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2076

Take a virtual tour to the most exciting wildlife safaris of India. It's high time now, to throw away your stress, and plan a wildlife tour with your friends and family to enjoy a genuine wildlife gateway.

Far from the noise and pollution of the city, you can find a green heaven over here. Along with the chirping of the colorful birds, you will find a totally refreshing and relaxing environment to rejuvenate yourself. With 450 sanctuaries, 40 tiger parks and 99 national parks, India embraces a rich wildlife.

Sounds exciting? Then book your tickets and pay a visit to the famous wildlife sanctuaries of India.

Here are the lists of some popular wildlife safaris where you will have an unforgettable experience.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Ranthambore.jpgRanthambore National Park, Rajasthan
Tiger tours in the ranthambore national park are one of the popular tourist destinations. Enjoy a safari, and click photographs of the various other wild beings like Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, and Sambar.

If you are looking out for some adventurous tiger tours in India, then you must pay a visit to this park. The ideal time to have a view of the tigers is from March to May.
b2ap3_thumbnail_jim-corbett.jpgJim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
When it comes to north India tours, then you must plan out a day's visit to the Uttarkhand's adventurous Jim Corbett National Park.

Myriads of the people visit Corbett just to get a glance of the dangerous cats and tigers. You can also take a view of the Serow, Goral, and several other fascinating wild species.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Royal-Bengal-Tigers.jpgBandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Want to have a spectacular view of the Royal Bengal Tigers?  Just bask in the backwoods of the Bandhavgarh National Park. Take a picturesque of the various other exotic fauna species, Bandhavgarh is counted among the best places for wildlife safari in India. Check out online, the different India tours and travel packages and plan out a journey to visit Bandhavgarh National park anytime between Octobers to June.
b2ap3_thumbnail_kanha-panther.jpgKanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
We have read many stories about the Sher Khan in our story books.But to have a real view of the roaring tiger of Kanha you must definitely visit here. Bagheera (Black Panther), Baloo (Bear), Kaa (Python), Hathi (Elephant) or Sher Khan (Bengal Tiger), every character that we have read about in our story books, can be seen in Kanha National Park.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Sunderban.jpgSunderban National Park, West Bengal
 If you love thrilling and adventurous tour, then you must visit the Sunderban National Park. Being the world's largest forest cover of the Mangroves, the place boasts a rich wildlife sanctuary. People from different corners of the world, gets excited to travel to India, and carries unforgettable memories with them while returning back.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Kaziranga.jpgKaziranga National Park, Assam
Want to get a glance of one of the most exotic animals - The Rhinoceros? Then you must pay a visit to the Kaziranga National Park. Besides the giant Rhinos, you can have a look at the other beautiful wildlife such as Elephants, Bears, Panthers and various pretty birds also in the Kaziranga National Park.

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Getting outdoors as a family can be a tricky thing to do at this time of year. The mornings are dark, the evenings are darker, and it’s bone-chillingly cold, too! But that doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time outside. All you need to do is pick a day where the whole family is available (a Sunday, perhaps), before wrapping up warm and trying on of these activities.

 

Bracing bike rides

A bike ride is just as much fun in the winter as it is the summer, so head to your nearest woodland trail or lake, don your helmets and get pedalling. It’s an excellent form of exercise, it’s easy on the joints, and very young family members can be safely strapped into seats on the back of grown up’s bikes. This makes it a perfect outdoor activity for a family with children of all ages, but be sure that everyone’s wrapped up warmly first: that cold air will bite at fingers and faces if you’re not wearing suitable clothing!

 

Family walks

If you don’t own bicycles (or you don’t fancy hiring any), why not go for a long walk? Family walks are a great way of spending quality time together as you can talk while you’re walking. And, it’s a fantastic form of exercise too: it lowers blood pressure, can help to maintain a healthy weight, and offers a chance to top up on vitamin D. Look out for muddy puddles to jump in, explore a wintery woodland, and perhaps even consider doing some orienteering on the way around too. Just don’t forget to check everyone has appropriate footwear first. The kids will need to be wearing children’s wellies that are waterproof, durable and with adequate grip on the soles if they’re going to be traipsing through mud and wading through puddles!

 

Stargazing on a clear night

The National Trust lists stargazing as one of the top 50 things kids should do before they’re 11 ¾. So, why not go stargazing as a family? You’ll need to make sure you have a clear sky with a full moon (if possible), and it’ll be more fun if you’ve downloaded a stargazing app to help you identify the stars you’re spotting. Some parents even suggest that their children have slept better after a spot of stargazing – perhaps it has something to do with that lovely cool air before bed?

 

Collect wood and construct a bonfire

Another fun activity for everyone to do as a family is to make a bonfire. Work together to gather twigs, logs and sticks, leaves and larger pieces of wood, and then ask the children to help you dig a shallow pit, surrounding it with stones. You’ll need to supervise children carefully around a bonfire, and the lighting and maintenance should obviously be left to the adults, but it’s great fun and a good opportunity to spend some quality time together. Here are some tips on how to make a safe bonfire.

 

So, which of these activities will you be trying with your family? And do you have any to recommend?

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When the kids went back to school at the beginning of autumn, you probably had quite a job on your hands packing everything they were going to need. As well as sorting out brand new school uniforms and sewing name labels onto PE kits, you had to fill up their pencil cases and school bags. If your kids have lost their things already and you’re heading to the shops for more supplies, or you want to make packing that little bit easier for the next term and the coming years, use this handy guide on school stationery you need to be packing…

 

Key Stage 1 (year 1 and year 2 in England and Wales)

Children are only 5, 6 or 7 years old when they’re in key stage 1. As a result, the kind of work they do tends to be very hands-on, creating visual pieces of work, displays, taking part in group activities and having discussions about their work. As a result, it’s not really necessary for children to take a pencil case to school. Classrooms will buy stationery equipment for children to use from a supplier such as this one, but it’s well worth asking your child’s teacher if there’s anything you should be stocking up on at home. Pens, pencils, arts and crafts materials and paper are worth having for a rainy day, and will mean your children can complete the occasional piece of homework they’ve been set.

 

Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in England and Wales)

Things get a bit more ‘academic’ when children get a bit higher up the school. Aged 8 to 11, children take part in lessons that involve independent work as well as group activities. Your children will need a pencil case and it will need to contain colouring pencils, colouring pens, a handwriting pen, a rubber, a ruler and a calculator. Their classroom may supply things such as exercise books, maths sets, glue, scissors and notebooks, but check with their teacher, or refer to a stationery list that you may have been sent, to make sure you’ve not missed anything.

 

Key Stage 3 (years 7, 8 and 9 in England and Wales)

When children reach secondary school, the nature of their lessons change and they’ll be expected to complete a lot more homework. So, stock up on the basic stationery listed in the previous two key stages, as well as these extra items: highlighter pens, fountain pens, fountain pen ink cartridges, a pencil sharpener, a maths set, a notebook, a scientific calculator, Post-It notes, a dictionary and a USB stick. Your child’s school is likely to provide all the exercise books they need, as well as a homework planner.

 

Key Stage 4 (years 10 and 11 in England and Wales)

Key stage four sees children taking their final exams, as well as completing coursework. So, you’ll need to make sure they have all the necessary tools for effective revision, as well as everything they need to ensure their coursework is well presented. Invest in ring binders, plastic wallets, Post-It notes and labels, paper clips, highlighters and page markers. They may also need additional materials depending on the subjects they’ve elected to take, so you’ll need to stock up on art supplies if they’re taking art for GCSE for example, with items such as sketch books and large portfolio folders required.

Check with your child’s school if you’re not sure about what you need to provide for every stage of their education, but rest assured that you can top up their supplies if there’s something you’ve forgotten or they’ve misplaced throughout the year!

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As a child, your bedroom is a special place. It’s where you dream up fantastic adventures – and is a safe place to curl up and sleep after a busy day. As a parent you’ll want to do all you can to make sure your child has a room fit to be their own special place. So, how do you kit out your child’s room with the right furniture?

 

Think long-term

Before you even think about any items, there’s one thing you need to bear in mind. Your kids will grow up fast. It’s the thing that you need to consider with clothes – and it should come into your head with their room too. Unless you’ve got a bottomless pit of a budget you’re unlikely to want to keep buying new beds and furniture every five minutes. You can redecorate – with wallpaper and paint – to change the look of the room as your child grows up, but try to look for furniture that can last.

 

Bed 

Top of your list, then, should be the bed. You want something practical – that your child can easily clamber in and out of – and comfortable. You might also want to think about storage here – having drawers underneath the bed can provide somewhere for them to tidy away toys or even store bedding. Check out http://www.divancentre.co.uk/ for some inspiration. A good solid bed is probably preferable over a quirky one shaped like a car.

 

Storage

It’s unlikely that the bed will provide enough storage to keep all of your child’s toys and clothes on its own – so you might want to consider shelves, baskets, drawers, racks and a wardrobe. House Beautiful shows some creative ways that you can use a pegboard or wooden crates as creative ways to provide storage. Just remember to consider the safety aspect. You wouldn’t want your child causing themselves an injury by yanking a toy, book or items of clothing from a shelf or drawer that they can’t quite reach. Get this right and you might even – if you’re lucky – be able to get your children to take responsibility for tidying up.

 

Desk

In time, your child will need somewhere free of distractions where they can do their school work. That’s where a good desk will come in handy. These can be great for younger children too – somewhere to test their creative talents by colouring, drawing and writing to their heart’s content. As Houzz suggests, you could look to invest in some ‘multi-tasking’ furniture to meet this need – with bunk beds available that allow you to convert the bottom bunk into a desk when required. This is great for small rooms and could also solve your hunt for a bed and storage too.

 

Those are the essentials – get these right and you’re on to a winner and your child will have somewhere special to play, study and sleep.

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Women who give birth or adopt a baby are entitled to maternity leave and pay. However, men are also entitled to take some time off and get paid, and this is known as ‘paternity’ leave. But, what you might not have heard of is shared parental leave. It’s an incentive that allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of their leave and 37 weeks of their pay with one another. (You can find more information about how shared parental leave works and whether or not you’re eligible on the Money Advice Service’s website).

 

Shared parental leave has only recently been made available, and at the moment, very few dads are actually taking advantage of it. The reason for this is that many couples feel that shared paternity leave isn’t really all that it’s hyped up to be. So, let’s take a look at whether or not it’s actually a good idea…

 

The biggest problem with shared parental leave is that it demands that both parents experience a reduction in their salaries. This means that both adults have to rely on statutory maternity pay (something that is currently only a maximum of £139.98 a week), or their employer’s enhanced paid leave allowance. If both are earning the same amount of money or are entitled to the same benefits it works perfectly, but if one partner earns more, it makes little financial sense to sacrifice the more generous wage.

 

Things are different in countries like Sweden where both parents are entitled to an allowance of 80% of their normal salary for the first 390 of the 480 days available. This is the reason that 85% of Swedish couples share responsibility for the care of their newborn baby, with both mums and dads taking extended periods of time off work. And, it’s also the reason that Swedish women are able to stay in work, develop their careers and not have to ‘start all over again’ once their children are in school, unlike British mothers right now.

 

However, shared parental leave is undoubtedly good news from an emotional perspective. Couples who can afford to take the hit financially will find that new dads get to spend much needed quality time with their children, enabling them to really get to know their baby.

 

Steve Marshall took shared parental leave and says it was a great decision. Aside from being tired and stressed (inevitably the way with a new baby!), Steve says “The first few months are an amazing time and I feel very lucky to have had the pleasure of seeing my son change day by day”.

 

“Being home for an extended period meant I was able to take care of my partner while she recovered from the birth, freeing her from the day-to-day things (like cooking for herself) that might be more difficult under the pressure of looking after our son on her own. And, because we have equal experience looking after him, each of us is confident we can leave him with the other without worry or stress”.

 

So while shared parental leave might not be the most desirable option from a financial perspective, if you can do some careful calculations and make ends meet on a reduced salary (or are lucky enough to have an employed with a good paternity package). It could be a great option for the wellbeing of you are your family. Will you consider it? 

 

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The sand between your toes, a picnic full of fresh fruit and wine and the lull of the ocean to enjoy with loved ones, there’s nothing better than a day spent at the beach. And what better beach could you ask for than one located in Portugal, with a coastline that boasts white sand, blue waters and plenty of bars and restaurants to sample nearby.

 

That’s why if you are considering purchasing property in Portugal, it’s a good idea to choose one located near the coastline, and here are some of the best spots by the sea to choose from:

 

Algarve region

One of the hottest tourist destinations in the country, you should find everything you need in the Algarve including beautiful beaches. Sites such as www.portugalproperty.com feature numerous properties available on the Algarve’s coastlines, also located to the area’s popular golf resorts. Praia dos Olhos de Agua beach is one of the most popular sandy locations, perfect for romantic walks in the evening or spending the day topping up the tan – find a property within walking distance and enjoy this tranquil spot every day.

 

Lagos

If stunning beaches set against even more stunning cliff tops and rugged landscapes is what you prefer then Lagos is a great spot for your property purchase by the sea in Portugal. If you prefer to live in a built up area, with everything nearby, look for a property located near Praia da Batata which is known as Lagos’s town beach. This beach features a magnificent fortress, created to protect the location from outside attack, which is great for history buffs who fancy taking a look around.

 

Faro

Another municipality located in the Algarve, Faro offers small but accommodating beaches that are popular with the locals. There are also sandspit island beaches located around Faro, which can be reached by ferry but are perfect for when the main beach gets crowded and you fancy something new. Ilha Deserta beach is uninhabited but if you purchase a property in Faro itself it’s easily accessible and features a very popular restaurant serving up fresh catches – it’s recommended you book a table though because it is very popular all year round!

 

Praia do Guincho

Located on the Estoril coast, this small town boasts a beautiful beach where the Portuguese National Surfing and Body Boarding Championships take place each year, which means the beach is perfect for those who want to regularly get out on the waves and seek a property close by that can accommodate their boards or equipment. It’s a quiet location, that many would consider a struggle to reach via public transport so some days you could enjoy the beach to yourself.

 

If you’re looking for you very own spot by the sea, consider these beautiful locations and head out to Portugal to take a look around. It’s important you scope the area out first and view properties before you make any offers but there should be something waiting for you in the stunning sunshine kissed country.

 

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Some children experience difficulties with their gross and fine motor skills in a way that other children don’t. There can be a number of reasons for this, and if you have any concerns about your child’s health you should contact a professional. Here are five tips for developing motor skills:

 

1. Give children activities to do

One of the most effective ways to develop a child’s motor skills is to give them specific activities to do. You’ll need equipment and materials in order to help children who struggle with their motor skills, so think about what you’ll need to invest in (coordination skill games are available to buy at LDA, as well as resources and pieces of equipment too). Here are some activity ideas for developing fine motor skills:

 

·      Get to grips with play dough. Squeezing and stretching, moulding and separating help to strengthen finger muscles and improve coordination, and it’s a great sensory experience too.

 

·      Cut out paper bunting. Supervise children while they’re using scissors and encourage them to carefully cut around lines, fold tabs and unfold the bunting at the end. Larger shapes are easiest to start with, whereas smaller pieces can be cut once if they become comfortable using scissors.

 

·      Make necklaces. Start with a thick piece of string and large shapes with large holes. As children grow in confidence and ability, gradually make the string thinner or give them smaller beads or shapes to thread in more complex patterns.

 

2. Use everyday tasks as an opportunity to work on skills

As much as specific activities are great fun and are very effective, many daily activities are an opportunity to strengthen motor skills. You can set tasks such as setting the table, pouring water into a cup, opening and closing containers with lids and wiping the table with a cloth.

 

3. Encourage children to spend time outdoors

Gross motor skills such as running, catching a ball, balancing and jumping on a trampoline can be performed in almost any environment, but a dedicated space designed for enabling it is worth visiting regularly. Take children to activity play centres and parks so that they have plenty of opportunities for balancing, climbing and pedalling. It won’t be easy, and it may occasionally be frustrating for them, but the opportunity to keep practicing is key.

 

4. Intensify the challenge, but start easy

If a child struggles with fine and gross motor skills, presenting them with insurmountable challenges are only going to cause frustration, apprehension and low self esteem. For that reason, it’s important that you present new tasks at a level of difficulty that’s suitable for their stage of development, pacing the tasks and intensifying the challenge appropriately. Consult an occupational therapist if you need some help to do this.

 

5. Offer praise and consistence

All children respond well to praise and encouragement, so although it might seem like an obvious point to make, it’s worth celebrating every small achievement and major milestone. Display the things they produce, thank them for their contributions around the house, watch them when they’re playing outdoors and be consistent if you’re following a programme. 

 

Above all else, be patient – try to resist the temptation to always perform tasks on behalf of a child, such as tying shoelaces, getting dressed or cutting food – instead, be there to assist them if such a level of intervention is possible.

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Reading is important at any time of your life; for children it enables them to widen their vocabulary and for adults it is a means to relax and escape the stress and strains of everyday life.

 

But, what about when you head into later life? Of course reading is still an opportunity to relax and a lovely way to spend all that extra time you have in retirement. But, there is a far more important reason for reading in later life – and that is to keep your mind active as well as reaping other health benefits that come with it – including aiding sleep and alleviating stress.

 

Neurological researchers have spent years studying the impact of books on the brain and have identified a compelling link between reading a novel and enhanced cognitive ability. Reading has a profound effect on mental agility, the memory and our aptitude for imagination.

 

It enhances mental agility in old age:

According to research published in a 2013 edition of the journal Neurology, keeping mentally active by reading books will help to protect the brain in old age. The study measured memory and thinking in over 200 participants aged over 55, every year for about six years. It found that those who had kept their brains busy had a rate of cognitive decline about 15% slower than those who didn’t.

Brain-teasing activities such as reading have also been linked to the delay of Alzheimer’s disease in old age.

 

It helps your memory:

Reading helps your brain to retain information over time, which in turn means you read better – making you sharper and smarter. In her paper ‘What Reading Does For The Mind’, psychologist Dr. Anne Cunningham states that every time you read, you create a new memory – so, the process of reading will flex your memory reflexes over time.

 

It refines brain function:

Reading fiction improves your ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes and to use your imagination. Scientists found that this causes changes in the left temporal cortex – the area of the brain associated with language comprehension. This allows neurons to trick the mind into thinking it is doing something it isn’t.

 

Plus, reading for just six minutes can be enough to reduce stress levels by up to 68%!

 

These benefits, however, don’t just come from reading the likes of Wuthering Heights or Girl on the Train - you could also read magazines as well. Why not treat yourself to a Magazines Direct subscription and get your favourite title delivered direct to your door? This could be anything from ‘Woman and Home’ or ‘Home and Gardens’ to ‘Knitting’ or ‘Country Life’ - whatever your interest or hobby, you will find a magazine for it. Then each week or month, when it lands on the doorstep, you can take time to sit down and relax with a cup of tea, as you read through it.

 

There are of course other ways to keep your mind active as you head into later life; such as playing games, writing letters, doing crosswords. Ultimately, it is a win-win situation, because these are incredibly enjoyable ways to spend your free time, but you get huge benefits from them, without too much effort on your part.

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2019

 

Messy play is an important part of their development, helping children to learn important life skills. 

When you’re looking for activities for your children, it is important that parents look for ways to aid growth in terms of physical, communicative, social, intellectual and creative development and messy play can help immensely!

 

AO.com has created a fun and informative resource offering some great ideas for outdoor and messy play! ‘Life is Messy’, it is an interactive piece challenging us to put away the technology for a little while and take part in 30 fun activities to get kids outside and dirty.

 

Each idea is supported by extra information and inspiration to make sure you can create the activity.

 

Examples include:

 

  • ·      Home-made play dough – Let their imaginations run wild, what will they sculpt today!? A bright green dinosaur or a series of buildings for a much bigger project? It also lasts a lot longer than shop bought play dough too.

 

  • ·      Glass Paint – why restrict the kids to just paper? Let them loose on a window or a pane of glass with some homemade glass paint. It’s easy to make and easy to clean off. The kids will love admiring their creations, especially when the sun is shining through.

 

  • ·      Papier Mache – a classic favourite with all the kids! You can pretty much make anything, and the children can get really creative with the paints and the decorating of the sculptures they design.

 

The messy play challenge was created after AO.com carried out a survey revealing the nation’s attitude to play, with rather surprising results:

 

  • ·      29% of parents worry their child’s development is negatively affected by TV, games consoles and other technology.

 

  • ·      The two main areas of development highlighted by parents as being the most negatively affected were social skills (44%) and attention span (31%).

  

  • ·      41% of parents discourage their children from getting dirty or messy when playing outside for fear of extra housework or germs.

 

With children’s development potential being affected through lack of play in the home and a dependency on technology as a whole, it has never been more important for parents to incorporate messy play in their daily activities.

 

Andrew Kirkcaldy, group brand director at AO.com stated: 

 

“We carried out the survey to understand parent’s attitudes towards children’s play, and more specifically messy play. We know that children are becoming more and more used to technology, and although this has its benefits, we wanted to challenge families and teachers to put aside the iPads for a short while and get the children out and messy! Helping children’s development is so important, and so we created the Life is Messy campaign to help inspire parents and teachers.”

 

The Life is Messy campaign includes the 30 day messy play challenge and the survey data, along with lots of other fun information. You can take a look at it here:

http://ao.com/life/is-messy/month-of-mess/

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Large families cost money and there’s no hiding from the fact. If you want to bring a small army of children into the world, then you’ll need to juggle your finances – and a few other things – accordingly. And that’s fine, as long as you are prepared.

 

Managing your money with a large family can be tricky but it’s not impossible. Here are some ways to keep on top of the money…

 

Budget planner

The internet is awash with free resources that can make our daily lives a little easier, and that’s certainly true of family budgeting. Budget planners offer a simple and effective template for you to be able to map out all of your regular expenses and be fully aware of what you spend. This one from Frugal Family is a useful template.

 

Plan out big purchases

By knowing what you need to spend you’ll have a clearer idea of what you can afford and be able to properly plan out any big ticket purchases that you need to make. AvantCredit personal loans can be used for anything from home improvements to holidays, helping you to afford such things by breaking the cost down into manageable chunks.

 

Reuse what you’ve got

Big families often include children at different ages and stages and that presents opportunities for managing your money smartly. Pass down clothes, toys, pushchairs and any other items that you can to avoid needing to pay for the same thing over and over again.

 

Switch the bills

Busy family households use plenty of energy. That means you need to be even more careful about your bills. Run regular price comparison checks to ensure you are on the best tariff available and avoid the costs spiraling out of control. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal from your providers if they put their prices up; a small rise in tariff can make a big difference to a big family.

 

Food planning

As Money Crashers points out, it’s important to get your grocery shop right. Ideally you want to get everything in one go – avoiding a number of extra small spends throughout the week that add to the cost – and write and stick to a list of items. Smart families will be able to cook up meals in advance in batches using ingredients that can be bulk-bought at a low cost. It can also be cost effective to hunt out reduced items, looking for expensive things such as joints of meat that can be frozen on purchase and used further down the line.

 

Presents

Birthday and, particularly, Christmas presents can be a big headache for parents in big families. It pays to set a consistent price limit for your children, that way they know what to expect and you can budget properly for it, maybe even saving up across the year so that Christmas doesn’t come as a big shock? There’s nothing wrong with joint presents either, especially when it comes to expensive things such as games consoles that could easily be shared by several siblings.

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Juggling life as a busy Mum more often than not means whipping the credit card out regularly and ensuring the kids have everything they need, as well as encouraging them to try their hand at new activities or taking them out for the day. It can all get pretty exhausting – and expensive – but of course you wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

But… have you actually taken some time to break down what you are spending each year? Well, debt management experts PayPlan have and their results might come as a surprise, such as the cost of keeping a baby in nappies for a year amounts to £451. That’s a lot of changing!

 

The Centre for Economics and Business Research reckons the cost of raising a child amounts to £231,843 for children born in 2016, from the day they are born until they turn 21. Take some time to scroll through PayPlan’s guide, it’s interesting to discover what the average cost is each year and if you compare it to what you spend you might feel pretty pleased with yourself if you’re the thrifty sort!

 

However, there are always ways to save yourself some money and still keep the kids happy. From cutting back on brands at the supermarket to mending clothes instead of buying new to taking your own snacks in your bag for when you head out for the day – no more impromptu orders at the cafe at lunchtime – you can save a fair few pennies and justify the costs that come with raising kids.

 

 

When you finally get a minute have a scroll through the guide, and if you have older children you can have a nice chuckle to yourself about not having to spend money on nappies anymore – although be prepared for the expense of driving lessons and university in the future.

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A pest infestation in your home is horrible at the best of times, but when you have small children in the house, this situation can become a hundred times more stressful.

Your home could be infested from anything from mice or rats to wasps or fleas – these won’t only cause damage to your property, they could also cause hygiene issues, particularly for your young children.

Then you have to try and get rid of them

Picture the scene: You have set up a trap to catch the mouse you saw run across the lounge floor and instead of catching the pest, it ends up squashing little fingers, as your two-year-old reaches for the piece of cheese you were using as bait. Or, even worse, your small children find the dead pests before you do, touching them and putting their little fingers in their mouths afterwards.

Of course there are other traditional methods you could use, but these could be incredibly dangerous for young children if they were to accidentally consume any of it.

So, how do you manage the pest infestation and keep your children safe at the same time?

Humane traps

Live traps are a more humane way to get rid of pests and are safe to use around food, water, children and pets. You simply have to set and bait them, and then you can get rid of up to 30 mice at a time without ever having to see or touch them. Check out Victorpest to find out more and order the right one for you.

Natural methods

You could make your own insect spray! This combines the repellent effects of garlic, onion and hot pepper with the insecticide of soap – just as effective at removing pests, while being a lot less dangerous for your small children.

Call in the experts

If the infestation has got to the point where you don’t know how to deal with it anymore, or you simply don’t want to deal with it yourself, why not call in the experts? Simply enter your postcode into the ‘Report a Pest Problem’ page on the government site and you will be taken to the correct page of your local council, where you can find and book the right service for you area. 

This way you can take the children out of the house while the experts deal with the issue! If it is a day, great - a trip to the park with the kids should be all it takes to get it sorted, if this issue is ongoing you may want to stay with friends or family for a few days. 

If you already experienced pests in your home or want to avoid ending up in the above situation, then you should make sure you are always looking out for them. Keep an eye out for signs that they could have taken up residence in your home, such as droppings, nests, insects and so on.

Also, do everything you can to keep them away; lids on bins, all food put away, don’t leave dirty dishes on the side, etc. If you have been considering getting a pet, then it might be time to add a cat to your family. Their litter tray can be left in any potential problem areas, as their urine alone will scare off any pests.

The sooner you tackle the situation, should it arise, the sooner it can be sorted and the less damage it can do to your home or your young children.

 

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Whether you are leasing a car or purchasing one outright, it’s important you find the right one for your family’s needs. Perhaps you need a reliable car for the school run to come in a couple of years or a motor big enough for those family trips to the beach at the weekend.

 

You’re definitely going to need five doors for those moments when your toddler doesn’t want to be strapped into their seat and throws a tantrum as well as a large boot for all the ‘just in case’ stuff you need to take with you when out of the house. Here are six of the best cars for young families to choose from:

 

1. Skoda Octavia

Named the What Car? Family Car of the Year in January 2016, this vehicle comes with a recommendation from one of the most trusted car reviewers in the UK. They claim it’s down to its exceptionally sized interior space as well as its economic engine which saves money in the long run on fuel. The Octavia also scores highly when it comes to safety, with seven airbags and a post collision braking system.

 

2. Ford Focus

Roomy, comfortable and great to drive, it’s no wonder the Ford Focus comes up top when it comes to family cars. It’s a great vehicle if you aren’t looking for all the gadgetry that comes with newer cars, its console is simple, easy to use and offers everything you need. Available in both manual and automatic, diesel and petrol and a variety of engine sizes there is a Ford Focus out there to fit every family situation.

 

3. Vauxhall Astra

This hatchback is perfect for those families that want something that looks great but also offers plenty of practical features. The interior is high quality and there’s plenty of room inside, 35mm more knee room in the rear – great if one of you still needs to sit in the back with the kids - and the boot offers 350-litres of space to fill up for days out.

 

4. Hyundai i30

Looks good, drives great, plenty of room; the Hyundai i30 is Korea’s answer to popular car choices such as the Ford Focus. Opt for a five door option for maximum access to the rear of the car, especially if you have little ones in car seats. Great for school runs and nipping around town with the kids, it’s a cheap car to run and looks great.

 

5. Audi A3

For those young families looking for style and comfort when it comes to a family vehicle, the Audi A3 offers both. The Audi A3 Sportback is a preferable choice when it comes to this model as it comes with five doors and a decent sized boot. This is the family car to choose if you regularly venture out on long trips, with a 2.0-litre engine you should have no problem reaching your destination in good time.

 

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Are you going on a staycation this year? It’s bound to be lovely wherever you go – whether you’re exploring the south west of England or the outer fringes of Scotland – but you certainly need to take the time to pack properly. Here are the essentials you really need for your staycation…

 

Rain-ready clothing

If there’s one thing you can be sure of on a British staycation, it’s that you’re likely to get rained on at some point! So, include a set of waterproofs in your suitcase or a classic trench coat and a sturdy umbrella.

 

Shoes and clothing for exploring

Pack some comfortable footwear such as walking boots, or at least a pair of fashionable boots with a good sole and plenty of support: staycations invariably involve lots of walking (which is great news for your waistline), and you’ll have a much happier time if you avoid getting blisters. A stylish rucksack will also come in useful if you need to throw in an extra jumper and a stash of emergency snacks so that you’re ready for whatever you end up doing each day. A decent pair of jeans will be perfect both for walking along miles of shoreline and popping into boutiques in quirky towns and villages.

 

Accessories

If you’re heading to the idyllic Cornish coast you’ll certainly need to pack a beach bag, but it’s worth packing a handbag too – wherever you’re holidaying. This will help you to explore new towns and cities on foot without looking like a tourist or accidentally being lumbered with nothing but your suitcase! A pair of sunglasses will make you feel as though you’re on ‘holiday’ (even if it’s not eye-wateringly sunny), and a sun hat will come in useful if the weather warms up enough to warrant one. If you’re feeling fancy, pack a perfume you’ve reserved specially for this trip away: it will bring back staycation memories when you’ve returned to work for months afterwards!

 

Comfies

When you’re settled in for the night in the private holiday home you’ve booked through Classic Cottages, you’ll find there’s nothing you want more than your usual comforts. So, be sure to pack your pyjamas, slippers and dressing gown so that you can relax in the evening, just as you would if you were at home. Whether you’re snuggled up watching a bigger television than your own with the fire roaring away in the corner, or simply playing a game of cards in your holiday kitchen, you’re going to enjoy it by having your comfiest clothing to hand.

 

Gadgets

It would be a real shame to go on staycation without capturing any of the beautiful sights the UK has to offer, so be sure to pack your highest quality camera. You’ll get some practise photographing the rolling green countryside and sprawling cities, or if it feels too cumbersome to lug around with you, why not use your iPhone? Of course, you’ll need to pack an iPhone charger, and it will be worth investing in an in-car charger to keep your battery topped up. Pack a tablet or iPad if you have one too: you never know when a rainy day is going to foil your plans, and it’ll be nice to have the option of doing a spot of online shopping if you have to spend a day inside!

 

 

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Managing money can seem like daunting task. In fact, it’s so scary for some of us that, when failing to manage it properly, we end up in serious trouble. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can manage your money effectively, and feel in control of your finances. Here’s how…

 

1. First, set yourself a budget. Setting yourself a budget is going to take a little bit of effort, but it’s a really good idea as it will give you a clear idea of what’s coming in and what’s going out. Making a budget means you’re less likely to be caught out by day to day costs, as well as unexpected emergencies and will help to keep you out of debt.

 

The best way to do this is to use a budget planner. It will require that you know your income after tax, and enable you to see you how much you’re spending on things like household bills, living costs, debts and travel expenses. At the end, you’ll get to see how much (if anything) is left over, and which areas are costing you most of all.

 

2. Next, you need to find a way to stick to your budget. If you’re currently spending more than you’re earning, you’ll need to find ways of scaling back your expenses. For instance, you might need to cut down on the amount you eat out of the house, or cancel some TV subscriptions, gym memberships or expensive habits.

 

Once you’ve scaled back your outgoings so that they’re in line what you’re bringing in, get yourself some apps to help you stay on track. For instance, make sure you have access to online banking, and use a budget tracker app to help you manage your money. The convenience of technology means you’re far more likely to manage your budget properly than if you had to rely on printed bank statements alone!

 

3. Then, prioritise paying off your debts. It’s not unusual to have some kind of debt, and under some circumstances, a loan is the solution – in fact, the average total debt (including mortgages) per household in the UK in 2015 was £54,296! Good budgeting, however will make room for paying off the debts you owe so that interest doesn’t accumulate, helping you avoid falling into serious financial difficulty. Pay at least the minimum on your credit cards, as well any other loans and your mortgage.

 

4. Finally, don’t forget to add savings to your budget. It can be really hard to find surplus money at the end of every month, but even £30 a month will amount to a larger sum over time. Pay some money into a separate savings account, however big or small and resist the temptation to dip into it. Savings can be used in emergencies, to top you up when you’re earning less (such as when you’re on maternity or paternity leave), or to help you buy things such as cars without having to take out finance.

  

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Kids love visiting places where fun never stops rolling. Parents however love taking them where a safe environment prevails for their merrymaking. It’s however never easy to find such a place that comes good on the expectations of both, parents and kids.

 

Trampoline parks have emerged a great option when it comes to bringing risk-free fun to kids, or also to people of all age-groups. They have won the trust of millions of parents worldwide and brought them respite from having to keep an eye on their kids at a venue.

 

Let’s look at some of benefits of being at such a park:

 

  • Tots will have a special area dedicated to them where grown-ups are not allowed an entry

 

  • Trained staff are there to attend kids under 5 and help them understand the meaning of fun

 

  • Tots are set free to do whatever catches their fancy as the soft surface beneath means they will do all what the park expects them to

 

  • Kids can jump non-stop, using as much vigour as they can muster up and they can hop from one trampoline court to anther

  

  • Jumping between trampolines can keep tots busy and hooked for hours for sure

  

  • Music, dance, toys, all will be there for kids to have much more fun than they could get elsewhere

  

  • Kids are allowed a specific time-slot to jump and it’s often the time when all present there indulge in the same activity

  

  • Fun apart, kids get to benefit from some small fitness drills suiting their age and body, and imparted under the supervision of experts only

  

  • The purpose of these classes is to let tots learn and explore things at their own pace by detached from the area meant for grown ups

 

  • Apart from jumping, kids can also bounce and fly as and when they feel like doing that

 

  • With a foam pit around full of soft cubes, kids would surely find it hard to resist the temptation of throwing the body away

 

  • There will be a variety of food items to gorge on and let the delights turn double for sure

  

  • Such a place is very helpful from health and fitness perspective as rebounding is bring a lot of benefits to the body

  

  • Nowhere else can tots get to enjoy fun and fitness together as here.

 

In a way, parents should understand the value of toddler classes Leeds as this is where exploration is encourage. Tots get to showcase their creative side and indulge in all those activities that are helpful in their growth and development.

 

Such classes are designed specifically to let tots have fun at their own pace and learn a lot of valuable things along the way. For parents, such classes present a great opportunity to take their tots there and contribute in their overall development.

 

In overall, a visit to Trampoline parks means a lot to gain and parents understand that well. They know the tastes and preferences of their kids and that’s why don’t delay taking them there.

 

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Picture your lush, vibrant garden dripping with greenery, scented with blooms and teaming with wildlife. The lawn is an emerald carpet and the flowerbeds buzzing with drowsy bumble bees, and all manner of birds are tweeting and chirping somewhere up in the canopy of your trees. But, as you look around at your little oasis, you notice that the contents of your bird feeder is looking precarious, just waiting to be snaffled up by an opportunistic squirrel!

 

Should I keep squirrels out of my garden?

Squirrels aren’t bad garden visitors, and in fact, anything you can do to help your local eco system is fantastic! However, red and grey squirrels love nothing more than raiding a bird feeder, seeing it as a ready packaged meal dangling from a branch - understandably, it’s simply too easy and delicious to resist devouring!

 

What’s the problem?
Well, (aside from the obvious problem that the more food squirrels steal from your bird feeder, the less food local birds are actually going to get) they’ll leave a mess behind and deter birds from visiting your garden.

 

Every time a squirrel steals from your bird feeder, it’s telling birds that it’s a squirrel territory, which ultimately drives them away from the area you want them to visit. This is bad news for gardeners, as birds are an essential part of the food chain in your garden: as they gobble up pests and insects that would otherwise feast on your flowers, fruit and vegetables.

 

So what can I do about it?
The best way to stop squirrels raiding your bird feeders (in a way that’s safe and humane) is to make the bird feeders squirrel-proof. Squirrel proof feeders will force them to give up visiting your garden for a free dinner, and it wont take long before they move on to a new source of food and leave yours for the guests you intended to feed.

 

What type of bird feeder do I need?
If you’re determined to keep squirrels from demolishing the contents of your bird feeder, choose one that is weight activated, baffled or caged:

 

Weight activated: this kind of feeder is clever as the feeding port closes up tightly when an animal heavier than a bird gets close enough to eat from it.

 

Baffled: these are designed with dome barriers that squirrels have difficulty crossing because they can’t grip it with their claws.

 

Caged: these feeders are enclosed in a mesh cage that is too fine for squirrels to enter, but easily allows access for smaller birds.

 

Which squirrel proof feeder should I choose?

The feeder you choose will depend on the species of birds you want to see in your garden. For example, caged feeders and weight activated feeders will inevitably keep out larger birds such as rooks and jackdaws, so might not be suitable if you want to provide for bigger species.

 

And, some types of squirrel proof cages work best with particular kinds of feed, so make sure you give some careful consideration to the types of bird you want to encourage into your garden. If in doubt, speak to a bird feeder supplier – a site such as wildbirdfeeders.co.uk is a good place to start - as they’ll be able to advise you which squirrel proof feeder is right for your garden.

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Like it or not, social media is here to stay. It’s a part of our daily lives and, as a result, it’s a part of the world that today’s young people are growing up in. Campaign body Internet Matters recently found that children as young as 11 post as many as 26 times a day on social media.

It’s impossible to swim against the tide when presented with those numbers. Yet, teachers needn’t even try to rail against this. If children react well to social media then why not embrace it, bring it into the classroom and encourage it to be used safely and productively?

Here are three examples of how that can work:

Sharing work socially

The great strength of social media is in the title: it’s inherently social and can foster a sense of community. This ability was in full effect when Anna Divinsky created a ‘massive online course’ (MOOC) for art. This course allowed students from across the globe to share their work and organically form their own communities and study groups. By using the common hashtag #artmooc students were not only able to share their own work with a wider community, but were also able to see work produced by others in their age group. This not only built a community but helped to inspire students to improve their work.

Staying up-to-date

Social media is one of the easiest ways to keep everyone up-to-date with what is going on in a busy school. Starting a Twitter account or Facebook page and encouraging students and parents to ‘follow’ and ‘like’ them helps to boost communication within the school. That way, parents can know what time their little one is due back from a school trip, when special themed days are on and what they need to do to prepare and allows them to see pictures and videos of their child’s work.

Social media can also help to keep teachers ‘up-to-date’ when it comes to the latest news from their industry. They can share lesson ideas with fellow teachers, follow links to blogs written by others in their job and find out about any job opportunities.

Using hashtags on Twitter such as #ukedchat and searching out sites such as EduStaff and coolcatteacher will ensure a teacher has their finger on the pulse and delivers the best lesson they can.

Take the classroom online

The rise of social media means that it is natural for children to use such platforms. By pulling in these forms of communication into an online classroom, you can ensure you are talking to children in a way that will capture their imagination.

Companies like Edmodo specialise in creating ‘social media style’ online classrooms. These have the ability to inspire and engage the next generation in their lessons as well as fostering the sort of collaborative learning that may become commonplace across different schools in a multi-academy trust, for example.

 

Whether it’s collaborating and working with others, staying up to date (as student or teachers) or learning ‘socially’ there are great benefits to be had from embracing the social media revolution.

 

 

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For those who love to craft, the right tools are essential for completing a job quickly, easily and to a high standard. But what tools are ‘must haves’ that require a special place in your craft kit and you know you will need for those regular crafting jobs? Here are six to get you started:

 

High quality scissors

Scissors should be in every crafter’s arsenal; they will more than likely be used for every project you ever undertake. Choose the non stick variety so they don’t get jammed cutting fabric one day and duct tape the next.

 

Strong pliers

These will come in handy for so many projects, from picking up small gems for a piece of jewellery you’re working on to bending wire, they should definitely be in your tool kit.

 

Craft punches

For those making cards or paper crafts, punches are essential and allow you to create beautiful, intricate cut out designs with ease. Simply pick up a basic punch and then swap out the designs depending on what you’re creating. You’ll discover seasonal designs, generic floral and shape designs as well as being able to commission custom designs. Check out Home Crafts, where you’ll find a huge range of craft punches to choose from.

 

Measuring tape  

Many crafts require measuring lengths of fabric, strips of paper or ensuring patterns are perfect before cutting begins. This is why a small measuring tape is an essential tool in your craft supplies box and you’ll discover you need it often. Alternatively a long rule should also do the trick if you are working on smaller projects.

 

Hot glue gun

How did we ever cope before hot glue guns became available to the masses? These handy tools are great for sticking stones to jewellery pendants (or even making the pendants themselves as this tutorial shows), paper to cards and for securing tricky elements of a model in place. You can easily find refills online or in your local craft shop to stock up on if you’re undertaking a big project and there are numerous glues for various jobs so you should never run out of sticking power.

 

Craft blade and mat

Besides scissors you’re going to need a super sharp craft knife and a thick mat to cut on. Choose a mat with grid lines for precise measurements and to ensure you get perfectly straight lines every single time.

 

When it comes to crafting, the tools you use can make all the difference between a great project and a mediocre one!

  

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Are you putting off moving house due to the huge amount of stress it is bound to cause? Despite the fact we do it an average of eight times during our life, it is one of the most stressful things we can undertake.

 

Research by Money Supermarket discovered that 86% of recent movers believed the process was stressful and almost half (46%) felt they weren’t in control. It is considered more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce and even the death of a loved-one. The comparison site found that this major life event impacts on people’s health, wealth, relationships and careers.     

 

However, with that being said, there are ways to guarantee your move is stress-free. Take a look at these five tips, and you might find yourself ringing the estate agent to organise the quick sale of your home. And if you are looking for a handy checklist that covers everything from essentials to necessities plus a few fun upgrades to help you make the most of your new home.

 

1. Organise Storage

The biggest task on moving day is getting that house full of belongings to your new home. Why not organise a storage unit, like these at Ready Steady - then the items you don’t need right away can be kept here, enabling you to do it in stages? This also provides you with a back up plan if anything should go wrong (fingers crossed it doesn’t) with the removal company on the day or you discover at the last minute your favourite sofa won’t fit through the front door.

 

2. Start packing early

The research by Money Supermarket also discovered 71% of people believe packing up belongings in their home is one of the most stressful parts of moving house. This is why you need to start packing early! The earlier you start, the longer you have to sort through your belongings and get rid of anything you don’t need because there is no point wasting time moving these items.

 

Start boxing up the items you use the least and work down to the essentials. Make sure you label the boxes with what room they are for and the contents. This may make the packing process longer, but it will make the unpacking process much easier.   

 

3. Save and budget

Two-fifths (39%) of recent movers said the cost was more than they anticipated and spent, on average, £5000 more than they had expected to. To foot these costs, movers had to dip into savings, put it on a credit card or rely on their parents. Not having enough money can be incredibly stressful, especially when it is such huge amounts you can’t avoid.

 

So, for a stress-free move ensure you have plenty put aside for it – create a spreadsheet of costs and make sure you budget. It is better to spend less than you think and then have extra pennies to spend on furniture for your new home, than to not have enough. 

 

4. Create a ‘to do’ list

There is so much to do when you are moving home, that even the most important tasks, such as organising a removal van, can get forgotten. Create a ‘to do’ list of everything that you need to do in the order that it needs doing. Then you can tick it off as you go and ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on moving day.

 

5. Prepare a ‘Moving Day Survival Kit’

Whilst you are packing, prepare a separate box that will be your ‘survival kit’ on moving day. This will hold all the essentials you will need as you leave your old house and enter your new one – the kettle, for example. The last thing you want is to be desperately searching through the boxed up contents of your home when you are gasping for a cup of tea!

 

 

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