A Guide to Financially Preparing for Your Child’s Primary School Years

When it comes to raising children, financial preparedness is a critical factor in providing the best possible start in life. As your child enters primary school, you’ll need to be ready for the additional costs that come with this new stage of education. This guide will provide you with an overview of additional costs, tips to save money, and advice on budgeting for your child’s primary school years. 


Via Pexels

First, it’s essential to understand the expected costs associated with enrolling your child in primary school. This can include:

Tuition Fees: 

Depending on where you live, tuition fees for primary school may vary. Some schools will charge a set fee per term, while others may use a sliding fee scale based on your family’s income level.

School Supplies: 

Your child will need various supplies throughout the year, such as textbooks, stationery and uniforms. Therefore, it’s important to factor these in when budgeting for their schooling.

After-School Activities: 

Many primary schools offer after-school activities such as sports or music lessons that provide an enriching experience beyond the classroom. However, these can come at an additional cost, so be sure to factor them into your overall budget.

Residential School Trips: 

Your child may also be offered the chance to attend educational or recreational residential trips outside of school. These residential trips for schools can be anything from travelling to France for a World War II history tour to camping in the countryside. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of these trips when budgeting. 

Now that you know the expected costs associated with primary school, it’s important to consider ways to save money while still providing your child with a quality education. Here are some tips on how you can do this: 

Shop Around: 

When it comes to school supplies, shop around for the best deals. Many schools will offer discounts on bulk purchases of textbooks or stationery, so make sure you take advantage of these. 

Consider Second-Hand Options: 

For items such as uniforms, second-hand options may be available at your child’s school or in the community. This can help to save a lot of money if you’re on a budget. 

Manage After-School Activities: 

If your child is interested in after-school activities such as music lessons or sports teams, look into ways to minimise costs by carpooling with other parents or taking advantage of group discounts. 

And lastly, it’s important to have a plan in place for managing your budget while sending your child to primary school. 

One useful way of doing this is to set up a dedicated bank account for their education costs. This will make tracking your spending easier and help you stick to a budget. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any financial assistance programs offered by schools or local charities. These can provide invaluable support when times are tough financially, so don’t be afraid to apply if you think you may be eligible.

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to manage the additional costs of sending your child to primary school. With proper planning and budgeting, you can ensure that your child has the best start to their educational journey.


A Belated Welcome to 2019

A bit belated but I’m only just getting back into the swing of things after the Christmas mayhem and New Year chaos (for us it’s the daughter’s birthday as well!).  Here’s us celebrating on Christmas day (me a bit run off my feet due to husband at work and cooking for my parents as well as me and the kids!.

2018 was a hectic one for us, the first full year I’ve worked 5 days a week since having children albeit part time but still one that exhausts my day and leaves little time to get things done.  On top of that we have had a major kitchen renovation that although is 95% completed it is still in limbo with the final fittings still waiting to be done due to major leaking from the roof (a project that’s looking to cost us around 5.5k in the upcoming months!).  And let’s not talk about the day the skip got delivered onto the driveway and shifted a section of the front wall around at an angle causing a crack along the front (another ongoing issue!).

I’m super pleased to be rid of the old kitchen and I hope to do a show and tell of our before and after new kitchen once the final issues are ironed out.

We got the children active between the eves with outdoor walks, trips to National Trust properties and a fun session at Clip n Climb – as you can see, these two never fail to be afraid of heights.

New Year saw my eldest turn 11 years old on New Year’s Day!!  Oh my where’s the time gone?  She played with my phone that day doing her own selfie which I thought was rather cute so here it is!

As for what 2019 holds for us, who know’s?

It’ll be challenging I believe in many ways with the eldest off to secondary school in September, ongoing uncertainties in my job of 17 years, solving and fixing the damp issues in our house, finish decorating the downstairs and finally carpet the house!

Keep following us to see where life takes us this year, what adventures we go on and what new things we try out!

Get Kids Reading with Roald Dahl Books at McDonald’s

With Roald Dahl being a much loved children’s author and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, it is only fitting that his books are part of McDonald’s Happy Meals for the next few weeks.  This project comes as part of McDonald’s #HappyReaders initiative, which aims to increase book ownership amongst children and encourage both parents and children to find the joy in reading!

This exclusive series of books which has been available since 13th September (Roald Dahl Day) and will be inside Happy Meals for 5 weeks from then.  The series features his fantastical characters from three of his best loved stories, Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Each book features an extract from the original story, along with Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations, activities, stickers and a bookmark that can be popped out from the back to help kids keep their place in the book.

Featuring some of the best loved characters over the years, the titles available are:

  • Roald Dahl’s Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka
  • Roald Dahl’s Lucky Charlie Bucket
  • Roald Dahl’s Mischievous Chocolate Factory Children
  • Roald Dahl’s Amazing Matilda
  • Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Miss Honey
  • Roald Dahl’s Rotsome Giants
  • Roald Dahl’s Brave Little Sophie
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantabulous BFG

It’s really important to read with children, whether it’s you reading aloud to them, or them reading to you.  It could even be that you take turns which is what I often do with my 6yr old to maintain his enthusiasm and keep him going through the book.  It’s also a great time to bond together and you’ll find you end up talking about what’s going on, discuss pictures in the book and actually have a lot of fun

Here are 6 top tips for reading with children:

  1. Bring the story to life by using different voices for the characters. Try out a     pompous tone for Augustus, or a high, whiny voice for Veruca.
  2. Make your child the author! Stop at exciting moments in the story and ask your child to invent what happens next.
  3. Make reading with your child a special time for you both every day.
  4. Children of all ages love to hear stories read aloud.
  5. Don’t stop reading to your children just because they can read by themselves.
  6. Let your child help choose the books that you’ll read together. If your child is excited by the subject, the story will hold their interest better.

My children have really enjoyed reading these #HappyReaders books and love the little press out book mark to keep their page when putting the book down.  Being fairly small they are not daunting and encourage children to want to read them.  We share reading the stories to give them some practice but to also let them sit back and relax whilst I read.

You can see Peter Andre launching the books in the Happy Meals at McDonald’s here:

If you haven’t already, take your children to McDonald’s so they can enjoy one of these fun books to enhance and encourage their reading!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of McDonald’s.

National Unplugging Day – Will you be joining in?

National Unplugging Day is this Sunday 25th June and families are taking part in a no technology pact for the day as a way to remind and encourage people to embrace a healthy lifestyle by regularly setting aside time away from their digital devices and be more mindful of their day to day digital usage.  In a bid to celebrate the day parents are being asked to #GoGadgetFree and spend the day from sun-up to sun-down without any technology.

Let’s be honest – could you not glance at your phone, tablet or laptop for a whole day?  I know I’d struggle, even the kids like playing on daddy’s iPad although they only play free games or watch kids tv programmes.  I was astonished to learn that from 1100 parents surveyed in April, more than half of children have one or more social media accounts with children as young as six years old having an online presence.

I’m pleased to say that my children aged 9 and 6 are yet to be active online in that sense just yet although I’m sure their time will come before I’m ready for it!   In preparation for National Unplugging Day we’ve already been trying out some board games which my children love playing and are a great way for families to interact together as well spend some quality time with each other and have fun.

If you are in the area then National Unplugging Day have chosen Winchester as the venue for their National event this year.

So what does this involve? – A whole host of Wellness businesses have been brought in to provide ‘dopamine boosting’ activities and include a number of Winchester based experts who will be on hand running the workshops and include the following:

  • Winchester based Mandy Papas Hypnotherapist will running an introduction to Mindfulness course
  • Winchester based Yoga Teacher Jenny Joslin from JJ Yoga will be hosting a Parent/Child Yoga session
  • Integr8 Dance, a dance school from Winchester, will be hosting a StreetDance workshop for children
  • BeatsDisco, DJ based in Winchester will be supplying the sounds and running a DJ Vinyl workshop for Kids!
  • Other experts who are running Workshops include:
  • Chris James – Mind Body and Health Guru and Yoga Teacher to Millie Mackintosh
  • Hoop Like a Boss – Hula Hoop Teacher and Expert

To book tickets for the Winchester event, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unplugged-at-the-riverside-yurt-in-celebration-of-national-unplugging-day-tickets-34538347126

This is a collaborative post

Best First Pets for Children

Kids need entertainment, kids need companionship, kids need fun, and they need to learn some responsibility too. In all reality, there is no better way to provide all of those things for your child than by getting them their very own pet. Here we have a list of the best first pets that you can get for your kids, ones which will certainly make them smile.

2 Common First Pets For Kids & Families

These are without a doubt the most common first pet choices that kids get and the definitely make for some solid choices. Let’s talk about them quickly.


A dog is a fantastic first pet to get any child, especially a smaller dog. First of all, dogs are really fun for kids, mainly because dogs love to play. Dogs like playing fetch and they like running around the house chasing things, just like kids. Guaranteed your child will have loads of fun with a dog. Moreover, most dogs are extremely friendly so you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety, plus a good dog can guard your child from threats if need be. There is also the fact that dogs really don’t take that much maintenance either.

Aside from feeding, walking, and a little grooming, there is not much effort needed to take care of a dog. Your child can learn some responsibility by having to feed and groom the dog, and even take it on walks too. Most things which a dog requires can be done by your children. If your child is too young to really take care of the dog, you can be happy with the fact that they don’t provide too much work for you either. Dog is man’s best friend and your child’s too.


A cat is another great first pet choice for your child, and that is mainly because they require virtually no maintenance. Unlike a dog, cats don’t need to be walked. You can either let them go in the litter box, in which case you will most likely have to change the litter, or if your child is old enough they can do it themselves. Other than that and regular feedings, you really don’t have to do anything to take care of a cat, something that makes it perfect for kids who don’t have too big of a sense of responsibility yet.

Also, cats make for great snuggle buddies and they just love to curl up beside you, something that your child will appreciate every day as they are watching TV on the couch. Moreover, cats can be pretty entertaining too. They do a lot of wacky stuff that we all love to watch, plus they love playing with string and toys. Your child will get hours of fun out of a cat and that is a guarantee. Cats are awesome pets that are fun, easy to take care of, and quite friendly too.

If you do decide on either a cat or dog, it’s always a good idea to consider pet rescue homes as there are lots of animals that need a home, and you are doing a good deed by rescuing too.

3 More Suggestions That Don’t Require Too Much Maintenance

If you are not a big fan of either cats or dogs, and you would like something smaller that does not require much maintenance, you can always check out these great pet ideas for your child’s first pet.


A hamster is a fantastic little first pet choice for your child. First of all, they are small and soft, which means that your kid can lift them up and cuddle with them as much as they want. They aren’t heavy, so that’s not a problem, and they are very cuddly too, something that everyone can appreciate. Moreover, as far as rodents go, hamsters are probably the friendliest of them all, with minimal chance of being bitten by them.

Hamsters are also very fun to watch. I don’t know how many times I have caught my own kids watching that furry little creature run itself into exhaustion on that hamster wheel. Something about watching them run on that wheel is just so mesmerizing for little kids. Best of all, hamsters don’t require much maintenance.

All you need is a cage, some food, a water dispenser, some bedding, and of course the hamster itself. Occasionally you need to clean the cage, remove the hamster waste, change bedding, and make sure it has food and water. However all of those things are very easy to do, they don’t take long, and they don’t have to be done that often. Even if your child is too young to really take care of the hamster, at least it won’t be too much work for you.

Betta Fish

In our opinion, one of the coolest pets that you can get your child is a fish, specifically a Betta fish. Now, these animals take a little bit more maintenance than others, and they require some special tools too. You will need a special betta tank (Aquascapeaddiction has covered some good tank options) and a protein skimmer (this post explains how skimmers help), a filter and a light, and some fish food too. However, in the long run, none of these things are very expensive, nor are they hard to set up or use.

Once you have the aquarium set up, all that needs to be done is to feed the betta fish regularly, change some water, and clean the filter, all things which a child older than 6 or 7 can probably do on their own. Also, betta fish are very beautiful creatures that will add a certain elegance to your child’s room. These fish are also very fun to watch as they swim around the tank all day long.

Ant Colony

The final cool first pet choice to get your child, and the one that takes perhaps the least amount of maintenance, is the ant. Well, you don’t get just one ant, you get a few dozen ants, which is called a colony. These are interesting pets, because sure, you can’t

pet them or really lift them up, but they are definitely fun to watch as they borough through the dirt and create a plethora of tunnels.

There is also the fact that ants require virtually no maintenance. As long as you have a glass ant house, some lettuce or carrots, and a handful of dirt, there is nothing standing in the way of a thriving ant colony. All you need to do is feed them, that is literally the extend of an ant colony’s required maintenance, something that every parent will appreciate.


There are many different cool first pet choices which you can surprise your child with. Just make sure that your child will be able to keep them alive on their own, and if your child can’t, you need to be fine with doing the work yourself. That being said, a pet is a fun, rewarding, and educational thing for any child to have.

In collaboration with Craig from Aquascapeaddiction

House of Fraser SS16 Menswear

Although my husband prefers a casual approach to his clothes, I do prefer something a little smarter, so we tend to meet somewhere in the middle especially if I’m buying him something to wear.  One shop that always meets this criteria is House of Fraser which  offers a wide range of good quality, smart looking pieces.



In the Summer he tends to wear shorts on a daily basis so we normally go with something like these Jack & Jones Intelligence Preston Cargo Shorts in grey.  Being a neutral colour, they go with any top and cover the initial brief of being smart casual for comfortable  day wear.  Teaming it with a collared t-shirt such as a polo shirt also keeps the look smart, so these tops by Hugo Boss fit the bill and again go with most things, meaning a simple mix and match wardrobe is all you need for the warmer months.

For footwear I’d add a simple pair of Tommy Hilfiger Suede Lace Up Trainers, which are comfortable, casual and easy to wear.


Another Summer essential is swimwear and it’s great to have a practical pair of swim shorts that you can wear in the pool or on the beach.  This classic grey pair by Polo Ralph Lauren are great and can be teamed with some Havaiana’s flip flops in a contrasting colour combination.swimwear

Here’s hoping the sun comes out so we can enjoy the summer months and you can be sure your man will look good with some classic pieces from House of Fraser this season.

 This is a sponsored post

Barbie Dreamtopia Movie comes to Tiny Pop

Dreamtopia is a series set in a magical make-believe world created by Chelsea, Barbie’s six year old youngest sister. Like many girls, Chelsea really looks up to her sister, and every adventure features Barbie as either a princess, a fairy, or a mermaid from a different land that guides Chelsea and her young pup Honey on a new experience.

PR_Rainbow_RidingRainbow_S32_F26_062016This series looks magical and fun and just like something my children would enjoy.  The new Dreamtopia Barbie movie special airs on Tiny Pop 23rd July at 4pm with a catch up on Sunday 24th July at 9am.  It follows Barbie, her younger sister Chelsea and her pup Honey on a magical new adventure, telling the origins story of the land of Dreamtopia!


Dreamtopia is a land where if you can imagine it, it can happen with everything from an edible lollipop forest full of cute happy pets.  Or perhaps ride the tallest roller coaster up in the sky on a rainbow.

Why not check out this trailer below?

The film looks fun, full of exciting adventures where dreams come true, perfect for any young Barbie fans.  We can’t wait to watch the full length this weekend – will you be watching it too?






Madame Tussauds Blackpool welcomes Festival Fields

Festival Fields is the latest addition to the ever popular Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, a themed area to celebrate the increasingly popular British festival scene.  With new waxworks Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift taking centre stage and joining fellow singer Olly Murs, there are photo opportunities galore with your favourite stars.

madame tussauds

The area will invlove a multi sensory experience with smells, sounds and all the sights you’d see at a festival such as mud, portaloos and a pair of rather funky, giant wellies.  There is also a chill out area at the campsite around an open fire and a rather call retro VW campervan food stall. If you are brave enough you can also have ago at karaoke or playing with the interactive light show, it all sounds like a lot of fun to me!

madame tussauds

This short video gives you a real feel of what Festival Fields is like and how much fun you can have checking out the area and grabbing some photo opportunities:

Make the most of your trip to Madame Tussauds Blackpool with a range of affordable ticket prices. Best Madame Tussauds prices are guaranteed online with 20% off on the day tickets.


Ticket Type

On The Day








Group of 4



Madame Tussauds is open an impressive 364 days a year and really does have something for everyone, with waxworks from a vast range of genres, A-list celebrities, sporting legends, political heavyweights and historical icons.  It’s great that you can wander round among them for true photo opportunities and the various interactive areas that the attraction now has really makes it a fun

For more information visit: www.madametussauds.com/blackpool

This is a sponsored post

Planning our new Bathroom #TileMountainFacelift

Having finally moved house in February after almost 16 years in our first house, which I was sad to leave, we now have the seemingly endless project of redecorating our new house which initially I thought wouldn’t take too much work compared to the complete renovation we carried out on our previous property.  But unfortunately it needs more doing here than we first realised which is never easy with two children in tow!  The more you look around, the more poor workmanship you see, wonky door frames, ill fitting hinges, lumps on walls, lack of plug sockets, dodgy paintwork, budget fittings, the list goes on in general maintenance but the biggest expenses come in the form or a new kitchen and bathroom.

With all these stunning ideas below that I’ve picked up and added to my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest you will understand when I show you the pictures of my current bathroom as to why I feel a little depressed at seeing what the previous owners have left me with!

Follow Fiona’s board Bathroom ideas on Pinterest.

A new bathroom is a project we are planning to carry out later this year, so we are in the early planning stages and are looking at options of turning the bath around in order to accommodate a sink unit as currently we have no storage in there. We are looking at adjoining the end of the bath to the shower cubicle but still having a full larger than normal shower cubicle in one corner.  For me the tiles in this bathroom are an eyesore, dingy brown with cracks, holes where all the fittings and fixtures were taken out, poorly aligned and just plain boring.  Due to having no fixtures at the moment we literally have nowhere to put anything and have plastic storage boxes on the floor!  We also have no mirrors in there and nowhere to stand one which is increasingly frustrating but the one rather poor central light is rather pointless so we are also planning new lighting throughout for the bathroom in order for it to be adequate for applying make up and the such like!  Just don’t get me started on the fake wood effect floor panels that move, curl up at the joins and just quite frankly are totally unappealing to me due to their mismatching nature.  Who would want a bathroom like this?

bathroom 1

bathroom 2

Moving on from what I have, I’m looking forward to the future, with palettes of grey and silver, along with shiny storage units, mirrors to brighten and reflect and a more modern, sleek look with a twist of vintage inspired style thrown in.

I am totally inspired by these vintage inspired tiles Skyros Delft Grey Wall and Floor Tiles from Tile Mountain, which in the picture below shows a clean, functional bathroom but with a vintage twist, a bit quirky and different.  They also do plain tiles so you can mix and match where you have them so I’d love to play around with the combination of these in my new bathroom fitting the patterned tiles maybe behind the bath or a stripe of them above the sink etc, somewhere where their beauty is highlighted and meets your eye when you walk in.

bathroom 3

If I was to take a more slick, modern route, I absolutely adore the Metallic Swirl Floor tiles, shiny, reflective, although with a bit of texture to provide some grip, these really would make a statement piece that would be the highlight of the bathroom.  Would need to look into how practical these are but you could equally feature them on the wall, maybe inside our large shower cubicle to add reflection?

I’m also looking at the Inverno Grey Marble Rectified Wall and Floor tiles which are light, bright and would just give the bathroom a clean and fresh look and in this instance I would pay more attention to interesting accessories.  For one thing I have particularly fallen in love this Heated Towel Warmer from Living House – if I can fit this into my budget then I will be one very happy lady indeed!


I can’t wait to get beyond the planning stages of my bathroom and finally see the images and ideas come to life.  Important for us is that it works for all the family, has plenty of storage and is reasonably easy to clean but I’m sure one of the tile combinations above from Tile Mountain will work for us and I’d love to have the opportunity to try them out.  One things for sure is that I will have a new bathroom for Christmas, and have my fingers crossed for Tile Mountain to help out with the tiles to enable more budget elsewhere in the room (**thinking radiator**).

Keep your eyes peeled for more interior projects on the blog, I have yet to introduce the new house as we had a few complications on selling the old one, but now that it has finally completed I am planning a complete look back on our previous renovations followed by a room by room makeover of the new rooms and garden.

This is an entry into Tile Mountain’s blogger competition to win tile vouchers to revamp your bathroom or kitchen #TileMountainFacelift

Win a Tennis Set with Pharmaton’s Ready to Play Campaign

Phamaton Active Life are the official multivitamin supplement of British tennis and to celebrate a British win of the Davies cup they have teamed up with it’s winner Leon Smith to encourage more children to start up tennis and use it as a way to keep active.

Pharmaton High Res Packshot

The Ready to Play campaign sees Leon Smith create ten simple videos that you can encourage your kids to do at home to get active.  All you need are a few small balls, a couple of household objects and off your go, using balance and coordination, your kids ball skills will improve immediately.  Why not give them a go?

My children were eager to get outside and have ago, with wall tennis and tennis being great fun.  Trying to capture them in action was hard work though with balls flying everywhere.  What we did then find in the shed but hadn’t had a chance to play was a street tennis kit and our new garden was the perfect place to give it a go.  The children absolutely loved it and have been playing tennis in the garden as long as the sun stays out in the evenings – proving tennis is a big hit with them!

tennis 2

To celebrate Pharmaton’s Ready to Play campaign and help encourage children get active I have a mini Bablolat Tennis set pictured below to give away to one of my readers:


Just fill in the Gleam form below:

Tennis set