Saturday, 9 December 2017

Taking my Child Out of School in Term Time, WWYD?

Northern Lights with trees in the foreground
This is an interesting post for me to write. As an ex-Governor, and a qualified Teaching Assistant, I have spent a lot of my life knocking around the education system, in one way or another. I know exactly how important it is for every child to have a consistent, routined school experience, not just because it helps instil discipline and gives them the best opportunities to socialise and feel part of something, but also because missing blocks of learning leads to problems later on, when it's revisited at a later date. Or, worse still, when it comes up in an exam! For all those reasons, I am the last person who should be planning a term-time holiday and yet, here I am.
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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Ideas for Helping Those in Need, When Money is Tight

A mitten with the words how to give a helping hand when money is tight across it.
There are so many charities vying for our attention at Christmas, that it can become overwhelming to find who best to help and how to do it. If you have cash to spare, it's a bit easier, because money is always welcomed by any charity, because it gives them the flexibility to buy the things that they need. What about when you are on a low income, though? Even when you don't have much money coming in, you can still be acutely aware that many people have less, and at Christmas especially, it's natural to want to reach out to those in need. Fortunately, there are lots of other ways you can help and here are some ideas.
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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Win a Signed Copy of Take Six Girls by Laura Thompson

Take Six Girls by Laura Thompson
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Christmas Gift Guide: Children

View through a window of a boy opening Christmas gifts. This is always a hard guide to write, because there is such an insane amount of choice and children vary so much in their tastes and interests. Just the amount of adverts vying for our attention this time of year is mind-boggling. It's most likely your own children have dropped more than one heavy hint about what they would like under the Christmas tree, but for the friends and relatives you know less about, I have put together this guide, which focuses on school-age children, the ones with the most opinions! As always, this is a mix of things we've been sent to try that we've really liked and things we use ourselves and think everyone should know about!
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Men

Christmas desk scene, with sleigh and reindeer flying over.
It's no secret that men are notoriously hard to buy for. It helps if they have a hobby or an interest, but even that can get a bit samey and predictable after a few years. There are only so many golf balls, football shirts, or hilarious mugs based on a TV show that one person needs. Sometimes you can quirky-up the classic gift, such as socks, or gloves, with a bit of imagination, but the real challenge is to find something he doesn't know he wants, so that you can be sure he will not only be happy with your choice, but also won't have already bought one for himself. Check out our ideas for some stress-free man-shopping this Christmas.
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Friday, 17 November 2017

A Garden Makeover on a Budget

Shed and patio of stone chippings. I've been working on the garden for a few years now. There are a few reasons why it's taken so long; there isn't much money to spend on it, I'm not very good at it, and time and weather are not always our friends. So, this is this season's update, and I have to say, I am really, really happy with it. The aim has always been to make the garden effort-proof and I think that part is almost perfect. Aside from a little mowing and picking up stray leaves, there's not much to do day to day, but it still looks pretty good. I am still very much an amateur and gardening for me will probably always be trial and error, but it's so great when something actually grows! Here's how we did it, what we've added recently, what worked and what didn't. 
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide: Teenagers

Christmas Gift Guide: TeenagersOur first gift guide for this year, features that very tricky and somewhat elusive species The Teenager. Not always the chattiest group of people, it can be hard to settle on the perfect gift. I've called this Gift Guide 'Teenagers', but really it could probably apply to 'tweens' or possibly younger, since children have a habit of growing up at their own pace and will grow into, and out of, things, when they are ready. With this in mind, I've tried to find items that suit a wider age group, so that you can be sure of a positive reaction on Christmas morning. Some of the items are available to win in our Big Christmas Giveaway, so don't forget to enter if you haven't already.
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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Win Your Christmas Presents with our Huge Giveaway!

Christmas tree with presents underneath against a red background.
This annual tradition is the culmination of a year's worth of blogging and is such a lot of fun to put together. I really enjoy giving one of you the opportunity to benefit from some of the great brands we get to work with and it is so exciting taking all the photos and imagining how happy they will make someone's Christmas. As well as some brilliant brands, who have been really generous in contributing items to include, we have also included some goodies from our prize cupboard, as a thank you for all your support over the last year. Without further ado, here is what you could win, simply by using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. Good luck!
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