Comic Book Heroes – The Perfect Role Models


There are some people who think that comic books are bad for kids. They think that the gender roles depicted in them are too conventional and that the muscular men and large breasted women set unrealistic beauty standards that negatively impact the self esteem of the kids that enjoy comics. I suspect that these type of people never even read comics!

Some comics are progressive in outlook. Obviously Alan Moore, author of Watchmen, who is an anarchist, generally prefers to promote left wing attitudes to gender and sexuality. Stan lee, owner of Marvel also leans toward egalitarian themes, but Steve Ditko, the creator of Spiderman, was a conservative and not interested in all that new age stuff.

Batman is one of the oldest comic book heroes of all (1939) and many accuse him of being a very reactionary character. His power comes from his strength of will, intelligence, fitness, skill and amazing technology which he has access to because he is rich. I think that Batman is a much better role model for kids than the other millionaire hero, Ironman. Bruce Wayne is polite and reserved while Tony Stark is vulgar and arrogant.

No matter how much parenting is politicised and people attempt to control every single thing that their child is exposed to, children will still instinctively enjoy heroism. Heroism is an eternal value that appears in all cultures throughout history; whether it be Odysseus in Ancient Greece, Beowulf in Old England or Captain America today. People with sociology degrees who hate the absolutism of good and bad depicted in comic books probably need some kind of translation services just so they can understand what comic book fans and kids the world over know by instinct.

I grew up reading comics like Conan the Barbarian, that doesn’t mean I feel the need to attain a body type just like his. I’m not discouraged by a depiction of an impossibly strong man, fearless in the face of evil, who destroys all his enemies without deliberation. This kind of character empowers all humanity, because it celebrates the strongest and most noble qualities of mankind. It doesn’t matter if it’s an uber-macho muscle man like Conan or an Amazonian warrior like Wonder woman don’t look like the “average” human being. Being a hero isn’t about being average, it’s about being exceptional.

I hope that children who grow up reading comics end up knowing how important it is to stand up for their values. They learn that one person can make a difference if they have strength of will and can overcome the evils of the world. It doesn’t damage their self-esteem, if anything it helps it.

Supermom? The Hidden Secrets Behind Cheap Fancy Dress Outfits



If your kids have come home, announcing that they’ve been invited to a fancy dress party, you’re probably sitting there, thinking how much this is going to set you back. Many parents often struggle with fancy dress parties, since they don’t know where to begin. However, there’s no need to worry, as there are in fact ways in which you can give your kids the fancy dress outfit they deserve, without forking out a ton of cash.

Find Out What They Need to Wear

The basis of all your decisions, you must first decide what the requirements are for the party. The children might have to follow a set theme, and so it won’t help if you find an amazingly cheap fancy dress outfit, that does not follow the theme.

Shop Around

Once you’ve got a sense of what your kids are looking to wear, or who they need to be like, you can begin shopping around for a fancy dress outfit. Most parents will just visit one shop, and then make their decisions based on what they see there. However, this would not be the best way to go about things. In fact, it can often prove helpful to shop around as much as you can, in order to find a bargain.

In addition to this, you might also want to think about using some of the online outlets available to you. Stores such as are able to provide you with a huge variety of fancy dress outfits, at a fraction of the cost that you would have otherwise had to face. The savings they make from not having to have a physical store are often passed onto you, the customer. In some cases, it might help to first look in an actual store, and then take a look online to see if you can get the same item at a cheaper price.

Make it Yourself

For the parents who are feeling confident, making a fancy dress outfit is certainly something that they should consider. Even if you’re not a confident person when it comes to arts and crafts, there’s plenty of information out there that will show you how to get started. Thanks to online video sharing websites, you’ll be able to find dozens of videos, teaching you how to make the outfit of your choice. Some of them might even tell you where to purchase the raw materials from, so you know exactly what to buy.

Ready to Dress Fancy?

Even if this is the first time you are preparing your kids for a fancy dress party, it doesn’t need to be stressful or expensive. The suggestions provided above should be more than enough to help you buy, or make a cost efficient fancy dress outfit that your kids will love. In fact, you might enjoy the process of making their fancy dress outfit so much, that you’ll probably end up convincing them to go to another party in the near future!

Help your children feel less pressure in life


It is in the nature of parenthood to wish only the best things for your children. It is, also, a natural tendency, according to the evolution,  that adults attempt to teach new generations everything they know and to expect from them to be better, smarter, faster, happier. But, is that always the best thing to do and wouldn’t it be better if we left our children alone, to find their own way?

There are many scientific researches that have shown how dangerous can it be to put children under pressure expecting only the best of them. Their young bodies and unformed brains are not able to endure great pressure based on high expectations which comes from their parents and sometimes it can lead into serious health problems.

What do we do wrong?

First of all, it is important to say that there is positive and negative stress.  In some situations, stress is our friend, which immediately encourages the body to produce more adrenaline and other enzymes crucial for survival and making the best results. But, on the other hand, there are many negative aspects of stress. Being under constant pressure, having a lot of obligations, being always expected to do the best thing can produce anxiety, especially when children are in that situation.

Parents often tend to be completely involved in the lives of their kids. Maybe they are trying really hard, wishing them all the best and sacrificing private life for children, but is this the best for them? Having high expectations is not always the worst thing, as long as one knows where to stop.

For example, if you are getting mad and nervous when your child fails to achieve good results in school or in music class then you are the one who is in problem. Don’t you ever think that good marks are something your child owns you because you gave him everything – your child is not your project.

Your son is not your toy, and your daughter is not here to fix everything you have done wrong. What good will it do if you make their day over scheduled? If they always have ten things on mind, they won’t be able to do any of them with joy and passion. Being over scheduled is one of the worst stressors in modern times.

What should we do instead?

On the one hand, parents are not the only factor in producing stress in children because it is also the educational system which forces children never to fail. But, on the other hand, parents are the first who should help their children to feel less pressure in life.

Most of the kids who feel anxious are practicing negative “self talk”. That means that they are talking to themselves about everything bad that possibly happen. Now, as parents, we have to explain them what “self talk” is and to help them avoid negative sentences. Instead of negative ones, we must teach them how to think positively, predicting good results and events. This is the way to help them be less worried and feel more relaxed.

Every kid is specific. While some of them can handle the pressure the others can not. Some of the best sportsmen do their best while they are under pressure, or under stress, because this is when they are motivated to give the most they can. The others often fail when it is the most important to be good because they are not capable of managing stressful situations.

If your child belongs to the second group there are a few things you could do to help him feel less stressed.

  • What every parent needs to know is that good sleep is essential for healthy and unstressed life. The one who is well-rested is, at the same time, the one who is well-prepared to deal with daily challenges.
  • Sometimes low blood sugar has the same symptoms as anxiety. This is why nutrition is basic thing to think of. Proper food with a lot of proteins is very important if we want to have children that are confident and unworried.
  • Increasing heart rate helps burning adrenaline and this is why every kind of exercise is beneficial for children. It can be some kind of sport activity or simply having fun with friends in the playground.
  •  Maybe it sounds strange, but some distraction is extremely good for mental health while we are over scheduled.  This is why you should allow your child to play a video game or watch cartoons between obligations. His mind will get relaxed and ready for the next challenge. According to that, having a stress ball on the table where your kid is learning his lessons can be a right choice.
  • Don’t teach your child to be a perfectionist. Everybody has a right to make a mistake, to be under his usual level and lose the game. Instead, show him that everything can be considered as fun because having good laughter releases tension from our muscles and mind.
  • Think about the best combination of colors in a child’s room. Every color has a specific effect on our mood. Try to pick a relaxing one. 

A date with history: historical days out to please the entire family

historical days out to please the entire familyOne of the fantastic things about living in the UK is that there are limitless opportunities to experience fantastic examples our shared heritage.

This means that having a day out with the family based around visiting a historical site can take in an incredibly diverse range of places. So with so much to choose from, there really is something for all the family.


Of course keeping the kids occupied and making sure they are looking at something other than the screen of their favourite device can be something of a challenge.

Something every child loves is dinosaurs, and right on the sea front in Sandown there is a spectacular building that is shaped like a giant pterosaur. This is Dinosaur Isle, the UK’s only purpose-built dinosaur museum.

The museum displays more than 1000 of the best fossils from many geological collections in a wonderfully presented display that is open all year round. By clever use of lighting, art, audio, smells and animatronics technology Dinosaur Isle provides accessible entertainment, education and enjoyment.


The Musical Museum at Kew Bridge in London contains wonderful exhibits ranging from tiny musical boxes to the “Mighty Wurlitzer” cinema organ which rises up from beneath a stage just as it did in the Golden Age of cinema.

Self-playing instruments are a specialty and an eye-opener for anyone who enjoys music and specialist guides demonstrate all types of instruments.

With Riverview Tea Room and a concert hall that seats over 200 people there are plenty of special events which take place throughout the year.


Bletchley Park used to be ‘Britain’s Best Kept Secret’ as it was the home of the Codebreakers who job it was to decipher Nazi communications in the Second World War.

Today, the humble and modest buildings of Codebreaking Huts and Blocks with their traditional casement windows make up one of the UK’s most interesting and vibrant tourist attractions.

Set within an atmospheric Victorian estate visitors can explore and experience the previously top secret world and experience a complimentary Multimedia Guide at their own pace. A one hour outdoor walking guided tour is also available and fixed exhibitions include The Life and Works of computer pioneer Alan Turing as well as the largest display of Enigma code breaking machines on public display in the world.


Show Your Child How to Help Out With the Family Dog Regardless of Age

Almost all kids love dogs. If you’re thinking of getting a dog for your family, or already have one and would like to teach your child the responsibilities of owning a pet, then you should get your child involved with the day to day care of the dog. They can help out regardless of age – you’ll just need to alter certain things and supervise them. Here’s how you can get your child to help out:


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  • 2 Years – at this age your child should be getting used to your dog, however; you should always supervise the both of them. An exposure to pets at an early age will give your child a lifelong love of animals.

  • Ages 2-4 Years – it isn’t uncommon for kids at this age to act out around pets and handle them inappropriately. At this age, you need to teach the kids to respect your dog’s space and learn what is not allowed when dealing with your dog. This is important both for the dog and the child. Teach them how to stroke the dog properly.

  • 4 Years – you can get your child to brush the dog for a few minutes with supervision.

  • 5 Years – you can encourage your child to help you walk the dog at this age by holding on to the lead with you. You shouldn’t let them hold on to the lead alone though. They can also feed the dog a treat with an open palm.

  • 6 Years – you can teach 6 year olds to give commands to your dog without confusing them. Supervised play can also be introduced at this point.

  • 7-8 Years – with supervision, 7-8 year olds may be able to hold the lead on their own. This should only be with a small dog or a well trained large dog. This should be in an enclosed, safe space to start with. Make sure they don’t overuse commands with your dog.

  • 9-10 Years – your kids can be given a little more responsibility at this age. Teach them how to feed and water your dog, with what he eats, how much of it, and encourage them to get involved with the routine. They should also help keep the dog’s area tidy.

  • 11 Years – your child will need minimal supervision with the dog now. You should still monitor what they’re doing from a distance however.

  • 12 Years – this is a good time to start teaching them about your dog’s health and what to look out for in regards to problems.

  • 13-14 Years – your child will now have the skills needed to care for your dog as you supervise from a distance. However, it’s important to make sure that they don’t lose an interest or start cutting corners. You could even introduce the child to chores for pocket money, such as washing the dog’s bowls and giving them flea treatment from

As your child undertakes the tasks above, it’s important not to push them into anything that they really don’t want to do. By easing them into caring for a dog this way, you will have created a future responsible pet owner!


What Would You Consider To Be A Female-Friendly Car Dealership?

For some reason, even in 2014, it can be a genuinely intimidating and sometimes terrifying experience for a lone female to walk into a car showroom with a view to purchasing a new car. Although being sexist is illegal in many countries around the world (it is a form of discrimination), the ugly truth is that this still happens even today.

Many “old school” car dealers think that only men should buy cars and that women should be at home cooking and looking after the children. This kind of sexist and backwards attitude towards gender equality is something that, unfortunately, can still be seen in many car dealerships.


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Even if the women concerned are high-flying businesswomen and have done a fair amount of research on the cars they want to buy, I’ve seen a lot of examples where such women are treated with little respect by the car salespeople that they talk to.

The news isn’t all bad, however. This is because there are a growing number of “female-friendly” car dealerships that women can visit without feeling intimidated or being disrespected by sexist salesmen. But what would you consider to be a female-friendly car dealership? Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

Honest car salespeople

I know a lot of people think that honesty and sales are two words you would never see in the same sentence unless it is a negative observation about salespeople, but one thing that women find very important when it comes to deciding where to buy their car from is how honest the salespeople are in the dealership.

All too often, many old-fashioned car salespeople see women as a soft target and will try their best to sell them all sorts of unneeded optional extras for the cars they are interested in buying, and these salespeople stereotypically think that men know what they want from a car more than women.

When you walk into a trusted car dealership such as Chelmsford Toyota, you will immediately notice that the salespeople do not treat women any differently to men, and actually listen to their potential customer’s requirements rather than trying to sell them something they don’t want!

Gender-friendly environments

I remember walking into a car dealership once and was shocked to see topless girls in calendars being displayed in the main showroom area where some of the sales advisers’ desks were!

A car dealer that both women and men would be happy to visit is going to be one that is a gender-friendly environment.

The smarter car dealers know that they aren’t going to make much money by treating women as stupid people, for example, so it’s in their interests to cater for a variety of customers whether they be women, men, disabled people, fleet managers or millionaires!

I consider a gender-friendly environment to be one where it is obvious the dealer has taken great steps to ensure that the staff they employ are both female and male, and that none of the males employed treat women like they were second-class citizens.

A Guide to Choosing Your Next Timepiece: For Females

A watch is a must have accessory for any female; it can help to dress up an outfit that looks a little bland, make an outfit pop, make our wrists look pretty, and also help us to tell the time (for when our smartphone runs out of power that is). Watches still have a place in today’s modern society, so if you don’t have one you’re missing out. With so many watches out there, it can be difficult to choose just one watch – that’s where this guide comes in. Ladies, choose your next timepiece with ease by using this guide:


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First you need to consider your budget. If this is a birthday present or a gift from someone for a special occasion, it can be a little harder to set a budget as you don’t usually feel as if you can come straight out and ask them. You can find quality watches for under £100 depending on the brand you choose and where you decide to get it from, but then again you could spend a few hundred, or even a few thousand – it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend on your new accessory. Most lower end designer watches range from £100-£300, while brands like Rolex and Breitling will set you back thousands.

Leather or Metal?

What kind of material suits you best? A watch that looks great on your best friend won’t necessarily look great on you. You need to decide on the material that’s most comfortable and suits the kinds of things you enjoy wearing. A metal watch in silver or gold can look great when complemented with similar jewellery and going out/smart casual outfits, while a leather strapped watch can look lovely for everyday wear and is comfortable too. Shinola watches are a lovely choice for somebody who wants something understated but timeless.

Your Wardrobe

What do you have in your current wardrobe? You want your watch to be as versatile as possible, so it’s important that it goes with the majority of your outfits and accessories. There’s nothing to say you can’t be a little different with your choice of watch, but you might regret it when you realise it doesn’t match anything else you own. If you prefer to wear silver jewellery, then you’ll likely feel more comfortable in a silver watch. If you prefer to wear warmer coloured clothes, then gold would probably look best. A leather strapped watch can go with almost any outfit!

Dressy or Casual?

What do you want the watch for? Is it a watch for special occasions, a watch you can wear every day, or a watch you can throw on for any occasion? A dressier watch might include gems and special features like a mother of pearl dial, while a casual watch might be very understated and almost ‘plain’ (but still pretty).

By carefully considering these points, your watch will look amazing with anything you choose to wear. Let us know how watch shopping went in the comments!

Essential Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe Around Water

Teaching your child to swim has a whole host of benefits, and can be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Not only will you be teaching your child a great skill that they’ll use for life, you’ll have loads of fun! Here’s how to teach them the tried and tested way:


photo author: flickr

Think Confidence, Then Skills

You shouldn’t be in any rush to get your child to swim a length before teaching them water confidence. That’s not to say that your child couldn’t be a great swimmer, it’s just that pushing them too hard can hinder their progress and even put them off swimming forever! If your child learns to love water then it’s possible they’ll develop a swimming habit that will last forever!

Don’t Over Teach

Skills should be encouraged over a certain amount of time without trying to give them too much instruction in one go. Children need to learn and explore for themselves, so there should be more learning than teaching.

Make It Fun

Swimming should be a fun and playful activity, so make sure you always talk about going swimming in a way that doesn’t make kids think they’re having a lesson. Storytelling and songs can be a great way to help get messages about swimming across. Splash About have some great tips and tricks on how to do this!

Don’t Use Aids

In a pool where a child who can’t swim and is out of their depth you’ll need to give them constant support. I don’t recommend you ever take your attention off them anyway, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Buoyancy aids are counterproductive, as they don’t allow your child to explore their own buoyancy in the water. Finding a natural balance is made difficult, and they teach a child that they need them to float when they don’t!

Getting in the Pool

At first, you’ll have to teach your child how to get in the pool safely by climbing backwards down the ladder. However, when they’re happy to get their face in the water you can teach them to jump in!

Hold Your Child But Don’t Hold them Up

It’s tempting to hold your child so they’re on top of the water, but this way you’re holding their weight and not teaching them anything. Simply use your hands to guide them and reassure them. Dress them in an all in one costume as these are easy to hold.


You and your child should have fun splashing each other, and use different plastic toys like cups and watering cans to get water over their face. This should be encouraging them to put their face in the water. You also need to teach them how to hold their breath as they hit the water.

Dealing with Anxiety

Some children are scared of going totally under the water, and this is totally normal, although it can take patience to help them overcome it. Don’t talk about them putting their face in the water, as the more you talk about it the more importance you attach to it. When they eventually get their face wet make sure you praise them. However, if they end up getting upset, don’t comfort them because you’ll reinforce that something bad has happened.

Be patient with your child, don’t push them too hard, and simply concentrate on having lots of fun!


The Only Porcelain Doll Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need

Porcelain dolls are usually thought of as the ‘historical past’ come to life. There are many doll manufacturers today that make these dolls for collectors, and plenty of people choose to decorate their home with lifelike displays – or buy them for their daughters, like me! However, buying a more modern porcelain doll is very different to buying an antique doll made from vinyl. This guide is the only one you’ll ever need when it comes to choosing a porcelain doll, whether it’s a gift for your daughter, yourself, or somebody else:


image source: flickr

Before You Buy a Doll

Before you even look at porcelain dolls, you need to decide what you want to get out of the doll. A buyer needs to know whether the doll will be a collectors item, a decoration, or a toy. Knowing the purpose of the doll will help you pick the perfect one in terms of price, material, and brand. In my daughter’s case, some of her dolls are decorations and others are toys – I choose the kind of doll accordingly. If you’re looking for an original antique porcelain doll, you need to make sure you get proper documentation when you purchase it, so you know that it’s genuine. There are many collector’s editions out there as well as certificates that will prove their authenticity.

Choosing the Perfect Doll

When looking to buy a porcelain doll, it’s important that you buy an authentic porcelain creation – meaning the doll is really made from the material it’s supposed to be made from. Check the doll for markings, material and design, damage, and characteristics – these should help you distinguish the doll genuine from fake.

Identifying Authenticity

There should be a mark from the doll maker on the doll showing it’s authenticity, as doll makers want credit for their work. You may find this on the head, shoulder, neck, or foot. You will also get a certificate for the doll if it is authentic.

Check Material and Design

An antique doll will have painted on hair, while newer dolls will have seemingly real hair rooted on to their heads. Older doll’s clothing styles will be made of leather, while newer dolls will have stuffed bodies with Victorian style outfits.

Check for Damage

Any damage to the doll will bring down the value, so make sure there are no cracks, holes, or rips before purchasing, if doing so second hand.


You’ll be able to tell if a doll is antique or more modern quite easily by looking at the characteristics. Eyes that are set into the doll and don’t move are a characteristic of an 1800’s doll. The characteristics of a doll from the 1800’s and a newer doll will be very different – newer dolls tend to look more lifelike.

With this guide you should be able to decide on the perfect porcelain doll, whatever the occasion. Buying for display purposes means you can afford to buy a fully porcelain, perhaps even antique doll, whereas buying for your daughter like I do will mean you have to be a little careful and choose a soft bodied doll!


How to Choose the Perfect Sidekick (Pet) For Your Family

Bringing home a new pet affects all members of the household, so everybody, even the kids should be included in the discussion. The animal you decide to bring home, or in my case ‘sidekick’, will become a loving member of the family, so it’s essential that everybody is on the same page. You need to use common sense too; you shouldn’t buy a cat if you already have a pet mouse or gerbil in the home! Let’s take a look at ways you can choose the perfect pet for your family:


Image Taken from Flickr

How Much Time Does Your Family Have to Care for a Pet?

You need to consider how much time your family has to care for a pet. If both adults are working and you don’t have time to give the pet round the clock care, you need to be careful as certain pets will be unsuitable. Some animals are lower maintenance than others, so you’re probably better off getting one of those if you don’t have much time.

Some good low maintenance animals include; goldfish, rabbits, cats, and geckos. Chinchillas, dogs, horses, and macaws take more work. Bear in mind that dogs can live for 10-15 years, while cats can live for 20. Rodents can last about 5 years, horses can last about 30, and large birds should be included in your will, just incase.

Take Your Living Situation Into Account

Where you live could play a part in the kind of pet you get. If you live in an apartment for example, it probably isn’t a great idea to get a dog. If you have lots of land or a huge garden, then a dog would be suitable.

How Old Are Your Family Members?

If your family members are too young to help take care of the new pet, you’ll be looking after it all on your own, so it’ll be hard work.

Does Your Family Have Any Allergies?

If a family member has a certain allergy, this should play a part in your decision.

Are Your Family Members Scared of Any Kind of Animal?

If one of your kids is afraid of snakes or lizards, it’s obviously not a good idea to get one of those. Discuss the animals your family don’t like.

Hold a Meeting

Is your family ready for a new member of the family? Discuss whether you think you’re ready, and take your family’s opinion into account.

Take Your Time

This is a big decision. There’s no reason you should rush into it. Choosing your new pet is a big commitment, and they could live for a very long time. Take everything into account when deciding.

How Much Money Do You Have to Commit to Your Pet

Dogs and cat can take more money to care for than a hamster or gerbil. You may need to purchase different kinds of treatment from You should be prepared to spend whatever it takes on your pet in order to keep it in good health; if you’re not, you need to reconsider getting a pet.

Good luck!