Aired by BBC1 on Monday 13th January, ‘I Want My Baby Back – A panorama Special’, may give us all pause for thought.
As a father and grandfather, I have seen many times, children in my care to become over excited or playing roughly and bouncing off the floor and walls. It is part of everyday play, whether they are cowboys fighting indians, or saving the universe from intergalactic robots, they will sometimes hurt themselves. Only when they get changed, are the bruises revealed. How many of you out there have felt people will think you are abusing your child if they see the bruises? I was a tree climber, a good one. My legs were always black and blue and my mother, on occasion, wondered if people would ponder what went on in our house.
Here in the United Kingdom we have a comprehensive social services system, essential it is too! It is a fact that some children are abused, and they desperately need protection. Our Social Services department though seem to hit the headlines in a big way when they get it wrong.
If any of you out there are going through this dreadful process, it is essential that you consult expert child custody solicitors. You cannot defend yourself in these circumstances.
Panorama addressed several specific cases where children were removed from their families for, what may be considered, as dubious circumstances. At a glance, these cases seem outrageous. ‘There but for the grace of god go I’ is the thought that many parents must feel when learning of these cases.
I fear that the featured family’s stories though, are just a drop in the ocean. For all of the good work they do, Social Services may be making mistakes every day and destroying families. Taking away from parents, their entire reason for living and permanently damaging the child’s feeling of security at home.
Take the case of Amy’s son who had multiple fractures. Taken into care along with his elder sister only to be returned home after several weeks. Were it not for expert representation, Amy’s children would never have been returned to her. She was powerless and railroaded by the system.
Now we need Social Services; they do an essential job. The do help and protect abused children. They are, however, only human, and if they suspect harm even without evidence then they must investigate. Sometimes this can lead to overzealous mistakes.
Then comes what, seems to me, to be a horrible flaw in the system; time. From an outsider’s point of view, it makes my blood boil. The time it takes to get a simple decision. Waiting another week to speak to someone. Another assessment that can’t be carried out until next month. All the time more harm is being done. It is quite shameful. All the stops should be pulled to find out whether that child is genuinely at risk as quickly as is humanly possible, not so it fits in with the directors diary. If mistakes have been made by the social worker, or abuse disproved, get that child home where they belong without delay.
Maybe it is time that the whole system is looked at again. Yes, remove a child if abuse is suspected, of course it is the right thing to do. Then, in that child’s interests, keep the parents informed and represented from day one. Set the machine swiftly in motion and give these cases the urgency that the children need. Provide the parents with a valid avenue of appeal to go down when they know they are innocent.
Panorama has shown that for some of us, the citizens of this country, the system is faulty. Thank heavens for the people who go to court in defense of such miscarriages.
This may be a simplistic view as I am an outsider but then again, most of us in this country are outsiders. So the director of Social Services would do well to cut short that business lunch and get back to work, before the British people hold him/her to account. This simply cannot go on any longer.
Driving on and around Britain’s roads can be challenging and stressful at times, especially during rush hour traffic. So imagine how much more compounded this motoring mayhem can be if you are a parent driving around with your kids in the back of your car!
One of the most stressful time in any parent’s motoring career is the inevitable “school run”. But despite all this depressing motoring, there are some practical hints and tips that all parents can take advantage of in order to make their driving experience a much easier affair.
Here are the secrets to family motoring that all parents in the United Kingdom need to know:
The early parent gets the parking space
As I mentioned a moment ago, one thing that many parents get really stressed out about is the daily school run; dropping their kids off to school and then picking them up again later that same day.
This process has to be repeated Monday to Friday, and believe me; it never gets any easier! Normally parents end up arriving at their children’s school at a time when everyone else has also arrived, so it can be an absolute nightmare trying to find somewhere to park!
Sometimes you will even find parents double-parking because they can’t find a space close to the school; this can be an extremely dangerous thing to do and should be avoided at all costs.
Now here’s the thing: by arriving at your child’s school early enough, you will be able to get your pick of the parking spaces! Of course, this can sometimes be difficult to do if your child gets out of bed late in the morning, but it’s still achievable nonetheless.
Don’t smoke in the car
If you or your partner are smokers, then you should avoid smoking in the car regardless of whether your kids are in there or not. Just last night I parked my car outside of a shop and noticed that the occupants of the car next to me had a baby and a small child in the car with them, and the parents were both smoking with the windows closed!
You might think this is such a stupid and selfish thing to do considering second-hand smoke can affect the development of a growing baby or child’s internal organs, yet according to a newspaper article a few months ago, nearly 200,000 kids between 11 and 15 in England are exposed to high levels of these toxic fumes in their parents’ cars every day!
Buy a suitable car
Ferrying babies and children around in a car can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare, but the situation could be made worse simply because you don’t have the best car for the job!
So if you’re driving around in a small hatchback, you should consider trading it in for a more family-oriented car like an estate or people carrier from car dealers such as Junction17cars.co.uk
You will easily find a car to suit your requirements and budget, regardless of whether you are looking for a brand new or used car.
Where is the solution to creating healthier family and home? Often, parents believe that a dog may bring structure, discipline, and activity to family life. Yet as a new member of the family, dogs create more responsibility and issues than you anticipate.
Rather than taking a drastic step with an animal addition, find other solutions that encourage health, productivity, and more active lifestyles for every member of the family no matter what age. When wracking your brain for ideas to raise healthy eating and exercise awareness, follow these suggestions.
1. The Art of Gardening
Have you seen the bumper stickers, “Will Garden for Food”? The popularity behind gardening, especially communal all natural gardens, has risen dramatically over the last few years. As lawmakers, health professionals, and parents become more aware of terrible foods and unhealthy habits, they have turned to change their family’s eating habits.
This transition involves gardening. Often gardeners are more aware of the food they eat. They prefer all natural and organic produce that’s untainted by distant mass producing farmers. Children and parents alike take more of an active interest in what goes into creating food. Therefore, they tend to read more of the ingredient labels on products at grocery stores. Why would you eat ingredients that seem foreign and artificial?
Before spring rolls around, look to join a community garden or start an elevated herb and vegetable garden in the backyard. This home project keeps the children outside and active. Teach someone to garden, they’ll never go hungry as long as there is enough water, sunshine, and you keep the animals away.
2. Use TV Time to Learn How to Cook
Take the time to teach your children how to cook. Maybe you didn’t benefit from parents who cooked all time growing up. It’s not late to learn as a parent. There are various culinary education resources available. For example, you can enroll in cooking classes together. Weekend cooking classes won’t take much time, you’ll have a blast, and there’s no better quality time to spend with your kids.
If you don’t have the time or local cooking classes that fit into your schedule, watch PBS or the Food Network. The Food Network offers endless opportunities to learn how to cook basic and complicated meals. Practice new dinners, side dishes, and desserts together with the kids. Use the television for educational purposes that the kids will love. When looking to purchase good cable or satellite TV, you can find great deals to save money. For example, see what is available online for Kansas Direct TV offers
3. Teach Children How to Shop for Groceries
Parents must take a similar approach that local restaurants do when focusing on farm-to-table policies. After you’ve taught your children about gardening and growing their own produce, given them a chance to cook, and then educate them on healthy and intelligent grocery shopping.
It’s not only important to teach them how to save money when comparing prices at stores, but make them aware of reading ingredient labels. Educated them about the negative artificial ingredients often used in processed and boxed foods. Smart shoppers make healthier decisions.
Image Source – carolinaparent.com
You’ve probably seen all the news articles recently written by top psychologists claiming that January is the most depressing month of the year for most people. Well, I saw those too, and so I thought maybe it was time for me to write and post a short article highlighting some of the most effective ways of ensuring your entire family remains positive and happy this year. Let’s face it; some people are just more prone to getting the blues, and it’s those people I’m trying to reach out to. I know all too well how terrible you can feel from time to time, indeed, my medical records will show a heavy usage of antidepressants to prove it, but if I can stop one single parent from visiting their doctor for “happy pills” this year, then writing this post will have been worth it.
So, the first thing you really need to think about is your diet. It might be fine eating takeaways and food high in sugar most of the time, but in a month when people are bound to start feeling a little down, this should be avoided like the plague. Instead, try buying some fresh fruit and veg, as this is certain to lift your mood considerably. Here are some other suggestions for making sure the whole family stay happy all year round.
Arrange Educational Trips Together
Over ten years ago now, our previous Labour government made all the state-run museums in the UK waive their admission charges, and so it’s possible for anyone to visit them without having to break the bank. You might consider a trip to London if you really want to make your kids smile, as there’s more museums there packed tightly together than anywhere else in the country. Make sure you at least try the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum if you don’t plan on visiting anywhere else. You’ll want to set a full day aside though, because those places are pretty large.
Visit A Psychic Medium Together
Unless you’re a total skeptic, booking a family session with your local psychic medium or clairvoyant could provide some rather encouraging results. During a family session, they’re unlikely to give you any negative information, and instead, should provide you with some useful tips for the near future. Your kids will love the experience, and you too could benefit from the information you receive. If you’re not too sure about this one, why not give TheCircle.com Psychics a call for a taster of what’s in store.
Exercise Together & Get Fit
Every doctor worth his salt will tell you that exercise in by far the best way of lifting yourself from a low mood, and so arranging something fun with the whole family could be perfect. Sure, you probably do want to stay away from gyms, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a truly fantastic time on long walks around your local woodland or dedicated area of outstanding natural beauty. Plus, you could even take a ball along and turn it into a game if the kids don’t seem too enthusiastic about walking long distances.
If you give at least two of those suggestions a try, I guarantee you’ll all feel much better over the coming months. 2014 is going to be incredibly busy for most, so making plans now and setting time aside for stuff like this really is essential.
I wish you the best of luck folks!
Since shows like The Great British Bake Off first appeared on our screens, the UK has seen a huge rise in the number of people picking up an apron and wooden spoon and taking to the kitchen to whip up a sweet treat. Mastering the art of cake design is just important as a good sponge if you want professional looking cakes, so we bring you a guide to sugarcraft, and how to master it.
So what is Sugarcraft?
In simple terms, sugarcraft is a type of cake decorating, used to make your cakes stand out and al
low you to create three-dimensional designs. Similar to the techniques used by clay sculptors, it’s the art of modelling 3D figures in a cake using rolled fondant. Rolled into sheets, sugarcraft can be draped over cakes and also used to make intricate designs including ribbons, bows and flowers.
So Where Do I Begin?
One of the best ways to master the art of sugarcraft is to purchase a DVD or watch some videos online, to watch some experts in action. If you can, a class in sugarcraft is an even better option as you’ll have an instructor on-hand to personally show you some techniques and show you where you might be going wrong. Before you start, just remember that learning sugarcraft takes some time to master, and it can be very fiddly and irritating to get right. There’s really no right or wrong way, you’ll just need to use your artistic eye and try some different methods to find one that’s right for you.
What Do I Need?
There are a number of different utensils used in sugarcraft, and you can find them all on sites such as MakeBake. Here are just a few of the instruments you might want to pick up:
- Stainless Steel Metal Cutters – for creating delicate blossoms, leaves and flowers.
- Sugarpaste- prepared to use, sugarpaste gives you a smooth and sleek finish every time, allowing you to decorate cakes without the fear of cracking. Icecraft is a good brand to sue for this, being significantly less gritty and oil than other sugarpastes and offering a vibrant white, unflavoured colour.
- Spray Can Colours – spray cans are a great way of colouring a variety of icings including sugarpaste, marzipan, buttercream, modelling paste and much more. You’ll also find a great selection of colours available.
- Rosebuds and roses – perfect for decorating delicate cakes, sugarcraft roses and rosebuds give you cake a beautiful finish and are available in a variety of quantities and colours including lemon, peach, violet, pink and red.
- Piped roses – if you’re making cupcakes, piped roses are a great option and are usually available in pink and white.
How It’s Done
Before you start, make sure you’ve prepared the fondant in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until you need to use it. Then let your imagination run wild! Be aware that liquid food colourings shouldn’t be used when rolled fondant is ready for cake decorating. Colouring paste is a much better option, preventing the fondant from turning runny.
And remember, sugarcraft is a difficult art to master. If you don’t get it right the first time, practice is sure to make perfect. And just think of all those delicious cakes you’ll get to eat along the way!
Many blogs and articles will give you good reasons why you should get a dog for the family. However, many of those blogs and articles fail to recognise the real issues and problems that can come from having a dog, so this article is designed to set the record straight. Here’s 6 reasons you shouldn’t get a dog if you have kids, or plan on having kids:
Image taken from flickr
Reason 1: You Have to Have Sufficient Time for The Dog
A dog needs lots of love, care, and attention in order for it’s needs to be fulfilled. As a dog owner, it will be your responsibility to keep them happy and healthy with treats and treatments from places like http://www.perfectpetskin.co.uk, but it’s easy to take your attention away from the dog if you have kids or plan on having them. The moment you have a baby you’ll have much less time for the dog, and it isn’t fair to make them go without.
Reason 2: You’ll Always Need to Find a Dog Sitter if You Want to Go Out
If you want to go out, not only will you have to find somebody to look after the children, you’ll have to find somebody to take care of your dog. This might not be necessary with a one night outing, but if you’re staying over somewhere for the weekend or going on holiday it can be impossible to think of a solution. You could always put your dog in kennels, but that will cost a lot of money.
Reason 3: A Dog is For Life
A dog should be kept in the same household with the same family for all of it’s life, unless that family was neglectant of course. If you all of a sudden get sick of the dog because he’s under your feet along with your children, or you just can’t cope because you don’t have the time now you’ve had your baby, you might end up giving away your dog. This isn’t fair on the dog!
Reason 4: The Novelty Could Wear Off
When Christmas comes round, a birthday, or another special event, it’s easy to get excited and think of all of the wonderful things that a dog could bring to the household. However, the novelty could soon wear off when you realise you need to put time, effort, and money into taking care of the dog.
Reason 5: Dogs Need to Be Supervised Around Young Children
If you have young children, it’s important that they are always supervised around any dog. If your child doesn’t know any better, it could pull the dog’s tail/fur, or do other things to aggravate and irritate it. This could lead to a nasty accident where the dog loses control and you have to have it put down!
Reason 6: You Need Lots of Patience
Your patience will likely be wearing thin with your children/pregnancy, so you might not have the patience to train your dog properly. They need to be taught to go outside to the toilet, and should know straight off the bat that you are there master by using proven training techniques. If you don’t have the patience for this, you’ll both suffer.
Having a dog is a huge responsibility, and the moment you are a dog owner you’ll have responsibilities to care for that dog and make sure it’s happy, healthy, and well looked after. If you don’t think you can handle the pressure as well as the pressure of kids, don’t get a dog!
Organising an awesome kids party does not need to be hard. In fact, by following in the footsteps of some of the pro’s out there, you can be sure to host an amazing party designed just for kids. There are many things you’ll want to take into consideration, all of which are important when it comes to delivering on the promise of a great party. So what do you need to pay special attention to when it comes to creating a party experience that’s going to be remembered for years to come?
Consider Having a Theme
One of the ways to organise a great party for kids is to do things in accordance with a theme. For instance, you could do everything based around a TV show, or maybe even a movie. If you take the time to find out the interests of the child for whom the party is for, you’ll be able to find all sorts of merchandise on the internet, based around their favourite characters or hobbies.
Get the Right Entertainment
Another thing you’ll want to focus on when it comes to having a great kids party are the sources of entertainment. For example, you could consider hiring some outside help, in the form a magician, or maybe even a clown. Alternatively, you could push the boat out a little further and consider getting a photo booth from places such as Pixpod. Depending on the age of the children attending the party, the sources of entertainment are going to vary, though if you do your research, you’re sure to find something that is going to keep everyone satisfied.
If you’re looking to shortcut the process of hosting a great kids party, you could always think about hiring out a venue that does everything for you. You’ll find that nowadays there are a vast array of companies that exist, which will provide you with a venue, entertainment and even the food needed for a party.
Using such services is a great way to reduce your workload, and still be sure that you’re going have a party that’s amazing, and set to impress. It is vital that you pick the right company and venue in the first place as there’s no guarantee that the one you do pick will be up to your standard. You’ll need to do your research ahead of time so you’re not left disappointed on the day.
Hosting and organising a kids party can be a bit of a handful. There’s so much to focus on, that you can often find yourself drowning in the details, as you’re looking to create the best party experience possible.
In any case, there is no need to worry, as steps can be taken in order to host a party that’s sure to leave all those that attend amazed, and in a sense of awe. Even if you do get some outside help from a specialist company, you can still take the credit, as you did the necessary research needed in order to find a great company in the first place!
Christmas is definitely one of the most stressful time of the year for those generous (or silly?) people who agree to make dinner for the family. Although it’s also without question one of the best times of the year – who doesn’t love being surrounded by family, good food, and booze? However, with everything to remember and a lot of people to impress, the stress can all get too much and Christmas dinner can end up going awry. Sound familiar? Well fear not, because we’re going to give you plenty of helpful tips to make sure you have a memorable, stress free dinner next Christmas!
Make Sure You’ve Got The Appropriate Utensils
By appropriate, we don’t mean the cheapest sets you could find off eBay. Try to buy a good set of saucepans, a decent set of knives, and a good roasting tray. Although this will cost you extra, in the long run you’ll be much less stressed! It won’t hurt to purchase a few quality napkins either, to protect your guests from spills and other food and drink related accidents.
Cheat a Little Bit
Don’t feel bad if you want to make your life easier by cheating a little bit. Use store bought sauces, and maybe even buy ready-made pigs in blankets. You’ll save time, energy, and your guests won’t know the difference!
Prepare The Day Before
Prepare as much as you can the day before, so you don’t get yourself in a tizzy when the guests arrive. You can peel your vegetables, boil your potatoes, and more!
Cook Surprising Sprouts
Does anybody really like sprouts? You will when cooking them like this!
- Stir Fry chopped sprouts in a pan.
- Add chopped garlic, bacon bits, and black pepper.
- Serve when the sprouts are still a little firm.
Sprouts and bacon make perfect partners, so don’t hesitate to try it next time!
Tips to a Terrific Turkey
The turkey is one of the most important parts of the meal, so you need to get it right.
- Get the turkey to room temperature before putting it in a pre-heated oven.
- Use tips from your favorite chef; Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, etc.
- Always, ALWAYS, leave the meat to rest for a short while before carving and serving. It’ll become deliciously juicy!
Make Sure You’ve Got Enough to Drink
You can never have enough booze come Christmas, as your relatives will surely prove to you as they drink themselves into a drunken stupor. Make sure you’re stocked up on wine, cider, non alcoholic drinks like juice, and even water! You could even try creating your own mulled cider:
- Heat through a quality cider, then add some cinnamon sticks, the zest and juice of an orange and lemon, a vanilla pod, a few cloves, and a sprinkle of sugar.
- Once it’s all hot, allow it to cool down and infuse the flavours for 30 minutes.
- You can then reheat, strain the liquid through a sieve, and serve to your guests!
Little touches like stir fried sprouts with bacon, and homemade mulled cider will give you brownie points with your guests and make your dinner the most memorable one yet!
I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen parents traipsing around town, with their kids in a pram or pushchair, and then having to somehow get themselves and lots of shopping onto a packed bus or train!
For me, that is my idea of hell, and I am pretty sure that is a view shared by most, if not all, parents across the UK!
Aside from one parent and the children staying at home and the other parent going out and doing the shopping as well as running various errands, a simple solution presents itself in such situations: buy a car!
There are many benefits to parents buying a family car that can easily transport themselves, their children and any cargo in the boot; here are 6 such reasons!
1. It will reduce your blood pressure
On a serious note, situations like the one I have described above are enough to send any parent’s blood pressure levels through the roof!
Too much stress can cause some severe health problems for any person, and trust me; it’s not something you want to be suffering from if you’ve got some babies or young children to look after!
2. It’s convenient
Unless your family is heading to a destination where driving a car is not an option (you won’t have many of these types of destination in your life), owning a practical family car such as an estate or an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) will be extremely convenient for you and your family.
3. You are self-reliant
The problem with all methods of public transport is that you have to rely on them to a) be on time and b) have enough space for you and your family to board. If you had a car, you can just get behind the wheel whenever you want, without having to wait for anybody!
4. There is a huge choice of cars available
Obviously all parents will have different sets of requirements when it comes to what sort or size of car they need, whether it be a small car from http://www.coopermini.co.uk or a large MPV to transport a car full of people and a boot full of cargo or pets. Because there is a vast choice of cars available on the market, the possibilities are endless.
5. You are better equipped to deal with emergencies
If your son or daughter has become really poorly and you need to take them to your GP or local hospital quickly, you can simply take them in your car and drive to where you need to go to at a moment’s notice. This would be difficult to achieve if you did not have your own car.
6. You can have family road trips
Many parents love taking their kids on family holidays to somewhere new and interesting within Great Britain, and road trips in your car with them can be a great time to spend some quality time together until you reach your destination! Of course, you might have to contend with the odd squabble from the back seat, but it just adds to the experience of it all!
The right to bear arms is a fundamental right of every US citizen, and owning a gun for self-defense is practically a necessity in the modern world. Storing guns in the home when you have young children can be a difficult situation as you need to strike a balance between keeping the gun accessible at a moment’s notice whilst also making it impossible for small fingers to accidentally stumble across a loaded weapon. Most gun experts advise that the safest way to store a gun is to keep it unloaded and locked up in a separate safe from the ammunition. However, attempting to locate both gun and ammunition from different safes while intruders are kicking down your door wastes valuable time and will most likely end with you losing possession of your firearm. Finding a safe yet secure place for your weapon is an essential part of home defense and could possible save you and your family’s lives.
Quick Access Safes
Gun safes that offer biometric technology are an ideal way to keep your firearm safely locked up yet accessible at a moment’s notice. They can be bolted to the wall or floor to protect them from theft and are secure enough to be stored in your child’s nursery so you can head straight there in the event of an emergency. Fumbling around in the dark with combination locks or keys could waste valuable seconds, but with biometric systems the safe springs open at the touch of your hand. They use fingerprint technology to ensure you are the only person with access to the safe and feature deep grooves in the casing to guide your fingers in the dark.
Life jackets provide extra protection by covering the action part of your firearm allowing you to transport it securely or store it outside of a safe without having to worry about accidents. The jackets come in many different sizes and Guns America carries a wide range that caters to every type of weapon. Many people use them in addition to a gun safe to provide extra security, but this will make it more difficult to access your firearm in a hurry.
If you decide that the safest way to store your gun in the house is to keep it on you at all times, then a secure holster is probably going to be the best option for you. Secure holsters keep your weapon locked inside the holster which is then firmly attached to your body and cannot be drawn by attackers or anyone else without first releasing it using a series of buttons and levers. They may seem complicated at first, but once you are comfortable with the method of release it will soon become second nature.
To carry a concealed weapon you will first need to apply for a concealed weapons permit, and make sure you familiarize yourself with the gun laws in your state. A firearm is one of the most effective ways to provide protection for your family in the event of a home invasion, but your weapon is only effective if you are able to reach it quickly.
Milton Zane is passionate about safety. He frequently writes about realistic concerns and gun protection and safety.