Last week I received a picture via email from my sister.  The subject was "Crocodile tears or what" and when I opened it, there in front of me was couple crying in front of a gaggle of press. I had no idea who they were.

Shamefully, I replied "whats all this about then?"

After receiving an email back asking where the hell I have been the past week, I then googled the names. I found out it was the story that rocked the nation recently of the house fire in Derby which claimed 6 innocent lives, all children.

Of course I had heard of this.  I am surrounded by media.  Whether it be on my phone, online, through Twitter, Facebook, News App etc.  But then it dawned on me.  When was the last time I actually sat down and watched a News programme?

When I was younger it was all my parents seemed to want to do.  6pm came (signalling the end of Neighbours) and on came the News.  I then had half hour of boredom whilst they sat glued to some boring story or another, before the weather came on and it was then time for me to get ready for bed.

I remember this routine very clearly because it was just that, routine.  It helped that there were only 4 channels on the television back then.  And it also sticks in my mind so vividly as I was a human remote control - "Colette, can you just pop it onto 1 for us love".

Because of this routine, when I was an adult and able to make my own television choices I rebelled against the news somewhat.  I would catch it when I had to.  Whilst having a cigarette in the company's smoking break room (those were the days) for example, or glancing down from the glossies to read the headlines.  Current affairs mattered to me of course, but back in my 20's it was on a need to know basis.

I did some growing up and found myself reverting back to the old routine. I now had a steady 9-5 job, my own flat and watching the News of an evening whilst having my evening meal was a way of winding down and catching up with the world.

Then the kids came.

It all started with Baby TV and progressed from there.

Now unless the news is inbetween Ben 10 and Peppa Pig, I will have no idea of the worlds' current affairs.

This is a fact that I am ashamed of so I am now making a point of watching at least 10 minutes of the morning news before work.  If this doesnt happen I grab 10 minutes at my desk at work and flick onto a News website for a catch up.

I now feel this helps me feel a little bit a part of the grown up world.

Have you found that balance?

This morning I had a feelng of liberation.

I stepped into my office, switched on my computer, and then put my mobile phone in my hand bag.

Not an unsual routine surely? I hear you ask.  Well for me, and my recent lifestyle this is.

You see since obtaining my Android Smart phone almost a year ago, my life has been slowly governed by Apps,  Those perfect little squares of information that distract me every minute of every day. And today, enough was enough.

My normal routine is this:

I get up and switch my phone on.  Whilst its loading up I get myself, and the kids ready.  I proceed downstairs where the kettle goes on and I get the kids their breakfast.  I then hear a familiar cluster of beeps and buzzes from my phone.  I recognise each and every one.

Whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day I scroll through my notifications.  Its normally Twitter first, then onto Facebook, a quick flick to Instragram. I then tap onto LinkedIn to see whats been happening in the 8 hours that I have slept, and then off I drive to work.  I set my phone down on my desk, get my first cup of coffee (I drink coffee at work, I think its a neccessity to get through the day, tea is for pleasure and to relax at home!) and I repeat the same routine.  Because now I have missed at least 50 minutes of the action.

At my fingers tips, right next to me on my desk at work I have the following:

- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instragram
- Words with Friends
- Google +
- Linked In
- Mail Online
- Word of the Day
- Whatsapp
- Dictionary

These are just the ones on my first home page, because they are Apps that I use regularly.  And it needs to stop.

So today I made a stand. I went cold turkey and worked to rule.  My husband was under strict instructions not to text unless it was important, and if that was the case, to ring me.

Every 20 minutes or so I could hear a buzz, a beep or a dingdong with my notifications coming through, but I continued on with my day. Frantically wishing the hours away til lunch when I was "allowed" to check my phone.  Which I did, and spent the ENTIRE lunch hour returning tweets (ok, I was harsh on myself today, it was #FF after all!), "liking" Facebook statuses and using my dictionary in the desperate attempt to win a match of Words with Friends.

I did all this whilst on my lunchtme walk, where I normally read my kindle, which I didnt open once.

So what did I learn today?  That I was a slave to my phone? That I am a socal media and App "whore?"  Well yes.  I am by my own admittance both of those.  But I was also reminded of the good old days (ah yes, here come the rose tinted glasses...) where the only distraction at work was the odd personal email or colleague popping to your desk for a tea break natter.  Both of which happened today and they were a welcome break.

I actually enjoyed my phone free work day.  Are you brave enough to try it?