Category Archives: Blog

Nearly New Baby Sales are Back!

WE’RE BACK!

Great news – Baby and Children’s Market Nearly New Sales are finally back!

As of the 15th June 2020, all Indoor Markets can re-open which is great news for us along with our customers.

After what has felt like a long wait the government announced on the 25th May that all non-essential shops including indoor markets will be allowed to re-open from the 15th of June, 2020. Baby and Children’s Market have decided to return in September. The reason for this is because we want to ensure our events are safe.

We will be taking the necessary health and safety steps as recommended by the government to ensure our event organisers, customers, and their families are not at risk while attending our events. New sales dates will be published shortly on our website and Facebook pages.

Necessary COVID-19 risk assessments will be conducted prior to re-opening our nearly new baby sales come September. Once conducted the necessary measures will be put in place to reduce the risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking up the advised government preventative measures.

What’s on offer at our Baby and Children’s Nearly New Baby Sales?

Baby & Children’s Markets nearly new sales provide the parental community with excellent quality nearly baby sales UK wide. Top brand preloved items at bargain prices. It’s the perfect place to stock up on great quality furniture, buggies, toys, clothes, maternity, books, bikes and so much more!

Mums and Dads can book a table at any of our events to sell on their quality preloved baby and children’s goods to bargain-hungry parents. All items are up to 90% off the full retail price which is a massive saving! Our nearly new baby sales are a fun way to grab some amazing bargains while helping the environment by recycling at the same time!

Why choose a Baby and Children’s Market to sell on your children’s items?
Where to sell my children’s items near me?

Whether you’re selling all your baby gear to fund next year’s holiday or you’re hunting for bargains for your first baby, a nearly new sale can make money for sellers and save money for buyers. Win. Win. CLICK HERE for more information on the benefits of selling at a nearly new baby sale near you!

The Baby & Children’s Markets are the place where ‘Smart Parents’ Buy, Sell and Save a fortune on children’s items! Seller takes home 100% of their sales profit on the day!

  • Do you have stacks of out-grown nearly new baby and children’s toys, clothes, books, games, equipment, maternity items, etc. from birth to 8 years taking over your house?
  • Are you spending hours uploading your items online and getting very little for the effort? Or dealing with eBay and Facebook time wasters?

It’s simple, fun, and stress-free PLUS you take home 100% of SALES YOU MAKE on the day!

  • You have complete control over your stall, how you set it up, and how you price your items!
  • Plus you have the opportunity to negotiate your prices directly with the buyer so you don’t miss out on a sale!

Join us at a market near you. Have a fun day out with other like-minded Mums & Dads, gain your storage room back, and on top of all MAKE SOME CASH!

READY TO BOOK A STALL? Then click the BOOK A STALL button below:

Don’t have a nearly new baby sale near you?

Then why not JOIN OUR TEAM and run your own local baby and children’s nearly new sales for your parental community.

Joining our team is easy and very affordable!

We are looking for, self-motivated mums or dads to start their own home-based self-employed business running local baby and children’s nearly new baby sales UK wide. Affordable setup fee plus full training and ongoing support provided.

JOIN TODAY! CLICK HERE!

We thank you for your patience and hope to see you in September at a market near you!  Take care and stay safe!

Baby and Children's Market Nearly New Sales

 

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE

In light of the global Coronavirus/ COVID-19 pandemic. It is with great sadness that our Baby and Children’s Market nearly new sales will be postponed until the government provides the green light for events/nearly new baby sales to re-open.

Due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, our customers and their families’ health and safety are of great importance to us and so all nearly new sales have been postponed during the current climate.

New nearly new sale dates will be published on the website along with our social media pages once we are given the green light to resume.

All pre-booked stall bookings will be transferred to a future event, with a choice of suitable dates. Your local event managers will be in touch with all booked stallholders shortly.

Protecting yourself and others from the spread COVID-19

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
  • Avoid going to crowded places. Why? Where people come together in crowds, you are more likely to come into close contact with someone that has COIVD-19 and it is more difficult to maintain a physical distance of 1 meter (3 feet).
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu, and COVID-19.
  • Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. Why? Avoiding contact with others will protect them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, but call by telephone in advance if possible and follow the directions of your local health authority. Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local government and national health authorities. Why? Local and national authorities are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
  • If you do experience any of the symptoms: a cough, high temperature, or shortness of breath, please remain at home visit https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or call NHS 111 for advice.
New safety requirements that Baby and Children’s Market nearly new sales will implement once we are back up and running.

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE.

  • We will require all sellers to wash any washable items that are on sale and wipe down hard surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
  • Sellers will be required to bring hand sanitizer to the event so that you can adopt good hand hygiene practices without having to leave your stall.
  • Buyers and sellers will be encouraged to wear protective masks while attending our events.
  • Sellers’ tables will be positioned 2 meters apart.
  • Sellers’ tables will be wiped down with disinfectant prior to sellers arriving.
  • Buyers will be required to line up 2 meters apart while waiting for the nearly new sale to open.
  • A one-way buyers entrance and exit system will be implemented where possible
  • Hand sanitizer will be made available at the entrance of the nearly new baby sale for customers to use. Soap and sanitizer will also be made available at venue bathroom facilities.
  • Venues we hold our events in will complete their own health and hygiene procedures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Once nearly new sales are resumed more information will be provided once a full risk assessment has been conducted.
For up to date advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the following websites detailed below. 

We look forward to resuming our nearly new sales soon.

Take care and stay safe!

Five Tips for Meeting Other Mums and Making New Friends

Five Tips for Meeting Other Mums and Making New Friends

By Aimee Foster

When I had my daughter almost nine years ago, I was wholly unprepared for the raft of life changes I was about to experience. One of the many changes I had not expected was the change to my friendships.

The first of my friends to have a baby, I suddenly had lots of free time during the days. But my friends were all at work. And come the evenings when they were available, I was shattered. Plus it became evident that my new baby conversations were, at best, confusing for my friends and, at worst, incredibly boring.

The first few months of my daughter’s life were incredibly lonely for me, mainly because I spent most of my time alone with her.

Recent research by the Co-op and British Red Cross highlights how widespread the problem of loneliness is for mothers. 82% of mothers under the age of 30 reported feeling lonely some of the time, with 43% saying they are often or always lonely.

If you are feeling lonely or isolated, please know that you are not alone. Nine years on from the birth of my first child, I now have a wonderful network of mum friends. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1) Just Do It!

You have to get out there and meet people, they won’t come to you. Go on the search for local Mums Groups bt searching online or join online sites like Mummy Social. I know how much of an ordeal it is to leave the house with a new baby and believe me I spent many a day stuck inside because I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed, get the baby dressed and get together all of the baby paraphernalia I needed whilst making sure I timed the outing around her feeds.

But, if you don’t leave your house very often you will find it incredibly difficult to make new friends (you can meet friends online but you will have to go out and meet them face-to-face eventually). When I was a new mum, my confidence was at an all-time low and this prevented me from going out and trying to make friends. It took a year for me to find the courage.

Eventually, I decided that I would have to step out of my comfort zone and just get on with it. I am so, so glad that I did.

2) Find Places To Go

Local and national parenting websites have wonderful resources detailing places you can go with your kids. Mums groups, Toddler groups, bumps and babies groups, children’s centers and libraries are all places frequented by mums (and dads) who are looking to make new friends.

If you work full time, there are normally groups on Saturday mornings run by other full time working mums plus plenty of weekend activities available for children. If you’re not into the group thing, there is always the internet!

3) Once You’ve Found Somewhere With Mums – Start the Conversation!

Being shy, it took me a while to realise that if I wanted to make new friends, I would need to speak up (out of that comfort zone I went again!)

Mums groups, baby groups, toddler groups, and classes can be daunting when you’re new to them, especially if it seems like everyone already knows each other.

Be smiley, say ‘hi’ to people and start up a conversation by saying something complimentary about their child e.g. ‘Wow, I love your daughter’s shoes’. Once you break the ice by talking about the little people’s shoes or clothes, you can move on to more interesting stuff!

Another thing to bear in mind is that if you go to a baby or toddler group and don’t find it very friendly; don’t give up on that particular group. If you go a second time, there will probably be different people there who you might strike up a conversation with. And once you’ve been four or five times, you’re a regular and you can help other new people to integrate.

4) Once You’ve Started A Conversation – Close the Deal!

So you’ve been chatting away for a while with another mum and you feel you would like to meet up again. Make sure you don’t just walk away without following up. Exchange phone numbers or arrange to meet next week in the same group or somewhere else.

This can be quite cringy (along the lines of, ‘please be my friend!’) but I’ve found that if you really want to see someone again you must speak up or you may regret it later.

5) Go Online

There’s great potential to meet other mums in this way. Just as internet dating became a big phenomenon fifteen or so years ago, ‘mum dating’ is now an established way to make mum friends.

Eight years ago, I posted a notice on a local parenting website and had many replies. Of the twenty or so people I met, five are now lifelong friends (two of them were bridesmaids at my wedding).

2015-09-28-1443466552-3498017-1484_10152371565715084_160994641_n.jpg

Using the internet to make friends felt very strange at first, but I quickly got used it and felt more comfortable. I’m so glad that I bit the bullet and did it, even though it seemed unnatural at first.

To say that I’m happy I finally took action and met other mums is a huge understatement. I now couldn’t imagine my life without my wonderful mum’s friends. And as an added bonus, my daughter has made close friendships through them too.

3 Easy Halloween Crafts

3 Easy Halloween Crafts

These three Halloween crafts are cheap and simple to make. Younger children will need help with the cutting aspects of the crafts, it will be better to cut everything out for them before you begin.

All the crafts pictured were made by my eight year old daughter with a little help from me!

 Halloween Lanterns

 You will need:

A glass jar

Coloured tissue paper

Googly eyes

Black card

Watered down PVA glue

Electric tea light

To make a pumpkin, cut orange tissue paper into strips and glue it to the jar (ensuring that you cover all of the tissue paper in the watered down glue). Add some green tissue paper to the lid or around the top of the jar in the same way.

Cut out some eyes from black card (or use googly eyes) and do the same for a mouth. Stick them onto the jar.

Add an electric tea light (not a real candle) to the jar to make it glow.

You can make so many variations of this. Use white tissue paper to make a ghost or make a multi-coloured jar with a silhouette of a witch flying.

3 Easy Halloween Crafts

Paper Plate Ghosts

You will need:

A paper plate

Black and red marker pens

Tissue paper cut into long strips

Black and white card

Some string

Cut out a mouth and eye shapes from the black paper and stick them into place.

Cut out two arms with hands from the white paper and tape them to the back of the plate.

Cut out two circles from white paper and stick one into each eye, adding a black circle with the pen as pupils.

Use the red pen to draw on the cheeks.

Tape four or five strips of the tissue paper to the back of the plate (on the reverse side).

Cut some string and tape it to the top (reverse side) to make the hanging.

Window Hangings

 You will need:

Black card

Orange and green cellophane wrap

Cut the black card into different shapes. You could make a castle (pictured) a pumpkin, a ghost or any other type of Halloween object.

Cut some holes in the card e.g. windows for the castle or eyes, nose and mouth for a pumpkin.

Cut the cellophane into small squares and stick it onto the back of the card, covering the holes.

Stick to a window for some spooky decorations


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

How To Get Your Child To Open Up About Their School Day

How To Get Your Child To Open Up About Their School Day

With the new school year now in full swing, many parents find extracting information about the school day from their children an excruciating process. The question ‘how was school today?’ is invariably answered with a ‘fine’, ‘good’ or ‘ok’. It’s often very difficult to get past these one word road blocks.

As parents, we want details! We want to know that they had someone to play with, that they felt included, that they had someone to sit with it at lunch, that they understand their lessons and that they are happy. Yet all this information never seems to be volunteered very readily.

However, there are some tactics you can use to delve deeper into your child’s school experiences. The first is binning the question ‘how was school today?’ because it is proven to be an ineffective way to open up conversations about the school day.

Don’t ask straight away

As soon as your child steps out of the classroom, they may be feeling a cocktail of emotions. As well as feeling tired and hungry, they can be strained from the effort of concentrating, being on their best behaviour and following the rules all day. As soon as they see a parent, they feel comfortable enough to release all those emotions and let loose. This can lead to ‘after school attitude’, when children play up, have tantrums and are uncooperative.

This is not a good time to ask them about their day. Once they’ve had a snack, adjusted to their home surroundings and had the chance to unwind, you’ll have a better chance at finding out what happened during their day. Your child will be much more likely to open up while you all sit down to dinner and during bath time, for example.

Ask Open Ended Questions

Once your child feels ready to talk about their day, open ended questions requiring more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer are your best bet.

Try and be a bit creative with your questioning. Avoid ‘how was school today?’ and try a more interesting route:

What was the best/worst thing that happened today?

Who did you play with?

Who did you sit with?

Tell me one thing you learned today.

What was your favourite part of lunch?

Who is the funniest person in your class?

What was your teacher wearing today?

Often the answer to one of these questions will be a natural progression to other topics.

Listen

It’s tempting to jump in with more questions to try and get to the bottom of a topic, but try to hang back and let your child direct the conversation.

Share your day with them

If you share tit-bits of your day with your child, they will be more likely to reciprocate. For example, if you share what you ate for lunch and who you ate it with, they may do the same. Although, for children who have just started school and are missing home, it may be a good idea not to make your day sound too exciting, especially if you have spent it with their sibling. Talking about what you ate, who you saw and what you talked about are good ways to help your child see how we share information about our days.

Living with a six year old

It’s Like Living With A Six Year Old

If you’ve ever seen the 1986 comedy film ‘The Three Amigos’ you’ll be familiar with Steve Martin’s famous line, ‘It’s like living with a six year old.’

When I was younger, my friend Gemma and I used to roll our eyes and say this every time we perceived someone to be behaving immaturely. Mostly, we just said it to each other and always in a stupid American accent.

I spoke that line so many times as a teenager but it’s only now, twenty years later, that I actually know what living with a six year old is really like.

I often see blogs with titles such as ’10 things I would tell my pregnant self’, which are generally centred on sleep deprivation, poo conversations and the mischievous antics of very little people. All are perfectly valid reading for those with babies and toddlers. I also see lots of literature based on parenting a teenager, which for the most part, I can’t bring myself to read yet.

However, there doesn’t seem to be many articles written about the joys and tribulations of raising post-toddler, pre-teen children. So I decided to write one about my life with my six year old daughter.

Here is what I would tell my pregnant self about living with a six year old:

You don’t have possessions. Nothing of yours actually belongs to you anymore.

Make-up, jewellery, clothes, stationery – nothing is safe from my daughter’s hoarding hands. Most of my jewellery has been stashed away in pink containers in her room and I’ve given up trying to find it.

Hiding my treasured items is fruitless because nothing escapes the radar of a pilfering six year old. This became evident to me the day that my daughter emerged from our spare room wearing my wedding dress (which had been carefully wrapped, boxed and put away) accompanied by her little friend who was modelling every handbag I own. They had been into the bathroom, opened a box of my tampons, removed the applicators and were wearing them as earrings. I later found the rest of the box floating in the bath. Tampons do make excellent bath toys.

While six year olds enjoy making use of their parents’ possessions, they don’t always fully grasp the correct usage of them. I learned this one morning when I woke up to find my daughter sitting on my bedroom floor painting her toenails. With my eyeliner.

I truly have no possessions anymore. John Lennon would be proud.

You’ll see complicated issues in a new light

Inside the head of a six year old, the world is a delightfully uncomplicated place. There is good and bad, black and white, superheroes and villains. Messy political and global humanitarian problems can be solved by a six year old in as little as a few words.

One afternoon, my daughter had some pressing questions about the Second World War. She wanted to know how it started, why so many people died (see on for six year old obsession with death) and how it ended. I explained all about Hitler and his invasion of other countries, Nazism and why the Allies retaliated. I was quite proud of my 1997 GCSE History knowledge. I ended by telling her about the Holocaust and how millions of innocent people were killed by the Nazis.

When I had finished, my daughter was quiet for an uncharacteristic moment. Then she said, ‘Well I don’t know where Hiltler’s mind was at, but he shouldn’t have done that.’

Indeed.

While I was listening to the radio one afternoon, a speech from Donald Trump was being relayed. ‘Who’s that man?’ my daughter piped up. ‘He has a lying voice.’

Say it how you see it, dear six year old, say it how you see it.

You’ll talk about death a lot.

I thought it was just my daughter who was given to making countless enquiries about death. However, after voicing my concerns to friends, it seems that many six year olds are preoccupied with the topic. Take my friend, who one morning found her six year old scribbling away furiously on a piece of paper. She asked him what he was writing and he replied, ‘I’m writing letters. To dead people.’

Perhaps it’s a fascination with and anxiety about the unknown that preoccupies a six year old with death. Whenever I watch a film with my daughter, we firstly have to ascertain which cast members have died since the film was made and those who are still with us. With a little help from Google, I am now fully up to date with the status of everyone who acted in Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Annie and many other children’s films.

On earwigging at my daughter’s bedroom door during a play date, I discovered that six year olds also tend to play quite morbid games. I heard three sweet little girls playing, ‘pretend you’ve broken your leg and your bone’s sticking out’, ‘pretend you cracked your head open and your brain spilled out’ and, perhaps the most insulting, ‘pretend we’re orphans and we like it’.

Your transformation into your own mother is now complete

It started gradually after my daughter was born – a word here, a habit there. Six years on and I have now fully and irreversibly morphed into my mother.

On a daily basis her words fly out of my mouth – phrases such as; ‘what did your last slave die of?’, ‘mind your Ps and Qs’, ‘do you do that at school? Well then don’t do it here then’ and (my personal favourite) ‘what did I come upstairs for?’

It’s taken six years but I have now perfected my mother’s sigh of martyrdom and pained exhaustion whenever I sit for a moment on a chair or sofa.

Chasing a child who is munching on a packet of crisps around the living room while screaming, ‘I’ve just hoovered!’ is now as much a part of my daily life as it was my mother’s.

You’ll wonder what parents did before google

Important questions such as ‘why is the sky blue?’ and ‘what’s the poorest country in the world?’ are beyond my GCSE science and geography knowledge. A sneaky Google on my phone behind my back helps me retain my status as the font of all knowledge. Seriously, what did parents do before they had such technology to fall back on? I know, I know they looked it up in a book.

You’ll be made to feel stupid on a regular basis

It’s not pleasant when my six your old knows more than I do about something. And yet it is a feeling I experience more and more often.

When she was studying dinosaurs at school, we decided to take her up to the Natural History Museum. While standing by the big dinosaur in the entrance hall, I read out its name from the display case.

‘It’s a Diplodocus’, I said, pronouncing it Dip-lo-dok-us.

My daughter rolled her eyes. ‘Mummy, it’s a dip-lo-dough-cus and it obviously ate tree leaves because it has a long neck.

It’s like living with my own personal Hermione Granger.

It’s like living with a six year old.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

What’s Your Take On Gender Neutral Clothing For Children?

John Lewis’ recent decision to introduce gender neutral children’s clothing has divided the internet.  The store has removed ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ labels from children’s dresses, trousers and other clothes, replacing them with ‘girls and boys’ or ‘boys and girls’.

In a statement last week, head of children’s wear at John Lewis, Caroline Bettis, said, ‘We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.’

Gender stereotypes within children’s clothing has been a hot topic over the past few months, with retailers Morrisons and Mothercare among those criticised. While Mothercare offered girls the chance to ‘sparkle’, boys could choose to be a ‘genius’. Morrisons’ t-shirt selection included slogans such as ‘little girl, big smile’ and ‘little man, big ideas’. Understandably, many parents found the difference in girls and boys clothes to be sexist and old-fashioned.

However, it seems opinion over John Lewis’ introduction of gender neutral children’s clothing is split between those welcoming the move and those branding it ridiculous.

Let Clothes Be Clothes, the campaign for gender neutral clothing was, predictably, ‘absolutely thrilled’ by the news.

Other Twitter users agreed:

https://twitter.com/BethhDoherty/status/904467343782367232

Yet not everyone was as supportive. Speaking on Good morning Britain, Piers Morgan said, ‘I have three sons and one little daughter. None of my sons have shown any interest in wearing dresses and my daughter wears 20 dresses a day. Why can’t we let boys be boys and girls be girls?’

Many Twitter users agreed with him:

https://twitter.com/danidotx/status/904657440796549121

Twitter polls revealed the extent of the split:

The furore has led many to question whether other retailers will follow suit. Is this political correctness gone mad or should all children’s clothing be gender neutral? No doubt we haven’t seen the end of this debate.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

 

Back To School Tips: How To Rock The Morning Routine

Back To School Tips: How To Rock The Morning Routine

It’s no secret that mornings are often stressful and frustrating times for many parents. With children heading back to school this week, getting the little darlings dressed, ready and packed off to school on time can be a challenge.

Here are some tips to help your mornings run as smoothly as possible:

Get everything ready the night before

Make up packed lunches, iron and hang up clothes and line shoes up by the door the night before. Make sure all school bags and sports bags are packed and ready to go. If you fall into the routine of prepping everything the night before, you will save precious time in the morning.

If you drive to school, put everything you need in the car. If you walk, make sure it’s all ready to grab by the front door.

Prepare breakfast the night before

You can set the table and ensure all cereal boxes, jam and other provisions are ready. If you fancy something more adventurous, such as muffins, scones or even breakfast burritos, check out these easy to make recipes. You can prepare them all the night before.

Back To School Tips: How To Rock The Morning Routine

Put the clocks forward by ten minutes

This little trick works a charm for ensuring everyone remains ahead of schedule without even knowing it!

Don’t allow anyone to go downstairs until they are dressed and ready

Once children disappear downstairs to play and watch TV, it’s often a very difficult job to haul them back up again. Make a rule that no one can go down until they are washed, dressed and have brushed their teeth and hair. If your little ones are hungry for their breakfast, they’re also likely to move faster.

Get up before everyone else

Set your alarm before the rest of the house normally wakes so you can have a shower and get ready in peace. Just taking the time out to have a coffee and slice of toast in the early morning peace and quiet will set you up for a better day. If your mind is overload with tasks, jot them down into a manageable list to give yourself some clarity before the day begins.

Back To School Tips: How To Rock The Morning Routine

Use a reward chart

For younger children, a sticker chart will really help motivate them to keep moving. For older children, you could use rewards more relevant to their age.

Make it a competition

Utilise some of that sibling rivalry for a positive end by challenging your children to see who can get ready first. Reward the winner with a small treat. Giving the mornings a competitive seems to spring children into action more than anything else!

Keep an emergency kit in the car

This could include cereal bars for those who didn’t make it up in time for breakfast, a brush and hair clips for those who didn’t do their hair and some change for those who need lunch money.

With a little preparation, a smidgen of bribery and a bit of creativity, the school-run doesn’t have to be overly stressful. Good luck with getting your little ones back to school on time!


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, bookworm and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

Cooking With Kids: Yummy Pizza Base and Dough Balls

Cooking With Kids: Yummy Pizza Base and Dough Balls

Most kids love pizza, but shop bought pizza bases often taste like cardboard. It’s really simple to make your own pizza bases and dough balls – the little people will love getting involved and creating something yummy to eat. My little helper had a great time with this recipe!

Ingredients:

350 Strong Plain Flour (for making bread not the normal plain flour you use for cakes, pastry etc)

7g sachet of fast action yeast

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

250ml warm water

Cooking With Kids: Yummy Pizza Base and Dough Balls

Tools:

1 large bowl

1 large mixing bowl

Wooden spoon

Cling film

 

Method:

 

  • Making sure the mixing bowl is warm (you can pour boiling water in it and then wipe it over or use it just out of the dishwasher), mix the flour, salt and yeast together.

 

  • Stir in the olive oil and water and xix together until it collects into a dough.

 

  • Sprinkle some flour onto the work surface and then empty the dough out of the bowl and knead for five minutes or so. Little people can get creative with this – for example by using their elbows!

Cooking With Kids: Yummy Pizza Base and Dough Balls

 

  • Put the dough into a the large bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C/ 400 degrees F/ gas mark 6.

 

  • Tip the dough back onto the floured surface and cut in half. You can use one half for the pizza base and one half to make the dough balls. Roll out the pizza base into a circle and use the remaining dough to make the dough balls by rolling out into a long, thin sausage shape and cutting into small pieces. Then roll each shape into balls using your hands. Our dough balls were not so small or even, mainly because I let my daughter make them herself!

pizza

 

  • Put the pizza base on an oven tray and add your toppings.

 

  • Cook the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes (or more if required).

 

  • Place the dough balls on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes.

 

It really is that simple! My little chef was delighted with her Italian feast.


Aimee Foster is a mum, freelance writer and social media manager, stationery addict and sea lover. Find more of her ramblings over on her blog, New Forest Mum.

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills

As we move towards the end of summer and the days become slightly shorter, it’s inevitable that our minds turn to winter and how our energy bills will creep up. If you worry about how you’re going to manage the bills this winter, here are some tips for reducing the cost:

Switch supplier

It may sound obvious, but you can save a lot of money by changing energy supplier. Have a look on comparison websites to see how much you could save. Switching to the cheapest supplier could cut your bills by half.

Make sure you check out comparison websites regularly and switch whenever you can get a better deal.

Get the whole family involved

If no one is watching the TV, make sure it goes off. Switch off lights when nobody’s in the room. Take care is taken with water use.

Young children can be taught to be careful with the energy they use. For example, when brushing their teeth, ask them to turn the tap off. When they leave the room, keep reminding them to turn off the lights and TV until it becomes second nature to them.

Sitting down together and making a plan on how to save energy as a family will greatly help to reduce those bills.

Put a jumper on

Most people wander round their houses in winter wearing a thin shirt with the thermostat cranked up to 20 degrees. Your first port of call could be to put on more layers before the heating goes on.

Apparently turning down the thermostat by just one degree can save £85 per year.

Dare we suggest a onesie?!

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills

Unplug Appliances

Not only is this good fire-safety practise, it will also save you pounds from your energy bill. If you leave your TV on standby, it’s still using 50 percent of its energy.

The same goes for washing machines, dishwashers, tumble driers, microwaves etc. When they’re not in use, turn them off at the wall and unplug them.

 

Shower the kids

One way to save water is to shower the kids instead of bath them. They may not like it at first but they’ll get used to not having a bath and your water bills will quickly reduce. When you do give them a bath, only fill it as much as you need to.

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills

Be energy savvy

. There are plenty of ways to become energy savvy.

Make sure the dishwasher is full before you turn it on. The same goes for the washing machine. Don’t overload them but also take care not to use them until you have loaded them fully. Two loads of washing where one would suffice is just a waste of money.

In the winter, buy draught excluders and make sure all windows are shut before you switch the heating on. Close curtains to keep heat in. If you don’t use your fireplace, block the chimney with a pillow. Look into other ways of insulating your house such as loft and wall insulation to make it better able to keep heat in.

Use energy saving light bulbs. Fix dripping taps. Only fill the kettle with the exact amount of water you intend to use (did you know the kettle uses a lot of energy?) Turn down the washing machine temperature to 40 degrees and use the quick wash.

When you need to replace appliances such as washing machines and boilers, make sure you choose the most energy efficient ones as possible.

Keep up to date with your meter readings

Record your meter reading each month so you can see how you’re doing. Make sure you submit your readings to your energy supplier to avoid paying an estimated bill. Estimated bills can be grossly inaccurate.

Get a smart meter

All households will be offered a smart meter by 2020, at no extra cost. A smart meter not only sends meter readings to your energy supplier for you (ending the problem of inaccurate, estimated bills) but also allows you to see, in real time, exactly how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence. If you’ve ever tried to work out your energy bill, you’ll have seen how deliberately complicated it is. Smart meters put an end to all that.

You can find out more about smart meters here. Everyone will eventually be offered a smart meter, but contact your supplier to see if you can get one now.

If you don’t want to wait until 2020 for your smart meter, you can buy an energy monitor for about £25 (although some suppliers give them away for free). An energy monitor is a handheld device, which allows you to see the amount and cost of the energy you’re using. This will then enable you to see where cut backs can be made.

How To Reduce Your Energy Bills

By following all of the above, you can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on energy. This will leave you to spend your money on things you actually want!