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26.2.15

The Baths of Aphrodite | Visiting Cyprus

In Primary School we learnt all about Greek Mythology. I still remember being fascinated by the myths and legends and stories we were told.
My favourite being Medusa, closely followed by Aphrodite.
Aphrodite, if you are not aware, is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. There are various different versions of how she came to be.  I personally like the idea of her arising from the sea foam (after Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitals into the sea. Nice hey?!)

I was really excited when I saw that a couple of excursions on our holiday to Cyprus included a visit to the Baths of Aphrodite and to Aphrodite's Rock.

We booked ourselves on a Land Rover Adventure day, basically getting a tour of particular places on the island in a 4x4 rather than on a coach. We were lucky in that we were the only people booked in our Land Rover so we had our very own VIP treatment almost and had the driver all to ourselves.

We visited so many wonderful, beautiful places, one of which was the Baths of Aphrodite. Having read that the water can make you more youthful and beautiful if you bathe in it (which isn't actually possible) or splash it on your face.
Our guide, Akis, was so informative about the stories involving Aphrodite and answered my questions and talked about the area and the site.
He informed me that the water doesn't necessarily make you more beautiful on the outside, but more so on the inside.

I felt oddly emotional as we walked towards the pool, and felt my eyes well up with tears...which was strange as our tour guide then told us, without turning round to see me, that it is said that the water here is Aphrodite's tears for her lover Adonis.

As we walked back to the Land Rover I made sure I was at the back of our walking convoy, and took some of the water in my hands and lightly soaked some into my face. I can't say it's made me look or feel more beautiful, but it felt like it was the right thing to do due to tradition and myth. And it was really quite refreshing.

As we got back to the car I looked over at the views of coastline and at the landscape surrounding us and just felt so at peace and so relaxed. I also felt like a dream of mine had come true.
As a little girl, being so into Greek Mythology and still harbouring some of that excitement, this really was a dream excursion for me.
Which the next day was set to be even better.




Home Wanted: 5 Things That Should Be Done Before Signing On the Dotted Line

Guest post is courtesy of Apex Waterproofing Inc., an expert in basement and crawl space waterproofing and mold detection and remediation in Arlington, USA.
As a first time homebuyer, you probably can’t wait to sign on the dotted line and make that dream house yours. However, it’s important not to get too hasty. There are a number of things that you will want to do before you close the sale. The following are 5 things every first time homebuyer needs to do before making their first home purchase official:
  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage – One of the biggest mistakes that a first time homebuyer can make is not getting pre-approved for a mortgage before even beginning to look for homes to buy. This way, you have some idea of the price range you should be looking for. Having a mortgage pre-approval will look good with the seller as well and can often be the difference if you are competing with other buyers.
     
  2. Hire a real estate agent – Don’t think that just because you can look up listings online and get a feel for home prices in the area you are looking at that you don’t need a real estate agent. A real estate agent is vital to helping guide you through the home buying process, especially if you're a first time homebuyer. There’s a lot of paperwork involved with the closing and a lot of steps that you’ll need to take – a real estate agent will hold your hand throughout the entire process to make sure you don’t take any missteps.
     
  3. Make sure your budget is in order – You need to make sure you have enough money for a down payment and that you’ll be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments. Additionally, you’ll need to work in homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, homeowners’ association fees, repair costs, maintenance costs, utility costs and more. You’ll want to make sure that your current income is able to cover all of these things without having to stretch yourself financially. This means sitting down and creating a budget in order to determine what you can afford.
     
  4. Ensure that you are in a financially stable situation – Even if you are pre-approved for a mortgage, the lender can still pull your approval if there’s a huge change in your financial situation, such as if you are all of the sudden filling up your credit cards or have recently changed or lost your job.
     
  5. Hire a professional home inspector – You don’t want to buy a home full of structural problems that you didn’t notice before. Try limiting the number of home improvements you may have to do by hiring a professional to inspect the house from top to bottom. The inspector should pay extra attention to the basement and any crawl space area in case waterproofing or mold remediation is needed.
If the inspector determines that there are areas of water damage or mold infestation in your basement or crawl space, you may need to hire a contractor who specializes in basement or crawl space waterproofing. You can also use this information to drive down the cost of the home unless the seller is willing to pay for any repairs or maintenance that was suggested by the inspector.
If you are considering purchasing a new home, these are the 5 most important factors that you should do before closing on a home.

24.2.15

Me Time and Pakefield Beach #betterplaces

This year I really want to make more time for myself. I constantly put other people above me, and I am never really a priority. And that needs to change.
This week I decided to visit the beach once I had dropped Harry off at preschool. This is such a lovely beach and I have so many happy memories here.
I got engaged in the house my now-husband lived in, which was pretty much on the beach, and I had my wedding photos taken on there.
We would watch out of his bedroom window at thunderstorms over the horizon, seeing the fishermen getting their boats ready or bringing their boats in.


Pakefield Beach is situated close to Lowestoft, Suffolk. A dog friendly beach, popular with working fishermen, anglers and horse riders, it is ideal for a walk all year round.
 A beautiful mix of both sand and pebbles, hearing them crunch beneath your feet as you walk between the boats, being careful to step over lengths of thick rope and chain leading down to the sea from the fishing boats.


Walking one way down the beach, a walk we used to do every Sunday when we lived almost on the beach, you join Lowestoft Beach. A place with various ice cream shops, donut stands, chips, battered sausage or fish if you prefer. Or a lunch at one of the hotels on the promenade.
Walking the opposite direction, is Kessingland. Again with another beautiful stony beach with room to fly a kite, play a game of rounders, or simply sitting by the waters edge just looking out to sea.


There is something about this beach, I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly, that makes me feel so at ease, and so relaxed.
Maybe it's the memories that bring me the comfort.
Or is it the fresh air? And the sound of the sea crashing against the shore?
It's almost like as the sea crashes in it brings you calm, and takes away your problems or stresses, even if just for a short time.

Visiting this beach, or any beach, doesn't have to involve food, sandcastles and fighting with a windbreaker. It doesn't have to be really hot, or even a little bit warm. You don't even have to be surrounded by family or walking a dog (although these are nice things too, of course).
You can be alone. With your thoughts. And relieve the stress of everyday life. You can sit and watch the world go by. And let your worries wash away.


Disclosure: This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Find Your Better Place campaign with BritMums. Syndol Headache Relief is now formulated for headaches. Visit www.syndol.co.uk for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.

A Week Without the Internet

On Sunday, the 15th, we set off for Gatwick airport. My phone was on 15% battery and I decided not to charge it. I had already planned to not take it on holiday as I wanted to be free from the temptation of Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin and my blog.
And it was lovely.
I had to take my phone with me in the end as we didn't want to leave it in the car but I put it in the suitcase with no power at all, and didn't charge it until the Friday night. With a couple of text messages exchanged between me and my mum and me and a friend the phone went back off, ready for when we got back to the UK on the Sunday.  


I spent the time I would have been on my phone writing a holiday diary and reading a proper book. It has been so lovely and refreshing, and holding my phone in my hand to write this (I was bored on the plane so got my phone out to draft some posts) seems quite bizarre. After just a week I seem to have forgotten how to use it. The keyboard seems foreign and my phone feels so thin.

We sit in buses, we sit in the airport and I realise how unsociable we are now. We can't sit and have a conversation with strangers because we are too busy on Facebook or Candy Crush. We lose the ability to have a proper conversation. To talk about anything other than the weather.
We stumble and hesitate when it comes to finding out someones name simply because we don't know how to ask, at least not without getting our phones out and asking if they have Facebook.

People just want to exchange email addresses now and don't want to be old skool and send a letter and become pen pals. This is something I'm encouraging with the boys and I want them to learn the importance of writing letters and how exciting it is to recieve a hand written letter in the post. This holiday we bought a postcard, Charles wrote his friends a note asking if they would like to become pen pals, and we gave them our address. 5 minutes letter, we had their address too, as well as email and Facebook because it is acceptable to communicate in the modern way as well as the traditional way so I'm definitely not contradicting myself for gladly accepting those details (and I have photos that they need to be tagged in, obviously).

On the plane there are few people reading a proper book. Instead there are ipads and Kindles with games and catch up tv, the odd person reading a book on theirs. The younger of the passengers are not looking out of the window, unless being forced to by their parents. They don't seem at all interested in the world below them, the land and water we are flying above.
And it makes me sad because, without wanting to sound old, these are the next generation, and if they don't appreciate what it out of the window then how will their children?


Mighty Mum: Ready to go Back to Work

 
After many years as a stay at home mum, most women choose to go back to work once their children begin full time school. However, no one tells mum’s that the transition from being a full time mum to a full time worker can be quite tricky. The world of 24/7 children to being in the centre of a universe full of adults can be both daunting and exciting. Well, here are some tips to help you get back into the swing of things as both a career woman and a mighty mum.
Choosing your career
Before you even begin to think about childcare or getting your family onboard, you should consider what it is that you actually want to do. Many mums find it quite difficult to find a job that works around their family life – and after all your kids are the most important thing to you. Whether you are opting for one of the support worker jobs Suffolk or an office job in London, you should ensure your employer knows and understands that you are a mum first and foremost.
Get your family on the same page
Once you have decided what line of work you are going to head into, the next important stage is to ensure your family are on the same page. When a stay at home mum goes back to work, it does impact the whole household, so you should speak to your husband or partner and your children to ensure they understand what these changes will be. You should also ensure that your children know that whilst you won’t be around as much as you used to be; being their mum is still your number one job.
Organisation is the key to success
Once you are working, it is even more important than before to be organised and have a clear schedule – especially for mornings; the school run is always stressful. So, ensure your kids know the schedule and it should run as smoothly as possible.
Leave work at work
Once you begin your working life you should always ensure that you leave work at work. Time spent with your family should be even more precious than it was previously so, be sure to leave any work stresses at the office and don’t let it impact your home life.
With these helpful hints and tips in mind, you can be the mighty mum of the home and office.

23.2.15

5 Top Tips for Buying a Second Hand Caravan | Guest Post

Buying a second hand caravan can save you a fortune, but it doesn’t come without its risks. There are many things that you need to consider before you buy - below you’ll discover the top five tips for choosing the best used caravan.
1. Check the age of the caravan
How old the caravan is makes a big difference to the amount you should have to pay. Did you know that most caravans last for around 14 years? This is provided they are well cared for. As reported by the Caravan Club, older caravans can be expensive to fix if anything goes wrong. This is because if the parts are old, they may not be available anymore, or they could be extremely difficult to get hold of. Therefore it is always a good idea to choose a model that is well within the 14 year lifespan.
2. Does everything work correctly?
When viewing second hand caravans, you should approach it in much the same way you would with a used car. Check that everything is working properly. If the seller has alerted you to any potential problems, do a little research and see how much replacement parts would cost. If the problem is simply down to a faulty battery for example, you can find leisure batteries at affordable prices.
3. Check for mould
One of the main problems caravans can suffer with is damp - they're typically not used much at all during the out of season winter months. While it may not seem like a major problem, it can actually be really expensive to fix. Mould can cause serious problems. If you can smell damp when you walk into the caravan then that is a big red flag and you should be cautious of making an offer.  
4. Check it isn’t stolen
Now this is something many people don’t think about, strangely enough. However, it does happen. Online retailer eBay has even published an excellent guide on how to avoid buying a stolen van. Tell-tale signs include a price that seems too good to be true, no identification number and an odd-sounding sob story from the seller designed at tricking you into buying.
5. Is the caravan water tight?
Water damage is one of the most expensive problems to fix in a caravan so you want to ensure the one you are buying is water tight. Investing in a moisture meter is an excellent way to tell whether the van has problems with water. The cushions and mattress might be damp or have a musty scent.      
Overall, you really need to do your homework when you are buying a used caravan. The tips above will help, but you need to ensure you check everything thoroughly. Don’t buy the first caravan you see either. As with anything, it pays to shop around. Compare as many different vans as you can before deciding which one is right for you. It also helps to get a good idea of the average price of the caravan you are considering so you can feel confident you are paying the correct amount of money for the one you are viewing.

How to survive a boys’ football tour | Guest Post

Football tours are exciting, adventurous times for boys but there are certain preparations that must be put into place by parents to make sure their young star gets the most out of it – here are a few tips for both boy and parent.

As soon as the tour is decided the school or sports club should provide parents with an exact itinerary of where the lads will be playing, and when. Encourage your youngster to find out more about where they’ll be going beforehand, so that they can gain a little insight into the trip. You may even want to print out a few bits and pieces for them from sites such as Lonely Planet.

As a parent it’s up to you to make sure your lad has everything he needs. Hopefully the club will have provided a checklist of items, and there may be some that you don’t think about. He’ll need his kit, boots and shin pads as a minimum, and several other changes of clothing. The organiser should have spare pads and boot studs, but there’s no harm in packing some just in case.

If your boy is on medication, or has special dietary requirements, notify the school/coach in good time. If you feel more comfortable in visiting beforehand and explaining the procedures, then arrange an appointment.

Worldwide travel to glamorous locations such as Barcelona, South Africa and Barbados through a company such as InvicTour is a fantastic opportunity for the promising, wide-eyed sportsman, but don’t forget the obvious necessities. Organise your boy’s passport early if he doesn’t have one and check for visa and/or immunisation requirements, if necessary.

Check the itinerary for places of culture/interest that your lads will be visiting.
It might be worth checking with the organiser if phones will be allowed as the boys enjoy places of interest. The school should be sympathetic to the fact that some of these lads will never have been away from their parents or brothers and sisters.

Mobile calls and texts are the easiest way to communicate, and as this Education Business UK piece details there are now intuitive apps that send communication to parents and guardians with news as educational or sports trips progress. Should the worst come to the worst and a crisis develop, then a brief message of assurance to the worried parent at home will be priceless.

If you’ve got everything in place, and your boy is raring to go when he gets on that coach, then you’ve done your job. But don’t think that you’ll be immune to worry and fear about your lad, particularly if he’s never been away from you for any period of time. Even the phone calls and texts will only give you so much comfort.

Maybe you could meet up with other mums and dads of players who are on the trip, for a coffee. They might be feeling the same way and will also probably be happy to alleviate their anxiety over a brew. Maybe you could go out to the cinema or for a meal with any siblings who are left behind. Maybe you could use the time to tidy the house and your boy’s room.

One last thing – why not buy a small present for your son for when he returns, just to show how much you missed him? He will hopefully be energised by the trip and just begging for the next one, but at the same time he’ll be glad of his favourite meal, and seeing his pets and brothers and sisters - and hopefully his parents as well.

18.2.15

Holiday Photography Pearls of Wisdom | Shutterflies

I love that saying "It's not what you know, it's who you know". It's true isn't it? Having people close by you who not only are nice people, but also have their uses.....
Hayley, who blogs at Shutterflies and is Birth Mother and Creator of the Living Arrows photography project,  is one of my....oh....I was about to say friends with benefits, but that has a totally different meaning!!
Anyway, as a photographer Hayley is a wonderful friend to have. I am able to ask her advice if I need help with my camera, with editing, with additional things to buy, setting up my camera and so on.
With a holiday booked abroad this year I decided that I will most probably take my DSLR rather than my usual choice of a compact, and asked Hayley if she could share some tips.



Some of my favourite photos from my own childhood are from our family holidays so I guess it's only natural that as a mum who loves to take photos, I get excited about the photo opportunities a holiday can bring! Lauren asked me to share some holiday photography pearls of wisdom (never mind….)

What to take


It's tempting to take every bit of camera kit you have but I personally prefer to travel light. Not only will you have to lug your stuff around with you, you don't want anything happening to it while you're away from home. If you use a DSLR, I would take a lens that you use the most and get a UV filter for it if you haven't already. It doesn't make any difference to your photos but keeps your lens safe from scratches and I have a UV filter to thank for saving my favourite portrait lens when my toddler decided to drop it (the filter didn't live to tell the tale but they're not expensive to replace, unlike lenses!). I've never liked to use a traditional camera bag, I think it draws attention to the fact you have a camera with you "Hey look, thieves! I have a Canon camera here in my bag!!". Spare battery if you have one, charger and cards. Lots of cards! I am paranoid about losing my photos so I prefer to have a few smaller cards than one big one so that if something *did* go wrong, I wouldn't lose a whole holidays worth of photos. Another great tip that a friend shared with me recently is to take your camera manual with you incase something goes wrong. You might not have access to Google!
(I actually purchased a UV filter following Hayley's suggestion. Ebay, £1.79 with free P&P, delivered the next day!)

What to snap


I like to tell the story of our holiday from start to finish so our photos usually include a snap at the airport or a pre road trip family selfie! I like to capture all the little details too, cute outfits, signposts and the traditional "standing in front of famous landmarks/points of interest". We all love them!



Film on holiday


I love using film, especially on holiday. I am really awful for checking the back of my camera and wanting to take a shot again to get it better and with film I just can't do that, much to the relief of my poor husband who by day 3 is totally over me going "Hang on! I just want to take that again!". I took a Lomography "toy" camera along on a holiday to New York and I felt so much more relaxed about only having £30 worth of camera to worry about and I love the photos from that trip so much! I really think the tone and colours of film gives a different mood to photos.


Now that the kids are older, they get in on the action too! We started giving them a disposable camera for day trips and while there were some not great photos, it was still fun to see what stood out to them. We got a couple of underwater disposables for a trip to Centre Parcs and the photos from my son and nephews were a brilliant memento of a fun weekend. I will absolutely be getting more for our summer holiday, along with some instax mini films too. Every kid I know loves these little polaroid type photos and while the film is a little expensive, it's great fun to have photos in your hand (and a great distraction for grumpy little people). If you are USA bound, they sell instax film in most Walmarts so you can easily stock up if you need to.




Most importantly…relax. Yes, it's wonderful to have a visual record of these memories but what matters most is that you enjoy time away as a family.



Find and Follow Hayley

13.2.15

Wallcreate Canvas Review and Giveaway

For me, a canvas can really change the feel of a room. It can create a focal point on a wall, and compared to a picture in a frame, it draws focus to the photo subject without the distraction of what is surrounding it.
We were recently sent a canvas from Wallcreate. I had been saying for a while that I wanted one of us with the boat to put in the lounge, so we ordered one of our favourites taken in the Summer last year.
This canvas is 40cm x 30cm, which is perfect for a smaller wall, photo wall or with a collection of other canvases.
I'm impressed with the quality of this canvas. The original photo is quite bright and I was worried that this would be compromised on a canvas, however this isn't the case and the colours and detail are identical to the original.

I find the website a little hard to move around due to the colours and design as it is quite busy. However with a little patience it becomes a simple process.

I have a 40cm x 30cm canvas to give away. To enter all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below.
Alternatively, if you would like to place an order through the Wallcreate website you can use the code: realhousewifeofsuffolk to get 15% off your order. This discount code will expire on January 1st 2016.

Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 part time jobs for any Mum returning back to work | Guest Post

Many women vow that they won’t ever return to work too soon after having a baby, but the itch to get back to the world of work is sometimes one that must be scratched - or it’s a financial matter - and a part time role is the perfect way to do so.
So as a mother returning to work what job options are out there for you, should you decide to only take on part time hours?

Call centre role
Don’t shy away from this sort of work, believing all offices are like the one featured on BBC Three’s The Call Centre show. Part time call centre work is a rewarding experience and one that can see you earning commission on top of your monthly wage. Many call centres work to shifted hours, so you can work with a manager to move days around to suit you and your childcare requirements.

Where to look: Job sites such as Monster or Jobstoday are the best places to look, or if you’re based up North seek the help of a specialist recruitment service provider such as CCJM to help you secure a role.

Freelance writing
If you are a dab hand at putting together written articles or have always wanted to write copy for companies then freelance writing work is another great part time job to consider and also means you can set your own working hours and fit looking after your little one around work.

Where to look: Contact marketing and PR companies with examples of your writing work or sign up to a site such as Copify where you are paid per article you write.

Administration
Administrative roles cover a wide spectrum of industries and positions, whether it’s a part time receptionist role, to an advertising copy chaser for a small magazine publisher there are companies out there looking for someone who can come in on a part time basis and support the team, especially in busier periods.

Where to look: The usual job sites are best for finding this sort of work: Monster, Jobstoday, Jobsite etc.

School  
Part time roles working in a school are great because they let you work with children (and potentially in a school or nursery your child attends) and require a small amount of hours. Positions vary greatly but you could look for lunchtime supervisor positions, Governors' board roles, part time teaching assistant opportunities or even working on the school crossing patrol - all of these are great part time positions that will help ease you back into the world of work.

Where to look: Keep an eye on your local schools’ websites or check out a site such as Edustaff, where education jobs are posted regularly.

Bar staff
If you fancy having plenty of fun while you work why not look for part time work in a pub or restaurant bar? You’ll get to socialise in the evening while working and also spend all day with your child. It will also make child care easier, as people will more than likely be free in the evening to look after your little one.

Where to look: Hand in your CV at local restaurants and bars or look at their websites online.

So now it’s time to pull out that dusty old covering letter and CV combo, iron your best smart skirt and get back out there into the wide world of work. 



12.2.15

Bella and Bear 'Brush on You' and 'The Bear Brush' | Review

After reviewing Bella and Bear products 'Eye and Mighty Eyelash Curler' and 'Hair She Goes Spring Facial Hair Remover Kit
I was excited to discover more in their beauty range.
I was sent three products.
Two of these are hairbrush packs. I was first aware of how pretty the packaging is, as well as the products. These are really feminine and have a classic/vintage feel to them.
The paddle brush has soft flexible air cushioned natural rubber pad and ball ended nylon pins and glides through hair getting rid of any knots and to keep your hair looking healthy.
The handle is easy to grip and the brush isn't heavy, which I have found other paddle brushes can be. It is great quality and due to the packaging and design makes either a great gift for someone else, or for yourself.

The 'Brush on You' detangling brush and comb set has the same design and packaging as the paddle brush. 
The detangling brush is great on wet or dry hair, although personally I kept it for wet hair as I found the paddle brush worked a lot better and was easier to use.
The comb is wonderful. I find this ideal for when I am styling my hair and need to section it.
Again, because of the packaging and design these are perfect for gifts.

The paddle brush costs £12.99 and the 'Brush on You' brush and comb set costs £14.99 and, along with the rest of the Bella and Bear range is available to buy on Amazon.


10.2.15

Spring cleaning hacks: five easy tips to get your house in order | Guest Post

During the colder months you can carry out some basic cleaning in and around your home but as winter turns to spring and you start to prepare for the summer, it’s time to get your house really in order.

1. Deep cleaning your home  
Latex Gloves from Brosch Direct are ideal when using strong household cleaners and will protect your hands from the toxic and corrosive chemicals that these products are made up of. Deciding where to start is the first decision you should make. It will help if you set out a plan as this will make the task easier. Deep cleaning doesn’t have to be hard as long as you keep your home tidy for the rest of the year, but it’s amazing what you’ll find behind the fridge and other obscure corners of the house. The blog Netmovers has some simple ideas where you should start.

2. Throwing away unused items
Once you start your spring clean an article in the Daily Mail recommends that you begin by deciding what you are going to throw away. Some people find this task impossible so the article says that the easiest way is to decide what you want to keep and see what you’re left with. Some of the items you are left with might be able to be recycled or up-cycled and given a new lease of life, or you could donate them to a charity shop.

3. Repainting and reinvigorating
If one of your rooms is starting to look tired then a quick coat of paint can brighten up the space and make you feel a little bit more relaxed when you come home after a day’s work. Make your rooms smell more pleasant by filling an empty detergent bottle with fabric conditioner, water and baking soda, and simply give your room a spritz.

4. DIY cleaning products
If you are on a tight budget then making your own cleaners from existing items in your cupboard will save you money and time. Cleaning out the microwave with 50% vinegar and 50% water and placing this mixture in the oven for 10 minutes will remove any grease or grime that has accumulated over the past few months. Livening up the carpets can be done with an iron, vinegar and a cloth - mix some vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray the dirty area, cover with a cloth and iron. Once this has been done any stains will have gone.

5. Checking behind the furniture
Even though you vacuum weekly you will be surprised how much is missed, especially behind cupboards and fridges. It is well worth pulling out these items to ensure they are not blocked by dust; this can make fridges overheat and will reduce its efficiency ratings. There are many jobs that will need to be carried out during your spring clean, not only indoor but out in the garden as well. Once plants start to appear and buds come out you should keep your eye on the growth of unwanted weeds and tidy the exterior of your home.


9.2.15

Don't Tell the Internet

It's an odd world we live in now isn't it? With social media being such a big part of peoples lives. Facebook status updates, tweets, posting to Instagram and so on.
I'm one of those people. Social media is a big part of my life and sometimes I will look at my own Instagram profile and think "why did I post that?" or "who even cares?".
I have even posted a photo, then looked back and thought "this is no ones business" and have deleted it.
I'm completely excluding any mental health things I put on Instagram. Those I put on there for support, as a cry for help, as therapy. I wouldn't class myself as an over-sharer when it comes to that part of my life. Some might disagree, but it helps me and I would also like to think it helps others who are going through the same.

Other than that, yes I share things that really, if we took a step back, is a bit pointless. And I think this goes for everyone. I'm certainly not trying to be offensive or rude, but it's true isn't it?
The thing is, it is socially acceptable now to take a photo of your dinner and Instagram it. Or take a photo of what you are wearing that day. And it can be interesting.
I can never slate the internet or sharing on the internet because if it wasn't for the internet, social media and blogging I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have, and wouldn't have met some lovely people, especially my best friend (something I never expected the internet to bring me).

There is the argument of "what would you do if you didn't have the internet?". When it comes to buying things, in the past we didn't have these review websites to go on to check ratings or to be able to find recipes online. Or even choosing breakfast or which takeaway to have that night. Once upon a time we didn't have Twitter to go to and have however many people we could ask "What to have for tea tonight...Indian or Chinese?" We were able to make our own decisions.
We were able to see a friend and have a real full on catch up and have everything they say be brand new information, rather than an extended story of something you had already seen on their Facebook page.
But the fact of the matter is that we DO have the internet, so we are able to do all these things. We can check reviews, find recipes, ask people advice even if it is the simple choice of what we want for dinner or which colour cardigan we should buy.
At the same time we also have a choice. We choose what we share. We choose what we want to tell people. We choose what we want to keep private. We choose what kind of life we want people to think we have. We choose how much of our lives we want to share.
We also choose whose lives we want to follow, and how much if that we want to believe is real life.

I made a decision last year to cut back on what I share of the boys. To protect them but also to have that private piece of our lives.
I would like to think that I portray a realistic life and one that is the same as everyone else. Our house isn't perfect and oh-so-tidy. We don't have pretty displays of stuff everywhere. I tend to have a forgotten pile of sweepings somewhere. And my children are not always in co-ordinated clothes. Heck, sometimes they are in clothes that clash and can look a bit...well....not very put together at all.
My boys are also not perfectly behaved. And I'm ok with that. It's part of life and we have all tested boundaries before and so on. And I'm not afraid to share that part of our life either and would never want to portray this image of a perfect family life. However, the internet doesn't need to know about every naughty thing my children do.

Last week we booked a holiday. Immediately I wanted to shout about it due to excitement.
Where we are going, when we are going, the hotel. All of the information. I wanted to Instagram photos of me packing (why?!) and so on but this part of me, the rational side maybe?, stopped me and said "Don't tell the internet". Not so much for home safety, although of course this is one major reason for not telling people when you are away (we have good neighbours and my mum will be here everyday so nice try burglars), but more just because I don't see how it is relevant to anyone's lives? 
Do I want to be seen as bragging? No. Will me telling people when and where we are going change someones life? No.
It just feels like something I need to keep for us. In that old-skool "before the internet" kind of way where people didn't know everything about you.
I feel a bit like:
1. Who even cares? Not in an aggressive way. But really, who does?
2. Whose business it it? Again, not in an aggressive way.
We went to Disneyland Paris in December 2013. I didn't tell the internet until we got back, and even then I was quite vague with what I shared. Because it was our experience. It was our private family time. And sometimes, sharing these holidays can come across "review like" and....I don't want to paint over my family time as a review like experience.

Will I share about the holiday when I get back? Sure! Because to me that is like inviting a friend over for coffee and showing off the prints you received from Truprint after sending off your 35mm film and disposable cameras.
I've also made the choice to not take my phone on holiday. That will be staying at home.
Because sometimes we need a break from the internet and from the social media life.
And we need to be reminded of who is there if the internet was to completely break down, or if the internet didn't exist at all.