£220 Million Of Debt To Be Written Off By Wonga.com

by Nada in Misc on 3 October, 2014 at 10:59 am

£220 Million Of Debt To Be Written Off By Wonga.com

Have you ever taken out a pay day loan before? If you have, and it was through Wonga.com, we have some news that might just save your bacon. Wonga.com are to write off £220 million worth of debt, that has been accumulated by customers that were not assessed for affordability. After being likened by many to a "loan shark" due to their extremely high interest rates, and not receiving any payments back, because these borrowers cannot afford it, Wonga.com have come up with this astonishing plan.

For 330,000 people who are currently in arrears with their repayments, under the previous Wonga debt regulations, will have their debt written off. Approximately 45,000 customers in arrears will have interest frozen. Any Wonga borrower affected will be notified around the 10th of October.

Wonga are putting in place new regulations, to ensure any loan applicants can afford the actual debt repayments. Who knows, this might be the start for many other pay day loan companies, to follow suit.

Anyone that finds themselves in debt can seek impartial advice from National Debtline, here, and for residents of Scotland, here.

Why not add us on Facebook and Twitter to join the discussion?

NSPCC Personalised Christmas Letter Now Live

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 29 September, 2014 at 9:30 pm

NSPCC Personalised Christmas Letter Now LiveNSPCC's personalised Christmas letter service is now live, and you can design and create a letter for your child and for a donation to the NSPCC, get it delivered to your child. The suggested donation is £5, and the money goes towards the NSPCC's work with children, so if you can pay the £5, please do!

We signed up for this letter a couple of years ago, and had it delivered to us in Australia (if posting abroad, they request that you donate a little more, which is fair enough!). My daughter, who at the time had a 9 month old sister, was over the moon that not only did Santa know to find her in Australia, but that he commented on the fact that she had a little sister too? Well, that was almost too much for her. She loved it and showed her letter to everyone.

Unlike many other 'personalised' letters, this one has so many variables to choose from. You could send a different letter to your children for years, assuming you don't have more than six children, but you can also send one letter to more than one child, which is great if you're having to watch the pennies.

There are other serves out there that offer much of the same, but at least this one goes to the kids, which is giving a little back.

Midwives Vote To Strike Over Pay

by Heidi Scrimgeour in Misc on 29 September, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Midwives Vote To Strike Over Pay

Midwives in England have today voted 'yes' to strike action over pay. It's a historic move - this is the first time in the 133-year history of the Royal College of Midwives that members have opted for strike action.

Midwives are requesting a 1% pay increase following three years on the same pay.

The Royal College of Midwives announced:

"A total of 82.2% of those who took part in the ballot said they are prepared to take part in a strike, while 94.6% said they were in favour of action short of a strike."

"The turnout of those eligible to vote was 49.4% and it is the first time in the RCM’s 133-year history that members are set to strike."

Industrial action will take place on the 13th of October with a four-hour stoppage, but there is still time for the strike to be called off if an agreement can be reached.

A Royal C0llege of Midwives spokesperson has stressed that mothers and babies will not be exposed to risk as a result of the strike action. Cathy Warwick, RCM chief executive, said: 

"I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe."

What do you think of this news? Do you think midwives are right to take drastic action over the decision not to increase their pay? Have you any experience of labouring in a unit that was short-staffed, and if you're expecting a baby next month are you concerned about the planned strike action?

A recent poll showed that four-fifths (80%) of the UK public say they would support a 1% pay rise for NHS staff, and that around two-thirds (63%) would support industrial action by midwives as a sign of protest against the decision not to increase their pay by 1%.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - you can leave us a comment here on the blog, join the conversation on Twitter (@PlayPennies) or check out the discussion on our Facebook page.

*Important* Argos Recall List Check For Any Purchases You May Have Made.

by Nada in Misc on 29 September, 2014 at 11:02 am

*Important* Argos Recall List Check For Any Purchases You May Have Made.

This is probably something that you won't take much notice of, until I tell you how many baby and child items are on it, of course. NINETEEN! Please, just give it a quick look over. I am sure you will agree that with items involving the health and safety of a baby or child, you can never be too safe.

I will mention a couple of pieces that may be of interest to a few of you, but I recommend that you do have a read of the official list, as there's some electrical items on there too.

Summer Infant Baby Monitors

Batteries have been overheating in certain models, with some even rupturing. Check below for the number.

S/N:JNS150A  S/N:JNS150-BA  S/N:JNN-S150A   S/N:JNS150-BB   S/N:JNN-S150B   S/N:JNS150-B   S/N:JNN-S150C

Consumers should remove the battery and continue to use the product using the AC mains power adaptor provided. They should then contact Summer Infant for a replacement battery.

Consumers should contact Summer Infant Customer Services on 01442 505000 and select option 1 or send an email to custserviceuk@summerinfant.com

Maxi Cosi Citi SPS Car Seat

With these baby car seats, there is a potential fault, that can enable the safety buckle to release.

Although no incidents have been reported, should you have a car seat from the affected batch you should stop using the car seat immediately and request a replacement buckle free of charge. This can be obtained by contacting Dorel customer services at customercare@dorel.eu , or alternatively by phoning their customer care centre on 01284 413 141.

This action is a precautionary measure to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your child and Dorel apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

We all understand, that sometimes, items can slip through the net and a small batch can be deemed as unsafe. Unless, you register products with the manufacturer, you will never be notified of these potential defects.

Join us on PlayPennies Facebook to hear the latest news in parenting!

How To Apply For A Blue Peter Badge

by Nada in Misc on 23 September, 2014 at 12:54 pm

How To Apply For A Blue Peter Badge

I have wanted one of these since I was a little nipper. What is it, you ask? A Blue Peter badge of course! I remember those days when people that owned one of these highly coveted pins were seen as an exclusive club.

Here's a bit from the BBC on what a Blue Peter badge is:

A Blue Peter badge is a special award given to people who appear on the show, or in recognition of achievement. Applicants must be 6 to 15 years old. Badge owners can gain free entry into over 200 Blue Peter Badge Attractions around the country such as theme parks, zoos and castles.

 

Want to know how to get one? Simply send a letter in a minimum of 50 words explaining why you think you should be awarded a Blue Peter badge and of course, which badge you want. Click here to check out the different badges.

Remember, include anything that will support your reason for applying. Like photos, or a link to photos online of something you may have made. Send it along with your full name, date of birth, address and postcode. If it's a group application then each member must include their names, date of births and addresses.

Applications are to be sent to : MediaCityUK
Salford
M50 2BH

Good luck! Let us know if your child manages to get and what they did to achieve one.

Smyths Toy Sale - Is It Or Isn't It?

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 18 September, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Smyths Toy Sale - Is It Or Isn't It? Updated:  News finally in from Smyths. The sale starts tomorrow and runs all weekend, but it is IN-STORE only! It IS 20% off, and they say that it's on everything - there are no exceptions listed. Friday 19th to Monday 22nd... will we see you in store? 

We've had so many emails and requests for information about the Smyths Toy Sale that's rumoured to be on this weekend.

If the rumours are to be believed, there'll be 20% off toys - this is what they've done previous years - but Smyths themselves are being very tight lipped about it.

They did however, post the image above on their Facebook page earlier, saying that they would be announcing 'something' tonight.

Last year the sale was online, but the site crashed and a lot of people were left unhappy. Now there are rumours that the sale will be instore only this year, Friday to Monday - based on last year again, that will see people queuing up outside well before the shops open. (Between that and the iPhone launch, the streets will be full of people overnight!)

We are carefully monitoring Smyths and our inboxes and rest assured that we'll let you know as soon as we do. What we do suspect though, is that the sale will start tomorrow, and that it will be very, very busy, and very, very popular.

Follow PlayPennies on Facebook and Twitter to be sure to get the updates as they happen.

National Expectant Parent Events @ Mothercare

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 17 September, 2014 at 4:00 pm

National Expectant Parent Events @ MothercareMothercare have an exclusive parenting event coming up where expectant parents can learn more about essential baby products and key parenting topics from in store experts and guest professionals. The events are free to attend but places are strictly limited. Choose your store to see the event time and date.

It can be really confusing bringing a child into the world, since everyone has an opinion and every 'expert' contradicts a different expert. There's also this illusion that you need a lot of 'stuff' to have a baby, when really, most of those things are about convenience, and not always really about need. My philosophy is to listen to everything and discard anything that doesn't 'fit' with my family, but finding all your information in one place can help you narrow things down a bit!

Some of the topics covered at the event will include:

  • car safety and car seat fitting advice
  • nursery furniture, cot mattresses and the latest sleep safety advice
  • pushchair and pram choices (no slings, Mothercare?)
  • breast pumps and sterilising
  • suitable baby toys for the first 12 months

There will also be on the day:

  • maternity bra fitting service (and advice) in every store
  • advice from a midwife, breast feeding expert or health visitor (subject to availability)
  • red cross trainers in selected stores giving FREE baby and child first aid advice
  • gift bags for all mums-to-be and a 10% discount voucher
  • parenting / baby activity teachers e.g. from Mamababybliss and Lazy Daisy birthing (subject to teachers availability)

This may not be for everyone, and remember to trust your instinct above anything else when it comes to your baby, but getting some advice never hurt anyone.

Channel 4 One Born Every Minute Are Looking For Mums To Star In The Next Series

by Nada in Misc on 16 September, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Channel 4 One Born Every Minute Are Looking For Mums To Star In The Next Series

One Born Every Minute (or OBEM) is one of the most talked about programme on television. The beauty of it is that it such a natural thing but watching it on the screen makes it even more fascinating . Have you ever watched it and thought I would REALLY like to be on that show? If the answer is yes, then read on as they are looking for the future stars for the upcoming series.

There's criteria you need to fulfil in order to be considered. You MUST be due to have a baby in October, November or December at the Liverpool Women's Hospital. Perhaps, you know someone that is? If you don't fit these requirements then don't apply as you will automatically be disregarded.

If you do fall into these categories then EEEK I am excited for you, and I demand you to message us, so we can look out for you.

What do you do if you wish to apply? Simply call 020 7033 2311 or email oneborn@dragonfly.tv where you will be contacted by the production team, who will discuss your eligibility.

I watch it and I would have loved to have had my last labour filmed, but not shown on national television. OBEM is a favourite of mine and it give me an excuse to coo and blubber over the beauty that is childbirth. My little boys love watching it too, it actually helped prepare them for the night I went into labour with their little brother.

Best of luck to anyone who applies for the next One Born Every Minute series. You can find more details on how to apply over here.

We Need You! Playpennies Is Looking For An Administrator

by Karen McGinn in Misc on 15 September, 2014 at 12:41 pm

We Need You! Playpennies Is Looking For An Administrator

The Playpennies team is growing again! We're looking to hire a freelance administrator to maintain our voucher section, respond to emails and help with general admin tasks.

Due to the freelance nature of the role, you'll enjoy the flexibility of working from home and you will be able to manage your hours to suit your home life.

 What you need to know:

16-24 hours per week

Work from home

Flexible work hours

The role :

Updating and managing Playpennies' Voucher section

Ensuring new content is uploaded quickly (you will need to check in for an hour or two on weekends to check for updates)

Dealing with marketing emails and queries

Assisting Site Editor with any general admin tasks, audits,

About you:

You're conscientious and hardworking with great initiative and attention to detail.

You enjoy learning new skills and being a part of a team, ideally you've experience in an office environment and knowledge of the workings of blogs and social media.

It'd be great if you're already part of the Playpennies community so you have a basic understanding of what we do.

How to Apply:

Send you CV and cover letter detailing any relevant information and your availability to social@playpennies.com and make sure we receive it by Monday 22nd of September.

What do you think? If you'd love to come onboard, we'd love to hear from you!

Child Support Agency (CSA) Arrangements Are Ending

by Karen McGinn in Misc on 15 September, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Child Support Agency (CSA) Arrangements Are Ending

Are you aware that all child maintenance arrangements made previously by the Child Support Agency (CSA) will be ending between now and 2017?

No, well read on…

If the CSA handles your maintenance, you’ll get a letter telling you when your maintenance agreement will end and how and when to make new child maintenance arrangements.

The letter will be sent between now and 2017 and you should expect 6 months notice. Any arrears will also have to be paid even after any agreement ends.

So what next?

Well according to GOV.UK you can either make new arrangements yourself or you’ll have to use the new Child Maintenance Service. Notably, to even apply for this new service there’s a £20 application fee. The only way you won’t have to pay this is, is if you’re under 19 years of age, living in Northern Ireland or a victim of domestic violence.

What do you think about this? Will financial issues be sorted between separated  parents or is that more fantasy then reality on the part of the government? Do you think the £20 fee to apply will put single parents off?

We'd love to hear your views!

Hidden "Easter Eggs" In Disney Movies

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 13 September, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Hidden "Easter Eggs" In Disney MoviesWhile there's something wrong with the title of this post on M-Magazine's website - these aren't really hidden messages - the 20 Easter Eggs (an intentional inside joke, message or in the case of Disney, future character from another movie!) in these Disney movies are quite entertaining to discover. I'm sure you'll find yourself watching them a little more closely next time!

I just loved Goofy and Donald Duck attending the concert in The Little Mermaid!

Well, it's a fun way to kill 10 minutes on a Saturday night. You can thank me later.

For the best in Disney and Frozen deals, follow PlayPennies on Facebook and Twitter!

Can Dads Really Get Morning Sickness?

by Karen McGinn in Misc on 11 September, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Can Dads Really Get Morning Sickness?

Harry Ashby, a 29 year old from Birmingham, is reported today to be the first man signed off work for “being pregnant”. Mr Ashby has told reporters today he can identify with the Duchess of Cambridge who is pregnant with her second child and is reported to be being treated for Hyperemesis Gravidarum once again.

Apparently Harry’s stomach and back pains are so bad he’s had no option but to visit his doctor and reports suggest he’s also been prescribed medication for his condition. As well as the pains Harry has also reported food cravings, wolfing down salt and vinegar crisps which he “normally hates”.

After research on the internet Mr Ashby convinced himself he had Couvade syndrome and as this isn’t a recognised medical condition, many will remain sceptical about his claims.

I must admit I’m one of them. In true stereotypical fashion, if everyone in our house has a cold my other half has the flu and he takes to his bed at the drop of a hat. I think if he’d mentioned any pregnancy symptoms to me while I was pregnant, well let’s just say it wouldn’t have ended well. Especially if like Harry he was concerned how HE would handle the labour pains…..

But maybe I’m being unfair, maybe men really can and do suffer when us mums are pregnant, what do you think? Did your partner display any of these symptoms while you were expecting?

Free! Aldi Lunch Box App

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 7 September, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Free! Aldi Lunch Box AppIf you're anything like me, packing lunch boxes for the kids or yourself can be mind numbing. You open the fridge and just stare at it before closing it, completely lost for ideas. Not just me? Good.

Aldi have a free iPhone and Android App that you can personalise with your child's name, a picture if you fancy, and a 'lunch box colour', then choose your child's favourite snack and choose five things they don't like to eat, and you're set.

The App then gives you lunch, snack, fruit, drink and extra snack ideas for every day of the week. Don't like or have on hand what it suggests? Just refresh and try again. It also adds everything on your 'menu' to a shopping list, so you can easily add it to your trolley.

Even if you don't use it all, it could be fun for some new ideas, don't you think?

Foraging With Kids This Autumn

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 4 September, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Foraging With Kids This Autumn

Here's a great resource for foraging for children. It's slightly American in the title but the blogger is in London but the rules apply and a lot of the same foods can be found in our British Hedgerows.

Have a look at the book Food For Free* currently reduced at Amazon too!

Elsa and Anna are BACK! Frozen Short Film Arriving Next Spring!

by Karen McGinn in Misc on 3 September, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Elsa and Anna are BACK! Frozen Short Film Arriving Next Spring!

Disney hoped that after a few rough years, and movies, Frozen would continue their successful streak after the likes of Tangled BUT no one could have predicted the phenomenon that the film Frozen would actually become.

Children across the word were captivated, parents found themselves frantically scrambling for merchandise, while suppliers struggled to keep up with the demand – Disney were back in business.

Therefore it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that they’ve decided to capitalise on this and it’s been announced that there will be a Frozen short film released next Spring.

Announced during a television feature in the US earlier this week on the making of the movie, “Frozen Fever” will see the return of Elsa, Anna and Kristoff as Anna’s birthday comes around. Her sister and friends are planning to give her the best birthday ever but the celebrations are once again interrupted by Elsa’s icy powers.

The original team are back writing and directing what promises to be an instant hit, while the Oscar winning songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez will be penning a brand new song for the short film.

Could it be as good as “Let it Go?” Will Olaf make an appearance? Who knows! All I do know is never mind the kids, I can’t wait! What about you?

"Unsafe" Loom Bands Charms From The Entertainer Recalled

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 29 August, 2014 at 9:54 pm

"Unsafe" Loom Bands Charms From The Entertainer Recalled

This summer will go down in history as the Summer of Frozen and/or Loom Bands, as I'm sure most parents across the country are all too well aware, but now it's come to light that some of the Loom Band charms that adorn the bracelets are actually being withdrawn because they contain overly high levels of pthalates of the banned variety.

What's the problem with the recalled loom band charms?

In order to make plastic flexible, a chemical called phthalates is added. Within the EU producers are legally allowed to add 0.1%  phthalates to plastic, but about seven phthalates have been banned under EU legislation for being potentially damaging due to their carcinogenic - that's cancer causing - properties.

While Phthalates can be found in cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, carpets and loads of other 'every day' things, it's about the levels, and if it's under the 0.1% limit, it's generally considered 'safe'. The problem here is that these were tested by the Birmingham Assay Office and found to have from 1% to 40% pthalates!

Tester Marion Wilson said: "Phthalates will get into your system through sucking and obviously a charm hanging off a bracelet is a very high risk item, a thing most likely to suck just as you're fiddling with it.

Is it all loom band charms?

"Unsafe" Loom Bands Charms From The Entertainer Recalled

Apparently it's not all loom band charms, but the Birmingham Trading Standards are investigating various samples across the city as well as liaising with colleagues in other local authorities.  The packets that have been identified so far had foreign writing on them and the CE stamp indicating they were within European safety law.

The primary seller for these is The Entertainer, who have now made it their priority to withdraw these from sale.

A spokesperson for RMS International, which supplies the loom bands, said:

"We would like to reassure the public that loom bands are entirely safe and this only involves a number of PVC loom charms. Any concerned consumers should return their product to the retailer from where they were purchased."

RMS International which supplies these loom band charms also sells to Tesco, Asda and Argos, however, these stores do not stock the PVC charms which are under investigation.

What do you think about these loom band charms making it onto our market in the first place? Join the discussion on our Facebook page!

Freebie! Open Heritage/Open Doors Days 11 - 14 September Across the UK

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 26 August, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Freebie! Open Heritage/Open Doors Days 11 - 14 September Across the UKIf you like a bit of culture, open spaces and old buildings, take advantage of the Open Heritage or Open Doors Days around the UK 11 - 14 September.

There are properties across the UK but they're called Open Heritage in England and Open Doors in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Across the country there will be free events from castles to gardens to farms and museums. For most of them you can just turn up, but for others you may have to book in advance, so make sure you check to see what's close to you, what's on there and if you have to do anything before going.

Otherwise, just go and enjoy  good family day out and be a tourist in your own town!

Thanks to wiggywig and thewongwing101 at HUKD

Playpennies Ice Bucket Challenge

by Nada in Misc on 24 August, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Oh my Goodness! I think I have more than shown my commitment to my fellow Playpennies girls. HUKD nominated us for the Ice Bucket Challenge and well we had to decide who was going to be the poor soul to do it. I am the newbie so I volunteered, well because of that, and because I am always up for a bit of nonsense.

Anyway, here's the video. BTW the water was absolutely freezing, so much so that it took my breath away. My son Ben joined me as he is a wee trooper and he loves any excuse to get soaked. My other half and my eldest son James participated in soaking me, even little baby Daniel got in on the fun.

Holiday Pirates you have been nominated! The clock is ticking, get those buckets filled. It's all for a good cause, the ALS Foundation, our donation will be made shortly. To see where the money goes click here 

iPhone 5 Battery Problems? You May Be Eligible For A Free Replacement

by Karen McGinn in Misc on 24 August, 2014 at 11:28 am

iPhone 5 Battery Problems? You May Be Eligible For A Free Replacement

Apple has determined that a number of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013.

If your iPhone 5 is experiencing these problems and meets the eligibility requirements, Apple will replace your iPhone battery free of charge.

From August 29th if your iPhone is affected you’ll be able to get a replacement battery using one of the following options :

  • Apple Authorised Service Provider : Find one here
  • Apple Retail Store : Make an appointment here
  • Apple Technical Support : Contact them here

If you believe your iPhone 5 was affected by this issue, and you paid to replace your battery, you can contact Apple directly with regards to a refund.

There’s a few steps you have to follow to protect items stored on your iPhone with regards to removing the battery and you can check them out here.

Have you been affected by this issue? Let us know.

 Thanks to Dappy at HUKD for the heads up!

Kids DIY Sessions @ B&Q Kids Classes

by Luschka van Onselen in Misc on 19 August, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Kids DIY Sessions @ B&Q Kids ClassesIf you've been 'meaning to' get the kids to B&Q over the summer for their DIY sessions, you have two chances left to do so.

This weekend 23 and 24 August, youngsters will be helped to make their own magazine storage racks, and next weekend, 30 and 31 August they'll be making pencil cases.

These classes are suited to 7 - 11 year olds and are aimed at helping children learn basic DIY skills through small projects.

They're normally charged at £5 a session but members of the free B&Q Club get them free.

To become a member, simply click here to register online (you'll be sent a confirmation email with your membership code in). If you're already a member, you don't have to re-register.

I know in our local B&Q the classes have been fully booked every Saturday and Sunday, but that's not been the case at them all so it's worth checking out if you're after some activities for the last two weekends of August.