Starting a family is an expensive business – there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a big commitment. Recent research revealed that on average new parents will spend £184 a week on necessities such as food, clothing, nappies and childcare, equating to £9,568 in the first year of parenthood. This is a third of the UK average salary of £28,000.

cost of a new addition to the family

With statutory maternity pay of £139.58 per week this potentially leaves the majority of parents with a weekly shortfall of £44.42 – or more than £2,300 a year – even without taking other costs such as housing costs or food for adults into consideration.

Other than dipping into savings, stretching maternity pay and trying budgeting measures how else can you manage?

One less obvious but easy option is looking into if you’ve ever taken out PPI. And if you haven’t considered this as an option the end result could take you by surprise. Claims management firm We Fight Any Claim (WFAC) estimates that around 10 million Brits have yet to come forward to stake their claim on the £40bn assigned by the banks to payout to misled customers. It’s probable that you could be one of the millions of claimants owed anywhere upwards of £1,000.

According to WFAC, the average PPI offer is £1,247.61. Since the PPI scandal, a total of £26.2bn has been paid back to UK consumers. You might have seen WFAC on TV recently with comedy legend John Cleese fronting a series of no-holds barred banker bashing adverts.

We Fight Any Claim is one of the UK’s largest claims management companies having reclaimed over £340 million in compensation for thousands of customers since 2010. Find out more about how easy it is to claim at www.wefightanyclaim.com or by calling and to their team on 0800 355 0000.

To see video case studies of successful We Fight Any Claim customers visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr-shonCVPMxNjZ-swq2FkBp92qMmKxo9

 

 

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Some weeks in blog world are better than others and I have to say undertaking Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn Review was a winner!

Oh I do rather love popcorn, don’t you?

Prior to undertaking this Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn review we probably only ever ate popcorn  at the cinema or on a very occasional movie night at home. I suppose I saw it as a bit of an indulgence and not too healthy really.

The lovely people At Metcalfe’s sent us a box of their best to try out their healthy range …

Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn Review

Healthy!

I was a tad worried if I am honest because very often healthy options are pretty tasteless and my kids revolt! I made sugar free cakes once for a blog post and they were  YUCK! My kids made me swear I’d never put them through  it again!

I have to say though with Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn there was no disappointment at all, not for anyone. We were unanimous in thinking it was delicious.

Metcalfe’s is HEALTHY popcorn that doesn’t taste like its healthy ( if you know what I mean.) It is truly scrumptious.

Metcalfe’s ensure all their  popcorn is  made without artificial flavours and colours. Each flavour more has less than 125 calories per serving and it is made with the very best butterfly popcorn and it’s fabulous!

The range includes Sweet ‘n Salt, Cinema Sweet, Cinnamon Sweet, Sea Salt and Maple Bacon.

 

Our favourites

My absolute favourite was the sea salt and it was  fabulous to snack on as I worked. It was light and tasty and just hit the spot!

My daughter’s favourite was the Cinema Sweet which she snuck a second bag of when she thought I wasn’t looking. Is that a guilty face? Hmm. I think it might well be.

 

My husband took the bacon and maple pack into work to share. His colleague Ollie was delighted, saying he ….

‘loved the popcorn and the fact he could snack at work without piling on the pounds!’

 

Popcorn is just made for sharing! I love the big bags as they really lend themselves to this. The smaller bags are rather fabulous too, the perfect snack size for one.

I think the idea of a 6 pack variety bag is a total winner as it would keep us all happy, it’s just right  for a family with a variety of favourites!

I persuaded my son to try sweet and salty  which he found ‘oddly strange’  and ‘strangely nice’  He actually managed to munch half the big bag as he chilled out watching a film after school.

 

Metcalfe’s make us all happy!

 

You can buy Metcalfe’s from Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, on Ocado and in leading independent retailers.

 

Popping Popcorn!

Metcalfe’s is such a fun brand and their adverts are really good have you seen them?

If you want to see another hilarious Metcalfe’s ad pop over here

It gets a big thumbs up from us!

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Marriages end and relationships break up all the time. Even if we think it will never happen to us the odds are petty even that it might, this is a sad reality. The Independent recently cited 42% of UK marriages end in divorce.

How do I sell my engagement ring

As a result of relationship breakdown money is often tight, as possessions are divided and bills no longer shared. You may need to put a deposit on new accommodation too. It can be a difficult time, both emotionally and financially.

There are many hidden costs to divorce.

Rather than getting a loan (they always have to be paid back in the end, don’t they! ) making some extra money instead can be really useful at this time.

Asking yourself ‘How do I sell my engagement ring?’ may well be something you have to do. Selling on your rings may be the perfect way to both make a fresh start and some decent money to help you out when you need it. It can be an emotional experience but you need to keep a cool, clear head to get the best price possible for your ring.

I have a friend who was engaged several times and always held on to her engagement rings after the relationship broke up. This was fine until she got married and her lifetime partner was not amused by her little stash. She was happy to sell them on to a high-street gold buyer but got very little for them and wondered if she had made a rash decision.

You can have your jewellery valued by brokers you find online and who you send your details to. Unlike with auctions you will know how much you are going to make before you agree to the sale. Specialist services will often offer more money for your items than a jewellery shop or pawnbroker.

You need to be making considered decisions and work with recognised professionals to get the best value you can.

So don’t act out of desperation. You can still have a quick, smooth transaction whilst getting the most for the items you need to sell.

 

 

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In an era where play is seen as the antithesis of hardcore learning, and free play is often tossed aside in favor of rigid scheduling, lessons, sports and more, we often forget that playing is critical for child development—and its role in setting children up for success as well-balanced, capable adults.

According to the Child Development Institute, play is critical in the development of synapse formation, which starts at birth, all the way until the brain reaches its final stage of development. This process sets the tone for how children relate to the world, solve problems and gain an understanding of relationships.

 

 

Creativity

Play gives children a chance to come up with new worlds that they have agency in, and that allow them to think on their feet, addressing challenges as they come along. Fostering a child’s natural ability during their youth makes them more likely to carry the spirit of innovation well into adulthood, too.

 

Emotional Development

Play offers children a chance to develop on an emotional level, helping kids build self-esteem and confidence, to establish relationships with peers and learn a range of feelings like joy and happiness, as well as the skills needed to cope with stresses that come their way.

 

Physical Development

Regular physical activity helps kids learn coordination, motor skills, and balance, while at the same time, using their energy reserves. Active kids sleep better and have an easier time managing stress. Plus, kids that get the doctor-recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day are likely to get better test scores when they head back to the classroom.

 

Activities to Offer Kids for Better Development

While letting kids run around, ask questions and more is great, sometimes a quiet day indoors needs a little fun infused into the mix. Here’s a few ideas to get young brains in motion, and they won’t realize they’re learning.

 

  • Colouring — Between making choices about color and staying in the lines, coloring is a great way to both relieve some stress and focus on creativity. And it doesn’t matter if it’s digital or analog, for something more mess-free, but just as fun, try the Android Mandala Coloring App.

 

  • Puzzles — Great for smaller children, puzzles focus on relationships between the pieces, activating the part of the brain that makes connections.

 

  • Board Games — Similar to puzzles, board games are great for stimulating the brain, and making kids make choices, follow directions and applying big picture strategy to try and outsmart opponents.

 

Play Doesn’t Need an Academic Element

When it comes down to it, leaving your kids alone from time to time and opting out of the programming shuffle every now and again can be critical to your child’s ability to start navigating the world around them. According to Dr. Alison Gopnik, engaging in pretend play – i.e. imaginary friends, alternate worlds and more, set the tone for a flexible adulthood and don’t require a structured curriculum or set of enrichment worksheets. Offer kids a little space, and trust us, they’ll be learning whether they know it or not.

 

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St. Georges Day goes largely unnoticed by so many people, which I think is a real shame.  Not only is it a day where parents can teach their children a little about their country’s history but it’s also built around a story containing heroic knights and dragons!  If that’s not a perfect compromise between the grown-ups and the kids, I don’t know what is.  St. George’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so I’m looking forward to having a little fun, English style.  Here are some of my ideas so far!

  • Knights and Dragons

 St. George’s Day Ideas for Thrifty Families

 

If it’s a nice enough day, get a few families together and head to the park.  Some classic games can be restructured a bit to fit the theme of knights and dragons, and a bit of face paint will do the rest of the work.  You can try capture the flag with a knights and dragons theme or hide and seek, where the knights have to hunt down the vicious dragons!

 

  • Visit a Local Museum

Many local museums will be having special events or discounted pricing on St. George’s Day, so there’s no better time to take a peek.  Many children think museums are boring just because everyone says they are but have never actually been to one except maybe on a school trip.  Take this opportunity to expose your family to the magic and fun of museums!

 

  • Have a Dragon BBQ

 

If you don’t feel like leaving home, why not head outside all the same and fire up the grill?  Tell stories of St. George and all his heroic acts, and then tell the kids that you’ve procured some dragon meat you are going to cook.  We are veggie so in our case we would cook lots of lovely veggies and quorn burgers and cover them in some spicy BBQ sauce and dare them to take a taste!  If you live in the city and a BBQ isn’t an option, you can always order a delivery or takeaway from your local sorcerer and have some roast dragon sent right to your door!

 

 

  • Have a Scavenger Hunt

Tell the kids that they need to follow the clues to discover a secret and find the dragon!  Each clue should lead them to search for a fact about English history or to learn a little about English culture.  Choose your favourite English bands, films and traditions to make a part of the hunt!  When they finally complete the hunt, reveal the “secret” (the story of St. George and the dragon) and give them a few dragon themed sweets like these adorable dragon cupcakes!

 

 

  • DIY Helmets and Princess Caps

 

 

A bit of construction paper, cardboard, and aluminium foil is all you need to get crafty and make some festive caps for the little ones.  While you work, play some English tunes and tell stories about the history of this country.  After they’ve finished with their new headwear, you can give them some Toys R Us foam swords and tell them to go slay a dragon!

 

 

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