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Saving is the new spending

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year…it hasn’t always been a barrel of laughs though. I used to leave so much to the last minute and strive for absolute perfection. The Christmas season meant sleeping and catching up with life and January playing catch up financially.
A few years ago I started Park hamper savings….I didn’t think about it much throughout the year as it just felt like another much smaller outgoing so I didn’t really miss it.  I saved a small amount each month which didn’t break the bank.  When those vouchers came it was the most magical Christmas ever. I set a small budget for everyone and shopped and wrapped before December even came. This was the beginning of planning and having a lot less stress at this time of year. It meant I could relax and enjoy Christmas with family and friends. Now December is not about rushing around, its about attending Christmas activities with the children and catching up with friends and family.
That’s when I knew saving was definitely the new spending, I know it’s not always that easy but there are many ways different ways to save.

After challenging ourselves last October to a month of not eating out – we haven’t looked back.
Eating out used to cost us a small fortune. Whether it was a meal at a nice restaurant or a Friday night take away it all adds up.
Two broke moms are now able to enjoy lovely experiences with our children…..by just changing a few habits. No one is saying you can’t enjoy some of these luxuries from time to time but changing a few habits will help save for something else that perhaps you thought was unaffordable.

A few saving tips

1. Savings tins – coffees/bottles of wine and frequent nights out have been swapped with, just weekend drinking (other than the festive season of course) dining in meals such as Gousto and Hello Fresh cooking. Our ‘Come Dine With Me’ evenings (we have fortnightly) are much more fun than an over priced meal out.
Swap that take away coffee from Costa for a coffee in a flask.
2. Pockit savings – set a target and save, save, save. Set up a dd to a savings account for special events, birthday funds & trips/holidays.
3. Save for Xmas or other events using Park, or supermarket saving schemes to spread the cost of Christmas.
4. Swap nights out for nights in. Invite friends and family round – to lighten the load ask them to bring a dish/drink.
5. Monitor your spend each month – go through your accounts – look at what have you spent, you’ll be surprised where you can cut back even if it’s by a little.
6. Check out local churches, libraries & schools for free events for the kids over Christmas.

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Parenting · Uncategorized

Things to do…..October half term

Are the kids bored yet? Nearly half way through the half term holidays…and sometimes it’s hard to keep them busy.
If you’re home with the kids this half term and have run out of things to keep the little ones entertained….check out our list below
1. Check out you local library they often have free events throughout the holidays.
2. Movie day – (really a day you can lounge about and do nothing…eat junk food and it’s Free and you don’t have to leave the house.
Or visit you local Odeon, Vue or Reel cinema for an early morning, cheaper than usual kids club cinema. £2.50 or less for selected films.
3. Go for a walk…..whether it’s sunny or rainy embrace the weather and go for a walk it’s a great way to unwind and wear the kids out.
4. Make a cake….great rainy day activity.
5. Visit a local farm…it’s pumpkin season and almost Halloween…why not go pumpkin picking.
Fancy treating the kids to lunch or dinner this week. Find your local Toby carvery, Giraffe, Prezzo, Frankie and bennys, La Tasca and Hungry Horse. Kids eat FREE or for £1 with a full paying adult.
Visiting London this week?
Kids go absolutely free to The Shard in London.
Check out these useful websites
Andrea x

 

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Ear Piercing-What is the right age? 

My 7 yr old asked to have her ears pierced last week.

I always said she could have them done when she asked. She initially asked when she was almost 5 so we got them done then. Trying to be responsible I took them out after 6 weeks when she went back to school after the summer holidays and then I forgot to put them in that evening. They closed up and she didn’t want to get them done again. I asked her several times in between whether she would like it done again she point blank refused. Then out of the blue she asked and we got it done with minimal fuss. Her ears her choice.

She will have to go to school with big plasters on her ears due to health and safety and  it got me thinking. Had I done the right thing? What is the right age?

I must admit I think it’s abhorrent to get a baby’s ears pierced. I don’t think a parent/guardian or anyone has the right to poke holes in a child without consent. If it was medical I’d have a different opinion but it’s purely vanity.  On the flip side If a child chooses to have them pierced what age is too young? Personally my issue is solely about consent so as soon as a child can communicate the fact they would like it done then fine.

If an adult was to pierce another adult without their consent it would be classed as assault so why can we do it to a nonconsensual child?   I have made it very clear to my daughter from a very young age that her body is hers  and hers alone. No one touches her or makes decisions about her body. Not even me! I don’t want to be a hypocrite.


Disclaimer: I will go all out Incredible Hulk mode if she tried to tattoo or pierce her face. The face belongs to ME!


I hear arguments that it hurts less if you pierce a baby ears than an older child.

“How the **** would you know?” is my reply ( in my head). 


I had my ears pierced several times in several parts of my ear  from the age of 10- 16. It stings a bit it’s hardly root canal surgery. So that is not a good enough reason at all. On the flip side lots of the mums in my daughters school would not let their child get their ears pierced at all, after a few discussions I know they would think I was being irresponsible. Which I don’t have an issue with.

In England and Wales there are actually no age restrictions on any piercing and many piercers have imposed their own rules and guidelines. Until something concrete is put in place the debate will rumble on as no one is breaking any laws. So each to their own.

I would love to hear your opinions and comments.

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Christmas the not so broke way 

I used to despise Christmas before I had my daughter. I didn’t want to join in. I could have quite happily deleted the whole month of December. I would ignore the fact it was happening then guilt would get me and I’d run around on Christmas eve buying presents for people with January’s pay then be broke from 1st of Jan until the 31st. Oh how things have changed.


Now I love it! One year the tree was up at Halloween! (Don’t judge me it was my baby’s first Christmas). I don’t go ott with gifts. I have a plan of who I’m buying for and stick to it. When you come from a massive family like mine you have to make choices. I can’t buy for everyone. I’d need the GDP of a small nation. I do buy some contingency gifts too because you always forget someone and then the pressure is off. I don’t have that guilt, I don’t overspend and there is no rushing about. It’s just chilled and relaxed. I then drink mulled wine in peace throughout the whole festive period (October- January).

How do I do it?

Well a few years ago the other broke mum Andrea had these vouchers come through the post for various different shops. Christmas, down to the food was a paid for just like that. She was able to shop freely and not have to worry about it. She was saving through Park. I’d heard of them but never really paid much interest. I immediately had a look and signed up. The first year I did it was a lifesaver I began to struggling financially as my business wasn’t doing very well. Had I not saved, Christmas would have been miserable. I had been putting aside around £40 per month. Come the end of September the vouchers arrived all £450 worth. All my shopping was done on the one day and then the presents were put away safely until December. It was great. After a truly crappy year that was the best thing I did. I even had enough to treat myself to a Fitbit.

The following year I revised how much I was saving and realised I was saving way too much. I’d end up with vouchers just for the sake of it so revised the amount in the June and realised I’d already hit my new target. The website is easy to use and very flexible. You can change you budget at any time up until around August.

This year we’ve planned to have a Christmas day in September where we do our whole shopping have a Prosecco lunch then wrap all the gifts with Xmas songs and mulled wine and put them away until it’s time to get the tree down.

We can’t wait x

www.getpark.co.uk

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My kids having to see their dad every weekend just isn’t fair! 

My break up journey 

A women’s journey break up, court and shared care. 
Part 1 The Initial Break up! 

The lead up to the break up 

9 years into our relationship and it just wasn’t the same. We’d had a great positive relationship and partnership and this was fading away. We’d always had a mostly great relationship. We did things as a couple and as a family we have many fond memories. The key was we worked together and we’re always on the same page. Looking back the change began when I decided that my teaching career was no longer for me. We just weren’t on the same page. I soon realised this was not what I wanted…I’d become a teacher to have a better lifestyle for my children. I wasn’t, I was tired, felt restricted and lived for weekends and school holidays.
Communication had broken down and our lack of positive communication lead to disagreements and arguments
Everything began to dwindle, our home, our family time and our relationship. Things didn’t improve, I made the decision that I did not want to continue. We both deserved to be happy and we weren’t. My children deserved their parents to be happy…after all happy people make happy parents.
After a 10 year relationship and sharing the responsibility and care of our children it was now time decide how much time we should have.
I’ll be honest, separating my feelings towards him and my boys was the hardest thing initially. The thought of not seeing them for a day (or even more was heartbreaking)
Naively I thought we’d be able to amicably sort arrangements for the children between us. Why wouldn’t we? We’d had a great positive relationship and always put our boys first.   After a break up though things change you see a different side to them and yourself.
Unfortunately we were unable to agree.

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Our lovely holiday at BQ Belvedere, Majorca

I’ve recently returned from a week’s holiday in Majorca (half term) with my two boys aged 12 and 5.

Thought I’d share our experience as BQ Belvedere was a great place to stay and would recommend it to families travelling with kids.

Day 1

We arrived…..The rooms were fine for what we needed, sleeping & showers…….

TV 3 beds, bathroom and quite a spacious sunny balcony…what more do you need.
Breakfast, Continental, full English or nice healthy fruit…. There was something for everyone.

After breakfast the kids found the pool and I found the sun loungers…..ah and relax! After about half an hour I heard lots of Spanish salsa music. To be honest I just wanted to sleep at this point… but after a while I thought I’d check it out as it sounded quite fun…..
Bailando con mama (dancing with mom) is what is was. Moms working out whilst dancing with their little ones…I grabbed my Baby Kane and we enjoyed a little dance which was fun. There was salsa during the afternoon too which anyone could get involved in…. one of the many activities. We spent much of the afternoon lounging though (the boys in and out of the pool and running around like lunatics as they do)…well that’s what holidays are for aren’t they?

Day 2
More lounging and the boys have made some friends which is great I might be able to get engrossed into one of my books or I could just get into a deep sleep lol. After lots of persuasion…Kane finally checked out the kid’s club for a while (about 20 mins) said he’d had enough and raided my bag for wipes so he could wipe the paint off his freshly painted clown face…not impressed was an understatement.
Kane did get social during the evening at the mini disco which was great fun. Followed by a Robbie Williams tribute.
Malakie spent much of the day ping pong in and playing football wherever he could (the universal sport of any language)

Day 3
It was a cloudy and overcast and much cooler than previous days. I decided to take the boys on the free bus to Palma nova. We looked in a few shops and visited a local park.
Kane and I played snap and watched Spanish cartoons when we got back. Mally made use of the indoor arcade whilst it chucked it down.
The sun finally came out Mally found the pool and water guns and Kane played in the park and then footy with some more new amigos.

Day 4 & 5

Started the day with a Pilates class  Yoga – The morning started well with a yoga class.
Followed by lots of sunbathing of course…. plenty to do otherwise if you wanted to join the activities.
Treasure hunt Kane went on a treasure hunt as it was a pirate themed day
We walked down to the local shops.
Kane’s been enjoying kids club.
The boys have spent much of the rest of the day playing football, swimming and table tennis.
This afternoon I spent an hour in a Spanish class revising my Spanish and learning some more of the lingo.

Day 6 & 7
We visited Magaluf (before 7pm of course)!
Beautiful beach with a very calm sea which is great when you’re travelling with little ones.
On Day 7 we caught the bus to the beautiful town of Palma. Just 20 minutes from the hotel and a nice contrast to the seaside. If you like shopping and sightseeing, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Overall a fantastic hotel packed full of entertainment which is great for families.

Top 5 things about this hotel 

Free bus to Palma Nova – Close to the beach.

Very clean hotel and rooms, cleaned every day.

Friendly staff & excellent entertainment team.

Great choice of food and drinks throughout the whole day.

Very family friendly – Numerous activities/entertainment day and night including a great kids club for kids 4 and over.

Check these sites out if your looking for a good deal

www.onthebeach.co.uk

www.travelrepublic.co.uk

Remember…you don’t always have to book a package.. find cheap flights and book direct with BQ Belvedere. 

Enjoy

Andrea x