The internet content filtering dilema

Don’t try anything on my WiFi network

I think the general consensus among parents I talk to is that their kids should be spoken to and rationally convinced that they shouldn’t look at naughty stuff on the internet. It’s the modern, involved, right on option to take. The problem is, any kid is only a couple of clicks away hot anal action or instructions on how to make homemade explosives either by accident or intent. And lets face it, we don’t want our kids either looking at that sort of stuff or conflating the two to come up with hot anal explosions do we?

There are a couple of options available to parents: all internet access is done in the communal living space and fully supervised. Who’s got time for that? Or you can use some sort of filter. Some routers now have basic filtering settings to weed out problem sites. There are also subscription services like Disney’s Circle that do device by device filtering. I’ve tried a few of these and they’re…. okay. If you’re a bit more technically minded you can even switch your DNS servers to OpenDNS and put site/category specific filters in, though this isn’t for the faint hearted.

The best solution I came up with in the end was a new Synology router, the RT2600AC Wi-Fi AC 2600.

Synology made their name in network storage but their router carries the user friendly interface across and it comes with some great apps, including the rather useful Safe Access. This allows you to assign devices to individuals, give the individual time limits, a curfew and filter the content to remove anything you don’t want them to see. The best part is you can customise the block screen that comes up when someone searches for something they shouldn’t…

Five Ways to Update Your Look This Winter

For many, winter fashion is a big coat and whatever sweater is warmest in your closet. Parents especially don’t often get a chance to go out and invest time to finding the perfect new winter closet that helps them stay stylish, not to mention the fact that when you need to tackle both raising kids and work there is very little inclination to wear anything but your warmest, comfiest outfit.

It is time to change that.

You can easily be comfortable and enjoy a versatile closet throughout winter that will help you look timeless and effortlessly cool. All you need to do is follow these tips to make the magic happen:

Update the Fabric

Polyester, acrylic, and other cheap fabrics need to go. They can look cheap, they don’t stay in shape well after a few washes, and in the case with polyester or other plastic based fibres they ruin the environment. Tiny microfibres of plastic get washed down the drain and filtered right back into our water systems. We need to start choosing natural and innovative materials for both a better wardrobe and better environment.

The Power of Stylish Layers

The only viable way to stay warm and stylish in winter is to use the power of layers. An undershirt, under a dress shirt under a sweater under a blazer under a coat, will keep you warm. It will also add dimension and interest to your outfit, not to mention give you the ability to masterfully adjust your internal temperature throughout the day.

Get the Ultimate Winter Coat

Get the ultimate winter coat, and you will look incredible and finally stay warm for once. This means more than just thick materials. You need to choose a coat based on fabric type and construction. A wool coat can keep you warm, but if it is unstructured, it can feel just as cold as if you were wearing a springtime windbreaker. To ensure this quality of construction, you should turn towards online luxury retailers. There are many luxury companies out there that are well-priced, while still offering fabrics like Italian wool and UK-based production, such as the website

Upgrade Your Shoes

If your shoes do not have a large enough wedge they need to be well made and waterproof. Otherwise your feet will get wet, which nobody wants.

Get Matching Stylish Winter Gear

Your hands, head, and neck need to be covered. If they aren’t you will feel the cold more acutely no matter how many layers you are wearing. Invest in a good scarf, hat, and gloves to stay stylish and keep that pesky cold away. If you want to minimise the bulk of your winter wardrobe, then try to choose thin, compact materials like cashmere. A cashmere scarf can be very thin and still provide plenty of warmth, for example.

The quality of the items you wear is critical. Better quality fabrics and designs can help you stay warm and look undeniably stylish with very little effort, so start investing in your wardrobe today.

Tinkering with the sublime

Before MTV even considered Pimp My Ride there was an obvious market for after market modifications to cars, be it the silly spoilers lads put on the back of their XR2is or right at the other end, RUF building you a custom car that looks like a Porsche 911 on steroids. I mean, have you seen the insane Nurbergring Yellowbird video?

Anyway, I digress. I’ve always said that my first port of call on a lottery win would be a sports car to tide the gap until I could get something a bit more unique. The way car financing works today, anything right up until to get to McLarens aren’t particularly exotic on the road any more. I drive around our middle of the road surban estate (not one of the more expensive areas in St Albans I hasten to add) and I see various high end Jags, an Audi R8, a Ferrari and several different Porsche 911s (a Turbo, a Carrera 4 GTS, and a plain old Carrera amongst others). Someone over the other side of town has a Lamborghini Huracan with a rather garish wrap job that makes it swirly and mirrored (think the old TVR chameleon paint and you wouldn’t be a million miles off). Lambo always used to have the reputation of being the supercar that fat Italian businessmen drove up the village to visit their mistresses in but things have changed mightily since ’98 when VW bought the company and put it under the control of Audi. German reliability and Italian flair? What could go wrong?

Of course there are a lot of aftermarket kits and modifications you can make to your car, even if it’s a Huracan. Some are cosmetic, some actually affect the performance of your car. It’s fascinating to see what’s involved in this sort of thing too- a lot of performance boosting now days just involves remapping the engine management to improve throttle response and to be honest, can be a bit boring to read through. I’ve been reading the Scuderia Car Parts blog which shows a Huracan up on the ramps with some serious tinkering occuring.

A new exhaust system and a carbon fibre spoiler is certainly a great way to personalise your Lambo!

And that’s what it’s really about I suppose. When I learnt to drive in the early 90’s it was a treat to see something as “exotic” as a 4th generation Supra. Even now, I was genuinely more excited to see an Alpine A110 in the metal than a lot of cars more than two or three times the price- I even drove a McLaren last year on a track day for goodness sake- which just goes to show it’s the niche element rather than the price sticker that makes a lot of these performance cars desirable. If you can spend around £50K on something that does 0-60mph in under 5 seconds, spending £150K on something straight out of the factory isn’t really an option any more.

Because England is the home to a lot of motorsport companies, the whole tuning and modding scene is very well developed here, and there are equally a large number of well established wholesalers that sell performance parts. Such a company is Scuderia Car Parts, with whom this post is a paid partnership. And yes, as the name suggests, they also do parts for Ferrari (and other) manufacturers too!

Students How to Live Within Budget

When you are studying hard at college, there is typically only one thing that dampens the experience: money, or more precisely, the lack of it. When you go to college it may be the first time that you have had to be 100% responsible for your own finances, and so learning to budget it’s a vital life skill that you need to learn.

Course Costs

As well as tuition fees, there are often extra costs involved with studying that you may not have considered. Books, printing and field trips need to be paid for and are essential for you to be able to progress through the course; however, you do have alternative options.

You should be provided with a reading list, and so you can identify which books are critical, and which are available online or from the library. Some of the books will be on the reading list for several terms if not years, and older students may have copies that they want to sell. Rather than using the college facilities for printing, it can be more economical to buy an inexpensive printer with roommates and source cheap inkjet cartridges from Cartridge Shop and share the cost.

Food Costs

It is perfectly possible to eat nutritious and healthy food that does not cost a huge amount of money, despite popular belief. You need to eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to keep your mind and body performing at its peak. Junk foods are not only lacking in the vital nutrients that you need to thrive but are costly too.

  • Plan your meals

Planning your meals means that you can write a shopping list that you can strictly stick to and remain in budget. Impulse buys are typically high-value unhealthy choices.

  • Bulk cook

Whether you batch cook and freeze the extra portions, or share the costs with roommates, bulk cooking is more economical than cooking an individual portion as the cost per meal is less. If you have access to a freezer, use it! Not only will you save money, but you’ll always have access to a healthy meal when the cupboards are empty. Bolognese, stew, chilli and soups are great for bulk cooking and it means that you waste very little.

Social Costs

Other than education, college is a great opportunity to get out in the world and meet new people; however, the cost of gigs, drinking in bars, and going to parties can soon add up. You need to set yourself a budget for entertainment and leisure activities and stick to it.

Your friends may be having lunch in the cafeteria, but you can join them for a coffee. Saving money doesn’t have to be unsocial, it’s just about smarter spending. Look for alternative cheaper ways to catch up – meet up at a friend’s house, look for coupons, promotions and student discounts.

Your college years should be your best, but you don’t want the memory to be dampened by graduating with a mountain of avoidable debt. You are there to study and learn; to do so successfully you need to have the correct course materials, eat healthily and have downtime too, but not at the expense of excessive debt.

How To Make Your Household Broadband Family Proof

It’s a fact of modern life that your children probably already spend a large amount of time online. With the internet, every member of the household now has a device to browse the online, stream Netflix or play games. It’s also a fact of modern life that the headlines are full of reminders of the dangers of the internet – from cyberbullying and identity theft, to internet addiction and predators.

This can be worrying for parents, as they want to endeavour to keep their children safe online but can feel overwhelmed by the amount of web trends and apps that they are using. And for every fun game, app or social network that becomes popular, there can be negative impacts of the internet too.

How do you keep your family safe? We have some ideas that you should consider taking onboard to keep your family secure on the internet.

Secure your Wi-Fi network

Your broadband network allows your kids to access the internet from any room in your house. This can make it that little bit harder to keep an eye on them and see what they are up to. As well as this, if the network is not secure there is the danger of intruders either using your bandwidth or compromising your security and infecting your household computers with malware.

In order to combat this, you should know all about what speeds and bandwidth that your broadband provider gives you, so you can keep an eye on your usage and speeds. You should also ensure that your Wi-Fi is highly secure using a strong password on your router and enabling encryption to restrict access to it.

Teach your kids safe social networking etiquette

When your kids become old enough to use social media, it’s worth teaching them how to keep safe while using it. It goes without saying that you should be keeping an eye on their friend list, but there are other things to consider too. For instance, you should teach family members to restrict their personal information on the internet; never use their full names or addresses on their profiles.

You should also teach them not to talk about identifiable details on social media, such as holiday plans or weekend activities, and try avoiding checking-in to public places.

Ensure a safe gaming environment for your kids

You probably have a kid or two that likes gaming online. This can be a great hobby, but it also comes with its own dangers. Live online games allow people to interact with other people all over the world, and this can expose them to a variety of security dangers such as bullying and harassment.

To protect against this, ensure that your gamer children don’t reveal their identities while playing games, and you should always check out who they are playing with – if possible, you should make sure that they only play with friends and family members that they know in real life. Often, a lot of games and consoles offer parental controls, so you can restrict certain features, so always check if these options are available.

Securing your house

Even adding virus protections, parental controls and passwords to every device in the house, it can still be hard to secure the internet completely. You should have an open and trustful relationship with your children when it comes to the internet, so that if anything does happen that they can come and tell you of any issues. Being forewarned will help keep them safe while online.

If you’d like to educate your family a little more on broadband, including speeds and what they mean for your family, then Hoppy has created an informative video which you can watch below!

Nozstock: the most family friendly festival becomes EVEN more family friendly!

We’ve been to the Nozstock festival in Herefordshire for a few years now and we all love it. It’s small enough that the kids don’t feel overwhelmed but big enough that they don’t get bored. Last year was a particular highlight as Ned accidentally learnt the words to the Dub Pistols Mucky Weekend (fortunately he doesn’t understand a word of it. If you want to pick up on our review of it, you can read it here.

  • Expanding and improving family camping to accommodate more tents and more space
  • Increasing the number of toilets on site by 25% and introducing child-friendly toilets in family camping
  • Supplies available for family campers including loo roll, wet wipes, sanitiser, sun cream, plasters, toothpaste and site maps. Whilst stocks last!
  • ‘Save your space’ scheme. Booked to use family camping but want to make sure you have enough space to camp together? A limited amount of 5m2 pitches are available to hire to save your space
  • Little Wonderful Kids Area expanded to include more activities aimed at older children and a dedicated breastfeeding space

As you can see from my review of this years festival, Nozstock is already really family friendly, so any improvement is going to be the icing on the cake.

So if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas pressie, you can buy tickets for the 2019 festival here.

5 Characteristics You Need to Get Your Dream Job

From an early age, many people aspire to work in their dream job when they grow up. The current job market makes these visions more likely to become a reality, especially as there are new varieties of jobs emerging every day. Not only this, but more people than ever are starting to set up their own businesses, meaning the myth that you can’t do a job you love is quickly being banished. However, that isn’t to say it is plain sailing, as there will be bumps along the way to you settling in a job you have fallen for. Fortunately, there are some key characteristics that you need to get your dream job that are easy to master in your daily life.


You may have an impressive skill set, but if you are not confident in yourself, it will be hard for employers to notice them. This is one of the biggest obstacles people face when applying for jobs, as confidence shows that you have the potential to bring new ideas to the table. If you want to effectively build your confidence and your self-esteem, there are some self-care tricks to follow that are easy to implement into your daily routine, such as starting the day right and repeating positive affirmations to yourself.


As you go through life, you will find that you will come across many abrasive people and difficult work situations that test you. This is where having a thick skin can truly help you brush past such things with ease, rather than letting them affect your work ethic and enjoyment. As you work on your confidence, resilience will come in time, but you should always remember to keep your empathetic side as you get stronger, as this will make you a memorable and humble colleague.

Communication skills

Having the ability to work in a team is essential for most areas of business, as you need to collaborate with other employees and work towards your goals together. The best way to do this is by working on your communication skills, as this will help you and your colleagues thrive in a comfortable and productive working environment. However, it will also enable you to develop leadership skills needed if you want to work your way to the top.


When people are in a job they aren’t happy with, they can lack the passion for driving them to perform well and make money. It is something that people in their dream jobs don’t struggle with because it is what spurs them on in the workplace. It is also key when you are searching for a new, exciting job, as employers will be looking for people who are enthusiastic about their company and truly believe in what they are doing.

In the job market, there are lots of people claiming to be passionate about a job, but who don’t take the time to show it. It goes hand in hand with the old idea that actions speak louder than words; employers are not looking for people to tell them how passionate they are, but to show them. Taking a proactive stance on your job increases your chances of success and ensure you stand out from the crowd when you deliver on results.

A useful instructional for the parents of boys

I don’t often publish instructionals and this one is even more out there as it’s from the BBC’s comedy show The Daily Mash (itself spun out of the satirical website of the same name).

However given the press recently on all sorts of shenanigans on the internet from kids not believing that Madeleine McCann was actually a real person, to what’s known as “redpilling“, it’s probably more relevant now than ever that we keep an eye on what our kids are up to online. Let’s face it, you don’t want to get down the line and long for the nostalgic days when all you had to worry about was your kid googling for “boobies” on the internet. Whether it’s right wing/racist/fascist stuff on YouTube, or endless conspiracy theories that younger people find hard to differentiate from the truth from poppycock, the important thing is to talk to your kids about it.

Which brings us on to the whole “incel” subculture in the video. I was terrible with girls at school but that was due to shyness, I didn’t feel the need to construct an entire narrative or reality around the way human interaction works to justify my crapness, I just knew I was shy. The whole incel movement, “involuntarily celibate” boys who go to rather extreme lengths to convince themselves that the world is ganging up on them reminds me rather of an old episode of Red Dwarf where Rimmer does the “worm do” joke from the 1,001 chat up lines book he has, and Lister tries to point out to him that women aren’t an unknown different species who have to be tricked into liking you.

That’s what I like about Rachel Parrish’s monologue above; although she rightly ridicules the whole movement, she doesn’t dismiss it and actually ends up with some (tongue in cheek) pointers to potential incels to stop them going down that crazy path.

Three Simple Ways to Achieve A Healthier Lifestyle

Sometimes it takes only the smallest of changes to see a difference in achieving a healthier lifestyle. You don’t have to completely overhaul everything in your life to be able to achieve a more balanced and better lifestyle. If you set yourself one dedicated goal or thing to change then you’ll be more likely to achieve it. Trying to do too much at once might not be the best approach and you might find yourself giving up.

Find a healthy hobby

When it comes to trying out different fitness hobbies there is something for everyone. From simple and free things like taking up running, to joining a local club and taking part in team sports like rugby or football or joining some local gym classes. There’s something that can suit everyone’s lifestyle and budget. If running is something you fancy getting involved in, then all you need are a good pair of trainers and you can be good to go. If you’re starting from scratch, then using an app like couch to 5k could help! It’s great being able to see improvement and feel yourself being able to run faster and further as the weeks go by.

Kick the habit

If you’re a smoker then you know that kicking this habit can be difficult. However, there are things you can do to take steps towards quitting. Swapping out your daily cigarettes for an alternative such as e-cigarettes like these from Juul can help you start kicking the habit. Although you’re not giving up on nicotine completely, you are giving up the harmful toxins that come with cigarettes. You’d be amazed as how much better you might feel if you ditch the old habit and making a simple swap can really help. So, if you are looking to give up smoking, then alternatives might be the way forward for you.

The tech detoxes

We don’t always like to admit just how much time we do spend on our tech devices and whilst for most of us, it can be all part of the day job a lot of us also find ourselves spending a lot of time on them in the evening too. As the winter approaches and the evenings are darker, it’s likely you’ll be spending more time inside. Although the temptation might be to stick on some shows and spend the evening browsing online, why not set aside a couple of evenings a week to get together as a family and do something different. This could be playing board games, where tech is banished from the table, or cooking up some tasty treats together. Finding some ways to encourage your kids to get involved and not want to spend as much time on technology devices is a great way to help them have a break from it too.

Your Go-To Guide to a Family Trip to London

If you are planning a trip to London with all the family, you will not want to miss one iconic sight, famous landmark or interesting attraction during your visit. You will also need to learn how to navigate your way across the city effectively.

Ensure your visit to the English capital is memorable for all the right reasons by checking out the below go-to tips for a family trip to London.

Master the Tube

The Underground is the simplest way to move across the city during a visit, as the landmarks and attractions are rather spread out. For example, you might plan to have dinner at a restaurant in Whitechapel but have tickets to a play at the West End.

Black cabs can be expensive and taking the bus might not always be a reliable option, which is why you should familiarise yourself with the tube map before you visit. An Oyster card is the most affordable option for adults, while younger children can either travel for free or at a discount.

Book Tickets in Advance to a West End Show

Speaking of the West End, you shouldn’t visit the capital without booking tickets to a theatre show. However, it’s wise to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as tickets can sell out quickly. If you’re travelling with kids, you can treat them to one of the many children’s shows London.

Visit the Many Free Museums

Exploring London doesn’t need to be expensive, as there are many free museums to choose from, such as the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, which are both perfect for children.

For example, the Garden at the Science Museum is aimed for three to six-year-olds, as kids can have fun in the multisensory area that allows them to enjoy various sounds, reflections, shadows, and giant building blocks. Children will also love the incredible T. Rex at the Natural History Museum, while finding out how baby dinosaurs were born.

Grab a Cheap Bite to Eat at Covent Garden

Covent Garden never fails to disappoint as it regularly offers talented street performers in the piazza. It’s also the perfect place to grab a cheap bite to eat, as you can enjoy an affordable burger from the likes of Shake Shack, Byron, and Five Guys, to name just a few. There are also plenty of street food dishes to choose from for mum, dad and adventurous children, which start from as little as £3.70.

Take a Bus Tour

Save money on a trip to London by buying tickets for a bus tour for all the family. It will allow you to explore the capital at your leisure for one or more days, depending on the ticket option you choose.

It’s an affordable way to move across the city and visit the biggest and best landmarks it has to offer, such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, plus more.