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Dealing With Utility Companies When Moving Home

What are the most stressful things you can do in your life? The top five are often listed as the death of a loved one, losing your job, a major illness, divorce and… moving home. Moving home is a hugely stressful experience which is compounded by several factors. There are things which are exciting and as well as those which we face with trepidation, starting out in a new area, perhaps unfamiliar area, making new friends and getting to know neighbours or packing up and transporting a lifetime of memories.

Then there are the more mundane aspects of moving home, such as sorting out bills, notifying utility suppliers and getting your new home all hooked up. Anyone who has recently moved home will know that whilst these aspects of moving are much more humdrum, they can end up being some of the most  frustrating aspects of moving home and are ones which you need to get on top of.

Why do I need to contact my new supplier(s)

When you move into your new home one of the first things you should do is to note down any meter readings and notify utility suppliers. This is to prevent you being charged for any usage by the previous occupants and for your utility suppliers to only charge you for what you have used. It does not have to tie you into a contract with them as many electricity and gas suppliers will simply put you on a rolling contract till such time as you either sign up for a specific tariff (which is advisable to get the best rate) or till you switch providers.

Finding my utility suppliers

If you have recently moved home you will need to find out who your new utility suppliers (electricity, gas, water and telephone/ broadband) are.

Who is my energy supplier?

The easiest way to find out who supplies the electricity, and gas if you have it, at your new property is to contact the previous owner, tenant or landlord. If you are purchasing your property, and are in contact with the seller,  either they or the estate agent may be able to help you. If you are moving into rented accommodation try contacting the letting agent and landlord to find out. What you should not do is wait till you start to receive bills from the supplier.

This is because the energy supplier may not know who is residing at the property, whether or not it is occupied, and most likely will be using estimated billing. Noting down the meter readings when you move in and supplying these to the appropriate providers will remove that and allow you to get on the best possible plan, tariff or contract for your usage.

If you aren’t having much luck getting in contact with the previous residents/ owners or landlord you can find out who your gas supplier is by calling the Meter Point Administration service (0870 608 1524). They can help find your home’s supplier and will issue with a Meter Point Reference Number for future calls to them.

For more ways to find out who your current energy supplier is, you can read more in this handy guide to who is my gas and electricity provider.

Who is my water supplier?

Finding out your new water supplier is much easier than finding your gas and electricity provider. This is because water is still a more regulated field with each water supplier only operating within a specific geographical area. You can look up who your new water supplier is, as well as their contact info with this handy guide from Water UK

Broadband and telephone suppliers

utility companiesWhen you move to a new property it is likely that any telephone and broadband supply will have been cut off and will likely need to be reconnected. If you are still within the minimum term of your existing contract with a provider you will need to remain with them and simply be reconnected at your new address with your existing account.

It is possible to get out of such contracts but this usually comes with a heavy penalty. You will need to notify your broadband and telephone supplier prior to moving (around a month before hand is the best amount of time). Inform them of your moving date, new address and whether or not you want to bring your account with you to your new home. Book in any broadband or TV service installations before your moving date to secure an engineers visit as close to when you move in as possible.

If you are outside your minimum term contract then you can begin to look at and compare other telephone, broadband and tv providers to find the best possible package for you. There can be pitfalls and problems when changing contracts as you move home. Broadband.co.uk have a great guide on what to expect and how to navigate through any potential issues you might have.

Healthy & Tasty Recipes the Whole Family Will Enjoy

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It is a tough task to find healthy meals the whole family will enjoy. It is important that your food provides all the vital nutrients for your kids, so they will remain energized and in good health. However, you may have some picky eaters in your brood that may be tough critics. Luckily, there are a number of wonderful recipes that you can sneak in the important nutrients and successfully find the balance between tasty and healthy. Here are four delicious, kid-approved recipes that are hassle-free and highly nutritious:

Tacos

Tacos are a wonderful family meal as they can be customized for each eater. Create a taco station that has a wide variety of fillings that your kids can choose from. Make sure you ask your kids ahead of time which vegetables and proteins they prefer for tacos. Once you know their preferences, incorporate those nutrients into their meal. If you serve chips and salsa with the meal, make sure the chips aren’t too high in sodium. Garden of Eatin’ chips are a healthy, unsalted tortilla chip variety.

Dehydrated Fruit and Jerky

Dehydrated foods make for wonderful snacks whenever you’re on the go. Your own dehydrator will help you create foods that aren’t overly processed and don’t have any hidden sugar additives. These snacks can be made ahead in bulk, as their shelf life is six months to a year. The best fruits for dehydration include apples, pineapple, mango, bananas, plums and papaya. For a high-protein snack that doesn’t have a high fat content, you can make turkey jerky. For every four strips of turkey jerky, there are 170 calories, 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.

Crockpot Minestrone

A slow cooker is a mom’s best friend. It safely cooks your meals while you’re out and about.Crockpot minestrone is a great fall or winter recipe that is packed with flavor. The Family Fresh Meals recipe for this soup is especially healthy with the large number of vegetables that it incorporates. The vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, onion, zucchini and green beans, are paired with protein and fiber-rich red kidney beans and cannellini beans. The ditalini pasta is a good source of starch that will keep your whole family energized.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a beloved family favorite; however, the classic recipe has a large amount of cream and sodium. A healthy, alternative recipe can be found on Food Network’s site. This recipe incorporates two percent milk, fat-free Greek yogurt and low-sodium chicken broth as healthy substitutes. Chicken pot pie has a wonderful balance of vegetables and chicken that will keep your whole family satisfied. This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen for those hectic days when you need dinner on the fly.

A Tinge of Bingo with Summer Punch

Have you ever wondered what is it about summer that gets you all excited and cheerful ? Is it the warm summer nights with a refreshing glass of punch or is it the laid off days we can spent on the beach or do you think it is a blend of all the sweet things one can ever experience?

I personally feel it is a blend of all the beautiful memories since childhood, along with the futuristic fascination about time to be spent ahead in life. It is all about how you can enjoy this magical time of the year by refreshing your mind and body. A refreshing glass of punch with a game play at my favorite bingo site works wonderfully in this glorious weather. Experiencing the summer colors with revived happenings makes my life enchanting!

Trust me, this works specially as a refreshing tool for all the gaming lovers.  That’s is why I feel summer and bingo works hand in hand, as both renews our mind and always works great for lifting up our mood. Initially I used to experiment with a lot of bingo sites as I was not sure which ones are good but in a similar summer night, my best friend introduced me to this  almost new and unique site called New Look Bingo.

Since then I have fallen in love with this site, as along with the impressive features and ambiance they have in hold great set of games and promotions exclusive for summer. This summer they have something like Bingo Bites at Summer Nights, Refreshing Bingo Punch and so on. Don’t you feel it serves as a great way of having a fun-filled summer evening?

Every year around this time the days get longer wanting us to do something fun and memorable to be cherished for the rest of the year. So why not play bingo here at New Look Bingo along with our amazing set of friends and summer specialties.

My Dream Duvet Day

When Husband and I were young and childless, we loved a duvet day (not like that, get your mind out of the gutter!). We’d spend all day lying around, watching movies, eating junk food and listening to music. It was pure bliss to only have ourselves to think of, and although I wouldn’t be without our girls for all the world, I do look back to those idyllic days with great fondness.

These days, my ideal duvet day would look very different and the people at Eve Mattress have asked me to tell you all about it, so that I can be in with the chance of winning one of their mattresses.

First of all, I’d need some help in the form of serious transportation. You see, my ideal duvet day wouldn’t happen in sunny, sunny Southend on Sea. Oh no. It would happen here:

VakarufalhiMaldives680

That’s Vakarufalhi, the tiny little Maldivian island where Husband and I got married. Husband, the girls and I, as well as our dog Chuck, would need to get a plane, seaplane and boat all the way to the South Ari Atoll before we could enjoy our duvet day. Obviously, we wouldn’t need a 15 tog duvet, but a bed like this, on the beach with the waves lapping at the shore just meters away, would be an absolute must:

beach bed

Husband and I could lounge on the bed, having someone bring us cocktails (in moderation, of course!) and freshly caught seafood while the girls paddled in the clear sea and Chuck dug in the white sand for hermit crabs.

For dinner, someone would bring us a platter of lobster, which had been caught off of the pier just an hour before and we’d enjoy it with lashings of melted butter, followed by fresh coconut ice cream.

Eventually, the sun would set and all five of us could snuggle up while the girls fell asleep and Husband and I could gaze at the billions of stars that it’s possible to see when there’s minimal light pollution. If we were really lucky, we may even get to sit on our beach bed and see a show of the bio-luminescent life that lives in the Indian Ocean and we could finish off our perfect duvet day watching it shine for us.

bioluminescence

Failing all of this, I’d be happy with a day of watching Netflix in bed with Husband and the girls, with a steady stream of tea, bacon sandwiches and custard creams, while Chuck snoozes in his bed at our feet!

What would your perfect duvet day be?

InterPlay FabLab Glitter Tattoos Review

InterPlay FabLabs Glitter TattoosThere are some things in life that can make your kids think you’re the best Mum to ever walk the earth. For Sausage, it was the news that I’d managed to acquire her a FabLab Glitter Tattoos set to review. A couple of years ago, we were having a day out along Southend seafront and a lady was applying glitter tattoos to passers-by for a fee (£5 each, if I remember rightly) and Sausage got a dolphin. She absolutely adored it and showed everyone she encountered until it wore off, so the opportunity to do them ourselves was too good to pass up.

The kit itself is really simple to use; simply choose a stencil from the wide variety in the set, stick on to the part of the body you want the tattoo to appear in, paint the glue on, wait 30 seconds, sprinkle on the glitter and peel off the stencil. Voila!

There are six colours included with the set, which meant that we were able to get some really pretty designs out of the kit. Also, if you’ve got kids who are very set on pink being for girls and blue being for boys, you’re covered because the set includes both ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ colours and designs.

We had some great results with ours and once we were confident with how to apply the tattoos, even experimented with colour combinations. Husband also gave Sausage a rather ‘gangsta’ free-hand tattoo with her own name in 3-inch high letters across the arch of her stomach, but that’s a photo which will be staying firmly in the family albums!

Glitter tattoos are probably not for you if you can’t stand mess; our living room looked like it had been home to a fairy convention for days after an evening of bedazzling (even Husband joined in and allowed Sausage to apply a rather fetching green lizard!), despite vacuuming, but it’s so much fun that we think it’s worth a little mess. Also, if you were more organised than us you could probably put a sheet down or even do it in the garden if there’s no wind.

Given the fact that we paid £5 for one tattoo to be done a couple of years back, the Interplay kit retails at just £9.99 for over FIFTY tattoos, making it an absolute bargain.

I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve also been given another FabLab Glitter Tattoos kit to give away to one lucky reader. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take Your Theory Test and Win an iPad!

Husband and I often talk about road theory when we’re in the car; I’ve been driving for 13 years and although he doesn’t have a car licence, he’s ridden bikes for many years which means his road sense is exemplary. We’ve wondered, on more than one occasion whether people on the road would pass their tests, were they to take them now and as it turns out, road safety charity Brake, along with We Buy Any Car wondered the same thing!

They conducted a survey which showed that that 2 out of 3 drivers on the road today would actually fail their driving theory test if they were to take it today, which is quite shocking when you think about it. The thought of that many drivers lacking basic knowledge needed to navigate the roads in a safe and competent fashion scares me! Here’s a quiz for you to take to see if your road theory is up to scratch:

This quiz was created byWeBuyAnyCar.com

I’m very pleased to say that I passed the test first time, with a mark of 80%, but it has also alerted me to the fact that there are definite holes in my knowledge, even after all these years on the road, so I’ll definitely be buying a copy of the Highway Code and brushing up!theory test pass

I’d love it if you took the test too and left me a comment, letting me know your score and whether you’re still up to scratch – and BE HONEST! If you enter your email address when you try the test, there’s a chance to win an iPad, so it’s definitely worth a go!

Most Annoying Kids’ TV Characters of All Time

Back in 2011, I wrote this post for Listography over at Kate Takes 5 and it’s been one of my most popular posts of all time. Of course, Sausage moved past the age where she watched the shows mentioned in that post and onto stuff that we actually love as a whole family (such as Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time etc.) so we aren’t bombarded with Dora the fecking Explorer (bit of pop trivia: did you know, her name is Dora because the Spanish for explorer is ‘exploradora’?!) quite as much any more but there are still several childrens’ TV characters who set my teeth on edge at the mere mention of their name, so I thought I’d share a few in case you agree:

Norman Price from Fireman Sam

Norman Price, Public MenaceNorman Price (or Norman the Knobhead, as he’s known in our house) is the most wilfully stupid, genuinely dangerous child I’ve ever seen on TV and I’m of the opinion that he should be locked up immediately for the safety of himself and the whole village of Pontypandy. It doesn’t matter how many fires/floods/landslides the annoying brat causes, he still does the same thing all over again and I’m getting to the point where I think Fireman Sam should just leave him to drown or be buried up to his neck in rocks rather than waste precious time and resources on saving the little twerp.

Mr. Lopart from Handy Manny

Mr. Lopart

Do you know what I think it is about Mr. Lopart that I hate so much? The sheer hubris of the man. Everything he EVER does is a disaster which requires him to be saved in some way by poor, overworked Manuel, yet he’s STILL arrogant enough to think that he can do things by himself. The man is a Darwin Award waiting to happen. I really hope Handy Manny’s patience runs out one day and he just sits in a lawn chair, sipping a rum and coke while Mr. Lopart gets carried off like Icarus into the sun on a giant bunch of sweet-shaped balloons.

Egbert from Poppy Cat

Egbert, Poppy Cat

Even aside from the fact that Egbert sounds like he’s got permanently impacted sinuses, the antisocial shitbag blindly turns down any invitation to go on adventures with a self-importance and rudeness which would make even my super tolerant, gentle-hearted mother-in-law swear. If I asked someone to do something every single day and was told “No, I’ve got something FAR more important to do…”, I think I’d end up punching them. In fact, more fool Poppy Cat for continuing to ask him along on her adventures. I hope she loses her shit one day and makes him into badger stew.

The Wise Old Elf

The (Not So) Wise Old Elf

I love a bit of Ben and Holly.

Err, I mean THE KIDS love a bit of Ben and Holly…

Anyway, the so-called “Wise” Old Elf is always claiming to be an expert at something which he then completely fudges and has to defer to the, frankly awesome, Nanny Plum to help him out with the magic that he’s spent the whole episode looking down his nose at. So, my question is this: Who decided he was so ‘wise’? Is it a name given to him by other elves? Because I see no real evidence of any sort of deep wisdom which warrants such a moniker, and if it’s a self-styled title then that makes him an arrogant dick.

So, come on, who gets on your nerves? Leave me a comment below!

Surviving Colic

Baby ColicBefore I had Burrito Baby, I’d read about colic and knew that it basically just involved unexplained crying for hours on end. I read scary statistics about how it affects the mental health of the new mother, was responsible for relationship breakdowns at its worst and had also been known to cause bonding issues with the new baby. What I didn’t know, at the time, is that the reality of living with a colicy baby can be all of the above and worse. BB was fine she first came home. She fed well, slept pretty well and it seemed like life as a foursome would be pretty easy. Then the colic started.

When I tell people that, for roughly first 4 months of BB’s life that, if she was awake she was usually screaming, they don’t believe me. But I promise, it’s genuinely not an exaggeration. Because she was in pain for most of the time and impossible to comfort, it became really hard to enjoy her babyhood. I’ve never been the sort of parent to make the “Oh really? You can have her if you want!” jokes when people say how cute my baby is, but with BB I started to do it. Not because I really wanted someone to take her away; I suppose I just wanted a flicker of recognition from someone, another person to say “Yeah, I know, it sucks sometimes doesn’t it?”.

We tried a whole bunch of different remedies, different formulas, warm baths, bobbing, shushing, rocking, driving her round at 3am, taking her for walks in the pram in the middle of the night – nothing worked. I really wish I’d known about Nelsons Colica Colic Granules at the time because they may well have been the thing to help BB. Nelsons Colica Colic Granules cost £5.80 from Boots, Amazon and Morrisons and contain a unique formulation of a 30c potency of natural Citrullus colocynthis and Dioscorea villas.

All of the advice that we received regarding colic during that time was from friends and family, or found online, and was mostly anecdotal. Every time we thought we’d found something which helped BB, it stopped working as soon as it started which was really demoralising. The feeling of thinking you’ve found a way to help, only to end up back at square one, is really difficult to deal with and I won’t lie, it really affected my mental health. Not only could I not help my baby, but our house was an unpleasant place to be for all of us because BB was either screaming or we’d have to creep around for fear of waking her and have the screaming start all over again. I felt lik ethe weight of the entire world was on my shoulders.

The best advice I can give is this: things WILL get better. Go to your G.P. or pharmacist if you think your baby needs additional help, but over time your baby will definitely grow out of colic. I know things might seem horrible right now, but it does end and you WILL be able to enjoy your baby again.

Please take a look at the Nelsons Facebook page for more information and handy tips.

Is Your Pet Stealing Your Bed?!

When I received an email about the Carpetright bed competition, I had to giggle. You see, they’re giving away £500 to spend on a bigger bed to the person who tweets the best picture of a bed-stealing pet to @Carpetright with the hashtag #PetStoleMyBed, and if anyone knows about bed-hogs, it’s me! Here’s a few examples…

Chuck the Bed StealerChuck is a MASTER bed-stealer!

When we first bought him home from the rescue centre, we were ADAMANT that he’d sleep in his own bed, but after the first night of howling and crying, we relented and allowed him to sleep in our bedroom, and he gradually made his way into our hearts on onto our bed!

These days, now that he’s 10 years old, he finds it harder to jump on and off of the bed, so tends to stay on his own, but don’t feel too sorry for him – he’s got his very own memory foam mattress pad, plus a high-end thermal dog bed to lay on, so he’s not doing too badly! I have to admit though, he’s very nice to snuggle with. On a cold night or if I’m feeling poorly, I do love to invite my boy up for a hug.

Carpetright’s Twitter feed is already jam packed with some amazingly adorable pictures of pets languishing amongst the pillows and duvets of their owners, and I highly recommend you take a look, or better yet, enter your own picture for the chance to win!

pet-stole-my-bed-banner(1)

Mum’s the Word Instagram Challenge #MTWIC

Instagram is one of those social media services that I absolutely love – being able to do in-app editing, add overlays and frames and share across multiple platforms is hugely useful and probably explains why it’s one of the most famous apps of all time. An estimated 150 million people use Instagram, many of whom are celebs, giving us a tantalising insight into their glamorous (and sometimes not so glamorous) lives.

I’ve seen a few Instagram challenges around before and have often wanted to join in, but haven’t kept up, so I thought I’d put together on of my own and I’d love it if you’d join in. There are 30 topics and it’s up to you how you do it – you can either do each one on the assigned day, or challenge yourself to tick off every theme randomly throughout the course of the next 30 days. I want you to be as creative as you can be with the themes and once you’ve taken your snap, Instagram it with the name of the theme as the title of the post and the hashtag #MTWIC.

There’s no need to join in every single day if you don’t feel like it, but I’ll be sending out a daily reminder email if you want to leave your email address in the form below so that I can give you a gentle prod!

The beauty of a hashtag is that you can then go through Instagram by clicking on the hashtag and find all of the other people taking part – give as many comments and as much love as you can muster so we can give this a real community feel. This isn’t just for bloggers, either and I’d love as many of my readers as possible to come along for the ride. So…here’s the list:

Proof (1)

If you want to Instagram the list, just press and hold the image on a smartphone and save it to your device. Once you’re in Instagram, you can choose to upload it by clicking on the gallery icon next to the camera button. Don’t forget to add the title and the hashtag so we can find your posts. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think of the list and whether you’ve been inspired to join in. Also, do let me know if you have any questions. I can’t wait to get started!