How To Dress Your Kids Smart For A Wedding

Although many modern weddings steer towards a ‘no children’ policy, there are still those who love nothing more than including the whole family, kids and all, for the celebrations. One of the best weddings we’ve ever been to was one where the bride spent ages on the dance floor with the children! There’s a lot to be said for having children at a wedding; they add an element of cuteness and fun to the whole day and just look adorable in their smart little outfits.

However, if you’ve been invited to a ‘family-friendly’ wedding, then you need to think long and hard on how to dress your kids for the occasion. Their outfits not only need to make them look smart, but to make everyone’s day more enjoyable there are a number of practical elements to consider too:

Let them be kids

Typically with weddings there is a smart dress code, which can be the perfect excuse to splash out on something your children wouldn’t normally wear. But before you get carried away don’t forget that kids will be kids and will want to run around, play, jump and inevitably get a little messed up. So rather than battling with them and spending your day worrying about their expensive threads getting trashed, choose something that can withstand a little playtime without getting wrecked.

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Creating a Home Gym for All the Family

Hands up how many people have had the seemingly sensible idea of installing a gym in their home? Especially if you’re home with kids in the evening! On the face of it this is a good idea – no more dragging yourself out of the house on evenings, or crashing in front of the telly since you’re stuck at home anyway or calling in at the gym after work; no more sharing sweaty machines with lots of other sweaty people.

What could be nicer than having your own shiny, clean facilities just waiting for you to amble in and use any time you want? But how many people have spent an absolute fortune on gym equipment they never actually use? There must be tons of dumbbells, ab crunchers, treadmills and whatever else, all expensively and uselessly gathering dust in spare rooms and garages up and down the land. So it’s clear that, if you really want a home gym you have to give it some careful thought.active-19413_960_720

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Six Ways To Kill A Revolution

I don’t know why this is on my mind tonight, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with what I normally write about. And yet it does, since politics affects us all whether we pay attention to it or not. I’ve been thinking a lot about the events of the last few weeks – haven’t we all – and there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: why isn’t anyone demanding justice over the lies from the people we’re supposed to trust to lead us?

The few people I have spoken to about the fact that I am angry that voters for the EU Referendum were lied to from so many sides that even intelligent, interested people walked into the polling stations still unsure of what to vote, have all said the same thing: That’s what politicians do. 

So, a few weeks have passed, xenophobic attacks have died back a little, angry people are still smarting, but life goes on, and we’ve had other things to worry about, so we’re not sitting stewing as loudly in our disappointments – or victories, for those who wanted Out.

But I’m stilll sitting here wondering why the owners and editors of newspapers that emblazoned lies in capital letters aren’t held accountable. Why politicians and people speaking on behalf of them aren’t held accountable. Why people – all people, both sides of the vote – aren’t in uproar over the lies. Aren’t furious that interviews that ‘came clean’ weren’t held the day before or the day of the vote rather than the day after. Aren’t insulted at being taken for fools. Aren’t livid at how powerless we really are.

I’m fairly certain that if I applied for a mortgage, say, and supplied misinformation and blatant lies, I could be ‘done’ for fraud? I’m equally certain that if I dressed up in a police officers uniform and grabbed someone’s car claiming ‘police business’, I would still be ‘done’ for theft or at the very least impersonating a police officer – even though I never actually said I was a policeman.

So where is the accountability? Why is there one set of laws for them, and not for me.  How do I teach my children wrong from right if they can’t even see it in the pinnacle of leadership in our country? Why aren’t people furious about this? 

I’ll tell you why:

Distractions Distractions Distractions

6 Ways To Kill A Revolution

1. Give the people a common enemy

My daughter asked me this morning “what does ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ mean? I don’t even know where she heard it, but it got me thinking about this. Give people a common enemy and they will draw together, even if only for a time. Give generally decent people from both sides of the vote a common enemy aka the ‘indecent’ people – the bigots, the racists, the haters – and they’ll put aside their own differences to fight their common enemy. Or all those people who voted ‘out’ simply to protest vote against Cameron and his government – even a lot of people who were gutted after the results were announced saw his resignation as a relief. Enough of a relief to not demand answers?

I’ve written frequently enough about my experience of growing up in a country at war, and one thing I knew as a nine year old child was this: give people a common enemy and they band together. That new unity becomes a temporary distraction.Read more: Six Ways To Kill A Revolution

Take The Quiz To Find Your Perfect Father’s Day Gifts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that we’re almost in June – which means Father’s Day!  It can be really tough to know what to buy for dads for Father’s Day, specially when money is tight, or dad isn’t a resident parent, but I think it’s really important for the children rather than the adults, to acknowledge important days. And by the time kids are over half a decade old, well, you’ve done the hand print crafts, you’ve done the commemorative jewellery and you’ve done the photographs so what’s there really left to do?Father's Day Quiz

I saw this video last year where they identified 10 types of dads – Tesco have narrowed that down to six types of dads, with really apt and rather clever categories.

Take the quiz below to see which category the Father in your Father’s Day falls into, then pop on over to Tesco to find the perfect gift for your kind of dad.

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Find Your Perfect Holiday Destination

I’m on a total quiz binge right now, killing time while I wait for our pending holiday to arrive.

I really, honestly need this holiday too. It’s been a rough couple of months, what with moving house and a whole host of issues around that, an epic 9-week cold and flu, complete with chest and sinus infections, a broken toe and a sprained pinkie finger. I’m fairly exhausted, and I really, really want a holiday close to nature, relaxing in fresh air and hopefully, sunshine.

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Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

I am so excited today about the High Court’s verdict in the case of Jon Platt versus the Isle of Wight council. For those who don’t know about this, Mr Platt took his child out of school in April last year for a term time family holiday. As is normal, he was fined £60 by the Isle of Wight council for removing child from school, and the fine was doubled to £120 when he refused to pay it. In October, Mr Platt went to court because he was of the opinion that he was within the law, which states that children have to be regularly attending school. The exact wording of the law says:

If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. 1

In the previous year, Mr Platt’s daughter had 93.6% attendance at school 2 which he deemed constituted ‘regular’ attendance – which is what the High Court today agreed with.

This ruling may not affect me personally, but I am beyond happy with it. My children are educated at home, so we can (and do) go where ever we want, whenever we want, and the inability to have term time holidays was a big – obviously not the only, but a big – part of why we opted to home educate. statues-919023_960_720Read more: Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

  1.  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/444
  2.  http://news.sky.com/story/1695495/father-wins-court-battle-on-school-holidays

Can You Identify Celebrities As Drawn By Children?

I’m fairly useless when it comes to the names of celebrities. I’m always like, ‘Oh, it’s the guy who played in that movie where the world was going to end and he was one of the guys that saved the planet?” – Yeah, I really know how to narrow it down ;)

I’m always interested in the way children view the world. Like when my daughter drew her father as Jack Sprat and me as that wife. You know, the one who “could eat no lean”? Thanks for that, kiddo.

But looking at children’s drawings can be really enlightening. It can show what they value, it can show how they see the world around them and it can be a valuable insight into their minds. Kids Celebrity QuizRead more: Can You Identify Celebrities As Drawn By Children?

Top Tips For Conserving Battery Power On Your Laptop

As a mum who depends on my laptop for a lot of things – from colouring in sheets to templates to worksheets to my blogs and the social media work I do, my laptop sees some heavy action for one that isn’t in full time employment! One of the issues I have with my laptop is battery life, so here are some top tips for conserving battery power so you don’t have to keep running back to a charger:

Close Background Programs and Apps

A lot of computers will still run programs and apps in the background unless you manually close them. Even if the program is minimized, it may still run in the background to enable you to open and access it quickly when you need it. You can see on the task bar whether any apps or programs are still open. You can also head to your power settings to see if any specific program uses a lot of your battery power. It’s best to close everything you are not using on your laptop if you want to make your battery last longer.

Power-Save Mode

One great feature of Windows laptops like the G40 from Lenovo is that they come equipped with power-save mode to conserve the battery. Power-save mode makes small adjustments to enable your battery to last longer. Although the computer may not perform as well when you are in this mode, it will at least prolong the battery life. On your Windows computer, select the battery icon on the control bar to turn on power-save mode. You can quickly and easily turn it off once you have charged your battery so your computer is running normally when you have plenty of charge.

Don’t Run It Down Completely

Most newer laptops will shut down before you run your battery down to empty; however, that doesn’t mean you should try it. Running your battery down to empty multiple times eventually weakens it, so you should avoid letting it die completely. Conversely, you also shouldn’t overcharge it. Having your computer plugged in and constantly charging the battery even when it’s full can also weaken it.

Keep Your Battery Cool

Batteries don’t fare well with a lot of heat, and unfortunately laptops tend to generate a lot of it. Since heat breaks down both batteries and computers, it’s important to always keep your battery and your laptop cool. Make sure that you keep the vents open when you use your laptop, and try to set it on something that allows air to flow. Try to avoid setting your laptop on a pillow or on a heavy comforter where air can’t circulate as well. Finally, make sure the air vents stay clean. Consider buying a can of compressed air to clean off your laptop regularly.

Adjust Your Light Setting

Although your light setting doesn’t drain your battery in a big way, it can help if you are in a pinch. If your battery is running low, every bit helps. Turn down the light setting on your keyboard and your screen to help conserve battery power if you start getting low. If you want to save a little power day-to-day, turning the backlight and screen light down a bit will save some battery life and probably won’t even be noticeable.

Avoid Watching Videos

If you need to conserve your battery, then it’s important to avoid doing things that use a lot of your battery power. Videos and movies are some of the biggest power hogs. If your battery is getting low, avoid watching videos until you can get plugged in. Also be aware of some websites that may have videos automatically playing. Many websites now have video ads that automatically load. Social media sites also tend to automatically load or play videos as well, so see if you can disable this feature to save battery power.

Running out of battery power on your laptop can be very frustrating, but fortunately you can save your battery, both over the long run and when you just don’t have easy access to plug it in, to make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Image via Flickr by cheetah100

Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

As a mom I’m always looking for good ways to get your children off their screens and games, and get them outdoors? While strict TV-hours might be useful, I often find offering them a creative alternative is much more effective. One such an alternative is introducing kids to the pleasures of treasure hunting with a metal detector – something we often see on the beach near our house. It can be addictive in a good way, and even better, it can get your child enthusiastic about a physical activity. It’s extraordinary what a little hope of adventures can achieve.Read more: Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together

The gold rush of the latter half of the 19th century was a savage time. Hordes of people rushed westward to strip the earth of every speck of gold that they could find, robbing and killing one another, and causing general mayhem in the process. They did this not only because they lusted after riches, but also because they were reacting to the idea of “gold,” a material that almost casts a spell on people. 

If you would like your children to experience the sense of the energy that drove all those thousands of people to impossible risk-taking all those decades ago, there is one great way to do it without all the death and leaving the country and stuff – taking them treasure hunting. While the modern versions are completely safe, civilized and well-regulated, your kids can still pretend it’s the Wild West. Kids are good at it. The best part is, there is real treasure out there to look for.Read more: The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together