Creating The Right Future For Your Child

Creativity is a trait we all value in our youngsters. From the age they can pick up a crayon, we encourage them to draw. Once they’re old enough, we teach them to tell stories. At some stage, though, this respect for creativity often disappears. This is evidenced by the fact that, with the exceptions or artists, etc., most adults don’t have the same connection to creation as their children. Some parents and schools even actively encourage kids away from creative pursuits as more academic priorities come to the fore.

For some of us, though, this switch from the creative seems a shame. We sorely miss those pictures on the kitchen fridge or those wild tales our kids used to tell. And, our kids tend to miss them even more.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to stop your children from losing that creative spark.

Choose a school that values creativity

For young kids, even lessons like maths and geography tend to involve crafts to aid understanding. As our children get older, though, this focus on creative thinking tends to take a backseat. Luckily, there are schools out there that continue to value creativity in older children. Just take time to research facilities like Leicester High primary school with its creative approach. A school like this aims to keep your kid’s creative juices flowing for much longer, and could even help their learning as a result.

Encourage creative pursuits

Too often, parents encourage their kids away from creative pursuits past a certain point. They worry about the sustainability of art and what could happen if their child went down that path. But, such fears will only stifle your child’s inherent creative nature, and that won’t help anyone. Instead, do whatever you can to encourage creative pursuits. Buy your child the craft supplies they need or encourage them to join creative after-school classes like art and drama. Even just encouraging a love of reading can help to hold onto the creative nature we should all value in the next generation.

Lead by example

As with anything, leading by example can be invaluable here. If your children don’t see creativity around the home, then they may slip out of these habits despite your best efforts. Instead, use this as an excuse to get back in touch with the creative nature you lost somewhere along the way. Get into the habit of colouring or painting during your evenings. You could even use crafts for fun quality time with your kids. Either way, showing your child your love for creativity is guaranteed to enhance theirs. 

Encouraging ongoing creative thinking in children is vital for everything from critical thinking to happiness. So, don’t fall into the trap of casting creativity aside once your youngsters reach a certain age. Instead, cast that creation net wide so that they keep this skill with them their whole lives long. 

Nozstock – The Hidden Valley – Festival

nozstock family festival

For the last few years we’ve kicked off the Summer Holidays with a Festival and we love it! We always go with friends and we always look forward to this annual get together, but having been to the same festival the past few years and seeing it change, we decided to try something different.

nozstock the hidden valley

So this year, after doing some research, we decided on Nozstock – The Hidden Valley, which seemed perfect! It’s intentionally not as commercialised as other festivals which was a massive draw for us. The organisers are made up of the Nozworthy family who own the farm and land it takes place on, and along with their friends and employees have grown the festival year on year until the 5000 person capacity it is today! It’s smaller than other festivals, a bit more traditional with a great family provision and just sounded altogether very appealing.

We were offered tickets in exchange for an honest review and looked forward to our weekend getaway for weeks and weeks! We couldn’t wait to get there and experience all that Nozstock had to offer! Situated in rural Herefordshire, it was a good couple of hours drive for us but our usual camp mates…. Ruth from Rocknrollerbaby, Katy from Modern Mummy and Emma from That’s the way the Cookie Crumbles were already there and waiting for us!

kids at nozstock
Yay finally here, very excited and loaded up with stuff! Hugo carrying his pillow… can’t go camping without our pillows!

On arrival, the first thing I noticed was how near the car parks were to the festival! This might sound like a minor thing but if you’re a regular at festivals, especially with kids… this is MAJOR! The amount of luggage you need when you go camping with kids usually means a couple of trips to the car, which is a killer if it’s miles away, so not having too far to go was an absolute game changer as far as I was concerned!

The second thing that blew me away was the HELPFULNESS of the car park staff/volunteers. They were super happy and friendly! This lovely chap offered to pull my trolley all the way to the entrance from my car! What a star!

nozstock festival
What a nice young man!

We opted for Pre-Pitched camping this year. This was provided by a company called Camplight who rescue tents from festivals, clean them up and re-use them! This fits in perfectly with Nozstock’s ‘green ambition’ ethos of keeping things as sustainable as possible…. helping to fight the disposable culture which is damaging our planet. Nozstock provided many activities and fun workshops to promote this- it was a big feature. They were encouraging people to re-use their cups to cut down on plastics as well as hosting competitions to incentivise campers to keep the festival tidy!

We were in the Family Camping area which was a lovely space, separate to the other camping fields. Definitely the nicest one we’ve stayed in so far. It just felt cosy, for want of a better word. There was a little playground area for kids.. mostly made from wood and sustainable materials of course, the portaloos were clean at all times and there were also some eco-friendly tiny toilets for young children with little toilet seats that looked like potties! There was even a baby changing facilities gazebo stocked up with free nappies, wipes, lotions and suncreams for anyone to use! I thought this was a lovely touch.

zoo bells bell tents
My lovely Zoo Bells tent

The weather, unfortunately hadn’t been kind the first day of the festival which meant the tents took a bit of a battering and one or two became waterlogged! Because the others arrived before me they all swapped around to get the driest ones. The organisers were super helpful anyway offering to take down and bring new ones if need be. Luckily for me though, the nearby glamping field was full of gorgeous tents provided by Zoo Bells and one of their generous employees on site happened to walk by and offered one of their spare ones to me! I mean…. whoop whoop yes please! My Bell tent was fabulous, we haven’t stayed in one before but would definitely consider one next time for sure!

Once settled we headed into the festival and straight into the Little Wonderland kids area which is a dedicated zone for families and children to enjoy age related fun activities all day long. There’s a sand pit, circus skills, workshops in break dancing, graffiti, beat boxing, felt-making, crazy cartoons, up-cycling clothes and lots more. Our’s decided on some sculpting with clay!

little wonderland nozstock
nozstock little wonderland
Fabulous creation!
It was great to get all the kids together again!

The childrens area is a wonderful space that incorporates shows and music too, with so much more to get involved with… it’s really worth checking the timetable so you don’t miss anything you’d like to catch. The family aspect of the festival is something one of the creators, Ella Nozworthy is passionate about, especially now that she has children of her own. Speaking of the new elements for this year she said .. “after listening to feedback and realising there are some simple things we can do to enhance the experience for families – that’s what this is all about.”

Lots of fun little toys and bits and bobs to make or dress up in!
nozstock festival
I couldn’t resist!

The music lineup at Nozstock this year was brilliant, although I think when you go as a family, depending on ages of children, you might not get to see the headliner DJ’s and bands that play into the early hours but there’s definitely something for every taste with ten stages to choose from! My twenty year old son who didn’t come with us was absolutely gutted when he saw the lineup… the Hospitality takeover on Friday night was a massive coup for the younger festival goers! Then there’s so many different, more chilled artists playing all kinds of music during the day before kicking off again later on!

nozstock

The theme of this years Nozstock was the Wizard of Noz which was evident throughout the festival. Some of the stages were designed on the theme!

This stage was supposed to be Dorothy’s wrecked house from the hurricane and even included the witched legs and feet if you look to the top left!
elephants graveyard nozstock
There was a raggae stage that was found via a pathway which led to this bizarre open space called The Elephants Graveyeard! It was rather groovy!

We loved watching Elvana (an Elvis fronted Nirvana tribute act) on Saturday afternoon on the main Orchard Stage! This was completely nuts but very entertaining!

elvana nozstock

My favourite stage was The Coppice. I could’ve stayed in here for hours listening to the dreamy trance music and getting lost in all the decorations set up in the trees. This was run by Tribe of Frogs, a psychedelic DJ dance event organiser who are amazing! My kids loved all the lights, special effects and the way everything glowed!

tribe of frog nozstock
tribe of frog nozstock the coppice

There were hidden stages too, like The Cabinet of Lost Secrets which you found through a secret doorway… as modelled here by my friend Emma!

We had a great time at this stage dancing the night away… even my 9 year old twin boys had a dance! That’s the first time in all their festival going years that they’ve actually danced! There’ll be no stopping them now! We boogied on down to fab swing band Year of the Dog and funk quintet The Happy Daggers!

year of the dog nozstock
nozstock family festival

The headliners on Saturday night were DJ superstars Rudimental. As their 10pm start time approached, you could feel all the different areas emptying out a little as everyone seemed to be making their way to the main stage! I was praying that my children stayed awake at least for a little while so we could catch some of the set! And I got lucky!

Katy and Ruth headed back to the tents but myself and Emma stayed out to partayy! And boy did it kick off big time when Rudimental came on! They were amazing! We hovered around the back of the crowd at first as the bass line was too much for the kids, although, incidentally, you can go and grab ear plugs for free if you need them from a little on site kiosk which offers all kind of helpful stuff! I grabbed some for mine earlier in the day!

Back to Rudimental. Emma was not satisfied with standing at the back so she instructed her husband, Andy, to watch all of our kids for a second and grabbed my hand to storm down to the front. Barging through the crowd like a mad woman on a mission, probably ruffling some feathers in the process but we didn’t care! It was funny and worth it because from there we got to experience the music and atmosphere so much more, right in the thick of it!

rudimental nozstock
rudimental nozstock
Grainy photo but this was an action shot of us ‘having it’!

One of the reasons we love a festival is that we get to don the glitter! Oh how we love the glitter! The family camp site at Nozstock was so chilled and relaxed, we enjoyed just hanging around there in the mornings, leisurely getting ready, chatting and eating breakfast that was made by Rocknrollerbaby for all of us! Feeling the fresh morning air while the kids played – even with other children that were camping nearby! In a world where kids are often indoors on some kind of screen, camping brings such a welcome change.

nozstock festival glitter
My hair and makeup being done by Poppie and Florence!
nozstock family camping
festival hair and makeup
nozstock bell tents
festival hair
My daughter does everyone’s hair!
rosies tea rooms nozstock
We loved this little cafe, Rosie’s Tea Rooms, at the entrance to family camping where they sold teas, coffees and delicious crepes! It was so nice, cosy and friendly!

Around Nozstock there’s loads of weird and wonderful acts everywhere you look, a real feast for the eyes. As well as music there’s comedy, acting, dance and film too!

We loved the human jukebox…
nozstock
..and this unbelievable fire maze!
nozstock wedding
There was even and wedding taking place at Nozstock!

My favourite thing about our Nozstock weekend was simply just wandering around, discovering new areas and enjoying the whole place. The site isn’t huge so nowhere feels too far to get to, yet there’s always something new to see or do. It was compact yet felt incredibly spacious where the children could run freely and enjoy the different zones!

nozstock
nozstock festival family
nozstock
nozstock
henna tattoo nozstock
nozstock
Nozstock ambassadors festival

Even though it wasn’t just a festival for families, there were children playing everywhere and everyone just mingled seamlessly together. At no time did I feel worried about the children, or thought I shouldn’t have them in a particular area, which I know is a concern for a lot of parents. Safety was paramount for the kids….. they are given wristbands on arrival with a space to write your telephone number on, so you can be reached should you get separated. There’s also a dedicated lost child tent that they can find easily should they need help.

Nozstock gives you that special kind of fuzzy, warm feeling and has an atmosphere that has been missing at other festivals. It’s fun and immersive, you really feel like you’re taking part in a wonderful imaginary story! Yet it manages to stay intimate and considerate. There isn’t anything I would change, we had the best time in the best place with the best people!

I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Super early bird tickets are now on sale for 2020 Nozstock – The Hidden Valley which takes place Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th July 2020

https://nozstock.com/tickets/buy-tickets-online/
www.nozstock.com @nozstock

Top 3 Kids’ Playhouses

Playhouses are toys which children seem to never tire of. They take prime place in most people’s gardens and as long as tit’s not raining outside, you’ll usually find your little one enjoying themselves whilst playing with their favourite toy.

If you’re looking for a playhouse to buy your child in the near future then you will evidently have a lot of things to consider. Before you make your purchase, you may want to contact a company like New Lawn for artificial grass installation to improve safety. After all, there are so many different types of play houses available on the internet and in stores all over the UK and these differ on a whole host of different factors, such as price, size, appearance, features included and more.

Here’s some information on a few of the top kids’ playhouses available for purchase at the moment, which will hopefully provide you with some ideas and inspiration for when it comes to buying one for your child.

Smoby Duplex House

smoby playhouse

This kids’ playhouse will literally blow your mind. It is a two storey house which features a staircase inside that leads to the top floor which is deemed to be a relaxation and rest area. This area is protected by a security fence so you need not worry about the levels of safety. In addition to the exciting upstairs, the Duplex House also has a kitchen area, a barbecue area that comes with accessories, a living room with a table and two stools, a gateway with a bell and more. It’s not hard to see that the level of fun which can be had is immense. The product is actually easy to assemble., even with all these features.

Step 2 Sweetheart Playhouse

sweetheart girls playhouse

This playhouse is the ideal option for any little girly girl. It boasts a pale pink framework which goes beautifully with the purple thatched style roof and the bright pink door and window shutters. Moreover, above the door there are three bright pink hearts which completely makes this toy cuteness personified. The playhouse also comes with electronic features in the form of a phone and a doorbell. In addition to this there is a range top which doubles up as a barbecue grill, a clock and a window flower pot.

Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio Playhouse

picnic on the patio little tikes playhouse

It says it all in the name – This playhouse is the perfect option for children who want to sit outside and eat strawberries and sandwiches in the sunshine! It sort of takes the role of a toy kitchen as well, which is an option extremely popular amongst children. It boasts an oven, burners, cupboards and a 19 piece accessory set which includes play food and tableware! There’s also a pretend phone with this product and an electronic doorbell which makes a massive six fun and exciting sounds.

3 Things To Be Prepared For When You Get A Dog

If you are thinking of getting a dog, you can be sure that it’s going to be a huge decision which will dramatically affect your life. We all know that a dog is a huge responsibility to have, but often it’s not until you actually have it home that it really sinks in! If you are keen on getting a dog though, doing some research beforehand is going to help you out a lot. With that in mind, in this article we are going to focus in particular on a few of the major things that you need to be fully prepared for if you are going to get a dog. As long as you are prepared, you will find that you are in a much better situation to get a dog and to make the most of it.

Cost

First up, let’s look at the cost of owning and caring for a dog. You are going to need to make sure that you are able to afford it, otherwise it is just not. The cost is often a lot higher than people realise, and there are many things that you are going to need to budget for in order to get it right. For instance, there is going to be the food and dog bed and all of the other supplies to consider. However, you can always reduce the cost of these things by being clever about where you source them from, and making a point of shopping around. That way, getting hold of pet supplies can actually be cheaper than you would expect.

Time

You can’t simply get a dog and expect that it won’t take up much time. It is always going to, and the more prepared you are for that fact, the better off you will be. You need to spend a lot of hours with your dog showing them love, training and exercising them, feeding them and so on. If you are so busy that you are not able to do much of this, then that means you probably don’t have the right lifestyle for a dog. It would be better to get something like a cat, or to try and change your lifestyle first if that is really what you want to do.

Noise

Although you get different kinds of dogs with varying voice boxes, it is also true that you will have to put up with a bit of noise from time to time. It shouldn’t be a massive problem, but if you are not prepared, then you might find that it’s something of a challenge to get used to it, so this is certainly something to think about.

Home Maintenance Jobs That Will Save You Money On Renovations And Repairs

Doing repairs and renovations on your home is expensive, so you want to avoid it if possible. There are some simple tricks that you can use to avoid a full renovation but eventually, you’ll have to spend money on the house. Sometimes, you don’t have any other option but a lot of the time, repairs can be avoided with a bit of simple maintenance. If you’re waiting for problems to occur and then fixing them, you’re making life a lot harder for yourself. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to fix those problems when they’re small by doing regular maintenance. These are the regular maintenance jobs you should be doing if you want to save money on home repairs and renovations. 

Check Roof Tiles 

Roof damage is a big problem in the home because it’s going to cause leaks and then you’ll have a damp problem to deal with as well, and that will be expensive to fix. But you can avoid that easily if you just check the roof tiles every now and again. It isn’t difficult to replace a roof tile when it comes loose but it’ll save you a lot of time and money in the future. If you don’t replace those loose tiles, you’ll start getting bigger holes and that’s when you have a real problem on your hands. Get up on the roof and check every now and again, especially after bad weather to avoid any disasters. 

Unblock Drains 

Blocked drains are another big issue around the home because a buildup of water can cause problems with your plumbing and also lead to damp. Using a drain unblocker on all of the sinks on a regular basis is the easiest way to stay on top of it. However, that isn’t always enough to deal with the blockage so you might have to call a professional company like Drainboss and have them do it for you. They’ll also be able to do a survey of your pipes so you know if there are any major problems that you need to be aware of. 

Repair Woodwork 

If you have wooden windows and doors on your home, they’re going to wear over time and the wood will become damaged. If you leave it and don’t make small repairs, the wood will degrade until it’s completely unworkable and you’ll have to replace it completely. It’s simple to fill small gaps and splits in the wood and then repaint, and it’s a lot easier than replacing the entire thing if you neglect it. 

A Fresh Coat Of Paint 

If you don’t want to pay for a full renovation but some of the rooms in the house are looking a bit tired, the easiest way to freshen them up is to give them a new coat of paint. It’s a simple job to do yourself and it won’t cost that much, just make sure to prepare the walls properly and you’ll get a good finish. 

If you stay on top of these basic maintenance tasks, you won’t need to renovate or repair the house anywhere near as often, and that’s going to save you a lot of money.  

Tactics To Make Family Meals Easy As Pie (Without Actually Serving Pie)

When you are tasked with cooking and shopping for an entire family, things can get complicated. Especially if the kids demand meals different from what the adults are eating. Happily, the following tactics can help you make managing family meals as easy as possible, all without serving pie. Unless you want to of course, and then feel free! 😉 

Have a stack of recipes to work from 

The first way you can make it much easier to manage your family meals is to have a big pile of recipes that you know everyone likes collected together. In fact, by doing this you won’t only cut down the time and effort that it takes you to come up with meal ideas for the week, but you will have easy access to the ingredients you will need to buy as well. 

Of course, the best way to do this is to save any recipes that you find online as a PDF, and then print them out, adding them to an easy to access binder. You can even convert them into editable PDFs and add any changes or additions before you print them that will make sure your family loves the recipes even more as well. In fact, you only have to look into what the best PDF editor for Mac, or for PC is, and then install this on your computer at home to do this. Something that is much easier than most people realize, and can make your meal planning so much less stressful each week.  

Shop online 

Next, it can be very beneficial to shop online if you want to make managing family meals as easy as possible. The reason being that you can do your grocery shopping from the comfort of your own home, and don’t have to worry about dragging the kids around the supermarket, or having to fend off all of their requests, for toys, drinks, and sweets! 

In fact, if you install a shopping comparison app, you will be able to see in which supermarket your groceries will cost the least each week too. Something that can not only make your life easier but save you a pretty penny as well. 

Serve everyone the same meal 

Lastly, when it comes to managing family meals, I’m a firm believer in serving everyone the same thing. Yes, one child may love pizza, and the other always wants pasta, but there is a way around this. 

In fact, what you need to do is allow everyone in the family to choose one meal each week. Then they will always be sure of getting what they want, and you can avoid any arguments on not eating what is put in front of them on the days that aren’t their choice. 

Happily, what this system does is ensure that everyone in the family gets a varied and well-balanced diet as well. Especially if parents pick vegetable-heavy dishes like the one below, something that means this system is a vital tool in your making managing family meals easy toolbox.   

Here’s a pie recipe! 😉

Simple Handling Equipment To Buy For Your Horse

Buying a horse is a big commitment like any other pet. A horse can be a wonderful and loyal companion or if you are looking for a new hobby too, a horse can be a great choice. 

Of course like any investment, it is important for you to prepare for your new family member and here are just some of the things you will want to buy for the handling and care of your horse this year.

Clothes 

If you want to ensure that your horse is happy all year long, you can visit an Equi Supermarket equine superstore and get a blanket or coat for your animal. A coat is the ideal thing to protect your horse from the cold in the winter as well as from horseflies in the summer and can be an essential. 

Lead Ropes

When looking after your horse you will need to buy them a lead just as you would with any other pet. This will be used when you want to lead them around the stables and it will allow you to keep them close by and guide them when you are out in the public. 

Hoof Pick

Your horse, no matter how much you care for them, will always suffer from a build up of grime and mud in their hooves. To prevent your Horse from suffering with an infection you need to make sure that you pick out the rubbish from their hooves regularly. 

Body Brush

Horses like any other animal will need to be groomed now and again to help them stay healthy and fit. It is important for you to use a good quality body brush to brush your horse every day and this will help to remove any sander, skin cells and excess hair from their fur. It will also help to distribute essential oils in the the coat and help your horse to stay super healthy for the summer. 

Mane Comb

The mane is the star feature of most horses and it is important for you to keep it in good condition at all times. A mane comb can be used every day to brush their mane and tail to keep it from becoming matted and tangled. It can be a great thing and something which is wonderful for the look and health of the horse. 

Fly repellent

Horses are large animals, and flies will always target large animals for the dead skin cells on their coat, the blood in their veins and the sweat on their skin. It is clear that your horse will have to deal with invading flies now and again and it can be something which is irritating and dangerous for your horse. Make sure to buy a great fly repellant and apply this to your horse daily. This will stop flies from taking hold on your horse and it will allow you horse to live their life without having flies buzzing around them all the time. 

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