Monthly Archives: November 2019

Keeping Children Active

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When children are young, they are always on the go. I know that I’m constantly chasing my youngest around as he runs and climbs! But, as children get older, the call of computers or games consoles can make them more reluctant to keep active.

Get outdoors!

The first thing I will say is my children love a trip to the park. It might sound obvious but a trip to the swings is a highlight to our week. (Well, for the younger children and I anyway!) It may be the anticipation of seeing their friends, or the play equipment either way they’re getting moving!

We love a family walk, although this tends to be a weekend activity. But it is a great way to burn off some energy. I usually try to remember a flask of hot chocolate and biscuits for the end of the walk to sweeten the deal!

If you have a reluctant walker (there is always one reluctant walker in our house!) consider buying a scooter or skates. Scooting is a great way to keep everyone in the family active – scooters aren’t just for kids! I have a grown-up scooter on my wish list this year. Scooters are ideal for us, as they’re compact to store and transport.

Keep Dancing!

A friend of mine used to do what she referred to as the bin bag dance with her children every week. It was where she would put on the music and for 10 minutes everyone would have to tidy or clean. The music kept everyone moving and they all knew after roughly 2 songs they would be done. I use this tactic with my own children to encourage them to tidy their rooms – although I have to be honest it doesn’t always work!

We all enjoy dance games on the games console, which while it is using the console is atleast keeping us all moving!

We have looked into street dance classes, but none local to us work with our timetable. But I am hoping that will alter next year!

Learn a sport.

Learning to play sport is the easiest way to keep active. There are great local schemes to get children into sports, which don’t cost a fortune. My children are involved with a few sports including football and athletics. Both of them have tennis lessons which are cheaper than I had expected. It’s also really sociable for them.

In the summer we swam almost daily at our local pool. They also did summer swim lessons as they were really good value. Learning to swim I think is really important, and swimming is a great fun way to keep active. It’s worth looking at local swimming pool offers on regular swims.

My eldest son is also learning to play badminton. He is enjoying playing badminton as he says it is fast paced! Badminton equipment is all new to me though, so I’m having to research what he needs!

Keeping active is well known to be important for physical and mental health. I also think it’s a great way to spend time together as a family and make new friends too.

Mr Kipling Cake Stand Review

We were excited to receive the Casdon Mr Kipling Cake Stand to review! My daughter – age 5 – is still very into imaginative play, and will often lay out a tea party or picnic for us all to enjoy. So this set was greeted with much enthusiasm! The set is suitable for age 3+.

Casdon Mr Kipling Cake Stand

It’s easy to put together, then attach the Mr Kipling stickers – although it does need a grown-up to click the stand together firmly. It comes with 10 replica Mr Kipling cakes! The cakes are really realistic, and my children thought it was great fun being able to identify the Mr Kipling cakes!

This is not just a imaginative play toy, but also a clever shape sorter! (I love toys which have multiple ways to play!) On the bottom of each cake is a shape which corresponds with a shape on the stand. This makes a great game, and as some shapes repeat it allows the stand to be arranged in a couple of different ways too. The shape sorter makes it ideal for pre-schoolers to play with.

It is perfect for imaginative play, as it provides the most fabulous afternoon tea for the toys! It’s also decorative so when it’s been left on the coffee table it actually looks quite sweet! (Literally!).

The set is light, so it is easy to carry around and perfect for little hands to manage to serve cakes from the cake stand.

The Mr Kipling Cake Stand is great fun, easy to wipe clean – (when play gets over enthusiastic and an angel slice gets dunked in your actual cup of tea…) But most important, it has been enjoyed by all of our family.

Car Finance Supporting Social Value

Collaborative Guest Post.

If you are looking to purchase a new car, then finance could be the perfect option for you. Knowing where to start looking for the best quote can be tricky, which is why have put together the ideal car finance tool that will help you get what you need and ensure the whole process is simple. But more than that they also made a commitment to social value, so when you sign up for a car finance deal, you will be contributing to a wealth of good causes that has a positive impact on society.

The Finance

First of all, they have done everything they can to make sure the process of finding the perfect finance deal as easy as possible and you will never have to pay broker fees when you work with them. They can find loans from £1500 to £150,000 and have a variety of terms from two to five years. There are also several forms of finance available, and they are committed to finding you the one that suits you best and offering transparency while doing so. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at a new or used car. Still, by answering a few simple questions, they can advise you on whether you should be considering a hire purchase finance option, a personal contract hire or a personal contract plan (PCP). Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot, as they have skilled staff that can help you and explain your best option, so you do not have to worry. They also have a helpful calculator that can instantly show you what is available based on what you want to borrow and how long you need it for, so you can get a good idea of monthly repayments before committing to anything.

The Social Value

As a company, they have committed to helping many social projects, both nationally and internationally, so your finance plan will be contributing to the work they do. Food redistribution is one of their supported schemes. Did you know that about 900,000 children are going to bed hungry and waking up to no breakfast? With food redistribution, their charity was able to find 945,238 meals, many of which are dished up in school breakfast clubs meaning kids can go to school with energy and focus. Homelessness is also an issue, and last year there were over 320,000 people without a place to call home. They also support a charity that works to help find homes for these people and provides ongoing support so that bills get paid and lives can get back on track. Another project works to reduce reoffending rates by creating HMP training schemes, setting up academies to support released offender and give them skills and purpose to bring down the risk of reoffending. We know these are small changes and they alone cannot solve the problems of the world alone but if you use for finance or any of the services that they provide you are helping to change lives in many different ways.

How to Prep Your House for Carpet Layers

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So, have you chosen the new type of flooring and hired the professional to install it for you? Well, your task does not end here. There are several other things you can do that will be of tremendous help to the carpet contractor even before they arrive for the job according to Dober Floors.

These prep steps are really simple to do and do not require any expertise or skills at all. Nonetheless, these are quite necessary if you really want the installation process to end faster.
• Come Up with A Workspace: It is needless to say that when carpet installers arrive, they will need a separate space to work both inside and outside. It will be of great help to them if you could find them a proper space to park their truck. Since they will have to move in and out of the house often, it will also be a good idea to make this simpler for them. The faster they are able to work, the sooner will the installation job complete. When it comes to a workspace inside the house, it is already pre-designated.
• Lay down A Trail: When carpet installers work, they often have to move in and out of the house. Sometimes they may leave behind mud, sweat, dirt, and footprints in your house. These professionals carry heavy equipment behind them, which may easily cause damages to your property if not careful. Thus, it is always better to lay down a trail from the entry of the house to the area where the job is being done. You may use old towels for this or even drop clothes and cardboard. It will be a good idea to adhere these materials. Use a tape to affix the drop clothes or cardboard firmly on the ground to prevent any person from slipping while walking with heavy equipment with them. It does not make any sense if you are trying to save your floor and making it more dangerous for the professionals to walk around.
• Clear Out the Way: Normally, carpets are installed in rooms that witness high traffic, such as your family rooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. There may be several precious and personal items of yours in the area through which the contractors may walk. It will be a good idea to get rid of all valuables that can easily break and are fragile before the actual work starts. Things like costly vases, glassware, and flowerpots should be removed to prevent them from getting damaged as the work commences. When contractors carry heavy equipment with them, it will not be simple for them to keep an eye on these items. There may even be costly items in the rooms where the carpet is supposed to get installed. Things like television sets, wall decorations, furniture, and beds should be removed from the room where you wish to install the new carpet. The emptier the room, the better it will be for the professionals while they work to install the new carpet.

The terrible twos…

I think the terrible twos have arrived. Frustration of wanting to communicate, but not quite being able to has started to see tantrums being thrown by my youngest child. It feels as though he has gone from baby to toddler in the blink of an eye. Suddenly he is harder to entertain and fiercely independent. The pushchair is now redundant – he must walk everywhere. When he tires he simply sits down on the floor wherever he is – and will shriek when he is gathered up to be carried.

Toddler Climbing..

Today has been a challenge, he has discovered he can climb with ease up the radiator onto the windowsill. The radiator thankfully was cold, but he had scaled it within moments while I vacuumed the rug in the same room. I swung round to see him attempting to stand on the windowsill. Pointing with delight at the hen who was watching him from the garden. Having told him off, and distracted him with a toy car, the next attempt at climbing was over a stair-gate. I have never experienced a toddler attempting to clamber over the stair-gate, and he’s not even age 2 yet…he is 22months!

There’s also the biting, hitting and kicking. N has taken to hitting and kicking everyone when he gets told off. He has also started to try to bite. It’s horrible! I was hoping we might miss this stage! I’ve had to explain to my 8 year old that he can’t hit back, as it reinforces the idea that it’s ok! Currently, when N hits out the children will tell him to stop, and if he does it again then they will walk away from him. This usually results in N crying – but it does stop the hitting out.


I think, once N starts to talk a little more, the terrible twos may start to be easier to handle. I try to take a breath and talk to him asking him what he needs. One of the tantrums this week, was as he wanted to watch a certain thing on the television again. I spent a few minutes trying to work out what the problem was, then he started to point and say “Gen” ohhh he means “again?” he looked and excitedly replied “Yea” – iPlayer on and problem solved! But sometimes the tantrums are not so easy to resolve – especially when they are over someone elses LEGO car or a school book. But, they’re lessons which he needs to learn – not everything is his. I think though, Christmas may be very interesting!

Ample Foods Meal Replacement Shakes Review

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Ample meal was founded in 2015. It might be relatively new. It, however, is one meal replacement that can be trusted to keep you healthy. The reason for this is its three major goals. Ample meal is aimed at reducing spikes in insulin, helping the gut stay healthy, and reducing inflammations.

Although packaged food, Ample meal is a lot different from other packaged foods and meal replacement which makes people feel drained after taking them. It has three versions. They are the original version and two alterations which include a vegan version known as Ample V and the ketogenic version known as Ample k. By constantly taking Ample, you will not only be having access to a good amount of nutrients, but your body will also be able to have enough calories to keep you full for longer than you imagine.

How Nutritious is Ample

If you are looking to buy ample meal replacement, you will have to settle for either 600 calories or 400 calories as these are the two sizes of Ample meals that are available. By purchasing a 600 calorie bottle of Ample, you will be able to get 35 grams of carbohydrates, 35 grams of fat, and 36 grams of protein. Furthermore, each 600 calorie Ample bottle contains 15% of the cholesterol amount that should be consumed daily. Furthermore, a bottle of 600 calorie Ample contains 8% iron, 25% calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin D, and 10% potassium.

It is not enough to know the ingredients that are contained in Ample. It is important that you know what the sources of these ingredients are.

The fat content of Ample is gotten from high oleic sunflower oil, macadamia nut oil, and coconut oil.

Ample’s carbohydrate content is gotten from whole grain oat powder, sweet potato powder, acacia fiber, chicory root fiber, organic psylilium, and tapioca dextrin.

Its protein content is gotten from pea protein, grass-fed whey concentrate, and grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen protein.

 Its micronutrients are from calcium citrate, magnesium citrate, potassium carbonate, and cholecalciferol.

Flavorings include lemon juice powder, dried honey, sea salt, cinnamon, stevia extract, monk fruit extract, and natural flavors. Probiotics include Bacillus coagulants, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

What are the Benefits of Ample?

The ingredients that are used in making Ample are all-natural. However, beyond being natural, there is a lot more to them. They come with some benefits. Although there are many benefits attached to the Ample, one of its most obvious benefits is the fact that it has a good amount of fiber, fat, and protein which implies that you won’t have to feel hungry after taking Ample meal. This benefit is one advantage that Ample meal has over other meal replacements.

Another special benefit of Ample is it can be digested very easily. This is due to the number of probiotic bacteria it contains. The presence of a good amount of probacteria in Ample might not seem like much to the average person. It, however, is a big deal to athletes. This is because according to research, one way to manage stress which is exercise-linked is by eating foods rich in probiotic bacteria. If the gut is healthy, it becomes a lot easier to recover from workouts because there is an improvement in energy storage and a reduction in inflammation.

This is a lot more important than a lot of people are aware of. A healthy gut can go a long way in reducing chronic inflammation which when left unattended to can lead to obesity, depression, and heart diseases

Price of Ample

Ample is nutritious and comes with lots of benefits. It, however, has a major downside. This downside is the amount you have to pay to purchase it. A 600 calorie bottle of Ample can be bought for $7.5. This amount sometimes increases to $8.5. While the price of Ample is not so convenient, there are ways to ensure you pay less than what the average person pays.

If you must pay less for Ample, you can subscribe to a regular shipment. By doing this, you can always get a discount. Although the discount you get might not be huge, it is a lot better than getting no discount at all. Furthermore, if you are not comfortable with the price you have to pay for a 600 calorie bottle, you can always purchase a 400 calorie bottle for between $6-$7.

What does Ample Taste Like?

Ample is not just satisfying and nutritious. It is also tasty. If you are not taking Ample for its nutrient content or for how satisfying it is, one other reason you can take it is for its taste. Although Ample does not contain any artificial sweetener, it is definitely a very sweet meal replacement. It tastes so good because of the fat that it contains.

Halilit Toddler Music Orchestra – Review

Halilit Toddler Music Orchestra

I was delighted to get to review the Halilit Toddler Music Orchestra. It is suitable for children 12 months plus. Arrives in a neat box, and contains all you need to encourage your child to get performing!

The xylophone proved very popular, the beater is lightweight (so even when accidentally hit on a head while your child is enthusiastically performing it is ok!). It makes a lovely sound, and the beater can be stored safely under the instrument. It is also easily carried around by a child, so marching and playing the xylophone can, and did occur – as did playing laying down!

The xylophone also comes with music so a slightly older child (or a parent!) could play a tune following the colour code. However a younger toddler like mine will still love playing the xylophone and producing twinkling sounds.

The ocean drum is lovely to look at and ideal as a first introduction to the instruments. It can make a variety of sounds – shake it, tap it or use the xylophone beater to hit it to make a noise.

Then there’s the hand held percussion instruments! There’s a rattle roller which makes a great clacking sound. The Bells are lightweight but wonderful to join in with most songs – and perfect for a festive song like – Jingle Bells! The Shaker maracas like the bells and rattle roller are easy to grip, and make a good noise!

Starting to play music with a toddler.

Pick a song you enjoy, it makes it so much easier to encourage them to join in if you are confident! I love Row-Row-Row your boat, mostly as the actions are great fun! As it’s coming up to Christmas we have been playing along to some festive favourites! Older siblings have joined in too – playing their instruments! Yes, we have been having band practice!

No band? Use your phone to play some music to perform with! Don’t worry if music making feels more like noise making – the more you play the more musical the play becomes! N has started to sing along when we start to perform – it’s very sweet!

Why encourage your toddler to play music?

Music is good for so many reasons! It evokes a range of emotions from listener and performer too. Stimulates memories. Music also can help with development of speech via singing nursery rhymes, and motor skills – playing instruments. The effect of playing music from an early age is great, and there’s lots to read on music and childhood development if you’re interested. Most importantly, enjoying music with your child is a great way to bond!

Dental Care for Kids.


Like most parents, I’m always keen to keep my children fit and healthy. We attend Dr’s appointments, eat healthy and exercise. But looking after children’s teeth is also vitally important. My children have been going to the dentist since they were aged 2. When I have a check up I take them with me so they get used to going and aren’t worried about what will happen.

How to look after your children’s oral health.

I’m sharing this handy guide on how best to care for your children’s teeth. As it’s always nice to have a checklist to remind you what you can do. Remember to always seek advice from your dentist or healthcare professional if you have any worries regarding your child’s health.

Oral Health Checklist created by Natomas Crossing Dental Care

Make brushing teeth fun!

As a child I hated brushing my teeth. So as a parent I’ve always tried to keep tooth brushing fun. My children choose their own brushes, and tooth paste! You can often find character brushes in discount stores which are great for younger children. We have used brushing apps, and watched You Tube videos while brushing teeth as a good way to time how long we are brushing for! Anything to keep the children keen to brush! I’m hoping good habits will last a life time!

Our garden in November

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How it is November I’m not entirely sure. I feel as though I’ve been hurled through the year so far. Now, it is almost next year!

Winter I both love and loathe. I don’t enjoy the shorter days, but winter walks – especially if there’s a little sunshine – makes me smile!

Since I was a small child, I’ve always been told to look at the berries on the trees to see if we will have a cold winter. This holly bush rarely has any berries, but this year it is heavily laden. So if the old wives tale is true, it will be a cold hard winter. I have often thought I ought to keep a diary to see if there is any truth in the tale? Perhaps this year I will.

Winter wildlife

We had to rescue to young hedgehogs. They were out in daylight sunbathing, and after a call to a rescue centre we decided we needed to take them in. The rescue centres closest to us were full, so we had to drive to one a little distance away. The good news is that the centre are hopeful they will be able to be released into our garden in the spring. I spoke to someone at length about whether we should have just fed them, but these were very small hedgehogs, and even being fed it was unlikely they would survive the cold months.

We’ll be feeding the birds again this winter. We feed our birds a mix of nuts, fatballs and seed. Daily checks on food and water for the birds have already begun!

Our Garden in November

I don’t do many jobs in November in the garden. The main one is dealing with the mass of fallen leaves! I am sure we get more every year! The other thing which I am doing is moving more delicate potted plants into sheltered areas of the garden to protect them from the weather. It’s also the time when I plan fence repairs, of which we have a few to attend to!


Winter Wardrobe – A wardrobe for every season? #ACEWinterRefresh #Ad

 This post is an entry for the BritMums #ACEWinterRefresh Challenge, sponsored by ACE for Colours Powder. Get help for all kinds of stains with the ACE Stain Helper and pick up the range at your nearest Morrison’s store or buy online on Amazon.

I am a great believer in looking after your clothes carefully! If you look after them carefully, they last longer, which is better for your money and the environment too as you buy less.

Growing up I remember my wardrobe being switched over from Summer, to Winter. Away would go the lightweight cardigans and dresses. Out would come jumpers, needlecord and tights! Colours would swap from pastels to mustards and reds. They were warming colours, and thicker fabrics too. It’s something I’ve continued to do as an adult with a family of my own.

The year round items…

Some items of clothing I know I will wear whatever the weather. Hoodies, jeans and colourful t-shirts are my families year round items. These never get packed away! This does mean that they need extra care to keep them looking good! Daily wear means they get marked and the colours dull. So I’ve used ACE to revive the colours and remove stains on my year round clothing!

It’s so simple to use in my washing, just add your normal washing liquid, then when the water starts to fill up your washing machine, add 2 tablespoons of ACE to your washing machine drawer! My coloured clothes have definitely looked a little brighter!

Winter clothes

My winter wardrobe involves quite a lot of wool, I really feel the cold! When I get my wool jumpers out they are ready to wear as I wash and dry them carefully before packing them away in a airtight container. (Cashmere I wrap in acid-free tissue paper, and if I remember I add some dried lavender to the box as I read it discourages moths!) .

I’m always keen to try to refresh my winter wardrobe by adding a few new accessories. If you regularly read my blog you’ll know I love to charity shop! I’ve shared my top tips for charity shopping so do have a read if you’re not sure where to begin! ACE has been a great help with my charity shop purchases. Sometimes you spot something which would be ideal to refresh your wardrobe, but there’s a mark on it – or it just looks really worn. I found a beautiful Boden jacket on the £1 rail of a charity shop. It had a nasty mark on the collar – but otherwise was in perfect condition. So I bought it, washed it, and the stain is much improved – although not completely gone. I should have pre-treated it with ACE, but I was so keen to get to wear it!

I think that it is a great addition to my Winter wardrobe! I’ll wear it with jeans or my jersey dresses and it will really revive my wardrobe. It’s so easy just to slip into dull shades in the winter months, so this vibrant jacket is perfect to keep my wardrobe colourful all winter!

Packing away summer clothes.

I wash and fold summer clothes ready to put away for next summer. Any little repairs get attended to – think lost buttons, or frayed hems. This year I repaired and put away over half term!

Some things I know I won’t wear again so I’ll put those straight into the charity bag. Another great reason to care for your clothes well, is that you can then pass them onto someone else to enjoy – I digress!

Carefully folding my clothes away for summer means that I will feel as though I have a new wardrobe of clothes when I get them out next year! I still add dried lavender to keep the moths at bay, (or atleast I believe it helps!!) but I don’t worry about using tissue paper as most of my summer clothes are either cotton or linen.

Where to store your clothes out of season?

Store your clothes somewhere dry! I store mine in air tight containers in the bottom of my airing cupboard – it works well for me! I do know of people storing clothes in blanket boxes, or up in their loft. As long as your clothes are stored clean (moths love dirt marks on clothes…!) and dry, they can be stored wherever works for you!