It’s OK to admit your not ok 

Hey readers,

Today was a day that decided to take action over something that I’ve been in denial about for a while now and that is an increase in being very depressed. I have OCD so the thoughts are very intrusive and fast firing in my head and constantly checking things so enough is enough. My mood is really low and just a sense of dread, followed with complete sadness.

I am on medication, however for a month or two ago I decided to reduce one medication. I forgot what depression had felt like. When you have been taking  medication for so long it suppresses your emotions. Which to be fair has been good as it means you can manage the day but you believe the mindset has shifted therefore believing that you don’t suffer as much.
Another reason why I wanted to reduce my medication is the weight gain. However, I think it is a small price to pay compared to waking up angry/crying/ suicidal etc.  I prefer to be fat and less breakdown than the alternative.

So, Today I took action, I spoke to my husband and booked an appointment to doctor to discuss the matter. Hopefully the doctor can alter it, it may fall down to me having to go and be referred to a psychiatrist to get the issue resolved. 

Yep, so it is just a ramble but glad I took action. Because it is ok to take medication and it is ok to not be ok. I still even now struggle to be open about my depression. It is hard when mental illness is viewed so negatively. I decided to write my thoughts down as a way to help me and allow other people who may be of interest in reading in this and no you are not allow. It is a fight worth fighting for.

Cheers for reading X

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Rant about PTA! 

Hey readers,

When my son started school I came across the PTA (a parenting teaching association) not to be confused my parents to avoid acrumn 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.

 

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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 with external services a bit pointless when they sell junk food after school.  It does seems pointless trying to encourage healthy eating when you can’t be 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 that. Nothing is more stressful with dealing with a 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 more grumpier it is double the stress, which is really not needed.

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I hate social pressure and appears that PTA feeds of this.  All they seem to do is try and make money in raffles or what not. I just don’t like the idea that money seems to be the main concern. I don’t like that fact that it is represents parents and gives some parents more control and possibly influence over 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 sat 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 there hands and tend to make us other parents feel lower then them.  This is my experience anyway, could be totally different somewhere else.

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Cheers for reading X

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Mummascribbles

3 Little Buttons

Getting children out of the door

Hey readers,

Why are children super fast when they  want to be but as soon as a parent is desperate to get someone urgent they go to  slough mode!

Here are some thoughts and conversationset I have when trying to get kids ready and out the sodding door.

1) Please get ready, we need to get to school.

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2) I hate you hubby for giving me the task of getting the boys ready, you absolute tool.

3) If I you don’t get ready then I am going to turn off the TV but at the same time promising to turn the tv on because you need to sit still because you need to do their hair.

4) If you don’t get ready I will phone your dad and you will be in serious trouble. (Let’s face it no one wants to hear your daddy yell at you, even mummy gets scared with the decibels used).

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5) When it gets close to birthday/Christmas or any special event that is important to your little darlings, it is the ultimate blackmail to get them ready and out the door promote. If parenting gets so bad it will be threatening every single day.

6) Shall I ask your teacher if you are like this at school? seems my son fears this one because he is so angelic he doesn’t want the illusion to vanish from the teachers eyes. Works a treat to kick his bottom into gear.

7) Threats about no pudding go down a treat (yes pun intended).

8) If in doubt and you desperate bribes can be used to keep your own sanity in tact. If ANYONE disagrees then they could bloody well come round at 7am and deal with the problem for me, no problem with that I tell you.

9) Stare at your child, if gives them the willies that the arguments must stop or mummy is going to lose her sh*t big time. This normally occurs when on a Friday because we all tired and about had enough of having to go through this drama for the fifth time this week.

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10) If your child loves school as much as mine threaten that if they don’t get dressed won’t go to school that day and do nothing all day at home. Amazing how effective that is and they comply to your need of them getting their socks on.

Cheers for reading X

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Mummascribbles

3 Little Buttons

 

Why social Media is good

Hey readers,

We all get bogged down in the negative side of social media, so let’s for today celebrate all the good aspects of social media.

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The internet is a good way to express yourself. I know for me I find verbal communication really, really difficult due to being autistic. Therefore, writing things down on my blog has really helped. There is also a great autistic community on twitter for example where you can openly discuss topics, it is great to get responses back. It can help other people understand you and help get more personal awareness out on specific topics.

As a parent and someone who struggles with mental health, loneliness is a feeling that has occurred over the years. I find the internet fantastic to connect with other similar people, whether it be through blogging, reading other people’s experience, tweeting or even discussing worries/feelings in forums. Also,the internet can be a useful way to distraction yourself from focusing on negativity. It really has helped me get out of that funk.

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The internet is a splendid place if you want to get lost. With so much information out there, it is great to enhance your learning. You can even find scholarly type materials on google or good old YouTube.

The internet is definitely one way to get free entertainment and to do stuff without breaking the bank balance.  There is so many options, some examples are; watching YouTube videos, listening to radio, using social media and evening writing blogs 😉

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If we look at recent events from this year especially in politics it demonstrates that the internet has a powerful voice. The cyber world can influence for the good and make positive changes. A example of this would be with the way the internet has evolved politics with such matters of politicians being more transparency, though it is a slow process, it is something that is being taken seriously, especially with the way that majority of people get their information from the internet. Gone were the days when it was a two leadership battle, with having the internet it opens doors for more choice. Therefore, politicians have to work harder to get them likes and ultimately the power to change the lives of the ordinary public.

What positives do you find in social media?

Cheers for reading X

ROXI Electric Jukebox Review

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 tune with many genres to choose from and more.  There are many streaming services out there but ROXI Electric jukebox is a music streaming service that is an alternative to those such as Spotify, Tidal, Napster, Amazon, Apple, etc. focusing on sharing the experience in a family/party friendly way and moving from the private, sheltered individualistic routes that the aforementioned streaming services take you.

WHATS 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. 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.

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.

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.

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:

  • plug in an ethernet cable (not supplied) direct from your router into the jukebox and you have 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 smart phone. 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.

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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 million 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.

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In addition to this you can select the current song at the bottom of the screen and look at the track list 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. Really fun game against the timer and a bit of friendly competition for the family and friends.
  • Party Playlists – 10 genres of party mixes to keep you bouncing.

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Discover:

  • 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 individual song title, album or artist:

  • Voice Search
  • Test Search
  • Recent Searches

Extras:

  • Radio – find your 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.

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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. Independant research found that 66% of parents wish they could spend more family time together**. That is why this device is good as it offers 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 parents 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 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 sang 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 choice 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.

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

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