Children, The Web And Social Media.

Our Teens the battle of the web and social media:

The bell rings and the school day finishes. The pupils grab their bags and dash for the door. School bags slung on to their backs and a race for the exit to freedom. Suddenly the cackling of teenage voices is overpowered by beeps and ringtones. Heads drop to the mobile devise screen and fingers work furiously typing out life or death communications, the world might be coming to an end. Phones are lifted and pictures are recorded as proof and uploaded and sent to the command centre. I watch in awe as I am bewildered how this new form of human can cross the road with their head down and miraculously, the various methods of transport manage to stop or swerve and no fatalities are reported.

Dr Seuss, author of The Cat in The Hat
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Of course our teens love to go online, I wish it had been invented when I was in secondary school. The Internet is a source of information and can be used as an educational tool. The social media tools can be an asset to maintain and develop supportive relationships. They can help our teens to form their identities, through self-expression, learning and communicating. When utilised correctly they promote a sense of belonging and self-esteem. Most of us adults know how to behave in society, what is right/wrong, acceptable or not? We are generally good citizens and neighbours and so are our teens! Unfortunately those standards slip when we become digital citizens!

Zeeko (http://bit.ly/2jVZaXl) an Irish EdTech start-up which works to educate parents to teach their children to stay safe online has published results of its second School Digital Trend Report. 4,439 primary school pupils completed a questionnaire about their Internet use in 29 schools between September and November 2016. In addition Zeeko asked 913 guardians of primary school pupils in 55 schools between January and June 2016 to complete a similar questionnaire.

Key findings include the extensive use of mobile devices by primary school children, (86% have access to a smart phone, tablet or iPod); the seemingly younger ages at which children say they have open access to the internet (on average 1st class students first went online at 4.9 years old vs. 6th class students first went online at 7.6 years old); and the rise of SnapChat which has taken over Instagram as the most popular social media app with 45% of 6th class pupils now using SnapChat.

 There is a difference between using the Internet and using social media. The Internet can provide a platform of lots of educational tools to assist our children’s learning needs. Yes there is a vast amount of inappropriate material available on the web but thankfully there are tools provided for us to implement to ensure our child never has to see those dark pages. As parents or guardians it is our responsibility to implement those safe guards to protect our youngsters. Social media is a different animal. Essentially the concept is excellent and when utilised for the way in which it was intended it can and is a very positive and beneficial experience.

There are social media sites that ask for the users to be thirteen and over, much the same as your child’s email account set up from school. Be warned if you misrepresent your child’s age online consider the possible implications of this. If your child sees you lying online they may well feel they are entitled to lie if there is an age restriction on another site they would like to join.

Oscar Wilde
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

The key to building and maintaining a positive relationship with our teenagers is to always keep the channels of communication open. This is different to the lectures or talks we give our teens. I mean really connect and when it matters, the ability to relate to them in day-to-day life. This will help you and your teen to overcome the challenges they face growing up.

It is so easy with teens to get locked into unhelpful methods of communicating, arguing, nagging and even criticising. Once engaged in either of those it is very difficult to get out. Remember teenagers still need our guidance and advise not forgetting the boundaries, which have been set during their first decade. Tactics are key to success regardless if you are dealing with an authority adverse teen or a respectful teen. Our teen still needs to know we are interested but watchful, that we care and have their back even when we don’t agree with them. As parents we must develop the skill and emotional resilience to continue offering guidance and help even in the face of Indifference and opposition.

Am I A Good Parent? My Pandemic Reflection.

I never questioned my parenting skills or faults before now. The pandemic has forced me to reflect on a lot of things but none more than am I a good parent? I’m extremely lucky with my girls, they definitely make the job easier. Sure, there have been times when I have wanted to put my head under a pillow and scream until I was hoarse. There has also been occasion when one or both girls have disappeared to their bedrooms to hide from me or just simply take refuge. Trying to school the children, keep them motivated, occupy them, engage them, feed them, keep them safe, cook for the them entertain them, maintain the home etc has pushed me to limits I did not know existed. The dog (Murf) has even gone backwards in the last few months following me everywhere looking for a bit of my attention.

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” –Anne Frank

Parent guilt does exist. Before coronavirus, I only worried about building my career, creating a balance and managing the day to day “stuff” of the home while raising my daughters. Let’s be honest that can be stressful enough, whether you are a single parent or not, and then by the time you get home you are riddled with guilt as you feel you are neglecting your children. Just because you feel it does not mean it is true!

Children are for life, I know we all thought they would reach 18 and job done, now time for me. Pop the champagne, we have our lives back, eh no! We cannot divorce them and we just do not wake up on their 18th birthday, open the front door and wave goodbye as we pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves on a job very well done. The worry that we carry for our little darlings never goes away. I can’t always be there for my kids, and if they fall they have to learn to get back up themselves. The real world has a lot of disappointment and inconveniences along the journey of life. But I will always be there to talk, listen and offer advice, should they need it. If it is a simple Dad hug that is needed, well they never run out and I would travel the world to serve upon my Dad hugs.

I can see so many of my traits in my girls, even a few of the not so good ones! What Covad-19 has made me see is that they really have their own identity and that identity is developing every day. They both are very passionate about different things and I support that, even when I don’t really understand it, but that is mainly because I am Dad and fake tan, hair colouring etc are alien to me, but I embrace it all. I must be doing something right as on occasion my advice has been sought, this alway overwhelms me with fear as the wrong answer can have disastrous affects.

Travel restrictions due to the pandemic have pushed us as a family into doing things together often that we may not have done due to other family commitments. Going for bike rides around the city is one such activity. I would have always travelled to go for a cycle with the girls, somewhere with less traffic but for a large part of 2020 we have been in lockdown which has meant it is city centre for exercise. Being a typical overacting father, I had in my mind we would get ploughed by a double decker bus, die or at the very least end up in a wheelchair and it would all be my fault. We headed off with Daddy duck in front and is two ducklings behind him. Thank goodness I did not give the lecture that I had planned. They took safety very seriously and in the end they were probable more cautious than I was. My point is keeping our children safe is a job we all take seriously, and at times I thought my advice was going straight in one ear and out the other, the reality was it had not and they had learned from the previous excursions.

“When a man dies, if he can pass enthusiasm along to his children, he has left them an estate of incalculable value.” –Thomas Edison

I have one regret in life and that is smoking. When my eldest was about 7 she came home from school and said, “Daddy if you don’t stop smoking you will die and I will have no Daddy.” I love smoking and was excellent at it, 30 a day was a minimum and everyone was as good as the last. My daughter was and is right and I did quit and to this day not only did it help me to live longer, it enabled me to set a good example. More so than ever I have learned my kids pay attention to what I do, how I behave and what I say. I try desperately hard to be a good role model and it is extremely tough when you are a single Dad, trust me it is not like the movies, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan endings are not here.

I have written before about the importance of family dinners and it is the perfect opportunity to get some quality time together without modern distractions. I love hearing about their day, the good, the bad and the ugly and we get to talk about everything and as they get older we even have some heated debates as they form their own identities and beliefs. 

Recently I have heard some pretty hurtful stuff from my kids. Immediately I thought I was failing as a parent. It isn’t a failure, I’m not my daughters friend, I am the parent and they need me to be. I’ve learned to stand my ground and set boundaries and unfortunately on occasion enforced consequences. This is the part of parenting I dislike the most, being unpopular, but as a parent I have an obligation to teach my children and how are they to learn about the values our family strive for? I hope one day to hear my children instruct their children on our values and I suppose then a piece of me will live on.

To see my kids clearly, I have looked at my own past. How was I treated in the family, how was I seen? For example, was I seen as a burden? Do I see my kids as the same and feel put out by them? Do I over worry about them and smother them? Overcompensate for them by doing too much? I love my children and they do stir a curiosity within me. Most of all they make me feel happy and very grateful. I love spending time observing their little quirks, I appreciate how they express themselves and I love how they make me laugh. 

Understanding My Teenager And Communicating With Her.

There exists huge amounts of social pressure on teens today and the opinions of their friends become extremely important. But they still need help and support to build and maintain healthy friendships. I cannot stress the importance of developing a good parent teen relationship, staying connected and especially paying attention to them. Continuing to be a role model, the person they look up to a reliable parent. I am not suggesting becoming their friend just remaining their parent.

“Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.”
Arnold H. Glasow

Friendships are a necessary support group for teenagers. They provide a sense belonging and a feeling of value which in turn assists in building confidence. Teens will not always ask parents for information as in some cases they may find it all too embarrassing, for example puberty and what they are experiencing physically and emotionally. Friendships are a good source of information and provide emotional support a sense of security and comfort with others going through the same experiences. For many teens the teen years is where they develop relationships with the opposite sex and romantic and sexual relationships are experienced.

As the transision from child to teen begins it is very normal for teenagers to spend more time alone and with their friends. Essentially this translates to them spending less time with family. Many parents fret about this and fear these intense friendships will become more valuable than the family unit. This is not unusual and if you cast your mamory back and are honest with yourself your behaviour was the same.

Fear not your child, now a teen, still needs you and as they get older and mature you may even need them and who knows they may offer you support. As parents it is important to encourage friendship amoung teens, but it is also very important to know who your teen is friends with and have open conversations about the different relationships with your teen. Encourage your son or daughter to be a good friend there are a few ways that this can be done and the life long benefit is that it will stand to your child for future years in how they develop relationships.

Sometimes young people do not realise that all friendships are not forever. People change over their lifetime and friends that your child is close to now, might not be the friendships they have in years to come. The occasional fallout between friends is natural. Help them navigate through conflict. Show respect to others and they should be respectful to you!

“I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you’ve been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene.”
Robert Brault

As a parent there is nothing worse then making the tough decisions and suddenly becoming the “bad person”. Perhaps being told how much they hate you and how you are ruining their life and followed of by the slamming of doors and then to top it off, picture without sound. It is not our job to be our child’s friend. Our job is far more complicated than that. Children and especially adolescents need limits they crave boundaries and structure. And as teenagers they most definitely need a healthy separation from their parents. Our job is to teach our children and when and they will disobey dish out consequences. If you become their friend it is impossible to lay down the law and be respected by your teen. If you have treated your teen as a friend you will create confusion and they will believe that their power is equal to yours.

As our children grow up they strive to learn where they fit in and what is their place in the world, it is our job to guide and give them the time and space to grow into each phase developing to the next stage. Treating them as a peer/friend will not allow them to be kids.

Children Living With Peer Pressure.

Wanting to be more like your friends is a normal part of being a teenager. Peer influence or peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it might be a concern for you or your child. If this happens, there are things you can do to help manage it. Peer pressure is when you choose to do something you would not otherwise do, because you want to feel accepted and valued by your friends. It isn’t just or always about doing something against your will. 

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
― Bruce Lee

The term ‘peer pressure’ is used a lot. But peer ‘influence’ is a better way to explain how teenager’s behaviour is formed by wanting to feel they belong to a band of friends or peers. Peer pressure or influence is not all negative it can be very positive. Your son or daughter may be influenced to become more self-confident, try new pursuits, or become more involved with schoolwork and activities. But it can also have the opposite effect and be negative too. Some teenagers might choose to try things they typically would not be interested in, such as smoking/drinking or taking part in other antisocial behaviour.

Normally it is just the simple things such as listening to the same music, watching the same TV shows, wearing the same clothes and even inventing their own language to communicate although this often sound alien as it is imported from the US. Coping with peer pressure is all about getting the balance right of your values and that of fitting in with the group.

Unfortunately it is a fact of life that peer pressure may present more negative influences on children who feel they do not have many friends or struggle with self-confidence. These adolescents may feel the only way to be included/accepted is to take on and consent to the behaviour of a particular group.

Of course as a parent this will cause concern and you become worried that your teen is being too influenced by their peers and not being guided by the values you instilled in them. Another reason for worry may be that you feel your child will not be able to say no when it matters and behaviours could lead to antisocial behaviour. If you cast your mind back to when you were the same age and experiencing peer pressure you may remember on occasion you did things that your friends did and sometimes you choose not to engage in some of the other activities your peers got involved in. The same will be for your child. You have given your child the tools to cope and a strong set of values so it is more likely they will know where to draw the line and exclude themselves from the company of their friends if their behaviour is becoming unacceptable.

“Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Some good tips to help you and your child manage peer pressure include:

  • ïKeep the lines of communication open.
  • ïAdvises your child, suggest ways they can say no if they feel they are being pressured into something they are uncomfortable with.
  • ïExplain there is always a way out, they can phone or text you. Assure them you will not be annoyed. If necessary invent a safe code they can send you so you will come to the rescue immediately.
  • ïAssist your child in building up their self-confidence this will encourage them and give them the tools to be comfortable in making their own decisions.
  • ïThe wider your child’s social network is the better, encourage them to get involved in activities they are interested in and support them.

Without a doubt good communication and a healthy positive relationship with your child will forever encourage them to communicate with you and help them with deflecting any unwanted negative influences/pressures from peers.

Just Being A Single Dad

The 14th December 2004 and the 28th of August 2010 were the best days of my life. I always wanted children, Im not sure whether this desire was more fuelled in me because I was adopted or it just is part of my make-up. I must admit my first choice was always daughters and I am lucky enough to have my wishes come true. I was worried if I had sons I might be too hard on them and what if they didn’t live up to my expectations as a man. This is absolutely absurd obviously. However it does raise another point when contrasting the difference between Mum’s and Dad’s, we think differently and our behaviour is very different. As adults we tend to forget this and certainly in a relationship are less forgiving to one another.

Little angels

Being a Dad has brought me so much joy and I am learning (in real time) how quickly my daughters grow up and change as they progress through the different stages of adolescence. I also have learned what applies to one child does not necessarily apply to the other. I have a collection of very different hats that I put on during the course of any given day, and on occasion I have managed to wear the wrong hat and by God I suffer the consequences. Despite the bruises and damaged ego I frequently receive whilst raising my daughters, it is the best job I have ever had and the most personal rewarding. I am not naive to think my daughters will praise me when they reach 18 and shower me with admiration for the outstanding work I did. No, by then I am sure another younger man (full of zits, attitude and a six pack) will occupy their attention. I am secretly dreading this day, the day I am replaced and kicked to touch. I try to motivate myself that when that does happen it will signify what a fantastic job I did. What a load of xxxx! I won’t be brought out on shopping excursions like their Mum, my contribution may only be the money to pay for it. 

According to a poll, Dad is a pushover at home, apart from when it comes down to dealing with bad behaviour. I fully agree with this finding, except now that I am a single Dad. One of the hardest things of being a separated/divorced is you have to be both Mum and Dad when the children are with you. As a male my biggest fault was lack of patience, I had to work on that and I still do. Finding the balance took some time, although my girls would probable disagree with that statement. I tend to let the first misdemeanour go, if it happens again, I then explain why its not acceptable and if it happens for a third time, well let’s just say there is trouble which brings consequences. The follow through can be difficult if I don’t have the support of their Mum, then I find my girls get either confused or want to stay with their Mum for the easy life. I can only hope my consistency will earn me the respect of my daughters when they get older, time will tell. Age plays an important part of this, this was never an issue until the teenage years. 

There isn’t enough time for me to write about the teenage years and I am only at age 15. Pouting lips, fake tan, hair, nails, oh my god the list goes on. Oh and that look of Dad you are stupid! Yes, I am and never was a young woman but I continue to try to understand. I ensured there was a pretty little type of case prepared in her school bag in the event her first period arrived with all the necessary accessories for such a catastrophe. Thankfully that did not happen and even better news for me and her it happened when she was with Mum. I have been lucky enough to be trusted with hosting the pre-disco event in my house. This is when a group of teenagers take over the house, lock themselves into the bedroom and toilet, spend hours getting dressed, applying make-up, doing each others hair, listening to loud music and probable giving out about me. My role is to order pizza, drop off to disco and collect whilst remaining invisible and holding absolutely no opinion! Thank goodness I won’t be available for menopause!

Some time ago

As my daughters evolve into fantastic young women and travel through each phase, and I know I have tougher challenges speeding towards me, I embrace all of them, even the ones that I don’t understand as a Dad. I longed to have children and in some way it has and continues to make me complete. The rewards heavily outweigh the sacrifices for me. Unlike Mum’s I cannot give birth, breastfeed and a whole heap more things that make Mum’s so unique. Byt, this single Dad tries so hard to be the complete parent and loves his children so much even when the tough decisions have to be made. I am living in the moment and each day get reminded the true meaning of unconditional love. Being a Dad has taken me to the edge on occasion, but made me stronger and certainly more patient. Of course I fear for what the future holds and change comes with time but one thing is true I will always be there for my daughters. They don’t know this but they have fulfilled a big void in my life and I will spend a lifetime repaying them!

Let Dad’s Be Nurtures Too!

I was brought up to treat women as equals without exception. As soon as I had children of my own I wanted to be completely involved and I did everything possible apart from breastfeeding. Both my children weren’t interested in breastfeeding so I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to spring into action early and do my fair share of bottle feeding and my ex was able to get some much needed rest. This included during the night, after all they were my miracles too and I cannot put into words the absolute love and devotion I had and still have for my daughters. 

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

My ex wife and I never intended our marriage fail along with our plans, dreams and aspirations. But it did blow up in our faces and like many others before us we became an unwanted statistic. Ironically we were really prepared to cope, possibly because we knew we were heading for the edge of the cliff and when we did go over we had talked things through in all matters to do with our children so when I left the house we all knew what was happening and had involved the girls in the conversation, at least the bits they could understand.

From the moment my girls departed the womb I was going to be the best Dad in the world. When a relationship ends and you have children it means you have to be Dad and Mum when the kids are with you. This meant my mission was to be an absolute amazing Dad and do my very best at being a Mum when I had to be. I know I will never be a Mum but be there emotionally. An example would be being really worried my daughter might have her period during school hours so I bought a little pencil case and got some pads, wipes and knickers, a kind of start up kit. Thankfully this did not happen and the accessories were never used.

One of the things that really annoyed me was most of the women I knew thought I woulds not  be able to cope, this will be an epic fail and even some women were willing me to fail, waiting for the gaps to appear and me to loose total control. In truth I hadn’t time to fail. My kids were having their own little trauma’s, like not enough milk left for their cereal, a friend not talking to them, having too much homework, starting secondary school or just the usual sibling arguing.

Of course I made mistakes but was quick to learn any decision I made affected everything, but I was determined to hold everything together including myself even when it takes my girls a lifetime to get out the door or just out of bed in the morning. I also remind myself frequently I am not perfect and I am sure I do things that irritate my girls, most for the right reasons! I am also aware the girls will try to play us off each other and it is so important not to talk their Mum down even if I agreed with what was being said. She is Mum and like me adjusting to life as a single parent 50% of the time. Our marriage may have broken down but my respect has not and I would like to think she feels the same.

The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.
Kurt Vonnegut

I worked for three years in Childcare as a General Manager of two leading and large facilities. It is unusual to find a male within this industry and I was expecting some negative feedback. In the largest unit parents, children and colleagues embraced my addition and contribution but in the other one not so much. Mum’s had real concerns which automatically led to dad’s having concerns which in turn led to an email being sent to the proprietor which the content shocked me. My gender was attacked and it was assumed all men were not capable of being in a position of responsibility to look after the safety and wellbeing of children. I can safely say this is the only time I was left speechless and hurt. It took me one year to win all of the parents, ironically the children took to me immediately and to this day I see them sometimes out and about and always get a warm welcome. This was the best job I ever had and feel privileged to have worked amongst such a great group.

Naturally enough when my marriage ended I was responsible for organising playdates for my girls with their friends some mum’s were cautious. Again, I felt my role as a parent was questioned. I would never presume to mandate to a parent who should care for their child. But, it was obvious the only matter of fact that was being questioned was my gender and not my capabilities as a parent. It is not a competition as to which gender makes the better parent as each gender is different and brings something unique to the table. Internationals woman’s day was last weekend and I celebrate that and want my daughters to be the best they can. But surely all things being equal Dad’s deserve the respect of being capable of caring for children especially when they put themselves out there? Or am I tainting all women with the same brush and I should just put it down to ignorance and prejudice? Lets look at the bigger picture;

Prejudice, light in the end, new day, new beginning, Children

Would you want your child cared for a jew or a catholic, an Asian or a Europen? It is very hard when it looks like that and if it did such views would be challenged as they perpetuate prejudice. No more than the opinion that a man is less qualified than a woman to care for a child.

A major contributing factor to the thought process here and no doubt it is a very uncomfortable one for some women to acknowledge is the subtle inference that a male is more likely to pose risk of abuse. Without a doubt tis is disgusting and vile but a fact, there is a greater risk of abuse occurring at the hand of someone in a child’s family or social circle. We, as parents are hardwired to protect our kids and will always do everything in our power to protect our children, that’s our job and God we love our children.

As parents, like within the childcare industry whose workers undergo extreme vetting to ensure our children are protected and there are safeguards put in place like how and when a male interacts with children and from what age. What I am trying to say is do not unfairly view every male as a predator. Men can and do provide an equal measure of care and nurturing like women. We are as good role models as women for children. You must agree that young children should not be conditioned to a view that nurturing and care are only elements that a woman can provide. Is this not like saying only men make good Engineers and Soliders? I want my daughters to have the opportunity to pursue whatever career they wish and I know women make fantastic Engineers and Soliders and believe it, Men are more than capable of looking after children and making a great parent.

Unfortunately single Dad’s will remain to be scrutinised and receive strange looks from the Mum’s and as my children’s social circle widens I am sure, because I am a single Dad they will think twice and even three times before making their decision whether to trust me to care for their child during a play date with my daughter. I don’t expect you to make a hasty decision but please don’t make that decision purely based on the fact that I am a male.

It is so important and fun to eat together as a family.

Murf relaxing after International Friday.

My favourite room in the house is the kitchen, it’s where we as a family can be imaginative, creative and share our experiences of the day or plan tomorrow. It’s the room where I have most of my memories. Some of my funniest ones are “International Friday” this is where each week one of us gets to choose the family meal. A lot of research goes into this and it does become competitive as we all try to out do each others meal. However you have to be mindful as we all have very different tastes so the dish must suit all. Tuesday is the day you have to present what you have chosen and detail the ingredients that must be purchased. When possible we will all go out to buy the ingredients, however this happens rarely! We all are involved in the cooking, including the dog who manages to lie in the middle of my very small kitchen and supervise whilst hoovering up anything that may end up on the floor.

There never seems to be arguments and we all pull together as a team each of us contributing and working in unity. I hope this creates lots of memories for my girls and maybe in years to come they may try it with their family. My big confession is I let them relax and do whatever they want after the meal thus let them off the clean up.

Family dinner is important. In todays world it would be so much easier to forget about this meal, we are juggling jobs, children and after-school activities to name a few. We are constantly on the move, thus feeling the need to eat on the run. At the turn of the last century dinner time was 90 minutes, now it is just over 10! Meal time is the only time when all family members are in one place together. Let’s face it some family members view dinner time as a burden and a chore at the end of the day.

In the last couple of decades the frequency of family dinners has dramatically declined by a whopping 33 percent. An American poll found that 62 percent of parents with children under 18 wish they had family dinners more often! The European Unions mission has set out to achieve universal access to affordable, balanced, healthy food to all through intersectoral policies of Health 2020.

Just because things have changed, does not mean the value of meals has weakened. Interestingly enough, according to research at Columbia University, children and teenagers who at least have a family meal three or more times a week are less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy food, do better in school, less likely to engage in risk taking ie drugs, alcohol and sexual activity. They also tend to form better relationships with their parents.

“More frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioural problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviours towards others and higher life satisfaction.” Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2012.

We are what we eat and it is imperative we start to take responsibility as parents. But it must be more than just in the home where we educate, schools must get on board, our governments, we need cultural change. As a rehabilitated smoker and one that enjoyed a packet a day to not smoking it is proof that when we all come together and promote the dangers of something we can create change. I am not advocating removing peoples freedom of choice but encouraging that we have the information to make the right choices for our family without bias marketing used by modern day food companies. Case in point Activia yogurt said it had “special bacterial ingredients.”

In 2050 we will need to feed two billion more people. Our choice of food we decide to eat is already becoming very important and these choices will have consequences for our planet. In short a diet based around meat and dairy will take a grater toll on the worlds resources then one that is centred on unrefined grains, nuts, fruit, and vegetables.

As today is Friday and my youngest chose the meal which is chilli con carne, which also happens to be one of her favourites! I always enjoy the girls handling onions as inevitably swimming goggles appear on my little ones face to avoid onion tears. Every time it makes me laugh but she does have the last laugh as the rest of us are suffering with tears streaming from our eyes, even the dog vacates the kitchen till it is safe to return!