The Dream Coracle: Dog Bed Or Great Invention?

by Nada in Misc on 20 February, 2015 at 12:10 pm

The Dream Coracle: Dog Bed Or Great Invention?

When I first saw the advert for these I thought "why would anyone in their right mind buy a dog bed for their child?". I then watched a video about Northumbria University Nursery who uses them and it really changed my mind. Sure, these Dream Coracles are very reminiscent of a canine pit BUT my son Daniel rolls about the floor with his sookie (comfort) blanket dosing and I think he could use one of these.

Check out the Dream Coracle, here.

Well I did think that until I saw the price...over £255. My other half would think I had lost the plot. Can I can get away with buying a fancy dog bed for much less? Would that be okay? I don't want to mock this product though, as I do think that the idea is really good.

Perhaps, we will just settle for a padded giant cushion with lots of blankets for now. The concept is great and I like the freedom of letting your child decide when he or she is ready for little nap. I can't help thinking that they might decide they don't want a nap at all and end up stroppy and difficult.

What's your thoughts on the Dream Coracle? Is it too much like a bed for the dog? Or is it a really good idea? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Thanks to Nikki G on the PlayPennies FB Page

Affordable Summer Holidays For Families At Last?

by karenm in Misc on 20 February, 2015 at 11:36 am

Affordable Summer Holidays For Families At Last?

Breaks in the school summer holidays may about to become more affordable for families with as many as 70% of head teachers suggesting they will change term dates to allow off peak travel with the new legislation due in September. 60% claim their main reason for changing will be to allow families to take affordable holidays together.

Prior to 2013, head teachers were allowed to grant up to 10 days holiday leave per year for families wishing to holiday during term time but that was stopped by the then Education Secretary Michael Grove and now leave will only be granted in 'exceptional circumstances'. Parents flaunting this could be fined up to £120 for each absent child - or £60 if paid within 28 working days. Those who refuse to pay face prosecution which could result in three months' jail and a £2,500 fine.

Travel companies have to accept their part in proceedings too. As with all businesses there is a simple case of prices being affected by supply versus demand, changing term dates should help.

So what exactly will head teachers be able to do?  What changes will there be to term dates? Cheaper summer holidays are all well and good but day to day many families struggle to find affordable childcare and if you have two children at different schools, perhaps -what happens if they’re on different holidays? No summer holiday, plus added childcare issues.

A report carried out by the Boston Consultancy Group stated that staggered school holidays - which were the most likely outcome of the changes - would result in cheaper holidays for families.

They wrote: 'In the next few years, the (travel) market will shift as schools adjust their schedules, and operators will likely contend with shorter peak periods when school holidays coincide, longer shoulder periods when fewer schools are on holiday at any one time, and shorter off-peak periods when only some schools (or possibly none at all) are on holiday.'

So in theory it sounds like good news for families. Parents have been campaigning for years for cheaper school holidays but now that it looks as though it will finally be implemented come September, is it really as good as it looks?

Burger King Starts Home Deliveries

by Nada in Misc on 19 February, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Burger King Starts Home Deliveries

Oh every now and then, I get to over exciting about the news I am sharing with you lovely folk....THIS IS IT! If you love Burger King, then you better sit down, THEY ARE STARTING A DELIVERY SERVICE! I told you, how awesome. There's one downfall, they are trialling it so there are a few areas included in this pilot scheme. Unfortunately, my area isn't but for the sake of my wedding dress, that's probably a good thing.

Click here to order your favourite meal from Burger King

Here's the areas that will be benefiting from the Burger King Delivery Service:

  • Gants Hill (selected postcodes only)
  • Hayes (selected postcodes only)
  • Hornchurch (again, selected postcodes)
  • Hull 
  • Northampton (selected postcodes)
  • Romford (selected postcodes only)
  • Skegness
  • Truro

You can check if they do deliver to your postcode by clicking here.

I will survive even though they don't deliver where I am as my local Subway does. Oh but to have an XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger Meal delivered on a Sunday morning whilst you are still in bed nursing a hangover would be magnificent.

Are you one of the lucky ones that are in a BK delivery area? Do you feel excited? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Childcare Vouchers Vs Tax Free Childcare: What's The Difference?

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 19 February, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Childcare Vouchers Vs Tax Free Childcare: What's The Difference?The news isn't something that makes me laugh very often, but I will admit to being slightly amused at the headlining news bulletin when I switched the radio on this morning: "For many families, it doesn't actually pay to go to work due to the cost of childcare", the newscaster said. I was waiting for the rest of the sentence, because in 5 years as a parent, this has come up again and again, and I can hardly imagine that it comes as news to anyone!

It seems the only way that a lot of my friends go to work every day, is by having family members that look after their children for at least one or two days of the week. Another friend goes to work in London every day, and her childcare on a 4 and 1 year old is so much, she pays more on childcare, what with extra hours to cover her commute and all that, than I was earning working full time in a pretty decent job!

Right now, Childcare Vouchers are available from employers to enable you to sacrifice part of your salary (up to £243 per month) in exchange for Childcare Vouchers which are used to pay your childcare provider. As they are taken directly from your wages, you do not pay any tax and National Insurance on the amount you have deducted, providing you with savings of up to £933 per year. Both parents can join their employer’s Childcare Voucher scheme, potentially saving over £1,800 for your family. However, in the autumn, the Government is introducing a new Tax-free Childcare scheme, which will enable working parents to have 20% of their childcare costs subsidised. This can provide savings of up to £2,000 per child, each year.

After Tax-free Childcare is implemented, Childcare Vouchers will only be available to those already using them; no new joiners will be accepted to use the scheme. However, due to the eligibility criteria for Tax-free Childcare, many parents will actually be better off using Childcare Vouchers - which surely leaves those families right back at the point of childcare costs making going to work rather futile.

So what are the actual differences? 

Click here to read more...

Child Mental Health Week: Help Spread The Word

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 19 February, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Child Mental Health Week: Help Spread The Word

Did you know that it's child mental health week?

Me neither. But this BBC News story is a good starting point for explaining why we should all pay more attention to mental health when it comes to our kids. Michael Buchanan reports:

Maisie has autism but her problems escalated when her father died. 

She didn't cope well, so Sally took her to see a child psychiatrist. 

Aged 11, Maisie disclosed she was feeling suicidal. Family life became much more difficult. 

Within months, Sally discovered her daughter self harming, leading to the then 12-year-old being taken to a children's mental health hospital in Stafford, 130 miles from their home in Hull.

Watching your child suffer with mental health issues doesn't bear thinking about, and Sally's experience paints a worrying picture of inadequate support and too few resources.

Organised by the charity Place2B, this is the first Children's Mental Health Week, and its aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of getting adequate mental health support for childre at the earliest possible opportunity. Children's Mental Health Week is also about encouraging parents to talk openly with children about their feelings, and about highlighting how to get help.

For starters, did you know that 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem? What about the fact that half of those with lifetime mental health issues first experience symptoms by the age of 14? But, happily, children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties later in life if they receive adequate support at an early age.

The Duchess of Cambridge is Patron of Place2B and you can watch a video in which she outlines her support for the charity and its Children's Mental Health Week here.

I definitely plan to start talking to my kids about their mental health. It's not something I've ever considered doing before but we chat about their physical health frequently, so why not mental wellbeing?

Bride Un-Invites Parents To Her Wedding

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 18 February, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Bride Un-Invites Parents To Her Wedding

Weddings can be stressful at the best of times, but if family dynamics threatened to send you over the edge in the run-up to your big day, would you ever consider un-inviting your parents to your own wedding?

That's just what an Australian bride did, and her un-invitation has gone viral.

The Daily Mirror reports:

"A bride has uninvited her 'narcissistic, bullying' parents from her wedding in the most brutal way possible."

"The unidentified woman posted a mock wedding invitation online which told her parents in no uncertain terms, that they were not welcome at the ceremony."

The wedding un-invitation reads:

Together with our friends and familes, Alex and Alyssa would like to invite you...to suck it and bask in our happiness, your bitterness, and our mutual irritation at eachother's existence, as we completely ignore yours and celebrate our marriage without you.

There will be a lovely ceremony, followed by cake, food, and general merriment.

And you're not invited to any of it.

Ouch. Far be it from me to comment on anyone else's family affairs, but I don't think I'd have made such a personal matter quite so public, even if I felt compelled to ration the wedding invites.

As a parent, I hate to think of anyone's child growing up to deal with a disagreement like this, but of course we don't know what prompted it.

What do you make of the story? Do you feel some sympathy for the bride, or are you of the view that dirty laundry should never be aired in public? We'd love to hear your thoughts over on our Facebook page...

8 Weeks To Go Until Parents To Be Can Choose Shared Parental Leave

by karenm in Misc on 18 February, 2015 at 1:44 pm

8 Weeks To Go Until Parents To Be Can Choose Shared Parental Leave

With only 8 weeks to go until mums and dads with babies due on or after the 5th of April 2015 can start sharing up to 50 weeks of parental leave, parents to be have to start thinking about what they’re going to do and discussing it with their employers.

Shared Parental Leave (or SPL) will, for the first time in the UK, allow new dads to be entitled to take more time off work than they have been able to in the past.

Are my partner and I eligible?

You can find out by checking this link*

What will we be paid?

The existing right to statutory maternity pay will be transferred to SPL. Mothers currently receive 90% of their normal salary for the first six weeks and then a statutory £138 a week for the next 33 weeks. Fathers will be paid a share of the money depending on how much time they choose to take off.

There are various combinations available to new parents. They can choose to take time off together or alone but are required to give their bosses at least 8 weeks notice of their intentions.

While this gives couples more freedom and control over their family life and indeed their finances, how easily will it transfer into practice?

New families will be able to decide what’s right for them, giving them more control and that’s got to be a good thing surely?

Will you and your partner be choosing Shared Parental Leave? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Doc Martens Teams Up With Adventure Time

by Nada in Misc on 17 February, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Doc Martens Teams Up With Adventure Time

If you constantly have Cartoon Network on in your home then you will know exactly what Adventure Time is. I am a tad excited about what I have found out today simply because I know my boys will go crazy when I tell them... Doc Martens are teaming up with the popular Children's programme Adventure Time. That's right, from the 1st March this year you will have a chance to get your hands on some funky footwear with those two crazy character; Jake and Finn on.

There's a total of three designs available with two of them limited editions. The white Finn Doc Martens and the yellow Jake have only 1460 pairs created so you may struggle to get your mitts on these. I am going to try my best to get a pair each for my boys.

The third design is black and features a pattern of Finn and Jake all over them. I tried to find out a rough price for these but I couldn't. One things for sure, they won't be cheap and I am going to guess £60 or £70. What do you reckon? Doc Martens are hardy footwear so I don't think they will be below £50, if they are I will be over the moon!

We don't have any details of what retailers will be selling these special edition Adventure Time Doc Martens but we will let you know as soon as they are available.

Click here to keep an eye on the Dr Martens website*

Chinese New Year Activities For Kids

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 17 February, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Follow PlayPennies's board Activities - Chinese New Year on Pinterest.

Pop on over to Pinterest for great ideas for Chinese New Year, from dragon crafts for dragon dancing to goat activities, there's something for the crafty and the not so crafty. Even if you just want to download printables, you can do that too! 

My children love doing crafts and activities around special days and events - or maybe they just love the time with me, but either way, it makes for harmony around the home, which is good news for me!

Pinterest is a veritable goldmine for all things creative, and you can know there's been someone before you that's made it easier if coming up with the ideas isn't your thing!

It's Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) How Will You Make Yours?

by Nada in Misc on 17 February, 2015 at 1:16 pm

 It's Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) How Will You Make Yours?

Today is pancake day, and whether you stick to a simple batter mix sprinkled with sugar and a splash of lemon juice or do it the Scottish way with deliciously sweet Drop Scones you will have fun. Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day rather is one of my favourite days of the year. I LOVE a good pancake and I am quite partial to trying different recipes to see if I can make the ultimate pancake. Last year, I made Drop Scones and smeared Marshmallow Fluff on with coconut sprinkled on top. It was heaven.

I have been searching this morning for a new recipe idea to surprise my sons with tonight.....this is what I found, mmmmmmmm:

  • Cadbury's Creme Egg Pancakes: OMG! I am all over this one. How good does that sound? You need three Creme Eggs for this so that means by a box of five and eat two before you start!
  • Mini Eggs Pancakes: Hands up if you love Mini Eggs! That'll be us all then! This recipe sounds awesome too. Just watch you don't burn the chocolate.
  • Maltesers Pancakes: This is THE one for me this year, so thanks Scottish Mum! Crushed Maltesers that'll go all warm and gooey. Oh baby, who cares about Fifty Shades, this is what lifes all about!
  • Oreo Pancakes: All you Oreo lovers will like this. If you are really naughty add my filling of cream cheese, crushed Oreos and Icing Sugar!

How will you make yours....give us some inspiration over on our Facebook page!

Headteacher To Parents: Don't Drive Like Maniacs Because You're Late For Work

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 16 February, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Headteacher To Parents: Don't Drive Like Maniacs Because You're Late For Work

How would you feel if the head teacher at your child's school sent you a letter in which he referred to you as a maniac?

That's exactly what happened when Jim Holditch, headteacher of Godinton Primary School in Ashford, Kent, wrote to parents to advise them to stop speeding during the school drop-off in the mornings.

The Telegraph reports:

The head acted after the school's caretaker Peter Smith saw a silver BMW "nearly take off as it went over speed bumps". 

In a 500-word personal message in the latest school newsletter, Mr Holditch wrote: "We all know children don't walk anywhere, they run. We also all know they run without looking or generally being aware of anything around them.

Addressing parents, the headteacher also wrote:

"We were really worried that it was only a matter of time before a child got knocked over by a car manoeuvring in the car park. 

"But over the past few mornings, Mr Smith has seen cars obviously being driven by parents who are late for work, and consequently they have sped. 

"What is the matter with some of you!?! This is a school. 

"Even at 8am, there are children walking around the site, particularly now we have a nursery here as well as our own Breakfast Club. 

"If you're late, tough. Get up earlier. Get yourself sorted. Or just arrive late at work. But don't drive your car at any speed on this site. 

"If you drive like a maniac because you're late for work, it will only be a matter of time before a child is hurt or, God help us, even worse."

What do you make of this, and is it a similar situation at your school?

Do you think parents tend to drive like maniacs during the school run, and that this is therefore a justified response from a headteacher?

We'd love to hear your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

Cheap Pregnancy Tests V Expensive Pregnancy Tests

by Nada in Misc on 15 February, 2015 at 10:50 am

Cheap Pregnancy Tests V Expensive Pregnancy Tests

Yesterday, upon reading one of the rags (newspapers) I saw that Poundland Founder Steve Smith disclosed that the Powerplast Pregnancy Test, that costs just £1, is their biggest seller on poundshop.com. That got me thinking about what pregnancy tests I have used in the past, which ones failed to provide me with the correct result and which ones worked a treat. (I have three kids so I have gone through many pregnancy tests in my time).

We know that the test work on the amount of HCG in your urine so to get the right results you must try and do it when your urine is at it's most concentrated, which is in the morning. This isn't a must for all tests but it is the best way as you cannot predict the sensitivity of your test.

Please note this is my personal experience with tests and you can share yours over on our Facebook page.

With my second son, I took a Boots Pregnancy Test*  (£3.99) FIVE days before my period was due. The result was a faint positive. As it was faint, I am sure a lot of you have gone through this, I didn't believe the result and subsequently bought Suresign Pregnancy Test* (99p) and Superdrug Pregnancy Test* (£3,49) which both showed a negative result. I decided I needed it spelling out whether I was or wasn't pregnant so I used a Clearblue Digital* one that told me I was indeed pregnant.

My conclusion is that it's pot luck which test will show you a positive first and the price bears no significance.

Has Having Babies Stood In Your Way Of A Successful Career?

by Nada in Misc on 14 February, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Has Having Babies Stood In Your Way Of A Successful Career?

I read today that X Factor winner Sam Bailey has been dropped by Simon Cowell's record label Syco just 14 months from her win. There's no disputing that woman can sing, and I am NOT an X Factor fanatic but surely she should have had a longer success than what she did. Why do I think she has been dropped like a hot potato? She had a baby, got up the duff, however you want to put it. Babies aren't always the death of a music career- think Beyonce or Celine Dion but when you look at the likes of The Saturdays or The Spice Girls you see the decline once women start reproducing.

Hand on heart I would never change my life, but having babies has had an impact on my working life in a somewhat negative fashion. Not all of it is to blame on having kids but a messy break-up too which resulted in me being a lone parent of two for three years. I do sometimes think what-if BUT I got there in the end. I juggle working from home with three demanding little boys and wouldn't change it for the world.

I have seen programmes where women have been so worried about staying off for their full maternity leave that they return to work as soon as they have the baby. This might suit them but for most this is an impossible task and why should we have to give up that little time we have with our tiny babies in order to climb up the career ladder?

Has starting a family mean't you missed out on the job you wanted? We all know that having children comes with it's own rewards but do you think that woman are still at a disadvantage in this day and age? We want to know, share your thoughts with us over on our Facebook page.

Allergy Friendly Pancake Day Alternatives

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 14 February, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Allergy Friendly Pancake Day AlternativesIf you're a parent to an allergic child - or an allergy sufferer yourself - then the onslaught of Valentine's Day followed by Pancake Day can be quite overwhelming. It's especially tough when everyone else is tucking in with delight, and you have to either explain to your child why he or she can't have any - and harder still if you refrain in solidarity. Here are a few recipe alternatives for Shrove Tuesday so you be the smug mum that pulls a suitable treat from the lunch box, and be a little bit your child's hero for the day. 

This recipe calls for some unusual ingredients that most of us are going to have to make a trip to the shops for - unless you're already a clued up allergy parent, I guess!

These free-from pancakes require gluten free plain flour, egg replacer, hemp milk, and oil, but they look about as close to regular pancakes as you could hope for.

Gluten free pancakes require pretty basic changes, using gluten free flower and baking powder.  In many recipes you can't simply substitute gluten free flour for regular, but in pancakes, it seems you can.

It turns out much the same can be said for dairy free pancakes. Simply substitute milk for the milk you'd regularly use, like hemp milk or coconut milk.  And the good thing is if you use the recipe below, you can make the batter up over the weekend, ready to go on Tuesday. It'll last just fine.

Egg free pancakes require a little extra creativity. You can use recipes like the one above that call for an egg replacer, or you can use a recipe like this one that simply leaves it out.  I quite like this vegan pancake recipe, though you could use regular milk & butter if you're not vegan or dairy free.

BUT, I think my all time favourite, no guilt at all pancakes are the 3 ingredient, Paleo pancakes here (and pictured)  Just egg and banana, and a little cinnamon and they are delicious and healthy. Yum yum yum.... bring on Tuesday!

Amanda Holden: Daughter Was Dressed As Cindy Crawford, Not Pretty Woman

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 13 February, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Amanda Holden: Daughter Was Dressed As Cindy Crawford, Not Pretty Woman

There's nothing quite like a celebrity parent tweet to blow up the internet on a Friday afternoon.

But that's exactly what happened when a snap appeared online of Amanda Holden's little girl, nine year old Lexi, with the caption:

"1990's day at Lexi's school today. Julia Roberts 'Pretty Woman'"

Cue virtual meltdown online. You'd think people had nothing better to do.

A furore kicked off instantly, with people clamouring to take Amanda to task for her seemingly inappropriate choice of attire for a child, with several pointing out that Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman was a prostitute.

But Amanda was quick to respond, issuing a statement which read:

"The truth is that Lexi went to school as Cindy Crawford for her school '90s Day - not Julia Roberts - as anyone who heard me yesterday at BGT - and indeed the teachers at Lexi's school - will confirm."

"However my husband thought she looked more like Julia Roberts, without any thought to any interpretation. Although given that she is a 9 year old girl it seems completely unbelievable and disturbing that anyone could or would put such an interpretation on it."

Amanda added that her husband meant to "post the similarity" between Julia Roberts and his little girl "on his own private Facebook account" but accidentally hit the wrong button and shared it on Amanda's Twitter account instead, but removed it as soon as he realised his mistake.

She added:

"The first I knew about it I was contacted by the media whilst filming today. Needless to say my husband is mortified."

"And just as an aside, on the school run this morning we bumped into 'Mia Wallace' from Pulp Fiction and ‘Mr Pink’ from Reservoir dogs!"

Eek. I reckon there'll be words in Amanda's house tonight. Still, worse things happen at sea.

And is it really that big a deal for a child to be dressed as a character from an iconic movie anyway? We'd love to hear your thoughts over on our Facebook page...

Image credit: Twitter/AmandaHolden

England Bans Smoking In Cars Carrying Children From 1st October 2015

by Lisa Hayes in Misc on 11 February, 2015 at 8:34 pm

England Bans Smoking In Cars Carrying Children From 1st October 2015

The ban on smoking in cars with children has been in the works for some time now, and after a vote in the House Of Commons today the ban was passed.

As of 1st October 2015 it will become illegal to smoke in a car that is carrying under 18's as passengers, and anyone breaking the law could be fined £50.

The bill was passed by a very large majority of MP's voting in favour, and while the move has received widespread support, there is a small but vocal minority who see this as an intrusion into their personal lives.

The dangers to health of passive smoking are very well known now, and the law is aimed at protecting young children and babies who are at greater risk of chest infections, asthma, meningitis and even cot death from being exposed to second hand smoke.

Bans on smoking in cars with children are already in place in Wales, as well as in parts of the US, Canada and Australia, and Scotland is said to be considering a similar move.

The British Lung Foundation says that more than 400,000 children a week are exposed to smoking in cars, so if this ban is helping to prevent that then surely it's  the right move? Or do you think it is an intrusion into what could be considered a private space? And is a £50 fine really that much of a deterrent? 

We'd love to know what you think over on our Facebook page.

Red Nose Day is coming! Order your free fundraising kit now.

by Lisa Hayes in Misc on 11 February, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Red Nose Day is coming! Order your free fundraising kit now.

It might seem like a long way off, but we know how time rushes by when you're running round after little ones, so here's the details for Red Nose Day 2015.

It's on Friday 13th March, just 4 weeks away, and the build up starts tonight with The Great Comic Relief Bake Off on BBC 1 tonight at 8pm. I'm really looking forward to watching Sue Perkins have to deal with Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Dame Edna and Lulu! Looks like great fun, though I think we might get more laughs than baking tips from this version of the show.

You can also order your FREE Fundraising Kit on the Red Nose Day website, which is packed full of ideas, posters, stickers, sponsorship forms, recipes and loads more to make sure that you have all the help you need to organise your fundraising.

The Red Noses* themselves are pretty wonderful this year, as they are character ones that you buy in a sealed bag and you can collect. I love the astronaut and the vampire - so cute!

The chances are your children's school is already having an event, but if you want to do your own as well then every little bit of money raised will help the charity.

If you are wanting to buy merchandise to show your support then you can buy Red Noses are £1 at Sainsbury's* and Oxfam stores, and there's clothing at TK Maxx*. There are also Red Nose Pens* for £1 at Ryman, a Red Nose Day Teapot for £4.99 at Robert Dyas, and you can get a Car Red Nose* for a £5 donation from Toyota.

Al the details of everything that's happening, the charity's aims and who it helps, plus how to get involved are all on the Red Nose Day website. 

Is Your Child's Car Seat Safely Installed? Two In Three Aren't

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 10 February, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Is Your Child's Car Seat Safely Installed? Two In Three Aren't

According to the Daily Mail, two in three of us are putting our children's lives at risk by putting them in car seats that are the wrong size for them.

*Cue yet another motherly panic attack*

Car seats stress me out at the best of times. Aside from the fact that all of my children have tried to wrestle themselves free of the restraints during their toddler years, I now also have to factor in checking whether my two older children have accidentally unfastened the seat belt on the baby's chair whilst strapping themselves in.

Add in the recent changes in car seat regulations - which you can get the lowdown on here - and it's no wonder that it all seems like a bit of a minefield when it comes to car seat safety.

The gist of this article, which is hooked on a  new report into car-seat safety problems by road safety campaign group Good Egg, is that two thirds of children are "at risk as a result of the seat being improperly fitted, incorrect for the size and weight of the child, or wrong for the make and model of vehicle".

It doesn't bear thinking about. And if you've ever trawled the internet for information about the dangers of wrongly-fitted car seats, you'll know that you can find all manner of horror stories that will scar you for life.

So please, check today that your car seat is correctly fitted, meets minimum safety criteria, and is the right seat both for your vehicle and for your child's height and weight. It's really worth double-checking.

If you have any doubts about seat safety, speak to the manufacturer of your child's car seat.

Depending where you buy your seat, the retailer may even offer a free fitting service whereby they check that the seat is correctly installed in your vehicle.

Myleene Publicly Reprimanded By Head Teacher: "Tweet nicely or not at all"

by Lisa Hayes in Misc on 10 February, 2015 at 1:17 pm

Myleene Publicly Reprimanded By Head Teacher: "Tweet nicely or not at all"

Last week there was a media frenzy when Myleene Klass published e-mails from mums at her daughter's school asking for cash donations towards a birthday gift rather than presents. The comments we received on our Facebook page were in the majority on Myleene's side for bringing some common sense to the tricky subject of children's birthday parties.

However, since then it has been reported that Myleene has been angrily confronted by some of the parents in the school, and yesterday the Head Teacher got involved in the row as well.

She used her weekly newsletter to parents to give Myleene a telling off, with the following:

 It was not my intention to use the [newsletter] this week as a soap box, but here it comes … how I wish I could focus on your daughters' education and not on responding to media trivia.

How many times this week have I been asked to comment/act/intervene/reprimand/ … do something! Mutual respect and tolerance. FBV (Fundamental British Values). We actively promote them – do you?

I needed to get that off my chest. Now, on with the week's round up of [school] news. No more parking on zig zags. No more blocking in the neighbours. No more unicorns.

And as my granny would've said, if you can't tweet anything nice, don't tweet anything at all.”

So what do you think of the Head Teacher's response? Was she right to get involved and was this the right way to handle it? Let us know what you think over on our Facebook page.

It's a Smiley in Space! :)

by Lisa Hayes in Misc on 10 February, 2015 at 10:52 am

It's a Smiley in Space! :)

If your children are mad on space, rockets and aliens then this here's something to make them smile. It's an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of a cluster of galaxies smiling at us!

The smiley face image is explained by the Hubble website like this:

In the centre of this image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 — and it seems to be smiling.

You can make out its two orange eyes and white button nose. In the case of this “happy face”, the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing.

That seems a little dull to me, and I'd be tempted to say it was Father Christmas watching their behaviour all year round! My son would be completely happy with the official version though.

Hope this made you smile. :)