Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Firework fail

I'm typing this while waiting for our bonfire night dinner to cook - fish, pasta, and vegetables. Hardly bonfire night fare. I should really have done hot dogs or something but I'm having a real case of the can't-be-arseds. 

We've always done something on bonfire night. I'm not one for doing it on a weekend instead. To me, either do it in the actual night or don't bloody bother. 

Tonight, with the kids going back to school after an extraordinarily busy week, and the husband being at work on late shift right now, I really can't motivate myself to make the effort.

On the way home from school, the children were asking if we were having people over?

I said no.

So they asked about their cousins, and if they were coming like last year?

Again, no.

So they said they'd just have to have the fireworks with us, as a family.

I told them we didn't have fireworks. 

I do have a box of sparklers from last year, and we'll go in the garden later and do them, and watch the neighbours fireworks, and that'll be that for another year.

I feel terribly guilty, and that I have failed them again due to my own lack of motivation and energy levels. 

This is the total sum of our entertainment for this evening. 


Monday, 14 October 2013

Five Ways to Stop Bedtime Becoming a Battlefield

This is a guest post by Fiona Longmuir, marketing manager at StorkUp. StorkUp helps parents navigate the world of kids' products and allows them to explore over 400 children's retailers all in one place!

Cranky kids and overworked parents can turn bedtime into a real battlefield. Sleepless nights are one of the most dreaded and feared side effects of becoming a parent, and can turn parents and kids alike into monsters! Here are five ways to put an end to those bedtime blues:

sleeping tips for babies and children

1) Routine, routine, routine. Keeping to a consistent routine lets kids know what to expect. If every night is bath time, teeth brushing, story time and sleep, children will know what is coming next and be more likely to fall in line. The routine also helps them associate the activities with winding down and relaxing, which will help to bring sleep on more easily. If a story with mum or dad in bed is always followed by sleep, it will become second nature to start yawning when the book comes to an end.

2) Don’t let your little one get overtired. Sleep has a window of opportunity, and once the window is past, they’re going to get a second wind. A toddler who has skipped a nap or an older kid who has jumped from activity to activity all day will be beyond tired and find it difficult to settle down to sleep. Children who are past napping age might benefit from some quiet rest time in their rooms during the day to prevent them from getting overtired and to allow them to recharge.

3) Overtired is bad, but tired is good. If your child is spending a lot of time being sedentary, perhaps in front of the television or playing video games, it is time to get them moving. Physical activity is a must to keep them healthy and to help them not to feel restless at bedtime.

4) Transition into the quiet. Just as it is important to have a routine, it needs to be a quiet and relaxing one. If your child is watching television before bed, make sure that the show is not something over stimulating that will wind them up. The same idea plays into stories and books. If you are reading something suspenseful or that your child might find scary, it could keep them awake and make them resist bedtime. Keep the house quiet also. Imagine trying to fall asleep while people are in the other room playing loud music or banging dishes. A quiet peaceful house at bedtime can go a long way to helping children relax and readily go off to bed themselves.

5) If things get rough, try a sticker chart combined with a reward for going to bed nicely. Kids respond best to positive reinforcement. Set up a chart and put a sticker each day the child peacefully goes to bed. Let them know they are working toward ten stickers and agree on a reward for reaching that ten sticker goal. This process will get them in the habit of going to bed nicely.

Follow these suggestions and things are sure to go more smoothly at bedtime. Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

From colour to style: considerations when decorating any family home

Disclosure - this is a sponsored post

So, you’ve got the kids home from school, put the dinner on and started to eye up the pile of ironing yet to complete. Your mind is so occupied with thoughts of your daily routine that you may have overlooked more pressing concerns – like the walls that are in desperate need of a lick of paint or the door which no longer sits flush against the frame.

When tearing round the house after your little ones it can be easy to overlook the need to redecorate but once you notice an imperfection you’ll struggle to see anything else!

As with any form of redecoration, there are numerous considerations you have to make with colour and style two of the biggest factors when decorating a family home.


This is an important factor in any home but for families your choice of shade will be based on practical as well as personal reasons. Light coloured carpets may be great for increasing the illusion of space but they don’t really hold up to the mess little ones can make. 

Instead, darker floor coverings are best and wipe-clean options such as laminate or vinyl flooring are incredibly practical.

The same ideas apply to wall colour. If you’re going to go with a neutral palette then opt for a slightly darker, biscuit shade which won’t show marks as much and consider looking at wash-clean paint which is specifically designed for family homes.


Style is a very important factor to consider and can make or break the appearance of your home. If the brickwork, window frames and roof tiles are all of a certain style, then try and follow suit with any decoration you add. 

A contemporary house will benefit from solid panels, clean lines and a modern wood timber front door, for example, but a traditional home may be more suited to intricate glass panels and a more delicate handle for their front door.

The style will generally be dictated by the property itself but there are ways to merge old and new ideas if you want to give your old-fashioned home an update. 


The last consideration you must make when redecorating your home is how long it will last. Children grow up fast and this means that any decorations you add which embrace their favourite characters may become outdated in a matter of weeks.

The important lesson here is to keep things as safe as possible. Always decorate with the future in mind and pick something that will last.

If your kids insist on having their favourite character from kids TV brought into their room then opt for soft toys or small accessories like lampshades and bedspreads which are easier to replace than intricate wallpapers and considerably cheaper too. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

A brief guide to probate issues

Disclosure - this is a sponsored post

A brief guide to probate issues

Probate refers to the process of applying to manage the estate of someone who has died. This management involves collecting the assets of a deceased person, ensuring their debts and taxes are paid off and, finally, making sure remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.

It can be quite a complicated and time-consuming process but Co-Operative probate advice can help guide you through the legal maze and avoid any potential pitfalls. So, what do you need to know about probate and the potential issues before you get started?

When is probate required?

Probate is usually required when property is held in the sole name of the deceased or as tenants in common. This is when both parts of a couple, or any other joint homeowners, hold set shares of a house – whether half each or any other percentage. The more usual arrangement for couples is to own a property as joint tenants. In this case ownership of the house automatically passes to the survivor.

Probate may also be required if the deceased benefited from a trust or held assets worth of at least £5,000 with financial institutions. Some banks and other institutions may have a higher threshold than this so it is usually worth checking with the institutions individually.

Who sorts out probate?

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their financial affairs and associated issues. This is known as administering the estate and is undertaken by an executor or personal representative. If the person who died left a Will, the document names executors who can apply for a grant of probate to handle the estate.

If the deceased died intestate (without a valid Will) the situation is a little more complex. A grant known as letters of administration must be issued instead, allowing a personal representative to take charge of affairs.

Details of all the dead person's assets, including property, savings accounts and shares must be gathered by those handling the estate and liabilities such as mortgages and other debts must be deducted to work out how much the estate is actually worth. Inheritance tax must also be paid if applicable and the estate must be divided between the beneficiaries as outlined by the Will or the rules of intestacy.

Many people prefer to let experts handle probate and issues regarding estate administration. It is possible to do all this yourself but it can be a complex and stressful process so it's worth seeking professional help. It should also be noted that executors are liable for any miscalculations or errors. If you fail to report and pay tax, or miss out a beneficiary, you could end up having to rectify your mistake out of your own pocket.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...