Foresters, the international financial services organisation, is encouraging parents to cut back on their family's use of technology. But why? Last month … [Read more]

Techy stack image © A Mummy Too

Parenting is a juggling act, a feat of will, an endless battle to get organised, a desperation to minimise risk and a constant quest for peace of mind. I've … [Read more]

Meal planning - what could go wrong?

We’re all looking for a great deal on just about everything. What we save here, we can spend there. I adore the internet. Fingertip shopping allows you to … [Read more]

Is technology hurting our families?

Foresters, the international financial services organisation, is encouraging parents to cut back on their family’s use of technology. But why?

Last month saw the UK launch of Tech Timeout, a campaign which aims to get families to take an hour away from technology daily in order to spend more quality time together, free from techy distractions.

Rebecca Bell, Project Leader from Foresters explains: “While there is little doubt that technology plays an important part of all our lives, there are fears that extended use by children can have far reaching affects including lack of developmental skills and even depression”.

This is a concern echoed by many organisations, including charity Family Action, which is reported to have released leaflets advising parents to turn off their communications devices and spend some more time with their children. The fear is that if parents give too much attention to mobile phones and television over traditional family conversations, children will suffer, both in terms of their family relationships, but also in terms of reaching speaking and listening milestones.

Ms. Bell explains: “We are inviting parents to pledge their support for this initiative and take a daily scheduled break from their electronic devices for one hour every day, for a week.” Doesn’t sound too tough, does it?

You can sign up, and get useful tips, at www.techtimeout.com

Order in chaos, chaos in order (sponsored post)

Meal planning – what could go wrong?

Parenting is a juggling act, a feat of will, an endless battle to get organised, a desperation to minimise risk and a constant quest for peace of mind.

I’ve become so much more organised since becoming a parent. Before kids, I lived for my work and worried little about other practicalities. Now I’m a lean, mean, planning machine. Oh yes.

We have home insurance, health insurance, life insurance and all manner of cover. We have multiple bank accounts, emergency childcare details and back-up email accounts. We have plug guards and cupboard locks and emergency numbers pinned by the fridge. We have bath routines and weekly meal plans, craft boxes and cookbooks. The furniture is practical with rounded corners and the surfaces are always being wiped.

Except…the toy box is full of pans and spoons from the kitchen cupboards. The meal plan now says, ‘cake and pizza’ in a childish scrawl. The pile of household paperwork is balanced precariously on the hall phone table, mixed in with out-of-date flyers from school bags and junk mail retrieved from the doormat. The surfaces may be wiped, but they’re rarely free of crumbs and sticky, felt tip tinged hand prints.

Oh yes, I’m a lean, mean, organised machine. There is order in our chaos, and chaos in our order. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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How to Save for a Rainy Day (sponsored guest post)

We’re all looking for a great deal on just about everything. What we save here, we can spend there. I adore the internet. Fingertip shopping allows you to compare prices, read product reviews, and find the best overall deal for your money.

Food

Find manufacturer coupons online for household staples like bread, cereal, and peanut butter. Many companies provide cents-off coupons to get you to try out their products. Others issue savings certificates for tried-and-true items that are persistently on your shopping list. Sign up for email updates and get printable coupons sent right to your inbox. Some manufacturers even mail out free samples for exciting new products to try out.

Mortgage

Compare your home mortgage interest rate to the advertised rates of other loan providers. Chances are other banks are offering a lower percentage than you currently have, especially if you’ve been in your home for a number of years. Your current lender may even have lower rates than the 30-year fixed loan you locked into when you first provided your signature. Now is a great time to refinance and to push your monthly payments down. Refinancing typically requires appraisal of your home in its current condition and closing costs. If you can’t afford these expenses upfront, many loan companies will roll the cost into the loan.

Utilities

Try new light bulbs, the standard incandescent bulbs that were popular for more than a century are no longer in vogue. Today’s most energy efficient homes have done away with these bulbs and replaced them with CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) lighting. You’ve seen them in the store, they’re squiggly-shaped. Just a few years ago, these bulbs were relatively expensive. Now, however, CFLs are inexpensive and the savings they offer your household are outstanding, and will stick you with a much lower energy bill.

Clothing

Keep in mind a new top or a fashionable pair of shoes doesn’t mean you need to squander your cash. Like I suggested, the internet is the perfect marketplace for comparison shopping and for saving. You can browse your favorite stores online and sign up for emails to get coupon codes and more (maybe a Backcountry coupon code, for example).

The cost of living needn’t damper your financial forecast. You can be frugal, but still get the things you really want. A quick online search makes everything at the ready so you’re equipped with money-saving tools. The internet makes it possible to do your financial homework to help you cut costs on just about everything. You’ll be able to save up for small purchases now and major items in the future, regardless of what the weather calls for.

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Join the MyFamilyClub 30 minute Parent Pledge revolution (sponsored post)

What will your Family Pledge be?

MyFamilyClub is currently running a campaign called the 30 minute Parent Pledge. It’s all about trying to encourage parents to spend just 30 mins doing something a bit different but thrifty with the kids.

What you pledge is up to you. It might be a treasure hunt through the woods, cooking up a storm together in the kitchen or spending time getting the veg patch ready for spring. The only requirement is that your pledge is fun, easy, thrifty, and takes roughly 30 minutes.

To help get parents inspired, MyFamilyClub is asking you to send in your pledges. The one MyFamilyClub chooses as the favourite Parent Pledge will win a luxury two-night family break in Cornwall, courtesy of Sands Resort Hotel & Spa.

To see the full details and enter your Pledge, just go to MyFamilyClub and share you best money saving Parent Pledge. Good luck!

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MumsontheBlog loves the Babymel Spring/Summer 2013 styles

Just a quick post to show you the gorgeous new range of changing bags from Babymel. Our editor, Emily, is in love with the stylish boathouse blue striped satchel. What do you think?

All Babymel bags are equipped with built in stroller-straps, wipe-clean linings, padded changing mats and insulated bottle holders and feature original prints. Prices range from £42- £60.  Someone get us to the beach!