Friday, 27 May 2016

Top Fathers Day Gifts (as chosen by a 7 & 8 year old)

Usually hubbie gets something small for Fathers Day, a token gift just so its celebrated and not gone by unnoticed.  I would love for us spoil him, he is a good dad, solid, reliable and a hard worker.  But usually money is tight so its more a small gesture of the boys love.  Not that hubbie would ever grumble.

So out of curiosity and thanks to a Tesco Fathers Day campaign I decided to ask the boys to tell me what they would buy their beloved daddy if money wasn’t an issue.  I was eager to see what they thought he might like if they had an unlimited budget!  I really like asking them questions like this because their answers can be quite revealing (and entertaining!), you never know quite what they might come out with!!!

They started quite small with chocolate, we tend to always get hubbie a Tolberone so they were keeping on theme there.  Swiftly followed by beer – daddy isn’t a big drinker but they still added it to their ultimate fathers day gift list.  I think its because their taid (grandad) is a real ale drinker and always partial to a bottle so they thought their dad might like the same.

New Computer – My hubbie is a BIG gamer, well he was until life with kids got a bit more complicated and free leisure time became a thing of the past.  But he does enjoy tinkering on his computer, he has his own blog or surfs around on there, so this gift would be ideal for him.

Then the boys creative ideas snowballed and they aimed HIGH!

We had a car (Ferrari no less) making its way on the gift list – I do think hubbie would enjoy a sports car, he is a good  driver and would probably like something a bit more zippy!

Followed by a diamond theme (diamond encrusted ring, a giant standalone diamond, diamond encrusted car and even a diamond encrusted house!) – I just love all the sparkle!  Not sure what hubbie would make of it all, I think the boys are getting inspiration from Minecraft here where they regularly mine diamonds.

Jet pack to fly over high mountains, given daddy won’t even go on most theme park rides I think this gift might be a stretch too far for my darling hubbie!

Jet ski – not to enjoy on our nearest stretch of water no but to go round the Antarctic…

Ginormous bed – well daddy likes his sleep and relaxing in bed watching TV if given the opportunity so an even bigger bed would suit him perfectly.

A Sweet Shop – I think this is more for themselves but daddy does have a sweet tooth so could enjoy it too!  I just hope the dentist isn’t too far away from their new virtual world with all the sweets they plan on eating…

If money was no object what would your children get their dad?

Thursday, 26 May 2016

MoneySuperMarket One-Week Energy Challenge

Let’s be honest we are probably all a little guilty of wasting electricity, my personal bugbear is that I think our house looks like the Blackpool Illuminations because the boys and hubbie seem to leave every light on regardless of whether or not they are actually in that room.  I did a count once and I turned off NINE lights… its not even like we have the cash to splash around on higher energy bills.  We have just got into a bad habit and need to try harder to conserve energy.  It’s time to educate the family on saving money; the only way for them to understand though is to give up something they really love.

So I thought I really should take part in the MoneySuperMarket One-Week Energy Challenge to try and reduce our energy bills (and save the planet in the process!).  To really hammer the message home the campaign was about giving up an appliance you really enjoy having, if energy bills got so high you would have to give up enjoying that particular item and stick to the basics, only using electricity for lights (mind you not as many as my family put on!), preparing food and possibly heating water depending on what system you had.  But straighteners, TV’s, iPad’s and consoles (sorry boys!) would have to sadly be given up.

I decided to take the challenge by living without my TV for a week, even though not using the lights would be the most sensible option for our household, I thought knowing my luck the boys would probably set fire to the house with a candle!!!  But the lights are more of a necessity than a luxury, so I needed something that would really get the message across to the boys. 

It’s not been easy, but we have had more on than usual to distract us.  We went to visit my friend’s new gorgeous kittens.

A photo posted by Karen (@missingsleep) on

We have also had a board game evening and hubbie and I had a romantic night away.

In terms of how much being without the TV has saved us This is Money worked out a plasma TV costs £95 a year to run, so although its not a big saving on its own it’s the combined cost of everything else running in our household.  The hairdryer going in the morning, our washing machine being constantly on, the boys playing a quick game of Minecraft before school, me normally watching Orphan Black on Netflix during the day whilst I blog (how I have missed you!) and hubbie tinkering away on his laptop in the evening.

Thankfully MoneySuperMarket help you find cheaper deals for your energy so you can still hang on to your most favourite gadgets if you’re a savvier shopper!  I am not adverse to switching providers for a better deal, with a cheaper fixed tariff we can hang onto our TV and the boys will be relieved its not time to give up their gaming habit just yet!  Also don’t forget to turn your appliances off properly; it’s amazing how much it adds up just leaving everything on standby!

This post is in collaboration with MoneySuperMarket, but all thoughts are our own

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Preparing for your child's entrance exam

If you’re hoping to get into more academically selective schools you will have to sit an entrance exam.  To help your child succeed it’s a good idea to head into the exam fully prepared and feeling confident.  Usually the tests assess Maths, English and a Science subject so it’s worth focusing your efforts on those subjects.

Sitting these exams can be extremely stressful for your child so finding ways to support them can make a huge difference.  I get nervous jitters still thinking back to the various exams I have sat over the years.  There is such a huge pressure to succeed that even the most capable of students can struggle on occasion.  It can feel overwhelming.

Still find time for fun

It can be challenging gearing up for the entrance exam do find some time for your child to unwind and have a break from the revision.  Often they can return refreshed and ready to absorb more information.

Get a good night sleep

Apparently according to the NHS good sleep improves thinking and concentration, try and avoid last minute studying as sleep can be more beneficial so close to the exam itself than staying up late going over your notes again and again.

Don’t put extra pressure on them

If they normally have household chores ease off until they have stopped revising.  They might be more enthusiastic to study if they think they are getting away without doing the dishes or loading the washing machine for a few weeks.  Always sound supportive when talking about their exam; don’t keep going over how important it is to pass.  Just be glad they are trying their best.

Consider getting a private tutor

If your subject knowledge is a bit rusty consider getting a private tutor, Fleet tutors focus on getting results through effective one to one tuition.  Supplement this with lots of resource materials they can refer too.

Eat well and stay hydrated

Settle for energy giving foods according to this BBC Good Food article, eggs and oats, slow burners that will stop you feeling hungry and irritable.  Contemplate adding more omega-3 to your diet to help with brain function.  Get them to drink lots of water to help their body operate at its best.