It may still be very much winter out there, but if you’re anything like me you’ll be itching to get out in the garden and start enjoying it again!
We’ve had some beautiful crisp, sunny days lately (before the snow hit!), and I’ve been making the most of them by wrapping up warm and doing a bit of garden pottering. I’ve been reviewing a lovely cast iron fire basket from www.chimineashop.co.uk, which has been the perfect piece of kit for helping tidy up and keep warm. I’ve also got one of these gorgeous fire baskets to give away, just in time for spring!
We’ve never had any sort of fire pit or fire basket before, but I’ve always liked the idea of being able to linger outdoors for longer thanks to a cosy fire. The Gardeco Aragon fire basket is made from cast iron, and includes a grill for cooking. It’s rather lovely isn’t it?
I like the simple, traditional design, and the way the steel base and legs complement the cast iron body. The fact that it’s made from cast iron is really important, as this means it won’t melt or buckle. It also means it’s super-sturdy and doesn’t wobble about.
The Aragon is supplied flat-packed and some simple assembly is required. This is just a case of bolting it together, which took us about ten minutes.
I’m really pleased with the multi-purpose element to this product. It’s ideal for burning logs or charcoal, so you can use it to keep warm outdoors on a chilly evening, or add the grill and turn it into a barbecue. You can also use it to clear garden waste such as twigs and branches, which is great for the pre-spring clear-up at this time of year.
The Aragon is quite a generous size; at 45cm diameter it can accommodate quite a large fire. I think this is particularly great if you’re using it to burn garden waste, as you can get a really decent amount of material in there in one go.
You do need to place it somewhere that’s surrounded with plenty of free space, as the fire can get quite high. I burned some really dry stalks and sticks and it got pretty fierce for a few minutes, but the deep basket and cast iron can cope with this no problem.
We haven’t used the Aragon with charcoal yet, but once the evenings are a little lighter we’ll definitely fire it up so that we can sit outside for longer – and probably enjoy a burger at the same time. We couldn’t resist getting the marshmallows out as the garden waste began to burn low though!
I’m really enjoying our new fire basket; it’s great quality, it looks lovely, and I think the fact that it’s multi-purpose makes it really good value for money. I can’t wait to enjoy those spring evenings while staying toasty warm, and given how much fun it is to have a little bonfire, I suspect that the garden will be getting tidied more regularly from now on!
The Gardeco Aragon Cast Iron Fire Basket costs £89.97 from www.chimineashop.co.uk. How would you use it in your garden?
WIN A GARDECO ARAGON CAST IRON FIRE BASKET
I’m giving away a Gardeco Aragon Cast Iron Fire Basket worth £89.97. To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
Do you have a green-fingered mum to buy for this Mother’s Day? As you can probably imagine, my presents are often along the plants and gardening theme!
Houseplants are very much a popular gift choice for Mother’s Day; they’re a lovely way to say ‘thank you mum’, and if cared for will provide years of pleasure. If you’re thinking of heading down the houseplant route, these gift packs from houseplant experts Baby Bio®are the perfect accompaniment.
Orchid Gift Pack
Who doesn’t love orchids? Their exotic blooms are just so beautiful, and when it comes to houseplants it’s hard to beat them for a fantastic floral statement. Perhaps the mum you’re buying for already has an orchid, or maybe you’re buying one for her; either way, the Baby Bio® Orchid Gift Pack will help her take care of her plant.
We tend to think of orchids as rather difficult to look after, but actually their needs are pretty straightforward. They love a humid environment, and a plant food that’s specifically designed for their needs. The Orchid Gift Pack has all of this covered. It includes a bottle of Baby Bio®Orchid Food,which provides the essential nutrients needed to support and encourage healthy flowering, plus a lovely glass mister bottle to provide that all-important fine spray of moisture.
There’s also an orchid care guide included, which is packed with tips and advice on how to care for your plant, including things like when and how to feed, root care and re-potting. I like the fact that the contents are practical and useful, while also recognising that plant care can look pretty too!
Houseplant Care Pack
Houseplants are a wonderful way to bring a little bit of the outdoors into your home, and can really help to add colour, texture or a style statement to a room. Because they spend their lives indoors, houseplants are very much reliant on us to provide the right nutrients and growing conditions. If you’re buying for a mum who loves her houseplants, the Baby Bio® Houseplant Care Pack is ideal.
Inside the pack is a bottle of the iconic Baby Bio® Original liquid feed, which is formulated to provide houseplants with the essential nutrients that encourage vibrant colours and greener leaves. There’s also a can of Baby Bio® Leaf Shine, which is super-quick to use and great for giving leaves a lovely, long-lasting shine.
As with the orchid gift pack, there’s also a care guide included, this time focusing on houseplant care and covering everything from watering and feeding to re-potting and pest control. The pack really does make it easy and convenient to give houseplants the care they need in order to thrive.
The Baby Bio®Orchid Gift Pack retails at £9.99 and the Houseplant Care Pack retails at £6.99. Both products are available now in garden centres and other major retailers across the country. I think they’d both make a brilliant gift, especially when combined with a beautiful orchid or houseplant. Are you buying for a green-fingered mum that would love to receive them this Mother’s Day?
It’s really not long until spring arrives now, have you sown any seeds yet? This lovely giveaway courtesy of Unwins is perfect for getting you started!
I’m giving away two prize bundles, each containing a limited edition Emma Bridgewater flower jug and five packs of Unwins ‘Beautiful Bouquets’ flower seeds. Such a lovely prize: it would make a fantastic treat for a gardening fan, and it’s a great introduction to growing flowers for cutting too.
The bespoke Emma Bridgewater flower jug has been designed and made especially for Unwins. It’s decorated with a lovely floral design and is just the right size for a bunch of garden blooms.
It’s lovely isn’t it? Only 950 were produced and made available to customers who bought three packets of seeds from the new Unwins Beautiful Bouquets range, so it’s seriously limited edition! However, if you enter my giveaway you’re in with a chance of getting your hands on one, plus five packs of seeds from the Unwins Beautiful Bouquets range.
The Beautiful Bouquets seed collection features lots of flowers that are perfect for cutting and displaying indoors. Sow the seeds in spring, and you’ll have gorgeous blooms to pick and bring into your home right through the summer months. There’s a wide range of flowers and colours to choose from, here are a few to whet your appetite.
Cosmos is really easy to grow and produces masses of daisy-like flowers with beautiful, frondy foliage. It’s a brilliant plant for bees and other pollinating insects too, with it’s plentiful open flowers.
Orlaya has delicate multi-headed blooms that deliver real wow factor. The stems are long, so it’s perfect for adding height to a display, and if you dead-head regularly it will flower for months.
Cleome can reach over one metre tall, so it’s fab for adding structure and colour at the back of borders. It’s a big hit with pollinating insects too.
This is just a taster of the Beautiful Bouquets range, you can see the full collection and find out more about the Emma Bridgwater promotion here. Which variety is your favourite?
Win a limited edition Emma Bridgewater flower jug plus a bundle of Unwins ‘Beautiful Bouquets’ seeds
I’m giving away two prize bundles, each containing an Emma Bridgewater flower jug and five packs of seeds from the Unwins Beautiful Bouquets range. To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
Picture the typical family garden in your mind, and chances are there’s grass involved.
Lawns are a popular choice in family gardens for good reason: they provide the all-important space that kids need to let off steam, be that through ball games, obstacle courses, imaginative role play, or plain old running around. And of course, a lawn provides a softer landing than a paved area, while still being nice to look at.
Lawns do require a fair amount of maintenance though, and recent years have seen a definite rise in the use of artificial grass in our gardens. But is artificial grass a good option for a family garden?
If you’re looking to revamp your family lawn, here are some reasons why artificial grass could be the way to go.
Probably the biggest bonus for busy families, artificial grass is really low maintenance. It’s tough and durable, and there’s no need for regular mowing, edge trimming, weeding, watering or fertilising. You can also free up some space in the shed, as you won’t be needing a lawnmower or strimmer. To look after artificial grass, all you really need to do is remove fallen leaves, hose off any dust regularly, and give it a good brush every now and then to lift the fibres back into an upright position. Not exactly hard work!
Walking or playing on wet grass usually results in muddy feet, right? Not with artificial grass. If you like the idea of banishing muddy footprints from the house, it’s a great option, and if you’ve got pets that go outdoors regularly you’ll notice the difference even more.
Increased outdoor time
As well as causing a mess, that mud factor can make us stay indoors more too. Sometimes the thought of the cleanup job required after outdoor play is enough to put a stop to the kids heading outside. Heavy traffic on soggy grass can cause damage too, resulting in bare patches. Artificial grass has drainage holes that allow water to flow away quickly, which means you won’t cause damage, and your lawn isn’t out of bounds at any time of year. The fact that it doesn’t deteriorate when wet also gives you the perfect playing surface regardless of the weather.
If you’ve got hay fever sufferers in your family you’ll be only too familiar with the misery of grass pollen season. Hay fever can really restrict the amount of time spent outdoors enjoying the garden, and that large expanse of lawn could be the main culprit. Artificial grass is allergen free, so if hay fever is an issue it can make it easier and more enjoyable to spend time in your garden during spring and summer.
Just like real grass, artificial grass is by nature non-slip and gentle on the feet. You’ve also got the added safety option of being able to add foam underlay in areas where you’d like to soften a fall, such as under swings or play frames. You won’t need to use potentially dangerous pest and weed control products either.
What about local wildlife?
Artificial grass isn’t going to provide a natural habitat for wildlife in the same way that living grass does, but that doesn’t mean your garden has to become a no-go area for your local species. It’s not difficult to support wildlife in other areas of your garden; growing plants that pollinating insects love, providing a food source for wild birds, making a log pile and adding a water feature are all great ways to ensure that wildlife continues to visit and thrive.
Could artificial grass be the perfect option for your family garden?
How much time do you spend working on screens each day? We all worry about the amount of screen time our kids are getting, but chances are as adults we spend much more time than them staring at computers, tablets and smartphones.
I spend a lot of time working on screens, and by the end of the day I’m often feeling the strain in my eyes, especially when the natural light in my office is poor, or I’ve been working in artificial light.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying out the BenQ e-Reading LED Lamp, to see how it performs as a task light and whether it can help reduce eye strain.
The BenQ e-Reading LED Lamp is specifically designed for digital screen time, and claims to reduce glare and offer even lighting that’s easy on your eyes. So, does it work?
The lamp is supplied in two pieces; the base and the lamp arm/head. Assembly is quick and simple, just tighten a bolt to attach the arm to the base and you’re done.
I love the look of this lamp. The design is very modern and sleek, with a pop of colour on the flex and lamp shade. We tried out the blue colourway, the lamp is also available in gold, silver, green and red.
The base, arm and shade all have a matte texture, which feels really premium and contrasts nicely with the shiny, touch-sensitive on/off silver circle. It’s simple and easy to use, with just two controls.
This is not a small, lightweight lamp; the base is heavy, and at around 22cm diameter takes up quite a bit of desk room. That weight and size allows for maximum control on the lamp’s position though.
There are so many things I like about this lamp. For starters, the actual lamp is really big, so you get great coverage. I have a huge computer screen, and it’s all perfectly, evenly covered with light. No other desk lamp has ever come close to achieving this. It’s big without being intrusive though, and the slim rectangular shape is ideal for positioning discreetly above a screen.
The quality of the light provided is fantastic too. There’s a light sensor built in, which detects the brightness of the surroundings and adjusts the light accordingly (you can manually control the brightness as well). And there’s absolutely no flicker.
The hinged design of the lamp arm makes it easy to adjust and really flexible; I’ve yet to find an angle it can’t cope with. You turn the lamp on and off via the touch-sensitive silver ring, and all other controls are done using the dial on the top of the lamp. With this dial you can toggle between two modes: one press allows you to manually adjust the brightness, while a second press allows you to control the temperature of the light.
This temperature feature is actually really clever. You can navigate from crisp, cool white tones right through to warm white tones by turning the dial. This means you can choose the mood of your lighting to suit the activity you’re doing; so for example, you might choose cooler tones when focusing on work, and warmer tones for relaxed reading. I like the fact that this makes the lamp very versatile, and suited to far more than just desk work. I’ve used it on the warmer settings as a reading light a few times and really enjoyed the softer but still crystal-clear effect.
I work underneath a window, so glare is often a real problem on my screen. The BenQ lamp is designed to reduce contrast and reflective glare by adjusting for brighter illumination at the sides, and dimmer in the centre of the screen. This translates into an even light that really does reduce glare and allow your eyes to work less hard.
I have a pretty small desk, and I’m not crazy about the amount of space taken up by the base, but given how great the actual lamp is I can live with that. And you can still use most of the base area, so it isn’t all dead space; I’ve popped a little plant on there to green things up a bit.
I’m loving the BenQ e-Reading lamp. It looks fabulous, it’s easy to control and adjust, and it really delivers on light quality and coverage. For me, it’s first and foremost a desk lamp, but the sleek design and clever temperature feature make it a great choice for a modern living area too. Could you find the perfect spot for it in your home?
The BenQ e-Reading LED lamp is currently retailing on Amazon for £142.40, find out more here. You can also grab a 10% discount if you order before 31st March 2018, just select “BenQ Webstore” as the seller and use the code BENQ10EF.
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BenQ Corporation provided the BenQ e-Reading lamp for review purposes, all comments and opinions are honest and genuine.
Our garden has been a hive of activity in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been reviewing some high energy bird feed from Vine House Farm, and it’s safe to say it’s been a big hit!
We always make an extra effort to feed our local wild birds in winter, because this season is really tough for them. The cold weather causes wild birds to use more energy keeping warm, and also natural food sources are thin on the ground. Providing a source of energy-rich food in your garden during the winter months is a great way to give your local birds a helping hand.
I also love the fact that our little bird banquet guarantees lots of interesting visitors when the garden itself is less than inspiring. Feeding the birds is a lovely activity to get the kids involved with too; mine really enjoy topping up our feeders and spotting who comes to dine.
We’ve found that the higher quality the bird feed, the more feathered visitors we get; the birds really do know the difference. Based on our recent experience, Vine House Farm bird foods are the bird equivalent of fine dining!
Have you heard of Vine House Farm? They’re a family-run farm in Lincolnshire that also supplies a range of high quality wild bird food. The owner, Nicholas Watts, is passionate about wild birds, and having observed that some species were in decline on the farm back in the 1990’s, he developed his own seed mix which was a roaring success. Now the Vine House Farm range covers seed, suet and live mixes, with the majority of the seed still grown right there on the farm.
As part of their commitment to help reverse the decline of our native wildlife, Vine House Farm has partnered with The Wildlife Trusts. Over the last ten years they’ve donated 5% of their sales, which adds up to over a million pounds to date. How brilliant is that?
We’ve been trying the Super Suet Fat Balls, which are ideal for winter feeding. They contain a mix of fat, dried mealworms and peanut flour, making them a high-energy feast that’s popular with a wide variety of wild birds. They’re are a million miles away from those super-cheap fat balls you may have come across, which are often bulked out with zero nutrition ingredients like sand and even sawdust.
I was really pleased to see that Vine House Farm fat balls are netless, which means they’re not contained within plastic netting. This netting can be really dangerous to birds as they can trap their feet or beaks in it, it’s hard to believe that some fat balls are still sold this way to be honest. Please avoid them!
The best way to feed netless fat balls is from a purpose-made fat ball feeder. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and usually come apart for easy cleaning. We used the Heavy Duty Suet Fat Ball Feeder.
On a practical note, the super suet fat balls are easy to handle and pop into the feeder, they hold together well too so there isn’t lots of mess on the ground. Any scraps that do fall are quickly snapped up anyway!
We’ve hung our feeder just outside the kitchen window, so we can easily watch the birds from inside the house.
And guess what? The birds love them!
I’ve never seen any feed we’ve put out disappear so quickly. These fat balls are clearly exactly what the birds are after at this time of year, and the kids have been kept very busy re-stocking the feeder. It’s been so lovely watching all manner of wild birds paying us a visit, and we’re having fun trying to catch them on camera, with varying degrees of success!
We’ve also discovered the rather fabulous live webcam at Vine House Farm. This is watching one of the feeding stations on the farm, so you can check out all the birds that visit. The kids are absolutely transfixed.
The Super Suet Fat Balls have been really popular with our local birds, and we’ve had lots of fun watching all our visitors enjoy their winter feast. If you’d like to do your bit to support your local wild birds this winter I can definitely recommend them. With Feed the Birds Day on 3rd February and National Nest Box Week 14th-21st February, now’s a great time to start.
Vine House Farm Super Suet Fat Balls cost from £14.50 for a box of 50, you can find out more and browse their full range of bird food here. Will you be treating your local birds to a winter feast?
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Vine House Farm provided the Super Suet Fat Balls and Heavy Duty Suet Fat Ball Feeder for review purposes, all comments and opinions are honest and genuine.
The right lighting can make all the difference to your garden. If you’re looking to add some garden lighting to your outdoor space, this guest post has lots of tips and ideas to help you get it right.
For kids, gardens are wonderful spaces. They provide them with a safe place to play, enjoy nature, entertain their friends and be creative. In fact, for everyone in the family, they are a great space to let off steam and truly relax.
If you invest a bit of money in buying the type of garden lighting you can find here, your garden becomes a place you can also enjoy at night. The availability of outdoor heaters, sofas, TVs and barbecues mean that it is relatively easy to turn your garden into a true extension of your home. If you invest in it, you can pretty much enjoy this beautiful space every day of the year.
The key to being able to do this is getting the lighting right. There are lots of ways to light up your garden space, which option is right for you is largely dependent on what you like to do while outdoors. If you mainly want to go out there in the evenings to enjoy a quiet drink after the kids have gone to bed, some soft lighting for your deck or patio may be all you need.
If you want the kids to be able to continue playing outside after it has got dark, some form of brighter lighting will be needed. You may want to set up a couple of low-set spotlights to light up enough space for them to play ball games. This approach ensures they can see the ground enough to continue to play without the light spilling over too much into your neighbours’ gardens. Plus, with this approach, you will not have ugly spotlight posts ruining the overall look of your garden.
You can also use lighting to make the garden a safer place to be. For example, lighting a pathway, so you and the kids can walk safely from the house to the shed or garage. Or, adding a little light to each step in a garden so nobody trips over.
If you have prickly plants in your garden, you could potentially light them softly, so they can be seen and contact avoided. This will not only help to keep the kids safe, it will also enable you to enjoy these often dramatic looking plants more. Uplighting your bigger plants is a quick and easy to create a lovely decorative effect in any garden.
It is also possible to use lighting to make your home less of a target for burglars. Movement-sensitive security lights can stop an intruder in his or her tracks and send them off empty-handed. Adding an outdoor light to your front door makes it easier to see who is ringing your bell.
As you can see, there is a lot you can do with lighting to make your garden space more practical and safe. However, you can also use garden lighting to decorative effect. If you would like to learn more about doing this, I highly recommend that you that you watch this video. It includes some stunning examples of how you could use outdoor lighting to create a beautiful ambience.
As well as serving a practical purpose, garden fencing can really enhance the look of your outdoor space. Installing or replacing garden fencing can be a significant investment, so it’s important to get it right first time. This guide from the experts at Jacksons Fencing covers the important aspects to consider when choosing fencing, read on for lots of great tips.
When it comes to fencing, materials matter, and considering what material is best for you is paramount when choosing a new garden fence. Be it softwood, hardwood or metal fencing, it is useful to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option before making a selection. Metal garden fencing is a longer lasting and naturally more durable option to wooden alternatives, but the design offers limited privacy and can be less aesthetically appealing than its softwood counterparts. Alternatively, hardwood, as the name suggests, is known for being hard-wearing and denser than softwood. However, as a result, the denser material can leave hardwood prone to splits, and can sometimes look harsh in certain garden designs. This has meant that softwood is often the most popular material used in contemporary garden fencing.
Once you’ve chosen the right material, it’s time for the fun part: choosing a design. It’s important to first look at the layout and location of your garden, to understand the purpose of your fence. Some common aspects to consider are privacy or noise requirements, these may narrow down your choices to solid panelled fencing. The first style that may spring to mind is Featherboard, a popular traditional style of fencing which is commonly installed in family gardens as an ideal choice for privacy and security, without compromising on attractiveness.
Although Featherboard is one of the most popular choices for a garden fence, it certainly isn’t the only option. Jacksons design solid panels that have the same benefits of featherboard fencing, but with modern contemporary designs. For example, the Chilham fencing range has been developed without rails to ensure it looks just as good for your neighbour as it does for you.
Decorative fencing is another popular option. Here the aim is to make a statement, help to frame your garden, or create a welcoming environment. The Canterbury Combi range features a solid tongue & groove panel with a Venetian top, making it ideal for those who want privacy but with a stylish finish.
Another option for those wanting a lighter and vibrant garden is semi-solid Venetian fence panels. The small gaps between each slat allow light and air to pass through, making them perfect for creating a lighter garden. They also make great garden dividers, screens and even one-off feature panels. The horizontal slatted panels are ideal for framing contemporary gardens, and can also create a clever visual trick of making gardens look longer.
All these options are worth considering when designing your outdoor space and making sure you select the product that is right for you and your garden.
Timber treatment is crucial to ensuring your fence stands the test of time. Without treatment, timber products absorb moisture, and could last as little as just four years before the wood begins to decompose and rot, significantly impacting the appearance and stability of your garden fence. It is possible to buy domestic timber treatment paint or stain to help protect your fencing from decay, but it is recommended that this be reapplied every 2-4 years for optimum protection, depending on the timber and the treatment used. Alternatively, we recommend purchasing timber products that are treated during manufacturing as, although the initial costs can be more expensive, domestic paint and stain preservatives only treat the surface of the wood and therefore leave underground timber, such as the posts, exposed and vulnerable.
Consider additional moisture protection
As mentioned previously, moisture is the main cause of timber decomposition, and it’s worth taking extra precautions to protect against the risks of this as much as possible. We recommend ensuring none of your fence panels are in contact with the ground, to keep them away from damp soil. However, this can often leave unsightly gaps under your fence or affect the appearance of your design. A great solution to this is to add Gravel Boards to the bottom of your fence panels; not only do these do a great job of protecting the panels from decay, they also add a stylish finishing touch. You can even modify them to suit your local wildlife!
Check the guarantee
Fencing has a strong ability to frame an outdoor space, and a broken or worn fence is often the first aspect of a garden people notice. Therefore, it’s important to invest in fencing that is guaranteed to remain stable and look good for a long time. Good quality fencing will always include a guarantee. As mentioned above, timber treatment is also essential to protect the durability of a wooden fence.
An essential, yet often undervalued step when choosing your fence is ensuring that you have it installed by a professional fence erecter. You’ve taken the time to choose the right material and a beautiful design, so it makes sense to have it installed by a competent professional to a sufficient standard. Failing to do this could have a direct impact on not only the appearance of your fence, but its durability and lifespan.
Designing your garden should be a fun and stress-free process, with an opportunity for you to get creative and shape your outdoor space the way you want it. Hopefully this guide helps simplify the process of choosing and installing new garden fencing, allowing you to get on with enjoying your garden!
Does your child own their own smartphone? The age at which we introduce our kids to this particular gadget is, of course, a personal decision, but there’s no denying that smartphones are one of the most coveted possessions amongst older children and teenagers. From a parent’s perspective, a smartphone for kids offers the reassurance of being able to get in touch with your child when you’re not with them, and as such can help support them as their independence grows. But with such a huge variety of handsets and tariffs available, choosing the most appropriate – and safest – option can feel rather daunting.
If you’re looking to buy a smartphone for your child, check out these tips on what to consider before making your choice.
Consider the purpose
It may sound obvious, but given just how many functions a smartphone provides, it’s worth identifying exactly what you expect your child to use a phone for. There’s no point spending lots of money on a fully-loaded handset if you really just want your child to be able to call people and send messages, but an older teen might need more internet capabilities and storage. Have a think about your child’s hobbies and interests when you’re comparing options too. For example, my eldest spends lots of time outdoors and uses his phone to take loads of pictures, so we need his handset to be pretty rugged and durable, with a decent camera and enough memory to store his snaps.
Contract or Pay-As-You-Go
Because Pay-as-you-go relies on pre-payment, it’s a good option for a smartphone for kids, as you won’t ever be at risk of an unexpectedly large bill. A monthly contract tends to offer lower call and data charges, but your child can exceed the contract’s allowances and you are tied in for 12 or 24 months. If you’re considering this option it’s well worth having a conversation about the additional cost of going over the monthly limits, so that your child understands the implications. The final option would be to opt for a 30 day rolling SIM only plan that’s capped, iD, Plusnet, Tesco and Three mobile all offer shockproof or capped bills which prevent your child ever going over their allowance. There are hundreds of deals to choose from which can be daunting, but fortunately this site has some useful sim only comparison filters to only show 30 day rolling (1 month) deals from certain UK network operators.
The ability to control what online content your child can access via their smartphone is bound to be high on your list of priorities. Check that the network you’re considering offers filters to prevent inappropriate content being viewed, and also whether the handset has parental control settings that can be adjusted to suit your child’s age. Remember though, once the phone is connected to Wi-Fi those filters will be bypassed – so before you hand over that shiny new smartphone, double-check your home broadband settings. It’s also a good idea to talk to your child about always using family-friendly Wi-Fi in public places.
If you’re looking to buy your child a smartphone, you’ve obviously decided that they are ready for the responsibility that goes with owning one, but it’s worth a specific conversation with them about this very fact. Explain what you expect from them in terms of usage and safekeeping, and also discuss the possible issues they may encounter such as unexpected online content, peer pressure to access inappropriate apps, bullying etc. The aim here is to outline the rules, but also to reassure your child that you are there to support them should they get into difficulty. And make sure as parents you stick to some smartphone rules; it’s up to you to set an example and encourage a healthy attitude to usage, so you need to ditch the screens during family time too!
What are your tips when buying a smartphone for kids?