Showing posts with label #collaborativepost. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #collaborativepost. Show all posts

Monday, 20 March 2017

Low Maintenance Pets for the Kids

“Mum, I want a dog!”

“Mum, why don’t we have a cat?!”

Sound like something your kids say?
If only they realised that it wasn’t as easy as simply buying a cat or a dog and letting it loose in the house. From a child’s point of view having a pet is simple; you feed it, pet it and play with it, but we know it’s a much bigger deal than that. Owning one of those furry friends costs money and takes time and effort to maintain and care for. Keeping them clean, making sure they’re healthy—the list goes on. That’s why you should consider getting a low maintenance pet for your kids instead.

Hermit Crab

These little guys are one of the cheapest pets you could get and also an easy way to introduce your child to the idea of responsibility and pet ownership. Most of the things they require are self-explanatory. 
A plastic aquarium makes for a sufficient living space, be sure to place some gravel on the bottom, with larger rocks, wood, and plants as decoration. Apart from water and food, which can easily and cheaply be bought from a regular pet store, they require a new shell every so often once they outgrow their old one, but that’s also easily bought from a pet store.


Much like the hermit crab, a gecko is a very simple and inexpensive pet to own. You can find geckos for sale for no more than $20, or if you feel like spending more, up to $75. The requirements for living space are also very similar; a terrarium, plastic or glass, with some sand at the bottom, rocks and a lamp to heat the terrarium. Geckos eat mealworms, which can be bought at a pet store for just a few cents per serving.


Another pet that lives inside a glass container, although this one’s filled with water. Fish make great first pets and are one of the cheapest to maintain and care for. 
Of course, there’s different types of fish, each with their own requirements, some more expensive than others. 
A betta fish is the least costly, only requiring a simple glass bowl and food that costs no more than $20 per year. If you feel like owning something different and you have a pond in your backyard, you could consider looking into a koi carp; a slightly larger, exotic fish that looks absolutely beautiful. Costs vary depending on the size, so for more information check out a Koi Carp website
It’s as low maintenance as any other fish, but with the added benefit of looking absolutely amazing.


Excuse me? Yes, you read that correctly. Even though people might not like the idea of owning one, they’re very inexpensive and make great pets. Contrary to popular belief, rats are actually very affectionate and loving creatures as well as very intelligent. It would typically cost around $300 a year for a rat, including the cost of food, bedding, and toys. Their cage needs weekly cleaning and about an hour of time outside the cage each day.

**This is a collaborative post

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Are You Making Enough Memories With Your Kids?

One thing you really notice as soon as you have children is that time starts to fly by. And, given the busy lifestyles we lead and the pressures we are all under to ‘raise our kids right,’ there are often things that we miss due to those time constraints.

Many households have both parents working, for example, and it often means that one - or both - will end up missing important events because of work. And there is the constant pressure to get the kids to bed at the right time, develop a healthy routine, and equip them with the life skills they need to progress. In short, it’s a minefield, which many parents struggle with.

However, while work and bringing up your children in the right manner is important, so is having the time to spend with to create memories. In the future, your child won’t remember that awesome day they spent playing on Daddy’s iPad. But they will remember the sights, smells, and feelings of an excellent day out at the beach or a fantastic holiday.

It’s experiences they will cherish, and it’s up to you to create an environment where their memories of childhood are happy. With this in mind, here are some simple suggestions to help you and your family create fantastic memories you can all cherish long into the future.

Night time stories

Regardless of how busy you are as parents, never neglect the bedtime story - and always read books with your kids whenever you have a spare five minutes. Storytelling is one of the most powerful and memorable things we do as humans, and it’s vital for your child’s development.


Be honest - how much do you actually converse with your kids? It can be tough when you are a busy parent. And, if you are anything like the average mum or dad, most of your communication will involve giving orders rather than having a chat. But conversation helps kids develop their cognitive and memory-making skills, and gives them a chance to remember awesome things they have been doing that day. Not only that, but it gives them a voice and a sense of independence - so, chat more; instruct less!


I have vivid memories of poring through photo albums as a child. Even now when I look at them, I can remember vividly about the occasion when many shots were taken. And it’s struck me recently how things have changed nowadays. Your photos are on Facebook or Instagram now, or in a folder on your home PC - not in the traditional family album. So, don’t just take photos - print them. Arrange a few family photo shoots for special occasions, and keep them safe for the future. While the digital realm has its advantages, I think the traditional family photo album deserves to make a comeback.


As I mentioned above, the biggest and best memories we have from our childhoods are all based on experiences rather than physical products or general entertainment. Holidays, exciting days out, exploring the countryside - they are all great ways of giving your kids fantastic memories they will live with for a long time. Adventure doesn’t have to cost you money, too - so there are no excuses for not finding the time!

**This is a collaborative post.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

One Holiday + Two Itineraries = Happy Family

When you plan anything for a large group of people, you half-expect that you won’t be able to please everyone. It’s more or less inevitable. If you’re smart, you’ll be upfront about it - make compromises here and there, take account of any red lines, and find a way to move forward.

( Photo by: jill111 )

Booking a holiday for your family is a perfect example of this scenario. First, you have to pick a destination. This is where the first cracks tend to begin to appear. Say you’ve decided to go to France. Although everyone may accept it, there may be one resigned voice muttering: “well, I said Spain, but I guess my opinion doesn’t matter…”

The more specific that your choices get, the more likely it is to happen.

This can make choosing an itinerary to suit all very difficult. If you’ve decided on a trip to Scotland, chances are you’ve pencilled in Edinburgh Mall to experience. And then the voice starts: “oh, we have a day to spare to wander some random street, but not a morning to go to Bannockburn? I suppose I’m just talking to myself!”

It’s exhausting.

It’s time to accept that on any holiday with a group of four or more people, a secondary itinerary is the best idea. This way, parts of the trip which are age-inappropriate (or others in the party may dismiss as boring) can be reserved for those who want to go on them. A second itinerary may take more planning, but it makes a better family break - as long as some rules are followed.

Rule 1: A Minimum Of One Adult Per Party

Our imaginary touring party is now in London. Mum is a true crime addict and wants to go to Whitechapel. While some of the kids also want to experience a Jack The Ripper tour, some of the parents feel it would be inappropriate for the entire group to experience. So Mum and the older kids can head to Whitechapel, while Dad (or an adult son or daughter) leads an expedition to Harrods and Hamleys. The whole family can then meet up again for a jaunt on the London Eye.

Rule 2: The Schedules Should Overlap

Humans are tribal in nature and this can even be the case within families. If Group 1 are going on their expedition and Group 2 are heading elsewhere, it can become a bone of contention. While split itineraries can save a holiday, there should be some common ground where the whole family is together.

So, on a trip to Berlin for example, Group 1 may want to see the Wall while Group 2 take a more kid-friendly trip to the zoo. This is fine as long as everyone reconvenes for an excursion to a both-group-friendly-spot like Grunewald Forest.

Rule 3: No One Gets “Stuck” Babysitting

A split itinerary should not mean that one parent is always the one doing the babysitting, relegated to nothing but kid-friendly activities. Imagine going to Florence with an art lover and them not being able to go and see the David because it was deemed “too boring” for kids. Rotate each party based on people’s interests and you’ll keep everyone happy.

**This is a collaborative post.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

City Break To Berlin: History, Museums, And Kindercafes!

If you’re considering a city break and want to take the kids, Berlin is less than a two-hour flight from Heathrow. This thriving and cosmopolitan city is full of galleries, museums, and parks, and is somewhere the whole family can relax and have fun.

The Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, and Berlin Wall will bring your children’s history classes to life and are the reason for the countless school trips to Berlin each year. The Brandenburg Gate has a rich history and was built between 1788 and 1791. It has witnessed many significant historical moments and has been the location for many famous political speeches. Since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it now represents a unified Germany.

The Holocaust Memorial or the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe officially opened 60 years after the end of World War II. The site was designed by Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold and consists of 2,711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’. The names of almost 3 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust are also listed near by.

On 9th November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell uniting the people of Germany. 
Part of the wall still stands today and remains a symbol of triumph over oppression. It’s possible to walk or cycle along the path where the wall stood. 
There are many guided tours to point out areas of significance.

After taking in the various sites, it’s time to sit back and relax. Several kindercafes have popped up in recent years and have been created with families in mind. These hip cafes are popping up throughout the city and are popular in up and coming areas such as Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg.

Though usually associated with art, music, and culture, Berlin also has a large number of swimming venues and lidos. During the summer months, families can enjoy swimming in various open air locations such as public pools and lakes. Then in the winter months when the open air pools close, you can still take advantage of several indoor pools. Popular venues include Wei├čer See, Haubentaucher, and Sommerbad Olympiastadion.

Museum Island
Many of the museums and galleries offer family-friendly exhibitions and activities. Museum Island is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. It is home to five of Berlin’s most important museums; Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, and the Pergamon Museum. One ticket will allow access to all five.

The Pergamon Museum houses the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the Market Gate of Miletus. Each of these structures was constructed from the ruins found in ancient Turkey and the Middle East. While the Neues Museum is home to an Egyptian bust of Nefertiti.

The Reichstag is the home of the German parliament and provides an unrivalled view over the city. The roof is made entirely of glass and offers some of the best views. Though the dome is free to enter, it is necessary to book in advance. Audio tours are also available to talk you through your visit.

Berlin has everything when it comes to family-friendly breaks; education, history, sports, museums, galleries, art and even kindercafes.
It’s definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you’re planning a city break this year.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Love Is In The Cards

Is there any better declaration of love than sharing your happiness with someone else? If you think about it, there is a lot of truth in it. But when it comes to showing people you love them, whether it’s your partner, your children or even your best friend, you should always rely on a statement that will last forever: The ink. Indeed, in our digital times, receiving a card is one of the most satisfying experiences there is, and it is also a cherished memory. So why couldn’t you make all the special moments in your life count a little more with tailored cards? It’s time to go back to basics and to design beautiful cards that will beat any Facebook announcement or Instagram picture. Send the love cards that you die to receive.

Welcome A Baby into The Family

While most parents are looking to get everything ready when they are expecting a baby, from the new bedroom to the necessary baby gear, the way you choose to announce the birth of your bundle of joy can often be left as a last minute operation. In truth, if you want to make it count, you will need to start preparing early, and why not with a baby shower before the birth already? Or maybe a personalised card with the first picture of your baby? Or why not create an a pregnancy announcement with a mum-to-be picture? 
Whatever you pick, it’s important to rely on high-quality cards, such as Sleepymoon Cards, and on a little touch of creativity that will make it your own! Some parents even choose to send homemade birth announcement cards. While they can still be a valid option, you can make it easier by ordering printed cards that you can customise with a stamp of your baby’s feet or with a little note, for example.

Make Valentine’s Day A Special Day

Most couples, while knowing that this is a love celebration, still consider avoiding the commercial aspect of Valentine’s day. There is no denying that prices can get a little excessive for the occasion. But you don’t have to break the bank to celebrate in style: You could bake a romantic dinner for you and your lover to enjoy at home with a glass of wine, for example. If you are feeling artistic, you can make an exciting DIY card for Valentine’s day, which will not only surprise but also let your partner know how much they mean to you. Remember the old days at school when you received a handmade card and try to feel those first butterflies in your tummy again. This is what your crafted card could feel like!

Birthdays Don’t Have To Be Boring

If you are reaching a milestone this year, or even if you’re not - after all, is there an age when you should stop having fun? - there’s always a good reason to throw a birthday party. Make it special with custom-made invitation cards that will bring a smile to your guests’ faces and attract a lot of positive responses. This is by far the best way to show that you care: Make the card impossible to forget!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Making The Best Room For The Kids!

Your kids, they are everything to you. From their grumpy faces in the morning on the school run, right through to night-time when you tuck them in. There's no love like that effortless love you have for your children.

Our kids rely on us so much - think about it, where would they even be without good parents? They can't work, buy food, in some cases they can barely clean up after themselves! As a parent, you've got to do it all and sometimes that can be a thankless task - but you do it anyway.

In terms of the home, it's a safe space for our families. It's a place where they can foster skills, grow knowledge, have fun and escape from the world that is flying by outside. That obviously goes for the kids as well. Interior design is a heavy consideration - much like our kids, we want the best for our home as well! We want it to be the perfect place for us, it's ours, and we are paying a lot of money to have it - so why not? The dream of a good home preoccupies the mind of many an adult, and once you've unlocked the door to your new home, your mind can go wild with possibilities. The truth is, investing in the design of your home can be quite rewarding - the money you put into it could very well increase the value of the home, which is obviously a massive benefit.

But before you run ahead with your delusions of a wine cellar or what have you, spare a thought for your children. Obviously, if you can consider a wine cellar, it's likely that your children will want for nothing - but no matter your income, it's good to equip the kids with a bedroom or playroom that can allow them a safe space in your big, wide house.

So, when you think about creating a room for your children, whether it's a bedroom or a room where the toys are stored, there are a bunch of key considerations you must take on board.

The first thing you need to consider? 
Well - your kids do grow up - that does happen. This means that you might want to curb some of your grand designs if your kids are approaching the ages of 9 or 10 as the room will only last them a maximum of three years before their needs change. If you've got younger kids, you can really go wild with your imagination as you'll get a good six or seven years out of a well-designed room. The needs of the children are going to change, so keep that in mind at all times otherwise, you'll be wasting a lot of time and money.  If you design the room around the age of your offspring, you'll keep many problems at bay.

If your kids are growing up, a study space is of incredible importance. Between 10 and 18, they are going to be doing some serious learning, and a place to work is going to be needed through these years of school and college when the homework load increases. It also gives a great bay for a laptop computer to be stored. It's much better if your kids can work sitting upright than sprawled out on the bed; obviously, you can't boss them about in that manner, but you can certainly give them the option to study on a desk. What should a study space consist of? Well, the basics could be a desk and a chair - that's it. 
You could go wild with the desk - say for example that your child loves comic books, why not buy some old Marvel or DC issues (depending on their preference, of course) and lacquer them over the desk with some varnish to create a unique piece of furniture out of what could be a cheap desk. Also, ensure the space is lit well, your young bookworm will endure some eye strain if not. A book case is also an excellent idea for a study space; it gives your young one a place to store their study materials along with their favourite books. Giving your kids access to a well-stocked bookcase can open up their minds to new ideas and amazing stories. It can never not be a bad investment, put it that way. With the study space, you are giving your kids a place to foster and concentrate on achieving their dreams and goals, no matter if they are the next big artist or the next mindblowing scientist.

It goes without saying, but a good bed should be the focus of any childrens bedroom furniture you choose to furnish a bedroom. Sleep is underrated and is so very important to the development of our little monsters, look at the below from the NHS if you are unsure:

'Evidence shows that nighttime sleep is just as important as healthy eating and exercise for children to develop. Those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. This is because they tend to crave and eat sugary or starchy food during the day to give them the energy to stay awake. The key to how much is enough sleep is whether a child gets up fairly easily in the morning is alert and happy for most of the day and is not grumpy. Younger children who are persistently sleep-deprived seem irritable and overactive, seek constant stimulation and don’t concentrate well. Such symptoms can be mistaken for mild ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).'

The amount of sleep your child needs depends on their age, and it varies from 11-hours down to 9 hours. That all being said, the bed is crucial. Now, it might seem obvious to have a bed, but this bed needs to be inviting, warm and soft as it needs to carry them through the night right through into the next day of mischief. Some good quality blankets are a good idea as well to keep your child snuggled up nice and warm. It's amazing how a bed is so key to the development and health of our children, so take the purchase of a good bed seriously.

Storage is absolutely key for a children's room. They have so many toys and little gadgets that it can be hard to keep up - even when you are the one who paid out your hard-earned cash for them! Storage under the bed is always a good idea, but include a wardrobe of sorts and a few drawers so when it does get messy, all these toys scattered around have a place to call home when the time comes to put them away. Give your kids some options when it comes to storage and teach them some organisational skills.

You'd be making a huge mistake if you don't choose to reinforce your walls. Sometimes, our kids might not realise their own strength, and when they are chucking bags about and being a bit naughty, some damage can be expected.
Wall panelling is a good option for a playroom, or even a bedroom when the playtime gets a bit hectic. It's better being safe than sorry when a hole appears...

In terms of lighting, fairy lights are an amazing idea as they transform from cute to stylish as your child ages. They are not as brilliantly bright as some lamps so they have a lower chance of disrupting your child's sleep and LED lights are cool to the touch so that we don't have any burnt little fingers.

The decoration of the room is where you can go crazy with your imagination. There are some amazing designs on the internet for kid's rooms, ranging from floating tree-houses, to pirate ships. They are some more minimalist options as well if you don't have the time to construct Noah's Ark in the room of your little ones as well. Take the time and plan it out.

A word of warning, though. It's far too easy to become wrapped up in our own creative process as adults and end up leaving the kids out. We are building their room! The input of your children needs to be the focus of this, not an afterthought. This room is for your children, and they will be the people occupying it, not you. Now, it may be your house, but you need to allow your kids to lead the design process here. Let them choose what they want the room to look like so you can follow their demands and design the room of their dreams. Of course, you wouldn't expect them to lead the process on another renovation, would you? 
Think of them and let their needs power the design.

It can be a lot of work, but a room full of love for your kids can go a long way, just don't forget them when the time comes to build it!