YouTeachMeToo Tutorial Subscription Service: Review and Giveaway

YouTeachMeToo is an innovative educational subscription service that enables access to teaching videos. It allows parents and their children to watch and listen to teachers teaching in a range of schools across the UK, including mainstream, special schools and a Royal School for the Deaf. There are currently 2,000 videos to view, mainly primary currently, with new videos being added regularly.

YouTeachMeToo costs £10 per month and you can cancel anytime.

YouTeachMeToo screenshot of search page

Background

The idea originated as a video-sharing system for schools, created by a former infant school headteacher. The videos are shared with the learner for use in school lessons and can also be viewed at home, enabling parents see what and how their child is being taught, and therefore be able to support their child’s learning more effectively. This concept was then developed into a parent-friendly version of the same system.

How it Works

For £10 per month, parents access the teaching videos, choose which ones they wish to share with their child/ren, then share them through a viewing account made for each child. The child then views the videos chosen specifically for them via their own account.

YouTeachMeToo Tutorial Subscription Service: Review and Giveaway title image

The Review

I really like this system. The website is set up in a way that is very easy to use; search the subjects and when you find videos you want to share with your child, just click on the star. You can also add a whole series of video lessons in one click to make it easier too. You then send the videos across to your child’s dedicated account where they can view them.

There are no ads, no unnecessary screen ‘clutter’ and no risk of them stumbling across anything they shouldn’t; all they can watch is the videos you have selected and sent to their account. It is a very simple, and very effective, system.

The videos themselves are good quality, and vary in length and style, which means you can find ones to suit your child’s learning preferences. Squiggle needs short and simple tutorials that are visual, rather than auditory. I found what I was looking for in no time!

Screenshot of parent section You Teach Me Too subscription educational videos tutorials service

The only minor hiccup I found was that after she watched them once, a couple then seemed to disappear from her account even though she wanted to rewatch them. I am not sure this is meant to happen and might just be because we were on my android? However, I resolved this by adding the missing ones to her library so she could find them there, which solved it easily.

Squiggle has been keen to do some new art projects and develop her creative skills, so I found her some videos on sketching techniques and using oil pastels, which she has already watched and will be putting into practice soon! I have also found her some sports rules videos, which I think she will find useful, and a series of videos that cover a beginners guide to playing the recorder as well, which I will send over to her once she has got the recorder itself.

Screenshot of Squiggle's pupil account. Educational teaching learning videos. YouTeachMeToo tutorial subscription service.

My Verdict

I really like the concept and it is carried out very well. The videos are good quality and are a helpful teaching aid. The website is well designed and easy to use. I personally feel £10 per month is reasonable for this service. We will certainly be using it alot more!

Giveaway!

I have teamed up with YouTeachMeToo for one lucky reader to win a family subscription for one whole year! To be in with a chance of winning, enter via rafflecopter below. Ends 9th Sept 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Disclosure: I received a year subscription to YouTeachMeToo for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time (Guest Post)

It’s easy to say you want your family to go green and live a more socially responsible lifestyle, but when you start to actually think about putting a plan into action it becomes overwhelming. Many people’s first impressions of sustainable living include practicing recycling and refraining from leaving the water running while you brush your teeth. In reality, there is a lot more to living a completely environmentally friendly lifestyle.

A great starting place to focus on is your home. This is the place where your family gathers and where you spend a large amount of your time in your life, so it’s an important place to consider when you want to go green. In order to cut back on the intimidation factor, this guide will break down room-by-room how you can encourage more sustainable practices in your home…

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time

Living Room

Natural Lighting

The living room is one of the easiest places in your home where you can embrace natural lighting as an alternative to keeping bulbs burning. Keeping your curtains open and allowing natural sunlight to light up your living room will be better for energy efficiency and there’s also just something about natural lighting that makes you feel better.

If you can prepare for this while you’re building or choosing a house, look into floor-to-ceiling windows. These are a great interior piece that make your space appear larger and they allow for more natural lighting in your home. You can also consider skylights to provide an easier path for sun to come in through the top of your room.

A living room with huge windows flooding the room with natural light

Energy

A staple in American living rooms is a television. To reduce energy usage in your home, cut back on the tv or even eliminate it from your home. Encourage your family to play games together, spend time doing outdoor activities, or reading in the evenings.

Furniture

When furnishing your living room, or any part of your home, try to use recycled materials or repurpose materials in your home. For example, a chair or stool can serve another purpose as a side table. It takes less energy to manufacture goods from recycled materials than from scratch, so try use recycled furniture to help reduce energy consumption in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re buying new materials, purchase from companies that are certified for using sustainable materials. You can also find furniture made with bamboo, a super sustainable material held together by glue rather than toxic chemicals.

Paint

Speaking of toxic chemicals, make sure the paint you’re using for your walls contains low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) or a paint that’s entirely VOC-free.

Plants

Part of healthy living includes having good indoor air quality (IAQ). A sustainable practice to help remove pollutants from your air and live in a cleaner environment is to place plants around your home. Some plants naturally purify air and can help eliminate toxins to improve your IAQ.

A shelf full of artwork with a green plant in the corner of the room

Kitchen

Groceries

Industrial farming practices are harmful to the environment because of the mass use of resources and the chemicals emitted, so when you’re shopping for groceries, shop locally. Knowing your food was farmed locally will make your meals even more meaningful and personal.

Recycling

The kitchen is the biggest area in your home to focus on your recycling efforts since your family will be consuming food daily. Some examples of waste that can be recycled are plastic containers from yogurt or sodas, cardboard cereal boxes, and aluminum cans. Learn about what materials are recyclable and then set up bins for designated items. Be conscious of the items you’re shopping for too so you can plan in advance to use recyclable materials more often.

Laundry Room

Would you be shocked to find out that 39% of a garment’s environmental impact comes from the care of the consumer? If you think making minor changes to your life to follow more eco-friendly practices isn’t making much of a difference on the world, this fact can prove you wrong.

Some simple steps to get you started are washing your clothes in cold water, reducing the amount of loads you’re doing by waiting longer to wash items like jeans, using toxic-free detergent, and line drying your clothes.

Washing hanging out to dry

If you’re ready to look into other changes, you can pre-treat your clothes with an enzyme spray to hold you over between washes. You can also soak your whites in oxygen cleaner to remove sweat stains without having to run the clothes through the washer.

Bedrooms

Your Bedding

The main factor defining your bedroom is your bed, so you should make sure it’s environmentally friendly. There are tons of factors to consider in a mattress to make sure you’re getting your best sleep for your best health, and the sustainability should be one of them.

Look for organic mattresses made from 100% natural materials, or companies that are approved by Oeko-Tex or have a GREENGUARD certification. There’s also a plethora of options for organic bedding materials to dress your mattress in so that your bed can be “green” from headboard to toe. And when it’s time to get rid of your mattress in about 7-10 years, be socially responsible and donate or recycle.

Bed and bedside table

Sleep Aids

Have trouble sleeping at night? Don’t turn to pharmaceuticals. Instead try natural sleep aids like a warm cup of herbal tea. You could also do nighttime yoga. Stretching your body out helps relax your muscles and your mind making you ready for your best ZZZs.

Bathrooms

Water Usage

You’re probably using water the most in your bathrooms, so it’s a great place to start when you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint. Simple steps include taking shorter showers or using LED bulbs for your lighting. For shorter showers, try a 5-minute shower timer that sticks to your wall and helps you monitor your time spent scrubbing off.

Larger steps to take to be eco-friendly in the bathroom include investing in low-flow toilets and motion sensor sinks to cut back on water usage.

Outside

Decor

For your outdoor decor, use repurposed furniture from inside your home rather than purchasing new items. You can use old chairs you’re no longer interested in having in your home or give an old piece a new function by converting a coffee table into a planter.

Gardening

Create compost piles from the materials in your kitchen to help you start a garden. You can grow your own vegetables and herbs too.

A painted green hand holding a plant

Transportation

Instead of emitting gases from your car daily, ride a bike instead. Bikes are practical, environmentally friendly, and will give you more physical activity during the day to help your health.

Creating a Green Home

If you’re interested in getting used to environmentally friendly practices but you’re still new to sustainable living it may seem challenging and overwhelming. Taking it step-by-step will help you naturally progress into new practices. Don’t try to change your entire lifestyle in one day. It’s a process that takes time and research.

When deciding how to move towards a more eco-friendly life, adopt a minimalist mentality away from consumer culture. This will help you cut back to the essentials and be on your way to having a green home.

Author Bio

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer from Durham, NC. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys spending time out in nature and reading her favorite books.

Cleaner Home Hacks

You may find it hard to believe, but some people love housework. They thrive on the constant cleaning that is needed. Most of us feel the opposite though, and do it because we have to, not because we get any pleasure from it at all. Anything that will make the chores simpler is very welcome…

Cleaner Home Hacks

Declutter Your Home

Nothing will make your home look messier and hardest to clean than clutter. Create some storage space, put things in storage in your garage or shed, or get rid of some. Ornaments are just dust collectors, and although it can be nice to have one or two in your living room or dining room, do not have loads. You have to clean them before you can clean the shelf they are placed on, so they just create more work.

Look round your kitchen and see what appliances are taking up space on your work surfaces. Do you use them all often, or could some of them be fetched out of a cupboard for their occasional use? Decluttering your kitchen makes it much easier to clean, and you will have more room to work on your surfaces.

Bathrooms can have toiletries, bath toys, makeup and anything else put away until they are needed.

Simple To Care For Flooring

A dirty or dusty floor gives the impression of a dirty or dusty room, so keeping your floors looking pristine can make the whole house feel better. Carpets can be a lot of hard work and if they get stained they may be ruined. Real wood floors are expensive, and although they can look brilliant, they only stay that way with a lot of care.

The simplest way to have a floor that looks good, is stain and water resistant, and is easy to maintain too, is to install laminate flooring from Factory Direct Flooring. It not only has these advantages, it is cheaper than most other floor coverings.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

These two items that many homes will already have in their cupboards can help to make short work of some of the hardest cleaning tasks. Simple things like putting some baking soda in with your wash will make the clothes come out brighter. Soaking watermarks with white vinegar, which you can pick up on Amazon cheaply, for a while will make them much easier to clean. Mixed together they can work wonders on a dirty oven or grubby pots and pans.

Forget the chemical cleaners. With these two products, you can do amazing things. Put some vinegar in water in a bowl in your microwave and set it to high for 5 minutes. Wipe out with a paper towel for a spotless microwave oven. If you have any stubborn stains, have the setting for 10 minutes.

Two short cycles of your dishwasher, the first with vinegar in a bowl and the second with baking soda sprinkled on the bottom, will bring your dishwasher up like new, and get rid of any nasty smells coming from it.

Mop dustpan and broom

There are lots of tricks to make your home cleaning less of a chore, and these three tips are just a start.

What are your top tips? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

B.A.B Courses: Workshops and Courses For Parents Where Your Children Are Welcome (Bring A Baby/ Child Courses)

BAB courses (Bring A Baby courses) are workshops and courses for parents but without the childcare hassle and cost! Bring your baby or child with you where they will be looked after in the same room. Perfect for parents of young children and home educators. Develop your skills or pursue your own interests without worrying about childcare. Tutors focus on parents, skilled playworkers focus on children. Support not separation. Based in Harrow. North London. Discount code available – 5% off all bookings!

*Disclosure: The following post is not a sponsored post. I have not been on any of these courses or workshops myself but I love the concept behind them and genuinely believe they will be of interest to my readers who live in the London area. I know Maxine, Business Manager, personally and have no doubt that these are excellent – hence I am helping to promote them!

My discount code is LLOW18 for 5% off any booking. This is an affiliate code, which means I receive a small commission if you use it.

Bring A Baby Course - B.A.B courses for adults

Is every fun activity in your schedule for your kids?

Have you forgotten the last time you were able to do something for yourself?

It happens to every parent, and perhaps even more so for some home educating families. Between shuttling children around to meets far and wide, finding enriching activities, supporting their latest interests and providing their education, as well as all the other usual parenting stuff, time for anything else is often somewhat limited.

What if there was a way for you to carve out time for your own interests and you were able to take your kids along too?

A fantastic new business in Harrow, North West London, is providing our community with just that.

Bring a Baby Courses have developed an exciting range of courses and workshops for adults focused on teaching new skills from photography to cake decorating, embroidery to rock climbing! And the best bit? All students bring their children with them!

BaB Courses are fully home ed friendly and welcome children between the ages of 0-13 yrs. Business manager Maxine Taylor home educated her own daughter and is very aware of the unique set of circumstances that home educators face.

“Home educating families are so so welcome on a BaB Course. I know how hard it is to divide yourself so many ways when home educating and to have no time to put into your own self development. We have highly trained play workers to support the children in class while their parents learn. We plan and plan and plan our activities based on the ages of the children coming – so each course has a different approach for the children. Older children might like to learn alongside the parent too. Of course, children are children and some weeks a child may not want to leave their parent’s side. It’s normal and we don’t force anything. That’s why classes are an hour and a half rather than your typical one hour class. ”

Bring A Baby Courses for adults. Support not separation.

How does it work?

Classes are small – usually no more than 8 parents and their children. Tutors focus on the parents and specialist play workers focus 100% on the children. Everyone is in the same room and all students have their children with them, creating a wonderful relaxed atmosphere of support.

What may sound crazy is in reality a breath of fresh air receiving 5* reviews from London parents.

The BAB team have something unique and wonderful – being able to take children along and have them entertained and cared for without having to worry about leaving them was really refreshing. The children were always welcome to approach us if they needed to but generally didn’t as they were having so much fun and we got to focus on the course. Crystal Miles 2018

I cannot recommend this course enough! Being able to do something for me whilst not feeling guilty about it because my 2 year old was having just as much fun! The staff were amazing and I learnt a new skill which I will be able to continue at home. Rachel Moncur 2017

It was really good to be able to concentrate on the course knowing that my child was happily engaged but able to come to me if he needed me. We both had a fab time and my son enjoyed it so much he wants me to do more! Julie Grace Cunningham

Location

All courses are currently run in central Harrow, with easy access to public transport and free parking available.

September Classes

These are the courses and workshops available this September…

B.A.B Bring A Baby Course - creative family photography course

Creative Family Photography Course £235

This is a unique 6 week photography course for parents. You will learn how to get the most out of your digital camera and get the best shots of your family and the best bit is your favourite subject is there too!

Cake decorating workshop by B.A.B (Bring A Baby courses)

Cake Decorating Workshop £65

The Enchanted Teddy Bear Picnic cupcake class is a great way to get to grips with a range of skills. You will be working with both fondant and buttercream and the course will introduce you to various techniques to create a set of 6 beautifully decorated cupcakes to take home for you and your family.

Climbing workshop B.A.B courses Bring A Baby courses for adults

Climbing Workshop £45

B.A.B courses have teamed up with Harrowall to bring you an exciting climbing experience. This hour and a half session will take you through the basics but also to breathtaking heights.

Bring A Baby introduction to knitting course

Introduction to Knitting Course £200

This unique 5 week course has been created for parents to learn the basics of knitting and you’ll be creating two fantastic pieces to take home and show off.

Personalised jewellery workshop B.A.B courses

Personalised Jewellery Workshop £195

This unique Jewellery workshop teaches students how to create incredible replicas of their children’s drawings, handprints or handwriting as beautiful silver charms that can be kept forever and turned into a pendant, bracelet or cufflinks as an end product for students to take away with them.

Hand embroidery course Bring A Baby course for adults

Hand Embroidery Course £200

This beautiful course will help you take one of your child’s drawings or a drawing of your child’s handprint and using embroidery and scraps of your favourite children’s clothes turn it into a special personalised cushion to treasure forever.

DISCOUNT ON ALL BOOKINGS!

To get a 5% discount of any booking please quote the following code: LLOW18

For more information, or to book a workshop/ course, see the website or drop them an email.

Website: www.bab-courses.co.uk
Email: contact@bab-courses.co.uk

Family Adventure Ideas for the Bold Parent

Having kids comes with its fair share of chaos at times! And going on a family holiday, or travelling with kids in tow, is certainly no exception. But there are a lot of things that can play a role in helping you make things more pleasant for the whole family, and the first thing to remember is that you need to consider their needs and pick the perfect vacation choices for them.

It is important that your kids enjoy themselves as much as possible, and that they have a fun and enriching time, which still having plenty of opportunities for everyone to relax too. There are a few things you can do that will help you to take your holidays to the next level, so make sure you think about the best family travel ideas you possibly can. These are a few of the best and most impressive family adventure ideas for the bolder parents out there…

Family Adventure Ideas for the Bold Parent

Check Out London

There are so many excellent places in the world that you need to visit, but London is definitely one of the best. There are so many amazing things to experience and enjoy in the UK capital, and a day out in London with the kids can be one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable family adventures you are likely to have. There are so many things you have to bear in mind if you want to get this right, and you will need to plan your day well. Choose from museums, galleries, parks, tours, restaurants and other exciting attractions to create the perfect adventure for your family based on everyone’s particular interests; with so much to choose from, you will certainly find plenty to suit your specific family! The great news is that there are also a lot of family-friendly things you can do in London that are free of charge these days too, so it doesn’t have to work out expensive.

Tower of London, London Bridge, Thames, London attraction

Go Somewhere Exotic

If the big cities don’t take your fancy, it might be a good idea to check out somewhere a little more exotic. This is the perfect chance for you and your family to jet off across the world if your budget allows and absorb a new culture for a while. Check out G Adventures Costa Rica travel experiences to help you understand how exotic trips that you can take as a family make an enriching experience all round. There is nothing like learning about geography and cultures by being immersed in it first hand, so it is an excellent experience for children and adults alike.

Scenic photo of mountain in background, green fields and forests

The Beach is Your Friend

As a family, you have to think about what you can do that is going to provide hours of enjoyment without clearing out the bank account. One of the best options these days would be to head for the beach. This is something that allows the whole family to enjoy a day of sand, sea, and hopefully sun! It is brilliant for the entire family’s wellbeing to spend time enjoying the fresh air, sea breeze and therapeutic effects of the water. Plus you’re really only going to have to pay for parking (and possibly food). The beach is the ideal family adventure, so is definitely one to consider when making travel plans.

Gorgeous blue sea and sky, tropical island

It is so important to make the right choices when you are trying to do what is best for your kids. There are a lot of travel experiences that can enrich their lives and at the same time, help the entire family get the most from their vacation. This is why you need to think hard about the different family adventures, as careful choices can really make things ideal for the children and boost the experiences of the whole family.

*This is a collaborative post.

Why Home Education Works

Education is something everyone has a right to. It is often expected in this modern day and age that we will simply enroll our kids in school from age 4 and upwards, along with preschool and nursery beforehand. It is also sometimes assumed that this the right setting for every child; that they will hopefully thrive in the school environment, going on to become an excellent student with good grades and prefect standard behaviour. But this is not always the case. And a formal school setting isn’t the only way to educate someone; there’s plenty of alternative routes, and home schooling is one of the main alternative ways.

Educating your children at home has always been a hotly debated topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s something no one believes in! And there’s plenty of information and resources out there if you want to introduce it to your household. With all that in mind, here’s a couple of the main reasons why home education works…

Why Home Education Works. Faded background image of a number game.

There’s No Forced Socialisation

A lot of the discourse over home education is the idea that any kid that goes through it will end up isolated with zero social skills. But that’s simply not true, and it’s actually one of the main reasons home education works so well in the modern era. With all of our technology and social media, it is easier than ever to organise social opportunities, as well as find support and friendship from other home educating families, both online and in real life.

And as we get older, we often realise that we only made friends at our school because we saw these people five times a week anyway, and very rarely do we keep many of our school friends into adult years. Yet when you’ve got not school to socialise in, you go out of your way to find friends elsewhere, and form real bonds with them. Considering our new and improved ways to communicate with the rest of the world, something that wasn’t possible when the school system was invented, home educators can socialise just as easily as their school attending peers, and with a diverse range of people of all ages too.

Yellow school bus

There’s So Many Ways to Learn!

And that’s the simple truth of it; sitting down in a classroom with 29 other students, being able to get their head down and get on with work, and take in all the information the teacher is giving them, and without getting distracted, is incredibly hard for some kids. Being in that setting doesn’t benefit them. Plus if nothing is done about it, they can end up being labelled the ‘trouble maker’, with few friends and little teacher approval, which completely ruins their self esteem. Homeschooling (commonly referred to as home education in the UK because it often does not represent school at home!) on the otherhand, can be approached in a flexible way that works for that child, allowing them to thrive.

It can involve the online world as well; there’s a lot more use of technology for educational purposes now than there used to be, and developments in how it fits into our modern lives generally, so this can also help in making sure that all kids have an accessible platform to learn from without the need for school. Even the bigger institutions have noticed this shift towards the virtual, with programs such as masters in engineering management being available online.

With the help of all of these things, home education works because it let’s kids learn at their own pace, and it doesn’t force them to move on when they’re not ready to, or hold them back from their passions and interests. It allows for freedom and flexibility, whilst offering a tailor- made individualised approach to learning. Of course, every child must be provided with a suitable full time education, whether in school or not, but it is often a lot more relaxed compared to being inside an education institution.

Home education works, and it’s something that deserves more of a shining light in the modern day and age. Whatever helps your child to succeed should be implemented; go ahead!

*This is a collaborative post.

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

With our garden often just a few steps from the comfort of our home, sometimes it’s easy to forget the risks associated with gardening. In this post written by Gardenknow, we explore tips on staying safe while you’re doing your gardening. Below is a list of 5 simple steps that will help keep you safe when you’re doing your gardening…

5 Tips on Staying Safe While You Garden: A Guest Post by Gardenknow

1. Wear Protective Gear

Regardless of the task you’re doing it’s always important to consider protective wear. Even for jobs as simple as weeding, it’s recommended that you wear knee pads. Although this isn’t the most strenuous task, years of bending down to weed without knee protection could quite easily cut your gardening years short.

For more intensive jobs such as string trimming, remember to always wear the appropriate head and eye protection. All it takes is for the one time you forget to wear your visor, a rock to be flung up into your face to cause serious damage.

2. Stick to What You Know

There’s no two ways about it; gardening is addictive. However, don’t let this lead you to jumping into tasks you haven’t done before without any prior consideration. This can lead to safety risks for you and others around you.

We recommend reading guides for carrying out tasks prior to attempting them. This way you’re going into it with some understanding of what’s required. An example of this would be in our pruning guide post which you can read here. We detail the tools, techniques and precautions required before attempting pruning.

3. Drink Plenty of Fluids

If you were planning a trip somewhere involving lots of physical exercise, you are likely to consider staying hydrated. Gardening should be no different. Again, due to gardens being so close to the comforts of your home this is something that’s often overlooked.

Staying hydrated is vital, operating machinery within your garden will take lots of your strength. This is why it’s vital that you make sure you have all the nutrients needed for a long days work in the garden. This applies to food as well as staying hydrated.

Hand holding plant and woman smiling in background.

4. Bend Properly

We don’t want to make this post sound like a manual handling induction, but please don’t forget the importance of bending with correct form. Bending is one of the most common exercises in gardening. You’ll often find yourself bending down to remove weeds, or picking up branches and leaves.

Remember to always bend your legs and keep a straight back. We’re sure many of you do this already but it’s vital we emphasise how important correct form is in preventing injury.

5. Wear Sunscreen

This is something tons of people forget all about when gardening. Often you’ll pop to the garden for a job that would take minutes then end up spending hours there. Remember, whether you’re going out for 5 minutes or 5 hours skin protection is vital.

This doesn’t only apply for the summer time either. Whether the sun is glaring down or not, you’ll still want to make sure you have all the protection you can from UV rays.

Author Bio

Linda, a writer at Gardenknow, has a real passion for spreading her knowledge gathered through decades of gardening experience. She runs the website along with her Husband Paul. They formed the site as a way to document great quality information gathered through their combined gardening experience with the hope of sharing this with others.

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

It is the summer holidays and England is enjoying a lengthy heatwave, which most likely means fun days out and sunny staycations. However, it also potentially means braving long road trips with the kids too! If you are wondering how to survive the car journey and all stay sane, here are some of my top tips…

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

Be Prepared

This motto is not just for scouts! Time your journey for evening, if your children sleep well in the car and don’t mind the disruption to their bedtime routine, or opt to travel whenever they are most likely to be chilled in the car. A badly timed journey is so much more stressful than it needs to be!

Comfort

If you are going on an exceptionally long journey, it maybe worth considering the actual car you are using. Comfortable seats, space and even down to basics such as air con, are more than just a luxury if you are planning a long distance road trip!

Assuming it is not going to be practical to invest in a new car specifically for this purpose, you could consider hiring one. This could also be of benefit for safety, reliability and fuel costs. For example, The New BMW 5 Series was voted WhatCar? ‘Overall Car of the Year’ 2017 and reviews well on space and comfort, and has surprising low running costs too. You could even look at secondhand deals on something like this BMW 5 Series, if you travel long journeys by car often. You can find BMW 5 Series For Sale here.

Interior picture of BMW

Have Essentials On Hand

Have snacks, drinks, (reusable) wipes and other essentials easily available on hand. It is much easier to organise this in advance than it is to have to make additional stops just to find essential items, and is especially helpful if you get stuck in traffic and your plan for a scheduled lunch/ snack/ dinner stop goes awry. Of course the driver will still need to take a rest too, but some careful organisation will avoid the inevitable hunger upsets if you do find yourself stuck in long queues!

Queue of traffic in rear view car mirror

Entertainment

Car journeys tend to be somewhat more relaxing if the children are not bored! Taking a couple of favourite toys to play with is a good start. Books are good in theory, but reading can make travel sickness worse so audio books might be a better choice for the car. A tablet with a favourite film, kids TV programmes or fun apps might well keep them occupied for a decent chunk of the journey, so that may help with at least some of the travelling time, but it is handy to have alternatives too. Travel games and card games (Top Trumps etc…) add some variety to a long journey; there are plenty to choose from. You can also resort to classics like ‘eye spy’ if you get stuck!

Boy sitting on top of car, through sun roof.

Emergency Supplies

It is useful to have some emergency supplies ready, that you will hopefully not need, but just incase of the unfortunate scenario that you do. I wholeheartedly recommend having a sick bucket and tissues in the car, even if your child/ren doesn’t usually get car sick. A change of clothes is also useful. If your child has any medications, keep a dose in the car – in the event of a delay at least you don’t have to worry about stuff like that then. Also keep a blanket in the car for any eventuality.

Last but not least, don’t forget paracetamol incase the journey still ends up causing a headache, despite all your best laid plans – but fingers crossed you won’t need it if you follow this advice! Enjoy your roadtrip!!!

What are your top tips for long car journeys? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Social Responsibility: Top Tips For Looking After Our Environment

We are all jointly responsible for our environment. Individuals and organisations need to all work together to protect our planet; we all have a part to play and even small actions help to make a big difference. Glasdon (a cool company who supply all sorts of recycling options, such as bins etc…) have released a really useful e-book all about being socially responsible. Here are some of their top tips for looking after our environment…

Social Responsibility: Top Tips For Looking After Our Environment

At Home

The first thing to do at home is reduce the amount of waste you create, such as food, packaging or even clothing. Try to buy items that use less packaging, meal plan and buy only the food you will use and opt for a capsule wardrobe of slow fashion items. Switch to reusable items as much as possible, freeze any leftover food and take old clothes to charity shops. Last but not least, recycle what is left wherever possible.

The second key thing to do at home is to save energy, which will conserve the Earth’s natural resources. Simply turning off light switches and plug sockets when not in use will help to reduce your power consumption. You can also help by switching to a clean energy supplier too.

Unplugged plug

On The Go

There are various ways you can help to protect the environment whilst on the go. One of the most highlighted ones here in the UK is reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. It was reported that in 2014 over 7.6 billion single-use carrier bags were given to customers by major supermarkets in England. This equates to around 240 bags per person, the equivalent of around 61,000 tonnes. Since the 5p charge scheme was introduced the number of plastic bags used in England has reduced by 80%.

You can also ditch plastic straws in favour of more environmentally- friendly alternatives, switch to reusable coffee cups and water bottles, and opt out of single- use containers by taking your own. Last but not least, look for recycling bins whilst out in the community to discard recyclables.

Reuse bag surrounded by leaves and nature

At Work

Companies can make small changes, such as going paperless and recycling. They can also help financially by supporting local environmental charities and campaigns. Other ways that companies can make a positive impact is to celebrate key events, such as World Environment Day, using their social media to raise awareness, hold local community awareness events and also provide opportunities for employees to volunteer within the local community too. Whilst an individual employee may not be able to influence all of these ideas into action, you can certainly approach management to raise these suggestions.

Educating Our Children

We can teach our children social responsibility from a young age by setting a good example to them. Show them through your own actions and talk with them about why it is important. Encourage children to help with simple tasks, such as litter picking and sorting recycling. Shaping eco- friendly attitudes and behaviours from a young age is vital to the future of our planet.

In Summary

As Glasdon explain: “By adopting the mind-set that your individual changes can help to make the world a more sustainable place, you can inspire others around you to follow suit. Working together to make better, more mindful decisions surrounding sustainability will ensure we continue to protect and grow the environment for generations to come.”

What steps do you take to improve the environment? Tell me in comments! And don’t forget to join the conversation by using the hashtag #MySocialSpirit too.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Moving house can be an exciting time in your life, but it can also be pretty nerve-wracking as well. You are going to be parting with more money than you ever have before in your life, so you need to be sure you are making the right choice. There are so many things that can go wrong in the process of buying a home, as well as so many things that people aren’t even aware of these days.

You need to make sure you are in the best position to be making the right choice regarding your new home. There is so much to think about, and this is such an important process. It is essential to think about how you can make the ideal choice and pick the perfect home for you. There are a lot of things you need to do before your move, and these are some of the most important.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Check Out the Area

Head to the area before you actually finalise any kind of move, and check it out. This is something you should be doing at the start of the process when you are choosing where you want to live. Visiting a town or city before moving there is the best way of getting a feel for it, and this is something you need to do asap. You will soon be able to tell if it is a nice area or one that should be avoided.

Understand all the Costs

There are a lot of costs involved when you buy a home, and this isn’t just accounting for the deposit and the mortgage payments. There is stamp duty, solicitors fees, you may have to pay estate agents if you’ve used any; there is also tax to think about. It is so important to know what all the costs are before you actually confirm or finalise anything because you need to know if you can afford it.

Hire a Surveyor

Before finalising a place, you would like to buy you need to make sure that the home is in the best condition it can be. This means getting in touch with companies like Allcott Associates Surveyors and bringing in professional surveyors. They will be able to assess the quality of the home and make you aware of any structural issues. This is something you have to do early on because it will help inform your decision.

Modern apartment block

Finalise Your Sale

Before you buy your new home, you are most likely going to want to make sure you have secured a sale for your existing home. This is crucial because you are going to need to sell the home before you can afford to buy the new one. So, making sure you have secured a sale before you actually buy is really important, and all about timing.

It is pretty clear that you’re going to need to make sure you get these parts of the process right before you move forward. They are essential for ensuring you have the perfect home, and that you’ve made the right financial choice for your future. Think about all the decisions you have made before, and consider what it takes to make the perfect choice here. These factors will set you well on your way to making sure you have chosen the home of your dreams.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.