Monthly Archives: April 2017

How to Adjust to a City Lifestyle With Your Children

For many of us, having children is going to be the biggest investment in our lives. We’re going to be spending a lot of money on them, we might change our jobs for them, and we may even move home so they get a better education. If you’ve been contemplating moving out of a secluded rural location to a major city in order to give your child a better education, then here are a couple of tips on how you can adjust to the city lifestyle with your family.

buildings, cab, cars

Get used to using your map

A city is a dense place, especially if you move to someplace major. Make sure you’re always carrying your phone with you and always use the map function to help you get around places. You’ll be surprised at how convenient local stores and restaurants are and you may even be overwhelmed with choice, so it’s never a bad idea to set a destination before you head out your front door. The city can also be a very monotonous place with buildings that look the same and blocks that look identical. If you want to avoid getting lost, then you’d be wise to carry a smartphone with you at all times.

Practice driving

Unlike rural areas, driving in the city is all about safety. There are many angry drivers that just want to get to their destination in the shortest time possible, roads are congested compared to quieter areas, and traffic jams are very common. If you aren’t confident about driving in a busy city, then it might help to study at a defensive driving traffic school online. It will teach you some excellent tips on how to avoid other drivers, and that information could be vital to improving the safety of you and your family when you’re driving around.

Photography Top of the Building

Practice travelling with your children

Let’s face it, the city is a big and scary place and it might be daunting setting your children free in a city compared to the suburbs. However, it’s a necessary step in their growth because you can’t watch over them forever, and the faster they get used to taking public transport and traversing the city, the more accustomed they will be to the local area. Take your children out with you when you go grocery shopping, travel with them to school, and take them to see their friends and explore the city. This will help your child grow more accustomed to the change and they will learn all about the local area.

Accept the language barrier

Not only will certain terms and words carry different meanings to city dwellers, you might also find that there are a lot of different ethnic groups in large cities. New York, for instance, has a wide variety of different cultures and you may find it difficult to converse with taxi drivers, waiting staff or store clerks. This is completely normal and you shouldn’t feel bad about being unable to communicate with certain people. Learn to have patience with these people and accept that there might be a language barrier.

The Essential Checklist For A Family Holiday

As we approach the middle third of the year, the sun starts beating down and holidays are on our mind. I always find that going on a family holiday in the summer is a great way to connect with your family and really bond as a group. Bearing that in mind, I’ve put together a nice little checklist of things you should remember to bring on every family holiday:

Camera

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer bringing a proper camera on my family holidays instead of using my phone to take pictures. Why? Well, you just get better quality pictures meaning they can be printed out in better quality too ready for your family scrapbook or collage. If you don’t have a camera or just don’t want to bring one, then your phone will be fine. Either way, you need to take as many photos as possible of all the memories you create. Trust me, you’ll look back on your holiday pictures for years and years after they were taken.

Mobile Phone

Now, we just spoke about bringing your phone to take pictures if you want, but you need to bring it along anyway. Not only that, make sure your family all brings along their phones too. Why? Because it means you can communicate with one another of course! If you have teenage kids or even older kids, they might want to go and do things on their own. Similarly, they might want to stay at the hotel while you go out. So, you need to have a means of communication, and phones are the easiest option. Plus, they can double up as sat-nav devices to help you get around your holiday destination.

Man and Woman With Girl in Beach

First Aid Kit

No matter where you’re going, you need to bring along a little first aid kit. You don’t have to include loads of stuff here, just a few little essentials that will come in handy in case any problems happen. Get some plasters, some medication, a few gauzes, etc. If your first aid kit is feeling light, then you can always get some first aid kit refills to bolster your supplies ready for your next trip. If you’re flying, then it always makes sense to bring along a main first aid kit that can go in your hold luggage and a mini one that you can carry on the plane with you.

Sun Protection

Of course, you can’t go away on a nice sunny holiday without bringing some protection from the sun’s rays. So, get yourself down to your local store and buy some high protection sun cream for you and your kids. It’s especially important that your kids are protected from the sun, so get them the highest protection possible. Also, make sure everyone brings sunhats and sunglasses for added protection too. Now, your family is ready to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays safely.

These are just a few things you should remember to bring with you on your next family holiday. Obviously, there are other things like your passport and luggage! But I’d hope you remember them easily, without needing reminding!

Getaways That Won’t Break The Bank

Silhouette of Person in Airport

English Springs are something to behold. They have inspired poets throughout the history of English literature from T.S. Eliot’s admonition that ‘April is the cruellest month’ because it necessitates starting everything again, to Shakespeare’s more jovial assertion that the season ‘has put a spirit of youth into every thing’. It is also a time when you may be looking forward to the summer, perhaps with a degree of trepidation. If you have children, the six weeks holiday can sometimes seem rather daunting. As great as it is to spend time with your children all the time, the onus is now on you to entertain them all the time too. Whether you try to save money by doing crafts at home or playing with them in the garden, or taking them out to museums and art galleries, you always have to think of something new. This is true especially when it comes to going away on holiday. You obviously want to give them an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives, but you also do not want to end up having to save for the rest of the year to do it. Here are a few ideas for trips that will not cost the earth:

People Lurking Around on Snow Field Near Mountains

Besides hotels, food, souvenirs for everyone you know back at home, and drinks for when the kids are asleep, one of the major costs of going on holiday is the flights. Crossing the Atlantic to go to the United States can cost as much as a week in London alone, and then there is everything else besides. To save money, you should consider flying to places that are a little closer to home. Europe may seem rather familiar, especially as we are Europeans, but it has so much to offer that you could spend a lifetime travelling around and still not have seen all of it. From all inclusive ski holidays in the south of France to city breaks in places like Berlin or Florence, the possibilities are endless. Besides, you can mix a holiday with teaching your children about culture. Many places on the continent are so imbued with culture, that they will soak some of it up even if they don’t pay any attention.

cliff, fog, foggy

There is always the option of going somewhere much closer to home, that is to say to the next county but holidaying in the UK can sometimes feel as if you can not really relax. Being so surrounded by the familiar things of your everyday life can inhibit you feeling as if you’ve truly escaped them. There are some great options though. The Scottish Hebrides are so far away, and their climate is so unique, even amongst the woeful weather of Britain, that it can seem like you have travelled to a different place. You can take your car too, although you will need to buy some ferry tickets. The Scottish Highlands are famed for their beauty but it is one that many people have still not enjoyed themselves but vicariously through reports. However, they are certainly worth a trip.

My Top 7 All-time favourite Meals

Beef, Cheese, Cuisine, Delicious, Dinner, Food, Fresh

We all have that one meal that we absolutely love and would quite happily eat every day of the week…Right? So I thought I would do my top 7 all-time favourite meals.

  1. Roast Dinners – I love all types of meat and as long as there are lashings of gravy all over it I’m happy.
  2. Medium/Rare Steak – I have tried to cook this at home but it never tastes as good as going to a steakhouse. With thick cut chips and peppercorn sauce.
  3. Tuna Pasta bake – Quick & very simple to make
  4. Lasagna with Garlic bread and tonnes of cheese on top – I try and make this at least once a week as this is the other half’s favourite.
  5. Casserole – I love any meat types, with creamy mash potato, vegetables and plenty of gravy.
  6. Quiche, Beef bachelors rice with Salad, Jacket/Sweet potato.
  7. Spaghetti Bolognese or Meatballs with Garlic bread and plenty of cheese on top.  

I had a huge response to this post and sadly couldn’t include everyone so I have randomly selected a handful to include in the post.  A huge thank you to everyone that got involved, some fantastic meal choices and I will certainly be trying these out soon.   

Emma from http://www.methemanandthebaby.co.uk/ says Chocolate Korma

Stacey from http://www.staceyinthesticks.com/ says Lasagna

Tracey from https://www.packthepjs.com/ says homemade pizza – making my own dough and cooking using our garden pizza oven

Rachel from http://www.coffeecakekids.com/ says baked camembert, crusty bread and olive oil

Jen from http://www.justaveragejen.com/ says Butternut Squash Risotto.

Kai from https://kaidenlaverty.com/ Says Southern fried chicken and bacon sandwiched together with 2 sugared Belgian waffles, topped with maple syrup. (May sound bizarre but maple syrup is amazing).

Maria from https://www.suburban-mum.com/tasty-italian-pesto-chicken/ says Italian Pesto Chicken – It’s delicious.

Rachel from http://www.mummahub.co.uk/ says “Oh I think it’d have to be a good old British roast, with crumble for pudding.

Jaymee from https://themumdiaries.co.uk/ says spaghetti Bolognaise

Nyomi from http://www.nomipalony.com/ says a good medium rare steak with homemade chips – my mouth is watering just thinking about it

Emma from https://readyfreddiego.com/ says Brisket of beef on the bone, cooked slow & low all day with extra suet on from the butcher to keep it moist and full of beefy flavours. Served with buttery soft mash or crisp roasties, carrots and thick, dark brisket gravy

Victoria from https://www.mummytimestwo.com/ says our family favourite is fajitas, I cooked it for the other half on our first date and it’s now our eldest favourite too.

Catherine from http://battlemum.com/ says our all-time favourite is meatloaf. My mum used to do it with mash but I now do it with Roast potatoes and gravy. It’s a great Sunday dinner in our house. Yum!

Kerry from http://www.kerryshawmummyoffour.com/?m=1 Says Thai green Chicken Curry with sticky rice – It’s my kids favourite too.  

Thank you to everyone that got themselves involved.

Troublesome Cleaning Task Times Cut In Half!

You know they say that clever people work smarter and not harder, and there is no better place to put that to the test that in cleaning the home. As it can certainly feel like it takes up way more time and energy than you are prepared to give it. So, below you will find some practical tips on keeping your home cleaner in a smarter way. Read on to find out more.

Carpets

Who loves to spend their precious Saturday afternoon scrubbing and vacuuming the carpets to make sure they look their best? No? Didn’t think so!  

That time is much better spent catching up with family, or friends over a nice cup of coffee. Or snuggling with your significant other on the sofa and watching that film you’ve been meaning to see for ages.

Vacuum Cleaner, Carpet Cleaner, Housework, Housekeeping

So, let’s learn how we can free some of that time up for you to do just that. First of all the type and colour of carpet that you pick makes a massive difference on how easy it is to keep it clean.

Light carpets may be in fashion, but if you do go for cream or white, then make sure you that you get one that is guaranteed as washable because there will be a spill or mark on it sooner or later.

Or, if yours already has a few stains that just won’t come out no matter how hard you scrub, then why not use this neat trick? Use a water and vinegar solution on the stain, then place a towel over the top of it, and iron on the steam setting. This should make the towel absorb the stain leaving your carpet gorgeously clean in no time.  

Bathrooms

White Bathtub on White Tile Bathroom Near Brown Framed Clear Glass Window

Another intensive cleaning task in the home that most people would like to take less time on is cleaning the bathroom.

Remember that the bath and should be rinsed out after every use, to stop it accumulating in tide marks. Then when you come to give it a proper clean, you don’t have so much scrubbing to do so it won’t take as long.  

Shower curtains should also be spread out to air to avoid mildew. Or replace them altogether with glass shower screens instead. Of course, you will need to clean shower screens too, but you can do that in two ticks, by using spray that repels the water. Then you will have way less soap scum and watermarks to deal with.

Skirting boards

Everybody loves to clean their skirting boards right? It’s so much fun. OK, so it’s actually not much fun at all, but it’s another one of those jobs that just needs to be done!

But instead of getting on your hands and knees and your very tippy toes to reach all of your skirting, why not get something like a feather duster or board buddy instead?

Brush, Cleaner, Cleaning, Cute, Duster, Feather, Female

These are extendable tools, with a pad at the end, shaped for skirting. So it will get into all the crevices and creases, meaning you can keep your board cleans with a lot less effort and time.

From Overgrown Garden To A Safe Children’s Play Area

Play, Playground, Park, Equipment, Monkey Bars, Girls

If your garden is a good size, your kids will probably be in it as often as they can be. After all, they are great outdoor spaces for them to run around in and have some fun away from the TV and computer screens! However, it takes quite a bit of work to ensure your garden is child-friendly. And even once you have ensured it’s child-friendly, that doesn’t necessary mean it is going to be a great play area for the kids. Here are some great tips to turn your overgrown garden into a fantastic children’s play area.

Add A Jungle Gym

One way to greatly enhance the fun factor of your garden for kids is to add some equipment that they can play with. The best item for this is the good old jungle gym. These are climbing frames that can be easily erected in any sized garden. Some often come with a slide or a swing set attached. Not only are these heaps of fun, but they also encourage your child to do a lot of exercise while they play. There will be lots of chances for them to swing from the frame and climb up it; they will certainly get a good workout!

Playground, Sand, Sand Pit, Clean, Residential Area

Think About Flooring

If you do get a climbing frame or some other play equipment added to your garden, you should consider the type of flooring you use underneath it. Ideally, you want something soft so that if the kids fall or trip up, they won’t hurt themselves too much. That’s why most people put their climbing frames onto a patch of their lawn. This will be a much softer landing than concrete! Birch plywood is another great option as it provides kids with plenty of grip. That means that they won’t slip over so easy while they are running around!

Sensory Plants

Your garden will no doubt be filled with lots of plants and flowers, some of which may attract your children’s attention. Firstly, you will need to ensure that none of these are poisonous, as they could make your kids ill. But rather than replacing poisonous plants with any old ones, think about adding some sensory plants and flowers. These are ones that stimulate the senses and include ones with strong fragrances such as lavender and rosemary. Kids will love getting amongst them and smelling their sweet aromas!

Lavendar, Field, Green, Closeup, Blooming, France

Incorporate Some Sports

As well as using play equipment like jungle gyms, you can encourage your kids to stay fit by adding some sports equipment to your garden. Boys will love a small football net that they can practice their scoring with. If your garden is big enough, you might even want to get a plastic cricket set for the kids to play with. Some other sports ideas that are perfect for gardens include swing ball and frisbees.

Why not ask your kids how you can improve the garden to help them play more. You never know what kind of awesome ideas they might have!

The 10 Commandments Of Decorating

When it comes to decorating a room in your house, you might find that you end up stuck for ideas. There are always so many different trends and styles that you should consider, you might, in fact, find that you are spoilt for choice. So how do you work out the best way to decorate your room? Well, you could follow these very useful 10 commandments of decorating.

Chairs, Contemporary, Furniture, Interior Design, Lamp

Let There Be Light

All your rooms should be light and airy as this can help them feel a lot bigger than what they actually are. It’s incredibly easy to get more light into your rooms – just open up your windows as much as possible by taking down heavy curtains. Being strategic with the placement of your lamps will also help.

Let There Be Natural Materials

Think about using glass, hardwood timber, and organic fabrics as often as possible. Using all of these natural materials can help your home feel a lot more comfortable, and it can also help you make it exceptionally eco-friendly.

Apartment, Room, House, Residential Interior

Thou Shalt Not Clash Patterns

When you are thinking about the interior design of a room, you might be considering using a pattern on one wall to liven things up. That’s a great idea; just make sure you don’t get too carried away with yourself and end up clashing different patterns. This can make your decor end up looking hectic and rushed.

Thou Shalt Clash Materials

However, just because you shouldn’t clash your patterns doesn’t mean you can’t clash materials. In fact, clashing materials can be great way to keep your decor exciting and very much on trend.

Thou Shalt Incorporate Thy Life

It’s important to make your decor personal to you, so try and incorporate various aspects of your life into it. For example, if you are particularly sporty, you might want to use some sports-themed decorative features, like a vintage cricket bat. Love reading? Why not bring in some bookshelves.

Library, Books, Tv, Multimedia, Room, Modern, Interior

Let There Be Art

Another great way to liven up your redecorated room is to finish it off with some art. From framed family photos to stylish wall hangings, there is a lot to choose from.

Thou Shalt Bring The Outside In

Why not consider bringing houseplants into your room? They will help freshen the room up and will also add some natural colour.

Thou Shalt Add Colour With Fabrics

Another brilliant way to add more colour to your room is with fabrics. Get some colourful cushions or a throw for your settee and enjoy all the brightness that they bring!

Thou Shalt Be Environmentally Friendly

In this day and age, it is important to try and decorate your rooms using eco-friendly methods. That way, you can guarantee you are helping the environment and the battle against global warming!

Thou Shalt Make Thy Room Feel Timeless

There are always lots of styles and trends floating around in the interior design world. However, don’t commit too boldly to any one style, as it could quickly go out of fashion. Try and keep your room’s decor as timeless as possible.

4 Things To Do In The Midlands

The Midlands of the UK don’t get a fair share of attention. The country is often referred to as being split along north and south divisions, forgetting that there is a whole area in the middle with a culture and attractions all of its own.

The Midlands has a rich history and activities, so why not explore a little further? There’s more to the UK than a holiday at the beaches of Cornwall, the metropolis of London or the northern peaks at the top of the country – so why not give it a chance and discover them?

 

  1. Warwick Castle, Warwickshire

File:Warwickcastle Westside.jpg

Warwick Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in the whole of the UK, situated at the heart of Warwick itself. The castle has a history as storied as anywhere in London, from its days as a seat of power in the Midlands to being the base for the odd rebellion or two.

The castle as it stands today is perfect for families to explore. You can tour the dungeons, view the state rooms, and explore life as it was before technology came and took root upon us all. The surrounding city is a picturesque visit in and of itself, and you’re also not far from Anne Hathaway’s House – the beautifully preserved cottage of Shakespeare’s wife.

  1.  Rush Trampoline Park, Birmingham

Okay, so all of that history and taking it easy – it’s not for every family. Sometimes you just want to have some fun and be silly for awhile. In the Midlands, there’s great options for local family days out at Rush – as the name implies, it’s all about high-energy excitement. There’s more trampolining choices than you’d ever have thought possible to fit into a single space and its Birmingham location means you can head out for dinner afterwards. Trampolining is also one of those activities that helps you let your kids get fit without them even knowing about it – they’re too busy having fun to realise it counts as exercise!

  1. Foxton Locks, Leicestershire

File:Foxton Locks - geograph.org.uk - 1514227.jpg

It might not sound like the most fascinating day out, but Foxton Locks have been an enduring day out for families for many years. The lock system featured 10 individual locks, the 19th century method for allowing boats to pass up a steep hill. Not only are the locks and canals still in use, but there’s a museum and numerous dining experiences around the tourist attraction.

Set in leafy rural Leicestershire, you can make a day of it by jumping aboard a narrowboat and exploring the intricate canal system. The locks are well used to dealing with curious children, too – so there’s a learning experience for all.

  1. National Space Centre, Leicester

The National Space Centre in Leicester is a relatively new addition to the Midlands landscape, but one that is worth an explore nevertheless. It features the largest planetarium in the UK, as well as unique exhibits and learning experiences – that also manage to be an awful lot of fun!

2017 brings new life to the Space Centre with its new, immersive “Venus” experience – so, like Alton Towers, it’s worth a second visit to experience the new innovations even if you’ve been before.

Know What To Do When Your Nightmares Come True

Caring for children is one of the biggest responsibilities any of us face. Never before will someone’s well-being have fallen so heavily on your shoulders. Chances are, you take every precaution to ensure the health of children in your care. But, caution can’t prevent everything. Sometimes, our worst nightmares come true, and the children fall ill or have an accident. When that happens, it can be hard to cope. All your fears come crashing down, and you freeze. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency procedure in place. That way, you won’t have to think about your next plan of action. Here’s an idea of an emergency plan worth following.

KNOW THE SIGNS

To allow yourself the best chance of acting in the right way, it’s important you know the signs. An accident will be easy to spot, but things aren’t always clear cut. Pay close attention to your children so you can spot when something isn’t right. Lethargy, paleness and glazed eyes are all things to look out for. If you spot these, ask a few questions. It may be that they’ve come down with a non-threatening illness. Or, they may have been bitten or encountered something that needs serious attention.

ACT FAST

In an emergency situation, it’s important you act quickly. Time is of the essence when things go wrong. It’s worth knowing the quickest route to the hospital. You never know when you’ll need to get there in a hurry. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t take too much time diagnosing the problem. It should be clear pretty early how dangerous a situation is. Knowing what signs you’re looking our for will help you make a quick diagnosis. Bear in mind that the child in question may not be able to voice how serious things are. You need to use your initiative a little as well.

WHAT TO DO WHILE WAITING

Hospital waiting times can be long. Unless your case in considered top priority, you may be waiting a few hours or more. Of course, you won’t want to spend that whole time worrying. It may be worth finding a way to chat online with a Dr online. While they won’t be able to treat the child, they can give you some idea of what the problem is if you’re unsure. You could also do a little research into possible causes. While Google diagnosis is rarely reliable, it can help if you don’t panic about the suggestions. This research could also help when you see the doctor. Tips from patients can help get to the bottom of problems sooner.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING CALM

Throughout your emergency plan, you may be at risk of slipping into panic mode. But, it’s crucial that you stay calm. Try to keep a clear head so that you can take the necessary action. It’s also important that the child in question doesn’t see you scared. They’ll be frightened enough already, and it’ll help them to have you calm.

Four Important Reasons You Need To Stop Smoking Around Your Kids

There are no second thoughts, smoking around your kids is terrible. The latest research by Simply eLiquid reveals that the nicotine levels are high even in your kid’s hair when you step into the yard to have a quick cigarette. Although you have the legal right to smoke as an adult, you would want the best for your kid as a parent. In fact, there is no way that you can minimise the smoke around your kids. This article provides information on four important reasons you need to stop smoking around your kids.

1. Monkey See, Monkey Do

The latest research from the University of Washington reveals that 12-year-olds who have smoking parents are likely to smoke between the ages of 13 and 21. This is in comparison to kids whose parents don’t smoke. In fact, it is a habit that is passed down from generation to generation. All smokers know the health consequences of smoking. Hence, no one would like their kids picking up the habit. The good news is when you quit smoking when your kids are still young, the chances of them picking the habit up diminishes.

2. Smoking Causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The latest studies have found that infants born to parents who smoke an average of 76 cigarettes per week have been diagnosed with carcinogens in their urine. Dr. Stephen Hecht – professor at Wallin Chair of Cancer Prevention and the University of Minnesota – says that there is enough evidence to believe that secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke affects babies during their early years of growth. In fact, maternal smoking is considered the single largest risk factor which could lead to sudden infant death syndrome.

On the other hand, infants who die from this disease have a higher concentration of nicotine in their lungs. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that smoking could result in a long list of health complications compared to alcohol consumption.

3. Smoking Causes Respiratory Infections

Asthma and other respiratory infections are some of the negative health conditions that are caused by secondhand smoking. In fact, there is no safe level of secondhand smoking for kids. The Environmental Protection Agency states that secondhand smoking increases one’s risk of infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. There are between 150,000 and 300,000 cases of such infections reported each year in kids up to 18 months due to secondhand smoking exposure.

4. Smoking Can Cause Behavioural Problems

In fact, even kids who were born to non-smoking mothers but were exposed to secondhand smoking are at an increased risk of getting Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Boys are more at risk since males are more likely to deal with aggression, hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, and a host of other behavioural issues as a result of being exposed to secondhand smoking. That’s why you need to keep your kids away from secondhand smoking at all times. In fact, the best way to do this is to stop smoking yourself.

In conclusion, smoking around your kids is not a good idea at all. There is evidence to show the detrimental health effects of such a practice. The latest research supports this. That’s why you need to steer clear of smoking around your kids. That will help them stay healthy and fit in the long run. This video from the American Medical Association will show you why you should not smoke around your kids.

If you are finding it hard to quit smoking, you should try e-cigarettes, it’s by far the best way and most popular way to quit smoking.