Tuesday, 3 March 2015

King games are killing my phone battery

I used to thoroughly enjoy playing the odd bit of Candy Crush Saga or Farm Heroes Saga on my phone for 15 or so minutes whilst waiting for me girls to finish school but in the last couple of weeks, this has been impossible.  Why? Well, for some reason, suddenly 5 minutes in my phone battery has gone from 80% to dead.  Dead!  How the hell can that happen?  I have no idea what has changed. I can leave my phone all day without any services turned on and the battery is fine (yes, I know, I've had problems with having WiFi and Mobile Data on which kills my Galaxy S3 battery in about 2 hours flat) and then I used to happily play some games at pick-up time.  Now. Not a hope.  The screen flickers, the phone dies.  Today it went from 61% battery to zero in less than 5 minutes!

Desperately searching for battery life!
King - what are you going to do about this?  It's not just my phone either.  My husband has a Galaxy S2 and exactly the same happens to him and a friend on an iPhone 5 has the same issue. Conclusion - King has changed something about these games.

Whatever it is, please put it back to how it was before so we can enjoy playing again or else we may as well remove them from our phones and PC and give up.

Monday, 2 March 2015


If you've not come across DeviantArt you are seriously missing out.  It's an amazing place to experience some stunning artwork by a range of artists you're unlikely to have heard of but can produce the most amazing images.  Here are a couple of ones I've found recently.  Check out the images for each artist's homepage and go look!

The first are variations on zodiac signs produced by Damon Hellandbrand.  Have a look at his site here.

These second gender-changed characters are by Sakimichan who has a page on DeviantArt here.  Check it out.

Recognise these Disney movies with male lead roles?  Aren't they amazing!

Go check out DeviantArt.com for more fantastic artists.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

University fees - up/down/scrapped?

It was a Labour Government that stopped free university education and made it into a fee-paying priviledge.  Indeed, tuition fees rose with the Conservative/Coalition Governments' backing from £9,000 for 3 years to £27,000. That's only the cost of the tuition fees - you still have to live beyond that, which, with accommodation, food, books and sundries needed for higher education, is likely to be a conservative £13,000 for 3 years, meaning a total outlay of £40,000 because you want to continue in education. I find that beyond appalling and wonder how many young people are put off university altogether due to these kind of costs? 

Royal Holloway, University of London
I was fortunate when I went to university because the company I worked for paid the fees. However, as a post-grad currently doing my PhD I'm self-funded.  OK, so PhDs are cheaper due to the fact that we do not need any kind of tuition/lectures but they are still around £4,000 per year, amounting to approximately £12,000 if you can complete in the hoped for 3 years of study. 

Education is important - I believe - and can do so much for our younger generation. With the law changed to say young people cannot leave full time education until they are 18, shouldn't we be encouraging them to continue, not scaring them off?  

I recently saw that that UKIP says:

"Subject to academic performance UKIP will remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering, maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees." 

That's great!  Please do that.  Sort out some of your other issues and you'll definitely get my vote.

Labour want to lower the fees for university to £6,000 per year.  They make this sound like it's a great offer for our young generation, but let's not forget who started this fee fiasco in the first place!  

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Wisley Walk...and a bit of a bump

The girls wanted to go out somewhere today so, of course, our favourite garden was the place to head.  Nice and quiet when we arrived at 9.30 and for about an hour we seemed to be the only people walking around!  As usual, the girls set the pace.  Nice and cosy in their waterproof outfits as it was drizzling a bit this morning.  Today's mission - collect petals for pictures at home later.

So nice to see all the little flowers coming up everywhere and the beginnings of the bulbs growing. Another few weeks and the place will be covered in daffodils and tulips.

We noticed a sign over this side of the garden saying people had been stealing flowers. Whatever next!  Can you imagine turning up here and digging out a couple of plants and heading out with them under your coat? Really, the things some people will do.  The girls were very worried when I read this sign to them as they had pockets full of petals. I'm sure Wisley won't arrest them for making off with some petals that were on the ground *grin*

I'm practising my 'prune' face here like all the celebs do when they get their photo taken. It's just not working is is...

The girls love looking in the little individual gardens.  They were disappointed there weren't many flowers about but I did point out that it's not quite Spring yet.

A mini-snack break under some shelter after this and then we headed to the Alpine houses.  The girls now want to make a rock garden in our garden too. I think that may be a project for the summer.  They loved how the plants were each in their own little buried flowerpot.

It all went wrong at this point.  We were about to go down the 'steps' by the waterfalls and N was very excited about the rock garden. She turned around to tell me about some little flowers she had seen and went to walk forward, not having seen a little 12" wall sticking out.  Poor little soul went over it straight down onto her hands and face, scraping her shins too.  I rushed over and she started to scream and cry.  Blood was coming out of her mouth. Oh no!  I tried to calm her down a bit and then took her to the bench to assess the damage.  Seems her tooth had gone into her top lip and her gum had split just a tiny bit. Also a bruise on her nose.  Bless.  Mopped her up and decided to seek some first aid before we went home. She was so upset S started to cry too. She hates to see her little sister hurt.  As we were about to leave, this Robin came down and perched right next to us and began to sing. It was amazing. He was about an arms length from me singing his heart out. I said to N that he was singing to cheer her up and it did - for a moment anyway.  I then walked this little crying person down to the membership area where they called a first aider for us.  The lovely lady was very gentle with her and sorted her out - wiping the last of the blood away and giving her a cold pack for her swollen lip.  Thank you for your kindness.

We headed home and the girls settled straight in to making their petal pictures.  Despite the bump, a lovely walk.

Friday, 27 February 2015

What will they remember? Videoing us.

I have recently avoided being in photographs too much. Actually, I'll rephrase that - I vet the photographs and don't put them in the family photobook unless I look reasonably ok in them.  I don't want to look like a banshee with wild hair and bags under my eyes (my normal morning look).  I guess this is a bit of personal vanity for whomever may see the photobook.  Having said all that it just occurred to me that who would be bloody well interested in the photobook bar myself and my family - who you will also remember see me like said banshee.

Whenever you experience a loss, I think you weigh up your life a bit.  It occurred to me today - the day that Leonard Nimoy died - that when you are a celebrity or film star, there is a lot to remember you by: interviews, movies, appearances, etc.  But what do we have as 'ordinary' people?  This is when the light bulb went on.  I video the children all the time - first crawl across the carpet, first steps, first bike ride without stablilisers....so what is wrong with videoing all of us.  I know, crazy right?  I mean, I'm a few *cough* pounds heavier than I would like to be and sometimes I dress in no more than horrible grey jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, BUT that is how my family see me.  I'm just mum - not mum in the grey jogging bottoms or mum in the pretty dress, just mum.  Same for hubby, he's plain old dad.  So, if we're having fun, dancing on the Wii or sitting doing Lego, why not video it?  Could there be anything nicer than having a video memory?  A walking, talking (or sitting, building in the case of Lego) memory in fact.

What caused this nostalgia? Mostly the fact that my girls asked about my mum and dad.  I showed them some photos but oh how I wished I had some video or a recording to hear their voices again too.  How lovely would that have been?  I'm sure somewhere, in a loft, hidden away, is a recording that someone in the family or a friend has of one of our holiday moments as I remember mum putting a tape recorder in the middle of a table at the keller bar in Austria and just recording 60 minutes of us all chatting with music playing, etc.  How amazing would it be to find that!

So, extra few pounds and no make-up aside, I'm going to video a lot more of this family and have some super, fun memories to keep - for us all.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Breastfeeding Selfie

OK, I know by their very nature, a selfie is all about you.  I've done a few myself - mostly because giving my phone to my 4 or 6 year old to take a photo of me when we're out without hubby normally means I'm at a 45 degree angle or it's just my knees or headless body in the picture.  However, the latest 'craze' seems to be the breastfeeding selfie or (heavens above it has a name already) the #brelfie.  Good grief.

Hang on, I need a selfie...
Now I don't mind people taking pictures of themselves, and nor am I anti-breastfeeding (I fed my two youngest this way quite happily) but do you really need a photo of every part of your lives now?  I have one of each of my girls when I was breastfeeding - in hospital just after they were born.  They are nowhere but in our family album. Private.  Come on.  Really?  What next, the "I'm taking a sh*t" selfie?  Well, why not - it's up to the individual right?

I find this sudden desire to have to photograph yourself feeding your baby just plain odd. I suppose it's the same people who photograph their lunch and dinner for the world to yawn at on Twitter so it's nothing new for them but like with the aforementioned photos, who really cares?

Don't panic, I'm just as fed up seeing pictures retweeted of young (or old) women almost totally exposed bar a piece of string for a top and another for knickers, sticking it all out in your face.  I hasten to add I don't actually follow anyone who did that (or I'd soon unfollow them if they did take such a photo).  I agree that social media sites like Facebook are hypocritical for taking down or banning a user who posts a breastfeeding selfie but leaving up some under-age teen in her underwear.

Despite having been a breastfeeding mum, I like to think I always did it with discretion and made both myself and people around me feel perfectly comfortable.  I'm not one for displaying my assets to the general public anyway (I don't go topless on the beach) but I'm not a prude.  Despite living in a world where everyone seems out for themselves at times, I do like to show a little respect and compassion for those around me. When I used to sit in a cafe or restaurant breastfeeding, I was happy to tuck my girls under my lovely (specially designed) top and relax knowing I was at ease and no-one around me would feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps that's just me but flopping it all out on a park bench in the middle of a bustling town centre wasn't my style.  In fact, I find that tasteless.  Make of that what you will - and I'm sure some of you will and will tell me what an awful person I am for saying such a hideous thing.  I just like to think that some things are very personal and gentle and don't need your phone involved.

I'm sure the argument about this will go on for, well, a few days anyway until it becomes yesterdays dull story and another selfie craze takes over - 'here's me at the doctors having my scrape' perhaps?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

TV excitement - The Walking Dead and Broadchurch

Last night's The Walking Dead - oh my goodness. I have a bad feeling in my bones.  Rick didn't asked the 3 questions for starters.  Bit late when Michonne remembered this fact as they were driving to Aaron's sanctuary - Alexandria.

Children's laughter coming through the gate as they arrived. Aaron said earlier that you couldn't hear anything from outside the walls.  Be afraid then.

No guards.  Anywhere.

No people in the photographs that Aaron showed to Rick and the group. Apparently the one of the whole group didn't come out. Just too suspicious.

I can't wait until next week to see what Alexandria is all about.

As for the finale of series 2 of Broadchurch - if I'd been Mark Latimer, I'd have bundled Joe into the van, driven to the edge of that huge cliff and thrown him off of it.  Just saying....