Each and every year I spend time and money trying to find or replacing my children’s school belongings. Each year I vow this won’t happen again and I lecture the kids but to no avail.

The school lost property box and I are old friends.

I know I am not alone with this.

Every back to school I promise myself I will be more organised.


Neatlynamed conducted a survey with 1000 mums which highlighted  VAST amount of lost items as well as how much parents spend replacing missing items and the time spent looking for them.

Are you ready for these rather shocking results?

Parents £1,589 replacing items lost by their kids before the age of ten – and nearly two days in total looking for them.

That’s a horrible thought isn’t it!

What a complete waste of both time and money.

Apparently the average youngster misplaces a total of 483 belongings between the ages of three and ten. Oh yes (though with my daugter I swear it feels like more!)

Hats, jumpers and cuddly toys are apparently the most commonly lost items.

For us without any shadow of a doubt it is cardigans!

How many of those do you think are never found again …


How bizarre…where are all these missing items!

School or nursery is the place children tend to lose things most often – followed by when playing inside at home. So how does that happen? How can stuff sdisappear if you are inside. It boggles my mind but it happens with my kids regularly!


So what percentage of parents do you think label their kids possessions?

How much do parents spend on lost school items

Well actually it is a very sensible 75% that actually do label their kids clothes. And almost 70% of all parents acknowledged that  they are much more likely to find missing items when labelled. This makes complete sense and really we are saving ourselves so much time and money by labelling items we would be rally foolish not to.

Note to self.

As well as distressing parents  55 per cent admit kids find mislaying items traumatic too so it really does have a big impact.

So let’s get labelling!



Neatlynamed provides a range of self-adhesive stickers and name labels designed for children’s clothes and personal items. This includes its Peel ‘n Stick clothes labels, iron-on labels and shoe and sock labels as well as stickers for marking personal belongings. Easy and simple solutions!

All labels can be personalised with a child’s name, choice of colour and an icon.

This week Neatlynamed has also launched its new range of Disney themed clothing labels to help engage children in looking after their items and ensure they are easily identified. The new brightly coloured labels feature some of the most popular Disney characters  friends. Take a peek at www.neatlynamed.com.



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Did you know a  glass and a half of milk goes into every every 227g Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons?

I do love chocolate buttons don’t you?

I always pinch the kids.

Some recent research has indicated that nearly 18% of city kids surveyed perceived cows as a source of fear rather than potential friends, with one in 10 believing that a cow is the size of a double decker bus and over 10 per cent stating they’re even as small as cats.

Oh my!

In response to this Cadbury’s Buttons took a robotic life like  cow to the streets of London! Buttons (as the cow was affectionately named) was controlled through a mixture of robotics and two highly skilled puppeteers. It took 20 prop specialist more than 500 hours to create!


My kids at age 10 and 13 do know that cows give us a milk and they have met a fair few in their time.

They still think it would be rather awesome to adopt a cow though!


Adopt a Cow.



The Cadbury Adopt a Cow campaign is an exciting new initiative from Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons. It’s aim is to really educate kids about food and to give families the opportunity to adopt a cow of their own!

20 lucky families will also win the chance to have an overnight trip to meet their cow at its farm.

How exciting is that!

The competition closes on  31st August 2017 and special promotion packs can be found in the shops.


Further information

For further information on the ‘Adopt a Cow’ campaign go to https://adoptacow.cadbury.co.uk/

To keep up to date on other exciting news about Cadbury, visit www.facebook.com/cadburyUK or tweet @CadburyUK.



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I am a great believer in not spending money where you can . I am also a great believer in investing money if it will save you  more in the long run.

The products I have been reviewing form Beldray are the kind of products every home should have. They will all help you budget in the longer terms and are well worth the initial outlay as they are quality, practical products.

The Beldray cordless vac is fabulous. My daughter cleaned my car with it yesterday and it did a great job. I have been known to pay for a valet but with this little vac I can save my money, I love that it is rechargeable as that also means money on batteries is saved too. It comes with a wall mountable charging bases which is also brilliant for storage, It has some other really nifty features including the fact it can be both wet and dry spills – a squeegee nozzle is included for easily cleaning up liquids.There is also an additional tool to help you reach those hard to reach places like down the sofa.

I just love the fact it is cordless it makes it so simple and speedy to use and it can easily reach my car! At under £40 this is a great buy that should put an end to my car needing valeting.




One area where I definitely need to be more frugal is in regard to my laundry. I am a one for hammering the dryer as the time consuming faff of pegging clothes out for it then to rain drives me to distraction. This rather fabulous airer from Beldray is a really great alternative. Clothes can be hung easily and there are even slots for hangers which is a great idea. It can be simply lifeted in or out as the weather changes and holds so mucgh! great value at £19.99 and I can see this saving me a lot of money in the long term.

What a great piece of kit, it fold easily and is really sturdy too and it holds SO much.





Last but not least I reviewed this handy Beldray step ladder perfect for grabbing the apples off the tree for baking and for those DIY jobs that are just that bit too out of reach. Safe, handy and money saving too! At 19.99 I love the robustness and easy to fold aspects to htis great little stepladder and it is so handy!


So yes sometimes it really is worth investing in order to save and I’m not talking stocks and shares I am talking useful household products!

What wouldn’t you be without?




Liz Bayram, Chief Executive, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

The introduction of 30 hours funded childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds in September this year, could have a huge (and favourable) impact on your pocket and a knock-on effect on your household budget.

30 hours childcare

But with 30 hours comes confusion – what exactly are you entitled to? Who can you use your hours with? What is included? Are these hours really free? Here I am going to attempt to clarify the changes happening and what it means for you.

So let’s start with the basics. From September if you are a parent of a three- or four-year old in England, and you earn at least £120 per week and no more than £100,000 per year, you will be entitled to 30 hours per week of government-funded childcare during term time (38 weeks). These can be ‘stretched’ across the year to include school holidays and weekends – so you can use them all year round.

The beauty about 30 hours is you can take up a funded place with any provider on Ofsted’s Early Years Register, so that includes childminders, day nurseries, playgroups, pre-schools and nursery schools.

You do have to apply to get the entitlement (more details at the bottom of this blog) but once up and running you can split your hours across two different providers each day, so for example, you could choose a childminder and a nursery or pre-school.

When it comes to choosing childcare, handing over your precious offspring to a relative stranger can be heart-wrenching. But make the right choice, and you not only get peace of mind that your little one is being well looked after, but also that they get the best start in life. Do consider childminding as a flexible, home-based and high quality childcare option. Childminders are often overlooked, or misunderstood, but actually for a lot of children that home-from-home setting is the perfect environment for them to thrive.

At this point I should add that childminders are not ‘babysitters’ (!) even though sadly this is how they are often depicted. The truth is, registered childminders meet the same requirements for quality and procedures as nurseries. They are inspected by Ofsted, and they offer the same early education, the difference is they just provide care from their own home. Many childminders also work with other childminders and assistants – so often they can feel like ‘mini nurseries’, but with personalised care. In fact, 92% of childminders are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted. Recent research has shown that childminders have a particularly positive impact on young children’s language and cognitive development.

Whoever you choose to care for your children, you won’t be able to use your funded hours round the clock. It is up to them to choose when they offer funded places – but generally it would be between 6am and 8pm. If you do need flexible childcare then a childminder is definitely worth considering, because early starts, pick up and drops off are often part of their package and you will get a truly personal approach because they only look after small groups of children.

So is there a catch to 30 hours? The two things you need to consider are firstly, not every childcare provider will offer funded places, so it is worth starting your childcare search sooner rather than later.

Secondly, the funded places aren’t technically free. The rate that your childcare provider receives for delivering funded places does not include things like meals, snacks, nappies, wipes, etc.  Neither does it cover additional services like outings, classes, emergency cover etc. So there may be extra charges.

As a parent while there will be some costs, in the grand scheme of things the money you will spend is minimal versus the potential amount you will save on childcare, so do make the most of it.

For further information to help you with choosing childcare go to https://www.pacey.org.uk/parents/choosing-great-childcare/

Apply for 30-hour entitlement through the Government’s childcare service the term before you plan to start receiving it: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk.  

For more information about PACEY, including activity and home learning ideas, go to www.pacey.org.uk


Guest post




As an item of furniture, the bench is possibly the simplest in design and construction. But it makes for an ideal addition to any garden, no matter how big or small.

Building Your Ideal Garden Bench

Whether your garden is immaculately manicured or a mix of the wild and the cultivated, the garden bench has a place. It is an informal seating area, a welcome place to enjoy an impromptu gathering in the garden or half an hour with a glass of wine and a good book at the end of the day.

It is no wonder, therefore, that the popularity of wooden garden benches has never really diminished or fallen out of favour.

But there are different styles, shapes and sizes thus, getting the right bench for you and at the right price is essential.

Can you build your own garden bench?

With no more than a few tools, quality hardwood and a smattering of DIY knowledge and skills, it is possible to design and build your own garden bench. If you have the time and space, it is a DIY project that many people enjoy taking on and the results can be outstanding.

However, if you are not so inclined, ‘building’ your own bench may be about choosing the right design, shape and size from a range of high-quality wooden garden benches.

But, how do you choose the right bench? Aren’t they all the same?

You get what you pay for

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the styles and materials used in garden furniture. The consumer has more choice than ever. The range is vast, from outdoor dining sets to sofas and loungers.

But when it comes to wooden items, garden benches included, price does matter. And here’s why: cheaper prices means softwood. And soft woods are more readily available because they come from fast growing trees such as cedar, redwood and pine.

In some applications, there is nothing wrong with these softwoods. In fact, many garden furniture items are made from softwood. Protected with paint or varnished and kept indoors during the winter months and you can enjoy many years of use.

But hardwoods are predictably, more expensive as they come from slow growing trees. Hardwoods are far denser than softwoods and as a result, are longer lasting, more robust and with protection, such as varnish or oil, they can last a lifetime.

In other words, invest once and get the very best quality.

Thus, you need to decide on material – are you opting for softwood or are your prepared to stretch your budget to a hardwood garden bench?

Which is better – soft or hardwood? It’s not so much a case of which is best but which lasts longer with the least amount of effort and maintenance. Both types of wood will need some care and attention if they are being left out in the garden in all weather, including a protective waterproof cover. But in the main, hardwood garden benches are more robust and durable, more suited to outdoor applications such as garden benches.

Get the right size

Buying a wooden garden bench is a bit like buying a sofa. If the garden bench is going to an informal seat in a smaller corner of the garden, a romantic hub for two or a place where you spend an hour or so with a favourite book, then a smaller garden bench makes sense.

But if you are a family of four and all of you intend sitting out on it, then a two-seater bench simply will not do.

As well as this, you may also want to consider the size of your garden. If your garden is relatively small, a huge bench may look a little out of place.

Size is not just about the physical space the garden bench will consume but about dimensions too. Will the bench be too big in a space?

Consider design and style

There are, as you would expect, a growing range of designs and styles of wooden garden benches.

There is the traditional style – the straight back and seating platform, complete with two robust arms.

And there is the high-backed garden bench and those with shaped backed. These can come with more ornate detail than the traditional garden bench style.

And then there are other shapes, such as the banana garden bench. Softly curving, it allows two people to ‘huddle’, enjoying whispered conversation and time together in a garden.

Which garden bench suits you and your garden?

In deciding which one is best, you will need to consider your budget and whether it will stretch to a hardwood bench, which size is best and which style is appealing. Which will you choose?



Sloane & Sons have a growing range of hardwood garden benches and chairs, along with garden bench accessories that make looking after garden furniture so much easier.


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