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Find the perfect home for your children

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: Think of the future When choosing a property, it is important to think of the future. Do not purchase a house with the mentality more »


How to keep your kids happy when you move

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. Thanks to more »


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

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: 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 more »


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

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 more »


Label Love: Itemising When Moving

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. (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 more »


How to make your garden kid-safe

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. 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 more »


Crafting Eco-friendly Pet Toys with Your Kids 19

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. Every parent wants to find new and innovative ways to spend quality time with their more »


How To Pack A Suitcase Perfectly And Efficiently

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 more »


How to survive your child’s first sleepover

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. Image by Jolante van Hemert, shared under a Creative Commons Licence The invites It makes things much easier for you more »


Outdoor Fun: Five Child-Friendly Festivals across the UK

Hopefully, we’ve seen the back of the worst of the weather, and while we are still in the middle of springtime, summer is just around the corner. Apparently, we can expect one of the best summers in a long time, with bright sunny days making regular appearances, and what better way to enjoy them than with a festival or two? Festivals aren’t just for grownups who love a good booze up and a funky pair of wellies – there are loads of fantastic festivals across the UK that appeal to families, too. Whether you wish to take your children along to a predominantly adult festival, or you’d prefer to ease them more »


How to keep your pooch happy in the summer

Everyone looks forward to a nice warm summer, particularly in the UK where dismal, rainy weather is all too common for the rest of the year. However, if you have a pet dog, the season brings with it a few extra challenges. There are a few risks that summer poses to your pooch’s health that you should bear in mind. First, and most importantly, the importance of not leaving dogs in cars cannot be overstated. Cars can heat up extremely quickly in the sun, and leaving the window open a crack will make little to no difference. Leaving dogs in hot cars is one of the leading causes of heatstroke in more »


Post-divorce families – getting it right

Pre-divorce is full of the very problems and reasons that the divorce became necessary. This might involve arguing, shouting and other forms of conflict; thus divorce can be traumatic, emotive, complicated and expensive. Divorce can have devastating effects on children if it is not handled sensitively and maturely – we all know these facts. So surely the post-divorce situation is the point in which things can look forward to a workable and sustainable future. Re-organisation The first stage of the post-divorce family is the re-organisation period and involves settling down to the changes. Adults can find this very difficult and children more so, meaning that support is very important during this more »


What are the benefits from buying local?

Although similar assurances are available in other countries, there are added benefits to changing your attitude and buying local. Economy We’re all aware of the economic uncertainty that the UK has faced in the past few years or so, but despite a recent improvement in figures – many are unaware of just how badly people in some areas are struggling. That’s where you come in! Simply supporting local products like cheese, wines, beer or cider could give your region the edge it needs to grow. You see, the more we invest in our local economies by buying products, the less subsidies are needed and the more jobs can be created. Who more »


2014 spring trends for women’s work wear

With winter coming to an end, it is time to give your wardrobe a much needed spring clean and refresh your office outfits with SS14’s hottest trends. It can sometimes be difficult to decide on work wear for women as there are so many options available and what you wear has to look professional as well as stylish. Here are three spring trends that can easily be incorporated into your working wardrobe. Pretty prints: Adding prints is a wonderful way of injecting colour and personality in to your outfit whilst still appearing professional.  Spring/Summer 2014 is all about florals and this season’s trend has been updated with graphic designs and vibrant more »


Must do activities in London

London is like another world. Made famous in film, song and literature, it is one of the most highly populated cities in the UK and it isn’t hard to see why many thousands of tourists flock to visit every year.  But even if you’re lucky enough to count yourself native to the capital, it’s worth taking time to revisit all the great things the city offers. Perfect for individuals, couples and even those with small children, London features something for everyone. Bursting with art galleries, restaurants, historic sites and theatres, use the must-visit guide below and tick some activities off your bucket list. Visit a museum London is home to some more »


What type of Bingo player are you? I am old school

Costa Bingo are trying to find out what your boingo personality is.  I took the test and I am an old school player, which is pretty spot on. Bingo for me reminds me of my family and good times when everyone got round the table having a laugh and playing together! My mum and aunties and my cousins would often play together and it was real family fun and I have never played online bingo in my life. Both my boys see bingo as family fun too and my brother runs the bingo in the club that he and my sister in law run. So what is your bingo personality?  Take more »


Are we failing in our mission to support elderly relatives?

Recent media attention has put a spotlight on how isolated many UK elderly people actually are. The blame has largely been placed upon the busy pace of modern life.  As we struggle to make ends meet, and juggle work and family life, it can be easy to forget about the elderly people in our lives. However, the question is; are we really failing to provide support for this forgotten generation? Not just face to face support that’s lacking When you think about loneliness, you often associate it mainly with a lack of face to face contact. However, even just contact over the telephone can play a big part in keeping elderly more »


From schools to shopping: Why reside in Reading?

Having lived and word just outside of Reading for 14 years.  I have to say I love it and the fact that Maxi was born there will mean it is always close to my heart. Reading is often dismissed as merely a town on the commuter belt to London. It doesn’t feature on many tourist brochures and is perhaps most famous historically for making biscuits.   My Reading Baby However, thanks to a booming IT and insurance industry, this large and personable town is enjoying something of a renaissance. Visit its lively and vibrant town centre with its array of bars, shops and restaurants and it quickly becomes apparent why the more »


I do hope you are having a great valentines day…..

  We are not huge Valentines celebrators here in the Mad House.  Especially as our wedding anniversary falls o0n March.  This year we are celebrating it even less as Maxi has a stomach bug!   However, some people are not like MadDad and me and feel that Chocolates. Flowers. Dinner = Valentine’s day. Not a sniffling ill other half! Make sure they’re aware of the importance of this day, thanks to Vicks. So which camp are you in, the Valentines lover or the Valentines hater?


Out and About: 5 UK Events to Take Your Child to This Year 18

Much like the USA, the United Kingdom is famous for its weird and wacky events. Whether it’s rolling cheese down a hill or donning full Viking attire for a fire festival, one things for sure: The Brits know how to have fun. If you’re planning a family adventure to the UK or locally based and looking for a way to get the clan together for some quality time, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top five kid friendly events to attend in 2014. Boardmasters Does your child thrive on adrenaline? Do they spend most of their time catching waves at the beach or tearing up the sidewalk on more »