10 Reasons Why Having LESS Toys Is Good For Your Children?

Lately, the two littlest in our household started to lead a lifestyle of a hoarder. They not only receive a lot of gifts (a lot of times without any specific reason or special occasion) but they also collect junklike stuff they want to keep and play with. Like colourful empty bottles, tissue paper, ribbons, etc. My eldest even steals things from the nursery, I keep finding random little objects in his pockets when we get home. We still have the top of his wardrobe full of unopened presents from his birthday. Untouched Kinder surprise eggs hiding in the kitchen which he keeps getting from the grandparents by the box of 5 (!!!). It takes a lot of effort from us to make our lovely folks to understand that they simply have to stop buying too much stuff for the children. We look like really mean parents! But, they don’t need (and they are definitely not going to get) a surprise egg every day. We are running out of space to store toys they are not playing with. Lots of them break or stop working within a few weeks or months and end up in landfill. So I decided to declutter. And declutter regularly.

These are my reasons, but if this isn’t enough reason to declutter and cut down on impulse buys, here’s some more:

1. Encouraging innovative thinking

They simply have to invent plays and games to entertain themselves. For children, this supposed to be a natural way of discovering the world and part of their development. Like using empty food cartons and boxes to create a shop instead of buying a miniature plastic toy shop set. (With 120 pieces.) Or make some. Just use a real jute bag when they go pretend play shopping. Use carton boxes and build a car. They will soon start to change their way of thinking and play with what’s available.

2. Learning to ask for permission 

Naturally, some things are forbidden and they are not toys. Some things they should never touch. They will learn sooner what objects in the household are not allowed to play with and what are they used for.

4. Becoming more creative 

Going hand in hand with innovative thinking, it enables children to make use of things. Use that tissue paper collection to cover the racing car made of an empty cardboard box. Cut out numbers of paper. The car also needs wheels, lamps, a car key maybe?

5. Playing independently 

They engage better with the fewer toys they have. The experience is talking over here. Not long ago, my firstborn always wanted to play with the IPad. (We use IPad strategically, and he gets a half an hour here and there, 2-3x a week.) He was BORED. Wondering around, trying to figure it out what to play with, picked some toy up, played with that for a minute or two, then wandering around again aimlessly. So we put two-third of the toys away. All of a sudden the remaining toys became interesting. Why? Because:

6. Too much stuff causes stress 

Not just in children, it effects everyone. I personally feel very anxious when the mess is bigger what I than I can tolerate and things are not at their normal place or not being put away. So, when my little boy becomes anxious he starts to run around, from wall to wall in the hall, sometimes for 10-15 minutes till he gets very tired. This is how he copes with overstimulation and anxiety. Nowadays, this happens a lot less since we’re doing conscious efforts to declutter regularly, he’s a calmer and more cooperative too.

7. Less toys teaches the idea of sharing and taking turns

Sharing is an important milestone in social communication and the one which parents find quite frustrating whilst learning is still in progress. At every play date, every time at the soft play or on the play ground all you can hear is “Share, sweetheart, share please!” Teaching  taking turns and sharing becomes easier when they have less toys. Also, they will be less selfish. A child, who gets everything on a silver plate believes it’s just natural and soon starts to have demands, often not reasonable ones.

8. Encourage imaginative play

For parents like me, this is an important issue. My eldest has never been great at imaginative play, he still needs lots of help to get started. Imaginative play is a key milestone in a child’s development. With all the talking, music making, interactive toys there’s little room left for the imagination to fly. If they have difficulties to get to use their imagination, like my boy, we have found it’s a good idea to play stories from their favourite books. Creating our very own mini theatre.

9. Consume less and consciously 

Buying less and carefully select a few toys only means buying less rubbish which will be thrown away in no time. It saves money, tears, and teaches them to choose wisely. It’s a greener approach. It teaches them patience and that it’s worth waiting for something. I remember how long I waited for my first Barbie doll, how much I wanted to have one and how long I cherished and looked after the first one I got. I want my children to have a sweet memory like that.

10. Less tidying up

Bonus. How much time do you spend with tidying up? How about adding to that all the time you spend arguing and negotiating with your children about it? Yep. Thought so. This can be also saved by downsizing the toy arsenal. The children would be more willing to tidy up as the result is within an easier reach.

Maybe some more can be added to the list, did I miss something? Please leave a comment.

 

Real Mum Reviews

5 Things I Didn’t Know Before Started A Blog And The Future 

I have arrived late to the whole parenting blogging scene, probably around 10 years too late. But I don’t really mind, as I started to blog to keep my brain busy between trips to the playground and trying to feed my picky eater. So I started to write about our travels with our little son, share my favourite vegetarian recipes and review some products. I also thought, since I might need to abandon my profession (pre pregnancy I worked for hotels as a revenue manager) as I won’t be able to fit it around the children, might as well try to learn new skills, make some extra money and use it as a reference when I’m ready to return to the professional world.

The more I’ve learned, the clearer it became, that nowadays, producing quality articles is just simply not enough. Meaning, if you decide to monetise your blog, being a good writer with an interesting perspective isn’t enough. Bots can write blog articles.

So here’s the 5 thing I’ve learned about blogging : 

1. Social media is everything. I’m getting so much more interactions through my social media outlets, than through my blog. Also, sharing not only MY blog posts, but interesting articles from other bloggers which I liked, some lighthearted videos for a good laugh and news about things I care about – several times a day – is very important. So is interacting with my followers.

2. You need a blogger tribe. I’m a mummy blogger and I follow and interact a lot with other parent bloggers. And some ethical and vegetarian food bloggers. I’ve learnt a lot from them and they are a fun virtual company. Bloggers – this is no secret – also support each other, by joining in linkys and commenting pods, following each other’s back, which helps to grow both party’s network and numbers. Yes, it’s a bit of cheating when it comes to strict Google Analysis results and domain authority figures, but it’s allowed. It’s essentially basic economics: when everyone helps, everyone grows. Downside? Yes, it can take your life over. All the chats, commenting, linking, liking, following etc. takes huge amount of time. (So does social media appearance!)

3. Signing up for newsletters are overrated. Just don’t push them on your readers. Did you sign up for something because of an annoying pop up saying to do so? No, me neither. Well, that’s what I think. I don’t follow any blog and I have very few followers. But I do read a lot of blog articles – just not every article of a single blogger. I already receive so many emails on a daily basis (and delete without opening them) , I don’t want more.

4. Niche stands out. This is not news. Since all the top places are taken in general parental blogging. Scarymommy, anyone? She (khm, the content writers) mainly shares other bloggers’ posts and lots of funny and emotionally moving articles and motivational qoutes. It’s a great site, I read it when I come across something, but I miss the personal touch. To make decent numbers (not big ones) you really have to stand out, in my opinion. Which means, you have to provide something which is not necessarily for everyone.

5. People want personal stuff. You have to be really personal and you have to let the whole world into your life. I’m not sure if I want that. I prefer blogs with a strong, personal voice in a niche, which interests me. (Like living eco friendly as a family. Interesting vegetarian recipes – kept short. Just post the ingredients and a photo of the dish for me please.) But, at the same time, I don’t want to dive deep into other people’s life. I enjoy reading a well penned, emotionally moving read, but I find that, lots of bloggers only produce (sometimes meaningless) personal contents to keep up with the trend and produce 4-5 articles a week. Sort of “to my son, on your 2.7 birthday” if you know what I mean. Maybe that’s why I’m never going to be a successful blogger. I feel that, it’s cheating. But, maybe i’m wrong, and that’s what other people really want to read about.

THE FUTURE: Vlogging is the new blogging. (With YouTube already have lost its kingdom, as all social media platfors provide a tool for that too.) Is it because you can absorb information faster? More information? Is it because we’re getting lazy? Reading takes more time and effort? Is it down to the digital generation? I don’t know. But many bloggers started to successfully merge blogging and vlogging. I see more people starting blogs too. To express themselves, to fight loneliness, to share knowledge. And that’s great, blogging helps making new friendships, learn new skills, sell skills and products, influence others and more. But it will be harder and harder to grow as Google puts little blogs against the big brands, so it is increasingly hard to reach decent authority.  On the other hand, lots of blogs are not getting too much traffic from Google anyway (because they engage well on social media), so it doesn’t really matter in the end.

As for me, I would probably never venture into the vlogging fields. I never watch videos, they annoy me – especially the automatically playing ones on Facebook. Let me decide if I want to watch this please.

 

This article is provided for a study conducted by Innovation Company

One Messy Mama
Real Mum Reviews

How To Find Local Professional Services With Bidvine.com

We have a growing local mummy network where I live and we have a Whatsapp group to support each other, make friends and ask for advice or recommendations. Our chat tends to revolve around a few categories:

1. Baby poo

2. Can anyone recommend a gardener/carpenter/nanny/tutor/yoga-class/cleaner/mobile beautician

3. When is the next mummy night out

4. Chicken pox

5. Random voice messages recorded and posted by the children when they get their hands on mummy’s phone

6. Breastfeeding support

So asking for recommendations is frequent thing, but the recommended person or company is often not available or is simply not the right one for you. And it’s always the best to shop around. For example, I’m on the look out for a proper Hatha yoga class. Now, I’m sure that Jenny’s bestie is a great trainer, but she teaches Bikram yoga, which is not what I want. So, thanks for the recommendation, but it’s not very useful.

I was introduced to Bidvine.com recently and I started to browse for local Yoga-lessons because I want to do yoga in a small class, with a trainer again. At home, exercising became impossible with having both children around me most of the time. The only way is to get daddy or grandma to look after them for two hours whilst I’m out. Also, I always preferred classes with a good trainer rather than just do it by myself.

To submit a request is easy: all you need to do is to type the requested service and your postcode in, and then answer a few service specific questions to make sure that you’re getting a bespoke bid, tailored for your needs. Then, within a few hours you’ll receive bids from trusted local professionals and you just have to pick one, contact them, and pay them directly. Easy-peasy.

On Bidvine.com, you can hire a trusted professionals like: plumbers, electricians, handymen, all sorts of teachers and tutors, fitness and health trainers, cleaners, even wedding and event organisers.

It’s very useful for busy people (busy mums!) because the bids arrive in a matter of few hours, and you can trust the service provider, you don’t need to double check it. You’ll only receive bids from the available professional, so you don’t need to change your plans.

What I really liked about the website is that it covers the whole of the UK and that also offers you some related services too. (Are you moving? Do you need a man with a van? You might need someone who helps assembling the furniture too.)

 

This is a sponsored post. I have written about my own, unbiased review of my experience and I can highly recommend Bidvine.com.

 

 

15+1 Gift Ideas For Father’s Day – The Ethical And Ecofriendly Edit

Lately, I got to know a lot of great, small indy shops and places with ethical and eco friendly goodies and values. Some of them are start ups, the others are established, but they all have one thing in common: the visionary people behind them, who are passionate about a greener, fairer future.

With Father’s Day is just around the corner (18th of June), I thought it would be nice to introduce my favourite new ethical and ecofriendly shops, so I put this gift guide together with really cool present ideas for all the daddies in your life. Enjoy browsing and spread the love.

1. Pigeon Baseball Tee From Lost Shapes

I’m a huge fan of baseball tees. It’s 100% organic cotton. The stencils are hand drawn, hand cut, and hand screen printed in the Lost Shapes studio. All Lost Shapes tops are sourced from manufacturers that are held to account by the independent Fair Wear Foundation. To read more (there’s a lot more reasons to love their products!) visit their site. Lost Shapes is founded by a young and talented designer: Anna Brindle. £23

2. Family Day Out On The Bocketts Farm

Bocketts is located in the picturesque Surrey Hills and one of our favourite, local family day out destinations. Last year I wrote a review about how much did we enjoy our first visit, read it here: Family Day Out At The Bocketts Farm. I love thoughtful presents, but nothing beats the gift of being together and having quality time. Adult tickets at £10.50

3. Eco Friendly Razor Set From ManOrganic

A very manly gift, isn’t it? These razors are completely recyclable, the handle is made out of yogurt cups, 100% recycled, #5 plastic and recyclable after use. Pair it up with something equally cool from ManOrganic, browse for more ideas. £6.99

4. Solar Powered And Wind-Up Radio From Re-Wind

It’s portable, has a built-in LED torch and a built-in headphone jack. No need for batteries to power, you can charge it by solar power, wind up or USB charging. Saves money and energy. £19.99 Available at Amazon.co.uk: NEW Re-Wind Wind-Up Solar Powered Rechargeable Portable AM/FM Radio with built-in LED Torch and USB Charging Port (Cable Included) – No Batteries Required – LCD Display, Alarm Clock, Headphone Socket

5. Clock Made Of Upcycled Vintage Kodak Tin

Found this clock on ReMadeInBritain and it was love at the first sight. I absolutely love this idea, just too cool, isn’t it? It’s also a limited edition. £25

6. Wise Owl Tea Jamaican Lemongrass and Sage Organic Tea (Pack of 1, Total 15 Tea Bags)

I love Wise Owl Teas. They only contain organic ingredients. Thumbs up for that. This one is great for a morning brew, although naturally caffeine-free. The lemongrass with the sage makes such a unique combination, a must try. £6.99

7. Peshtamal Towel From Cotton And Olive

These fantastically colourful towels are hand woven, so each and every one is a piece of art. Can be double up as a sofa throw, a sarong or even a tablecloth! £27

8. Reusable Bamboo Coffee Cup From Surfers Against Sewage

Made of organic from bamboo fibre (the world’s fastest growing, most sustainable crop). It is also BPA and phthalate free and doesn’t contain petrochemical plastic. Available in 6 colours. Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is an environmental charity protecting the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably, via community action, campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research. £12

9. Notebook With Cover Made Of A Vintage London Map From WowThankYou

I just love this idea and it’s so beautiful. A stunning, handmade item. Truly one of a kind. A North London map journal, made from a continuous section of a genuine Bartholomew’s vintage map which is at least 50 years old. £10.50

10. Lilliput Dorset Gin

With home-grown organic Rosemary, organic Basil from Egypt, organic Thyme from Spain and organic fresh water fermented Kalamata Olives from Greece. Lilliput is a proudly rainbow micro business which supports equality and diversity. £33

11. Earth Monk Organic Cotton Hoodie

100% organic cotton. 10% (excluding VAT) goes directly towards helping sustain the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, its people, traditions and biodiversity. Even more cool stuff in their webshop. £55

12. Seedball Pick And Mix Gift Set

Seedball founders Ana and Emily (girlpower!) are conservation scientists and their plan is to save the bees, the butterflies and the wildflowers. Seedballs are fool proof: just pop on top of soil, water and watch grow. How awesome is that? £18.99 Also available at Amazon.co.uk: Bee & Butterfly Garden Offer – Set of Bee Mix, Butterfly Mix & Urban Meadow Seedball Tins

13. De-Stress And Un-Wind Wellbeing Gift Set

I’m an Indigo Herbs of Glasonbury ambassador, very much fond of their products, they are fantastic quality, so it’s just natural, that I feature one of their gift sets. This box includes herbal tea and massage oil, 100% pure botanical ingredients. £19.99 Also available at Amazon.co.uk: De-Stress and Unwind Git Set – Indigo Herbs

14. Hemp Eyewear Sunglasses

Currently available to order on Indiegogo, Hemp eyewear is handmade using organic hemp fibre to make solid and lightweight frames. Hemp is a renewable and diverse resource. Sunglasses from £88

15. Thought Bamboo Socks From Indigo Natural Living

These dog patterns are just too cute and I love the colours too. The socks are made of bamboo and the suppliers have to provide their workers with safe conditions, a living wage and are free from harassment. £20

16. What Daisy Did Brooklyn Backpack

What a brilliant idea! This bag (and the whole collection) is made in the UK from high grade ex-military materials (like waxed canvas). These materials are 99% locally sourced, 95% being recycled which means they have a very small carbon footprint. They are working together with The Northampton Hope Centre, a local homeless charity, offering a scheme to offer employment to vulnerable and homeless people. £70

 

One Messy Mama

DIY Hey Duggee Theme Birthday Party

This year I planned a Hey Duggee themed birthday party for Bobcat. To be honest, I throughly enjoyed it! For those, not familiar with the character: this is the funniest cartoon on CBeebies, on a quite sophisticated way. Duggee is a dog running a scout camp and the little animal children have to complete a task in every episode, so that they can receive a badge for it. Bobcat loves it, he picked up the simple jokes from early age. I love it too, it’s probably the best cartoon on television, it’s hilarious and clever even for an adult.

Designing the party was a bit challenging as no Hey Duggee party ware is available to buy in shops, so I had to come up with my own ideas and design. But that was the fun part for me! Feel free to use and share them 🙂

Badges

The badges are essential to be represented at a Hey Duggee themed party, since they are a vital part of every episode. Whilst looking for ideas, I found these free, downloadable badges on the CBeebies website:

Printable Hey Duggee Badges Printing them in A4 gives you just the right size to make badges with this Design a Badge Kit 55mm Clear Plastic Badge with Blank Paper Inserts for Children to Personalise & Offer as a Gift for Father’s Day (Pack of 10). Pretty easy and they look absolutely amaizing.

We just gave one to every invitees at the party, the kids absolutely loved them.

Party Bags

Party bags are nowadays just as important as the cake 🙂 Now, loot bags filled with plastic crap is one of my pet hates. So, I decided to make rainbow coloured crayon shapes for the party bags, in order to match with the Hey Duggee theme. Rainbows are frequently present in various episodes. Well, we ended up making Lego shaped crayons, and Bobcat helped too. The crayon melting was real mission, I had no idea, it’s not as easy as it looks. Read my guide about how to make shaped crayons at home: How To Make Shaped Crayons. The Lego brick and Lego man shaped crayons then filled a pretty little gift bag.

Also put a Hey Duggee activity pack with colouring sheets into the loot bag, it’s also free to download from here: Hey Duggee Activity Pack. Looked like this, matching very well with the idea of the shaped crayons:

I’ve bought simple, multicoloured paper bags to use as party bags and decorated them with the same paper cut-out badges I used for the badges. This time though, I had to get them printed in A5, so they were bigger. Extra source of fun, when the little ones are trying to match their badge with the party bag!

Cups, plates, etc

I used simple, natural white paper cups and plates, cheaply available even in supermarkets. I used the printed badge cut-outs again (sticking one on each cup). I didn’t decorate the plates as I was worried that the food would pick the colours up. But it looked fantastic on the cups and everyone remembered which was her/his cup 🙂

I unfortunately ran out of time, but paper straws could be also decorated the same way.

I also got rainbow coloured paper decoration and personalised birthday banners from here: HEY DUGGEE Personalised Birthday Banners – Pack of 2

CAKE! 

My local mummy friend provided the cake, check her site out: Rabi’s Kitchen Just like last year, and it was a huge hit again. Look at this amazing cake! And it was delicious too.We obviously had to get a cuddly toy for him, his favourite character Happy. He can do a brilliant Happy impression. 🙂

via GIPHY

One Messy Mama

How To Make Shaped Crayons – The Big Crayons Melting Guide

Melting crayons into different shapes is great fun, and some of the stages can be done together with your toddler, so it can be turned into some quality crafty time with mummy or daddy. Recently, for Bobcat’s 3rd birthday, we planned a Hey Duggee themed party. I decided to make rainbow coloured crayons melted into Lego shapes and use them as a party bag filler together with colouring sheets. (I absolutely hate loot bags containing generally just rubbish quality small toys which will end up in the bin on the same day.) So one week nearing his birthday we did a few batches of shaped crayons. It’s really easy, once you worked it out how to do it and you don’t need to buy them on Etsy!

 

You need to buy crayons and silicone molds, or just use up whatever you’ve got at home in bits and pieces. I bought the Lego silicone molds here: Bessmate Set of 3 Ice Cube Trays And Candy Silicone Molds for Robot and Building Bricks Theme
Initially, the first few batches were a disaster and it took us a few tries to get them right. So, I put together this little crayons melting guide, have a go, it’s good fun 🙂

The Big Crayons Melting Guide

1. First, peel the paper off the crayons and simply break them into small pieces. You don’t need to grate them.

2. Cover your baking tray with aluminium foil, just in case, because it’s really hard to scrape the wax off, should it spill.

3. Place the crayon pieces into the shapes. Now, you obviously can’t fill it up perfectly. Fill it up as much as you can. You will need to add some extra crayon pieces mid-melting to completely fill the shape. (After being for around 5-6 minutes in the oven.) If not, your shape will be shallow. This pic below was taken before melting. Generally speaking,  the shape needed another long piece mid-melting.

4. Heat the oven to just below 100C. Even lower than that for your first attempt. This was one of my big initial mistakes. Overheating the crayons to boiling point. If this happens, you need to start over. The wax (paraffin or soy) will separate from the colour pigments and will sit on the top of the shape, looking not only ugly, but making that side of the crayon shape useless. They should be coming out of the oven just when the middle of the shape still contains hard bits. It takes only 10 minutes.

5.  After removing them from the oven, leave them in the silicone form for 8-10 minutes and they will melt all together with the rest. Check the middle with a toothpick. (At this point, if you’re making rainbow crayons, with the help of a toothpick, make a swirling pattern.)

6. When they are still runny, pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes.

7. Once you took it out of the freezer, let the silicon mold “defrost”, to avoid damaging it. Otherwise it will tear in the corners of each shape as you’re popping your crayons out of the form.

And that’s it! Hope you’ll find it useful. Get melting! 🙂

 

One Messy Mama

The Sunshine Blogger Award

So…. I actually volunteered to be tagged by the lovely Tessa a.k.a Grumpy Mum when she was asking her fellow mummy bloggers if anyone wants to join her and complete this fun little interview. I’m very thankful for the tag, even if at first I thought, oh sssshhuggar… why did I do this to myself. But then, as I came up with the answers, I really started to enjoy it. An interview with me 🙂 Also enjoyed phrasing my own questions, they just popped out of my head as I worked my way through my interview. It was good fun.

So here are my answers:

1. Did you make any new years resolutions and have you stuck to them?

Nope. Never did, never will. I don’t believe in resolutions. If you really want something, just go for it. You don’t need to wait until new years.

2. If you could visit any time period, which would it be?

Not an easy question. Either the roaring 20’s or the hippie 60’s. I find them both equally attractive.

3. You’re stuck on a desert island (think LOST) barring people, what would you miss the most?

Assuming my family is stuck with me, I’d say art and travel.

4. What book do you think everyone should read at some point in their life?

Another hard one, let’s go with the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

5. Which word can you never spell correctly no matter how many times you spell check it?

Indefinitely. I’m not a native English speaker, but the first I should be an E really.

6. Did you love pregnancy or hate it?

Hate it. No sleep, feeling sick, can’t drink coffee. No booze at all. Second time, I even developed gestational diabetes, so I had to inject insulin two times a day. Plus I had to deal with my toddler then, so it was very tiring. But it was so worth it 🙂

7. If you could speak to yourself at the moment you first found out you were pregnant, what advice would you give?

To never forget one thing: you are enough.

8. What do you miss most about your pre-parenthood days?

Travel and obviously sleep. Even a day out with the car got a bit challenging lately, so we only just planned our first holiday flight as a family of four.

9. What makes you cringe so much your eyes water?

Populist politicians, Paolo Coelho, pseudosciences, anti-vaxxers, any religious nonsense, just to mention a few 🙂

10. If you had £1million to spend on yourself, what would you buy?

A house by the sea.

I’d like to invite:

Kelly a.k.a Daydreamer Mum

Anna over at Me, Annie Bee

Jacqui a.k.a One Messy Mama

Here are my questions:

1. Are you a type A or type B personality? Did this change when you became a parent?

2. As a child, what was your dream profession?

3. Would you try space travel?

4. Do you support any charity or organisation? If so, what’s your motivation?

5. What’s your first ever memory from your childhood?

6. Chocolate or cheese?

7. What’s your pet hate? Some oddities here, please 🙂

8. Are you an crafty person? Do you have any crafty hobby?

9. What’s the 3 most important thing you put in your suitcase when you travel?

10. Do you have a lazy beauty hack?

Mother’s Day Giveaway: Win A Carry Me Wrap By Fornessi

A few weeks ago I reviewed a fantastic new baby wrap by Fornessi

I absolutely loved this wrap, and there are lots of reasons for that! Read my review: Fornessi Carry Me Wrap Review

For this Mother’s Day, we teamed up with Fornessi again and one very lucky mama can win a Carry Me Wrap in fabulous Fresh Blueberry colour (worth £59).

For a chance to win, simply enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

This competition will open on 21st of March 2017 at 12:00 am and will close on 28th of March 2017 at 12.00 am.
One winner will be selected at random.
UK entrants only.
No cash alternative will be offered.
The winners will be announced on Captainbobcat.com social media outlets and will be contacted by email.
The winners will have 28 days to respond to their winner’s email.

 

 

One Messy Mama

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Good Cause Of The Month: Stand Up For Girls

Remember your teenage years? Chances are, you weren’t having the time of your life. How would you rank them? I, personally, can safely say, my teenage years were the hardest part of my life. With all the biological and emotional changes you go through in your teenage years, life pretty much sucks. I was quite popular in high school, but no one escapes bullying. That’s the nature of teenage minds. Where the difference is being made, is the support you’re getting and how you chose to deal with the bullies. It’s like walking on tightrope. My parents were very supportive but also very overprotective at that time. I don’t blame them, looking back, I would have done the same. I wasn’t a dream child in those years either. But at the time, it felt overwhelming. I’d probably would have liked the option of being able to talk to someone unbiased, someone professional provided by my high school, someone to be found at the same place when I needed to talk. You don’t share all your fears with your parents, let alone your mates.


I want my daughter to have that option. I’d like my daughter to be educated about the possible ways of dealing with the pressure. New, worrying findings say 1 in every 3 girls are unhappy with their appearance. According to the Good Childhood Report 2016 conducted by The Children’s Society. That’s 1/3. Frightening figures. 

Furthermore, 1 in every 7 girls are unhappy with their life in general. Pretty bad, compared to the fact that we meant to be a more developed society than the generations before. Can you take more bad news? It’s getting worse. And only with girls.  Boy’s happiness remains the same.


So, what’s going on? Why only girls? We are being told and reminded constantly not to measure ourselves to the poster girls, the idiotic Kardashians, or other public female figures considered to be beautiful. In my view, that new era has already begun, and women started to realise that our qualities aren’t based on beauty. As adults though,  it’s a lot easier,  because we have all those years behind us and we’ve learned and struggled our ways through the us of teenage years. But can we spare all those unnecessary tears and scars? Can we minimise the impact of bullying? Can we provide the help they need from us without pushing them out of their comfort zone? I think we can and we should.



Another aspect of this survey, that social media should take the blame. I’m not so sure that technology should be or can be blamed in these days, but the inevitable truth is that young people spend significant time on their social media outlets. And that’s an extra source of bullying. As a parent I find myself armed with limited knowledge on this mine field: we didn’t have to deal with cyber bullying in our teenage years. I don’t know anything about it. Just the everyday classroom bullying was more than enough, thanks very much. So, even if you think you’re the best to help them, you might need some catching u to do.

Therefore, I strongly support the Children’s Society’s call for the Government to make sure emotional and mental health support is available in all schools. My generation missed out on this, I want my daughter to be able to get the help she might need.

What can we do? Share this message, spread the word, talk about it with your friends and family.

Visit The Children’s Society’s homepage to learn more, educate yourself and donate.

Why Holiday Prices Are Higher During School Holidays?

I’m now trying to reflect on Kate’s Post I’ve read the other day from a hoteliers’ point of view.

School holidays can be a nightmare to manage. In families, where both parents work, one of them HAS to take days off, unless you have other baby sitting solutions arranged. So now that you’ve got the kids for a whole week, realise that almost all your regular soft plays and drop in classes are closed for half term. (Why?!)

I completely understand and now I’m even in the same shoes as Kate and other fellow parents: booking a holiday in half term or in summer can get very expensive. Not only that, but it’s hard to find decent family friendly places, which are not rammed or booked out.

I realise, that the doubled or even tripled rates seem like that the whole travel industry tries to take advantage of school holidays. However, you can’t enforce “fairer” prices by calling for government action. It would be an economical disaster for the whole industry.

I’ve worked for a number of hotels throughout my career (before having children). Started as a receptionist, then switched to sales and operation. Lately, responsible for the revenue. My role was basically to set the rates according to the budget. I’ve dealt with the contracts for travel agencies and online booking sites and set the daily, seasonal and packaged rates for the rooms.

Most hotels and travel providers work with seasonal rates. They depend depending on the actual seasons, and some other highlighted periods of the year, like winter months in the Alps, the Chelsea Flower Show in London, the Carnival in Rio, or the Australian Open in Melbourne. Another factor in hotel pricing is the top ranking sending countries or nations. People tend to travel during long weekends, national holidays or indeed, school holidays.

Now, like every company, travel businesses too, depend on the demand and it will have a direct effect on the price. When not so much people want to travel, prices will drop. When not enough rooms are booked, price will drop. Other times, when the demand is high, the prices will rise too. The fluctuating prices allow the hotel or airline to meet with their budgeted revenue requirements and produce profit. When you urgently need a shirt – you go and buy it on full price. When not, then you wait until it’s (at a predictable time, like after Christmas) is on sale. 

Hotels can never charge you more for a room as their rack rate for that particular room. But then you buy often buy your holiday in a package (directly from the hotel or booking with a travel agency) so you never actually see the price breakdown. When it seams, that the price has been doubled or more, that is actually correct. It did so. Low season means prices barely make a break even, and high season means selling on rack rates. The difference can be even 4x or 5x of the low season’s rate.

A hotel operating successfully can pay better wages, can hire more and better trained staff, provide valuable training for their staff. Hotels also employ mostly local people, so they play a key role in creating jobs for the local communities. If you want to see really bad examples of a holiday destination managed badly and local communities suffering because of it, take a good look at the Isle Of Wight. It used to be a famous holiday island. Now almost all the hotels are for sale, because they went or near bankrupt. A fantastically beautiful island with lots of potential. Heartbreaking. Why? Because in summertime everyone flies to classic holiday destinations. So the island misses out on that crowd. Prices are also high in summer, because they naturally try to make their whole year’s profit. Because no one goes there in autumn or winter. Some people might do, like we did it as a couple, and enjoyed the walks on the beautiful, empty beaches. But now we can’t, because we can only travel during the school holiday, and that’s for the years to come!

As I said I’m equally effected by the soaring holiday rates at half term and in August. However, having some time spent on the other side as a hotelier, I can tell you: the problem doesn’t lie with the travel industry, as I tried to explain this above.

I can see the solution in schools given more flexibility to allow family holidays during term time, provided that there is no general issue with a children’s attendance. Brighton and Hove is leading the way: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-36806773 but I think there’s more can be done!

One Messy Mama

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