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.

Prioritise

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.  

Friday, 11 April 2014

Rugs in children’s rooms and play areas can be so much more than simply ‘looking pretty’



Rugs are a versatile addition to any room; they add warmth and character in any cases, with many opting for rugs as an addition that will add a much needed slash of colour.

We are all used to seeing rugs in hall ways, or in front of fires adding a cosy element to a room. Technology and manufacturing techniques have come on leaps and bounds meaning that many people can now have rugs in any room of the house!
The purchase of some rugs need careful consideration especially when looking to add rugs in certain areas where we require them to do more than one functions. Rugs for children’s bedrooms and play areas is one such place. Seen for many years as a tripping hazard, many people are once again recognising the brilliance of a rug for children but as with all aspects of interior design, there are pros and cons to using rugs.

Style

There are so many stylish rugs to choose from that it can seem an impossible choice! There are patterns galore and rugs awash with colour but you will also find that, to a certain extent, the choice is split in three – rugs aimed at boys and those rugs aimed at girls but there are also ‘neutral’ rugs, ones.
There are shaped rugs, obviously aimed at boys such as a space rocket, tractors and more, heavily based in navy and reds, these rugs can be every little person’s dream.
For girls, there are also ‘obvious’ choices aimed at them from delightful pink castles to unicorns and flowers. Depending on your themes of course, these gender aimed rug might not fit the bill.
Don’t worry, there are many ‘neutral’ choices that will fit any colour scheme and interior design of you do not subscribe to the gender split. Brightly coloured stars or dotty rugs, along with other patterns are available and offer a whole host of colours to mix and match with your child’s bedroom or play area.

Sleeping rugs

Nurseries and other educational establishments with young children encourage them to sleep during the day to recharge their batteries for play and learning. Sleeping mats that can be hygienically wiped clean are normally used but at home, with less children to coax to sleep and rest your own sleeping rug is a great way of encouraging an impromptu nap.
Children often play on the floor and a sleeping rug can be used as a way of encouraging quiet play. Available in a range of colours and patterns, they are also fully washable – depending on the size, it can be flung in the washing machine and dried on the line for peace of mind when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. Choosing natural fibres that are usually hypo-allergenic and softer to the touch, as well as warmer feeling too, is a great choice.

Educational rugs

We all remember the play mats from many years ago, with roads and tracks as part of the design, perfect for children to indulge in make believe play with to cars, lorries and tractors. The range is expanding all the time, with urban and country scenes, as well as others such as race tracks. Brilliant for adding an extra layer of warmth and texture to a room, some people also chose to lift the rug and use it as part of play, whilst others leave the rug down permanently in the room.



Using rugs to encourage certain aspects of play is something you can do at home too:

Many patterns and graphics of rugs can help children recognise common shapes from an early age but not just the circles, squares and triangles. Children start to learn language and numbers through the repetition of these shapes. Take a look at rugs that have the alphabet and numbers in primary colours, the bright reds, yellows and blues etc. that make them easy to see and spot.

Activity rugs are a great way of encouraging children to play imaginatively but also together. Maps with roads are great, but there are zoos, farms and jungle scenes that all encourage the creative and imaginative play that make children social characters.

And finally, children’s rugs can challenge them too! There are many rugs that include puzzles and other adventures and games for children to try. What about hopscotch or a permanent ‘noughts and crosses’ grid? Or what about whizzing around the world with play on a world map, all in a rug or maybe looking at the time and how to read a clock?

Need inspiration? There are hundreds of ideas on the web but to get you started why not take a look at some of these different ideas about styles and how to use rugs to the best effect in your children’s bedroom or play area? http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/shopping/guides/10-sources-for-stylish-kid-friendly-rugs

Teaching your children to play is something that can be fun with a range of children’s rugs!

Children’s rugs can be anything for adding warmth and texture to a room, or adding a splash of colour or they can be a source of hours of endless play and learning. So many rugs, so much choice – find a great range at www.rugretailer.co.ukWhich will you choose? 

This article was written by Chris from The Rug Retailer



Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter at Cineworld

We love movies, but a trip to the cinema can be out of our price range,  Cineworld realise this and this easter they are screening the ever popular Movies For Juniors offering every morning from 10am. This holidays films include Mr Peabody & Sherman & Walking With Dinosaurs and tickets are £1.50 for kids and their folks (£1.35 when booked online with mycineworld).

New releases  Rio 2 and Muppets Most Wanted will be showing throughout the Easter Holidays to keep the little ones entertained and customers get 10% off when they book online with mycineworld.

Date night at the Cinema for only £10

They also  have a great new offer running which is perfect when (if) Mums and Dads ever get a night off! Every Thursday they off a Take 2 film where they bring back a  recent hit that people may have missed. This week’s film is American Hustle. For this amazing deal you get 2 x tickets for £10 with a free reg popcorn and 2 x small drinks- massive savings on a night out!

I am off to take the boys to see the Muppets this Friday.! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Aldi's Dishwasher and Laundry Tablets

Did you know that Aldi’s dishwasher and laundry tablets have just won best buys in tests by consumer watchdog Which?



I have to admit that I am a weekly Aldi shopper and use Aldi's dishwasher tablets, but I love the fact that they are endorsed by Which.  The Aldi Magnum all in one is £3.99 for 40 tablets which makes it 10p a wash and I can vouch than in our hotpoint dishwasher they do a really good job.

I had never used the Aldi Almat washing gel caps before this, but they managed the boys muddy clothes really well, but more than that they didn't irritate Maxi's eczema prone skin.    The liquid sachets are £2.99 for 20 washes, around 15p per wash and come in non bio, bio and colour.

What are your top buys from Aldi? 
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