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Find the perfect home for your children

Jen Walshaw : December 15, 2014 6:15 pm : Featured and Guest

Moving house is always a stressful time and involves a large amount of decision making. But, the largest and most important aspect of moving house is ensuring you choose the right one for your children to grow up in. Ideally you want a house that both you and your children can call a home – where your children can create the perfect childhood memories.

In order to help you with the big move, here are a few things you should take into consideration before purchasing a property:

gingerbread house

Think of the future

When choosing a property, it is important to think of the future. Do not purchase a house with the mentality that it will only last a few years. Moving house does incur expenses therefore the longer you remain in a home, the more money you save.

Also, it is better for children to be brought up in just one home rather than ten.

Allow for growth

When choosing a home, try to find one that will allow you to make any adaptations or changes as life’s needs change. For example, is there space to add another bedroom if you have additional children? Many new home owners are opting for the new build homes in Aylesbury simply because they allow for such changes.

Flexibility

Your new home should have some flexibility in the functions of the rooms. It is ideal if you have a room that can be used as both a study and a playroom – this leaves you some room to change how you would like to utilise this space, depending on your family’s needs.

dog walk

Surroundings and neighbourhood

The neighbourhood in which the house is situated in is vital. You should remember – your children will be growing up here. You should check out the schools and the local parks etc. Also, are you near to local amenities? Being close to shops and restaurants is useful in case you do not have a car. You can also find out the reputation of certain neighbourhoods by asking around or searching online.

When you are looking for the perfect house, it is important that you see it as a home and not just an investment. This is where you and your beloved family will be spending each and every day therefore, it is vital that you get it right.  With these tips in mind, buying the perfect home shouldn’t be a problem.

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How to keep your kids happy when you move

Jen Walshaw : December 12, 2014 5:26 pm : Featured and Guest

In a past life before kids I was a Facilities Manager and organised relocations for the large company I worked for including 500 people from one office to another over the period of a weekend, but I never knew what stress was until it came to moving house myself.

The last time we moved eight years ago I had a 4 month old and a22 month old and it was a NIGHTMARE.  I hated it and swore never to do it again.

But if you are looking to move and have kids do check out this fab infographic with some great ideas for keeping kids of all ages happy.
Happy kids-pageThanks to Eco Movers for the infographic

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How to support the RSPCA as they give dogs a second chance this Christmas

Jen Walshaw : December 2, 2014 11:54 am : Featured and Guest

The RSPCA do an incredible job of rescuing dogs, as well as other pets, with 245,590 animals being collected and rescued by the hard-working RSPCA last year. However, they need continual help and support, especially at Christmas time. Here’s how you can help:

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Adopt a pet

You too can rescue dogs this Christmas by adopting and re-homing them. However, dogs aren’t just for Christmas, they need a home for life and adopting a pet can be a life changing decision and not one to take lightly. There are many wonderful benefits to owning a pet such as companionship and the opportunity to do more exercise but you must make sure you have the ability to offer them something back – unconditional love, a warm and safe home, food and security.

How to go about it?

If you feel you have what it takes to adopt a pet, go and visit your local RSPCA rather than a pet shop. This way you will give an animal a home that really needs it. The RSPCA give each dog a behavioural assessment and health check. They also treat every dog as an individual, giving each one a unique caring experience.

They also go through a matchmaking process for every adoption; making sure the dog is right for the owner as much as the owner is right for the dog. Before adoption takes place, the prospective owner will have to fill in a questionnaire, have an interview and be given a home check. RSPCA inspectors will also visit the dog after adoption to make sure it’s settling in well and that there are no problems.

The number of people being convicted of animal cruelty is rising in the UK and it’s important that you do your bit to tackle this head-on.

Alvin

Sponsor a pet

If you don’t feel that re-homing a pet is quite right for you, you can still support the RSCPA this Christmas by sponsoring a pet. Unfortunately, more and more pets in the UK are victims of cruelty Christmas is no exception. But you can help.

For just £6.50 a month you can help distressed animals be fed, sheltered and loved. As well as giving a dog a second chance you will also receive a welcome pack which includes a personal certificate, car stickers and a sponsorship guide. You will also get regular updates about the animals you’re helping to keep safe and you’ll get invitations to visit the branches you’re sponsoring and meet other RSPCA sponsors.

The packs and information you’re sent is always written in simple language which makes it great for kids too so why not sponsor a pet on your child’s behalf? It’s a great way to help animals, teach your children about charity and responsibility and even placate their desire to bring a pet into the home.

Give a dog a second chance this Christmas – it might just be the best family decision you make

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Don’t Be Blind: Keeping Your Nursery Safe and Stylish

Jen Walshaw : November 27, 2014 1:03 pm : Featured and Guest

In the midst of the “nesting” phase of pregnancy, most prospective mothers (and fathers, for that matter) are excitedly preparing a nursery for their imminent arrival. It’s certainly one of the most thrilling parts of the nine month period – but few would disagree that it’s also incredibly daunting.

While we don’t want to put too much of a downer on this period, there’s far more to decisions than what paint to throw on the wall. As you may have guessed through the title of this piece, we’re specifically going to concentrate on blinds here and highlight just what considerations need to be made. Unfortunately, these don’t all relate to style – there are some serious safety factors to bear in mind. Therefore, sit tight, and read through our guide on how to make your nursery’s windows the safest and most stylish in the neighbourhood.

blinds 3

Let’s get the safety factors out of the way – blind cords can kill

We’ll start with the most practical, and potentially lifesaving, tip that you can implement whilst making your choice on your type of window treatment.

There have been countless harrowing stories of fatalities surrounding children playing with dangling blind cords. They act as a huge strangulation hazard and before you even consider whether to opt for a Venetian or blackout style, you need to ensure you know the basics on how to keep your little one safe.

Fortunately, over recent years manufacturers have become more susceptible to the potential dangers that are associated with blinds and children. It’s now possible to purchase cordless blinds and if you are building for a nursery, this is a suggestion that you should seriously consider. It means that cords are either non-existent, or are just not visible, meaning that the risk is immediately limited.

If you have already purchased your set of blinds it’s still possible to improve safety by installing fixings to the wall that prevent the cord from dangling freely, but it goes without saying that the cordless option is by far and away the safest and the one that most safety groups are encouraging.

Blackout blinds might buy you hours of sleep

If you’re a first-time parent, you probably haven’t appreciated sleep like you’re about to. In short, you’re not going to have enough of it and even if a tiny amount of natural light is allowed to creep into your little one’s room, don’t be surprised if they’re ready to rise and shine at 5am.

blinds 4

It’s in these cases that blackout blinds are an absolute godsend. Little needs explaining regarding the technology here – they are a solid shade and just prevent that dreaded morning lightness entering the room. Baby will sleep better and in turn, you will too.

Your decisions can go down to the mounting

This final consideration is completely related to style, but it might also make your life easier if you opt to “upgrade” your baby’s window treatment in the future. While this decision always boils down to personal preference, experience would suggest that the inner-mounted blind is always more suited to nurseries. Particularly if you are opting to use blackout blinds, this then allows you to install a set of curtains “in front” of the blind to ultimately make the room a little more personable. As your little one grows older and starts to develop their own tastes, it’s much easier to install your set of cartoon-themed curtains in front of an inner mounted blind than it would be if you opted for the outer option.

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Label Love: Itemising When Moving

Jen Walshaw : September 27, 2014 6:59 am : Featured and Guest

Labelling boxes may seem a little OCD to you more laid back, relaxed folk, but you may be surprised how handy they are. And when you can’t find your toothbrush the first morning you wake up in your new property you’ll wish you had marked the cardboard.

The boys

(image: Kandela)

Here’s how to create the perfect labelling system for your move:

Room by Room

Start off by labelling your boxes with what room they will need to be moved into. This will help distinguish what needs to be moved upstairs, downstairs and often who is responsible for unpacking a certain set of boxes. These sticky labels should be large and clear to read – so best handwriting please!

Stay away from just initialling these labels as this can cause confusion. For example, a ‘B’ could mean bathroom or bedroom, and ‘S’ could mean study or shed. If need-be, colour code boxes with dot stickers.

What’s Inside?

Okay, so we’re not suggesting you write a huge list on the side of each box, just a general idea, for example, toys, linens and kitchen appliances. This will tell you which box contains what, helping you find items more quickly and prioritise which boxes you need to unpack first.

Make an Inventory

This is a large list of exactly what is in which box, how each container is labelled and which room it belongs to. These items can be ticked off when they are loaded onto the back of the removal truck and ticked again when they are unloaded. You may also like to number your inventory lists.

This way you can ensure nothing gets left behind or lost in transit, and if it does, you can tell your insurance company exactly what it was.

Mark as Fragile

Do you have items made of glass or china that are valuable but easily breakable? Then make sure to wrap them up well in a protective layer of bubble wrap and newspaper, and mark the boxes with big, bold letters stating ‘FRAGILE’, and ‘THIS WAY UP’.

This way movers can take extra care with these items ensuring they stay safe, secure and damage free.

Make an ‘Open First Box’

‘Open first boxes’ contain your day-to-day necessities, things that you will need as soon as you move in to your new property. These boxes could contain your work clothes, children’s lunchboxes or something as simple as the kettle.

Making an ‘open first box’ can save you a lot of time trawling through your inventory list and hunting for that much needed box.

Where Do I Get Labels?

Labels can be picked up in most DIY stores, stationary shops and supermarkets. Or you could always make your own if you have a printer and software like Microsoft Publisher or Word.

If stickers aren’t for you, then grab a marker pen. It doesn’t matter how you mark the boxes up – just do it! And remember, next time you are looking for home removal companies, who gave you this fab advice.

 

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How to make your garden kid-safe

Jen Walshaw : August 15, 2014 5:06 pm : Featured and Guest

Gardens are a great addition to the home; they allow kids to enjoy the outdoors and get valuable fresh air without being exposed to the dangers of the outside world. They are also a great way to introduce kids to the world of nature and perhaps even horticulture.

Garden 2009

Gardens however can be a dangerous place for kids if the right precautions are not taken. From the dangers of falling into ponds to harmful and poisonous plants there are many potential perils lurking in the garden environment. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your kids can enjoy your outside space without succumbing to any harm.

Keep them from wandering off

Firstly make sure that your garden is well-contained and secured. Ensure that fences and gates are properly maintained. Walls can present a hazard in themselves as older walls can begin to crumble and potentially collapse, so make sure to deal with any cracks that appear before they get out of hand.

If your garden has a hedge around it, check it for gaps throughout. You should also keep your borders trimmed to prevent sharp leaves or thorns from becoming entangled in your children’s clothes.

garden 2013

Be aware of poisonous or harmful plants

Make sure that your children know good plants from bad ones and never allow them to eat any plant unless there is an adult supervising. As well as pointing out any poisonous plants it is also important to make your kids aware of any unsafe plants that may sting or prick them. Examples of which are rose bushes, holly and cactus plants and if you have young children it may be best to avoid these completely.

Keep your area tidy

It might sound obvious but you should never leave any tools lying around that your child may be tempted to play with. If you are using power tools make sure your children don’t play near you especially if you are using a step ladder that can be easily knocked over. Check that paving is properly fitted and replace if any cracks appear. This could make for a trip hazard resulting in a nasty head injury. It is important to take care of your trees and trim any loose branches hanging over paths that may potentially fall off again causing potential head injuries.

make your garden kid safe

Using chemicals

Make sure that chemicals such as pesticides are locked in cabinets in their original containers. It is also important to ensure that children do not play near any plants that have been sprayed with chemicals as they may touch them resulting in them getting toxins in their eyes or mouth.

Wash your hands

Finally, you should always encourage children to wash their hands after being the garden. Germs are the number one cause of many illnesses.

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Crafting Eco-friendly Pet Toys with Your Kids

Jen Walshaw : July 28, 2014 4:21 pm : Featured and Guest

It’s such a wonderful thing that more and more people are taking the time to craft eco-friendly pet toys with their kids. Considering the crazy costs involved with buying pet toys, people generally have no option other than to create their own eco-friendly pet toys. The prices of nearly everything have skyrocketed over the past few years and in all honesty, many great pet parents simply cannot afford to spend the same hundreds of dollars a year they have in the past. It makes sense for people to experiment with crafting eco-friendly pet toys with kids.

alvin

Every parent wants to find new and innovative ways to spend quality time with their kids. There is no better way that to help their children learn more about saving the planet by crafting eco-friendly pet toys with your kids. Teaching children to look at things that they would normally discard in a different light will help to keep tons of items out of landfills. Repurposing items that were destined for the trash barrel is a great way to teach the children about caring for and respecting the environment. Crafting eco-friendly pet toys with your children is a great educational experience.

Tuff Tugging Toy

Gather the following items:

  • Old clothing made of durable fabric
  • Different colored fabric paint
  • Paintbrushes with natural hair brushes
  • Lots of newspapers
  • Cup of water
  • Paper towels

The Crafting Process

  1. Find a work area that will be big enough for you and your children to comfortably craft the tugging toy. Completely cover the area with thick layers of newspapers. This will protect the finish of the table.
  2. Lay the old clothing out on the table, and cut three strips of fabric that are about three or four inches wide by one and a half feet long. The strips needn’t be exactly the same sizes. You’re making a pet toy, not a prom dress.
  3. Put the remaining fabric away for creating other pet toys and lay the three strips out on top of the newspapers. Be sure that all of the children can reach the strips.
  4. Open up the fabric paints (eco-friendly and non-toxic) and give each child a paintbrush. Encourage them to be as creative as they’d like by painting pictures, shapes, etc. all over the fabric. Be sure to allow the paint to completely dry.
  5. Flip the strips of fabric over and let the children decorate that side. Once the painting is completed, let the paint dry and clean the paintbrushes in the cup of water. Dry them with paper towels to preserve them for future use.
  6. Make double knots in the ends of each piece of fabric. Then lay two strips vertically, with about six inches between them. Place the remaining strip on top of the others in a horizontal position. Double knot the vertical strips to the horizontal one.

You see, crafting eco-friendly pet toys with your children is a fun and inexpensive way to make your dog happy. Now that the project is complete, you can bring your dog out into the yard to test his new tug toy. Of course, the pooch should only be loose if the yard has a secure pet fence or invisible fence that doesn’t restrict the view.

Throw the tug toy and your dog will gladly run after it. You can also use it to play tug of war, if the dog’s temperament and breed allow. Bring the whole family outside to play. You are all bound to have a blast.

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How To Pack A Suitcase Perfectly And Efficiently

Jen Walshaw : July 22, 2014 4:48 pm : Featured and Guest

How to pack a

Suitcases are great investments, especially for those who travel a lot because they are durable and lighter compared to hard-sided luggage bags. Thanks to their flexibility, they also tend to hold more stuff than hard-sided bags. Packing a suitcase perfectly, however, is more art than science. Fortunately for you (and every traveller), this skill can be mastered quite easily!

Pack for the Weather

Packing the right outerwear for the weather is the number one way to save space. Study local climate patterns and go through weather forecasts thoroughly before you pack. Nights in deserts, for instance, tend to be quite cold. So if you’re heading out to Cairo to see the pyramids, it’s best to stow away the thick jacket and choose a light cardigan instead. Similarly, summers in Iceland are very pleasant. Choose a light sweatshirt over a heavy jacket instead.

Make a Checklist

How many times have you reached your destination, booked into the hotel, and opened your luggage only to find that you’re missing a favorite pair of jeans or an essential medication? To avoid packing disasters like these, make a detailed checklist of every essential item. As you pack away each item, cross it off your list. This way, you’re far less likely to forget the important stuff.

Buy Things in Travel Sizes

The thing that separates experienced travellers from amateurs is travel gear. Experienced travellers usually buy essential items, from toothbrushes to shampoo, in travel sizes. Think of an item like a hair dryer. Your regular sized dryer takes up substantial space. A travel-specific mini hair dryer, on the other hand, takes up only a fraction of that space. Whenever possible, buy things in travel sizes. This will end up saving you a lot of space.

Be a Folding Master

Master your folding technique and you master suitcase packing. You can save a lot of space by folding your clothes into a neat, tight bundle. T-shirts, for example, occupy least space when rolled into a tight, cylindrical fold. Similarly, undergarments should be folded together to save space. Jeans, trousers and dresses, on the other hand, should be laid out flat to occupy as little space as possible.

Packing is never easy, but by mastering these four tips, you can save a lot of time, space, and hassle on your travels.
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How to survive your child’s first sleepover

Jen Walshaw : May 30, 2014 11:40 am : Featured and Guest

If you’ve asked your child what they’d like to do this weekend, then a likely response is ‘sleepover!’ This can be a request that parents dread— doesn’t it mean hyper children, a sleepless night and the potential for tears and arguments in the early hours? It’s understandable that you might be a little nervous, especially if this is the first sleepover you’ve hosted. There are, however, a number of steps you can take to ensure a stress-free experience, so get that sofa bed out and give your child the go ahead.

sleepover

Image by Jolante van Hemert, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

The invites

It makes things much easier for you if you set the numbers and stick to it. If this is the first sleepover you’ve hosted then it’s especially helpful to keep numbers low. A sleepover with one or two close friends can be just as exciting, and will help to avoid some of the problems that can crop up in larger groups. Choose your number and stick to it!

It’s also worth considering your child’s choice of friends. Do they all know each other? Get on well? It’s best not to take any chances with kids falling out or clashing.

Communicating with other parents

It’s a good idea to have a chat with each parent before arrangements are confirmed. Has their child been to a sleepover before? Were there any problems? If they’re prone to wetting the bed or afraid of the dark then you need to know this.

There are also things like allergies and bed time routines to take into consideration. Find out what time each child usually goes to bed, for example. It’s worth checking that parents are happy for kids to phone if they get a little anxious, or pick them up if they’re really not happy.

The fun parts

Now you’ve got the invites and arrangements with parents sorted it’s time to focus on the fun. Set aside a room in the house for the sleepover and clear floor space for places to sleep where the guests can use sleeping bags or sofa beds. Perhaps your child will want to watch movies, or play board games. It’s best to arrange activities before hand and stick to a plan. If a movie is on the cards, set a start time so that it doesn’t finish too late, and limit sweet treats to the first part of the film only.

It’s a good idea to go through things with the kids at the start of the sleepover, including when they’ll eat, what activities are laid on and when it will be time to sleep. Outline what kind of behaviour is expected and what they can do if they do start to feel a little scared or upset. It’s important that kids feel safe and reassured. By keeping it small and structured you should have no problems surviving your child’s first sleepover.

Author Bio

Tracy Emily is a busy mother of three and survivor of many, many sleepovers. When not recovering from hosting kids parties, she can be found relaxing with her dog, Vince.

 

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888 Ladies Terms and Conditions

Jen Walshaw : April 25, 2014 2:41 pm : Featured and Guest
The promoter is 888 Holdings Bingo 85A Medinat Hayehudim st. Herzliya Pituach 46140, Israel (“The Promoter”)

The competition is a prize draw and is open to all UK residents aged 18 and over. Employees of  The Promoter, and its associated agencies are not eligible to enter.

To take part in this competition, you must submit a blog post. “This is my entry for the 888Ladies Bingo Competition” linking (NOFOLLOW) www.888ladies.com/?sr=868127&anid=tots100

The competition closes at 11.55pm GMT on 2 May 2014. Entries received after this date will not be eligible to win the prize.

No purchase necessary.

Winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries received before the closing date.

Prize winners will be notified within 14 days of the closing date by email or Twitter DM.

If the prize winner can not be contacted despite the promoter’s best efforts, winners will forego the right to claim the prize and an alternative winning entry will be selected.

There is first prize of a £250 Amazon gift voucher and a second prize of a Kindle Paperwhite, valued at £109. Prizes are not transferable and there is no cash alternative. The prize consists only of the elements detailed.

At all times the promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The names of the competition winners will be announced on Mum the Madhouse website within 28 days of the closing date.

By entering this competition you confirm that your entry complies with all copyright requirements where relevant, and you own the image submitted as an entry. WE reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to reject any entry which is deemed to contain objectionable or offensive content.

Entry to this competition confirms participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction in connection with these terms and conditions. Any personal data supplied to the Promoters in connection with the competition will only be used for the purpose of this competition and as otherwise provided for in these Terms & Conditions.

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