Addicted to Your Smart Phone? 10 Signs That You Might Be … And Here’s What You Can Do …

Addiction to phone and what's app

My husband always tells me that I’m addicted to my phone because whenever I’m free (which means about 30 mins during the day when my daughter naps or after 8.00/8.30 p.m) I tend to be a lot with my phone. However, I don’t have a Facebook nor a Twitter account and rarely write messages at this time. What I do mostly is read the world news on different websites.

During the day, whenever I get a message I tend to reply straightaway but when I go to bed my phone is always on silent mode, with ‘vibrate off’. It wouldn’t disturb me to switch my phone off completely either. I must however admit that I also find myself at times with my phone and just checking the weather, the time or just not sure why it’s in my hands.

Would you call that addiction? I thought ‘maybe’ … so I took up a few tests (for example the one from Huffington Post) about addiction to phones and fortunately it doesn’t seem like I’m an addict.

Well… NOT YET … And anyway, one may argue how far these tests are reliable. Wouldn’t you? Those on a more ‘advanced’ level could also take up tests on whether they are addicted to Whats App or any other social media.

It’s great to know that there are numerous apps out there ( Break free cell addiction, Usage Monitoring, Non Intrusive Notifications, Phone Management Tools, Usage Statistics) that can help you get out of this ‘addiction’. These apps help you monitor how often you are using your social media or even your phone and help you monitor your ‘free time’ which you could of course use to do something else (e.g. nurturing your relationships, etc.). And anyway there must surely be more important things to do than getting on social media day and night. You’d agree with that one, right?

The first step to overcoming an addiction problem or any problem, is first of all to realise you have one. If you don’t think you’ve got one or you are in complete denial then read no further. But if like me, you think ‘may be’, then try to take a few tests. Maybe it’s not addiction yet and you are simply overusing your phone!

In an interview, Dr. David Greenfield, the director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction says, “The analogy that I use is right before they go to bed, the last thing they do before they pass out is check their phone and the minute they open their eyes, they check their phone. Doesn’t that sound like a smoker? This is what we used to hear with smokers is that the last thing they would do before they go to bed is they’d have their last cigarette.”

Now, does that sound like you?

According to CNN’s Kelly Wallace here are 10 Signs you could look for to determine if you have a problem:

  1. When you check your phone to see the current temperature instead of opening a window, and/or when you check your phone to see the current time instead of looking at the watch that’s right on your wrist.
  2. When you have to consciously say to your spouse “Let’s put our phones away” while watching TV because it’s more common that they’re out than away
  3. If you are answering emails in a dimly lit reception area while waiting for your massage therapist to de-stress you, you may have a problem.
  4. When your kids have to text you their carry-out orders because you’ve lost the ability to retain information that is not received on your phone.
  5. When you hope you hit a bunch of red lights on the way home so you can comment on a Facebook post.
  6. When one of your daughter’s first drawings of you has a BlackBerry in your hand.
  7. When you wake up, you grab your phone and check it before you get up to pee.
  8. When you drop a phone on your face because you’re dozing off.
  9. When you choose your clothing based on the best pockets to hold your phone.
  10. When you are staring at photos you took on your phone while the actual moment is taking place right in front of you.

 

Addiction to phone

digitalsynopsis.com

 

I’ve come through a very interesting article about ‘phone addiction’ by Susan Davis from WebMDFeature which I wanted to share. It’s a great read.

Why Smartphones Hook Us In, Plus Tips On Reclaiming Your Time And Concentration.

I’ll admit it: I check my smartphone compulsively. And the more I use it, the more often the urge to look at it hits me.

In the orthodontist’s office. Walking my kids to school. In meetings. Even while making breakfast. Sometimes it is in my hand before I even know what I’m searching for. Sometimes I tap the screen absent mindedly — looking at my email, a local blogger, my calendar, and Twitter.

I’m not the only one struggling with this very modern compulsion. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center, 46% of all American adults now own a smartphone — up a whopping 25% from 2011.

And smartphone use can get very heavy. In a study of 1,600 managers and professionals, Leslie Perlow, PhD, the Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, found that:

  • 70% said they check their smartphone within an hour of getting up.
  • 56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
  • 48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • 51% check continuously during vacation.
  • 44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

“The amount of time that people are spending with the new technology, the apparent preoccupation, raises the question ‘why?’, says Peter DeLisi, Academic Dean of the Information Technology Leadership Program at Santa Clara University in California. “When you start seeing that people have to text when they’re driving, even though they clearly know that they’re endangering their lives and the lives of others, we really have to ask what is so compelling about this new medium?”

Addicted to phone

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Hook or Habit?

Whether smartphones really “hook” users into dependency remains unclear.

But “we already know that the Internet and certain forms of computer use are addictive,” says David Greenfield, PhD, a West Hartford, Conn., psychologist and author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyber Freaks, and Those Who Love Them.

“And while we’re not seeing actual smartphone addictions now,” Greenfield says, “the potential is certainly there.”

A true addiction entails a growing tolerance to a substance (think drugs or alcohol) so you need more to get “high,” uncomfortable symptoms during withdrawal, and a harmful impact on your life, Greenfield says.

Computer technologies can be addictive, he says, because they’re “psychoactive.” That is, they alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings.

Email, in particular, gives us satisfaction due to what psychologists call “variable ratio reinforcement.” That is, we never know when we’ll get a satisfying email, so we keep checking, over and over again. “It’s like slot machines,” Greenfield says. “We’re seeking that pleasurable hit.”

Smartphones, of course, allow us to seek rewards (including videos, Twitter feeds, and news updates, in addition to email) anytime and anywhere. Is such behavior unhealthy?

That really depends on whether it’s disrupting your work or family life, Greenfield says.

Such a disruption could be small — like ignoring your friend over lunch to post a Facebook status about how much you’re enjoying lunch with your friend.

Or it could be big — like tuning out a distressed spouse or colleagues in a meeting to check email, or feeling increasingly stressed by the fact that everyone else seems to be on call 24/7, so we perhaps we should be, too.

Other researchers are seeing clear signs of dysfunction, if not an “addiction.”

According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren’t addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to “checking habits” that develop with phone use — including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections.

That study found that certain environmental triggers — like being bored or listening to a lecture — trigger the habits. And while the average user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day — for about 30 seconds each time, when the information rewards are greater (e.g., having contact info linked to the contact’s whereabouts), users check even more often.

Addicted to phone

Linkedin.com

The Interrupted Life

Besides creating a compulsion, smartphones pose other dangers to our mental life, says Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

“The smartphone, through its small size, ease of use, proliferation of free or cheap apps, and constant connectivity, changes our relationship with computers in a way that goes well beyond what we experienced with laptops,” he says. That’s because people keep their smartphones near them “from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, and throughout that time the devices provide an almost continuous stream of messages and alerts as well as easy access to a myriad of compelling information sources.

“By design,” he says, “it’s an environment of almost constant interruptions and distractions. The smartphone, more than any other gadget, steals from us the opportunity to maintain our attention, to engage in contemplation and reflection, or even to be alone with our thoughts.”

Carr, who writes extensively in The Shallows about the way that computer technology in general may be diminishing our ability to concentrate and think deeply, does not have a smartphone.

“One thing my research made clear is that human beings have a deep, primitive desire to know everything that’s going on around them,” he says.

“That instinct probably helped us survive when we were cavemen and cavewomen. I’m sure one of the main reasons people tend to be so compulsive in their use of smartphones is that they can’t stand the idea that there may be a new bit of information out there that they haven’t seen. I know that I’m not strong enough to resist that temptation, so I’ve decided to shun the device altogether.”

Managing Your Smartphone UseAddicted to phone

Can’t give up your phone altogether? Experts suggest these steps to control your usage:

  • Be conscious of the situations and emotions that make you want to check your phone. Is it boredom? Loneliness? Anxiety? Maybe something else would soothe you.
  • Be strong when your phone beeps or rings. You don’t always have to answer it. In fact, you can avoid temptation by turning off the alert signals.
  • Be disciplined about not using your device in certain situations (such as when you’re with children, driving, or in a meeting) or at certain hours ( for instance, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.). “You’ll be surprised and pleased to rediscover the pleasures of being in control of your attention,” Carr says.

One group of business people at The Boston Group, a consulting firm, discovered just that when they participated in an experiment run by Perlow.

As described in her book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone, the group found that taking regular “predictable time off” (PTO) from their PDAs resulted in increased efficiency and collaboration, heightened job satisfaction, and better work-life balance.

Four years after her initial experiment, Perlow reports, 86% of the consulting staff in the firm’s Northeast offices — including Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. — were on teams engaged in similar PTO experiments.

To manage my own smartphone well, more smartly, I weaned myself away from it.

I started by not checking it for 15 minutes at a time, then 30, then 60 (unless I was dealing with an urgent situation).

I decided to avoid using the web browser on the smartphone unless I truly needed information (such as an address or phone number).

And I swore off using social media on it entirely. I also made a firm commitment to not text, email, or surf the web on my smartphone while driving.

The result? The author of the article claims that after a few days of self-discipline, she found she was concentrating better, was more aware of her surroundings and was more relaxed. As I said earlier, I’m not addicted to my phone but I could well be on the way to it if I’m not careful. The most active app on my phone is Whats App. I have decided to switch off my ‘alerts’ for whats app messages and will try to check my phone less often.

Like Susan Davis, would you be able to manage your smartphone use? I am definitely going to try.

 

 

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Farewell 2015 … Welcome 2016 … 127 things you could do …

firework 2016 

When John Goddard was 15 years old he wrote a list of 127 goals he wanted to achieve in his life. The list was entitled “My Life List”. It included things like climbing the highest mountain, exploring the longest rivers, reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and many other “not so easy” goals. He died in 2013 at the age of 88 years old after “numerous edge-of-death experiences” and accomplished 109 of his life goals.

Here is his “Life List”:

EXPLORE
No. Achieved Goals Comments
1

 Done

Nile River
2

 Done

Amazon River
3  Done Congo River
4  Done Colorado River
5 Yangtze River, China
6 Niger River
7 Orinoco River, Venezuela
8 Done Rio Coco, Nicaragua
STUDY PRIMITIVE
9  Done The Congo
10  Done New Guinea
11  Done Brazil
12  Done Borneo
13  Done The Sudan
14  Done Australia
15  Done Kenya
16  Done The Philippines
17  Done Tanzania
18  Done Ethiopia
19  Done Nigeria
20  Done Alaska
CLIMB
21 Mt. Everest
22 Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina
23 Mt. McKinley
24  Done Mt. Huascaran, Peru
25  Done Mt. Kilimanjaro
26  Done Mt. Ararat, Turkey
27  Done Mt. Kenya
28 Mt. Cook, New Zealand
29  Done Mt. Popocatepetl, Mexico
30  Done The Matterhorn
31  Done Mt. Rainier
32  Done Mt. Fuji
33  Done Mt. Vesuvius
34  Done Mt. Bromo, Java
35  Done Grand Tetons
36  Done Mt. Baldy, California
37 Carry out careers in medicine and exploration (studied premed, treated illnesses among primitive tribes)
38 Visit every country in the world (30 to go)
39  Done Study Navaho and Hopi Indians
40  Done Learn to fly a plane
41  Done Ride horse in Rose Parade
PHOTOGRAPH
42  Done Iguacu Falls, Brazil
43  Done Victoria Falls, Rhodesia (Chased by a warthog in the process)
44  Done Sutherland Falls, New Zealand
45  Done Yosemite Falls
46  Done Niagara Falls
47  Done Retrace travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great
EXPLORE UNDERWATER
48  Done Coral reefs of Florida
49  Done Great Barrier Reef, Australia (photographed a 300-pound clam)
50  Done Red Sea
51  Done Fiji Islands
52  Done The Bahamas
53  Done Explore Okefenokee Swamp and the Everglades
VISIT
54 North and South Poles
55  Done Great Wall of China
56  Done Panama and Suez Canals
57  Done Easter Island
58  Done The Galapagos Islands
59  Done Vatican City
60  Done The Taj Mahal
61  Done The Eiffel Tower
62  Done The Blue Grotto
63  Done The Tower of London
64  Done The Leaning Tower of Pisa
65  Done The Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza, Mexico
66  Done Climb Ayers Rock in Australia
67 Follow River Jordan from Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea
SWIM IN
68  Done Lake Victoria
69  Done Lake Superior
70  Done Lake Tanganyika
71  Done Lake Titicaca, S. America
72  Done Lake Nicaragua
ACCOMPLISH
73  Done Become an Eagle Scout
74  Done Dive in a submarine
75  Done Land on and take off from an aircraft carrier
76  Done Fly in a blimp, balloon and glider
77  Done Ride an elephant, camel, ostrich and bronco
78  Done Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath two and a half minutes underwater
79  Done Catch a ten-pound lobster and a ten-inch abalone
80  Done Play flute and violin
81  Done Type 50 words a minute
82  Done Make a parachute jump
83  Done Learn water and snow skiing
84  Done Go on a church mission
85  Done Follow the John Muir trail
86  Done Study native medicines and bring back useful ones
87  Done Bag camera trophies of elephant, lion, rhino, cheetah, cape buffalo and whale
88  Done Learn to fence
89  Done Learn jujitsu
90  Done Teach a college course
91  Done Watch a cremation ceremony in Bali
92  Done Explore depths of the sea
93 Appear in a Tarzan movie
94 Own a horse, chimpanzee, cheetah, ocelot, and coyote (Didn’t own a chimp nor cheetah)
95 Become a ham radio operator
96  Done Build own telescope
97  Done Write a book (About his Nile trip)
98  Done Publish an article in National Geographic Magazine
99  Done High jump five feet
100  Done Broad jump 15 feet
101  Done Run mile in five minutes
102  Done Weigh 175 pounds stripped
103  Done Perform 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups
104  Done Learn French, Spanish and Arabic
105 Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (Boat broke down within 20 miles of island)
106  Done Visit birthplace of Grandfather Sorenson in Denmark
107  Done Visit birthplace of Grandfather Goddard in England
108  Done Ship aboard a freighter as a seaman
109 Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (Has read extensive parts in each volume)
110  Done Read the Bible from cover to cover
111  Done Read the works of Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Dickens, Thoreau, Rousseau, Conrad, Hemingway, Twain, Burroughs, Talmage, Tolstoi, Longfellow, Keats, Poe, Bacon, Whittier, and Emerson (not every work of each)
112  Done Become familiar with the compositions of Bach, Beethoven, Debussy, Ibert, Mendelssohn, Lalo, Liszt, Rimski-Korsakov, Respighi, Rachmaninoff, Paganini, Stravinsky, Toch, Tschaikosvsky, Verdi
113  Done Become proficient in the use of a plane, motorcycle, tractor, surfboard, rifle, pistol, canoe, microscope, football, basketball, bow and arrow, lariat and boomerang
114  Done Compose music
115  Done Play Clair de Lune on the piano
116  Done Watch fire-walking ceremony (In Bali and Surinam)
117  Done Milk a poisonous snake (bitten by diamondback during photo session)
118  Done Light a match with .22 rifle
119  Done Visit a movie studio
120  Done Climb Cheops’ pyramid
121  Done Become a member of the Explorer’s Club and the Adventure’s Club
122  Done Learn to play polo
123  Done Travel through the Grand Canyon on foot and by boat
124  Done Circumnavigate the globe (four times)
125 Visit the moon (“Someday, if God wills”)
126  Done Marry and have children (had six children)
127  Done Live to see the 21st century

 

I have never written down a “list” myself but I’ve got an idea of the few things I want to do. I hope the above list from John Goddard can be an inspiration to some and maybe you could write your own “life list” starting from 2016.

Thanks a lot to all my readers and followers for their ‘likes’ and support. It’s been a fun ride till now. Wish you all a great year 2016 and may you succeed in your endeavours!

 

Babylovedictionly Yours

Fardeenah

How NORAD became the world’s official Santa-tracker

Santa Claus norad

An interesting article I came across from Los Angeles Times, written by Karen Kaplan.

U.S. Northern Command Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Charles D. Luckey and volunteers take phone calls from children around the world. A misprint in a newspaper advertisement kicked off NORAD’s Santa-tracking activities 60 years ago.

December 25, 2015, 5:44 a.m.

It was December 1955, the height of the Cold War, when the red phone on Col. Harry Shoup’s desk at the Continental Air Defense Command began to ring.

Only an elite few knew the number. Odds were good that a four-star general from the Pentagon was on the other end of the line.

Shoup reached for the phone.

“Yes, sir. This is Col. Shoup,” he said.

No response.

“Sir? This is Col. Shoup.” Pause. “Sir, can you read me all right?”

That’s when Shoup heard the little girl’s voice.

“Are you really Santa Claus?”

For the last 60 years, officials at the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., have tracked Santa’s whirlwind tour across the globe to deliver presents on Christmas Eve. Nearly 9 million people from more than 200 countries are expected to check in with NORAD’s Santa-tracking website before they go to bed on Christmas Eve.

And it all began with that phone call.

As Shoup later recalled in a home video, his first response to the unlikely query was that someone was pulling his leg — and he wasn’t amused.

“I said, ‘Would you repeat that please?'” he replied.

“Are you really Santa Claus?”

That’s when he realized two things: Something had gone wrong with his phone, and the question was genuine.

So he told the little girl on the other end of the line that he was, indeed, Santa Claus. Relieved, she informed him that she would be leaving him food by her fireplace, plus treats for his reindeer as well.

“I said, ‘Oh boy, they sure will appreciate that!’”

Then Shoup asked to speak to her mother. That’s how he learned that a Sears, Roebuck & Co. advertisement in the local newspaper had invited kids to call Santa at ME 2-6681 — the number for the red phone.

It was a misprint, of course, but that didn’t stop kids from flooding the line all the way until Christmas. Shoup assigned a couple of airmen to answer the line and act like St. Nick, Shoup’s daughter Pamela Farrell recounted to StoryCorps.

After a few weeks, someone at the Continental Air Defense Command (which is now NORAD) had an inspired idea. He went to the giant glass board where airmen tracked the planes in U.S. or Canadian airspace and added a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer. They were headed south from the North Pole.

Shoup studied the board. Then he picked up his phone, his other daughter, Terri Van Keuren, told StoryCorps.

“He called a local radio station and said, ‘This is the commander of the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object — why, it looks like a sleigh!’”

After that, Van Keuren added, stations would call every hour to ask for the latest on Santa’s whereabouts.

The military’s Santa-tracking efforts have become considerably more elaborate since 1955. NORAD’s online tracker plays Christmas tunes while flying reindeer pull a red sleigh over images of the Earth provided by NASA. The site shows Santa’s last stop and gives an ETA for his next destination. It also keeps a running tab of the number of gifts delivered.

Those who find websites passé can download the NORAD Tracks Santa app from the iTunes store, follow @NoradSanta on Twitter, “like” NORAD’s tracker on Facebook or keep tabs through a variety of other social media sites.

More than 70,000 children still call NORAD to talk to Santa on a toll-free line — (877) HI-NORAD or (877) 446-6723 — and another 12,000 or so send e-mails to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

All of this would have been impossible for Shoup to imagine as he spoke to the little girl who inadvertently kicked the whole thing off 60 years ago.

Before handing the phone to her mother, the girl asked a question that was certainly appropriate for an Air Force colonel: How is it possible for Santa to visit so many houses in a single night?

Years later, Shoup still remembered his answer: “I said, ‘That’s the magic of Christmas.’”

You can follow Karen Kaplan on Twitter @LATkarenkaplan and also ‘like’ Los Angeles Times Science and Health on Facebook.

Have you been tracking Santa with your kids or you’ve already told them that Santa is not real?

 

Holidays in Mauritius with a Toddler (Part 2/3)

 

Mauritius beach

Mauritius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays in Mauritius are still on and activities and outings are part of our everyday life now; there’s so much to see and do in this paradise island. Here is a list of a few other things we did these last weeks.

Trianon Shopping Park – Intresting shopping outlets

Trianon Shopping ParkWith around 80 shops, cafes and restaurants, cinema halls, this mall is one of the busiest of the island offering a wide variety of both local and international brands. There are many parking spaces and it holds regular events.

A big plus: an entertainment area for kids called Cocotown Kids. It has a huge climbing frame, many interesting activities for both small and big kids as well as a café/restaurant with small tables and chairs. The price charged for three hours is Rs 300 and there are lots to do in those three hours. My daughter loved Cocotown and so did I. We have to go again!

 

Mauritius Aquarium – Not recommendedMauritius Aquarium

After having been to the Sydney Aquarium – where more than 700 species are on display – I must admit that the Mauritius Aquarium was a big disappointment. True, my expectations may have been too high. However, to call the place an aquarium would be a hyperbole. There are many big salt water fish tanks and one very big water tank. There were a few interesting fish and although the website advertised for a ‘ray’, we simply couldn’t find it. The sharks were probably baby sharks and there were about two turtles. All this for the price of Rs 300 for an adult and Rs 150 for children aged between 2 and 12, which is quite a rip off I think with regard to what you get to see.

Mauritius AquariumThe water tanks are placed at quite a height, which made it very hard for my 2 year old daughter, my 3 year old nephew and my 5 year old nephew to see much, if not, anything at all. We had to hold them all the way through for them to be able to have a look. Not very convenient for anyone I must say.

Mauritius AquariumLuckily for us, the children were simply amazed with the turtles and the baby sharks. They know nothing about inconveniences – fortunately for them. They kept asking me about the ray as I had told them they would see one in the ‘aquarium’. Hmmm …

Mauritius beachAfter the ‘aquarium’ they went for a quick swim in the Trou-Aux-Biches sea, one minute drive from there. It was not a great beach but as I said earlier, children are so fortunate to see only the fun side of things, reminding me of the poems of The Lamb and The Tyger in Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’.

Casela – Great fun for kids

Casela Park MauritiusThis nature park has recently been uplifted and looks much better than it did two years ago. It is beautifully maintained and ‘visitor-friendly’.

Because of my daughter’s naptime, I could only spend around two hours in Casela; however, even a full day might not be enough to enjoy all the activities. We walked past the giraffes and straight to the petting farm. The ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, turtles were all quite eager to be fed. We decided to go and feed the kids (baby goats) …… It wasn’t a good idea after all as my 9 year old niece really freaked out causing the other children to get scared too and I’m pretty sure the baby goats got quite scared with so much screaming.

Then we walked to catch the bus for the safari. The safari was quite interesting although the number ofCasela Park Mauritius animals cannot be compared to those from Perth zoo, for example. We saw mainly zebras, ostriches, 2 baby rhinoceroses, a few species from the antelope family. I was pleasantly surprised to see an oryx – the oryx is the national animal of Qtar, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Jordan. Unfortunately for us the giraffes and the ‘big cats’ were in separate enclosures.

The safari took a while and by the time it was over, it was 5.00 p.m. which was Casela’s closing time. We will definitely have to go back for other activities.

Here are a few more pictures of the beautiful place:

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

Casela Park Mauritius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerald Park Shopping Centre – Okayish

Emerald Park Mauritius

Photo Credit: thunderpanths

This is a rather small shopping centre which is not really for kids. If you want to eat or drink something (healthy) with the kids, apart from one vending machine, there is absolutely nothing. I’d say, it’s somewhere you could go to buy clothes or toys for the kids (only 2 shops are relevant for that) but where they will get really bored.

Mr Bricloage which is a DIY type of shop is quite an interesting place. I bought a small swimming pool for my daughter and she absolutely loved it. It was relatively cheap. I really liked the fact that it is not an inflatable one so hopefully it will last a while. Lots of interesting DIY stuff for kids too.

The other shop is  Pridemark. It sells brand clothing at a bargain price. Although I could only find one shirt  for my daughter I bought 3 dresses for myself! If you like brands for affordable prices, this is the place to go.

I’ve got a few other things on my bucket list for the coming weeks. Would you have any suggestions?

Fish and Mercury — it’s important to know how much of which fish type you are eating.

children eat fish

Photo: tomolivernutrition.com

 

When discussing fish with my young niece, I became quite alarmed to see that she didn’t have a clue about mercury level in fish. She had marlin for lunch! I thought I’d draw mums’ and dads’ attention to ‘Fish and Mercury’ so that they are better aware of the risks involved with eating some particular types of fish.

The following article from the New South Wales (Australia) website sums it all up and can be quite helpful to choose how often to give which type of fish to children and also for pregnant mums and women planning pregnancy.

Fish and Mercury (Source: NSW Food Authority)

It’s good to eat enough fish, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding. Fish are a valuable source of protein, minerals, vitamin B12 and iodine. They are low in saturated fat and contain omega-3 fatty acids which are important for the development of babies’ central nervous systems before and after birth.

Selecting Fish

Most fish in Australia are low in mercury but some are higher and too much mercury can harm developing nervous systems. It’s best to know the mercury levels of different types of fish and how often to eat each type.

Pregnant & breastfeeding women & women planning pregnancy

1 serve equals 150g

Children up to 6 years

1 serve equals 75g

Eat 2-3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed below
OR
Eat 1 serve per week of these fish, and no other fish that week:

Catfish or Orange Roughy (Deep Sea Perch)

OR
1 serve per fortnight of these fish, and no other fish that fortnight:

Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish, Marlin)

 

Mercury from fish is generally not a health consideration for most people, it is mainly an issue for women planning pregnancy, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children up to six years.

Ready-to-each, chilled seafood, such as raw sushi, sashimi & oysters or pre-cooked prawns and smoked salmon can be risk for pregnant women because of listeria. Our guidelines have more information about listeria and what to avoid during pregnancy.

Mercury in Fish

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and accumulates in the aquatic food chain, including fish, as methyl-mercury. All fish contain some methyl-mercury, but most fish in Australian waters have very low mercury levels.

Mercury content is not reduced by processing techniques such as canning, freezing or cooking. Many fish have low mercury levels.

The following fish have low mercury levels and are also high in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Mackerel
  • Silver Warehou
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Canned salmon & canned tuna in oil
  • Herrings
  • Sardines

Other seafood with low mercury levels include:

  • All prawns, lobsters and bugs
  • All squids and octopus
  • Snapper
  • Salmon and trout
  • Trevally
  • Whiting
  • Herring
  • Anchovy
  • Bream
  • Mullet
  • Garfish

These fish can be eaten more frequently, up to two to three times per week.

 

canned fishCanned Tuna & Salmon

It is generally safe for all population groups, including pregnant women, to consume 2-3 serves of any type of tuna or salmon a week, canned or fresh.

Canned tuna usually has lower mercury levels than other tuna because tuna used for canning are smaller species that are caught when less than one year old.

Supplements

Fish oil products and supplements are not a major source of dietary mercury and there is no recommendation to restrict consuming them because of mercury.

Crustacea & Molluscs

Crustacea (including prawns, lobster and crabs) and molluscs (including oysters and calamari) are not a concern because they generally contain lower levels of mercury and are usually consumed less often than finfish.

Fish for Others

Breastfeeding mothers can continue to eat fish.

Fish are rich in protein and minerals, low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the development of your baby’s central nervous system, even after birth.

Although it’s important to continue to eat fish while you are breastfeeding, you need to be careful about which fish you choose. Some fish may contain mercury levels that can harm a baby’s developing nervous system if too much mercury is passed to them through breastmilk.

To safely include fish as an important part of a balanced diet while you are breastfeeding, follow the same guidelines provided to pregnant women.

Kids eat fishFish is good for young children

The healthy nutrients found in fish are excellent for growing children. Simply follow the guidelines for children up to 6 years.

 

Exceeding the Recommended Guidelines

Like all foods, fish should be eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet. Over-consumption of any single food group, particularly to the exclusion of other foods, is not recommended because it can lead to dietary imbalances and may increase your intake of potentially harmful substances, such as mercury.

If you have been eating more than 2-3 serves of fish in the past, you can follow the recommended number of weekly portions and your mercury levels will return to normal fairly soon.

Mercury levels will generally halve within several months, providing you follow the dietary advice and limit the amount of Shark (Flake) and Billfish (Swordfish, Marlin) you consume. If you are concerned about your mercury levels, your doctor can order a blood and/or urine test.

If you choose to eat more than 2-3 serves of fish per week it is important to eat a variety of fish, and avoid those that could have elevated mercury levels, such as Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish, Marlin).

Have you had any issue with mercury level in your blood or that of your child? When did you last have a blood test?

 

Top 15 Street Food to Enjoy in Mauritius

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: holidays.airmauritius.com

Mauritius has inherited from the cuisines of both its colonisers and its immigrants. It took from all these cuisines to become what is known today as the ‘Mauritian Cuisine’. The local food here is a real potpourri: Indian dishes, Chinese and Japanese dishes, Italian food, etc – all of them cooked with a ‘Mauritian twist’.

Dholl puri also called Dal Puri – Savoury

Mauritius street food

A flatbread stuffed with yellow split peas (Daal) and usually eaten with lima beans curry, some rougaille (tomatoes braised in oil, onions, thyme, garlic/ginger, salt) and some chillis. There are many ‘dal puri’ vendors on the street and it is sold at affordable prices.

 

 

 

 

 

Gateau Piment – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: Global Table Adventure

Called ‘chilli cakes’, these are in fact, daal cakes! They are made with yellow split peas, ground into a paste and mixed with chilli, salt, spring onion, shaped into balls and fried in hot oil. It can also be eaten with bread as a ‘light’ lunch.

 

 

 

 

Halim – Savoury  

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: Cannelle et Cardamome

A soup, made with lentils, spices, beef or mutton, and some wheat. Sometimes, yellow split peas are also added and this soup; it can be eaten with some bread and chilli paste!

 

 

 

 

Boulette­Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: l’express.mu

Steamed balls made with chayote or even with fish served in a soup. Very popular with locals.

 

 

 

Mine frit – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: recette-ile-maurice.com

Fried noodles in a ‘Mauritian style’, served with beef or chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

Briani – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Tash Briyani from Perth

Traditional rice dish, made usually with beef, chicken and fish. It can also be made with lamb, mutton or other meat products, or even with only vegetables. Unlike the ‘Indian’ briani, the Mauritian one is not too spicy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macatia coco – Sweet

A sweet bun filled with coconut and sugar. Macatia coco is usually sold by a vendor on a bike and who calls out for customers as he rides by either honking or shouting at the top of his voice “maacaatiaaa cocoooo’!!!

Mauritius Street Food

 

 

 

 

 

Poutou – Sweet

Steamed ground rice, coated with desiccated coconut.

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: recette-il-maurice.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poudine Mais – Sweet

Mauritius Street Food

Mais means corn and ‘poudine’ is a pudding. ‘Poudine Mais’ is Corn powder cooked with some water and sugar; raisins and desiccated coconut can be added.

 

 

Gateau Patate – Sweet

Mauritius street food

Mum in law’s Gateau Patate

A sweet potato fritter made by boiling sweet potato, crushing it and mixing it to some flour; then the ‘dough’ is flattened and cut into round shapes. The ‘circles’ are filled with desiccated coconut and sugar, then folded to form semi-circles and fried in hot oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confits – Savoury

Mauritius street food

Photo: ibolo.mu

Unlike the French confit, the Mauritian ‘confit’ consists of fruits like mango, pineapple, tamarind kept for a few days in some water and vinegar with salt. This is usually eaten with chilli salt and/or chilli paste. And trust me, it is chilli hot!

 

 

 

 

Napolitaine – Sweet

Mauritius Street food

Photo: mysweetmauritius.blogspot.co.uk

Unique to Mauritius, the ‘Napolitaine’ forms part of what the locals call “Gateau Francais” — French cakes. These are in fact french pastries but adapted to the local taste.

Very easy to make, Napolitaines consist of two shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with some jam and covered with pink icing sugar. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gateau de l’huile – Savoury

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: indian-ocean.com

Fritters made by coating vegetables with ground chickpeas (besan flour) and deep frying in oil. Popular ones are made using sliced potatoes, bread, aubergine. Gateau de l’huile (oil cakes) also include gateau piment and samoosas.

 

 

 

Gateau Doux – Sweet

Mauritius Street FoodTranslated as ‘sweet cakes’, these are sweets usually made with gram flour, milk powder, condensed milk, sugar and almond, rose, or vanilla essence. Some popular ‘gateau doux’ are ‘Mawa Samoosa’, ‘barfi’, ‘laddoo’, ‘gulab jamun’, ‘rasgoulla’, ‘sutalfine’.

 

 

Alouda – Sweet

Mauritius Street Food

Photo: ailgingembre.blogspot.com

Sweet milk flavoured with rose syrup and served chilled with some tukmaria seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous other street food in Mauritius like the ‘Poudine Vermicelle’ (Vermicelli Pudding), the ‘Poudine Manioc’ (Tapioca Pudding), ‘Merveille’, ‘Gateau Arouille’ among others.

Do you know any other popular Mauritian street food?

 

7 Parenting Tips from the Book Loving Our Kids on Purpose

A Few Tips on Parenting.

IMG_1201When I first saw the title of this book, Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-To-Heart Connection, I almost decided not to read it. I figured I already know how to love my child, that’s the easy part, it’s all the other stuff that is hard. However, I am so glad that I didn’t stop there. This has been one of the best parenting books I have read. It challenged me to think about how I was raised and the kind of parent I want to be. I picked 7 highlights, but there is really so much more to this book. I highly recommend it and only wish I would have read it sooner.

  1. You can’t control your child.

This was kind of shocking for me to realize, but I think Danny Silk is on to something. Bottom line, you can’t actually control anyone except yourself. You may…

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