School

Preparing Your Child For A School Trip

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If your child is going on an overnight school trip for the first time, they are probably feeling incredibly excited, albeit a little bit nervous. Your emotions are probably a mirror of this as well. However, the key to any sort of trip is to be prepared. If you ensure your child has everything they need and they are ready to go, you will both feel a lot better, and you can both focus on the fun you can have instead! So, let’s take a look at some steps to follow…

Refer to the school trip letter – When it comes to school trips, letters are always given out. If you haven’t seen one, it is probably because your child has either lost it or it is still in their school bag. Once you have got the letter, it is still a good idea to converse with one or two other parents just to make sure you have not missed any important correspondence. The letter(s) should detail what is required, the itinerary, certain activities that are going to take place, and so on. If you are unsure about anything, do not hesitate to contact the school for more information.

Where the trip is taking place – It is always a good idea to find out exactly where the trip is taking place in terms of address. You should also get the contact information for the venue. It is unlikely you will need it, but in the case of an emergency you will want to have this handy if you need to get in touch with your child.

The activities involved and the time of year – Last but not least, these are two critical elements that need to be considered when packing. The time of year is important because you will want to ensure your child is protected effectively from the elements. In terms of the activities involved, if your child is visiting a farm, for example, old clothes, waterproofs, and wellingtons are going to be a must. If they are going to a museum, you may need to give them a little bit of pocket money to spend in the museum store. Some trips are often linked to projects, for example, school science trips, and so you should aim to find out whether there is any work that is involved beforehand or anything that your child should be taking with them in this regard.

So there you have it: some of the different things you need to make sure you pack for your child’s first overnight school trip, as well as some other steps you need to take. There is no doubt about it: this is a big step in your child’s life. It is a mark of their independence and an opportunity for them to learn plenty of new things. Preparing them effectively is the best thing you can do.

Money

Find Money You Might Not Even Know You Had!

MoneyWith the summer holidays just days away, a lot of us will be thinking about how we’re going to afford all of the days out and activities that we’ll be wanting to do with the kids. It would be nice to be able to do a different thing every single day, but with the best will in the world, that’s just not in the budget for most of us. There might be, however, some money hanging about that you didn’t even realise you had, and we’ve got some suggestions of how to find it:

Outstanding PPI?

It’s hard to believe that anyone could still have any outstanding PPI claims with all the reminders on TV, radio and in the papers, but there are still a whole bunch of people who still haven’t claimed. It’s a simple process that could see you entitled to hundreds, even thousands of pounds!

Old Accounts

If you’ve changed bank accounts over the years, there could still be accounts in your name, laying dormant, with money in them. Write to the bank who you were once with and ask for details of any old accounts and you could be in for a surprise windfall!

Premium Bonds

If you’ve got Premium Bonds and haven’t seen much of a return, you might actually be better off cashing them in for an injection of cash now, rather than hoping they’ll come up long term. If you are hoping to win the top prize you probably need to know that the odds of winning £1million are 1 in 35,926,766,878. So I wouldn’t count on a payday anytime soon.Even winning the lowest prize of £25 is a 1 in 24,500 chance!

Pension Plans

If you have a pension plan that you don’t pay into any more, it’s worth having a look at the terms, as some plans will allow you to release the funds early, before the term is up. Have a think about any plans you may have paid into and contact the companies to see if it’s possible to withdraw the money. a

Cash Around the House

This one might be slightly less lucrative, but still worth a try. Gather up any old purses, handbags, wallets and money boxes and pillage them to see if there’s any cash that you forgot about. My kids own about 20 money boxes each and have managed to gather together the cash for some desperately needed toy on more than one occasion!

Don’t forget, the PPI deadline is 29th August, so you’ll need to get your act together if you think you might be entitled to claim!

Health

5 Unexpected Benefits of Vaping

vapingAs you’ll know if you read my blog regularly, I’m a bit fan of vaping. I haven’t smoked for years, but I’ve always missed nicotine and when I discovered that I could basically have all the nicotine I wanted without all of the health risks of smoking, I was ALL IN. I started with a slimline e-cig and moved to one with a larger tank and battery, and I just keep discovering more and more benefits of vaping, so I thought I’d share some of them with you.

You Don’t Need to Brave the Cold

Vaping doesn’t have second-hand smoke risks, nor make the whole house stinks, so although we don’t vape in the same room as the girls, we often sneak into a different room for a quick vape, which means that we won’t have to go out in the cold when the winter arrives!

Easy Charging

Most e-cigs charge using a micro USB, which we have LOADS of around the house. Most of the chargers at Greyhaze are quick and easy to use, and can be plugged in anywhere, even in the car, which means you don’t have to worry about running out of power when you need it the most.

ALLLLL the Flavours!

With smoking you get two options: tobacco and menthol. With vaping, you can have those traditional flavors along with a myriad of fruits, deserts, and drink options. And who doesn’t like more options?

You Can Just Have a Few Puffs

If you want one or two puff of a cigarette, you have to light it, have a few puffs and then put the cigarette out, either leaving it in the ashtray or putting it back in the box which makes the whole box smell rank! With an e-cig, if you want ONE puff, you can do it and it’s not a drama.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth but struggle with your weight, you can indulge your craving without needing to eat any sweets. It’s a great way to make yourself feel like you’re having a treat without any of the calories or sugar!

Have you discovered any unexpected benefits of vaping since you started?

Fashion and Style

Updating Your Summer Wardrobe

summerNow that the hot weather is in full swing, it’s made me realise how very little I have in the way of summer clothes. Husband noticed that I had a zip-tie holding my favourite shirts up the other day, because the button had come off, and that’s a pretty fair description of most of my clothes, so it’s safe to say that I’m desperate for an update to my wardrobe to see me through the rest of the summer.

The first think I need is some summer dresses, like the dresses from esprit; they’re casual yet pretty and perfect for everything from a summer barbecue to doing the school run on a hot day. I love dresses that can be worn casually with flip flops every day, or dressed up with a pair of wedges and a statement necklace for slight more formal occasions.

Obviously, I also need to invest in some new shorts, because the ones being held together by a zip tie just won’t do. I do like to have my legs bare in the summer, because I tend to feel claustrophobic and overheated if I wear trousers, even ones made from light material, so shorts and skirts are the way forward.

I’ve also realised how few summer friendly tops I have. In the winter, I tend to layer up with a t-shirt or vest, followed by a jumper or hoodie and then my coat, but all of my vests are either too clingy for summer or just not really tops that you wear by themselves. I recently invested in a strapless bra, for the first time since I got married 12 years ago, so I’m thinking of looking at some of the funky off-the-shoulder tops that seem to be everywhere at the moment.

Finally, footwear. My lovely sister-in-law bought me a new pair of Havaianas for my birthday back in June and I have about 8 pairs of Birkenstocks, but I think I need to invest in something a bit for formal, like a nice cork wedge so that I’ve got all my bases covered. I’m not a big wearer of heels as I find them uncomfortable, but I could wear wedges all day every day and still feel happy in them!

What are your summer basics? Do you have a summer wardrobe that you bring out every year or do you wear things until they need to held together with zip ties, like me?! Do leave me a comment below!

sleep

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep HygieneAlthough I’m not someone who very often struggles to get to sleep (Husband is often in awe of how quickly I fall asleep after my head hits the pillow), I do often awaken feeling as though I haven’t had a very good night’s sleep, and I think a lot of that is to do with my lack of sleep hygiene. If you haven’t heard that expression before, it’s nothing to do with going to bed dirty! Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. Here are a few changes that I think I need to make in order to improve things:

Devices

As much as I have grand ideas about putting my phone or laptop down well before bed so that the blue light doesn’t affect my circadian rhythm, I’m also an absolute terror and very rarely do. There are, however, apps and programmes that you can install on your devices which offer blue light protection. They alter the tone of your screen ever so slightly to stop too much blue light being absorbed by your eyes.

Routine

 Routine

At the moment, my bedtime routine is usually “fall asleep on the sofa until Husband wakes me up to get into bed”, and it’s not great because my sleep cycles are interrupted. This is where the sedative properties of the maeng da strain of kratom could be beneficial. I know that were I to, say, have a cup of kratom tea before bed, this could really help me to drift off for a good night’s sleep. Often, I’ll wake up after being asleep on the sofa and feel too wide awake to go back to sleep, OR I’ll get back to sleep but feel like my alarm is going off about five minutes later. A combination of getting in bed when I’m ready to sleep instead of sofa surfing and a supplement like kratom would be much healthier.

Bed Hopping

I’ll be honest, it’s a rare night when I don’t end up in bed with Burrito Baby instead of sleeping in my own bed and although I still love snuggling up with her, it’s probably not conducive to a great night’s sleep! We often wake up too hot, or because one of us is snoring, so I need to try to maintain an “everybody in their own bed” system!

Eating Late

I’ve always been a late-night snacker, enjoying a bit of supper with Husband once the girls are asleep, but going to bed on a full stomach isn’t good for you. I get a lot of acid reflux when I eat late, which wakes me up several times a night, so imposing a ban on eating after a certain time would probably do me a big favour.

Caffeine

I’m a bit of a caffeine junky, and I definitely feel the difference in my sleep quality on days where I’ve had more than usual. A lot of people I know switch to decaf after 6pm, and I definitely think that this could be something which would help to let me get a better quality of sleep.

What’s your sleep hygiene like? Do you have a strict bedtime routine? Leave me a comment below.