How To Bag An Electrical Bargain!



Making large purchases can be a bit scary, especially when it comes to appliances or technology. There’s a lot to take into consideration and you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money.

Do you want to make sure you’re getting the right item for a decent price? Here’s my top tips!

Decide what you want!

This sounds obvious but if you want a fridge, is that all you want? Do you want a fridge freezer? Do you want an ice maker? If you want a washer, do you want a washer dryer? Should it come with a child lock and a timer?


Draw up a list of what’s essential to your appliance and what isn’t. Most websites have filters allowing you to select the options you want, cutting down the choices and making the choosing process a little easier.

Measure your space!

Plenty of people think appliances like dishwashers, dryers and washers come as a standard size these days but that’s not the case. 

A simple cm here and there can mean your appliance won’t fit in-between cupboards or under the counter-top so measure the space you have available and before you press order measure it again! Better to be save then sorry!

Check the energy rating!

Getting a product with a poor energy rating could effect your bills more than you realise. Aim to buy an item with at least an A rating but ideally with an A+.


You may find that your older product has a lower rating and a new one could save you money in the long run!

Read the reviews!

So you’ve picked your shiny new appliance or piece of tech but have you checked the reviews? You might have found exactly what you want but is it really that good?

Take a look at the reviews and you may find that your new TV or tablet has awful reviews, lots of faults and negative reviews from fellow buyers. Aim for an item with 4 stars or more to avoid disappointment. Don’t be put off by one or two bad reviews out of hundreds of great ones as they’ll always be the odd person who will complain about anything!

Get the best deal!

There are many ways to ensure you get a good deal and the best value for your money. Sales, cashback sites and voucher codes can all help you back a bargain but you may still find yourself spending hours scrolling the internet looking for the best price.


That can all be avoided by using a site like LatestDeals.co.uk, where you’ll find the best price and where to buy it from. No hours of searching! Just type in what you want and it will give you the best price, where to buy it and a link to the deal.

Now, go grab a bargain!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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Making Moving Home A Little Less Stressful


Are you about to move house? Are you preparing to uproot your entire life and move across a street, town, city or maybe the country to make a new home elsewhere? When you've got a family take care of at the same time though, its a lot harder to do than some people realise, but it doesn't have to be an impossible feat.


Ariel view of suburban area

Being a mum or Dad often means you have to be in charge of a lot within your household but when moving home, events are often out of your control and you might feel stressed. By the time the physical move comes around you might be tearing your hair out! When I was young we moved a lot and I know my Mum (hello Mother, if you're reading this) found some of the moves especially stressful! 

It doesn't have to be though! Get prepared with some tips and trick, and stay calm and collected! You're a parent you can handle this!

First.................

Find the right movie company

You're probably going to struggle to fit all the boxes into the back of your car and the sofa might not fit in your friends van. Avoid the panic of squashing everything into your car and the stress on its suspension and book a removals firm.

Get plenty of quotes and book as early as possible and you may even bag a bargain. Even after booking keep all the quotes to hand in case your first choice cancels or you hear bad reviews. Going on recommendations is also a good idea. Websites like Shiply can help you find the ideal team to help you move. 

Dedicate time to the process

Packing a few bits here and there when you have a spare five or ten minutes is going to drag things out but if you work full-time you may struggle to get things done.

If you've got some annual leave available, book some time off,  arrange some childcare and take a good few hours to get packing! Make sure you take time for a break too, so you don't get bogged down with it all and can stay on top of other day to day things as well! 

Make a plan

Moving home isn't just packing and transporting your belongings from old home to new home, it's also fitting your life into the the area that you're moving. So make sure you make the time to complete the admin side of things too. 

Research schools. find a new GP, contact the power and water companies, get the phone lines connected and the WIFI rerouted. Don't leave these things until you arrive at your new home as they can often be more complicated than you expect and you'll need to concentrate on unpacking and settling in.


A side ankle picture of someone sitting at a table with a notepad and pen


If you're about to move, now's the time to get your head clear, be organised and prepare yourself for a stress free house move! Good luck! 

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx



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Living DNA


Family history and your ancestry can open up a door to the past that you didn't know existed. 

Tracking your ancestry through resources like birth, marriages and death records though can be costly and time consuming. You can sometimes only get so far and if you have a common surname there can be some stumbling blocks too!

This is where DNA testing can help. A simple swab can give you a deep insight into your family tree. Living DNA goes deeper than any other company I've ever come across and can breakdown ancestry to 80 worldwide regions including 21 within the UK. 


The living DNA box along with leaflet, swap bag and tube

Most ancestry kits can only go back 4 or 5 generations but Living DNA can use your simple swab to go back 10 generations. They can also track your maternal and paternal lines back 200,000 years and even going as far tracking your ancestors migration paths all the way back to when humans first migrated from Africa!


Living DNA leaflet, specimen bag and tube

How amazing is that!

My family history is quite mixed but some elements are often disputed, so I hoping Living DNA will put a stop to all that! 

The kit comes with a clear step by step guide to follow, starting with registering online. Once your results are know you get and email and can access your results online.


Leaflet showing instructions


By coincidence my results will be due back around the time of my birthday and I can't wait to see what they tell me about my family history.

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx
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Summer Spotters



Here in the UK we have had a super hot summer but the nights will soon start to draw in and the weather will cool. Before the fun in the sun is all over though here's a little activity for the kids, Summer Spotters!

This is an ideal activity if you're going on a long journey or just want something that is free to do! 

So, can you spot the 10 signs of summer?

1. Clear skies and sunshine!

The UK summer isn't all clouds and rain, can you spot a clear sky and sunshine?

Blue skies, green grass and a small solitary cloud

2. Flowers in full bloom!

The spring bulbs have now gone and many gardens and parks will now be in full bloom and a variety of colours, can you spot them?

Garden with a boarder full of flowers

 3. Cricket!

A popular summer sport, you'll often see cricket being paid on local pitches or parks. Can you spot the players in their cricket whites?

Cricket ball on green grass

 4. Thunderstorms!

With the hot weather thunderstorms soon follow, so can you hear the thunder and spot the lightening?

Lightening storm

 5. Caravans being towed!

Caravan and motorhome holidays are very popular in the UK, especially in the summer. Can you spot caravans being towed or mobile homes being driven on the way to their holidays?

Motorhome lit up in the darkness

 6. Butterflies!

Caterpillars have had their snooze and are now butterflies. They come in all different shapes and sizes, how many can you spot?

A butterfly landing on a flower


7. Ice cream vans!

Whether they are resident in your local park or driving round with the music playing, ice cream vans bring yummy treats over the summer. Have you seen any?

Ice cream cone held up

 8. Weddings!

In the hope of fair weather, there are lots of weddings during the summer months. Have you been to any? Or have you seen a bride and groom outside a church, registry office or temple?

Lake with large building in the background and a bride and groom on the steps

 9. Bees!

Bees are out in force over the summer and they play an important part in pollinating our flowers and crops. Have you seen lots of bees?

Bee on a flower

 10. Picnics!

Venturing out and enjoying a picnic is a popular and fun activity for over the summer. Have you been on a picnic or have you spotted a family or group of friends enjoying one?

Picnic basket on a table with a picnic cloth


Did you manager to spot the signs of summer? Let me know in the comments!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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Keeping The Cost Of The Family Holiday As Low As Possible


Summer vacations and holidays with the family are not cheap, are they? 

It's not just the cost of the vacation to think about, but also the spending money for when you are there, the holiday clothes and accessories, as well as the toiletries you'll need.


Pink suitcase filled with bright clothes, patterned shoes and sunglasses

The costs can really mount up but how can you keep them down? 

Here are my ideas on ways to do a low cost holiday!

Getting the best deal on the holiday

When it comes to the holiday itself you need to consider all your options when booking and the biggest incentive for that is to get the best deal. You might be wondering whether a package deal is better than booking everything separate or whether you can bring down the cost by using voucher codes for cheaper holidays, cashback sites or money off coupons. Research is the best thing to do in this scenario, as it will allow you to work out the best places to go to and help you create the best holiday for your family. From that you can narrow down the best deals and prices, checking packages, cashback and vouchers sites to find your most affordable price.

Planning ahead

Great planning can result in a great deal when it comes to organising your family holiday. If you know when it is you are likely to go, as well as the place you want to go, then booking as far in advance as possible and paying the deposit can often give you a good deal. Not everyone has the luxury of doing this but if you can afford to, it is definitely worth considering it. Many travel companies also allow you to make monthly payments via the website, which can help spread the cost.

Check the dates

Dates is one of the important things you should check and this might be specific to the school holidays. Many of us know that it is more expensive to travel during the school holidays but for those of us with kids there's really little choice in the matter. 


Calendar with a yellow highlighter

It's a good idea though to check your dates and look at traveling right at the beginning or the end, as you may find other schools break up later or go back sooner. This is certainly the case for us for the next school year as our holidays differ to the next county! 

Booking in advance V booking last minute

Is booking in advance better than leaving it last minute? There are some arguments to suggest that if you are not bothered about the destination and can leave with a few days notice, then it might be worth traveling last minute, as you can get some great deals! Booking in advance can also give you a good deal though, especially when traveling long haul. It also gives you an insight early on into the cost of your holiday.

Could a 'staycation' be the answer?

For some a holiday is just some time away from normality, a break in routine and waking up somewhere a bit different, making a staycation a more affordable option. 


Daddy and son holding hands as they walk down to the sea

Staying in smaller hotels, using Airbnb or trying a camping or caravan break could give you what you need for a lower price than a holiday abroad might cost.

I hope that these suggestions help you to keep the costs of the family holiday as low as possible but most of all have a great time!!!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx 
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South Lakes Safari Zoo


Based in Cumbria, South Lakes Safari Zoo offers an experience different to many other zoos! Walk around many areas of the zoo and the animals will walk alongside you! Without fences!!

When we planned our visit to the zoo I wasn't really sure how I'd feel with the animals walking around, especially some of the larger birds and kangaroos, but our 4 year old was really excited about our latest adventure so I just had to be brave! 


Mum and son standing in front of giraffes

On entry we were warmly greeted by staff, who explained the different areas where the animals roamed freely and which we could feed, along with feeding times for the larger animals. We decided on a bag of food to feed the kangaroos, wallabies and some of the birds, and also booked to feed the giraffes, which was £3 each. I thought this was really well priced compared to some animal experiences you see. 

We made our way over to the rhinos and then on to the secure safari area, where you could feed and walk among the animals. None of them were overly interested in the food though, I think they'd been well fed by other visitors. 


Kangaroos laying and sitting on the grass

Next, we headed over to feed the giraffes! Our plan was for Daddy and JJ to feed them but Daddy wasn't too keen so I stepped in. At only £3 each I wondered how good the experience would be but I was quite impressed!


Giraffe eating from a tree

The keeper asked for everyone to line up and told us about the giraffes and gave us instructions on how to feed them. We were then each given a couple of handfuls of carrots and waited our turn. 


Mum and son feeding giraffes

There was no rushing and JJ and I really enjoyed the experience. He's still talking about it weeks later!


Mum and son standing next to a giraffe

We then had lunch and the meals were well sized and reasonably priced but we were a little disappointed that around 15 minutes after ordering we were told JJ's meal wasn't available and he had to pick again. Not ideal with a 4 year old!

Next, we headed over to see the big cats fed. The keeper also did a talk and was very informative and explained the current breeding program.

Then we went to see the penguins, where another keeper gave a talk and there was the opportunity to feed them, which was also priced at £3. 


Mum and son feeding penguins with a zookeeper handing them fish

We were able to just pay for JJ but all of us were able to go in so I could help and Daddy could take photos. 


Mum and son feeding penguins with zookeeper  watching

Again, this was very good value and he was given plenty of fish to feed to the penguins.


Mum and son feeding penguins with keep watching

We saw so many animals at South Lakes Safari Zoo. Lions, tigers, bears, lemurs, leopards, rhinos, hippos, meerkats, otters, we saw them all. 


Brown bears

We enjoyed our time at the zoo but I'm aware a few years ago it was a very different place for visitors but sadly also for the animals. There was certainly no sign of that when we visited and the animals seemed well cared for.


Small hippo with his mouth wide open showing his teeth

As with all my day out posts I'll share important info and top tips!
  • Areas of the zoo are very open with little shade, so ensure you have plenty of suncream on! We were there on one of the hottest days of summer and we struggled!
  • The toilets weren't very nice, so wash your hands well and carry sanitizer! 
  • The car park is HUGE so unlike some places in the Lake District you don't need to worry about parking!
  • There's a big gift shop at the end so be prepared for 'please can I have' if you're going with kids.
  • Feed the animals if your budget allows, as it's a real memory maker and the cheapest I've ever seen the experience offered.
Little boy sitting in a kids ride on jeep

Even though it was a ridiculously hot day we really enjoyed our time at South Lakes Safari Zoo and it's ideal for a family day out. It's not everyday you get to feed giraffes and penguins!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx





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Lemon Curd Cupcakes


My husband is a huge fan of lemon cake. Unfortunately though, due to a strange allergy I have, lemon cake is something we rarely have in the house.

Back in May when I attended BlogOn, a bloggers conference, we were gifted a pouch of the Cake Angels lemon icing and when I got home my husband's eyes lit up! He's waited a while but I've finally got round to making some lemon cake!

You'll see from the recipe that there's no lemon zest or juice and that's so I can avoid handling it. I went with lemon curd as an alternative and easy option for lemon flavouring. 

These are the results and according to my husband they are the best cakes I've made! EVER!!! I will admit I had some help from our 4 year old though!



Want to give them a try? You'll need..........

  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 80z caster sugar
  • 8oz butter/baking spread
  • Teaspoon of baking powder
  • Couple of drops of vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • Lemon curd
  • Lemon Cake Angels icing
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sieve 
  • Whisk or large spoon
  • Spatula or tablespoon
  • Cupcake cases
  • Cupcake tin 
  • Wire rack or plate

Preheat oven to 180C and  line tin with the cases.


Sieve flour into the bowl and add the caster sugar, baking spread, vanilla essence, eggs and baking powder. 


Mix until smooth.


Using the spoon or spatula half fill the cake cases.


Add a spoon of lemon curd and cover with another spoon of cake mixture.



Bake for 15-20 minutes.


Leave to cool on the wire rack or plate.


Follow the instructions on the bag to prepare the icing and ice the cakes.


Then sit down with a nice brew and dig in! Enjoy your yummy Lemon Curd Cupcakes!


Mummy Snowy Owl
xx
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Cost-effective Alternatives To Wood Flooring


For many people the height of interior design comes with the elegance of wood flooring. Whether you prefer a contemporary style or a more traditional decor for your home, wooden wooden floors can make all the difference.

There's no denying though that buying wood flooring can be very expensive!


Wooden floor scattered with toys

So, with that in mind I've put together three alternatives that will be a little easier on your budget!

1. Laminate Flooring

Laminate is perhaps the most popular alternative to real wood flooring. Although just because it's cheaper, doesn't mean it lacks quality. In fact, laminate has many good qualities that make it many people's preferred choice over solid wood.

Rather than being made of one piece of wood, laminate is constructed from multiple layers of high density fibreboard (HDF). These layers give the flooring additional durability, whilst still allowing for flexibility and comfort. Then, to give the flooring its wood effect, the top layer is digitally printed with the wood style.

Grey coloured laminate flooring slats

Because the wood is digitally printed using advanced photo technology, the range of designs is huge. It maybe printed but there's no doubting the high quality. Most laminate flooring even has authentic bevelling and knots engraved into the wood to give it a genuine look and feel that's like the real thing.

Laminate flooring often comes with a 'click' system fitting. Each board fits together perfectly and locks in place, meaning even novice DIYers can try their hand at fitting their flooring. If you do choose to use a professional the fitting time is greatly reduced when compared to solid wood. So, not only do you save on the flooring itself, you also save on installation costs too. Win-win!


2. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is incredible popular when it comes to alternatives for wood flooring. Its versatility means it's a favourable alternative to everything from wood, to tiles, to stone. 

Laid as one sheet, almost like carpet, vinyl flooring, come in a huge range of designs to fit with any decor. Printed design allows for massive variation in styles, with any type of wood available as well as 'out there' designs for those that fancy something a little different.

Brown wood effect flooring

One of vinyl's biggest strengths is how easy it is to maintain. Because it's essentially one sheet, it can be mopped and dried incredibly easily. For regular day-to-day maintenance, a sweeping brush should clean up most messes without too much trouble. Easy cleaning makes it ideal for those with young families or pets.

Suitable for any room in the house, vinyl is water resistant. This means it's perfectly safe to use in bathrooms, whereas solid wood flooring is a definite no-go when it comes to moisture! For this reason vinyl is incredibly popular as an alternative to wood, along with the cheaper price tag!


3. Engineered Wood Flooring

When it comes to wood flooring alternatives, engineered wood is the closest you can get to the real thing. In a similar way to laminate, engineered wood is made up of multiple layers. Whilst the layers add extra durability, it still contains an element of solid wood in its top layer.

Dark grey wood flooring slats

The top layer, often between 2 and 4 mm thick, gives you authentic wood grains and textures (as well as colour) for a lesser price. Because of the solid wood topping the flooring can be sanded and re-finished when it begins to look worn. This increases the flooring's lifespan, and even allows you to change up the style with a different finish if you're looking for something different.

Engineered woods composing layers make it less susceptible to fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels. This means its a popular choice for kitchens. Its also compatible with underfloor heating, where solid wood isn't, which scores another point for engineered!

When it comes to choosing your flooring you should ensure you're getting the most for your money. Most importantly though it needs to match your style. Flooring is a key component in your home's decor, so ensuring you're completely happy is vital. 

If you're looking to save some money, then each of the three above options could be right for you!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx 


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3 School Prep Activities


It's already August and the new school year is just around the corner! For many of us it will be the first ever year of education for our children as they head into Reception class.

My last post about getting ready for Reception, Preparing Your Child For School, was quite popular so I thought I'd do another! 

These activities are aimed at helping your little one be ready and maybe a little more confident for starting school.

1. Writing and recognising their name

As I mentioned in my last post, teachers, teaching assistants and nursery staff have all told me that it's ideal if a child can write and pick out their name. That way they can name their work, sign themselves in on a registration board and pick out their school jumper from a pile.


Crayons, pencils, pencil case and notepad laid out with mummy, daddy and Joseph written on it in child like writing

If they are struggling with this try writing out their name and ask them to copy it. Try writing out your names, names of cousins or even the name of their favourite TV character to keep them engaged. Dotting out the letters and getting them to join the dots is another way of helping them learn to write.

2. Counting

Being able to count to 10 is something else that can set them in good stead for starting school and may give them a little more confidence when numbers and maths start to be mentioned.

Pile of buttons, surrounded by small Paw Patrol figures

JJ has sometimes struggled with his counting and sometimes gets his numbers in the wrong order. We've practiced his counting by playing hide and seek, as well as counting physical items like buttons or his many Paw Patrol figures!

3. Colours

Knowing your colours isn't essential but again, it might make them a bit more confident when they're asked to pick out colours. JJ made this cool wheel at nursery.


Paper plate marked into six showing with the primary colours and what colours are made from them

Its easy to remake and it features the primary colours but also what they make when they are mixed.

Are you practicing things on the run up to school in September? Let me know in the comments.

I'll be doing another post soon about preparing us parents for school too!

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx
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