Getting a good start in life involves getting a good education, and what better way to thank the ones that have had the most impact in your child’s life than giving them a little gift.
Over the last few years this has become a trend, more and more parents are prepared to give a gift to their child’s teacher.
However, according to reports, some parents are taking this too far, spending more and more money on gifts for teachers in an attempt to outdo each other. This takes competitive parenting to a whole new level. In a survey conducted by UK parenting website Netmums, parents are spending, on average, £10 on a gift, while the number of parents spending more than £20 has increased by more than 50%.
Putting all this aside, when my Daughter finished her school year I felt it important to buy her teacher a gift, as a thank you for teaching her this year.
Here are five things that you may want to consider buying as gifts for teachers:
The usual suspects: Flowers
Although a little predictable, a bunch of flowers with a card would make a nice surprise gift for any teacher. To make it a little more personal, try and find out what the teacher’s favourite flowers are. I’m sure if you were to receive a gift, this amount of thought would go a long way.
The supporting act: Chocolates
Like flowers, chocolates can also make a great gift. Again, try and make it personal and find out what the teacher likes.
A little something of everything: The Hamper
There’s much to be said about a hamper. Of course you can by one from your local supermarket, but the best hampers are always personalised to the recipient, with plenty of thought but in to the contents of it. Again, research plays a big part in getting the hamper just right for the teacher. Find out what biscuits or sweets they like, what they enjoy to drink, maybe even go as far as finding out their favourite author or magazine. Also, try and think about what you would like to receive in a hamper. Would you like some bath salts or oils, hand cream or a face mask? I’m sure you’d appreciate; teachers would love the time to relax too.
Vouch for something special: Vouchers
If you don’t know your child’s teacher that well, vouchers can be an extremely thoughtful gift. Think about vouchers for stores that stock a little bit of everything, maybe a Walmart or other department store. A voucher may not be as personal as other gifts, but it will be warmly received and hugely appreciated just the same.
Subscribe to success: The Magazine Subscription
Again, you don’t need to know your child’s teacher that well to get them something that they will love. If your child’s teacher teaches a particular subject, have a look at what specific, or more niche magazine titles that they could subscribe to, and purchase a 6 or 12 months subscription for them. Alternatively, you could buy them a subscription to a more general lifestyle magazine.
Hopefully this will give you some great ideas.
When you’re a teenager, one of the things that you start to look forward to is the freedom to drive your own car whenever you want, and wherever you want to go. It’s also something of a status symbol for many youngsters, as it’s “cool” to have your own car rather than having to take the public transport everywhere (or blag a lift off your mum and dad whenever you want to go into town)!
But what many teenagers don’t realise is how dangerous driving can be. According to statistics from Brake, the road safety charity, a shocking one in five new drivers are likely to crash their car within the first six months of driving, and it probably comes as no surprise that young men are far more likely to be involved in a crash than women.
Quite often, teenage drivers will end up being taught how to drive by their parents, and many of those youngsters will go on to pass their driving tests. If you have teenagers and they want to learn how to drive, here is what you need to know in order to do a good job!
Have you got what it takes?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself whether you are cut out to be a driving instructor to your children. There are certain qualities and legal requirements that you will need to possess before you can even consider becoming a driving instructor to your kids:
- Personal qualities – as a driving instructor you have to be patient, have the ability to stay calm under pressure and be able to guide your child through any dangerous situations;
- Driving licence – in the UK, you will need to have held a full driving licence for at least 3 years;
- Car – obviously a car is required for this particular task, and it needs to be road legal (i.e. having valid MOT and tax). Both you and your kids need to be insured to drive the car.
One crucial thing that you must not do is pass on any bad driving habits to your kids; pretty much everyone will have picked up bad driving habits at some point in their lives. Some parents opt for taking an advanced driving course first to help them be better drivers, so that they can pass on those positive driving skills to their offspring.
Preparing for the big day
When you’re both ready for the first driving lesson, it is important to teach your kids the basics of your car (or their car, if they have their own car to learn in). This means going through the controls of the car, and familiarising them with the different components of a car so that they can check they all function correctly.
Once you are both ready to begin, make sure the stereo is turned off, and both of you have seatbelts on. Get them to adjust their mirrors and seat to ensure optimum visibility and comfort, and then you can begin the lesson.
In a hurry to pass?
Some parents feel it is better to get approved driving instructors to teach their children how to drive, so if they are in a hurry to learn how to drive, it might be more beneficial to book some intense driving courses for them once they have mastered the basics of driving in your car.
This gives them the confidence to progress as they will have had previous driving experience (with you at their side) and it will obviously be cheaper too.
Buying presents for a man can sometimes be a rather difficult mission to accomplish! They either don’t give you any clues as to what they might want, or they keep buying all sorts of things for themselves all the time.
If you are finding yourself in this rather unfortunate position, here are 7 awesome gift ideas to help you choose the (hopefully) right gift for your other half!
Louis Vuitton Florin Wallet
One thing that virtually all guys have in their pockets is a wallet. But did you know that not many blokes have really awesome designer wallets, such as this Louis Vuitton Florin Wallet in Damier Graphite?
It’s not the cheapest wallet around, I’ll admit, but I think you will agree that it is certainly a very stylish one!
2. 3M Streaming Projector
If your partner has a “man cave” at home, and he is into gadgets and technology as well as being a bit of a film buff, one clever piece of portable gadgetry you could get him is the 3M Streaming Projector.
In a nutshell, it’s a device that lets you stream any online content (i.e. movies) anywhere you want.
3. Shinola Bixby Bicycle
I know you can buy any old bicycle for your partner, but if you want to buy him something special then you should consider getting him a men’s bicycle by Shinola, such as the Bixby. It features a 3-speed Shimano gear set, and is great for driving in both dry and wet conditions.
4. Apple iPad Air
One of the most popular tablets that you can buy your significant other is the Apple iPad Air. It is extremely lightweight, fully-featured and is available as either a WiFi-only or 4G-enabled tablet with a range of capacities from 16GB to 128GB.
They can run virtually the same apps that are available for iPhones and iPods, and work well together with those other Apple iOS devices too.
5. Supercar Experience Day
Is your partner an absolute petrolhead? If so, they will probably dream of owning a car such as a Porsche 911 or a Ferrari, and while this dream might only become reality if you both win the lottery, for example, you could still give them a taste of what it’s like to drive such a vehicle by buying them a supercar experience day gift!
6. Minelab X-TERRA 305
Every man’s childhood dream is to go out with a metal detector and search for treasure! Well, now you can make that dream a reality for your partner by getting them a Minelab X-TERRA 305 metal detector! It offers the best detection rates and might possibly make the man in your life rich…!
7. Samsung UE40F8000 LED 3D Smart TV
Let’s face it; most guys love to watch TV! But have you ever noticed how some TVs have a pretty mediocre picture and tinny sound quality in comparison to others? Well, if your guy’s TV is a bit like that, why not get them a super awesome Samsung UE40F8000 LED 3D smart TV?
When my old car was on its last legs, so to speak, I had to begin the unenviable task of looking for a new car.
I know some people love the challenge of looking for a new car, but for me it can sometimes be a bit stressful as you have to think about loads of different things such as how much you want to spend, what sort of car you want to buy, and where or whom you want to buy it from.
My requirements were pretty straightforward at the time, which was actually unusual for me as people that know me will often state that I keep changing my mind about things, especially when it comes to cars!
I decided that I wanted to buy a 5-door hatchback car that was comfortable enough to transport me and up to three passengers in, and had an ample amount of boot space for cargo. As for budget, I was flexible on it but had a specific ‘ceiling’ limit in mind for the car I wanted.
In the end, I decided to buy myself a sixth-generation Volkswagen Golf. As a rule, I don’t buy brand new cars because of depreciation, and because the seventh generation of the Golf came out in 2013, I was able to bag myself a bargain on a nearly-new sixth generation model from motorlinedirect.co.uk.
I had looked at plenty of different models on the market such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the Renault Megane, but I was 100% won over by the Volkswagen Golf. Here’s why:
It’s a pretty well-known fact that the build quality of Volkswagen cars is of a really high standard, despite it being a mass-produced car which, as you may know, can be prone to problems relating to how certain components were assembled in the factory.
I remember seeing an amusing television advert from Volkswagen a couple of years ago about how some cars ‘sound’ like a Golf, but on a serious note when you get inside of a Golf and close the door you will instantly discover why many hatchbacks from competitor carmakers try to mimic that German build quality and fail miserably!
I must admit; I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Volkswagen Golf, as my first car was a mk1 model. At the time, my first car was around 15 years old and was surprisingly reliable considering its former keepers didn’t exactly maintain it that well!
Fast forward several years to the mk6 Golf that I bought recently, I am pleased to say that this trend of reliable motoring has continued. I know it’s probably early days to speculate whether my Golf is going to be just as reliable when it’s older, but I’ve had cars from other makes of a similar age and have had to spend hundreds of pounds repairing them!
One of the things that Volkswagen is known for is how safe its cars are. To give you an example, Euro NCAP awarded the mk6 Golf five out of five stars for the safety tests it carried out on that generation!
For any sensible parent and dog owner, researching the ‘best’ breed of dog to join your family is something that you obviously take great pride in. It is not easy to say which breed of dog is ‘best’ around children, but some dogs tend to have more naturally affectionate personalities than other breeds of dog. Some dogs are more playful and tolerant, while other dogs can be more assertive and act as guard dogs. Whatever breed of dog that you choose to become a member of your family do remember that they are big commitment, so only buy a dog if you are ready to take on a lot of responsibility.
As a rule of thumb, dogs tend to be tolerant around children that they have ‘grown up’ around. While the idea of a puppy and toddler at the same time is a daunting one, raising the two together will ensure a life long bond. The dog will be as happy as your child.
Remember the following when choosing a breed of dog that is best to have around small children:
There are of course many dogs for sale, but choosing the right one for your family takes a lot of research.
Family Friendly Dog Breeds
Beagles make loyal companions due to their sturdy stature. As a rule, they tend to be very energetic and so they rarely tire of playing. This is, of course, ideal for small children who will often want to play long games with the family dog. Beagles have a friendly temperament and are extremely clever too.
While these dogs are giant, they are very gentle and absolutely adorable. This particular breed of dog is patient, loyal and caring. While they are prone to drooling and shedding their enormous fluffy coats, they make wonderful pets, especially around children, hence their nickname as ‘Natures Babysitter’. However, this breed of dog likes to be inside, as well as having large open spaces. As the Newfoundland is a very large dog, only consider this breed should you have the room to do so.
The red Irish Setter is put simply, a stunning dog. While this breed of dog is particularly energetic it enjoys being around people and children, especially a family that can devote a lot of time to it. Irish Setter’s are very intelligent and can be trained easily. Perfect should you want to avoid ‘doggy presents’ on the carpet!
The ‘Andrex’ puppy certainly has the cute factor and is a firm favourite among those that are seeking a family-friendly dog. These lively, intelligent dogs are super playful and have a high tolerance for children. These dogs are known for their loyalty and really do make an excellent addition to the family.
Buying a dog isn’t just simply ‘buying a dog’, it is extending your home and your heart and effectively is adding a member of your family. Except one that has four legs and hair. Every dog has the potential to be ‘family-friendly’ with the correct handling, training and upbringing.
Don’t forget that before you bring home any family pet, especially puppies that you do your home work. You can find a great new puppy checklist that should help!
Credit for photo
Finding traditional means of employment when you’re a stay-at-home mom can be a real pain, especially since the international job market as a whole has been on the decline for the last few years. This is precisely why it’s important you learn to think outside of the box and source your income through alternative means. Whilst some governments do have a decent benefits system, this will only keep you just above the breadline. Presuming you love your kids and you want the best for them, this simply isn’t good enough. With all that in mind, this article will present 5 simple home business ideas you may wish to research over the next few months. Why knows; they could make all the difference to your quality of life.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still need to put a lot of effort in to get things off the ground, but so long as you have sufficient motivation, this shouldn’t be a major problem. For the most part, you’ll have to do everything yourself, which means taking some time out to work on your telephone voice and your social communications skills could be a wise move. So, without any further delay on my part, here are the business ideas that could change your life for the better.
1 – Telephone Answering Service
Many businesses simply don’t have the time or resources to allow someone to sit answering telephone calls all day long. This means they employ the services of specialist companies to do the job for them. So, if this sounds appealing, follow the model put in place by http://www.ffb.co.uk and you should achieve a moderate level of success.
2 – Catering
Okay, so, you’re not going to become a millionaire from a basic cake-making company, but if you’ve got baking skills and a keen eye for design, there’s no reason why you can’t significantly boost your income using this method. Luckily, you should only have to advertise your services on social network sites to start receiving orders.
3 – Blogging
If you’re pretty computer savvy, then starting your own blog or opting to write for a creative content marketing company on other blogs could solve all your financial issues. You’d be surprised by how much money can be made. I know someone who does this job for less than 6 hours each day and earns a wage that works out to be almost double that which the government places as a bottom line (minimum wage).
4 – Search Engine Optimisation
Presuming you follow the online world and always read up on new updates released by major search engines like Google, you could set yourself up as a freelance SEO specialist and help businesses with new websites to rank in favourable positions for their chosen keywords. Again, there’s a lot of money to be made if you’re good.
5 – Personal Assistant
Back in the day, anyone who wanted to employ a personal assistant would have had no choice but to meet with them face to face on a daily or weekly basis. Thankfully, due to the release of reliable video chat software like Skype, this is no longer the case. So, whatever subject you have a talent for, finding people online willing to pay for your assistance or expertises should be simple.
Well ladies, there you have it. You should now have some great ideas about what you can do to make some extra cash and help your kids to have the life they deserve. Keep working towards any goals you set yourself, and you should reach them in no time.
Believe if yourself!
If you’re looking for a nanny, it can be difficult to find one that lives up to the expectations supernanny Jo Frost set for everybody. Her techniques seem to work no matter how badly behaved the child! However, that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to find somebody as equally as good as her. Here’s what you should look for when hiring:
Someone Well Put Together
No, we don’t believe you should judge a book by it’s cover, but if the nanny seems to take care of herself this can only be a good sign, as well as an indication of how she’ll care for your child/children. She doesn’t need to have a fashion sense to rival Alexa Chung, but providing she’s clean and tidy like t&c staff, it’s a good sign.
Interacts Well With Your Child
As part of your interview, you should allow the nanny time to meet your child. Does she seem patient and caring? IS she comfortable holding and playing with your child? Don’t worry if your child doesn’t seem to take to her right away, they may get used to her in time. What’s important is how she handles the situation.
Asks Appropriate Questions
There are some tell tale signs that somebody will be a good nanny, and asking appropriate questions is one of them. If she asks you how often your baby cries for example, this might mean she can’t handle normal child behaviour. If she doesn’t ask any questions at all this can still be a problem, as she should be interested enough in the position to think of things she’d like to know the answers to.
Does she seem intelligent? The nanny should be able to follow instruction and think on her feet effectively.
You don’t need to become best friends with this lady, but you should be able to talk to her about things concerning your child. She should feel comfortable with you, as the pair of you will need to be in constant contact.
If she’s on time for her interview, that shows that she could be reliable. Lateness, even with an excuse, could spell trouble.
Does she seem as if she can handle taking care of your little one? If she doesn’t look up to the job physically, or seem it mentally, you should steer clear.
Getting references is a very important part of choosing a great nanny. Experience and great ratings from past employers are brilliant! You want to be able to contact at least 2 of her past employers. You’ll need to ask questions regarding how long she was with the family, whether she was reliable, why did she leave, if there was anything they didn’t like about her, and any examples of when she handles a difficult situation. Background checks are important too!
Once you think you’ve found a great nanny, you could schedule a test run in order to find out whether she’s suitable for the job. If you still feel comfortable, hire her!
Image Credit: Flickr
If you have children, you may be worried about what havoc they may cause if you thinking about buying a new sofa.
You need a sofa that fits into your lifestyle, as well as your family home. So it’s important that you consider all the sofa options when making your decision.
When thinking about the style of sofa to choose, here are some handy tips:
A leather sofa not only looks great, they are also child proof, to a degree. Leather can be easily wiped down if there is a spill or a stain, meaning you only need to get a damp cloth to it if the unavoidable happens. Leather is also very durable, as well as looking sophisticated however, it is not immune to damage and mishaps – it still beats fabric hands-down. One sofa that really looks the part is the Leather Chesterfield sofa.
Another handy tip is to buy a dark coloured sofa, because even though a pen mark may wipe off most leather sofas, a dark coloured sofa will hide a stain a lot better in case the worst should happen. A black sofa may look a bit harsh in some homes, but you can get some striking green and blue sofas that should compliment your family home nicely.
If a solid dark colour isn’t for you, maybe you should look at patterned sofas. I’d recommend you try and stay away from white or very light colour schemes for the reasons outlined earlier.
You should also consider the style of sofa you want for you and your family. Is it the big corner sofa you desire or is it a traditional three piece suite that would be better for your family? Do you want your own space or something that the whole family can descend on?
It’s not just the size and shape that you should consider. Sofas have a variety of styles, such as high and low backs, differing shaped arms, is it a flat back, soft or firm filling.
Another element that you should consider is space. Space, not just for the sofa, but for the kids to play in. It’s this space that could avoid little mishaps occurring in the future. They say prevention is better than cure.
The frame is the backbone of the sofa, so you will need to ensure that the sofa offers the best quality of frame to withstand the constant use of both adults and children.
Often overlooked, but very important, especially if you have young children in the house. The feet on sofas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, as well as material. Some classic leather sofas have tall, strong wooden legs that can jut out causing a risk to young children within the household. Other sofas may have concealed feet that may be more appropriate to your household.
There is plenty to think about, but once you’ve considered everything you’ll have a sofa that is great for you, and the children in your house too.
It’s no secret that travelling abroad for family holidays is a somewhat costly affair these days.
The cost of flights to overseas destinations has increased in recent years, and there has been much news coverage in the media in recent months about how travel agents and airline firms are seemingly charging up to double the price of flights and accommodation during school holiday times.
For many parents feeling the economic pinch, travelling abroad with the kids is fast becoming an impossible dream. So if you are facing this dilemma, here are some alternative holiday ideas that you could consider for the summer holidays this year which will be just as fun and interesting for both you and your children!
Go on a rail adventure
You might think this is somewhat unusual, but I can guarantee you that both you and your kids will have such an awesome time going on a rail adventure! There are plenty of heritage railways that you can check out such as the Severn Valley Railway in the West Midlands, and it’s a great way to go and explore some picturesque towns along the route whilst taking in some breathtaking scenery!
Some heritage railway operators even have workshops where the kids can get involved with refurbishing trains and equipment, while others even allow children to do some driving too!
One of the most-popular places to spend time with your children during the school holidays is in a ‘holiday village’ such as CenterParcs. These locations feature self-contained accommodation and have all sorts of facilities on offer, such as swimming pools, indoor and outdoor activities, water sports and more, all within a scenic woodland area.
And for the parents, there are a number of facilities for them too such as spa treatments, saunas, as well as a selection of restaurants and leisure facilities aimed at adults.
One of the cheapest ways of spending some quality family time together is by going camping in the great outdoors! Believe it or not, Britain has a vast number of scenic campsites dotted around, so all you have to do is decide where you’d like to go camping and pitch up your tent!
Every parent should take their children camping at least once in their lives, as it means that the kids will be able to enjoy and appreciate nature and the great outdoors, and you can even teach them some essential skills which they will hopefully pass on to their children when they are older.
Of course, camping isn’t for everyone, so the next best thing to pitching up a tent is staying in a caravan! You can usually stay in a caravan in the same places where you would go camping, and you can either hire a caravan, or buy your own and drive it to the campsite with you.
Caravans sometimes get bad press, but to be honest they are actually pretty luxurious. According to Butler Technik, they have all of the modern conveniences that you would expect to find in a hotel room, except that you are paying a fraction of the cost!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s time to move. This is often one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, because moving involves gathering up all of your personal belongings and physically moving them. There’s a good chance you’ll end up losing something, breaking something else, and there’s even the possibility that all of your stuff could be destroyed. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way if you take the time to prepare for your move.
Pack Up Everything Yourself
One of the best ways to ensure that all of your stuff makes it to where it’s going is to pack it yourself. Yes, this takes a lot more effort. It’s also a lot more time-consuming. But, at the end of it, you’ll know that the job is done right.
Most moving companies that have packing services aren’t as careful with your stuff as you’d be, and that makes sense if you think about it. It’s not their stuff. They’re not going to care about it as much as you do.
Label Everything and Take an Inventory
When you pack up your belongings, label everything. Take an extensive inventory and use a spreadsheet so that you have good documentation. Take photos, and even take the time to document the tiny details like how many pairs of socks you have.
This will make it a lot easier to keep track of your belongings when you’re ready to load them up, as well as when you move in. You can be sure everything made it to where it’s supposed to be. It’s also good for those times when you have to make an insurance claim for lost or damaged items.
Compare Written In-Home Estimates
Get the moving company to come out to your home. Don’t trust over-the-phone estimates. They’re never correct anyway. Most moving companies will charge either by weight or by volume. Ask for a quote based on both and go with the cheapest one. But, get your estimate in writing and ask about what could negatively affect the price between now and the time you’re ready to move.
Buy The Insurance
Get moving insurance. Some companies will offer it to you, but will advise you that it’s really not necessary. it is. Even if it costs you an additional $500, the standard insurance that comes with all moving jobs will only compensate you mere cents on the dollar for anything that’s lost or stolen. You want replacement value. If you’re unsure where to look for insurance, comb through top selling real estate agents, talk to your current insurance broker, or ask family or friends for referrals.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Your pets need to move too. So, don’t forget Fido’s crate, all his creature comforts, and don’t forget that animals often don’t like change. This is going to be a very confusing time for your pet. Make the transition as smooth as possible. You’re not going to want to pack up any of its belongings before you’re ready to move, and it’s always a good idea to take your dog with you to the new place and spend some time sniffing around.
Prep The New Home
Prepare your new home for your arrival. That means paint and clean the home before anything is moved in. It’s easier to do it now than wait for the furniture and all your belongings to arrive.
Arthur Young is a housing guru. From his long career in buying and selling, he enjoys blogging about everything from navigating the real estate market to getting settled in a new place.