Getting your child into a routine when starting secondary school

Long gone are the days when my son was a little boy holding my hand on the walk to primary school.   This month he was back to school in the next stage of his school years as he headed to secondary school looking super smart in his blazer and tie.

school bag, chromebook, pencil case

It has meant a bit of a shake up to our daily routine though with slightly earlier mornings, although fortunately his Echo Dot wakes him up and then I hear him shouting “Alexa, be quiet!”.   He comes downstairs for breakfast before getting dressed and then we head out of the door to travel to school.

With timetables to follow, multiple teachers to get used to and and a new school to learn his way around, the days can be more stressful as he strives to be in the right place at the right time.  I’m so pleased to hear that he’s chatted to the majority of his new classmates in a bid to get to know them and make some new friends.

After school has been a bit tougher on him too.  Instead of getting home and chilling out, he now finds himself more tired after the challenging day of lessons but also has to consider finding time for some homework during the evenings.  I’ve tried to assist him without doing the work, just by guiding him on where to look for things, how to set things out and printing out things to help him, such as his language vocabulary and verbs that he has to learn.

Overall I am super proud of him – he has adapted to his new routine fantastically and certainly taken the challenge of a new school with high standards in his stride.  Everyday brings new little challenges, but with that other things become easier – he’s still mastering the art of getting his tie to the perfect length and remembering to pack his books the night before and not leaving them until the morning but he’ll get there.

Preparing Your Family for Entrepreneurship

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Becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business is a big step for you, but it is also a big deal for your family, and the more you can do to prepare them for what is likely to come as you build your business, the easier it will be for you all to adjust. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few key things you can do to prepare your family for entrepreneurship.

Talk them through your plans

It’s easier for your family to support you and feel secure in the risk you are taking if you take the time to talk them through your plans for your new business venture, what you aim to do, and how you think it will work If they know what you are doing snd why you are doing it; if you have a clear vision and a plan to make it happen, they will feel much better about the whole thing in those tough early days, and that will benefit you all.

Secure your finances

Becoming a business owner is always going to mean some degree of financial insecurity, but if you can do everything you can to protect your family from the worst of it, this will really help to show them you are thinking about them and reassure them that things will be ok, Whether you talk to a mortgage broker about a new deal, ring-fence some of your savings for family emergencies or work out a split financial situation that helps to protect family money better, anything you can do in this area will be of huge benefit to your family at this time.

Be open with them

It’s always best to be open with your family about your business plans and how things are going. It might be tempting to conceal any setbacks from them, but chances are they will know something is wrong and they will be upset and confused that you are keeping it from them, Dialog should always bed open because not only will it help them through it, but then they will be able to support you and your business goals too.

Bring them into the business

Letting your family members come to work with you to see what you are doing; allowing them to help with big and small decisions as and when appropriate and even letting your kids come to your office with you will all help to make them feel more comfortable with what you are doing, and it will probably get them just as enthused as you too. Make it a family business and it will be so much better.

Your first steps into entrepreneurship are always going to be uncertain but if you do all you can to prepare your family and make a sensible plan to see you all through, it will be so much easier on you all. Family is important so don’t forget about them when your head is filled with dreams of making it big in business.

Sprout Pencil – the 100% sustainable pencil that you grow after use


Sprout have developed a 100% sustainable pencil right to the very end of it’s life – as when you’ve almost used it up, you just turn it upside down and pop the end in some soil. Et voila! – the seeds at the end of the pencil will grow and you will have a plant growing in 1 to 4 weeks!  It could be some wonderful herbs, flowers or vegetables. The stub also acts as a marker with the name of your seeds labelled on it so you won’t forget what plant is growing in each pot.

Each set of pencils has a different theme, I went with the ‘Mindful Thoughts’ edition which has a lovely quote along the length of each one.  At the end of each pencil in an enclosed capsule, there are seeds such as Sage, Daisy, Basil, Chia and Thyme.

The pencils themselves are lovely to write with, perfect for my shopping lists and the children have been using them for drawing etc.  They look smart and feel like they are good quality.  I can’t wait to get near to the end of one to turn it it into a beautiful plant that I can use – in fact I can just imagine the whole set of pencils in a row of pots along my kitchen windowsill.  Then watching them turn into a beautiful array of fresh herbs to use in my cooking – how wonderful would that be!

I think the Sprout Pencil ‘Plant Your Pencil’ concept is a lovely idea and very eco friendly.  They would also make a lovely gift for someone and sure to put a smile on someones face seeing the double use for the pencil and something a bit different from usual.  Make sure you check them out!


All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews. Although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

4 Excellent Ways to Teach Your Kids to Be Responsible 

Every parent wants their child to grow up to be responsible, but you shouldn’t expect them to learn responsibility out of nowhere. As a parent, you must show them how to look after themselves and others and consider how what they do can have a ripple effect on many others. So what are the best ways to teach your kids to be more responsible? Here are four ideas to consider. 

Show Them How Their Actions Affect Others 

It takes time for kids to recognise they are not the only person in the world, which means they often ignore how what they say or do can affect those around them. You can nip this behaviour in the bud quickly by speaking to them or ideally showing them how their actions affect others. 

It isn’t just people you need to consider. If you want your kids to care for the environment, show them why littering and wasting water can impact the rest of the world. 

Make Boring Things Fun 

Your kids will move out one day, meaning they’ll need to learn how to fend for themselves. This will involve cooking and cleaning, but these activities are not their number one priority when they are younger, especially if you do everything for them. 

They need these skills if they want to be self-sufficient as an adult, and even as teenagers if they go to university. You can create a positive link by making household chores more enjoyable through games and treasure hunts. While they won’t do this when cooking and cleaning by themselves, it will show them that chores aren’t as bad as they seem. 

Get Them a Pet 

Many parents will teach their kids to be more responsible by getting them a pet. You can start small with a fish or hamster and then buy them a bigger animal, such as a cat or dog, once you think they are old enough. 

You should only buy them a pet if you feel they are already responsible enough, and looking after their pet can increase their responsibility, especially with feeding and taking them for walks. If you do this, get pet insurance in case of illness. You can also bring your child to the vet with you so they become more comfortable in this environment. 

Don’t Expect Too Much

While it’s important to teach kids to be more responsible, you also shouldn’t expect too much from them. It’s just as vital to let kids be kids and allow them to have fun. Otherwise, you could go too far and cause them to resent everything you have tried to instil in them. If they can prove that they are responsible enough at any age, you can make allowances to let them have as much fun as they like. 


Responsible adults will raise responsible kids. Any of these measures will help your kids learn how to be more careful about what they do and when and where they do it. While you still need to let them be kids, demonstrating the key components of responsibility means they will grow up prepared for life, especially after they move out. 

Good Traits For A Strong And Solid Relationship

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One of the best qualities you can have in a relationship is perseverance. Every couple goes through highs and lows to some extent. However, incredibly strong-willed spouses who make it through challenging times in a relationship could end up stronger than before. To be able to face the challenges in your relationship, some preparation is required. Strong couples are aware of how important it is to work on their relationship daily. As a result, your relationship can suffer if you and your partner are capable of performing these things.

Any obstacle may be overcome, but one needs the will to achieve it. You are more likely to stand up for your relationship if you have a strong connection with your partner. Regular date nights are a wonderful way for couples to connect and converse. If a couple isn’t routinely seeing each other, the flame may have died down. Unmet needs breed hostility and are generally ignored. It also makes leaving easier for either you or your partner.

Emotional connection is another one of the top traits that hold a relationship together in the best way. Being honest and upfront with your partner gives you the opportunity to build a closer relationship. Without vulnerability, there can be no love, and those who can’t be honest with their spouse usually don’t feel safe enough to be themselves. As a result, there might not be genuine closeness. The ability to unwind is crucial for conquering challenges. If you have trouble being open and vulnerable with your relationship, it could be quite challenging for you to go through challenging times.

Because they worry that the relationship will end before they’ve given it a chance to live, most people avoid dealing with problems as they emerge. Couples will experience dreadful times if they don’t handle minor difficulties right away. Instead of confronting the pain head-on and working through it together, they choose to avoid it and pray that it will magically go on its own. If you don’t know how to handle minor problems then if you experience things like having a medical abortion or family death, how can you expect to properly handle the situations?

If you want your relationship to withstand difficulty, put effort into developing a close bond with your significant other. All relationships experience ups and downs, and there may be moments when you don’t feel in love with your spouse. In times of adversity when neither of you feels like being romantically involved with the other, having a friendship with them offers support. You can complete it reasonably quickly. It takes time spent together, conversation, and being there for one another when necessary for a friendship to flourish.

Priority should be given to partner problem-solving abilities. When a couple turns to their friends for advice rather than working out issues together, trust in the relationship is lost. If you want to make it through challenging times, talk to your partner about how you’re feeling so you can work through issues together.

12 Things To Look Out For When Ordering Clothes Online

When shopping for clothes online, it’s important to be aware of a few things to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal. 

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind:

Make sure you know your measurements

When ordering clothes online, it is essential that you know your accurate measurements. This means taking your own measurements or getting them taken by a professional. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit, so take the time to get your measurements right.

Check the size chart

Most online retailers will have a size chart available on their website. This is a great resource to use when ordering clothes online, as it can help you determine which size will best fit you. Always check the size chart before placing your order.

Pay attention to the fabric

The fabric of the clothing you’re considering buying will play a big role in how the garment looks and feels if you’re unsure what a certain fabric will be like, research or ask the retailer for more information.

Consider the colour

The colour of clothing can sometimes look different online than it does in person. If you’re unsure about a particular shade, it’s best to avoid caution and choose something else.

Look at the photos carefully

Most online retailers provide multiple photos of each item for sale. Be sure to look at all of the photos carefully before making your purchase. This will give you the best idea of what the clothing looks like from every angle.

Read the reviews

When ordering clothes online, be sure to read the reviews. This will give you an idea of how the clothing fits, the quality, and what other people think of the item.

Know the return policy

Before ordering clothes online, be sure to familiarise yourself with the return policy. Then, if you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can easily return it for a refund or exchange.

Choose a reliable retailer

Many great retailers sell clothing online, such as THE ICONIC Online store. However, there are also some that are not so reputable. So be sure to research and choose a retailer you can trust.

Compare prices

When ordering clothes online, take the time to compare prices. There are often great deals to be found if you’re willing to spend a little time shopping around.

Check the shipping costs

Before finalising your purchase, be sure to check the shipping costs. Some retailers charge exorbitant shipping fees, which can really add up.

Allow for some flexibility

When ordering clothes online, it’s important to allow for some flexibility in your choices. This means that you may not get exactly what you wanted, but you’ll likely find something that you like just as well.

Have fun!

Shopping for clothes online can be a lot of fun. Be sure to enjoy the process and take your time when making your selections.

In Conclusion

When ordering clothes online, you should keep a few things in mind. Be sure to know your measurements, check the size chart, and pay attention to the fabric. Also, consider the colour, look at the photos carefully, and read the reviews. 

Additionally, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the return policy and choose a reliable retailer. Finally, don’t forget to compare prices and check the shipping costs. By following these tips, you can have a great experience shopping for clothes online. Happy shopping!

Practical Ways To Create The Perfect Bedroom Play Area For Your Child

Designing kids’ bedroom play areas are always fun and essential. This is because this is where your kid sleeps, relaxes, has fun and expresses themselves. Although it is always practical to consider the future use of the room, there is no harm in being a little creative with your decoration.

So, if you intend to create a unique bedroom play area for your kid, these tips will help you make the perfect room where your little one’s personality can shine through.

How Do You Make A Playroom?

Your kid’s playroom can be anywhere in the home. Just because the home isn’t spacious enough doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and cool for the kids. So, if there isn’t any extra space for a play area, you can create a bedroom play area. This simply means that you design the bedroom so that it can be used for both sleep and fun.

When it comes to a play area, the amount of space isn’t much of a factor; what is important is that there is an area dedicated to their play. Play is important, so space is essential. This space should be colourful, comfortable, and decorated to stimulate their little imaginations. There are a few aspects to consider while creating the perfect bedroom play area for your child, and they are the following:

Safety First

In a play area, kids will run, jump, climb, and no doubt fall a lot too. So, first, it is crucial to consider your child’s safety while creating and furnishing a play area. If you are installing anything on the walls or ceiling, like a swing, for example, you should let an expert handle it rather than do it yourself. You should always ensure that your kid’s bedroom play area is safe to play in and land on.

Consider The Age

Creating a bedroom play area for a toddler is different from making one for a young child between the ages of 2 and 10. Therefore, age is an essential factor to consider while creating a bedroom play area for your kid. You need to create a space in line with their level of intelligence and age. Kids of 5 years already have a personality of their own, so you can get them involved in the process and make the room interactive for them.

Think Outside The Box

The best bedroom play areas have a little more imagination to them. Opting for the traditional children’s bed is easy. However, going for something more special like the Children’s Bed Shop makes the bedroom play area more than a room with just a bed; it becomes your kid’s favourite room. So, a touch of creativity will undoubtedly benefit your child’s bedroom play area, particularly when it comes to decorating, furniture, and children’s beds.

Make A Divider

When using the bedroom as a play area, use modular flooring or bright carpet to differentiate the bedroom from the play area. This serves as a way to “zone” the kids’ play area and create some visual separation from the rest of the bedroom. It also helps your kids know where it is okay to leave their toys.

Use Kid-Friendly Furniture

Certain types of furniture should not be used in a children’s play area. Glass and sharp-edged tables should be avoided since they are easily shattered and can be dangerous to children.

Avoid stool-style chairs or any furniture that can be easily climbed on when your child is young to prevent them from falling and injuring themselves. Good alternatives are small beanbag chairs, floor cushions, and giant plush animals.

Add Layers

Another way to enhance your child’s play area is by adding layers. To add layers, you can go for rugs. However, you should go for a synthetic rug that is easy to clean and durable. There are various fun designed rugs, so you will no doubt have multiple options to select from.

Make Use Of The Built-In Storage

Making storage a priority when designing your child’s bedroom play area is critical. Simply put, you don’t want all those toys lying around, and your children will outgrow some of them, so you’ll need a place to store them. This can be accomplished using open shelving. With that, you can use boxes to hide the toys and display books in front of them in the open. Use lower shelves so your kid’s favourite books will be within reach.

Think In Themes

When creating a playroom for your kid, you need to consider a theme for the space after getting the fundamentals sorted out. Children have unique personalities, and their play areas should be decorated accordingly. If your kid is of age, allow them to inject their personality into the theme of the space.

Play With Colour

Colours are visually appealing to everyone, especially kids, so you should get creative with them. They can be crucial in early development, so consider brightening your kid’s play area. However, ensure you go for colours that will complement the theme and general look of the room. Make use of more of your kids’ favourite colours, if they have one, or go for something eye-catching.

Create A Chalkboard Wall

With a chalkboard wall, you don’t have to be afraid of your kids colouring the walls. Chalkboards are erasable and washable, so your little one can doodle their hearts freely without being reprimanded, and with this, you don’t have to worry about kids going wild on the walls.

Focus On Play

When it comes to keeping kids occupied in a play area, you should realise that you’ll need a lot of activities and toys because children are easily bored. As a result, design your child’s bedroom play area so that they can sleep, build, play, and study.

Final Thoughts

To create the perfect bedroom play area that your kid will love, try focusing on what they love to do the most—for example, creating a place where they can colour, paint or create crafts if that’s their interest or a beautiful dressing-up corner for your little princess or prince.

A play area is said to be perfect when your kids get to engage in their favourite fun activities while also expanding their imagination. Now that you have these ideas, you can get started on designing the ideal bedroom play area for your child.

How To Keep Older Family Members Comfortable This Winter

Many people don’t like winter very much. The weather is cold and dark, and the days are much shorter. It can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or, at the very least, make people feel down. Spring is something to look forward to, for sure.

The winter can be even harder to deal with if you have to take care of elderly family members. People who are older tend to have a weaker immune system, thinner skin, and more fragile bones. This means that they are more likely to get bugs, feel colder, and break bones more easily when it is icy outside. Keeping all this in mind, here are some ways to make sure your older relatives are comfortable this winter.

Photo by Egor Kamelev

Find A Care Home 

Even though not every elderly will do well in a care home, for some, it is the best place to go, and winter may be the time when you and they both realise it’s time to start asking questions about where the best place for them really is. 

If their own home is hard to keep warm, costs a lot to keep up, and could be dangerous, finding the right care home is a great idea. You can be sure that if they live in a care home, they will be cared for, kept warm, and won’t have to deal with any dangers. No longer does winter have to be a scary time. As we said, this won’t be the right move for everyone, and it might be seen as somewhat extreme, but for some, it can help immensely. 

Keep The House Warm 

One of the most essential things you can do for an elderly loved one is to keep their homes warm throughout the harsh winter months. The first item to inspect is the boiler – is it operating properly? If this is the case, you can set a timer to turn on the heating before your older family member gets out of bed in the morning, keeping their homes warm. If the boiler isn’t working right, it should be fixed so that it works as well as possible; it might even be worth replacing it, especially as there are grants available. Speak to the experts at All Seasons Energy to find out more. 

You can also inspect the insulation in the loft and all over the house. If the insulation needs to be fixed or replaced, you should do it right away because you will lose a lot of heat if you don’t.

Keep Healthy 

During the winter, your elderly loved one will also need to get some physical activity done. Moving about for at least 30 minutes a day, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time, is considerably better than hunkering down in front of the television and doing nothing. Your elderly loved one’s degree of fitness and mobility will determine how much exercise they can participate in. Since it may be icy outdoors, it’s best to stay indoors and work out there. 

You must also make certain that your loved one is dressed in layers. As the heat is contained between the layers, it is considerably better at keeping people warm than bulky clothing. When it becomes too hot, people can take off some garments to feel more comfortable.

Everything You Need to Make the Big Day Extra Special

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Planning a wedding? Chances are, you’re well aware just how much work is going to have to go into this process to bring things together and create an event to remember. There are countless different types of weddings out there, so choosing a theme or style of wedding to start with is a gargantuan task, never mind all of the processes and decision making that goes into making your dream a reality. But don’t fret. Here’s a guide that will outline some of the key features you need to take into consideration and arrange to get your big day off to the best start possible.

Wedding Planners

The first decision you should make when planning a wedding is what help do you need? Would you consider hiring a wedding planner? This comes at a cost, but will see a professional who knows all the tricks of the trade bring everything together on your behalf. The alternative is to take DIY approach and tackle each element of wedding planning yourself in your free time. They key factors here tend to be cost (and whether you have the budget or would rather invest the wedding planning fees into other elements of your day), as well as the time you have available and how hands on you want to be in the planning process. There’s no right or wrong answer with this one. It will depend entirely on personal circumstances and preferences.

Partnership and Compromise

Remember that this is a big day for two people – both you and your partner. You need to make sure that you’re both happy with any decisions being made when you plan. Seeing as you will both have different preferences, interests and priorities, it’s likely that you will both have to compromise in some areas to make sure that the day is magical for both of you. While one or the other may take charge with planning, both should have equal say in what goes on for the day itself.


Sure, the big day may be about the two of you. But for most people, the wedding is about their guests too. It’s about sharing this special moment with those who are nearest and dearest to you. Make sure to choose your guestlist and send out invites as far in advance as possible. This will ensure that people have plenty of notice and will maximise the chances of people being able to attend. Remember, attending a wedding can mean guests need to book time off work, arrange childcare and perhaps arrange transport and accommodation if they are travelling for the event.

A Schedule

Different weddings will have different elements. Some people prioritise the ceremony. Some will prioritise the reception. Some will want certain elements of the day that won’t appear in others. A good way to ensure that everything that is important to you fits into the day is to create a schedule. This will give you a good idea of how the day will go, as well as what can reasonably be achieved within the time you have.

Hopefully, these key areas will stand out in your planning process, helping you to make your big day as special as possible.

Helping Your Child Grow The Social Skills They’ll Need In Life

Everyone needs social skills. It’s how we navigate the world of people around us, it’s crucial for most kinds of work, and it can help us grow a network of friends and family that helps us maintain our happiness as we get older. However, many parents have noticed that getting their kids to socialize is becoming a little more difficult. There are fewer neighbourhoods, it seems, where there are plenty of kids of the same age to get out and play together, often due to the fact that parents have to spread out to where they can find work. Digital technology, of course, is playing a role in keeping us more glued to screens, as well.

If you want to make sure that your child is growing the social skills, as well as the healthy social circle, that they need, then here are a few tips to help you do that.

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Help them get into hobbies

Children get it easy, it might seem. They don’t need to find a shared interest or a point of reference to get along, they often just need to start playing with each other. That said, having that shared point of reference certain can help. You should look at some of the hobbies you can try with your child and, from there, see if there are any organized hobby groups that your child can become a member of. Whether it’s sports, arts, or something else, it’s a great way to make friends no matter the age. Having that kind of structured social space can also make it easier for you to meet other parents, which can lead to things like arranging playdates to make the social circle a little easier to grow for your child.

Organise supervised playdates

You don’t need a hobby or activity group to start looking at organised, and playdates. From an early age, you should reach out to other parents you might know with kids of the same age. There are even networking sites like Meetup that are used to arrange playdates between kids, but you should always take the time to investigate yourself to make that any you consider passes the sniff test. Playdates are a great way to get your child in a safe environment where they can test their social skills and practice with adult supervision. It might not always go well, but if it doesn’t, you just try again.

Consider getting them into education early

There are a lot of benefits when it comes to early years education like preschool and nursery, such as helping your child get more used to the educational environment, as well as developing their literacy and numeracy skills early to ensure they don’t fall behind. However, the social benefit of having them surrounded by children of their age while making sure that there is also an adult there to supervise and make sure that everything goes okay should not be underestimated. Look at facilities like Aurrum Kids and how they not only take care of your children’s educational needs, but foster a space that encourages children to get along, make friends, and develop the social skills that they will need. These kinds of establishments can be especially useful for those who might not live near other families or children, making up for a dearth of same-age interaction that can make later socializing tough for your child.

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Help them come out of their shell

If your child is shy and doesn’t quite know how to make friends at school, it might feel to them like the first step alone is confusing and daunting. However, while they might always be a bit shyer than their friends, that doesn’t mean that it’s an immutable characteristic. You can help them make the first step. You can do this by, for instance, simply practising with them. You can pretend like you’re a child at school and engage in a little roleplay, encouraging them to approach you and talk to you for the first time. Teaching them things like simple introductions, how to invite other children to play, and demonstrating what friendship looks like can help them grow a little more confident about trying it out for themselves.

Take note if there’s a sudden difference in their behaviour

Perhaps your child has been putting themself out there already, socializing with other children, making friends, and playing with no problem. If there has been a sudden change in behaviour and they are suddenly becoming more shy and isolated, then it might be worth looking at why that’s the case. Take the time to gently gain their trust and encourage them to open up to you and that it’s safe to talk with them. Bullying is unfortunately a factor at almost every age. You can help them navigate the issue, or you can also see if a counsellor like those at Relationships Counselling can help them navigate any problems like anxiety or depression, which can affect children of all ages, not just adults. We don’t like to think of our children being in distress like this, but it’s better to be aware of the possibility rather than acting like it doesn’t exist.

Help them cope with stress and worry

Even if there isn’t anything particular at the route of it, most children are going to express some concern about their social standing and their relationships at some point. Here, it’s your cue to listen, to be empathetic and, when possible, to offer advice on how they can help navigate their friendships. Helping them express their emotions in a safe and healthy way with you can make them less likely to express it in ways that might harm their social relationships, as well.

The problem of increasing difficulty in socialization is not just a problem that affects children. It’s one they will have to navigate as they grow older, as well. Providing the social education and opportunities that they can use now, however, can help in future, so keep the above tips in mind.