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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Money, Money, Money

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 25-09-2013

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Did you know its under 100 days to Christmas? In fact as of today its just 90 days away. Scary thought isn’t it? Just a few months to go before the big day, and before parents up and down the country reach breaking point as they try to figure out how to pay for presents and food and new clothes and everything else that comes with that most wonderful time of the year. We’re all well aware of the ideas of starting early, spreading the costs, being more organised, but to be fair I suspect most of us are just far too busy to begin thinking about Christmas before November. Every year around the start of December I start thinking “Gosh I’ll be better organised next year…” or “I’ll start buying presents / cards / wrapping paper in the January sales…” or “I’ll make an effort to discover a savings account option which will help me afford Christmas…” but I never do. Instead I will no doubt find Christmas creeping up on me at the start of December and realise I’ve achieved nothing.

Its just all so expensive isn’t it? I know, its not about the money its the family togetherness and all that good stuff, but even gathering your family around for Christmas lunch can be pricey. Turkey and all the trimmings, a few bottles of wines and perhaps something fizzy, the endless eating that goes on after the big day with nibbles and chocolates and selection boxes. And then there’s the presents. Little Man is usually a pretty cheap person to buy for because I do forward plan his gifts a little and there might be sales purchases, or competition prizes, or review items he’s used for a week or so and put down again that I’ve proceeded to hide until December. Being 3 has its advantages in that respect. But there’s still parents and grandparents and Daddy’s numerous siblings to think about. Plus if we want to visit the in laws during the festive break there’s the petrol costs of driving to and from Birmingham and things to do whilst we’re there. It all adds up.

I really think next year I’m going to be organised. No really. I’m going to get cards and gift wrap in the January sales and keep my eyes open for bargains in the sales. What I should really look into though is learning about the benefits of an ISA. Get myself a quality tax free savings account that I pop a little bit into every month and use that to pay for food and last minutes gifts next December. I also think lists will definitely be my saving grace. Lists of people to buy for, lists of things to make and bake, lists of where we are when and with who. Now I just need to find time to do it all. Wish me luck!

 

Make Family Life A Little Easier

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 26-07-2013

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Anyone who has a busy family life will know that there’s no secret formula for keeping everything running smoothly and keeping everyone happy. Mostly it just takes hard work, determination and a lot of compromise.

However, there are some things that you can organise to make life a little easier and any unexpected events simpler to cope with. So for anyone looking to get their home life in order, here are the top four issues to address first.

Finances

Many a sleepless night and family argument has been caused by troublesome finances, and there’s nothing worse than not knowing where you stand when it comes to money.

If you’re struggling to get your financial matters straightened out, consider hiring an adviser to guide you through the more complex areas.

It’s also important to organise your finances in case of emergency. Drawing up a will, allocating the person you want to deal with probate registry and making your relatives aware of your final wishes will all make you feel more in control.

Insurance

Getting your money sorted may be one thing, but if your house gets flooded, your pet needs medical treatment or a tree falls on your car, money can pour out of your account quicker than you can put it back in.

This is where insurance comes in. The more comprehensive insurance you can get, the better. Talk to your bank or building society as well, as many will offer great deals on various types of insurance.

Education

Parents have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to ensure a good education for their children, and getting this sorted at an early stage can really take the pressure off further down the line.

If you can, enrol your child into a primary school that feeds directly into a good secondary school. Where this is not possible, look for alternatives, like scholarships to fee-paying schools, or free schools that are due to open in the future.

Food

Getting your family’s diet in order and on the right track will help to make you all feel healthier and happier and will set a great precedent for your children.

Try and get into good habits, eating lots of fresh foods and cooking from scratch whenever you can.

Though these steps may not solve all of your problems, they will make a big difference in your family’s life, so get out your to-do list, get planning and get everything in order and ship shape. 

Guest Post: Clearing Up Monetary Issues In Case Of Separation From Your Spouse

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 11-01-2013

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Divorce is considered many times as a reason for feuds and battles led by women all over the world in an effort to gain financial retribution and moral dignity from a marriage gone sour from the fault of both marriage participants or from that of one of them. If you are numbered among the unfortunate divorce female candidates then you have to think quickly. Do not be the prisoner of too many hard feelings in the matter and focus on the monetary status that can be drawn out of your marriage and consult expert family advice lawyers for a guaranteed solving of your situation.

Trust the pieces of advice provided by family lawyers and provide them with the necessary information concerning your case so that you can join efforts to solve your case fruitfully and beneficial for both sides. Be aware of thinking how your financial situation will be affected in the long run and not over short periods of time.

It is crucial to have the right mindset when dealing with the end of your marital universe. Try not to enter the trap of thinking that you want to get out and quickly from the divorce without too much anxiety and exhaustion. It is important that together with the family lawyers  you thoroughly calculate every step of the process and assess your financial options that can be decisive in the near future of your new status.

The family lawyers can gather all the balance sheet of your financial assets and documentation needed to support your financial claims. Be fully prepared and avoid being blindsided by the divorce and being ignorant concerning financial matters that are directed towards you. Be sure to produce copies of all documents with regard to tax, wills, property deeds or vehicle registration in which your name appears. All copies should be placed in a secure area to which only you have access and you have to present them only to the family lawyers  who deal with your case as they are evidence to support your case.

All pieces of evidence can aid family lawyers  in the process of untangling issues about who owns what and about the extent of all expenses specific to the troublesome divorce. The act of irrevocable separation can be a mental trauma for you and can have unwanted emotional repercussions. You cannot fully stop those from coming uninvited into your soul; however, you can make sure you are financially safe for a longer period of time than the present moment. In order to accomplish that, before the divorce, you have to make sure that you possess funds in your personal accounts that are separate from the joint accounts shared with your spouse.

The role of family lawyers  becomes handy when you need a shrewd and experienced glance on banking documents, property deeds and other evidence to support your capacity of owner of material goods. You have to think in perspective and seek the explanatory opinions and valuable clues of family lawyers  and avoid being caught by surprise as your significant other will be prepared as well to insure a favourable level of financial welfare for himself.

Dodge bad decisions concerning the case of your monetary comfort as once taken they can be a pest for your pockets for the years to come. Now is the time to let yourself governed by reason and not to yield to having mixed feelings about the separation or letting your guard down. The suitable specialists possessing clarifying arguments can restore you the dignity you think you lost. They can put a brick in the wall that builds a new house for you and your newfound individuality with a fresh and fair perspective!

Guest Post: Saving Money This Christmas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 11-12-2012

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Christmas is a time of year that nearly everyone looks forward to, with the chance to meet up with friends and family and spend some quality time together. Throw in the added bonuses of traditional features such as the Christmas dinner, presents and drunken Grandparents and you’ve got all the makings of a great few days. However, it’s also a time of year that reveals just how much some people struggle financially.

Here are just three ideas to get you on your way to a very happy Christmas:

Set a Presents Budget

You might encourage your kids to give you a Christmas list – the presents that they really want Santa to deliver this year – and you might even ask the same of your partner! Many people will make this list three or four items long, while others might make it two pages and be hugely disappointed on Christmas morning. By setting a limit on the number of presents they’re allowed to ask for, or by setting a financial limit on the what they can have, such as “you’re allowed up to £100 worth of presents this year”, you can keep costs down. This allows you to budget for the period, setting money aside for presents for family and friends, the dinner and any other expenses, so you can work out if you can afford it or if you need bank or payday loans to cover the costs.

Recycle Decorations

Each year we tend to buy new decorations for the tree or the home in general just because something catches our eye in the stores. However, this is an avoidable expense – not to say don’t go out looking at the decorations, it’s a part of the Christmas spirit – because quite often what we already have is perfectly good enough. Sure, some bits will need replacing such as tatty tinsel or broken lights, but old, traditional decorations can be used in different ways and look brand new!

Shop Around

Just because you’ve found that very toy your child has asked for doesn’t mean you should race to the till and hand over the cash. Quite often you can find it cheaper elsewhere – and this usually happens straight after you pay for it – whether it’s on the high street or on the Internet. Shopping around for the specific item could save you a packet and might even offer you free delivery, a percentage off the price or maybe even buy-one-get-one-free deals; it really is worth looking around.

This article was written by Kathryn Thompson, a freelance writer and mum to three daughters aged 12, 10 and 5.  Kathryn once bought a leather Filofax for her eldest daughter in a last minute shopping panic, as she convinced her they needed to record all their homework in it.  Her daughter was in year one at the time.

Guest Post: Local Bookstores Suffer the Wrath of Ebooks

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post, Information | Posted on 24-09-2012

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“There is a strong feeling of pessimism amongst people within the book industry. This feeling spans from novelists to publishers, largely down to financial reasons. The worry these individuals have comes from the introduction of the eBook, the digitalised version of the traditional book. The impact of this new form of literary medium is causing massive reverberations throughout the field, and none more so perhaps than that of quaint local bookstores.

There has been plenty of coverage over the closure of independent record stores over the past five years or so, due to the explosions of internet downloads and mp3s. But the troubles local independent bookstores are going through seem to have been neglected somewhat in the media. This may partly be down to the appeal it has to people, as believe it or not, everyone enjoys reading, but to find someone who doesn’t like music of any kind? Impossible, surely.

It is quite a serious issue however, and one that I did not really contemplate until the last local bookstore in my nearby town was forced to close after over a twenty-five year residency there. When interviewed in the local paper the owner of the store explained that he simply could not compete and keep up with the conglomerates, the big chain stores and the influx of online literature, particularly their prices. He did manage to joke however that one the final books he sold was The Great Gatsby, jesting that had he perhaps read it he’d have been able to put up more of a fight into keeping is dream alive.

He had a fair point though concerning the financial competition, as eBooks are almost always sold for a cut price in comparison to physical books, with companion books such as Twilight and Philosophy – Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality available for under half the price of a hard copy. It’s not even unusual now for many eBooks to be made available online for free now, and it makes you wonder, how can anyone really compete with that?

There are not many independent bookstores left in the UK now, but hopefully, if communities band together, more and more can be saved and keep the true essence of the book alive.”

I love the concept of e-readers, and there is no escaping their popularity. But sometimes, for me, nothing beats a real book. I’d love to hear your thoughts…