Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Free Tennis weekends 2014

The MiniMad's are mad on sport, all sport and Mini took part in his first tennis tournament with school a few weeks ago and had a real blast.

I took this video as he was doing skills before the games.  We are really lucky that the boys love sport and their school encourages their participation.

I will be making sure that I book the boys on the free sessions from the LTA.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced four ‘Great British Tennis Weekends’ which will take place from May to July 2014. The weekends will see hundreds of parks and clubs up and down the country offer completely free opportunities to play the game as tennis fever grips the nation  in the lead up to Wimbledon.

The dates for the weekends are:

·         Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th May
·         Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd June
·         Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th June
·         Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th July

For more information on Great British Tennis Weekends 2014, please visit:

This is not a sponsored post

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Growing your own vegetables with kids

We have been growing our own vegetables with the boys for the last six years.  In fact this Easter weekend MadDad had to replace some of the boards on the raised beds he made over six years ago.

We have a standard back garden, but we have made room in it to have three raised beds and two oak barrels.  We also have various pots and planters which we grow in too.

I am going to share with you our secrets, hints and tips over the coming months.

What we are growing this year:

Bed one - New potatoes (planted this weekend)
Bed two - Carrots, beans (to be planted)
Bed three - cauliflowers and cabbage (to be planted)
oak barrels - peas (to be planted)
planters - lettuce and shallots (planted) tomatoes (to be planted)
Hanging baskets - Strawberries (to be planted)

MadDad is also going to build a new bed and relocate the compost basket.

Do you grow with your kids?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Tips for the family budget

Families often find it difficult to maintain healthy spending habits with the multiple needs and costs that are necessary within the household. Between car payments to health insurance, there are several expenses that can make it difficult to thrive or avoid living paycheck to paycheck. For those wanting to follow a family budget, there are several tips available to ensure that you remain organized and prevent overspending each month.

Visit Price-Comparison Websites
Several different price-comparison websites have begun to increase in popularity for a convenient way of shopping around online and finding the best deal. Whether looking for a new carseat or trying to find a designer handbag, the websites work in your favor by doing the homework and providing the most inexpensive websites to purchase the goods with both tax and shipping factored in.

Pay with Cash
Multiple studies have proven that using credit or debit cards often leads to spending at least 9 percent more. Without having the money physically in your hand, it can be easy to exceed your budget when it comes to paying for groceries, household products, clothes, or fuel. Prevent splurging by keeping cash on hand at all times for everyday purchases. You can also use separate envelopes for each expense to hold cash that can be used. Once the cash runs out, it's impossible to spend more, making for an easy way to stay within a budget.

Use an Automated Saving Service
Automated saving services are essential to growing savings accounts and meeting goals by providing accountability throughout the process. The service works to automatically transfer the funds from a checking account on specific dates, making it easy to save without giving it as second thought. The service can also show progress and reminders with the goals. This will work to efficiently build an emergency fund or save for a down payment on a house. It will not only increase your chances of meeting specific goals, but will also prevent using the money toward other unnecessary purchases.


Refinancing your auto loans or credit cards can potentially save hundreds of dollars annually for lower interest rates. In today's economy, interest rates continue to decline for a great way to save more while repaying debt. It will not only work to reduce your monthly payment, but will free up more money in your budget that can be used for a savings account or future college fund. Several lenders offer deals where the debt can be transferred at no cost, making it easy to obtain better rates.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ten fast ways to save on your energy costs and one way to heat your home more efficiently

After our mortgage and council tax our home heating and fuel costs are the next largest outgoing.  So it makes sense to me to try and reduce this spend as much as I can.    

In the UK over 1.6 million children live in fuel poverty ( where families spend more than 10% of their income on fuel).  When you are spending this much of your income or any amount of your income on heating your home it pays to think smart and Evohome is the smarter way to control your home heating.

Evohome works by splitting your home into zones and giving you the control over each of those zones.  For example if you work from home and have a home office you could have that as one zone and only heat that during the day rather than your whole house.

This video explains it really well:


As a work from home mum it would make real sense for me to zone my home in to Kitchen, living areas, boys rooms, my bedroom and my office.  The boys goes to bed at 8pm so their rooms would only need heating for an hour between 7.30 and 8.30 and again in the morning, where as we go to our room later so it would make sense not to heat that till later.

I love the idea of just heating area's when you are in them.  We tend to congregate together rather than use different areas, so I love that we could be more efficient in heating our home.

Even better we could control our heating remotely - how clever is that! 

Want to find out more, then visit the Evohome website and take a look at the system planning tool, which will give you an indication of what Evohome kit you will need for your particular home and requirements.

We have been working at ways of reducing our bills at home by implementing the following:

  1. Using a slow cooker
  2. Only boiling as much water as we need in the kettle
  3. Using low wattage and LED bulbs
  4. Wearing slippers and dressing gowns
  5. Lining our curtains
  6. Hanging curtains at external doors
  7. Using draft excluders
  8. Not leaving lights on
  9. Not leaving electrical equipment on standby
  10. Not leaving chargers plugged in

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Make The Most Of Your Time With Your Kids: How To Organise Your Schedule

As soon as you have kids, it might feel like you never have five minutes to yourself; especially if you’re a working, single parent. You have to juggle your day job with childcare, school, clubs, activities, cleaning, cooking, and general upkeep of the kids. And all that’s before you get to have a social life of your own. Is there a way that you can organise your schedule better, to make the most of your time with your kids? Let’s find out.


Talk to your kids and assess what’s important to everyone. Do you need a few hours on Friday night to hang out with your friends (to maintain your sanity)? Does your youngest passionately love her piano lessons? Keep what matters, but cut-down on time-consuming excesses, such as multiple clubs after school and trips into town.

Discuss this with your children, before you make any decisions. Explain that you’re trying to free up your schedule, so you can spend some time together as a family, and that you can’t do that if your weekend is spent running around various lessons and extra-curricular activities.

Limit TV Time

This may cause a riot, depending on what your kids like to do best. Rather than turning the TV off altogether, we’d recommend coming up with family activities and tasks that have to be completed before free rein of the TV. If it’s possible in your family, leave the TV off, except on one or two days during the week. Try to be more active with your kids, rather than sitting on the sofa all day.

Make It About The Family

Do you go jogging? Take the kids with you on their bikes. When cooking, assign each child a task. This will teach them useful skills, as well as speed up dinner. Think about everyday tasks that can be improved and shortened with some quality family time. Drag your kids away from their computers, if you have to.

Go Out!

Make memories! Staying at home can be fun, after a long week at work, but getting out to exciting venues, such as Knowsley Safari Park, or your nearest adventure centre, can bring you closer together as a family. Don’t forget to take your camera with you!

Family Night

Every week, assign a day to family night. Let each member of the family take it in turns to decide what you do during this evening, whether it’s watching a movie or playing a board game. Jump into your PJs and chill out together!

Make Goals

Decide what you want to aim for as a family and do your best to reach those goals. Do you want to be better readers? Have a week where every day, 30 minutes is assigned to poring over a book. Common goals make you stronger! It’s easy to reach your target when you have the support of your whole family. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Blackpool for Kids: What’s Brilliant?

It can be hard to keep the kids happy and occupied during the school holidays, but the promise of a trip out for the day or an overnight stay can certainly help to smooth over any arguments, tantrums or cries of ‘I’m bored’. Dangle the promise of a trip to Blackpool in front of your brood and you might just find that behaviour in the weeks before dramatically improves!

Give them an added incentive by pointing out these brilliant things that are going on your Blackpool ‘to do’ list:

Nickelodeon Land

If your kids love Nickelodeon then they’ll be in their element in the all new Nick Land at the Pleasure Beach. Designed for younger thrill-seekers, you’ll find rides to suit all ages, themed on the best Nick and Nick Jr shows. The kids will also get to see their favourite characters including the cast of Spongebob, Dora and Diego, The Rugrats and The Backyardigans.

The Pleasure Beach

The Pleasure Beach itself is brilliant for all ages, with big thrill rides like The Big One, Revolution and The Grand National sitting alongside more child-friendly rides including the new Wallace and Gromit rollercoaster and water ride Valhalla. Of course, you’ll also find some of your own childhood faves like the Alice in Wonderland ride and The Flying Machines.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower is a brilliant ‘everything under one roof’ attraction that really comes into its own when the weather’s not that great. Take the kids right up to the top of the tower for amazing views from the Blackpool Tower Eye, watch them giggle their socks of at the Tower Circus or let them run wild at the Jungle Jims soft play centre.

SeaLife/Madame Tussauds

These two promenade attractions are both fantastic fun, as well as being educational too! Spot the world famous personalities in the Madame Tussauds waxworks or see the sharks and the octopi in the SeaLife centre – the choice is yours!

Hit the Pier

Blackpool has three brilliant piers, each with its own charms. Central Pier has a fantastic ferris wheel for looking out right across Blackpool, South Pier is the home of Adrenalin Zone and the North Pier theatre is the place to see some fantastic family friendly shows.

The Sandcastle

If you’re battling wet weather during your visit then the Sandcastle Waterpark is a super place to spend a day. With no less than 18 rides, flumes, chutes and fun attractions there’s plenty of splashing good fun for everyone. And yes, if you visited as a child, the pirate ship is still there!

Amusement Arcades

It wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without a go on the amusement arcades and Blackpool’s Golden Mile has many to choose from. One of the best for kids however is Coral Island, a pirate themed arcade which sits just opposite Blackpool Tower.

While that’s quite a list, the good news is that breaks in Blackpool don’t have to cost a fortune, as there are three Travelodge hotels in Blackpool with family rooms that sleep up to four people. Let the kids choose two or three things to do from the list above and you have all the makings of a brilliant Blackpool break to bribe them with!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Free face paints from Snazaroo

This offer is only valid until midnight tonight so get in there!
Fill out the form and get a free sample and some money off vouchers.  So go on, do it whilst you can.  
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