Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Decathlon Oxelo B1 Scooter Review

Max has always loved scooting. We bought him one when he was two but it wasn't adjustable so he swiftly outgrew it. Since then he's been scooting uneasily on our adult scooter but we were on the lookout for something much more suitable especially for the school run which seems to be a tradition for most kids!

In came the Oxelo B1 Scooter from Decathlon. At under £30 this scooter is a bit of a bargain. It's aimed at kids age 2 and up as an introduction to scooting. Let's just say we love it! First of all the scooter is customisable. You buy the Oxelo B1 Scooter chassis and then pick a base plate in the colour of your choice. It's as simple as popping in 5 screws (screwdriver included!) and then off you go. Even for a diy novice this is easy peasy.

There are 2 different height levels on the scooter. Max is using the highest level but at 4 and a half he's still got plenty of life left in it and won't be outgrowing it any time soon. He's a pretty tall kid too so it's definitely a scooter built to last the test of time. 

I love the fact that it's not too heavy. We've been testing it out on the school run twice a day and I don't feel like I'm lugging something around with me. It's cut our journey down by 10 minutes and Max absolutely loves zooming up to the school gates like the bigger kids do. 

When he's not at school though he's taking it to the shops, to the park and basically anywhere he can get away with taking it (yup we even took it to the doctors- they were mighty impressed). I love the fact that the handle bar is easily removed. There's a stretchy band under the base plate that you can clip the handle into. It means we can pop it in the boot and not have to worry about it taking up space.

Max has always struggled with the tilt to turn scooters that other brands offer so when I saw that this had turn handles I knew it would be perfect. It means he can focus on balancing on the non slip base rather than tilting too far and falling off. I think this is a major selling point as not all kids are able to understand the tilt aspect whereas a simple turn of the handle is a lot easier to learn.

That's not to say that Max hasn't had a few tumbles. He's slipped a few times whilst zooming through the puddles and being a bit over confident. Luckily he's picked himself up and carried on zooming along. The easy grip handles mean that his hands don't slip off or lose control even in the rain. And the simple break on the back means that he has more control over the scooter and is becoming more confident every day.

We absolutely love the Oxelo B1 Scooter from Decathlon. It's an amazingly priced scooter and I've already recommended it to so many of my friends who are adding it to their kids Christmas lists.

Rain or shine Max has been on this scooter and I can see it as something that we are going to use for as long as it will survive with our dare devil! Thank you Decathlon for the awesome scooter!

(Max was pulling his cool skater boy look!)

Monday, 21 September 2015

Reflecting On University

I've never really had much time to sit and reflect about how university affected me and my future. Mainly because I pushed it to the back of my mind and I almost refused to acknowledge it. But when a Facebook memories thing showed me that 3 years ago I finally got my graduation certificate I thought it was time to put down my feelings. 

Throughout the whole of college I loved photography, in 3 years there I did the GCSE, A-Level and BTEC. Everyone in the department knew me and everyone knew I bloody loved taking photos, especially of people. So it was no surprise when I applied to a local uni to study Photography and got in. I mean my whole life revolved around what I saw through a lens of a camera. 

My first year of uni was exactly how I expected it to be, hard work. Not only did I meet Scott and find out about expecting Max, but I also did a work placement with a couple of awesome photographers and threw myself into topical portraiture series. 

When I returned to uni after having Max I expected everything to be similar, just a bit different as there was no late night drinking and less time to dedicate to the studio. What I didn't realise was that I would feel singled out for being the one with the kid and be looked down on when I had moments of struggle. In a full swing of postnatal depression it wasn't easy but I made friends on the course and managed to keep my head down as best as I could.

Looking at the course with a new set of eyes I realised it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The lecturers were heavily fashion focused and seemed to make preferential treatment whilst my documentary series about young mums was seen as useless and pointless. Failing a module led the course leader to pull me aside and question whether I was right for the course or not, whether with 6 weeks left of my degree I should quit. The main reason, I assume the course wasn't right for someone with a young child.

I hasten to add I didn't quit. I stopped going to lectures and focused on getting a pass, scraping through with what little self esteem I had left and proving them wrong. That I was worthy of a degree and having a child. One theory lecturer I knew helped me achieve that pass all summer, he didn't mind when I cried my eyes out with pride after finally finishing the work. He spurred me on to complete it and prove to everyone I was worthy of being there. 

University was a horrible but amazing time for me. Without it me and Scott wouldn't be us and we wouldn't have Max. But with it I ended up in one of the darkest points of my education. That's not to say it's not a good course. Plenty of my friends left the course and went on to bigger and better things. Working on amazing shoots and creating masterpieces. 

I can't say that it was all bad though. I left never wanting to pick up my camera again, convinced I was an awful photographer and no one would ever hire me. But I also left with an urge to write and without that I wouldn't be here now. As you can tell, I've picked up my camera again. I've started to indulge in the little things that I loved about taking photos. But I focus on capturing the good, the light areas and developing them into something magical. 

A year or so after I left, the course leader came into my work. When asking what I was up to I explained about my blog and how working with brands that way was how my photography was developing. I can honestly say the shock on his face was worth all those hours slaving away. I didn't just prove to him but I proved to myself that I was worthy of taking photos. 

Criticism is a hard thing to take at times, but when being criticised for being a young parent is the main trigger I know how to extinguish it now.

*Note I haven't included any names or places as I don't feel it is fair to tarnish a place on one person's opinion.

Friday, 18 September 2015

How I Keep Organised Everyday.

As a mum who likes to keep herself busy I've ended up getting myself involved in so many different projects. It's amazing as I always have something to do with my day but it also means I need to keep super organised and on top of everything. One wrong move and my whole week goes out of whack. 

I've tried so many different ways to keep on top of things but I've found writing them down is the best way. I keep on meaning to use my calendar on my phone but I always seem to forget. Writing it on paper seems to make it stick a bit better. so here's how I stay organised:

  • Diary: This is my 2016 one as my 2015 is so messy and embarrassing. This one is from Busy B who are one of my new favourite stationery companies. All their stuff seems perfectly catered for an organisation perfectionist. This diary is no different and has month to view, week to view, notes pages and tear out to do lists. It's handbag size so perfect to keep on me at all times.
  • Notebook: This one is an adorable one from Eloise Bindery who create beautiful hand bound notebooks. I'm always jotting down blog ideas or things to remember and find it's so much easier to do it in one notebook than in the back of my diary where it will probably get lost.
  • Weekly Planner: After trying everything from a whiteboard to a load of post it notes, this was my favourite option. I've had about 3 of these weekly planners from Lollipop Designs. I love the way I can separate all the blogs and work stuff from home life but then see it all on one page. I try and tackle one rooms cleaning a day and try and spend time away from a screen too. This really helps me tick things off the list. Each page is easy to tear off with a fresh new one underneath.
Of course I have some weeks when it all goes out the window and I feel like I don't know what I'm doing but having this plan in place allows me to work out what I am doing with my days, especially now Max is at school. But it also helps me keep on top of my tasks so I don't feel overwhelmed.

How do you plan your week?