Inspired by Che and Fidel – one picture of each of my children a week for 52 weeks.
Pink Lining – makers of changing bags and children’s bags have a great competition running in collaboration with Ladybird Books – just go to the competition page and let them know what is your favourite bedtime story to read to your child, along with a couple lines about the book and why you love it. Pink Lining will choose nine lucky winners who will will a Ladybird book and a Pink Lining Child Picture Satchel (seriously how cool are these? I am in love with the Hedgehogs and my kids would love the fact they can display their artwork). You will also be asked to write a short review of your Ladybird book to be featured on their new blog.
Personally my favourite is Shoe Baby – Joyce Dunbar / Polly Dunbar. Mostly because I love to pretend I am a giant shouting and stamping and crying and blowing my nose in a big polka dot hanky. I love a book that makes you get into the telling of it.
Watch this space for a review of a Ladybird book when ours arrives and in the meantime pop over and enter the competition.
Disclosure: This competition post and the pending review are written in collaboration with Pink Lining – further information can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.
Alternative title: PANICDisclosure: This post contains a link I have been compensated to include, however is written about a subject I had planned to write about anyway. I really am panicking. This post has made me feel much better though which is Ace. Further information can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.
This I know:
- It is 19 sleeps until Christmas (thank you Asda for the countdown clock in your lobby).
- It is 17 sleeps until my parents arrive.
- The house is in complete and utter chaos.
- I don’t feel like I can get ahead of anything at the moment.
- The days are too short.
- My hand started to cramp after two pages of to do lists last night.
- That wasn’t even half of it.
- The truth is I struggle to keep up during a normal week.
- I have already had my first #ChristmasMummyFail – forgot to bring in Nativity Costume on the correct day.
- I thought I had nearly completed all my Christmas shopping.
- I was wrong.
- I have lost the list.
- I am wondering if I should have started all this in August.
- Playing Christmas music loud helps.
- There is nothing that cannot be solved by a mince pie and if you a lucky some mulled wine. Or cider. Not fussy. Or Stollen. Mmmmm.
- I love Christmas.
- There is always internet shopping – like the BHS Christmas gifts section – and I can do that in the middle of the night.
- If the presents are wrapped badly I can say the kids did them.
- The kids will not care if Christmas is perfect – they just care about Father Christmas definitely coming to our house.
- I don’t care if Christmas is perfect as long as I am with my family. And there is some Bucks Fizz, which must be drunk while still wearing my pj’s. It’s tradition.
Okay. Now I am REALLY EXCITED.
One of the things that I love to see online, think ‘I should do that’, and then never get round to doing is Lou’s Nature in the home series. So, when she set 4 weeks of a Christmas theme it was not only the kick I needed to join in but also to go and seek out some of these twigs with red berries that I had pinned on Pinterest.
I found two massive stems of orange – red berries in the florist and treated myself. The added benefit of these looking so glorious in the front room on our dining table is that it makes me want to clear the table completely each day so I can enjoy them in a clutter free space.
Linking up with Nature in the home at Littlegreenshed.
Disclosure: This is a guest post written for my blog. Further details can be found on my Disclosure for Readers page.
From credit cards to short term loans: importance of teaching your children money management skills
How many times have you seen children kicking and screaming because they’ve been told they can’t have any more sweets, that toy, or another go on the ride? Probably too many to count – it’s happened to the best of us.
While it’s often easier to give into children, this sort of situation can be used to teach them the basics of money management. It’s incredibly important that children understand the value of money from a young age.
It’s up to you as the parent to ensure that they are given the right responsibilities and education to develop their own financial skills. After all, it’s unlikely that you want them to go through the same credit crunch as we have.
Just as you teach your kids to clean their teeth or use their manners, you can also start educating them on money management.
Practice what you preach
One of the first things that any parent should do is take a look at how they manage their own finances. Research by the Money Advice Services found that parents’ financial behaviour has a huge impact on their children’s money management habits. In fact, 68% of teenagers that come from families that save money are likely to save themselves. So, unless you are practicing what you preach, your children are not going to develop good money management skills.
Make them earn their money
There was once a notion that kids that received pocket money were spoilt, but this is actually a very good way to teach them about the value of money. If they have to earn their money, by washing the dishes, cleaning the car, vacuuming their bedroom and so on, they’ll carry that idea into later life and be less likely to rely on credit as means of income.
Talk about responsible borrowing
Money is often a taboo subject amongst families; debt even more so. If you don’t talk openly about things like credit cards, short term loans, or overdrafts, children will pick up on that and think that they too should be secretive about their finances. Remember, there is nothing wrong with borrowing, as long as it is done responsibly.
Lender Everyday Loans takes a responsible attitude to short term lending:
“Many of our customers may have had difficulty paying bills or managing their money in the past,” says Andrew Wayland, head of marketing.
“We are always keen to provide all the help and support possible, and that includes ensuring that our customers can comfortably afford any repayments they commit to when borrowing.”
Pay the bills as a family
When you’re a child, it’s easy to think that money comes from a hole in the wall, without any understanding of what it’s spent on. If you have older children, let them join in with paying the bills. Sit down as a family, read and pay the bills together. This will also help your kids have an understanding of what needs to be paid when they gain their own independence and move out.
Honestly, I just got my head around the fact it was November and then suddenly here we are in December. I am not complaining though because I love December. In the past my tree would have been up by now, but there is something about having children that makes me want to change the way we do things, to make it more magical and to make the feelings last, not to get tinseled out before the man in the red suit drops in.
So all I have unpacked is the Advent Calenders. Over the past two years I have made one for each of my children, the Reindeer version is Piran’s and the Polar Bears belong to Kate. In hindsight one would have been fine! In the past I have popped little plastic animals in the pockets but actually 24 pockets multiplied by two children is just too excessive and the gifts will be here at the end anyway. So this year it is all about making Christmas a really special time for all of us.
I am going to concentrate on the Christmas experience – with a note in each with an activity for the day. And if they are lucky maybe a little chocolate too. Some days it will be the same for everyone, other days they will have different things planned. And I get to do it all! Some of the things we are planning are:
- Write letters to Father Christmas
- Make Christmas biscuits
- Go and buy presents
- Make wrapping paper
- Read Christmas stories
- Watch a Christmas film
- Visit Father Christmas
- Go late night shopping
- Drive around looking for Christmas lights
- Have a Christmas sing a long
- Go to Christmas parties
- Make mince pies
That is just a start. Today we started well by writing our letters to Father Christmas and posting them on the way to the inlaws house for dinner.
I used this lovely free printable letter to Santa from Wink Designs – great for small people that are just learning to write. Kate chose to tick ‘A little bit Naughty’ on her letter which made me smile. Piran triple checked that he was ticking Very Good before doing it. He wanted to be very sure!
We posted them to Father Christmas at his Royal Mail address – he does say that he will try and write back if you get your letters to him by Friday 6th December at the latest and ensure that you add a stamp before posting.
In the past I have used the NSPCC service which will send a personalised letter to you from Santa for a suggested £5 donation. We did this a few years ago – the letters were lovely and you are giving to a really important cause too.
Today was a really lovely Sunday, and the perfect start to Advent. I am really looking forward to Christmas this year. Do you have any suggestions for things we can do, or would you like to share your Advent traditions? I am loving seeing it all pop up all over the internet.
Inspired by Che and Fidel – one picture of each of my children a week for 52 weeks.
Firstly, I would like to direct you to a guest post I wrote a few weeks ago for MummyLimited’s Listening Pleasure. I keep forgetting to mention it – I love this little series she does, and she kindly let me share my love of a Radio 4 programme. Pop over to say hello and have a look.
Second, Piran has a starring role over at Bambino Goodies as part of their This Kid Loves… series in the run up to Christmas. I love that picture of him so much.
Finally Aimee Horton shared a brilliant post of the things that piss her off when she is tired. I was nodding away and it really made me smile.
Happy Weekend. Kate and I are off to see We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at Brighton Dome this afternoon. I am very excited!
The other day when Mr C was putting up our new ironing board Piran asked him if he was going to do sewing.
That really made me smile, as in this house an ironing board is more likely to be draped with fabric than actual clothes. The one we owed was small and wobbly and the cover was so thin it was horrible. We had been using it for years and I always meant to recover it but well, you know, it is on the list!
So when John Lewis contacted me and asked if I would like to review an ironing board and clothes airer from Brabantia I jumped at the chance. I skim read the email and if I noticed the fact it said something about a large ironing board it immediately disappeared from my mind. When the two items we were sent arrived I realised that they were both quite large!
Our Brabantia Lunch ironing board with heat pad is a MONSTER. This really is the big brother of our old one. I love it.
It really is big – taller than me when collapsed. It doesn’t have an iron rest at one end so it is really good for doing shirts down at the thick end and dresses and bits at the pointed end. It comes with a heat pad shaped like a teapot but I don’t actually use that, I haven’t felt I needed it. You can have it really low – so you could sit down and use it if you wanted or really high – Mr C tested it out as well and he loved that he could have it at a much more comfortable height for him. If you always want it the same height you can set it to only go as high as a certain point and there is a big plastic ball that you can stick on the end of the lever which acts as a child lock to stop them being able to collapse it accidentally.
The cover is um, bright. The design is of food on bright red table cloths. It really isn’t to my taste and is a bit annoying if I am honest but usually it is covered up by something so I don’t have to see it! I might recover it if I get a chance. It is quite heavy but I vcan manage it, however if you have trouble with heavy items this might not be the one for you. However I love that ironing duvet covers is at least twice as quick with all the extra room I have for ironing. It is too big for us to leave up anywhere though.
In addition we were sent a clothes airer. This really is big. It is meant to be able to hold an entire family load of washing and it really can. I was impressed as we have a big washing machine too. It has adjustable wings that can be put flat or up in the air if you have lots of long items. I use just one side and pop it right above the radiator and my washing dries quickly.
The airer is really quite heavy and takes up a lot of room. I like the way you can lay woolen items flat on the middle but we have very limited space and the airer can take up a lot of what little we have. I try and use it after dinner and put it next to the dining table – that way it has a chance to dry before we need the space again.
Disclosure: I was sent an ironing board and clothes airer free of charge for the purpose of this review.