Category Archives: Family

Detangle Your Kid’s Hair

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Of all the things they tell you about parenting never once does anyone warn you about hair. Despite falling in love with your child’s beautiful downy hair as a baby, by the time they are 7 or 8 the situation has changed and hair becomes a dreaded daily ritual. ‘Detangle’ and ‘comb’ become forbidden words, with the whole process often causing tears and tantrums, especially for children with wavy hairstyles. But it doesn’t need to be like this. Here are a few tips on detangling your child’s hair the easy way, gained from bitter, tangle-ly experience:

  1. Use styles which prevent knots

As with most things in life, prevention is better than a cure and one of the best ways to avoid the stress of detangling hair is to make sure there aren’t too many knots in the first place. Knots are what make this process stressful and painful for your child. Leaving hair down, since it might rub against collars or scarves is much more likely to create knots, and if your child’s natural hair is within the wavy hairstyles category that will probably happen often. Try buns and ponytails instead, keeping the hair away from the face so it won’t be fiddled with.

  1. Condition first

When it comes to showering our kids many of us want to just get them in and out of the shower as quickly as possible, but if detangling is a struggle it’s worth taking a little extra time in your washing routine to deal with the problem at root. Conditioning your child’s hair with a child-friendly conditioner will improve the texture of each hair strand making them much less likely to get into knots. It also softens the hair making it easier to comb and put into straight or wavy hairstyles. For optimum results, leave the conditioner in for at least a minute before washing out.

  1. Make a bedtime ritual

Rituals are a great way to get your child into healthy habits. If detangling is always a problem, incorporate it into an evening pattern that includes fun elements too. You could sing a special bath time song or get into the habit of reading them a story once they are clean and in bed. Habit formation in childhood is particularly important for teaching your offspring good hygiene as they grow up – which will help when they reach their teenage years and need to fend off the dreaded acne. Helping them enjoy getting clean and presentable is a gift which will last the rest of their lives.

Those are just a few easy tips on detangling hair. It’s an unexpected struggle in parenthood, little acknowledged for the trauma it brings. Do these simple things and keep going until the blessed moment when they can brush their own hair!

Tips for cleaning the oven

Today we are talking about a natural and safe way to clean your oven, without the need for any nasty chemicals and no risk of setting off your smoke detector. It will take time, and you will have to get out some good old fashioned elbow grease, but it will be worth it when you have a gleaming clean oven. It is also cheap, as you most likely have the  stuff in your cupboards.

The chances are the first time you move into a house the oven will be coated with sticky grime, as if someone has roasted  racks of lam without using a pan or putting any lining down. Therefore we recommend you get stuck in and clean the oven!

Here’s the way you can clean your oven naturally with a little vinegar, baking soda, and good ol’ elbow grease!

What You Need

Oven
Baking soda
Water
Rubber gloves
Damp dish cloth
Plastic or silicone spatula
Spray bottle
White vinegar

Method

  1. Remove the oven racks: Remove your oven racks, pizza stone, oven thermometer, and anything else you have inside the oven. Set aside.
  2. Make a baking soda paste: In a small bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio of both as needed until you have a spreadable paste. For me this took about 3 tablespoons of water to get the desired spreadable consistency.
  3. Coat your oven: Spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements. I used gloves for this portion as my oven was pretty grimy. It helped me really get in there and coat the dirtiest nooks and crannies without having to worry about all that grime under my nails. The baking soda will turn a brownish color as you rub it in; it also might be chunkier in some places than others. That is fine. Just try to coat the whole oven to the best of your abilities, paying attention to any particularly greasy areas.
  4. Let it sit overnight: Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
  5. Clean your oven racks: Meanwhile, clean your oven racks. See the full cleaning tutorial here.
  6. Wipe out the oven: After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can. Use a plastic or silicone spatula to help scrape off the paste as needed. I found that the damp cloth was enough for me, but a spatula might come in handy in those hard-to- reach places.
  7. Spray a little vinegar: Put a little vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.
  8. Do a final wipe down: Take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking-soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone. Add more water or vinegar to your cloth as needed while wiping to really get the oven clean and shiny.
  9. Replace your oven racks: Replace the oven racks and anything else you keep in your oven, and you’re done!

If this isn’t for you, have a look at some of the best oven cleaners that are out there.

 

Why Is Quilting Making A Comeback In 2017?

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Quilting Is No Longer Just A Hobby For Your Granny

Learn how the craft of quilting combines relaxation, sentimentality and creativity into one colourful and inexpensive art project.

The art of quilting dates as far back as 3400BC at the time of the Egyptian First Dynasty – it has been popular in various cultures ever since. However, in the UK at least, the hobby of quilting has been synonymous with an older generation – something your granny might know more about than you! Yet, just as knitting enjoyed a resurgence in popularity several years ago, quilting is set to make its own comeback in 2017 and sales of Bernina quilting machines have already increased.

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What Is Quilting?

Quilting is the art of sewing together two or more pieces of fabric into a sort of patchwork effect. Some choose to stitch by hand whilst others prefer to use a machine. Typically, a quilting project will consist of three layers – a top layer of quilted fabrics, a bottom layer of backing material and a middle layer of soft padding sandwiched between them.

It’s a simple enough skill to master so why is it gaining in popularity at a time where most people seem focussed on the latest trends in technology, rather than learning handicrafts that have been passed on by generations of people before them?

Sentimentality

A handmade quilt captures an essence of sentimentality due to the memories attached to the textiles that it is made from. Whilst it is possible to purchase large squares aimed with quilters in mind, many people use the opportunity of a quilting project to proudly display more nostalgic fabrics such as baby clothes or wedding tablecloths. These quilts can be considered an heirloom to be given to children and grandchildren. A quilt often tells a great story and it’s not unheard of for some quilters to stitch handwritten letters or other trinkets into the inside layer to be discovered by future generations.

Relaxation

The practice of quilting on a regular basis is also a fantastic way to unwind. The craft allows great opportunities for unleashing a person’s creative side and for practicing mindfulness as it encourages the quilter to focus on present moment awareness. Rather than settling down for an evening in front of the TV with your tablet or iPhone on your lap, why not opt for making a handmade quilt instead? You could choose an enormous quilting project such as a bedspread that may take a while to complete or alternatively make a smaller piece such as a quilted soft toy or cushion.

Art Exhibitions

Quilting is not confined to the world of handicrafts. In recent years, impressive quilting projects have been introduced to current modern art installations. In 2009, the V&A museum in London showcased a quilting exhibition and across the Atlantic there are many textile collections located at American venues such as the Dallas Museum of Art or Shari Lidji’s Red Llama Studio.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive project to get stuck into in 2017, then consider quilting. It is a hobby that is appropriate for people of any age – whether you’re a child, a student, a new mum or a retiree, quilting is the perfect trend to try out this year.

Booking a Family Holiday in 2017

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It’s not easy for any family to afford to go on a holiday abroad, especially when you have two or three kids. It can take months even years to save, but aside from the cost it serves for much needed fun time and relaxation. Let’s look at the top tips for booking your family summer holiday in 2017:

 

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Try haggling with the tour operator

You’ve found where and when you want to go but it’s just not within your budget.  Well, get your haggling hat on cause you’ll need to be prepared to drive a hard bargain here. Many think that haggling is so 80’s found on market stalls but they could be paying more than they need to. All you need to do is research the cost of your preferred date and destination of travel

And remember tour operators make holidays, travel agents sell them. That means the same holiday can be different prices at different agents. Try to negotiate in price per person, not total cost, as discounts will seem less to the travel agent.

Travel later in the summer

Most families will want to travel in the first two weeks of the school break which means you can pay up to double what a package deal would be the rest of the year. If you can try and travel on dates that won’t be as popular such as the last two weeks of the summer. You’ll find that travel will be much cheaper especially to family friendly destinations like Florida or Mediterranean resorts. Or, if you children aren’t at school yet, take a holiday when others can’t, such as travelling before half-term in May and June to family destinations such as Florida, and you’ll get a better price.

Go somewhere a bit different

The Costas, Balearics, Portugal and parts of Greece have traditionally been popular with British families for decades due to their facilities, beautiful beaches and nearby tourist attractions. These are bound to always be at the higher end of your budget, so try going places where demand is low. For example Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia all have sprawling luxury beach resorts with large empty hotels. Once thriving resorts, due to recent factors the tourism market in these countries dropped by almost 50%, so tour operators have stacks of bookings and seats on planes to give away.

This applies to destinations off the beaten track that aren’t popular with the masses yet, although be aware capacity at these may be more limited. Opting for Croatia or Bulgaria rather than Greece, for example, can really bring down the cost of your trip. Or, if you don’t fancy a package, city breaks tend to cost less in summer, as cities are less obvious destinations.

Search online

You’ll need to be on the ball, but comparison sites such as travelsupermarket and trivago offer great deals which beat comparison sites for a short time. Try Holiday Pirates who specialise in deals on holidays, flights and hotels. Others worth checking out are Travelzoo and Secret Escapes. Packages will go on sale with exclusive discounts and offers for a short period, sometimes even only 12 hours so you need to know your budget and you’re travelling dates before you start your search.

If you are fortunate to have someone to look after your little cherubs while you escape to the sun, check out these latest discount codes from iconic holiday group Club Med – just search for club med deals.