Teaching Your Kids About the World of Motoring

Every parent will want to encourage their children to learn to drive as it will provide them with so much freedom and independence (plus it also means that you no longer have to taxi them around!). Every parent will also be very cautious as driving is a huge responsibility and can be very dangerous. With this in mind, there are a few things that it is worth teaching your kids about motoring before they reach the age where they can get behind the wheel.

Road Safety

The most important thing to teach them from a young age is road safety as the roads can be highly dangerous for both motorists and pedestrians. They should be taught how to be safe when walking and crossing the road from a young age, but it is also important to teach them how to use the roads safely so that they will be an intelligent and aware driver in the future. You can do this by explaining exactly what you are doing and why when you are driving. In addition to this, it can also be a valuable experience to cycle with them on the roads so that they can begin to get confidence on the road and understand the rules.

Vehicle Maintenance

It is also important to teach a youngster about how to properly look after an automobile. Vehicle maintenance is crucial for making sure that the car runs properly and stays in a good condition for years to come. It is worth teaching them how to inflate the tyres, change the tyres, change the oil, clean the car and other similar maintenance jobs. They should also be taught about following the service schedule, taking the car in for an MOT and how to get repairs at a garage.

Buying a Vehicle

Teaching them how to buy a used car is also a smart move as this is something that many adults struggle with and it could end up costing them. This can be done whilst purchasing their first car and you should show them how to research for cars online at places like AA Cars, how to speak to a dealer, how to examine the vehicle and what to look for on a test drive. You can then teach them about negotiating, the important paperwork involved, how to find the right insurance policy and other options like extended warranties, GAP insurance etc.

The world of driving can be fantastic and the majority of youngsters will want to learn how to drive when they are old enough. This should be encouraged as a parent, but there are many aspects that they should be taught from a young age so that they can start to learn with a decent amount of knowledge of how to be a safe and responsible driver.

Let there be light!

 

With a summer (so far) filled with wall to wall sunshine, thinking about lighting is probably the furthest thing from most peoples minds. We however are not most people and have just had some rather nice shutters installed in our bow window (a bow window is similar to a bay window but has more equally sized panes in case you were wondering). This has led us to reconsider the lighting we have in the dining room and sitting room because the amount of natural light has changed and we’ve also been lazy, having effectively the light fittings that were in place when we moved in 12 years ago. I’ve done a lot of DIY since we moved in- last week I was sanding and re-varnishing the parquet flooring that’s been hidden under carpet for a decade- but the lights are the one thing we’ve not really looked at.

We’ve decided to get a modern pendant style light to hang over the dining room table, preferably with height adjustment, so we’ve been looking on various websites like Lights to see what we can get for a reasonable price that is still stylish (hey, those shutters weren’t cheap you know!).

The problem is, once you start looking at lights, it’s quite difficult to stop looking at them, it’s really a case of going down the rabbit hole. Yes, we started off looking at light fittings for the sitting room and dining room but soon enough we were looking at something for the hallway and the landing.

In no time at all the techy in me was pouring over the smart lighting too- it’s seldom that you see a website that deals with traditional lighting AND smart lighting well, it’s usually one or the other in my experience.

I think we’re often in danger of spending too much time thinking about redecoration in terms of wallpaper, wall colours, carpet and furniture, without remembering that lighting is the one thing that can make a massive difference, and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The only worry I have is the six year old swinging on the lamp like Tarzan, which if you knew him you’d sympathise with me!

 

Five must-see sets at Warner Bros Studio Tours

Five must-see sets at Warner Bros Studio Tours

If you or someone in your house is a self-confessed Potterhead, you will probably already be considering a Warner Bros Studio Tour, but proper planning is key!

Offering a huge variety of attractions, interactive exhibits and a shop that will see money magically flying out of your pocket, the tours are something else, but it’s the sets that are truly spectacular. Around every corner, something recognisable from the films is waiting to be explored, but to get the very best from your day be sure not to miss our top five must-see sets.

The Great Hall. Do you remember how in awe of the Great Hall all the first-year Hogwarts students were in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Well, prepare to feel exactly the same way when you first lay eyes on the immense set!

We won’t give anything away, but needless to say, once you are in the Great Hall, everything will demand your attention, from the immaculate student place settings through to the fireplaces and costumes of beloved teachers. The hall is usually decorated to be seasonally appropriate, so you might like to consider a Christmas visit. Don’t forget to get some snaps of the House Points Counter, too – it’s a work of art!

The Forbidden Forest. Sinister, spooky and seriously intriguing, the Forbidden Forest set has fast become a real favourite with adult and child Potterheads alike.

Filled to the brim with enormous trees, ethereal lighting and curious mists, the forest also plays home to some wonderful magical creatures that you’ll definitely want to get pictures with. Keep your eyes peeled for Aragog, as he tends to pop out when you least expect it, among other mystical beings, but whatever you do, don’t forget to bow if you find Buckbeak! You remember what he did to Draco Malfoy, right?

Platform 9 ¾. The place where Harry’s Hogwarts journey really began, the platform is an immersive set that allows you to feel as though you’re on your way to the premier school for witches and wizards.

You’ll be able gird your courage and run at the platform wall, with a trolley, for the ultimate photo opportunity, before boarding the train to take a look at the carriages that your favourite characters have sat in. To complete the experience, you can pop into the platform shop to ‘take the lot’ in terms of sweet treats, just like Harry did when he first met Ron on their inaugural Hogwarts Express journey.

Diagon Alley. If you remember the joy of shopping for new school stationery ahead of every September, you’ll understand how thrilling a walk down Diagon Alley will be! It’s even more special, thanks to the atmospheric lighting and the inherent sense of anticipation.

Lined with all of the most memorable shops from the franchise, including Ollivanders wand emporium, Gringotts Bank and Mulpepper’s Apothecary, you’ll feel as though you’re stocking up on all your back-to-school supplies, but with a magical twist. If only Hagrid would strut around the corner, clutching an owl that he’s bought for you, as that really would be the dream!

Potions Classroom. Finally, to get a feel for just how detailed and imaginative the film sets were, the Potions Classroom is a must-see exhibit.

Yes, there are the self-stirring cauldrons that make children squeal and adults ponder on how useful they would be in real life, but it’s the sheer volume of aged bottles and decanters, not to mention parchment papers and creepy ingredients that really bring the set to life. It’s impossible not to imagine being yelled at by Professor Snape or attempting to whip up a batch of Polyjuice Potion in this moody and atmospheric set.

Of course, there are numerous other, smaller, sets to immerse yourself in too, such as Dolores Umbridge’s office, complete with kitten wall plates, a section of the Ministry of Magic, the cupboard under the stairs and Harry’s Gryffindor dorm room. You can definitely see it all in one day, but you’ll no doubt fancy a second visit, just to make sure you didn’t miss anything the first time around!

If one or more of these set descriptions has sparked an undeniable urge to see them in real life and you’re sick to death of waiting for your owl to deliver an official Hogwarts invitation, take matters into your own hands and reserve your tickets today. Just make sure that your camera is fully charged and ready to go, because you’re going to love zooming in and discovering props and details that you may have overlooked in person.

Blasters at the ready, we’re Lazer M.A.D!

On a baking hot Saturday a couple of weeks ago the boys and I drove down to Greenwich to sweat a lot in a concrete basement. I sweated so much I had to change every single item of clothing I was wearing. It turns out, having fun in the heat makes you sweat and we had so much fun playing Lazer M.A.D. that I must have lost a couple of pints of fluids.

Lazer M.A.D. is a blaster game that you can play in an underground bunker in Greenwich but you can also play at home, in your garden, or in the office (if your boss is understanding). I have to admit Ned’s enthusiasm and excitement as we headed to the event was probably matched by my scepticism- “toy” versions of almost everything tend to turn out to be rubbish, from low megapixel cameras, to drones that crash or fly off and get lost, the market doesn’t have a very good track record in making stuff that is good in anything other than an advert.

I have to say though that two weeks after the event, and two weeks playing quite a bit of Lazer M.A.D. at home with the kids, I’ve been proved pleasantly wrong.

Lets start with the equipment. In each pack of Lazer M.A.D. you get two blasters, with various modular attachments that affect the range and the rate of fire. you also get a little harness and a target (much like you would if you went to an actual Lazer Tag venue). The first thing that impressed me was the durability of the blasters and the add-ons. I could see that they had a bit of heft to them and didn’t look like they would break that easily. Build quality (and general style) is fairly similar to everyone’s favourite dart propelling blaster system and that’s no bad thing in my book. Each of the add-ons snicks on positively and after a few weeks of play haven’t i) been lost or ii) become loose.

Of course, like all these devices, the Lazer M.A.D. blasters aren’t really lasers, they use an IR transmitter that is pretty powerful and pretty focused. As a chap who has been on several 9/10 year old laser tag party teams, I really couldn’t tell the difference between the Lazer M.A.D. stuff and the “professional” gear.

Given that you can use the blaster in different modes, it’s great that you have to reload it (there is a pump action slider on the top, so you too can be Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 and do it one handed if you really want to be). The target also shows the number of lives you have left, which is handy too.

Although there are no real set rules, since you can set the blasters and targets to “friend” or “foe”, it’s possible to play team games and also, if you set everyone to the A team on the blaster but the B team on the target, you can also play last man standing, or Fortnite in real life as the kids termed it.

Even with the two player advanced battle ops set we played with (and bought home with us), which retails for £59.99, you can have a lot of fun, although if you’ve got a few friends with a set, the fun exponentially increases. The price isn’t prohibitive either if you do want to add more sets to your collection and join in with your kids.

Ned, our six year old, loved Lazer M.A.D. more than I can really articulate. It took him most of the drive home to calm down, and the next hour or so getting excited about playing on his very own set. I was surprised and impressed too. Have I mentioned how hot and sweaty I got playing Lazer M.A.D? Yes? Well that’s probably testament to how much fun we had playing!

From Parent to Grandparent, Making the All-Important Transition

Being a parent and being a grandparent are two very different jobs, meaning the transition to the latter is not as easy as it might seem. However, it is not a hard transition to make, either. What it is, is important. Transitioning from parent to grandparent, for the sake of everybody involved, is an essential thing to do, and you need to get it right.

To find out how to make the all-important transition from parent to grandparent when the grandkids arrive, be sure to heed the points below.

Think twice before giving advice

As a new grandparent, as you see your son or daughter circumvent the early stages of having a child, it’s easy to want to shower them with parenting advice. You’ve been there, you’ve done it, and there’s no denying that you know what you’re talking about. Advice when it comes to parenting, however, is not always welcome. Even from their own parents, new mothers and fathers do not always feel the need for advice, and they certainly don’t like it to be given unceremoniously.

Think twice before you feel the urge to give advice, and unless your child comes to you for it regarding how to raise their own, try to keep a distance. It doesn’t mean that you should refrain from helping them, it means that you should refrain from telling them what to do based on assumptions that you make about their parenting skills.

Follow the rules set by your children

You may have been the one to set rules for your children in the past, but now they have children of their own, it’s up to them to set them. It’s up to them to set any rules they see fit regarding the upbringing of their children, and it’s up to you to follow those rules. Not doing so is a pitfall of grandparenthood that you don’t want to fall down.

If this means not allowing your grandchild a certain treat, then refrain from treating them in this way, or if this means not disciplining them in a certain way, even if you think it is the right way, then simply don’t do it. Your children are in charge of the way they bring up their children, and all, including you, should follow the rules they set to do so.

Put old on hold to do things with your grandchild

Your children will need a break from their kids at some point, and that’s when you should step in. You should offer to look after your grandchild whenever you are called upon, and you should make the most out of every chance you get to spend with them when you are. If this means joining the amazing over 50s putting old on hold to do things you were doing 20+ years ago in order to ensure you and your grandchild have as much fun as possible, then do it! You will not get the time you spend with your young grandchildren back, and, therefore, should squeeze as much out of the time you spend together as you can.

As important as it is to take a back seat and to allow your children the space they need to raise their children their way, you still always need to be there for them. Mastering the art of knowing when to help, and when not to help, is the key to making that all-important transition from parent to grandparent in the right way.

3 Reasons to Try A New Sport Today

Life can get pretty repetitive especially when you’re juggling making time for yourself with also being a parent. To keep your sanity, it’s likely that you have a set routine that you and your family follow on a daily basis, the danger of this though is that things can get boring quite quickly! In order to keep things interesting, it’s important that you consider trying something new every now and again. If you are one of those people stuck in your comfort zone, or feel you are too busy to add anything new to your schedule, it is definitely worth a try! Something you should consider is fitness activities as you’ll be able to both keep fit as well as do something social. In case you’re not convinced about why you should try something new, you’re going to find three reasons why you should give it a go in the following article.

Enables You to Keep Fit

Fitness is something that will likely never get outdated as it is central to healthy living. In light of this, trying a new sport is an excellent way for you to keep fit and make healthy living an easy lifestyle choice. To refresh your memory, some benefits of exercise include reducing your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as helping boost your self-esteem. It is also advised that you try and do at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through various activities of your choice.

It’s a Chance to Meet New People

Another reason that you should consider trying a new sport is that it’s an opportunity for you to meet new people. There are many benefits to meeting people that you don’t usually see every day, such as learning new things, gaining new experiences and learning about different cultures. By joining various sporting activities on HulaHub.com for instance, you’ll get a chance to try different fitness activities with people who share similar interests to you.

It’s a Chance for Family Bonding

Aside from the many benefits of trying a new sport on your own, trying a new one as a family can also provide an opportunity for you to bond more as a family. Seeing as fitness is so important to general wellbeing, learning a new sport with your loved ones is also an opportunity to make fitness a family affair and a regular bonding activity in your household.
Doing it this way helps encourage fitness as it makes it into a lifestyle choice for all the family rather than just a one-off occasional activity. Some sports to consider playing with family are ultimate frisbee, ice skating, table tennis, horse riding, kayaking, and going to trampoline parks. There are many others as well suitable for anyone to partake in, so it’s up to you as a family to debate and decide!

To recap: you have nothing to lose when trying a new sport as there are endless benefits that come with it. Aside from the many mentioned above, it’s also an opportunity to gain a new experience and, in some instances, perhaps find a new hobby you enjoy. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be motivated to try a new sport sooner than later.

A Mini House Buying Guide

There’s more to buying a house than sending over the deposit and receiving the keys. There are many hurdles and processes you will need to undertake and bills you will need to pay. Deciding what you need, packing your possessions and trying to juggle every can lead to many stresses. However, if you’re wondering how to buy a house without much stress, read the following advice for buying a house.

A Mortgage Arrange Fee

In addition to paying a deposit, you should expect to pay your lender an arrangement fee, which is typically £1,000. Unfortunately, this fee can be non-refundable if the purchase of the property falls through.

A Valuation Fee

Lenders will also charge a valuation fee to identify if your property exists and is secure for the loan. While lending costs will vary, you should expect to pay approximately £300.

The Cost of Legal Fees

Every budding homeowner will need to pay legal fees when buying a property, which often ranges between £850 to £1,500, including VAT of 20%. You will also need to pay between £250 to £300 for a solicitor or conveyancer to perform local searches, which will identify if there are any local plans or issues.

Paying Stamp Duty

If you purchase a property for more than £125,000, you will need to pay stamp duty land tax on top of the purchase price. The only way you will not need to do so is if you’re a first-time buyer and the property is lower than £300,000.

Property Survey

Once an offer has been accepted for the property, you will need to have a property survey completed before you exchange contracts. The average price of a survey costs between £400 to £700, and homeowners will need to pay for additional surveys if the property falls through. It might, therefore, be wise to budget for two or three to ensure you are financially stable when buying a property.

A Smooth Removal Process

On top of arranging the mortgage, you will have the stress of packing boxes, cleaning the property, and moving into your new home. You will want to enjoy a smooth, hassle-free experience. For example, you can hire respected removal services for a smooth house move, declutter your belongings prior to eliminate stress, and can colour-code boxes for a fast and efficient transition.

A Fund for Essential Household Repairs

Unfortunately, your dream property might not appear so perfect once you officially move in. You could experience plumbing, electrical, or cosmetic problems you will want to resolve immediately. You should set some money aside to pay for any potential DIY work, so you will not need to dip into your savings or go into debt to make the necessary repairs.

Furniture and Decorative Accessories

Of course, you will want to put your own stamp on your new home once you arrive. You must have money in the bank to pay for essential furniture, such as a sofa, bed, and dining table and chairs. You may also want to pay for carpets, hardwood flooring, lawnmowers, linens, decorative items, plus so much more. Doing so will make feel right at home in your new address once you’ve moved into the new address.

How to Support a Loved One with a Mobility Issue

Mobility issues cannot only slow people down, but they can cause pain or flexibility problems that could impact both their quality of life and independence.

If your loved one is living with a mobility problem, such as arthritis or a neuromuscular disorder, there are a variety of ways you can improve their daily lives. Find out how you can support a loved one with a mobility issue.

Grooming Assistance

People living with limited mobility might struggle with grooming tasks, such as bathing, shaving, or even combing their hair. You could, therefore, help them in and out of the bath or to get dressed. While it might not be an easy task for both of you, it could help a loved one to remain within their home.

At-Home Care

Moving a loved one into a nursing home might fill both you and your loved one with fear, especially if they are experiencing increased mobility issues. Rather than moving them out of their home, you could hire an at-home caregiver to help them manage everyday tasks they can no longer manage themselves. It can, therefore, provide them with the assistance they need whilst retaining their independence.

Personal Care Alarms

Mobility issues could increase a loved one’s risk of tripping, slipping, or experiencing an accident within the home. If your relative lives alone, there is a potential they could spend hours on the floor until someone arrives to help. However, a personal care alarm could provide both them and the family with peace of mind that they will receive immediate assistance in an emergency. You can find a five-star personal alarm service from Helpline that can provide the ideal solution.

Delicious & Nutritious Meals

Limited mobility could make it difficult for a person to cater to their nutritional requirements. As a result, they might eat the wrong foods, which can impact their health even further. To ensure your loved one is both healthy and strong, provide them with well-balanced meals, which should include a mix of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, pulses, whole grains, and low carb foods. For example, you could pick up their groceries and batch cook healthy, nutritious dishes they could simply pop into the microwave.

Socialise Regularly

Those living with a mobility impairment might struggle to leave home often, which can make socialising a struggle. Unfortunately, this could lead to anxiety or depression. To care for their emotional health, you must provide your loved one with regular social interaction and conversation. Face-to-face interactions will help to banish loneliness and can lift their spirits.

A Safe Environment

A slip or a fall within the home could potentially cause a greater injury for your loved one. Care for their health and well-being by helping to provide them with a safe environment. For example, you must ensure each room is free from clutter, which could become a trip hazard. You could also introduce mobility aids to help them move across the home with ease, such as grab rails, stairlifts, and rise recliner armchairs.

6 Ways to Kick Bad Habits

Bad habits cannot only affect your mental and physical health, but they can also waste your time, money and energy. Although it’s common knowledge to let go of bad habits, it’s easier said than done. Even the most strong-willed of us can fail. However, if you want to finally break free from your unhealthy behaviour, here are six ways to kick bad habits.

 

  • Find a Healthier Substitute

 

Giving up a bad habit might seem easier said than done, but it doesn’t need to be. You simply need to find a healthier substitute that’ll improve your lifestyle. For example, if you want to say goodbye to traditional cigarettes, you should buy a vaping kit from Redjuice, as it will not feature any harmful cigarette smoke that negatively impacts your health. You could also choose healthier food alternatives, for instance, Greek yoghurt instead of the low-fat options that are usually laced with a high-sugar content.

 

  • Cut Out Triggers

 

Different situations can cause people to embrace their bad habits. For example, you might be tempted to put your hand into the biscuit tin if they are in your home. If so, you should throw them away. By identifying your triggers, you will be able to avoid them to improve your lifestyle. Give yourself the best chance possible by cleaning our your kitchen and not allowing friends or family to leave sweet treats around the house. Additionally, if you’re quitting smoking, don’t allow them to smoke inside your home or even around the perimeter.

 

  • Realise You Don’t Need to Become Someone Else

 

Many people believe they need to almost become someone else to break their bad habits, but that’s not the case. If you want to improve your lifestyle, you must realise you are not your bad habits. No-one needs to become a healthy person, they simply need to return to being a healthy person, as you more than likely haven’t had the habit all your life. Remember, you’ve lived without your vice before, so you can definitely do it again.

 

  • Avoid Negative Self-Talk

 

It can be easy to convince yourself you can’t do something, and it can be much harder to believe you actually can change your life. Whenever pessimistic thoughts strike, you must finish your sentence with “but…” For example, you could say “I’m unfit and overweight, but I could get in shape and enjoy a healthier body within a few months.”

 

  • Don’t Be Afraid of Failure

 

Everyone makes mistakes. It is what makes us human. Yet many people view a setback as a lack of willpower. As a result, they might be tempted to give into temptation, as they believe they don’t have the capability to follow up on their goals. It is therefore important to remember that failure can happen from time to time. There might be days when you indulge a little too much, skip a workout, or take a puff of a cigarette, but don’t let the mistake hold you back. Just accept it was a blip and get back on track as soon as possible.

 

  • Visualise Your Healthier Lifestyle

 

Every time you’re tempted to buy fat-filled snacks, indulge in too much alcohol or skip a workout, visualise yourself living a healthier lifestyle. Imagine looking and feeling healthier, happier, or leaner, or envisage throwing away a pack of cigarettes or buying healthier food. Usually, once you’ve worked out or said no to an unneeded cupcake, you feel fantastic, so try to remember this feeling. It will help you to realise that your dream can become a reality, so you’ll be less likely to embrace your bad habit.

3 Ways to Take Care of Your Little Ones

Raising children can be an indescribable feeling. Every day is different, and you’re likely to learn a lot about yourself while experiencing the joys of watching your little ones blossom. One of your deepest desires as a parent is likely to ensure your little ones are well taken care of. Seeing as parenthood doesn’t exactly come with a manual, this means sometimes figuring it out along the way and using your intuition and parental instincts. There are, however, key things you can do to ensure that they’re mentally, emotionally, and physically okay. You’re going to find three that you may find useful in the following article.

Attend Regular Drs. Appointments

This may seem obvious, but ensuring your kids attend regular doctor’s appointments is one way of taking care of them. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook these appointments, especially if you have a seemingly perfectly healthy child. It is, however, recommended that you visit the doctor at least once a year just for a general checkup if you have a school-aged child especially as sometimes, there may be health issues that go unnoticed. You should also note that sometimes doctors make mistakes and miss important signs as well as make existing conditions worse. If this happens to you, it’s key that you know that you can sue the NHS negligence and receive some compensation if they’re found to be in the wrong.

Communicate with Them Regularly

Keeping a consistent flow of communication is essential, especially when you have young children. Every child has unique needs, so while some happen to be extroverted and vocal, others may need a little more support and encouragement when it comes to expressing themselves. Tips for communicating with your little ones include asking them about their day, actively listening to what they have to say, creating environments which encourage conversation and encouraging them to share their feelings. It is also critical that you discuss difficult topics with them such as inappropriate touching, sex, abuse, and bullying. Tips for doing this is knowing the right time to go about it, ensuring others aren’t around, and asking as well as listening to questions they may have. Doing so could help keep them out of harm’s way and give them the courage to freely tell you if something is wrong.

Encourage Healthy Living

It is never too early to start educating your kids regarding healthy living. Whether they’re one or seven, you can begin teaching them healthy habits early. It could mean teaching them the importance of a healthy diet by ensuring they eat healthy foods such as rice, potatoes, meat, fish, yogurt, or fruit. In addition to a healthy diet, making sure they keep active and their mental wellbeing is also improving are also ways of looking after them and raising healthy kids.

Taking care of kids takes daily effort and dedication. However, many parents boast of it being one of the best jobs they’ve ever had. By following some of the tips above as well as using your instincts as a parent, you should raise well-balanced and happy kids.