Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Things To Consider Before Getting Married

I got married earlier this year and it was an incredible day. There was so much to think about when it came to the general organising of the wedding day itself, and there is no shying away from the fact that it can be a little stressful. Especially when you have children and your family to coordinate. While you may have no problem with deciding on your cake or venue, mulling over the guest list and seating charts, there are some general admin bits that every bride to be can forget. I wanted to highlight some of these things to do before you get married to help you build a fantastic future, once you become a Mrs.


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The closer you get to making final decisions and paying for things, the more you start to worry about money. The sheer cost of getting married is astonishing when you read about it in the news, and I only know from experience how expensive these days can be. But when you have to pay for it? It’s torturous! Then again, everyone has a different budget, and some will always be bigger than others, so I’m sure you aren’t facing the monumental costs that others might be. Still, it’s a long road ahead, so it might be worth going setting up another savings account and start putting a little extra aside each week or month to help pay for things when those invoices start rolling in. Because they will!

The chat about the future

Sure you may have discussed how many children you might want to have, or at least I hope this conversation has come up for you. You may have even talked about future aspirations, your hopes, and your dreams. But often that is when the future talk ends. It is important to discuss about your future beyond the fun stuff. What might happen when you retire? Whether or not you need to consider a Funeral Comparison when it comes to covering funeral costs in the future and all of the chat about life insurance and getting your finances and commitments covered. Once it is done, then there isn’t much need to go through it all again.

The name game

One really important decision to make when it comes to getting married is deciding on the name situation. Traditionally, many brides will take their partner's surname, but in this modern day you can choose not to. It’s nice to seal the family together with the same name, especially if you have had children before getting married, but it is equally important to keep your own identity, and your name may be a big factor in that. Some people keep their maiden names for career or professional purposes, but change it legally for normal things like banking and finances. The choice is yours but make sure you are happy with the decision before the big day comes around.

It isn’t always just about the dress, the flowers, and the venue, you need to ensure that the little details are discussed and finalised. But once you have sorted those out you can get back to all the fun stuff.


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Enjoying Your Kid's Birthdays Just As Much As They Do!

You’ve probably got the festive season on your mind as all the Christmas adverts are out and decorations seem to be popping up everywhere. Therefore, your focus will be what Santa is bringing to the house and what everyone will be eating throughout those, equally, magical and manic few weeks at the end of the year and into the new one. However; one (or more; depending on how many little ones you have) thing that will also come around every year is your children’s birthday, and you’ll want to ensure they have a great time and make plenty of memories.

There are so many things to consider when it comes to your little one’s birthday; parents can often get lost in sorting everything and everyone out, and will sometimes forget to enjoy the special day. This is where a bit of preparation and planning can help you out, and you’ll be able to take the time to celebrate with your kids, and not just run around like a headless chicken. You can start by ignoring the competitive parents, and stop beating yourself up; your kids will love the fact the day is all about them, and everything else is just a bonus. The following are some ideas, inspiration and tips for parents who want to plan ahead so that they too can have fun on their kid’s birthday, and make memories together to last a lifetime.


Teamwork

A birthday should be a family affair, so make sure that you get the whole team onboard with the preparation and any decorating. If you’re having a traditional kid’s party in your home; someone can be blowing balloons up while someone else is in the kitchen putting the last of the icing on treats. Delegation is key, so let go a little of complete control and start trusting your other family members to help out; this way you’ll have time for a cuppa and to sample anything baked (for quality control purposes).

Another way to ensure that you get the most out of your little one’s big day is to look into local family days out and plan something that you can all enjoy together like trampolining for the active family, or a trip to the cinema for those who’d prefer to sit down. A family day out, perhaps with some of your kid’s closest friends (and yours) is a lovely way to celebrate their birthday, and it will take the pressure off from creating party bags and hiring a clown.
Give Yourself A Break

Not everyone out there is a Pinterest mum; there are plenty of parents who cannot recreate an image they’ve found on the internet or in a magazine, usually because they’ve had a professional stylist and photographer working on them for hours. Therefore, you need to stop giving yourself a hard time, and simply embrace the plethora of mum hacks that are available to you at the click of your mouse.

A stressed-out and snappy parent is no fun at any birthday celebration, so do your planning, buy pre-made food and decorations when needed, and try to enjoy each moment of your child’s birthday just as much as they do!


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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

It Happens To Everyone: Dealing With A Death In The Family

It’s something that everyone has to go through in their life, but when a family member dies it can be one of the most distressing experience there are. As a family unit, one of your main task at this time will be to ty and stick close together during the pain, and that itself can often be hard to do. It is often during these times that people start to act out in ways they later regret, and it’s worth remembering that nobody is going to be in their best way during this time. But as long as you can approach it in the right way, a death in the family can be handled much more effectively. Let’s see how.

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Breaking The News

One of the worst aspects for you as a parent will be to break the news to your family, in particular the children. This can be extremely tough to do, and it varies depending on the age of the children as well. If you are struggling with working out how to do this, it might be worth considering getting help from another of the adults in the family. You don’t need to break the news alone if you don’t want to, and it is often better not to anyway. However you do it, be sure to be gentle and understanding, and to explain yourself as carefully as you can so you know they have genuinely understood you. Tough as this is, it is a necessary part of the process, so make sure you are happy with how you do it.


Arranging The Funeral

A big part of the whole situation is ensuring that the funeral is arranged in good time. Arranging a funeral can be surprisingly stressful, but it is really part of the grieving process itself. You will find that it is hugely important to have help in the form of a decent funeralcare company or undertakers. The co-operative funeralcare or similar are a good place to start, and they will be able to help you with every aspect of planning for the funeral. You will find this part of the process tough, but it will also act as a kind of necessary part of grieving itself, and it might actually help in the long run. Have your children as involved or not as they would like to be, and be sure that you are still caring for them in the same way.

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Moving On

At some point, it becomes necessary for the family as a whole to try and move on. This can be the hardest part, of course, but it is also the most essential for the ongoing future of the family. Allow yourself, and your family, plenty of time to move on, as you can never predict how long it will really take. Make sure that you continue to support your children and family at the same time, and that you allow as much time as is necessary for the wounds to heal. In time, everything will seem much better, and make more sense.

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It's Time To Start Thinking About The Future!

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There are a lot of really great reasons to spend your time living in the moment as much as possible. It allows you to appreciate the life that you have and to create some truly wonderful memories. Not only that but it stops you from constantly worrying about other things going on in life that can take you out of the moment and ruin many wonderful moments. However, there comes a time in everyone's life where you have to start thinking about things that are coming next. Thinking about the future might seem pretty scary, but for the sake of you and your family, it's something that you need to start doing. Here are some aspects of your future that you need to be thinking about right now.

Retirement

Retirement is one of those things that a lot of people tend to ignore for far too long because it seems so far away. And yes, it's true that there's a pretty good chance that it's going to be a while before you're anywhere close to retirement. However, if you don't start thinking about it at and saving for it now, you're really going to regret it when you reach that stage in your life. In fact, if you're not putting money away for retirement soon enough then you could end up in a situation where you have to keep working for longer than you want to because you can't actually afford to retire yet.

Your will

It's pretty understandable why a lot of people put off thinking about writing and arranging their will. After all, it's not really the sort of thing that you want to think about in your daily life, is it? However, when you have a family, it's crucial that you think about what will happen when you're gone. The best thing to do is to speak to some probate solicitors and get as much help and support when it comes to arranging your will as possible. Rather than putting it off and having it hang over your head all the time, deal with it right away and then you can rest easy knowing that it's taken care of.

A college fund

Of course, it's not just your future that you should be thinking about but your kids as well. Education is not cheap these days, and most young people end up having to take out incredibly expensive loans to be able to afford it. In order to help them minimise that financial burden, it's a great idea to start setting money aside for their future as soon as possible. Many people even set up a college fund the moment their child is born. That way, when the time comes that they really need it, there's plenty of money tucked away.

Of course, just because you're thinking about the future that doesn't mean that you should ignore the life that you have right now. It's important to strike the best possible balance between living in the moment and preparing for what comes next.


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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Getting Your Family Through Losing A Loved One

It’s the last thing that anyone wants to think about; however, losing a loved one for an array of reasons can come at unexpected times, and will impact you and your family greatly. Whoever may have passed away in your family; you’ll want to ensure that your kids, partner, and yourself, are able to move through the difficult times together, and push forward in a positive manner. It can be especially difficult for younger children, as they may never have had to deal with loss before, and you need to help them understand what’s happened and allow them to process their emotions. It will be equally, if not, more so difficult for you as parents to cope with a loss, and look after the wellbeing of other members of your family who are grieving.

Although times will start off as a challenge; there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and you will be able to come out the other side and remember the good times you shared with your loved one. Whether you lost someone close a while ago, have just had to deal with a death in the family, or want to prepare yourself should the worst happen; it’s always a smart idea to think about how to move forward with everyone’s best interests at heart. The following are some ideas, help, and advice for those who have, or may suffer loss, and want the tools to look after themselves and the rest of their loved ones.

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Get The Admin Out Of The Way

It may seem morbid, but having a list of things to do as soon as possible when a loved one passes, is the best way to ensure that you and your family can be left to grieve in peace. There will be a funeral to organise, paperwork to sign, and wills to go through, along with several other legal matters once the dust has settled. If you have some level of preparation regarding this situation; you’ll have a weight lifted off your shoulders during the first weeks and months after it’s happened. Therefore, it’s worth knowing who you’ll go to for reputable help, and having an idea of the services and people you will need to call upon.

To ensure that there are minimal family disputes regarding money, assets, and property; make sure that you seek the advice and help of power of attorney solicitors so that any issues can be resolved efficiently. Getting the right help regarding any legal matters in times of upset and distress will help everyone involved, and decisions won’t be made in an emotional state, so it’s worth knowing what solicitors you’ll be using throughout the process. Emotions will be running high; however, try to remember that your loved one would not want disputes or arguments to happen between family members, so honouring their wishes as much as possible is the best that you can do.

When it comes to the person’s funeral; it’s always helpful if they have left instructions or their wishes written down for you to follow. However, this isn’t always the case, especially when death is unexpected. Therefore, you should think about the person’s personality; favourite colours and music can help to contribute to flower and song choice during the occasion. Many feel that a celebration of the person’s life is a positive way to move forward and enjoy all the memories people have shared with them. You’ll need an order of service, and a comfortable space to go after the ceremony to eat and drink with attendees, and perhaps share stories and smile about the good times that were shared.

Think about providing people with your loved one’s favourite food and drinks, play their favourite band or artist, and if they had a favourite colour pattern; ask people to wear an item of clothing to reflect that. The funeral is your chance to say a fond farewell, and begin to grieve, so it’s worth thinking about how to do so in a positive manner. There’ll be plenty of heartache; however, as long as you can fill in the gaps with smiles and laughter regarding the person, you and your family will be able to move forward.

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Image via here

Moving Forward With Memories

The celebration of the person’s life should continue as you begin to come to terms with your loss over the coming months and years ahead. When it comes to your kids; let them know that it’s okay to discuss your family member, and encourage them to ask questions and share their feelings. Photographs of your loved one around the house is a great reminder of who they were and how they made everyone feel. When you’re ready; sit down with your family and create a photo collage, or an album, full of pictures, words, and memories regarding the person so that everyone will have a great source of comfort to look at whenever they choose to.

You can continue to remember them by starting new family traditions; the person’s birthday or anniversary can be times of reflection, so think about hosting a family meal each year or visiting their resting place together. Keep talking about them, looking at photos, playing their music, and enjoying how they impacted your life. Showing your kids that it’s okay to both cry from the sadness of their passing and laugh at some of the best memories you have of your loved one will help them to process the situation and do the same in the future.

Grief and loss are challenging; so remember that time is a great healer and just take things step by step. If it’s a person that’s close to your spouse that has passed; be their biggest support system, and expect an array of moods and emotions to hit the family. Remind one another that there is plenty of love in the household so that people know they have someone to talk to, lean on, and a shoulder to cry on whenever they need. Be as organised and open as possible, and your family will be able to get through the most difficult of times; together, as a team.

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Fun Ways For Kids To Learn Outside of School

Our education system is excellent, and the fact that every child in the country is entitled to a free education is something we should never take for granted. So many countries around the world don’t offer this so we should remember how lucky we are. However learning in the classroom is just one part of the puzzle, for our kids to have life skills and be well rounded individuals there’s plenty they can learn outside of this too. Here are a few fun ways kids can learn outside of school.

Camping
Camping is a family favourite- it’s inexpensive, fun and you get to spend time outdoors. By taking kids camping you teach them an appreciation of nature, of the simple things. You show that you don’t always need fancy hotels and attractions to have a good time. Spend your days bird watching, bike riding, hiking, fishing, rock pooling, taking photos, building campfires and much more. It’s a way kids can get active, and teach them all kinds of skills and outdoorsy things that they simply wouldn’t get the chance to do sat at home or in a classroom. If nothing else, it gets them active and running around, getting some fresh air and away from their screens. Even if you go on a big family vacation one or twice a year, make the time in the school holidays to go camping too. Whether it’s in a tent, a caravan, RV or anything else, it’s a great opportunity for children and fun for all the family. You could meet other families and it could provide an opportunity to socialise too.



Volunteering
Teaching children to empathise is important as a parent. Letting them understand that some people aren’t as well off as they are, and that as humans we should be doing what we can to help. If you already have a volunteering position, see if you can bring your child in with you. Not only does this teach them respect and humbleness but it also helps them to understand how lucky they are. Having appreciation of your own life is another good trait, it prevents children from becoming spoiled since they know what they have and how much worse off others are. Volunteering encourages children to be kind, helpful and sympathetic people in life which are wonderful traits for any human to have. These kinds of activities help to strengthen and develop the more emotional and caring side of children.

Museums and Galleries
There’s one thing learning about art and history in books, but quite another seeing paintings and artifacts in person. Taking your children to these kinds of places will give them an interest in these subjects, can help to build their intelligence and spark their curiosity. Best of all, they’re usually free to visit and are indoors so make for the perfect rainy day family day out. Lots of museums and attractions like this have exhibits that are specially designed for kids too, they’re usually fun and interactive so appeal to children while getting them interested and excited. It could be anything from a space museum to natural history, it could be on a culture such as Egypt or a time period such as the war. There are often school trips to places like this, but you could have a look what’s local to to you and go yourself too. Ideal if you’re after an educational yet inexpensive day out with the kids.


Farms, Zoos and Aquariums
Again, teaching kids about animals is one thing but allowing them to see them in person teaches much more. It gives children a love and appreciation of animals, lets them see what they look like, feel like and so much more. Lots of farms offer things like feeding baby animals, birds shows and more. Zoos will allow them to see more exotic animals, and aquariums are perfect for viewing life under the ocean. These kinds of days out are something everyone will enjoy and you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re giving your kids an educational yet fun experience. You can often find tickets for these kinds of things discounted or buy one get one free in places like newspapers if you keep an eye out.
While maths, english, science and other formal academic activities are absolutely invaluable and necessary for a child’s education, there’s plenty for them to learn outside of the classroom too. Taking them on days out and trips isn’t just fun, it can teach them skills and lessons for the future.


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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Willows Activity Farm - Santa Spectacular Grotto Giveaway! *WIN*


The ultimate family day out this Christmas at Willows Santa Spectacular


This festive season, Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm is the only event for families looking for a truly magical day out. Just like last year when we went - it was amazing! We can't wait to go again this year as a family and I'm delighted to be able to offer you the chance to win a ticket for up to 4 people to visit Willows farm Santa Spectacular! You can read what we thought about it *Here*. It's starting 22 November and its on all the way to 24 December and the prize must be used within these dates. Visitors can enjoy the ultimate festive experience in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.
Every child will have a chance to meet Santa in his spectacular grotto and receive a golden key to Santa’s Toy Shop, where children can choose from one of the hundreds of presents, stacked from floor to ceiling, to take home! We were so impressed last year be warned there is so much to decide from that it may take little ones a few minutes to find 100 things they want! haha.
Families can join in at the Elf Academy where they have the happiest of Elves, learning the basics of how to be an elf from Santa’s elves all the way from the North Pole - including the Elf-a-bet! The Create-a-Cuddle workshop will also be open daily, allowing little ones to make their very own reindeer cuddly toy to take home, all included in the entrance price. Last year it was a husky!! Which is still on the children's beds. We were all so impressed with the quality of this cuddly all included in the price for entry is just amazing. I can't wait to get the reindeer... I mean for the kids obviously.
The popular 3D film is back, with children able to take off into the skies on an adventure with Santa. Then try a real life magical ride in the Willows festive wood on Tristan the Runaway Tractor - love it!
Willows welcomes the Winter weather – whether snow or rain – as families can enjoy plenty of indoor activities including the synthetic ice rink, Christmas shows including an Elf Sing-a-Long and Nativity performances featuring farm animals. Plus, meet Mischka, the Alaskan Malamute and Santa’s reindeer.
Visitors can also find the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground™ which will be open every day throughout Santa Spectacular. Also, meet and greet Peter Rabbit at selected times throughout the day. The playground is amazing!
With the all-inclusive price, Willows offers to guests, parents are safe in the knowledge that there are no hidden extra costs. Discounted tickets can be purchased online in advance at www.willowsactivityfarm.com
You can find more details about Christmas at willows by following this link  Santa Spectacular Grotto
To enter the giveaway use the rafflecopter below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*please note that there will be one winner picked at random by rafflecopter. 1 winner will get a ticket for up to 4 people to attend. no cash alternative to this prize. it must be used within the stated dates to be arranged upon winning. It's open to UK only.*
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