Ban Comes Into Force For Smoking In Cars Carrying Kids

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 10 November, 2014 at 11:27 am

 

Ban Comes Into Force For Smoking In Cars Carrying Kids

From next month the wheels will be in motion to make it illegal to smoke in a car carrying kids.

The law will be changed from October, and the ban is expected to be brought into effect from October 2015.

It will apply to anyone carrying children in a car - not just parents.

Under the new plans, it will be illegal to light up in a car in England, and those who who do may be slapped with a £60 fine or five points on their licence.

What's more, drivers who don't take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent others from smoking in their vehicle may be fined as much as £10,000, with a maximum fine of £800 fine for the smoker.

According to the Daily Mail, the fumes from cigarette smoke are "11 times more concentrated" than smoking in an open space, and 300,000 children a year visit GPs in England every year with problems linked to second-hand smoke.

I can't imagine anyone I know thinking it's ok to smoke in a vehicle when kids are passengers, but as a non-smoker, maybe I'm a bit naive.

What do you think? Do you welcome the new ban or, like me, are you surprised that it even needs to be brought into effect?

Image credit: Flickr/Raja Islam

Forget Rhyme Time: Should Libraries Be Places For Silent Reading Only?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 8 November, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Forget Rhyme Time: Should Libraries Be Places For Silent Reading Only?

Do you use your local library? I love mine - it's been a favourite place to visit since my kids were born, and we'd be lost without it. From borrowing books (my kids still can't get over the fact that they're FREE...) to renting DVDs, attending craft sessions and singing our hearts out during Rhyme Time, the library is my go-to place to take the kids to keep them entertained on a rainy day.

It's fair to say that my kids aren't exactly quiet as church mice at the best of times, but I do tend to hiss at them to HUSH quite frequently when we're at the library. Suffice it to say they're not exactly running around the aisles or jumping off the shelves, but nor do they sit in a corner reading silently. Heck, once kids associate the library with Rhyme Time it can be pretty hard to get them to see it as a place of quiet composure.

But according to the Daily Mail, plans are afoot to return libraries to the sanctuaries of hushed silence that they apparently used to be in a bygone era.

The newspaper quotes an article from Public Libraries News which states that many modern libraries now "act as creches, concert halls and dance class venues" and puts that down to the fact that libraries have been under pressure to "attract more visitors" but says doing so has "alienated some of its clientele and core audience".

So what do you make of the campaign to restore the library to the stereotypical place of silent reading? Personally I think it harks back to the days when children were seen and not heard, and while I'm all for ensuring that children know how to behave appropriately in place that requires some quiet and self-restraint, I  certainly won't be hotfooting it to my local library every wet weekend if they decide to go down this route.

But what do you think?

Image credit: Flickr/Yellow

Check Out The "Monty" Range @ John Lewis

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 7 November, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Check Out The "Monty" Range @ John LewisNormally crying at TV adverts is a commonly accepted side effect of pregnancy, and at other times it's less socially acceptable. In the case of John Lewis and their Christmas advertising, however, that doesn't apply. The 2014 advert for John Lewis Christmas is no different!

This year the brand brings penguins into the story.

The two-minute "Monty's Penguin" clip evokes "the magic of make-believe at Christmas through a child's eyes", the retailer says.

In the advert a little boy and his penguin are quite inseparable, but the penguin is still looking for a mate - a wish Sam fulfills when he brings Monty a gift wrapped friend on Christmas morning.  It's sweet, and quite eye watering (a little less than the £1mil it cost to make, what with CGI and all in there!)

The John Lewis website has a whole page dedicated to Monty & Mabel, with online games and activities, and of course the chance to buy a myriad of Monty & Mabel merchandise*, including the (ahem) very reasonably priced 50cm Monty plush toy for £95.

It's a beautiful story and it's sure to get people talking, but I don't know if they'll ever be able to top the Bear & the Hare from last year for me!

Either way, the merchandise does seem to sell out quickly, so if you want to get your hands on Monty, move now to save any disappointment!

Lily Allen Opens Up About Motherhood

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 7 November, 2014 at 11:11 am

Lily Allen Opens Up About Motherhood

Lily Allen has spoken about her experience of stillbirth four years ago, and praised her husband for his support during the ordeal.

During an interview with Jonathan Ross to be screened on ITV tomorrow night, the singer/songwriter said:

"... Actually what I took home from that experience was even though it was the most unfortunate thing that can ever happen to a person, I was very fortunate in the sense that I have a loving partner to go home to and share that experience with." 

Lily and husband Sam Cooper's first child, a baby boy, was stillborn when Lily was six months pregnant. Lily also miscarried in 2008 when she was four months pregnant.

According to Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, around 4,200 babies are stillborn every year in the UK, with 11 babies stillborn every day. (Contacts Sands here for support or further information about Stillbirth.)

The couple got married in 2011 and have two daughters, three-year-old Ethel Mary and one-year-old Marnie Rose.

Last night, Lily took to Twitter to set the record straight about a myth that she feels dominates the media when it comes to her kids. She wrote:

"It's sad that because I don't post pictures of my children across social media and my trying to shelter them from men wielding cameras that to a 3 year old look like guns, that the British media insist on insinuating therfore that I am a bad mother. I am brilliant. And I will continue to protect them from all the cynicism and grotesque consumerist misogyny till the day I die."

Go Lily.

Toy Story 4 Confirmed!

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 7 November, 2014 at 9:09 am

Toy Story 4 Confirmed! It's finally happened! Disney have confirmed that there will in fact be a Toy Story 4, but maybe hold off telling the kids, since it's only due for release in 2017. I have mental images of 'are we nearly there yet', but the movie release date version for three years!

The good news is that the studio have revealed that Number 4 will be released in June 2017, and that John Lasseter will be back in the director's chair.

As to who the leading characters will be, and who indeed will play them, there's no news yet, but we'll hold thumbs for the return of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as the much loved Woody & Buzz.

You can be sure that there will be a string of new releases of toys and other merchandise, and not soon enough. The talking Jessie doll from Toy Story still fetches a pretty packet, with prices still hovering around £30, and other characters in the franchise tell a similar story.

Fortunately parents who want to pick up toys from the Toy Story movies can take advantage of offers like Argos' 342 on toys, with the Toy Story 4 inch Action Figures 3 Pack* for £13.29 or part of the 2 for £30 offer.

So, 'fess up then, anyone else excited about the return on Toy Story?

Image from http://www.comicbookmovie.com/

Should Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Be Illegal?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 5 November, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Should Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Be Illegal?

A council in England is seeking criminal injuries compensation on behalf of a six year old girl who was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, caused by her mother's consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

What this means is that it could become a criminal offence for pregnant women to drink alcohol.

ITV.com reports:

A written ruling by the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber said it was a ''direct result'' of her mother's drinking.

But it concluded: ''If (the girl) was not a person while her mother was engaging in the relevant actions then... as a matter of law, her mother could not have committed a criminal offence.''

Lawyers for the local authority have already failed once to win compensation on the child's behalf. But a further court case will be held at the Court of Appeal tomorrow, with a ruling expected at a later date.

The exact impact of drinking alcohol during pregnancy seems to be a grey area - the official guidelines have certainly changed more than once during the ten years during which my three children were born - but current NHS guidelines advise pregnant women to avoid alcohol altogether, and to consume no more than one or two units once or twice a week.

But there's some debate over whether criminalising the consumption of alcohol by pregnant woman is the right way forward.

What do you think?

Should it be illegal to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy?

And did you abstain altogether, or indulge in the odd tipple?

Image credit: Flickr/Remko van Dokkum

That Moment When You Realise Children Really Are Growing Up Too Fast...

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 31 October, 2014 at 7:00 pm

That Moment When You Realise Children Really Are Growing Up Too Fast...

Have you ever had one of those moments as a parent when you’re floored by the sudden realisation that your little one is growing up?

I mean obviously they’re growing up - that’s what kids do, of course - but sometimes the reality of that pulls you up short and has you pining for their baby days and vowing never to let them leave home. (That’s not just me, right?!)

My most memorable ‘they’re growing up too fast’ moment came on holiday this summer when my nine-year-old son, who has always been warm and affectionate and totally happy to hold our hands in public, suddenly wriggled his hand free of my grasp as we passed a group of teenagers in the street.

In a heartbeat he’d gone from my ever-affectionate bubbly little boy to a cool, street-wise, self-conscious pre-teen. My heart just about smashed into a million tiny pieces right there in the middle of a little seaside village in Ireland. In fact, should we ever return there for another holiday, I reckon I could find the exact spot in the street where it happened; where my firstborn child took a sudden giant leap from childhood towards adolescence.

It was a defining moment in my life as a mum. I was baffled for a moment, and looked down beside me to see what had happened to make him drop my hand as if it had turned into a hot potato. At first I assumed he’d paused to do up a shoelace or pick up some interesting bit of junk off the ground, as boys are prone to do. (That’s not just my kids that do that, right?)

But then I clocked the gaggle of uber-cool teens swaggering their way towards us, all skinny jeans and carefully-constructed complicated hair-dos. Neither of us said a word, but I don’t mind admitting that my heart sank just a tiny bit as I realised *that* moment had come. I’d blinked, and in that second I’d been relegated from the centre of my son’s universe to the role of embarrassing mother. Ouch.

In the sweetest twist, he picked up my hand again once the One Direction lookalikes had passed us by, and any ‘damage’ that had been done to my delicate old heart was instantly restored. My son might not want to hold my hand in the presence of the sort of cool-kid peers he is beginning to care about impressing, but he does still want to hold my hand. But that moment made me realise that those days are probably numbered too, so I squeezed that little paw as tightly as I could and hoped that would be enough to convey that I will love this kid until the day I die, and that the chance to hold his hand is a privilege which, though I may have taken for granted previously, I will treasure for every single second that it lasts.

And, of course, the realisation that our kids are growing up isn’t just a sad moment of mawkish nostalgia. It’s bitter-sweet, yes, but it’s as exciting as it is tear-inducing because I can’t wait to see this kid grow up; to have my first beer with him, to let him drive me to the supermarket, and to meet all the people who will touch his heart as he moves into adulthood, and on into all the adventures that await him.

I know there will be many more moments like this. And as that poem that periodically seems to do the rounds on social media says, there will come a time when my daughter will fall asleep in my arms and it will be the last time I’ll ever hold my sleeping baby. A time when my eight year old will climb into my bed at midnight for cuddles, and it'll be the last time I ever wake to elbows in my face.

And, just in case you haven’t sobbed into your keyboard yet…

 “The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time 
Until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realise."

"So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of themFor one last time."

*Wail.*

Ahem. Ok, I've pulled myself together now. So... hold that little hand and don’t take its willing clutch for granted. Rock that sleeping baby and ignore the inner critic that says that child should have grown out of this by now. Lift that tired toddler and relish the weight of their limbs in your arms, because one day, all too soon, you’ll stop to realise that they haven’t asked to be carried for a while now, and the moment might have gone forever...

Boo At The ZSL London Zoo This Weekend

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 30 October, 2014 at 3:09 pm
Boo At The ZSL London Zoo This Weekend
If you're anywhere near the ZSL London Zoo this week/end, they are hosting a fun week of spooky goings on for both half term and Halloween. Activities will run from 11 - 3 each day, and are included in the price of the ticket.

Boo at the Zoo will offer visitors a packed week of ghoulish animal treats that will see them howling with delight as they get up close and personal with mighty owls, enter the Black Widow’s Lair and face a mystery feely-box challenge. Putting on an extra brave face, visitors will travel through hair-raising activity stops, meeting rats, bats, spiders and owls, using their Boo at the Zoo activity passport to gain stamps.

They seem to be putting on a lot for the event, including a 'mysterious Mr Darkmire' hosting the Owl Emporium - a secret room lit by flickering lanterns. 

There's also the Bat Cave for some quiet time crafts and making treats for the Zoo's bats, and close encounters with the rodents.

Jennifer Ellison Tells OK! Magazine About The Moment Her Son Stopped Breathing

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 29 October, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Jennifer Ellison Tells OK! Magazine About The Moment Her Son Stopped Breathing

In a touching interview with OK! magazine, actress and mum of three Jennifer Ellison relives the moment when her newborn baby boy stopped breathing.

Little Charlie is Jennifer's third son with her husband Rob Tickle - the couple have four-year-old Bobby and 15-month-old Harry, and Jennifer says she has no plans for any more children but is stopping at three before she ends up with a football team!

Baby Charlie was in his mother's arms when the heart-stopping moment happened.

OK reports:

'He started choking and then he turned blue,' Jennifer recalled. 

'It was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me. I thought he was dead. The whole thing went on for about ten minutes but it felt like hours.'

I've never experienced anything like this, although one of my children did suffer a febrile seizure when he was a toddler and we were whisked off to hospital in an ambulance. Like Jennifer, I feared the worst and will never forget the awfulness of that feeling. Or the absolute elation when a consultant gave us the all-clear and permission to go home!

So glad to hear that Jennifer's little one is fighting fit too.

Congratulations on the new arrival!

Would You Enter Your Baby In A Beauty Pageant?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 27 October, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Would You Enter Your Baby In A Beauty Pageant?

Babies and beauty pageants; it's a topic guaranteed to provoke almost as much debate as toddlers and dummies...

There's a story in yesterday's Daily Mail about a little girl from Essex, 19-month-old Bobbi Boyden, who is apparently poised for stardom as a baby beauty queen.

The tot's mum has reportedly spent £5,000 on pageant fees and frocks, and has, unsurprisingly, attracted a fair bit of criticism from those who think that babies don't belong in beauty pageants.

Personally, I can't understand the appeal of entering a child in a beauty contest - no matter how much that child might love dancing and dressing up. I'm fairly sure most little girls would relish the chance to parade around on stage in a flouncy frock, busting some moves to music, as indeed Bobbi's mother says her daughter does. But then most kids would also relish the opportunity to live on nothing but chips and slush puppies for the rest of their days - my point is that basing any of your decisions as a parent on what your child might choose makes little sense to me. They're kids, after all, and it's our job as parents to guide them towards choices that are good for them.

Twirling around in frilly frocks is something I think children should be encouraged to do in front of the mirror at home, as opposed to on stage in front of an audience. And dancing is something my kids and I do as a family - a household dance-off in the kitchen while we get dinner ready is a popular pastime - but it's certainly not a spectator sport.

And don't get me started on the curious business of 'rewarding' little girls for something as superficial as being beautiful..

But what do you think?

Image credit: Flickr/ladydragonflyherworld

10 Easy Step By Step Face Painting Idea

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 26 October, 2014 at 3:30 pm

10 Easy Step By Step Face Painting IdeaAbout a year ago, someone bought my kids a face painting kit, and I may have audibly groaned. I put it in the toy cupboard and every now and again, my girls will come across it and ask me to paint their faces. I try to be more of a 'yes' mum than a 'no' mum when it comes to them asking me to spend time with them (I don't always succeed!) but honestly, I suck at face painting. Painting in general actually, but face painting specifically.

The best solution to these problems of course, is turning to Google, which is where I found 10 easy - ish - face painting ideas that even I could possibly get away with. Add a few accessories, and my kids may just want to go out in public with their fancy dress next weekend.

Toddlers With Dummies: Why All The Fuss Over Harper Beckham?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 25 October, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Toddlers With Dummies: Why All The Fuss Over Harper Beckham?

Certain tabloid newspapers seem to have lost their minds with incomprehension today over the startling discovery that Harper Beckham ‘still’ has a dummy. She’s three years old.

Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone (except perhaps David and Victoria) would care whether Harper has a dummy or not, but then the whole 'issue' of toddlers having dummies seems to be one of *those* topics that gets people - parents and non parents alike - all het up with opinionated fury.

And I can understand why - sort of. We’ve all seen kids walking around with dummies in their mouths well past the stage where that seems age-appropriate, and it’s certainly a bit disconcerting to have a conversation with a child whose words are completely obscured by a dummy dangling from between their (potentially misshapen) teeth. Indeed, I know people who vehemently believe that if a child can walk and talk then they’re way too old to have a dummy.

So they probably wouldn't be too impressed with my daughter. She's over a year old and she still has a dummy. Granted, we try to stick to a pretty strict rule of only using it when she's in her cot but now and again we find ourselves out and about around nap time or bed time, and when tiredness takes hold of her she 'needs' her dummy. I don't feel bad about that. Based on my experience with my older two children, who gave up their dummies of their own volition way before they were a year old, I sort of expected her to follow suit. It doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon and so, despite being a parent to three children, I find myself at a bit of a loss as to where to go from here on the dummy front. I wonder if Victoria Beckham might feel something similar.

But I don't get why we have such an aversion to dummies. Yes, yes, I know all the stuff about the possibility of speech delay and misshapen teeth but I've yet to meet a child who actually has those issues as a result of dummy use. And there are distinct advantages to dummy use too, including a connecting between a lower risk of cot death among babies who use dummies while they sleep.

Granted, that's different to the pictures in the papers of Harper Beckham being carried out of a toy store at the age of three, sucking on a dummy. But after what was clearly an afternoon of fun and quality time with her Mum, maybe the tot was tired and heading for a meltdown. She's three; that happens. Does it really warrant a national media freak out? I think not.

If only we cared about things like the fact that approximately 22,000 children die from poverty around the world every day, as much as we do about the child of a famous couple using a dummy. Never mind dummies not being age appropriate for children over a certain age; I think it's time the rest of us grew up.

Image credit: Flickr/clappstar

Provisional Driving Licence, Driving Theory Test & Renewal Fee Price Drops @ DVLA

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 25 October, 2014 at 10:55 am

Provisional Driving Licence, Driving Theory Test & Renewal Fee Price Drops @ DVLAIf you're due for a driving licence renewal, or even if you are about to do your driving test for the first time, or want to do practice tests, hold off till the 31st of October, and you'll have new lower rate to pay, so it may be worth holding on.

At the moment your licence renewal will cost you £20. After next Monday, it will be down to £14. 

As part of the proposals, drivers who apply online for their first driving licence would see the fee drop from £50 to £34. Drivers who renew their licence after 10 years would see the fee drop from £20 to £14. All driver tachograph cards would fall from £38 to £32.

The new fees, representing price cuts of up to 32%, begin on 31 October.

Other fees being considered in the DVLA review include vehicle first registrations and duplicate registration, but there's no confirmed news on that at the moment.

I'm sure the price of something else will be going up soon, to counter the £18 million that drivers will be 'saving', but in the meantime, I've got £7 in my pocket when it comes to renewing my license next month.

Thanks to darren_scotland at HUKD

Halloween Crafting - Spooky Milk Jug Ghosts! We love these.. try it out!

by PP Admin in Misc on 24 October, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Halloween Crafting - Spooky Milk Jug Ghosts! We love these.. try it out!

Want an idea for some budget Halloween décor? Check out our Spooky milk jug ghosts!

What you need:

  • Empty milk jugs
  • A sharpie
  • Lights

Here's one we made earlier! To light them up, we used some neon-ice cubes we had from a party. You can use anything the kids have available, any light-up toys or little torches, even a string of Christmas lights. We think it's a fab idea for some cheap decorations.

Give it a try yourself or check out our other crafty ideas and Halloween discounts here

Ditch Fines And Prosecution For Families Who Take Term Time Holidays, Says LGA

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 24 October, 2014 at 10:10 am

Ditch Fines And Prosecution For Families Who Take Term Time Holidays, Says LGA

The current ban on taking children out of school to go on holiday during term-time should be done away with, says the Local Government Association (LGA).

Their reasoning? The ban 'does not recognise the complexities of family life,' reports the BBC. Instead, the LGA says 'common sense' is needed.

Currently parents who take children out of school during term-time face a fine, which increases if not paid within 21 days, followed by the possibility of up to three months in prison.

The rules may vary a bit depending on where you live, but schools can no longer permit families to take children out of school at the head teacher's discretion under the 'special circumstances' rule, and instead may only grant term-time holidays under 'exceptional circumstances'. There has been particular controversy around this, with some disagreement over what constitutes an exceptional circumstance. Some schools have denied permission for a child to be taken out of school to attend a parents' wedding. The LGA thinks time off during term-time should be a possibility to be considered by head teachers on a case=by-case basis for weddings, funerals and even once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, which presumably includes family travel and holidays.

Local authorities are 'obliged' to fine parents and 'enforce legal proceedings' if parents ignore the rules and take children on holiday during term-time in what amounts to an unauthorised absence, reports the BBC.

Where previously taking your kids out of school to go on holiday during term-time might have meant saving a significant chunk of cash compared to the cost of going abroad during the school holidays, the unauthorised absence rule now means that you could face a fine of up to £60 per child. And that's not even the worse case scenario - parents have been ordered by the courts to pay £1000 for taking their children on holiday during the school term. And if you're fined but refuse to cough up, you could find yourself facing a three-month jail stint.

The chairman of the LGA's children and young people board said the system required 'flexibility' and should not mean that family holidays "are just for the rich or indeed children aren't able to take time off in light of family bereavement".

Critics of the current ruling also say that pressure should be placed on travel companies, holiday firms and airlines to adjust their fares in order to make term-time holidays more affordable.

What do you think? Do you agree with the LGA that the decision to permit a family to take their child out of school during term-time should rest with head teachers?

Do you agree that it's too heavy handed to dish out fines and prosecutions for parents who take their children on holiday at term time?

How much money have you saved by going on holiday during the school term?

We'd love to hear from you on our Facebook page - particularly if you've been fined for an unauthorised absence...

Image credit: Flickr/deeknow

SAHMs: Would Affordable Childcare 'Tempt' You Back To Work?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 23 October, 2014 at 3:00 pm

SAHMs: Would Affordable Childcare 'Tempt' You Back To Work?

Here’s a question for the stay-at-home mums among you.

Would greater availability of more affordable childcare make you consider ditching the life of a stay-at-home-mum in order to head back to the workplace? Or are you among those who deliberately opted to step off the career ladder in order to focus on your family?

I ask because George Osborne, the government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has today announced plan to provide £2million of childcare grants in a bid to entice mums back to work and ‘make Britain the female employment capital of Europe’.

Which is no bad thing, in itself. A lack of affordable childcare is undoubtedly one reason why studies consistently reveal that many mothers who, given the choice, would like to be working, are not in employment. Add to that the spiralling cost of childcare - one study showed that childcare costs have risen by a whopping 77% over the past decade, amounting to costs of more than £100 per week for the average childcare place - and it’s no wonder that so many mothers feel ‘priced out’ of the workplace by the prohibitive cost of childcare. We all know mums who would be worse off financially even if they worked full-time, simply because the ruinous cost of childcare would cancel out their income.

But of course, not all stay-at-home mums are out of work because they can’t afford to go back. Plenty are simply choosing to focus on raising their children, and they might feel compelled to argue that the government is effectively discriminating against stay-at-home mums instead of supporting their choice to invest in the next generation. 

What’s your view? Is the government wrong to prioritise getting mums back to work - with all the benefits that has for the economy - over incentivising them to raise their children?

Image credit: Flickr/https://www.flickr.com/gscsnj

50 DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 22 October, 2014 at 2:00 pm

50 DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

I find it really interesting that most Halloween Costumes in the UK are ghoulish and monstery - whereas my American friends come up with all sorts of creative, non-scary, non-mythical ideas for Halloween costumes. I much prefer that, I think, because I don't think the kids need extra things added to their night terrors!

Well, I found this collection of 'easy' DIY Halloween costumes, and while it's clear that some people have a very different idea of what 'easy' is - but at the same time, there are some fab costumes here: I love the jelly beans costume. Even I can blow up balloons and stick them in a bin bag!

A lot of these simply require a bit of creative gluing. Or is that attitude a sure why to get a #fail?

Should Kids Be Taught To Brush Their Teeth At School?

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 22 October, 2014 at 1:42 pm
Should Kids Be Taught To Brush Their Teeth At School?

Image credit: Flickr/Josh Kenzer

The UK's health watchdog NICE has today issued guidelines recommending that schools should teach children how to brush their teeth.

According to the Daily Mail, "shocking levels of decay" are affecting children, with tots "as young as three" facing the prospect of having all 20 of their baby teeth removed due to rotting.

The idea is that teaching staff at nurseries and primary schools should hold supervised sessions of teeth cleaning "at least once a day".

According to the Director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE, Professor Mike Kelly, many children "are being condemned to a life with rotten teeth, gum disease and poor health" because of a misunderstanding about how important it is to look after children's milk teeth and gums. He added that many children "eat too much sugar" and aren't brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste. He also stressed the importance of giving children the best start in life.

Unsurprisingly, teaching unions and critics have hit back at the guidelinesasserting that it is the job of parents - not teachers - to take care of children's teeth.

Most worryingly, the guidelines state that some children are not issued with a toothbrush at home and are not taught how to brush their teeth.

What do you make of the NICE guidelines? Would you welcome the introduction of tooth-brushing sessions at your child's school or nursery, or do you think it's something we should not be tasking teachers with? And how do you encourage your children to brush their teeth? We'd love to hear about it if you've worked out some clever way to get your kids to take care of their pearly whites...

Perfect Halloween Pregnancy Announcement

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 21 October, 2014 at 10:08 pm

The PlayPennies team spotted this cute Halloween pregnancy announcement today, and we spent ages chatting about it, and comparing stories on how we sprung the news.

This video shows mum-to-be Leslie welcoming her other half home wearing her pregnancy announcement. It made us all well up a little!

Perfect Halloween Pregnancy Announcement

How did you tell your partner about your pending arrival?  Join the conversation on our Facebook Page!

My Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Taste-alike Traybake!

by Nada in Misc on 19 October, 2014 at 11:50 am

My Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Taste-alike Traybake!

There's two traybakes that I make on a regular basis, my Reese's Peanut Butter Taste-alike one and one we call Diabetes slice. This one is my particular favourite because I am American sweetie daft. Luckily, they are easier to get hold of now than ever before in the UK, but they are expensive. If you too have a passion for those salty sweet treats then, you will go daft for this recipe.

For the yummy peanuty centre:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 400g smooth peanut butter
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g fine brown sugar

For the sweet chocolatey top:

  • 400g of milk chocolate ( I prefer Galaxy, but it's up to you)
  • One tablespoon of butter

This is so very easy to make. bung all of your peanut butter filling ingredients in a bowl and mix together. You will eventually have it into a smooth paste. Have a cheeky taste.....heaven or what?

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and pat down your peanuty mix into the bottom of each tray. I like to then stick mine into the fridge for 15 minutes, but you don't have to.

Melt your chocolate, I use the glass bowl over the pan of water technique as I use cheap chocolate and it burns very easily in the microwave. Don't forget to melt your butter into this too. Once melted, smear across the tops of your filling.

This is the hardest part of the whole recipe, put them straight into the fridge to cool down and set. I like to score mine when it's semi-set so it's easy to cut into squares. This recipe can be halved to make one tray, but I always make the two because it is ADDICTIVE!

Trust me it's yummy! Not suitable for those with nut allergies though as it contains lots of nuts. Psst....don't give it to children either as it is far too good for them!