Archives for August 2014

Which Pushchair is Right for You?

Selecting a pushchair for your baby isn’t as easy as finding one you like the look of and handing over your cash. In fact, a considerable amount of thought should go into picking the perfect pushchair, so that you and your baby can have many an enjoyable and safe outing. Here’s how to make this difficult decision:

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Different Kinds of Pushchair

There are lots of different kinds of pushchair to choose from. You must choose the one that best suits your lifestyle so that your outings are as great as they possibly can be. Here are a few you can expect to see in stores:

  • The stroller – It’s lightweight and large, not always suitable straight from birth though. Suspension and padding should be included, but double check with the manufacturer. A manufacturer like Bugaboo should be able to answer any questions you have.
  • The Upright Pram – this is comfy for your baby and the older generation love it. However, babies that are 3 months or older like to have a look around, so this may not be suitable after that time.
  • The Three Wheeler – this is perfect for steering using one hand, and great for living near the country or a beach. Just don’t expect it to fit in the boot of a car when folded!
  • The Travel System – this is where you get a pushchair, pram, and car seat in one. Make sure that it’s portable and not too heavy.
  • The Two in One – you can sit your baby upright or lie them flat with this. You can have your child facing you with some models.

Extras to Get With your Pushchair

All pushchairs won’t come with the same bits and bobs – you may need to purchase extras to ensure that you’re well prepared for the weather and other situations. Hoods, raincovers, and things to keep your baby warm are all essential. If you plan on buying an expensive pushchair, don’t be surprised if the extras are as expensive.

What to Think About

You must think about your own specific needs and lifestyle before you settle on a pushchair. Something that works perfectly for your best friend might not be so suited to you. The weight and portability of a pushchair is very important if you must go up or down stairs to get to your home. This is also true if you use regular public transport. If you drive, you’ll need to make sure the pushchair fits in the boot. If you plan on shopping a lot with your baby in tow, you should also make sure that the pushchair is capable of supporting your bags.

New babies should be lying on their backs for 3 months at least. This should be until they can properly support their own head. It could be up to 6 months. They probably won’t like sitting straight up afterwards though, so make sure you can get the seat into a variety of positions.

Use this information to narrow down the pushchairs that could be suitable for you and your baby. It’s a long, grueling process, but it’ll be worth it!

Bored Of Summertime? Cheap Ways To Entertain Your Children

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Now that we are getting towards the end of the children’s holidays you might have run out of ideas. Entertaining your children throughout the summer months is a full-time job. The last thing you want is for your children to get bored in the summer. You should do everything that you can to try and keep them having fun and enjoying the nice weather. As you well know, it is not easy being a parent. Children are excitable, yet finding things for them to do that don’t cost the earth can be difficult. It seems as though every activity your children want to do is expensive. You could find yourself at a loss when trying to think of cheap activities for your family. Never fear, as we have the answer. Here are a few cheap ways to entertain your little ones this summer.

Have A Treasure Hunt In Your Backyard

Your children will love having a treasure hunt in the backyard. You don’t need to spend a lot of cash on this activity, and it could keep them busy for hours. Take the time to plan a treasure hunt. Start by giving your children the first clue. Leave clues all over the garden for them to find in a specific order. This game works well, as it appeals to your children’s sense of adventure. At the end of the hunt, you should have a prize waiting for your children. The prize doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be something as simple as a chocolate bar or a homemade medal. The point is that your children have completed the task. You can even invite some of your children’s friends round to join in with the fun. The other parents will love you for giving them a break.

Have A Teddy Bear Picnic

Younger children will adore a teddy bear picnic. Children love using their imagination and playing pretend. They will love it even more if you get involved and talk to the bears with them. Charlie Bears are cute and look as though they have individual personalities. Make characters out of the bears and play games with your children. One of the bears might love cake, whilst the other hates tea. Have some fun with it. Remember, you are never to old to have fun. Use your imagination and indulge your children’s playful side.

Go On An Adventure Day Out

You don’t have to pay some expensive travel company to have an adventure day out. All you need is some bikes and the great outdoors to have a thrilling day. If your children are old enough to ride bikes, then this makes an ideal solution to a dull summer’s day. Drive out to the countryside and get riding. Challenge your children to race and see everybody’s competitive nature come out. Making sure that your children get vital exercise is important during the summer. If you can make exercise fun then all the better.

Make Your Own Pizzas

It is never too early to get your children excited about food. The values that you give your children now will last them a lifetime. No doubt your children love pizza. What child doesn’t? Make pizzas at home with your children using fresh ingredients. This activity is fantastic as it means you don’t have to spend time cooking dinner for the whole family. The activity keeps your little ones busy, whilst also teaching them how to cook. Use fresh veg such as peppers and tomatoes on the pizza. Your children will start to love vegetables when they learn how to cook with them. Make funny pizza faces and patterns on the pizza dough. Now is the one time that you can allow your children to play with their food. Making pizza is quite cheap, much cheaper than ordering in a takeaway. Your children will get a healthy meal that they have made themselves.

Gras Fed Beef Health Facts You Most Likely Do Not Know

Gras Fed Beef Health Facts You Most Likely Do Not KnowMost people nowadays want to know as much as possible about the meat that they buy. Individuals from all around the world started to realize how important the quality of the meat is and when it comes to beef, it is a certainty that grass fed beef will be a lot better than the regular grain fed beef we find in supermarkets.

The first thing we should understand is that cattle should never actually be fed grain because it is not a normal part of a cow’s diet. Most of the sources that supermarkets and hypermarkets have for meat products are large manufacturers. With this in mind, it is really easy to end up in the unwanted situation in which you have no idea what you purchase.

A really good indicator of good beef is fat content. Grain fed beef will sometimes have a fat content that would reach as high as 40% and is saturated. This is way too much fat. Health problems can develop as saturated fat is well known to affect your metabolism, weight and heart.

Farming methods that are utilized in order to raise the grain fed cattle is usually not idle. If you click here, you will be sure that the cattle is properly taken care of as the farmers will never mix animal parts in the cattle feed. In many situations the animal parts used are disease and can lead to various situations. The huge problem is that some diseases can even take tens of years to fully incubate. With this in mind, opting for the grass fed beef is a really good idea. Here are some health facts that are associated with it and that you should be aware of:

  • Grass fed beef includes high quantities of beta carotene. Also, there is increased Vitamin A and Vitamin E content.
  • Grass fed beef will have higher contents of Omega 3 fats. This makes it perfect for those individuals that are really conscious about the diet that they are on.
  • Grass fed beef will never be filled with hormones, antibiotics and steroids. All grass fed cattle will be raised in free range environments. This means that their immune system is naturally higher when compared with the grain fed cattle. There is no need to use steroids and antibiotics as the cattle will not get sick as compared to those raised in a cramped pen.
  • Grass fed beef includes a perfect fat content ration that is great for those that are on a diet. The saturated fat content is actually under 10%, which is really similar to chicken breast.

In the event that you love beef and you want to be sure that you buy something that is really good for your body, you need to consider grass-fed beef. The only problem is that it is really hard to find such beef in the hypermarkets or the other large stores. Before you buy, make sure that you stay focused on the quality of the beef you buy and always check the labels. Alternatively, buy directly from farmers.

Ways for Refurnishing Old Furniture

Ways for Refurnishing Old FurnitureWith time gone, the furniture chosen by us elaborately is stained, scratched, cracked and deformed. It is really unpleasant to see this. It is pity to throw them and expensive to shopping new furniture. If the furniture is still solid, you can refurbish it. You not only can save much expense, but also can give your home a new look.

Painting the furniture again

Paint the old furniture without change its structure is the first way come into people’s mind when the furniture has been used for a long period, especially for wooden furniture. People may feel boring for the texture of it. Painting is the best way to give fresh look to it. But not all the furniture is suit to paint. According to the suggestion of professional, there is a layer of melamine board that is difficult to peeling off on the surface of panel furniture, the adhesive force of painting will be poor when paint on it. Relatively wooden furniture is more suits to refurnishing by painting. Product with the same nature of the old furniture is more preferred when choose paint. This is for preventing the crimping of furniture caused by the chemical reaction of the old and new paint. Besides, when apply water-borne wood paint on the wooden furniture, it will lead to unstable when the wood absorb water content in the paint. What is worse, it will cause slightly bulge and deform. Oil paint is more stable compared with water-borne wood paint.

Furniture refurbished sticker

The popular furniture refurbished sticker is made of PVC plastic. It has many choices in color and pattern. It is a kind of broad-spectrum wallpaper used in home decoration. Convenient to apply and washable is the reason that many people choose it. After paste on the table, it will not curve on the edge. The refurbished sticker can be removed easily by heating with hair drier. People can change it whenever they want. Make sure that there will be no residual glue when peeling off it and the refurbished sticker will not fade. Some refurnished sticker has irritant smell, family with pregnant and children should avoid using it.

Slipcover and cushion

Slipcover is the best choice for refurnishing old fabric sofa. It can change the look of sofa instantly with little budget. And there are many choices in material, color and pattern. It can be used repeatedly after washing. Wooden chair or sofa can be decorated with cushion to change its look and increase its comfort level. Many upholstered furniture brand provide custom-made service for slipcover. People can choose the material, color and pattern according to their preference. Many sewing store also provide the service of measuring furniture size and making slipcover. If you want to save money, you also can choose to DIY slipcover. Choose the proper material size for the different parts of furniture when making slipcover. Large is better than small. So reserve more fabric in case of improper tailor. It is much easier to deal with larger slipcover than smaller one. Pay attention to the symmetry of fabric with flower and grid.

Secret Tips To A Happy Family Life

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Family life is all but a picnic in the park. As a family unit, you will have your good days and your bad days. You should not expect family life to be smooth sailing. Sometimes you are going to hit rough and rocky waters. It is all about how you deal with the turbulent times that matters. You can’t control the things that happen to you and your loved ones, but you can control how you cope when problems arise. You need to make sure that your family is ready for any challenges that the world might throw at you. Here are some secret tips to having a happy family life.

Set Out Family Roles And Duties

Every family member has something unique to bring to the home. Make sure that nobody feels left behind in the family environment. You should take the time to set out certain family roles. For example, if you have more than one child make sure both children know where their place is in the family household. Often older children can feel pushed out and neglected when they have younger brothers and sisters. Make sure that older siblings know that they still have a place in the family home to save on arguments. Encourage your older children to help looking after the little ones. Older siblings will love having responsibility and will feel more at ease around the home.

Spend Family Days Together

Often when we are busy we forget to appreciate our family. Living separate lives under the same roof is no way to go about family life. Instead, make sure that you make time for your family and dedicate special days to spending time with each other. At least once a month you should set aside a day for you and your family. Go on a trip together or just stay in and watch films. Having some quality time together will help you to bond as a family unit.

Hire A Cleaner To Help With The Home

One of the main things families tend to argue about is cleaning. If you all have busy lives then cleaning the family home can be the bane of your existence. You should all pitch in when it comes to the day to day upkeep of the home. For deep-cleans, though, you should hire a housekeeper. Having a cleaner come sort out the boring job of tidying up will mean that you can spend more time together as a family. You will spend less time arguing about who needs to clean the bathroom and more time enjoying each other’s company. Housekeepers are not as expensive as you might imagine. You can find reasonable housekeepers in London here. Look around and find a professional to suit your home.

Find A Quality Babysitter

If your relationship is bad, your family life will be a nightmare. You and your partner need time alone to keep the romance in your life. If you two have a happy, healthy relationship, your children will feel comfortable in the family home. Find a great babysitter that you can trust to look after your children on a regular basis. You should make time every week to have a night off from the children and go on a date night. Learning to survive as a couple without the children will mean that you are both better parents when you’re at home.

Never Argue In Front Of The Children

You must never fight in front of your children. Even if things are going wrong in your relationship and you lose your temper, you must wait until you are away from the family home. There is nothing more damaging to a child than seeing their parents argue and fight. Your children rely on the family home as a safe base for everything that happens in their life. Seeing their parents arguing disrupts that safety and worries children. You might think that a small argument is no big deal, but witnessing it could upset your children more than you know.

Day out with the family – stuck for ideas?

Day out with the family – stuck for ideasI’ve always found that the UK has been a great place for days out with the family. For many decades, a day out for me consisted of a day at the seaside with games and a picnic lunch on the beach, combined with paddling at the edges of the water and complaining about how cold it was! However, there are now many more things that you can do to spend time together and keep the children entertained during the long break from school.

Where can we go?

The good news is that every area of the UK is filled with attractions that the whole family can enjoy. One of the latest additions to the tourist map that is a must for my family is the Warner Bros. Studio tour that takes visitors right into the heart of the Harry Potter movies, complete with amazing Hogwarts and Diagon Alley sets. Children that have read the books or seen the films will be spellbound by the attraction and are sure to want to go back again.

Alternatively, I think it is a good idea to introduce them to a little bit of culture and encourage them to learn new things while having fun at the same time. Children that are interested in science or in how things work generally will love visiting science museums. Cities such as London, Liverpool and Manchester have well-known science museums, and the addition of interactive exhibits makes this a great choice for the whole family. If a member of the family has a specific interest then seek out a specialist museum; for example, the Merseyside town of Southport has a lawnmower museum that should delight any gardening enthusiast!

One of my favourite days out is just to pick a town and go there to see what it has to offer that is a little bit different. Without this “just do it” attitude I would never have found out that Brighton has some unusual attractions. For families with children aged 11 and over the sewer tour is a possibility. This will definitely give everybody something to talk about when they get home.

I love a day out at a stately home. While some people do not necessarily want to tour a home to see how the other half lived in years gone by, these great houses tend to have other attractions too, with gift shops, picnic and play areas, beautiful gardens and expansive parks for the family to explore. Organisations such as the National Trust offer family memberships, and I’ve found this to be more cost effective.

Why spend this time together?

It can be so easy to lose touch with children as they are growing up, particularly in the modern world as they want to spend time on their computer games and online. Getting out and about will remind them that there is more fun to be had, and it is possible for the family to have fun together! While parents and children are on holiday at the same time, it is a great opportunity to bond with them and create memories that will last forever.

Your One Stop Guide to Throwing a Children’s Christmas Party

Uttering the dreaded ‘C’ word in August is something of a faux pas. However, it is just around the corner, and you will be planning gifts in earnest in the next few months. Christmas is a wonderful time of year. The parties, carols and decorations make it the most-magical time of year. If you are ready to start planning your Christmas exploits, you are certainly in the right place.

Children enjoy this magical time of year. Aside from the presents and candy, they love the sense of magic that Christmas brings. If you want to keep your children entertained during the holidays, why not allow them to throw a seasonal Christmas party? That is a sure fire way of keeping them happy during the seasonal break from school.

If you are unsure how to throw a kid’s Christmas party, you must read on:

Sweets, Treats and Candy

Christmas is the most magical time of year. What is more, the sheer amount of sugar that is consumed is enough to make anyone hyperactive! If you want to make sure your children eat properly, you can throw a party that has plenty of tasty treats. Sandwiches and carrots sticks are great. You can even name the food with season terms. This is a wonderful way to get the kids involved with the food. Rudolph Treats could be the name of your carrot sticks, for example. Ensure that you have a good mix of treats, candy and vegetables so that the kids don’t get bored with the food. You can get your hands on wholesale candy to make sure that this is done as cheaply as possible.

Music

Keep your party in the festive spirit by playing popular tracks of the season. There are a lot of pop Christmas hits that kids love. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera have done Christmas themed music. Kids are sure to love dancing around to these hits. Christmas carols tend to have little appeal for smaller children. Try to indulge their more modern love of Christmas. You can always make a playlist via iTunes. That way, you won’t have to suffer the strains of modern musicians for too long!

Fun and Games

You can turn the traditional party on its head by getting kids interested in party games. Pinning the beard to Santa could be a fun game to play. Seasonal pass the parcel is another classic party game that kids love. You can wrap up candy canes in colourful Christmas wrapping paper. There are lots of different games to play that children of all ages will love to play.

Christmas treasure hunts are perfect to play. You can even devise your holiday themed card map. They can win a small prize at the end in the form of Christmas baubles. For younger children, you can even get them to make seasonal holiday cards to take home. You will be spoilt for choice at how to keep them entertained during your party. What is more, they will have heaps of fun. After all, that is what the party is all about; everyone having fun.

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Image Credit: Koshy Koshy

How to Host the Perfect Coffee Morning With Friends

Hosting coffee mornings is something that many love to do. What could be better than relaxing with a great group of friends and indulging in gossip and a cup of coffee? There are great ways that you can ensure that your coffee morning goes without a hitch.

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Think About Your Location

You can hold your coffee morning anywhere. If you want a small group of friends round, you can host it within the confines of your home. But, do not feel restricted to having your event within your house. There are many places that you can hold an awesome coffee morning.

Coffee mornings can be held at work. This is a great initiative for those who want to get to know their colleagues better. A fantastic working relationship is critical to your success at work. What is more, you can hold a coffee morning as a charitable event.  Not only will you get to bond with your colleagues, you will also be raising money in the process.

Mother and toddler groups are great for coffee mornings. Once the toddlers are playing between themselves, take the opportunity to have a natter with the mums. You will be sure to have a great time. Why should the kids have all the fun?

Churches are perfect for getting people involved in your charitable endeavours. Hosting your coffee morning within the local church is a fabulous way of getting the community spirit alive. You can raise a lot of money for your chosen charity by hosting your coffee morning in your church.

Don’t Forget the Coffee

As commonsensical as this may sound, you need to make sure that you have enough supplies. You can buy coffee beans online or from the store. Have a varied selection of coffees to cater for all tastes. Remember to buy milk and sugar too. What is more, don’t forget a selection of mugs! Not everyone loves to drink from dainty cups. Get big mugs in, for those that are addicted to the bean. You may want to purchase tea and soft drinks, just in case some people are not a fan of coffee but also want to join the gathering.

We All Love Cake

Don’t forget to request that your guests bring cakes and treats to your coffee morning. Homemade cakes are delicious with a cup of coffee. However, your guests may not be Mary Berry, so do advise that they can also bring shop bought cakes if their baking is not up to scratch. You want people to feel included, so make sure that everyone can bring treats.

Planning is Critical

One months notice should be sufficient into ensuring that your coffee morning is a resounding success. If you are keeping your guest list small, a phone call will ensure that you can let your guests know that you are hosting your morning.

If your invitation extends to the community request that local businesses advertise your event. Avoid asking cafes to do so. They may take umbrage to you stealing their trade!

Some Great Tips for Getting the Best Out Of Your Freezer

Some Great Tips for Getting the Best Out Of Your FreezerWhere would we be without freezers?  I know I wouldn’t be able to prepare and cook as many delicious meals.  There are many ways you can make your freezer work more efficiently and save you time and money in the long run.  In the following post I will discuss some of my favourite tips and other uses for your freezer you may not have realised.

Preserve Extra Summer Herbs for Use During Winter

It can cost more to buy a bunch of fresh herbs from your greengrocer or supermarket.  A great way to preserve any surplus you have is to chop them up, cover them with oil, water or stock and put them in the freezer.  That way they will be ready to add to any dish, throughout autumn and winter.

Enable Your Freezer Run More Efficiently

Did you know there are ways you can make your freezer run much more efficiently?  Simply fill empty plastic milk or juice bottles and jugs with water and keep them in your freezer.  By doing this your freezer will stay at a balanced temperature and will use less energy to keep itself cold.

Rescue Your Hard Drive by Sticking It in the Freezer (seriously)

Apparently a failing hard drive can be left in a freezer for 24 hours and then very quickly inserted back into your computer to enable you to make a recovery.  Or at the very least give you enough time to back everything up before it completely dies.

Keep Food Tasty By Preventing Freezer Burn

Freezer burn can ruin the flavour of lots of things stored in your freezer.  To ensure that this doesn’t happen as frequently or at all, keep your freezer at a steadier and level temperature and keep out air as much as possible – in other words, open the door knowing what you want to take out, take it out and shut the door again quickly.

Convert Your Chest Freezer into a Very Efficient Fridge

As chest freezers use only a 1/10th of the energy that most upright fridges use, you could switch to using a chest freezer for the same purpose.  If a chest freezer has an adjustable thermostat, you can switch to using it to keep your clothes cool and fresh, without actually freezing them.   Although the shape and design of a chest freezer is not the best, you can’t argue with the saving on electricity.

Don’t Forget Grip Seal Bags

If there is one thing I always make sure I have in my kitchen for using in my freezer more than anything, it is grip seal bags.  If you don’t know what I mean, have a look at the handy grip seal bags, they have numerous uses and are particular good for freezing various different types of food, either cooked or fresh so that they last a little bit longer.  I often buy larger sizes and use them to store stock, sauces, soups and stews.

Top Tips for Renters

Many people these days are choosing to rent over buying a house. While this may seem silly to some, in a lot of cases, renting a house is a better option. However, sometimes renting can be very expensive. To help you rent out a property the safe way and as cheaply as possible, read these top tips for renters:

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image taken from Flickr

Get Contents Cover

Your landlord is responsible for building’s insurance so you don’t need to worry about that. However, you do need to get contents cover to protect your stuff that would fall over if you had an earthquake, for example. There are many different policies available to you, depending on your circumstances and who you’re living with.

Protect Your Deposit

Many renters don’t know if their deposit is protected or not. It’s important that you know where your deposit is, as it’s supposed to be in a government protection scheme. This will ensure that it is returned to you providing you stuck to the terms of your agreement.

Get Your Furniture for Free

Furnishing a rented property can sometimes be just as expensive as buying a house. However, there are ways you can furnish your property with quality items for free! That’s right; you could have a fully furnished property for nothing. How? With sites like Freecycle. Of course you get the odd thing that probably isn’t worth 2 pennies, but you’ll find loads of cool stuff on there that just doesn’t get used anymore.

Get the Most Interest on Your Deposit

If you’re renting while you save for a deposit on a mortgage, make sure you get the most interest on your deposit. Use a high paying NISA to keep the first £15,000, and then use a top savings account to save the rest.

Ask For Permission to Decorate

How annoying would it be to spend ages decorating, only to have to put it back to the way it was when you rented it before you move out? Well, if you don’t get permission from your landlord first, that’s what you might have to do. Make sure you and your landlord are both clear on what you can do to the house.

Use Flaws to Haggle

Ask whether the landlord is open to reasonable offers, and then put in a lower offer you think is reasonable. Of course they may not accept, but it’s worth asking. You stand a better chance of getting the price you want if you note down any flaws. Even if you don’t get the price you asked for, you might be able to get a fresh coat of paint applied for you before you move in!

Don’t Sign a Contract You Aren’t Happy With

Never sign a contract you aren’t happy with. You need to read what you’re signing properly; don’t just assume that it’s a standard contract. You might end up signing up to having to do something you don’t want to do, e.g. giving the shower a deep clean with vinegar every week. This estate agents in Hamilton may be able to assist you with contracts if you’re unsure.

Thanks for reading!