clark Beecroft which has been produced with the help 34 illustrators, 33 different schools and 4 in-patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital to bring each of the unique children’s Monster creations to life.  The book is on sale now to raise money for children at GOSH.  What a great cause! Will let you know how it goes and hopefully post some photos.

See you soon

French Kids Eat Everything…

I can’t wait to get a copy of this book I know that I will find it so interesting to find out how different attitudes to food can be in France when we’re actually not that geographically far from each other.  Are they made differently?  Do they have a special gene which makes them less fussy?  No – it’s just a different way of thinking.  Off course you’re going to get the odd fussy French kid, but in general, they have a healthy attitude to food.

These are some cute illustrations from the book.

I do know that in countries like France, Spain and Italy, kids school menus are non negotiable.  The choice is sophisticated compared to school canteens here. Karen Le Billon’s book demonstrates this in a very self-depreciating way.  She moved to a small village in northern France with her husband and two young daughters and had no choice but to fully immerse herself into French family life.  The book follows their journey in what at the beginning was a difficult transition, what with her daughter’s being ‘picky eaters’.

Below is a video clip explaining how Kern Le Billon came to write this book.

French Kids Eat Everything

I know as a parent, I can fully relate to that feeling of trying to please my children’s taste buds but I may as well lay on a full restaurant menu so they can pick what they would like that day.  Because you can almost guarantee that one of them won’t like something I have made.  Unless it’s pasta in all forms, thanks to my husband’s Italian heritage,  which they all love but there’s only so much of that I can make or take.  I always have it at the back of my mind that they must have variety as I dish a very familiar looking meal time after time.  Sometimes I feel like I have failed miserably in the food department but then I remind myself that they’re all healthy, alive and kicking so I must be doing something right.

A few years ago, we lived in Spain and two of my children attended school there.  Their food policy was very much like the one written about in Karen Le Billon’s book At the beginning they would come home on a daily basis, hungry because they hadn’t eaten what was on offer at school. Paella, Mussels, Chicken, Fish, Rice etc… think about your typical Spanish restaurant menu and that would be it.  Oh and to top it all, they were confronted with (shock horror) a huge bowl of salad in the middle of the table so they could dig in!  Needless to say, my children were not impressed.  Anyway by the end of our two year stint there, they did learn to like the food and I’m happy to say that although they aren’t the most adventurous eaters, they do try new things.  My younger two, however did not have the advantage of being exposed to the Spanish school system and needless to say they are very fussy, especially my youngest who eats like a mouse, but we’re working on it!

How about you?  Do you have fussy children or not?  I would love to read your comments.