Give Your Children a Party They Will Remember Forever

When it comes to pleasing our children, it seems nothing is too much effort. We are locked in a constant battle between keeping them happy and spoiling them.


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At least once though, every child deserves a party. A 16th birthday is a great time to throw a bash, as they are at the age where impressing their friends is important to them. You must get it right, however, as the repercussions to their social life will be severe in their eyes.

So, you have decided to give your child a once in a lifetime party. How do you go about such a project? Read on; you will find here some top tips for giving your child a party they will remember forever.


Don’t try to host the party at home unless you have a very large house; most people don’t. Your local community centre will be only too happy to host the party for a small fee. Your community centre may still be owned by the council, but many have been sold off. There should be contact details on the noticeboard, or on the doors to the building.

There may be a social club local to you. These clubs often have a function room available for hire too for a very low cost. The function room will probably have a stage and a good sized dance floor. Ask around and see what is available.

Party Style

Decide what kind of party it is to be. Fancy dress parties are all the rage now and with online costume shops such as Hollywood Fancy Dress Hire and others, why wouldn’t they be? You can expect to see some raunchy costumes at a teen’s party. Fancy dress costumes have come a long way in recent years and thanks to their availability online there is something to suit everyone’s taste.


The kids are going to want to boogie on down until their feet have blisters. Don’t try and be a DJ yourself, this is only doomed to failure and embarrassment. Hire a professional who knows how to get the party going and also has the latest tunes. Your old Dire Straits album just won’t cut the mustard here.

Hire a Celebrity

If you have a few thousand pounds to spare, you could hire a celebrity to pop in and wish your child a happy birthday. Now remember, the person who is a celebrity to you, may not be a celebrity to them. So before hiring Ken Barlow for a personal appearance, think carefully. The kids are far more likely to respond well to a member of One Direction.

Food and Drink

Hire caterers to lay on the food. Try to keep it age appropriate too. Jelly is more suitable for younger children but may not be sophisticated enough for teens trying to impress their friends. Maybe for the older children, sandwiches, gateaux and plenty of finger food would be better. When thinking about drinks, younger kids are fine with orange squash but older children will need sugar filled coke to look good in front of their peers.

There are many other steps you can take to make your children happy and proud in front of their friends. The biggest thing to remember is to keep yourself out of the way while it is all going down. You are an embarrassment! Good luck.


The Best Ideas for Taking it Easy When Pregnant

For most ladies being pregnant is one of the most magical experiences in their lives. The thought of carrying around a brand new human being inside you is just too exciting to put into words.

Having said that, being pregnant also has its dull, mundane side to it. Walking around with an extremely large belly for several months isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world and you need to be careful not to exert yourself too much in the latter stages. If you are in this situation and are getting frustrated at not being able to do everything you used to do then here are some ideas for taking it easy but not being bored at the same time.

Watch a Pregnancy Documentary

Have you watched a pregnancy documentary yet? There are some fantastic ones around which will help you understand the process more and will really build up your anticipation levels for that special moment when the little one is born. Personally, I would avoid those tasteless or overly graphic documentaries about problematic pregnancies or births gone wrong.  If you are emotionally rather delicate just now then this kind of thing might just upset you. Instead, I would look out for sensitive and classy pregnancy documentaries. The BBC has shown some very nice documentaries about pregnancy which are well worth settling down with and watching.  There are also a lot of movies and TV shows about being pregnant and about motherhood which you might be interested in. You probably don’t want to overdose on this sort of stuff though, so try and mix up your viewing with some other types of programme as well.

Play Some Games Online

If you are used to living an active sort of life then it can be difficult to slow down when your body tells you to do so. A good idea in this case is to find a hobby which is exciting but which you can do without moving about too much. Online bingo and slots games are good examples of what this can mean. Because these sites offer a chat facility you might even end up talking other mothers or mums to be while playing. A site such as will make you feel safe and welcome on your first visits.

Read a Book About Motherhood and Family Life

For this last point I’m not talking about text books explaining what it is to be a mother. Instead, I mean inspirational books about real life or fictional mothers who went through the kind of challenges which make for good reading and hopefully a happy ending. There are also plenty of funny books around about bad parenting which will make you laugh out loud. My Former Heart is a fine tale which isn’t exclusively about motherhood but which is sure to strike a few chords with you if you are expecting. Another book worth mentioning is Little Earthquakes. This light hearted novel is about the very different approaches to pregnancy taken by three different women.

Men Shoe Fashion Tips That You Should Know About

When it comes to choosing the right shoes to wear, we may think than men are not as fussy as women and that they don’t bother much about what’s in and what’s trendy. There might be some men who would get contented with simply wearing the same pair of sneakers every single day. However, many of the guys these days are very particular wearing the right shoes in every occasion they are into.

Although men’s fashion when it comes to shoes is quite simple, there are general rules when picking the right shoes. Whether it’s a work shoes, for sports or for casual use, it is important that every man should know how to look good in every instance.

For work and business events. When picking the right shoes for suits or business attires, oxfords and wing tip style are some of your best options. Shoes made of shinier material, less bulky heels and soles are often classified as dressier shoes. You might always opt for black. The golden rule is that, you should wear a shoe with the same color or darker than the pants you are wearing.


For casual and lifestyle wear. Other than wearing sandals and slip-ons, finding the perfect casual and comfortable shoes that you can use daily is important. There are absolutely a lot of shoes that goes with a casual getup. It would often depend on what kind of look you are trying to achieve. Shoes for casual attire should perfectly flexible and should go best with any clothing. You can’t go wrong with loafers, suede and leather, colors brown, grays and blue.

For sports and outdoor extreme activities. Men can’t live without sports. Such, having the perfect shoes to wear is necessary. Sports are specifically designed to endure every wear and tear. With the purpose of keeping your feet comfortable and avoid cuts and blisters. There are many available slip-resistant shoes, designed with anti-slip soles. Both your comfort and protection should be considered.

Shoe manufacturers these days are even starting to create highly innovative shoe designs to fit in the kind of lifestyle that the world has. For men, shopping for the right kind of shoes is crucial. Unlike women, you probably don’t want to have a closet of shoes, what you need is to have the perfect shoes to wear at any occasion. Keep them simple, yet trendy and put your own feet’s safety your top priority.

How to Share the Joy of Your Hobby with Your Child

I have always loved vintage clothing, but what makes shopping for it even better for me now is that my daughter comes along with me to go through flea markets, antique shows, car boots, and charity shops. She loves collecting mini pocketbooks and animal print clothing! Sharing your own hobby with your child is a joy like no other – believe me! It’s important that you try to make each visit or session short and fun for your child, otherwise they can get bored and fed up. In my case, I make games for her, like ‘whoever finds a vintage clothing stall first wins!’. Sharing your hobby with your child adds a whole new level to your relationship – you’ll love it. Nothing will make you and your child bond faster than building a passion, so here’s how to do it:


Photo Source: Flickr

Let Them Hang out With You

To pique your child’s interest, you should first let them hang out with you as you pursue your passion, whatever it may be. This could be anything; letting your son stay with you in the garage while you play about with cars, or letting your daughter shop for vintage clothing with you like me. Eventually, they might start asking questions and want to help you or try something for themselves. To involve your child fully, make sure you tell them exactly what you’re doing. For example, if you’re cooking something, you could say ‘I’m sprinkling the herbs into the mince now and I’m going to combine everything with my hands’. When you get to one of your favourite parts, make sure you tell them why it’s one of your favourite parts and ask them if they want to help. Ask their opinion on things too, but don’t forget to use kid language to make them interested.

Make Time

If you truly want your child to enjoy your hobby as much as you, you need to create an unpressured atmosphere and a sense of continuity throughout it all. You need to make time with your child a priority. This time doesn’t have to be particularly long, but you definitely need to set some time aside and stick to it.

Break it Down

If you give your child too much detail about the complex parts of your hobby, they’ll get frustrated as they won’t understand – even if you only collect dinky toys! How can you reduce your activity so it’s in the simplest form possible? Anything beyond your child’s ability will be a struggle and they won’t find it fun.

You could even consider what it was like for you when you first developed this passion, and write down the kind of pointers you could have used at the time. To make sure it makes sense, show it to a friend who doesn’t know anything about your hobby and see if it makes sense to them. Try to make as little assumptions as possible while writing the pointers.

No matter what, it’s important that you make this time relaxed, special, and fun. Don’t get angry with them if something goes wrong or you feel they are progressing slowly, or they will stop enjoying it. It’ll take time for them to get as good as you!


How to Make Your Living Room Attractive and Child Friendly

Kids keep us young, and exhausted. They are the reason, however, that most of us go to such great lengths to  make a home and a nest. The home itself is a never ending project that we pour lots of money into and spend so much time working on.


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As parents, we must always keep in mind that, especially while the kids are young, we may not be able to achieve perfection in our upgrades and decorating. In fact, it would be unfair if we attempted it. By trying to make things perfect, we often find ourselves constantly telling the children off for making marks on furniture or spilling drinks. This spoils our experience of raising children, and their experience of growing up in the home.

There are a few ways we can have an attractive living room while making it child friendly at the same time. Here are a few of my ideas; I hope you can take, and use, some of them in your own room.

Furniture Selection

Select sofas and armchairs that are made from a durable and stain resistant material. When you are at the showroom, the salesmen will try to convince you that a fabric sofa, which is proving hard to sell, has been treated with the latest anti-stain chemicals and is indestructible, Don’t believe them, there isn’t a fabric out there that can withstand a happy family. Instead, choose a leather, or faux leather suite that can simply be wiped over when a spill or mark appears. That way you can all sit without getting anxious about stains.

When choosing wooden cabinets and tables, it is a good idea to avoid items that have sharp corners. Most furniture these days can be found with rounded edges. Now, it will still hurt if the kids trip and bang their heads, but rounded edges can save the need for stitches.

Laminate It

Lay a laminate, or even real wood floor if you are concerned about muddy feet treading over carpets. Young children do run in and out of the house when they are playing, and there is no point trying to fight it. This floor is easy to lay by even a DIY beginner. The only skill needed is being able to use a saw, which anyone can do. The boards click together now, so there is no need to worry about getting glue all over the place. The flooring is hardwearing, easy to clean, attractive, and can even be lifted and installed in another room when you feel like a change.

Soft Furnishings

Kids can fall asleep on a clothesline; therefore, it is a good idea to have a couple of beanbags in the room for them to flop on. When watching television before bed in the evenings, they will probably love to cuddle under a throw that sits on the back of the sofa. Plenty of cushions are a good idea too so they can get comfy.

The rest of the decorating, in my opinion, can be as expensive and beautiful as would be found in a home without children. Just these few basic changes can make your room a happier, attractive, safer place until your children have grown. You can’t put a price on that.


How to Save a Fortune on Children’s Clothing

As much as we love our children, the cost of raising them seems to be constantly increasing. Let us look at the figures – it costs over £200,000 to raise one child until the age of 21. That does not take into consideration educational costs, should your child want to go on to university. Now we’ve taken a moment to let that hideous sum sink in, it makes good sense to ensure that you save as much money as possible, without compromising quality.

Kids have a knack of growing out of everything that they own at the time you need them to least. Naturally, we want our children to look smart and presentable, but by ensuring that they look their best we do not have to part with huge sums of money in the process. It’s not like I’m letting you in on the world’s biggest un-kept secret that kids grow out of their stuff fast!

There are so many ways for frugal parents to save a fortune on kids clothes. Clothing outlets tend to sell big names for a nominal sum. While the clothes may be from last season, this does not mean you have compromised quality. Your kids will look like the bell of the ball once you have decked them out in their finery. Buying clothes ‘out of season’ will save you a fortune, and they will still look adorable.

Do look online for big savings on children’s clothes. There is a wide range of online retailers that offer designer second hand children clothes at incredible prices. It is always worth checking them out, especially if you have a big occasion coming up and you want your little ones to look their best. Do remember to check clothes thoroughly and ensure that they are in good condition. Do remember to buy kiddies clothing in half a size bigger. That’s not to say your kids clothes should swamp them, but giving them some ‘growing room’ allows your bank balance some breathing space!

Other great ways of saving money on children’s clothing is to buy gender neutral clothes, especially for newborns and babies. For some unbeknown reason, retailers seem to hike the price up of pink or blue clothing, by sticking to gender neutral colours, you can accessorise with different colours should you want to make a statement.

Reusing clothes is a great way to save cash too. Should you have a large family, pass down clothing that is still in good wearable condition to siblings. It seems that we often sell our kiddies good clothes on to others, but reusing them within the parameters of your own family is a great way to save money.

For savvy parents, saving money on kids clothing is the tip of the iceberg. There are so many ways to keep your children looking beautiful, without breaking the bank. Giving your child, or children, a good wardrobe is incredibly easy when you follow the aforementioned money-saving tips. You do not have to compromise style when saving money, and your kids will still look super cute!


The Most Embarrasing Birth Questions Answered (WARNING: Honest Answers)

When you’re pregnant, a million and 1 questions go through your head per minute – some of them more appropriate to ask than others. Some questions are, well, embarrassing! Plus, you might not want to hear the answers. We’ve all heard labour horror stories, but where do you turn to hear the truth? Just what should you expect in the throes of labour? We answer the most embarrassing birth questions here, but be warned: the answers are totally honest, so you might not like what you hear…


Photo Source: Flickr

Should I Neaten Up My Bikini Area?

Years ago, the midwife would shave every woman when they came in to have their baby, as it was easier for the doctor to repair a cut in the event of a episiotomy. Now, it’s all totally down to your personal preference. Nobody will bat an eyelid no matter what you have down there.

Will There Be Many Internal Examinations?

Vaginal examinations will be limited during labour, but you’ll usually have an examination when you arrive at hospital. After that you may have an examination 2-4 hours to monitor your progress. This can be uncomfortable, so discuss them with your midwife in order to understand them.

What Should I Wear When Giving Birth?

Many birthing rooms are private, so you can wear what you like or even nothing at all. Sarongs work really well. Swimming tops can also be great if you’re shy about showing your breasts. Clothing can become annoying towards the end of labour, so don’t be surprised if you want the whole lot off. Babies also love skin to skin contact after birth.

Will My Husband/Partner Go Off Sex if He Sees Me Give Birth from ‘Down There’?

All men are different. While some men might find it fascinating or even beautiful, some men will find it confronting to watch. You should definitely discuss this together beforehand so he knows what to expect.

Will I Poo During Labour? How Will it Be Handled?

It’s common for women to poo during labour. When your baby comes through the birth canal, there’s no room for anything else so everything else is expelled. Your midwife will have seen it many times before, so she won’t even be fazed – you might not even know you’ve done it.

Will Gas and Air Make Me Say Embarrassing Things?

Gas and air can help you to focus and take the edge off your pains. You might be a bit giggly, and you might say things that don’t make sense, but everyone around you will be glad you’re smiling. If you’re really worried about saying embarrassing things, you could always hire a Tens machine from

Will Sex Feel The Same?

You’ll need to give yourself time to heal, but yes, your sex life will return to normal. Pelvic floor exercises can be a lifesaver!

See? Childbirth isn’t that bad – women do it time and time again, so that’s got to count for something. Good luck!


How to date when you have kids


Being a single parent doesn’t mean a romantic life is beyond reach, merely that dating needs approaching differently. Single parents should acknowledge that going out clubbing and dancing till dawn are over – meeting a ‘special someone’ is far more likely to happen at the school gates, in the supermarket queue or increasingly, online.

Chances are, with one or more gorgeous children in tow, life is a busy whirlwind of school, social and sports engagements, homework, domestic drudgery and more – finding time to fit in some dating can prove challenging. That’s why many single parents choose the online dating option for its flexibility and convenience. At the end of a working day, followed by an evening of catering, organisation and childcare, it can sometimes seem there is no time left for a personal, ‘grown up’ life.

Many singles are extremely focussed on the happiness of their children, but when he or she feels down due to a lack of adult companionship, this can have a negative impact on the tight family unit. Who doesn’t feel better for a loving, rewarding relationship? Single parents are just as deserving of romance and fortunately it has become easier to find it with the advent of online dating.

Since its early days in the 1990s, online dating has evolved into a smart, safe and effective way of finding a partner. Internet agencies such as Global Personals (find out more on their Wikipedia) cater for all types of people from old to young, single or divorced, gay or straight, widow or widower, outdoorsy or stay-at home – working on the basis that for everybody, there is a somebody.

On the face of it, online dating is the perfect solution for busy single parents. After the children are in bed it’s possible to go online and socialise with like-minded people. No babysitters, totally controllable, secure and flexible, Internet dating takes much of the hassle out of finding a new friend. By getting to know potential suitors well before a first meeting, the chances of a successful outcome are increased.

Tell a potential date about children in the early stages, they are part of the package and it’s only fair to inform a new love interest of the situation. Be prepared for it to put some people off, and yet others won’t bat an eyelid – they are the keepers, and the one’s to focus on for the future. Any long-term relationship is only going to work if based on secure footings of honesty and clarity – with online dating there is potential for misreading situations and daters need to be conscious of such dangers.

It is equally important to keep children informed. Younger children are usually more receptive to a new person in their parent’s life, older kids being more resistant to change. That said, if children are kept in the loop there’s no reason a new partner wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms.

Having kids is no longer an excuse for sitting out of the dating game. With the help of online dating there has never been a simpler, more convenient way of searching for that special someone. Everybody deserves a little loving, and with online dating, it’s got so much easier to find…

10 Amazing Useful Wooden Crafts You Can Make Yourself

The world is full of DIYers, and there are also many people in the arts and crafts world that love to build things for themselves. One of the most popular things that people like to do in their spare time is to make things from wood.

But I’m not talking about random objects that people might make just for fun or out of boredom, I’m talking about useful things that can be used on a daily basis!

Check out the following 10 project examples that you could work on at home using nothing more than ordinarily household tools and things like hot melt glue!

1. Wooden tea light holders

Image Source: Fiona Crawford

Tea lights are typically used to set a romantic mood in any home, but they don’t look particularly attractive unless they are contained in something, such as these beautiful wooden tea light holders.

2. Wooden photograph holder for walls

Image Source: Connie Jane McAuliffe

Many people have some kind of photograph holders that they use on their walls, and some people even opt for those frames that you can put multiple photographs in. But if you want something truly bespoke, how about creating some wooden photograph holders?

3. Wooden shabby chic signs

Image Source: Erica Barker

Shabby chic is a popular way to decorate your home, and essentially refers to rustic-looking furniture. Using some spare bits of wood you have and some paint, you can achieve the same effect yourself to create some stylish wooden shabby chic signs!

4. Wooden coffee table

Image Source: Rachael Austin

Coffee tables made from wood are nothing new; after all, such tables have adorned the living rooms of many a home around the world for decades, and even centuries. If you’re looking for something unique rather than a flat-packed mass-produced design, how about using bits of actual tree to create your own bespoke wooden coffee table!

5. Wooden magnetic key holder

Image Source: Joanne Taylor

Standard key holders made of wood are so last year! Instead, why not create one that’s got a magnetic inside of it, so that you can simply fling your keys onto it rather than them being hooked on?

6. Wooden wall mirror frame

Image Source: Jack Bishop

Wall mirrors come in all shapes and sizes, but if you are bored of the way your one looks, why not create an awesome new frame for it using reclaimed wood?

7. Wooden bench

Image Source: FXG Art

Loads of people have some wood lying around in their gardens or sheds, or even in their garages, for example. Consider using some of that wood up to create an easy-to-make bench!

8. Wooden laptop case

Image Source: Albert Sackey

Laptop owners tend to buy fabric ‘sleeves’ for their laptops, but if you want something more durable, why don’t you create a wooden laptop case!

9. Wooden children’s tree branch mobile

Image Source: Tara Williamson

Here’s a useful way to repurpose an old tree branch: turn it into a children’s mobile for a nursery room!

10. Wooden smartphone dock

Image Source: Joneliot Hyman

Do you hate leaving your smartphone and charger cable lying around on your desk, making it look messy? If so, build your own wooden smartphone dock!

How to achieve your goals in 2014

Having goals and aspirations, no matter how big or small, is imperative to feeling accomplished, gaining self-confidence and simply enjoying life. Many believe their fate is left to the divine; It’s In The Stars . While that is one unique perspective, standing around waiting for your goals to happen is not the most productive, efficient or even effective way of achieving your goals. Most high-achievers will tell you that it takes persistence and dedication, but mainly they are proactive about getting what they want – and here’s how they do it.

Make your goals SIMPLE

Keep your eye on the prize. Remaining focused on a clear goal creates higher levels of motivation which is an essential element in achieving it. Don’t clog your mind with complex pseudo goals like ‘I want to travel with friends, get an overseas job and save lots of money.’ That’s not a goal, that’s more of a PLAN. And plans requiredetails, which takes us to our next point.

Make your goals SPECIFIC

If you’re being vague about your goal, you’re setting yourself up for constant disappointment. High achievers understand that all aspects of goal setting must be determined, down to each precise detail. Want to save money? Set an amount. Want to lose weight? Give yourself a specific target. If you know what you’re aiming for, you have a much better chance of obtaining it.

Make your goals EXCITING

The point of a goal is to get yourself motivated about being successful. If you’re not excited about your goal, you’re more likely to stagnate and lose your passion for it. Keep a visual representation of your goals where you can see it every day, it will help to keep you focused and take small steps towards making it a reality with every passing day.

Make your goals MEASURABLE

Set yourself specific times to beat or numbers to reach – whether your goal is to go to the gym 4 times a week or do 50 sit-ups, it’s more likely to get done when you add numbers to the mix. Measuring your success helps define future goals, ensuring you continue gaining confidence and momentum towards success.

Make your goals KNOWN

You’re more likely to stick to your goals if you share them with those around you. This makes you accountable for any loss of progress and as such is more likely to keep you on track. Once you’ve set a goal, tell your family and friends – they’ll not only support you, they’ll also inadvertently challenge you to reach it.

Make your goals TANGIBLE

Write what you want down. Write it down every day if it helps. Seeing it in black and white may give you the push you need to achieve what you want from life. Chase after goals you know you will enjoy.

Setting yourself up for success is visualising what you want, knowing how to get it then using dedication and persistence combined with a proactive approach. Your goals ARE achievable. Make 2014 your year!