Tips that will help you to keep the kids busy over the holidays

Awesome tips that will help you to keep the kids busy over the holidays

Holidays can be a fantastic way for you to bond with your children, not to mention that you can also let your own inner child out a little too.

The problem is that it can also be incredibly stressful when your kids misbehave, and usually this is the result of boredom. If you want to make sure that you are making the most out of your summer holidays, then you need to try and prepare your days so that your kids don’t have much time to get bored.

 

Make your own games

If you want to have fun with your kids, then why not make your own game? Get some scissors, some glue and even some coloured cards if you want. When you do this, you can then make sure that you are making the most out of the resources you have around you.

Remember that games such as Hoopla, Snakes and Ladders or anything else similar can all be done at home and you would be surprised at how easy it is for you to make them feel happy and entertained when you explore options such as this.

 

Cooking

Once a week, try and devote an entire day to cooking or baking. Get the kids involved from the beginning until the end and even let them choose from a wide selection of ingredients too.

If your child can read, then ask them to read the recipes to you step by step. This will help them to work through any of the instructions and it will also give them more confidence in the kitchen, which is always a good thing. If you want to teach your kids how to take pictures of their creations, then this is also a good idea. You can delete any duplicate pictures on your phone by using this tutorial.

 

Make an assault course

Kids usually like being active. If you have some garden chairs, wooden boxes and buckets lying around then why not use them to make an assault course? Anything that can be jumped over, gone under or simply run around is great here.

You can also ask your children to time each other as they make their way around the assault course too, so make sure that you keep this in mind.

 

Garden patches

Dedicate a very small part of your garden, to your kids. When you do this, you can then ask them to plant certain things. This can include flowers, lettuce, herbs and plants too. Anything that grows quickly can give them the huge satisfaction of being able to actually produce something.

If your kids are very small, then give them a spade and let them loose.  This will give your child the chance to burn off some energy and it will also give them the chance to really let loose. It also gives them a valuable learning experience as they can see their hard work pay off if they have a little patience so keep that in mind too.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

thoughtful homemade gift ideas

Six thoughtful homemade gift ideas

With more time on our hands than ever, it opens the opportunity for more art and crafts. As the year starts again and birthdays begin to roll around, why not take the time to get the kids and hand make some birthday gifts for your loved ones?

There are so many ideas out there that the recipient is sure to love – and it is a great way to really show you care, as well as keep the little ones busy if they aren’t in school! With a normal gift, anyone can just pop out to the store, spend some money and buy it.

But if you make something yourself, you can guarantee it is a unique, one-off present that they won’t have a duplicate of – and won’t get again! You can also make it a lot more personal and tailored to the person who is receiving it. The great thing about the following homemade gift ideas is that they are designed to suit a whole myriad of skill sets.

Whether you are a hardcode DIYer with plenty of tools and experience in home made things, to someone who hasn’t picked up a glue stick since they were in pre-school. The most important thing is that you have fun – don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfect, it just adds to the charm and the recipient isn’t likely to notice anyway!

Here are some top thoughtful homemade gift ideas for you to try…


1. A home made scrapbook

If you have known the person for a long time and have lots of photos and memories together, why not make them a scrapbook? You could try Pixa Prints to get your photos printed out in high quality to stick in.

Why not get some colourful corner stickers to stick them down as opposed to glue? You could fill the book in with different memories, times you have had together and things you have done. If you have any old concert tickets or memorabilia from places you have gone together, you can add these too!

Many shops sell scrapbook kits with different coloured papers and stickers to jazz it up.

 

2. Treat jars

Treat jars are a great homemade git and you can fill them with as much or as little as you want.

Think of all your loved ones favourite little things and see what you can fit into a jar. Why not put in a tea light, some hand cream, a mini notebook, a mini sized bottle of alcohol and something to eat in there? It is also a good idea to decorate the outside of the jar to add a real personal tough.

You could make your own label to stick around the middle and tie some beautiful ribbon around the lid.

 

3. A candle

Candles are great fun to make and not as difficult as you might assume! There are many kits online that you can purchase to create and they allow you to make many different scents. Try and think about which your loved one would like the best and make that.

You can add in different elements such as rose petals or different colours, and put them into fun shapes too. Once you have made your candle, you can decorate the jar that you put it in, and wrap it up nicely too.

 

4. Personalised cookies

Cookies are always a lovely gift to receive and are great fun to make and get the kid involved with too. Think of the recipient and what flavour they would like best, or get creative and make a number of different flavours. From white chocolate chip and raspberry to double chocolate, or oat and raisin there are so many choices.

You could also make plain cookies too and focus more on the icing. Why not buy an icing kit and you can write messages on top of them? If it is for a birthday or anniversary you could pipe nice messages for them to read on the day. Be sure to get a box for them to go in and tie it up with a bow for a really professional and thoughtful finish.

 

5. A collage

If you are looking to really delve into your art and craft skills, why not create your loved one a collage for their birthday? This could be something made from different materials that come from all the places they like to go, or that remind you of them. For example, you could get some sticks and flowers from the woods if they like to go there on walks, shells from the beach, or things that remind you of them.

You could mix this up with some photos of them, their family and friends and you and stick it all on a big board. Don’t forget to pop it in a frame so they can put it up in their home if they want to.

 

6. A scrabble name picture

Scrabble name pictures are easy to make, look great and are the perfect gift to go up in their house. Simply choose a background of colored or patterned paper and attach this to a board of a photo frame. Then get some scrabble tiles and spell out the name of your loved one, their family or something they love and stick the tiles down together like a scrabble board. Put the frame together once you are done and you have a perfect homemade gift that they are likely to treasure for years to come.

You could leave room if they are planning to have kids and when they have their children, offer to put the new names on there too!

 

These are just a few different ideas for thoughtful homemade gift ideas.

Be sure to plan out what you are going to do ahead of time to ensure you have all the necessary equipment or ingredients. The last thing you want is to be halfway through your project and find you don’t have the equipment necessary to carry on! Not only is it inconvenient, but it could ruin all of the hard work you have put in.

What is your favourite thoughtful homemade gift idea? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

great ways to commemorate key events in your life (Other than by journaling)

3 great ways to commemorate key events in your life (Other than by journaling)

If everything is going as it should, life will naturally be full of all sorts of deeply rich, meaningful, and interesting events and experiences that you will likely want to preserve and look back on in the future.

There are many different ways that people can go about trying to commemorate key events in their lives. Perhaps the most common way, historically, has been by journaling – keeping a written log of the events of day-to-day life, so that those events can be revisited later on from an “insider’s perspective.”

There are, however, all sorts of other ways of  commemorating key events in your life, and there are reasons to think that journalling might not always be the best approach

After all, writing about your thoughts and feelings in a particular moment in time will tell you a lot about your mindset in that moment, but may not be the best way of preserving the moment itself.

Here are some great ways to commemorate key events in your life (other than by journaling.)

By keeping a photo journal

Keeping a “photo journal,” where you have daily entries consisting primarily of photographs, instead of long-form written entries, is a great way of preserving memories in a visceral format that you will likely be happy to look back on, in the future.

What’s more, thanks to modern smartphones, assorted digital technologies, and apps and services such as Day One journal, it’s now quicker and easier than ever before to keep a photo journal.

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Often, a single photo will be able to bring back a flood of memories, thoughts, and insights.

 

By holding on to physical mementos and tokens from the occasion

If your significant other gives you a 1 carat diamond ring for your engagement, then it’s very likely that the ring itself will come to have a great wealth of meaning and significance to you, above and beyond its raw material cost.

Physical mementos and tokens from different meaningful occasions in your life can serve as embodied “anchors” that connect you to that particular moment in time.

Whether it’s a precious ring, a shell from a special day on the beach, or a trinket from a great vacation you went on, consider collecting and holding onto some old mementos.

 

By sharing your stories with those close to you

One of the best ways of commemorating significant occasions in your life, is to simply remember the fun, powerful, moving, or otherwise significant stories associated with those moments, and to then share them with those close to you.

Many grandchildren end up feeling a deep sense of connection to particular moments in the lives of their grandparents that they weren’t even alive to witness, but that they experienced vicariously through the tales they were told about those instances.

Storytelling is a timeless and precious art. Consider sharing some of the stories that are most meaningful to you, with those close to you.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Enjoy post-pandemic life In 2021

Enjoying post-pandemic life In 2021

Life hasn’t felt normal for a long time, and since March many of us have had to come to terms with a new way of life that consists of waking up, making a coffee, working at your home desk, finishing and eating, then watching TV. 

However once we reach the end of the pandemic we are looking forward to changing our habits and getting back out there in the world. If you want to make the most of your life post-pandemic we have some amazing ideas for you to try in 2021(hopefully) to make the most of every minute. 

Have a dinner party 

For those of you who love to host and have people over at their house – a dinner party is the perfect way to spend your time Post-pandemic.

Arrange the perfect evening at home with your family to friends and really go all out on the hosting and culinary delights you present to your guests. Some amazing ideas for a dinner party could be: 

  • Table nibbles – fresh bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, olives, bruschetta, bread sticks
  • Appetisers – bruschetta, smoked salmon crackers, pate on toast, calamari
  • Starters – meatballs in marinara sauce, chicken salad, sweet potato boats 
  • Mains – steaks, build-your-own pizzas, roast dinner, spatchcock chicken
  • Desserts – ice cream sundae, chocolate fondant, cookie dough, Black Forest gateau

There are so many ways to have fun with a dinner party and you could even go one step further and serve your food with a perfect wine pairing with each course. Have fun and plan the ultimate classy dinner party at home. 

 

Visit a local restaurant 

It is so important that we support local business during this pandemic because a lot of smaller restaurants have been unable to open for the last few months and are struggling to stay afloat. Make your first meal out after the pandemic to a local restaurant and try something new.

Supporting a local business is an amazing thing to do and you will also be able to hopefully walk from home and have a couple of drinks while you are out – it’s a win win! 

 

Catch up with family 

Family has been a difficult thing for us to go without during the pandemic and many of us have been unable to see our parents, grown up children, or other family members since March. Make the most of seeing everyone closest to you in the new year and have a day out together or host everyone at your house for a games night.

Spending time with the ones you love the most should never be take for granted and it is so important for you to do this this year. 

 

Go on holiday 

One of the best things you will be able to do in the Jew year that you couldn’t before will be travel and explore the world. Consider looking into Egypt tours 2021 and allow your imagination to go wild thinking about amazing holidays to enjoy during the new year.

Go somewhere you have always wanted to go and make your first post- pandemic holiday one to remember for years to come! 

 

Start working towards your dream career 

If you have noticed during the pandemic that you want to make a change to your life – you may first have thought about your career. A lot of us have lost our jobs or been furloughed during the pandemic and for many this has offered us a chance to make a change and do something new.

Take the chance now to consider what it is you really want in life and think about maybe working towards something different. There are so many amazing career options to try and you can take this uncertain period to take a leap and do something new. 

 

Save up for a house 

If you have been stuck at home but you have been still paid full time to work you should be in a good financial position. Take the chance now and post- pandemic to finally save up enough money for your first house or your dream house.

There will be no better feeling after being stuck in the same home for over a year than to break out and start a fresh life somewhere else with new memories. 

 

Go for a road trip 

Driving has been something a lot of us take for granted however in the last few months many of us have simply not had a reason to go out in the car and have not been able to go past our local area.

Once the pandemic ends take the chance to pack up the car with snacks and drinks, load up on amazing tracks, and take a road trip alone or with your favourite people. Even a drive around country lanes or mountains without getting out of the car can be amazing and will be an experience you likely haven’t enjoyed for a while! 

 

Renovate your home 

Now that the pandemic is reaching an end it is the ideal time for you to renovate your home and finally change those annoyances you have noticed during your time in lockdown. Invest in a new bathroom or kitchen or take it even further and consider extending your home at the back to make it perfect for your family. 

 

Try new hobbies 

Once the pandemic is over it is so important not to allow yourself back into that rut you were in before. Take the time now that you have your freedom to do things you never did before. Take a cookery class; try rock climbing; or take a pottery class.

Enjoy every moment of life and try new things every month if you can. Keeping your life fun and exciting is so important after such a long time stuck at home not being able to experience anything at all. 

 

Post-pandemic life is likely going to feel a lot different to life before Covid. Hopefully after the collective experiences we have had as a race, we can make changes and really appreciate the little things in life more. 

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

home renovations that will make you fall in love with your house

3 home renovations that will make you fall in love with your house

Your home is something that you should love. It should be a space that you feel comfortable and relaxed in, that you want to entertain in, and that reflects your personality and tastes. While you may have factored all of these criteria into the process when you first bought your home, over time, things change, the décor ages, the space may no longer be functional, and you can just start to fall out of love with your home.

Before you make the big decision to move house, you may want to consider some renovations that would provide a big impact and could possibly have you falling in love with your home all over again. Here are three home renovations worth considering. 

Gut the kitchen and start from scratch

When you survey homeowners about the space that they dislike the most in their home, often the kitchen is brought up. Kitchens tend to show wear and tear a lot faster than any other room in the house, since they get so much use, and they tend to be the place where most people like to hang out.

And it’s not just the aesthetics of the kitchen that becomes dated; it’s the fact that the functionality of the space can change over time.

Rather than trying to make the current kitchen work, and “make the best of it” a total gut job could be the best solution. Keep in mind that a kitchen remodel can be very expensive, but it is usually a sound investment to make.

 

Show some TLC to the outdoor space

Many homeowners focus on the interior spaces of the home, but in reality, the exterior is just as important. If your home has a garden space that is under-used or just not very loved by you, it could just need some renovations and tweaking. 

You want to be able to create an outdoor space that feels as comfortable and inviting as the interior, so a great place to start is with an aluminium pergola or even a retractable roof pergola to create a defined area for seating while getting a break from those hot summer rays. 

Nationwide Home Innovations has helped plenty of homeowners to create a more desirable outdoor space with such great additions as a louvre patio roof, or the abovementioned aluminium patio cover. Not only is this practical, but it looks beautiful. Just think how elegant a louvred patio roof would look in your garden space. If you’re interested in what Nationwide have to offer, you can find more information here

 

Choose a new colour palette throughout

If you’re looking for a smaller, less expensive project that still offers big results, a great solution is to paint the entire house. Choosing a whole new colour palette will make the space feel brand new, modern, fresh, and even trendy. It’s also a project you could do yourself.

By considering these projects, it may just be enough to have you fall in love with your home all over again, and realise a move isn’t necessary at all.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Childcare Offer for Wales - a brilliant helping hand for working parents

The Childcare Offer for Wales – a brilliant helping hand for working parents

I’ve been a mum for almost 10 years now, and I think if I ever sat down and worked out how much money I’ve spent on parenting-related things I would, well, have to sit down.

Apparently, the average family spends over £10,000 in just the first year of their child’s life, which just sounds unbelievable until you start thinking about all the things you do end up spending money on when you start a family.

It starts with the basics like a cot, a buggy and a car seat.  Then obviously you need clothes and nappies.  If you decide to use formula then you need to pay for that, along with bottles and a steriliser.  And if you breastfeed then you might want nursing bras, new clothes that make feeding easier, a breast pump and bottles so you can express milk.

And that really is just the start of it.

For all the milestones of the early years with a child there are new costs, new things they need for each new phase. For a lot of families though, the biggest cost comes from childcare.

If you’re a parent living and working in Wales though, there is some help available that could make a big difference.

 

The Welsh government have created the Childcare Offer with the aim to take some of the financial pressure off working parents.

The Offer lets working parents of 3 to 4 year olds claim up to 30 hours of early education and childcare a week, for up to 48 weeks of the year.

The exact split between early education and childcare hours will depend on your local authority and how
much early education they offer.  As a rule though you can get up to 30 hours a week, made up a minimum of 10 hours of early education and a maximum of 20 hours of childcare.

When Nerys turned 3, for example, she was able to join the Rising 3s class at her school for 5 mornings a week which was great for us as it meant I had more time to work at home and she had a brilliant introduction to the routines of the school day.

 

The way the Childcare Offer for Wales is set up is that the funding goes directly from the Welsh Government to the childcare provider, and this amount is then taken off the bill you would normally pay.

So you don’t actually get handed any money, but you do get the benefits of the money you’ve saved.

What I love about this scheme is how it opens up so many opportunities for parents.

I know a lot of people end up needing to change jobs or reduce their hours at work, as the costs of full-time childcare are so high.  So this offer takes some of that pressure away and can enable people to go back to work they love, increase their hours, or even use the time to start their own business.

 

There are some criteria parents need to meet to be eligible for the Offer, but it’s all relatively straightforward.

Here are the main criteria:

  • your child must be 3 or 4 years old
  • you must be working and earning at least the national minimum wage for 16 hours a week, on average – this applies to single parents and to both parents in 2-parent families
  • each parent must earn less than £100,000 a year

If you’re eligible and want to apply, or just want to get a bit more information about the offer then head over to gov.wales/childcareoffer.

You can also get more information on the offer, as well as useful parenting advice in relation to childcare, over on the the Childcare Offer for Wales Facebook page.

There are so many ways this offer can help families, especially those who don’t have the option of relying on friends and family for childcare.

These 30 hours a week could mean you can get back into doing work that you really enjoy, or be able to dedicate more time to growing a business on your own terms.  It can also free up a bit of extra money for families to take some of the financial strain of raising children away, or even to spend on the things you enjoy doing together as a family.

So if you live in Wales and have a 3 or 4 year old child, it’s well worth taking a look and seeing how the Offer can help your family.

 

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post

How make room for your children's new toys this Christmas

How to make room for your children’s new toys this Christmas

Christmas is on the way (or it has already passed depending on when you’re reading this), and if your home is like many others up and down the country, it is possibly piled high with your children’s toys. From fairy tale castles to piles of lego (and anything else besides), moving around at home without stepping on something could be quite difficult.

And thanks to Christmas, there will be more toys than ever before, which is surely something you will be thinking of if you’re currently on the hunt for perfect presents for your children. Just how are you going to make room for them all? Other than moving to a bigger house, you will need to find a solution somewhere.

Well, to help you, here are some suggestions. 

1. Give the rest of your home a good clearout

To accommodate your children’s new toys, you might need to take a long hard look at the other things that are fighting for space. You might have pieces of furniture that are no longer being used, and there could be items in your storage spaces that are needlessly taking up room.

To create more floor and storage space, it could be time for a good clearout. Pick out those items you no longer need anymore, and either sell them, donate them, or send them to a recycling facility with the help of a house clearance service. 

 

2. Donate your children’s old toys

For those toys that your children aren’t playing with anymore, consider donating to them to those who are more needy. There could be children in your neighbourhood who could make use of them, for example, or you might want to give them to a charity.

Homeless shelters, hospital children wards, and local schools are three other places where you can donate the toys. 

 

3. Create more storage space in your children’s room

Of course, your children’s toys are probably spread all over the house, but you should still confine them to your children’s bedrooms when possible. This can be difficult when there isn’t enough storage space, but there are ways to make more space.

You could add shelving units, for example, or you could buy beds and other pieces of children’s furniture that double up as storage. Check out these other genius storage ideas and consider some of them for your children’s bedrooms (or playrooms).

 

4. Sell your children’s toys

You might need to make some extra money after your Christmas spend, so sell those toys your children no longer want to play with. You might even sell those toys that turned out to be unwanted Christmas gifts, although you probably shouldn’t tell the people who bought them.

Be mindful, however. Taking inspiration from these old toys that are now worth a lot of money, you might want to hold a few back in case they become collector’s items later. There might even be toys in your house now that are worth a lot of money, so commit to research before giving everything away.

 

Those were just a few ideas, so I hope they were useful to you. If you have any other tips and tricks, please let me know in the comments section below. 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post