251 articles Articles posted in Family

Choosing Your Family Car

A car can be essential for families. Between the school run, weekend sports matches and just needing to get around, your car will be an important part of your family.

Choosing the right car for your family, therefore, is a big decision that shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Take note of the following advice to help you make the best decision when choosing your family car.

Image Credit: Unsplash under Creative Commons

How big does it need to be?

Family cars need a lot of space, but you might not have thought about how much in detail before. For smaller kids, you’ll need to consider fitting in prams and pushchairs, making sure there’s adequate storage, etc. Not only will you need enough space in the boot, but making sure you have wide enough doors will also be a benefit further down the line when you’re trying to get the kids in their car seats. Look at the current top family cars to give you an idea of what’s out there and which cars are best sized for your needs.

What about the running costs?

We all know that cars can be expensive, so a family on a tight budget needs to consider the running costs of the car. A car that’s going to guzzle petrol is not a good investment, so you should look at the alternatives. A hybrid or an electric car is a good way to keep ongoing costs down, but the cars can be more expensive to buy in the first place. Look at ways to reduce your car insurance costs as one way to tighten your budget and help you manage the financial aspects that come with car ownership.

Should you buy new or used?

There’s a lot to consider when deciding to buy a new or used car. A new car will be fresh and take longer to need maintenance, but an older car could be a lot more cost effective. If you look at the cars at Drive Pay, you’ll notice that there are some excellent deals on used cars. Cars last much longer these days, so you could get an excellent deal by buying a used car instead of a brand new one.

Consider comfort

Comfort isn’t something to sacrifice when it comes to your family car. From having comfortable seats to a top entertainment system, you need a car that provides comfort for every eventuality. If you’re going to embark on long journeys regularly, consider investing in tablets or other forms of entertainment, otherwise, you could find yourself facing some very long journeys indeed!

Buying a new family car is an exciting experience, but it’s important that you get it right. Make sure that you take the time to test drive cars, read reviews and check that it meets all of your criteria before you make the final decision. You’ll rely on your car much more than you realise, so make sure you do the right thing by you and your family.

The Importance of Family Dental Hygiene

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Just recently, all four of us had our yearly check up at the dentist. Husband and I were given the thumbs up by our dentist, who said we’re obviously taking good care of our teeth and practising proper dental hygiene, but he had a few notes for the girls.

Sausage needed to include her gums when she’s brushing, because her gums bled slightly when the dentist prodded at them (something they don’t want to see) and BB was told she’s doing a good job but she needed to make sure she’s including her whole mouth when she brushes, not just at the front. He also said it would be a good idea to visit an orthodontic clinic in the net few months as Sausage is getting to the age where a decision about braces can be made.

A lot of people don’t realise, but poor dental hygiene can actually lead to a whole load of other health problems, not all of which will be in your mouth – it can even put you at risk of a heart attack. Here are some serious health problems, from the NHS website, which can start with poor dental hygiene:

  • Gum disease dangers

    Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It’s mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up. In some people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation. In others, the inflammation doesn’t clear up properly. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time.

    What’s the damage?

    Gum disease has been linked to a variety of other health problems, including:

    • heart disease and heart attacks
    • diabetes and its control
    • stroke
    • rheumatoid arthritis

    Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realises that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link.”

So how do we get kids to take their dental health seriously? Obviously we don’t want to scare them with tales of heart disease and diabetes, but impressing upon them how important it is to keep their mouths in good shape can be the difference between a life of good health and serious ongoing issues. 

Start As You Mean to Go On

Establishing a good routine from an early age is essential to getting kids to see tooth brushing as part of their daily activities. You can start brushing teeth as soon as they erupt, using a special baby toothbrush with no paste. Help them to make a game of brushing by doing it to music and letting baby have a go of doing it themselves. If they see tooth brushing as fun, they’re far more likely to want to do it.

Get An App

There are loads of apps out there which have built-in timers to ensure kids brush for the correct amount of time and also often have fun songs or animations which your kids can brush along with. Have a look in your device’s app store to find one suitable for you.

Offer a Reward

Giving your child a reward for brushing should be a regular item in a parent’s arsenal, but the reward that works best will depend on your child’s age and interests. Someone under the age of eight, for example, may be receptive to a funny bedtime story before lights out – but only after he brushes. For an older child, a good reward might be letting him watch an episode of a favourite TV show between brushing and bed.

Remember, good dental hygiene doesn’t just happen in the bathroom – what they eat and drink can also be a contributing factor. People are mostly aware that fizzy drinks and sugary sweets are an issue, but a lot of people fail to remember that fruit and milk also have high sugar and acid contents, which can also attack the enamel of teeth.

If your kids eat fruit or drink milk, make sure they clean their teeth afterwards and try to give only water before bed as the lack of saliva  in the mouth during sleep means that it’s even easier for the tooth decay to occur.

Senior Care Center’s Things to Remember When you are a Caregiver

Caregivers often have a lot of work on their hands. It can become tiring, but there are ways to get through each day without feeling so stressed and overwhelmed. You should know that many resources are available.

Senior Care Center have a lot of experience in the area of care giving and they have come together with us to create a piece of content on caregiving.

Make Sure You Have Support

There is no reason to handle the caregiving alone when you have loved ones that do not mind helping out when they can. While you do not want to depend on loved ones to do the job for you, you can expect to receive some assistance from time to time from your siblings, children, and possibly even some of your closest friends. If you feel like you do need extra help, you can always search for a company that provides in-home care services or contact a Senior Care Center for the elderly and the disabled. These professionals can handle some of the tasks that you would normally need to take care of, such as doing laundry and making meals.

Getting Help from Long-Distance Relatives

While long-distance relatives may not have the ability to do much because they are living several hours away, they can always call your elderly loved one to talk to him or her. Simply making a phone call and having a good conversation could make a huge impact on an older person.

Apply for Welfare

The government offers different programs that would make various services much more affordable or possibly even free for the elderly. You can find out more information about the benefits that are available before applying for them.

Be Prepared Before Heading to the Doctor’s Office

Always make sure you are attending appointments with your aging loved one. You can prepare ahead of time by writing a list of medications that your loved one is currently taking while also writing down a list of questions that you might want to ask the doctor. Always listen to what the physician has to say because then you can relay the information to your aging parent if he or she does not understand everything during the visit to the doctor’s office.

Be Careful

Unfortunately, there are some scams out there. Some of these scam artists prey on the elderly and the disabled. You do not want your loved one to lose out on his or her hard-earned money, so always be careful and do extra research before making any investments or joining any programs that claim to be useful for seniors.

Get a Good Insurance Policy

Finding a good insurance policy is a must. It will give your aging parent peace of mind while providing a bit more financial security.

Encourage Healthy Eating and Exercise

Try to engage in physical activities with your elderly loved one, such as going for brisk walks in the morning or doing some light yoga at home. Participating in these activities gives you a chance to spend some quality time with your loved one while making sure that he or she is staying active, especially since exercise helps to keep people feeling both physically and mentally healthier. You should also focus on preparing healthy meals that are good for your loved one to eat rather than providing fast food or unhealthy food that is greasy and loaded with empty calories.

See What the Community Has to Offer

Most communities have organizations where they are offering different resources to help patients who need it. Some of these programs include providing transportation for the elderly when they need to get to appointments, dropping off meals, and even helping individuals understand the paperwork that they receive in the mail. Make use of these resources because they can benefit the person that you are providing care for each day.

Win a Sudocrem ‘Get Out and Grow’ Bag Worth £40

Husband and I have always been passionate about getting the kids outdoor and spend a lot of time educating them about nature. It’s something we both find really interesting and that love of all things nature-related really seems to have permeated down to the kids, too. We’ve lived out in the countryside for almost 4 years now and we absolutely love it – we all agree that our very favourite thing about living out here is the huge variety of wildlife that we get to see every day.

That’s why, when I read the results of a survey conducted by Sudocrem, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Here’s what they found:

“Whilst 87% of British households do have a garden, it’s clear growing isn’t something that families do together. Over half of British children between 4 and 8 are unable to name 5 vegetables or fruits grown in this country, with 95% unable to name 3 herbs. Many of those couldn’t identify basic gardening tools, with only 8% able to identify a trowel, 80% never having seen a rake before and, worrying, 79% believing worms are bad for plants. 

73% of those asked said they had never grown a sunflower, while only 8% had ever picked an apple, which perhaps explains why they’re unable to name even one. Less than 10% had dug up a vegetable and only 6% had ever eaten a fresh pea from the pod. Based on this evidence, it is perhaps unsurprising that only 20% have ever eaten a vegetable they’ve grown themselves.”

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to give away TWO Get Out and Grow goody bags, containing a whole load of stuff that will help kids to get outside and learn all about planting their own produce.

Goody bags contents for 2-5 yr olds include:
– Get Out and Grow branded drawstring bag
– Get Out and Grow branded t-shirt for 3-4 yr olds
– My Little Sudocrem
– Child’s gardening gloves
– Small watering can
– Mini gorilla gardening tub
– Flower seed packet
– Lavender seed packet
– A few coloured sticks to use as plant markers

The packs contain over £40 worth of goodies and winning one couldn’t be simpler. Just leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite variety of apple is! The giveaway will stay open until 26th April 2019, so you’ve got plenty of time to enter. 

How To Help A Loved One Suffering From Addiction

Addiction affects friends, families and loved ones. Knowing how to help the person addicted can be quite a struggle. It’s hard to know when to get help, how to get help and how to approach the person. Helping an addictive loved one get help can mean the difference between life and death.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction is important when deciding if it’s time to approach a loved one about their problem. When their abuse starts to interfere with their daily life, causes memory loss and they have accidents, it’s time to talk to them. They may not realize their is a real problem or might not want to admit it. A loved one on the outside of the issue can give them the perspective they need to know it’s time to get help. Addiction isn’t just about an event that happens once or twice. If they get drunk and stumble in causing a stir once in a year, they might have just had a bad night. Watch for patterns over a period of time. They may try to hide it or say they only drink socially. Note a difference in their physical statute and/or their behavior when you believe they are inebriated.

Trust

It’s hard to trust an addicted person many times. They may have let you down due to their addiction even if it isn’t in their control. You have to step back and realize it’s more important for them to trust you than for you to let your hurt take over. Don’t nag or lecture them about the addiction. You want them to be able to talk openly about the problem and vent about it to you. They may swear up and down they can change, but an addicted person will not change until they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. It can be hard to trust them due to this fact, but you have to trust they will listen and get help when you approach them about their issues.

Compassion

It’s important to help your loved one by using compassion. The thing they most need is someone that listens and understands. Many times the addicted person feels as if someone is suffering with them and actually going through the process with them. This means they understand you recognize their pain and are trying to truly help. They feel heard and seen so they aren’t alone. Fighting addiction alone is crippling to many addicts. They know someone truly cares and wants to help them without criticizing them through the whole journey. They may understand you have no clue about addiction and what it does to their mind, but they also understand you’re trying to step in their shoes and won’t let them fail.

Communicate

Keep all lines of communication open and free of judgement. You need to learn more from the person about their addiction daily and let them vent about their frustrations. They may feel like a failure or feel they cannot be helped. Listen to them and be open with your concerns as well. Don’t lecture them about their addiction, but be a listening ear offering positive words. This will help them as they go into recovery knowing someone is on their side.

Saving for a family holiday? Read this first!

If you’re anything like me, chances are you’re already dreaming about your summer holiday. It might be the first of many or it might just be the one family treat that you all look forward to every year. We all deserve a summer holiday but saving and paying for one isn’t always as straightforward as we might like. From being bamboozled with deals and last minute options to choosing the location and how you’ll get there, to having enough money to spend when you get there, and not forgetting the whole new wardrobe the kids seem to need and all the other bits and bobs that you’ll end up paying for too…

I thought holidays were supposed to be relaxing! Well, if you’re already pondering how you can save a little extra money before your family holiday, look no further. You’ll find 4 of the simplest ways you can put a little money aside in the lead up to your well deserved break.

Look at your energy supplier

It’s amazing how many of us still haven’t switched to a cheaper tariff! Whether you’re on domestic oil – for the latest oil prices check out emo oil – or gas an electricity, head online and see if you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere. Most energy providers do all the hard work for you and contact your current supplier too. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to put away just by switching. Try it now!

Stop your spending

No one deserves that new pair of shoes more than you, but if you’re saving for a family holiday then you need to kerb your spending a little. Try to avoid spending on additional purchases for about 2 months and you’ll notice a big difference in your bank balance. Things like takeaways, meals out, those jeans you really want or a new eyeshadow palette. Put them all on the backburner until after your holiday.

Learn to say no

It’s not easy to say no to the kids – especially when they’re being extra good. But learning to say no will certainly save you a bit of money. Saying no to those sweets or magazines that you usually treat them to, going out for tea – whether that’s at a fast food chain or a nice restaurant – even going out for the day. Instead of paying high prices for an afternoon at a theme park, look for places with free admission, or places of interest that ask for a donation rather than a fixed fee. They might not like it, but they’ll understand!

Don’t forget to set a budget

Make a list of everything you might need to save for. From the holiday itself, to the holiday clothes, toiletries, car hire, fuel money (if travelling in the UK), and anything else you can think of. Make a list and try to budget as best you can. You’ll find that you’re in more control when you’re heading around the clothes shops looking for holiday outfits!

Helping an Elderly Relative to Stay Independent

There comes a time in a lot of people’s lives where they need to start making arrangements to help their elderly relatives. A lot of people get older but want to remain in the home they’ve known for decades, and that means making their environment safe and suitable for their additional needs, if they have limited mobility, sight or memory problems. There are lots of ways that you can make a home suitable again, and today we’re looking at five of them.

Stairlift

If your elderly relative lives in a house with more than one storey, getting up and down the stairs can be really daunting. As well as the physical effort needed to climb the stairs, the risk of a fall gets worse as they get older. This is where a stairlift could really help. It allows people to travel safely between floors without the risk of falling, or needing to expend a lot of energy to make the climb.

Alarm System

A lot of elderly people worry about having a fall in their home and not being able to call for help, so personal alarm systems can give a lot of peace of mind. They allow people to call for help in an emergency and an ambulance to be sent remotely so that they aren’t left by themselves in an emergency.

Walk-in Bath

Although showers can be built on floor level so that you don’t need to step up to get into them, many elderly people prefer the security of sitting down in a bath, although getting into one can be very tricky. A walk-in bath has a sealed door which opens and closes and allows people to sit comfortably to wash, reducing the risk of slipping and falling when you’re at your most vulnerable.

Video Doorbells

Many elderly people fear opening the door to an unknown person, especially once the sun has gone down, and this can leave them very isolated, especially in the winter. There are lots of video doorbells on the market now which allow people to see who’s at the door without needing to answer it, and this could give your elderly relative the freedom to know when it’s safe to answer the door.

Remove Obstacles

This is the simplest, and cheapest way, to make surroundings safer for your elderly relative. Thousands of accidents happen every year when elderly people, especially those with limited eyesight, trip and fall because of things like rug edges, electrical cords and low items of furniture. It could be a good idea to get an expert to come in to assess the house as they’ll spot hazards that you might miss.

Why Nitrile Gloves are a Home Essential #GloveIsAllYouNeed

Nitrile GlovesAs you’ll know if you read my blog on the regular, I’m far from a domestic goddess. Housework is not massively high on my list of priorities, however we do like to maintain a good standard of cleanliness even if tidiness isn’t our forte! One thing that I do like to keep a stash of at home to help me with my domestic duties is disposable nitrile gloves – they’re something that I find absolutely essential for so many things, so I thought I’d share a few uses for them with you here:

Oven Cleaning

This is one that I learned the hard way – oven cleaner is VERY caustic and if it gets on your skin can cause blistering and irritation. I once got oven cleaner on my hands and my skin was in a bad way for days afterwards, so now I make a point of never even going near oven cleaner without wearing a good pair of thick nitrile gloves.

Cleaning Up After Pets

Even though we have a long poop-scooper, I always wear a pair of gloves when I’m cleaning up after Maureen, just for an added layer of protection. Animal droppings can cause myriad health problems and ensuring there’s no bacteria transfer is really important. We have also now added two budgies to the family, so gloves are worn when cleaning out their cage.

First Aid

This one, thankfully, is a much ‘fewer and farther between’ use for gloves, but nitrile gloves are so important when doing first aid. As well as ensuring that my hands are sterile when dealing with cuts and scrapes, it gives me an added layer of protection too, as I’m a bit rubbish with blood!

Car Maintenance

Another thing I’ve blogged about in the past is that I try to do as much car maintenance myself as I can. This means that changing batteries and bulbs, filling up oil and water and even changing wheels and spark plugs are all within my remit, and it it MESSY work! I discovered, after too many times of ending up with ground-in grease on my hands, wearing nitrile gloves while doing car stuff protects me from dirt and grease.

Hair Dying

Although I don’t tend to dye my own hair anymore (TOO risky!), Sausage has had pink, blue and purple dip-dyes for the last three years running, and gloves are absolutely essential for this. The ones that come in the box dyes are worse than useless, so I always end up raiding my own stash of gloves instead, so that I don’t end up with multi-coloured hands.

Get The House In Order Before Christmas

Get The House In Order Before ChristmasIt’s that time of year when our thoughts are filled with festive plans; where we’re going for Christmas dinner, what’s happening on Boxing Day, who will we see the New Year in with? If you’re someone who likes to host, you may also be thinking about getting your house into shape before the masses descend upon you for eating, drinking and general merriment. But what can you do to spruce the place up without spending a fortune? Here are some ideas:

Flooring

It doesn’t matter how perfect your paintwork is, if your flooring is worn or dated it can ruin the whole look of a house. One of the most economical and hardwearing ways to improve things is by putting down some laminate flooring. It won’t cost a fortune, it will last for decades and you won’t have to worry about someone spilling a glass of Christmas mulled wine on it (which you KNOW will happen if you put a new carpet down instead!)

De-Cluttering

Another thing which can massively improve the look of a house is de-cluttering. If you get rid of stuff you don’t want and keep surfaces as clear as possible, it can even make your rooms look bigger and improve your health because of the reduction in collected dust. If you sell anything of value, you could even make yourself a few quid in the process!

Woodwork

Sprucing up things like skirting boards and dado rails can give the room a much fresher look, and sometimes they simply need a wipe down with a wet cloth or Magic Sponge to get them looking nice again. Look at the bottoms of doors and the areas around handles which can often get grubby over time, especially if you’ve got kids or pets.

Sofas and Cushions

If your sofa cushion covers and throw cushion covers are washable, taking time to stick them through a wash cycle will have two positive benefits – as well as looking cleaner, they’ll smell nice too, which can make your whole living room smell nicer. If they’re compatible with fabric softener, opt for one of the strong smelling concentrated ones for maximum effect.

Carpet Cleaning

If you don’t have the option of ripping up your carpets and laying laminate (if you live in a rented property, for instance), hiring a carpet cleaner is a good alternative. It won’t cost much and will revive the carpets, leaving them looking cleaner and smelling much fresher. You can get spot stain removers and even anti-pet smell solutions which can get your carpet looking and smelling as good as new.

Unlocking Netflix Content From Across the Globe

Unlocking Netflix with a VPNPhoto by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Despite the fact that we have a Sky box, I would guess that at least 75% of what gets watched in our house is through on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The kids love being able to watch what they want, when they want (although that’s usually a strict rotation of Full House, Sam and Cat and Victorious!) and Husband and I get really tired of the usual ‘flicking through Sky before announcing there’s nothing on’ routine that we get sucked into almost every evening.

However, despite the fact that Netflix adds a lot of new content all the time, we’re starting to get to a point where we feel like we’re exhausting all of the films and shows that are available to us. There’s no doubt that Netflix still offers great value for money – as of 2016, statistics showed that the average user pays around $0.20 per hour of viewing and managed to avoid a massive 160 hours of adverts per year by watching on-demand. But, hey, we’re greedy and want more from the service!

We recently discovered that if you watch Netflix through a VPN, you can access WAAAY more content – if you don’t know what a VPN is, it’s an app that you can utilise on your phone, computer or pretty much anything that connects to the internet to secure your internet connection through another server.

When you connect to a server, you can connect to most places in the world (depending on the VPN provider) so your IP Address will appear as if you are in that location. What’s great about this is that in doing this you can access content from that country – so say you’re based in the UK, you can access US Netflix – which has almost double the content the UK Netflix has!

The best part is, a VPN doesn’t have to be pricey, with some just costing a couple of dollars per month, which means that you’ll still be paying very little for absolutely loads more content than you’d usually be able to access.

With estimates that Netflix will spend a mind-boggling $13 BILLION on content this year alone, it’s well worth using a VPN to allow yourself to get access to as much of this content as possible, especially if foreign film and TV is your thing! Husband and I are big fans of Scandinavian crime dramas, of which there seems to be very few on UK Netflix, but unlocking our subscription with a VPN would allow us to enjoy more of what we like.

According to The Motley Fool “The results speak for themselves. Netflix added over 26 million subscribers in the trailing 12 months ending in March, nearly 6 million of those in the “saturated” U.S. market. As long as Netflix continues to add subscribers at that kind of pace, the content spending is working. At some point, the company will hit an equilibrium where increased spending doesn’t result in a meaningful increase in subscribers, but that day still seems far away.”