One man's musings on life, being a father, husband and friend. Passionate about his family, his work and technology. My name is Steve Halls and I am a father of two wonderful boys, Archie, age two and Freddie who at the time of writing is just ten weeks old. Join me on my journey through fatherhood, married life, work and leisure. I am an IT geek by day and I also love Football, my beloved Tottenham Hotspur FC, Film, TV, Food and Drink so all of this will be covered in my Blog. I shall also be featuring news and reviews on many different items from things we have purchased for the children to day's out, holidays or just a nice meal at a restaurant.
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Technology, as it has often been claimed could be our saviour. Without it, many people would struggle with difficult, if not almost impossible tasks, that can now be executed at the click of a button. You click, and the machine does it for you. In a way, technology makes your life easier. But as many...
Technology, as it has often been claimed could be our saviour. Without it, many people would struggle with difficult, if not almost impossible tasks, that can now be executed at the click of a button. You click, and the machine does it for you. In a way, technology makes your life easier. But as many have claimed in the past, technology has a dangerous side too. It’s no wonder sci-fi authors have chosen to represent tech gadgets as ruling humanity in future: we rely on digital devices on a daily basis. You are even reading this on a digital gadget, so it’s fair to say that digital technology surrounds us. In fact, it wouldn’t be an issue if there were no alarming signs that technology can take decisions on your behalf. While we don’t live at an age where artificial intelligence is decisively managing either the political sphere or the workplace, it would be unfair to ignore the impact of technology on your life.
I click and buy
Ecommerce has been a revelation for busy individuals who can now just click to make their urgent purchases. However, if you thought you had your ecommerce frenzy under control, you need to think again. On average you are only aware of half of the purchases you make online. As a result, it’s easy for online shoppers to overspend, without even noticing it. When you only need a click to commit to purchasing, decisions can be taken faster than the mind registers. So, instead of using technology to spend money, it would be more meaningful to use it as a way to use tools, such as this auto loan payoff calculator that lets you manage your purchase in the long term. It’s a good idea to replace your ecommerce apps with a budgeting app to keep track of expenses.
I click, I can’t sleep
Using your phone at night can affect your sleep. In fact, the light of the screen can trick your brain into thinking it’s still day, and consequently you can experience trouble sleeping. The blue light of the screen decreases the production of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Instead of putting your sleep at risk, you could turn toward a more helpful kind of technology that is guaranteed to help you fall asleep. You can wear a sensor headband that measures brain activity and help you to handle stress more efficiently through meditation exercises. iPhones have an Apple Night Shift features that reduce the blue light at night and changes the screen dynamically to induce sleep habits.
I click, you control
Despite the marketing and viral potential of social media, it’s fair to say that your favourite platforms can be affecting your mental health dramatically. Indeed, scientists believe that social media can create a peer pressure phenomenon for teenagers. The desperate chase for likes and followers is more than an attempt to gain popularity. It’s about social acceptance and integration for young people. By using social media, teenagers give others control over their decisions and behaviours. Maybe it’s time for a detox!
In conclusion, technology can mess up with your decision-making process. It’s essential to use tech for good, such as empowering yourself for financial decisions, sleep cycles and social integration.
There’s nothing worse than feeling down in the dumps. In fact, there’s nothing worse than feeling down in the dumps, and not knowing what’s causing it, or what to do about it. But, it’s something a lot of us men have to go through. There used to be a lot of stigma around men being...
There’s nothing worse than feeling down in the dumps. In fact, there’s nothing worse than feeling down in the dumps, and not knowing what’s causing it, or what to do about it. But, it’s something a lot of us men have to go through. There used to be a lot of stigma around men being these macho people who don’t have feelings. But, as the years have gone by, it’s becoming more and more apparent that men are struggling to find themselves in the world, just as much as women. So sometimes, we need a little pick me up. Something that’s going to get us looking and feeling our best, and we think we know what will do just the trick. Have a read of the advice below, and see if it’s the pick me up you need.
It’s easy enough for us men to let our appearance slip. If we’re happily married with kids running around, we generally don’t care what we look like. But, this lack of attention to detail with our own bodies is sometimes what can be bringing us down. Especially when we remember what we used to look like all those years ago. So, it’s time to stop being a couch potato, and do something about your looks. Whether it be answering a desire to be in the gym that you’ve had for years, or switching up your daily grooming routine, it can all make a difference. If you look in the mirror and like what you see, you’re obviously going to start feeling your best. Focus on beard trimming and oiling, and a fresh and stylish hair cut. Simple changes will make you feel great, especially if your significant other starts to comment on the effort you’re making. If you want a tip from us, the way that you smell is everything, so splash some cash on an expensive bottle of aftershave, and all of the ladies will be turning heads!
Fashion changes don’t have to be major, and they don’t have to be pushing you out of your comfort zone. All they need to do is be switching it up from what you’re use to, which really isn’t hard. One thing we’re really loving at the minute is the smart casual look. If you have a look at the John Henric’s UK collection, you’ll see a range of different items that really would suit the smart casual look. All you need to do is focus on keeping it casual on the bottom half, and you’re onto a winner. Looking dapper is exactly what will make you feel your best, especially if you’re making an effort with your appearance as a whole.
Sometimes you do just need a bit of a confidence boost to improve the way you look and feel, and funnily enough one of the best ways to do this is through a spa day. As unmanly as it might sounds, they really do refresh and revitalise you. All you have to do is relax into the day, and have a treatment done that makes you feel amazing. If you suffer with oily or dirty skin, there are facials for men that could work for you. We know you’ll walk away from the day with a big jump of confidence, even if it is mixed in with a bit of femininity.
The 6 weeks or so summer holidays from school are soon to start, and you know that just a short time into them you will hear those immortal words ‘I’m bored’. To a child, 6 weeks seems a very long time, but just imagine how the parents in countries like Australia and Spain manage with...
The 6 weeks or so summer holidays from school are soon to start, and you know that just a short time into them you will hear those immortal words ‘I’m bored’. To a child, 6 weeks seems a very long time, but just imagine how the parents in countries like Australia and Spain manage with a 10 or 11 week summer holiday.
Most of them will have digital devices to play on but even that can get a bit much day after day. Have you thought about what you could do to keep them more active through this year’s summer holiday?
The UK has no shortage of theme parks to travel to, and although it is not the sort of thing to do every day, it can give them something to look forward to. It may seem a bit costly for a family day out so register with them online and look out for their special offers. They all have them from time to time and you may be surprised how much they can save you.
Take them to a local park with a bat and ball or a football and let them run wild for a few hours. A picnic midday will help keep them happy and you can just relax watching them have fun.
If you really want to fire up their imagination tell them they are going on an adventure break. This is one of the best holiday activities for kids who are energetic, adventurous and need to be fully engaged throughout the day. Just a couple of days at kayaking swimming, hiking or whatever, will have them worn out for a week. There are activities for children from 6 years upward, and with the huge choice of things for them to do they will have no chance of being bored.
Let them help you decorate their bedroom. Their painting might not be perfect and there may be some bits on the glass, but it is something different for them to do and could easily take a few days.
They will be very proud of what they achieve and it can be an encouragement for them to keep their own room tidy after they have spent the time decorating it in a way they want.
If you have public baths not too far away, take the kids swimming. They love to play in water, and most baths have a pool for the younger children to go in. It is even better if they can learn to swim. They will have to be able to do this as they progress through school, and it can only be an advantage to them if they have already been taught.
Special Events and Carnivals
All through the summer there will be festivals, special events and carnivals across the country. Many of them are free of any charge, and for those that do charge it is not generally a huge amount. Carnivals can be great fun, and with festivals in local parks and streets, you could keep them busy for quite a few of the days.
Putting down money for anything is a big decision. One that involved a lot of weighing up of risks and rewards. And there are very few purchases that are as significant as a new car. Say you’ve decided that your next car simply has to be brand spanking, fresh off the assembly line, new. That’s...
Putting down money for anything is a big decision. One that involved a lot of weighing up of risks and rewards. And there are very few purchases that are as significant as a new car. Say you’ve decided that your next car simply has to be brand spanking, fresh off the assembly line, new. That’s great! There are tons of benefits to buying a new car. It won’t have any of the mechanical issues that start to plague even the best used cars over time. Plus you’ll often save money on your tax and MOT costs in the early years. But the flip side of that is that you’ll probably be looking at a pretty substantial financial investment. With that in mind, here are a few important things you can’t afford to forget about when buying a new car.
It doesn’t have to be straight out of the factory
There’s a huge premium placed on the idea of a factory fresh car. There are plenty of people who will end up insisting on paying extra for a car that’s not even fully built when they put the money down. This is just so that they can be sure it’s the newest possible vehicle that they can get. Here’s the thing, though. How much difference do you think there is between a three-month-old car and a three-week-old car? Yeah. Not much. Don’t be suckered in by the idea of ‘factory fresh.’ If there’s a car at the dealership, that’s built, then go for that one instead. It can save you money and get you your car faster, and in the end, you’ll never notice that two month age difference.
Easier ways to pay
Yes, buying a new car involves a serious amount of money. That’s just a fact of life that you’ll need to get used to. On the other hand, there are plenty of things that you can do to mitigate the cost of purchasing your shiny new vehicle. Look at payment plans the dealership has available. This is especially good for new cars since there can often be some really good interest rate deals on them that you wouldn’t get with used cars. Speaking of used cars, do you have an old banger you need rid of? Ask about part exchange at the dealership. They might be able to take it off your hands and knock some money off too.
Don’t just assume that the salesman is trying to rip you off. When you next walk into a Mercedes dealership it’s important to negotiate and try to get the best deal but be sensible about it. New cars don’t have the profit margins you might think so if they’re telling you they can go any lower with the price, there’s a good chance they mean it.
Sure, there are always going to be things about a new car that will make them more expensive. Just don’t assume that you’re always going to get the best deal if you go straight for the used cars.
Do you use your laptop, tablet or cell phone close to bedtime? If you’re like 95% of us out there, you probably are. This is according to the recent data gathered by the National Sleep Foundation. In the survey, they learned that almost everyone uses their digital devices before going to sleep. Photo credit –...
Do you use your laptop, tablet or cell phone close to bedtime?
If you’re like 95% of us out there, you probably are. This is according to the recent data gathered by the National Sleep Foundation. In the survey, they learned that almost everyone uses their digital devices before going to sleep.
As you’d expect, the younger generations are the biggest culprits.
In fact, research shows that those born after 1997 (generation Z’ers) make an average of 56 texts nightly. They are followed by the millennials or those born between 1984 and 1996. who average 42 per night. Gen X’ers and baby boomers fare much better, coming in with averages of 15 and 5 texts, respectively.
The bad news is, doing so may be what’s causing your sleep problems.
While they may seem harmless, digital technology can mess with your body’s sleep patterns.
How Does Technology Affect Sleep?
Technology, be it in the form of television, your smartphone or tablet, gets in the way of you falling asleep and staying asleep. It does so due to four main reasons.
- Blue Light Suppresses Melatonin
Research shows that digital devices including laptops and tablets can decrease your body’s production of melatonin. Their screens emit blue light which has been proven to suppress your body’s release of melatonin.
Because melatonin is one of the chemicals that help regulate our sleep-wake cycle, this causes our body’s internal clock to go out of whack. As a result, you won’t feel sleepy come bedtime, making it hard to fall asleep.
How much it disrupts sleep depends on the amount of exposure, the light’s wavelength and how long you stare at the screen. This means that taking a quick peek at your phone isn’t as damaging as reading a few chapters on your tablet or e-reader.
Bottom line is the more blue light exposure before bedtime, the less likely you’ll be able to sleep well. Thus, depriving yourself of the many health benefits of sleep.
- They Keep Your Mind Engaged
Going through emails or playing video games on your device may not feel like it, but, they can stimulate your mind. This keeps it focused and alert making it difficult for your brain to wind down and fall asleep.
Keeping your brain engaged makes it harder to sleep because you’re more likely to be thinking about what you just did, be it work or, something that you just read or saw. This is one reason why sleep experts recommend keeping the bedroom exclusive for sex and sleep.
- The Sound from Devices Can Wake You Up
Often, keeping your device in the same room is enough to disturb your sleep. Most of our apps have some sort of notification alert. This may be in the form of beeps, vibration or rings. Whether it’s from the new text message or email alert, these notification sounds can disrupt your rest time.
Even worse, we all seem to have the habit to quickly checking our phones and devices whenever a notification comes.
- Wi-Fi Messes with Your Sleep
Wi-fi signals are invisible, and for the most part, we can’t hear them. But, they’re there. And, they can disrupt your sleep. This is according to a 2007 study which gave participants real and fake cell phones to use before going to bed.
What they found what those who were given real phones had more difficulty sleeping. Additionally, the frequencies and strengths of the wi-fi signals had varying effects on the participants.
How to Prevent Technology from Ruining Your Sleep
Now that we know the negative effects of technology in the bedroom, here are a few ways you can prevent it from disrupting your sleep.
Use these in combination with other proven tips to sleep better so you can enjoy good quality sleep every night.
- Don’t Use Electronic Devices in Your Bedroom
The most effective way to prevent digital devices from wrecking your sleep it to keep them away from the bedroom. While very effective, it’s something not many people can do.
One way to go about this is to find sleep-friendly activities that can replace watching TV or browsing the web. Things like reading a book, doing yoga, or meditating are a few things you can try in place of your phone, tablet or laptop.
- Stop Using Devices At Least One Hour Before Bedtime
If keeping your devices away from the bedroom isn’t an option, then try implementing a “tech curfew”. That is, stop using any digital device an hour before it’s time to sleep.
Putting your phone or tablet down an hour before going to bed gives your mind the chance to disengage from whatever you were reading or watching. It also gives it time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
The hard part here is resisting the temptation of pickup up the devices again after a few minutes.
- Reduce the Brightness of Your Screen
If you absolutely can’t go without your laptop or phone in hand, then try bringing down the screen’s brightness level. This reduces the intensity of the blue light that’s emitted.
Many devices, including almost all cell phones, come with built-in settings that allow you to reduce the screen’s brightness level.
Another option is to download free apps like f.lux which allows you to adjust your screen’s display. We like f.lux because it’s free. Plus, it allows you to adapt the screen to the time of day. This limits your blue light emission exposure late at night. Thus, allowing you to use your computer and not experience its negative effects on sleep.
If you like reading, there are a couple of options you can try. One is to go with traditional paper-based books. Another is to invert the foreground and background colors of your e-reader. While inverting the colors may not completely eliminate the blue light, it cuts it down significantly.
4, Stay Away from Activities That are Too Stimulating
Certain types of activities are more stimulating than others. Interactive activities like texting, playing video games and doing work keep your mind more engaged. As such, it’s a good idea to avoid them near bedtime.
That’s because keeping your mind active makes it more difficult for it to wind down and prepare for bedtime. Thus, making it harder to fall asleep.
On the other hand, passive activities like watching TV and browsing your Facebook feed are less engaging. They don’t keep your mind as involved since you aren’t actively thinking about anything. These are better options if you absolutely can’t put your digital device down. In fact, many people watch TV to help them fall asleep.
- Turn Off Notifications
We love our notifications. Whenever that bell or buzz sounds, we quickly pick up our devices to check what’s new. Because our minds have become attuned that listening for that sound, it can wake us up from sleep. Thus, disrupting our night-time rest.
Putting your phone in silent mode is one way to prevent notifications from disturbing you late at night. However, this may not work for everyone.
If you absolutely can’t go without notifications because you need to be ready in case work calls or an emergency occurs, then set your device to “do not disturb” instead. iPhone and Android products offer this option, making it easy to take advantage of.
The “do not disturb” feature is handy because it lets you choose which notifications you want to receive. Doing so lets you filter out unnecessary alerts until the morning.
Emma Lymn is the editor of Health Grinder, a health and nutrition blog. She is passionate about helping others learn to eat healthy and lose weight. A proud mom of two kids and a very spoiled dog, she enjoys traveling and volunteering in her spare time.
There’s a lot of technology that’s going to help you around the home. In fact, you should be lucky that there is now so much. Once upon a time, a lot of manual labour would have gone into keeping a home prim and proper, and making sure that everything was done in a day. So,...
There’s a lot of technology that’s going to help you around the home. In fact, you should be lucky that there is now so much. Once upon a time, a lot of manual labour would have gone into keeping a home prim and proper, and making sure that everything was done in a day. So, with technology to thank, we want to explore the bits that might be helping you around the home. Whether it’s helping to maintain appearances, or helping to keep the whole family entertained, technology is going to play a part at some point. Here are some of the best pieces that we think will do just that for you, so have a read on to find out more.
Keeping People Entertained
If you have a little family, then you’re going to know how important it is to keep people entertained. It all depends on how old they are, and what their interests are. If we’re talking about younger children, then you’re going to need something more interactive. If you don’t want them wasting away in front of the TV, get them something educational, such as an interactive game, to help keep their brains occupied. They’ll see it as a sort of game, whilst you know they’re going to be learning whilst playing. If they’re a bit older, you can become a little more relaxed with what they’re doing. Why not think about getting them something like a laptop. They can use it to watch movies, do school work, game, or listen to music! If you check out websites such as http://laptop.review/, you’ll be able to find a range of different laptops, all prices differently, to find out which one your child might benefit from having. If we’re on about your partner, they should be able to find some ways of keeping themselves entertained, but maybe something like a mini drone would be pretty cool!
Keeping Up Appearances
Maintaining the house is never going to be easy, especially if you have a little family in tow. But technology can help with this just a little bit. For example, if you have a dog perhaps, or just really messy children, we know you’re going to be running the hoover around a couple of times a day. So, why not get yourself a little robotic hoover. If this doesn’t sound cool to you, we don’t know what will. It goes around and finds all of the dirt, keeping your house clean without you even having to lift a finger.
Making Life Easier For You
Life in the home is never going to be easy for long, but you can try and improve the way things are ran, especially in the kitchen. Having something like a double oven to give you more space to cook is something you should definitely consider. They’re still as efficient, it just means you don’t have to keep waiting for the same oven to be free. They’re pretty pricey, but we do think they’re going to suit your needs well.
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