8 Ways to Spend Less on Back To School Essentials


According to a study conducted by Nationwide Building Society, the average parent will have to spend £190 per child for new school items each year. While this may not seem like a lot to some, if you are a single parent or on a low income, finding the extra cash can prove difficult.

To save you having to spend a fortune this time round, we’ve put together a list of 8 ways to spend less on back to school essentials. 

1. Go e-shopping

Prices are generally lower on the internet as companies have lower overheads which can be passed onto their customers. Sites like EBay are a great place to find deals on stationery, school bags and even uniforms bits and pieces at much cheaper prices.

2. Finding the funds

If you are short on cash, you might want to think about taking out a short-term loan. You can pay back in instalments without having to find it all in one lump sum. Before you commit to any loan, make sure they are FDA approved and check you are getting the best interest rates possible.

3. Start shopping early

By working through your back-to-school list earlier than January or August, you can avoid the rush and pick up bargains out of season. Outside of those peak periods you’ll find cheaper uniform items available so you can stock up without having to break the bank.

4. Check around the house

Kids will lose their stationery. It’s just a fact of life. However, before rushing out to buy a replacement, check to see what you have at home first. You’ll probably find plenty of pens, pencils and even note books that can be put to use instead of collecting dust on top of the fridge.

5. Check out the pound shop

Pound shops offer fantastic value for money when it comes to find back to school essentials. Rather than pay a fortune at expensive retailers you may be able to find BIC pens, pencils, rulers and more at half the price without having to compromise on quality.

6. Make the PE kit last

Your child’s PE kit will probably be one of the least worn items throughout any school year. If possible, try to make them last for a couple of years. Buying slightly bigger shorts is fine due to the elasticated waist band, and an oversized t-shirt will also give them room to grow into it.

7. Buying plenty of matching socks

Socks get worn out or lost by kids, which can mean having buy replacements far too often. However, if you buy plenty of the same type, when some are lost, you’ll be able to match the remaining socks together and it will also save you a lot of time and energy from having to repair them.

8. Invest in good school shoes

School shoes are one of the most expensive items to pay for, but paying for good quality will mean they will last longer. Understandably, it may seem better to go for a lower cost option, but you will probably end up spending more over time as you need to replace them each year. 

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How can a healthy lifestyle lead to a good education?

How can a healthy lifestyle lead to a good education?

We all want the best for our children and for them to get the most out of their education. There are lots of ways that we can help them study, make the right decisions and motivate them but did you know that a healthy lifestyle also plays a part in their education? A private kindergarten in New York has done the research to help us understand more.

Start with Breakfast

Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for good reason so whatever you do don’t skips it! It sets you up ready for the day and ensures your attention span is as good as it can be. 

Healthy Snacks

Snacks are often the downfall of a student’s diet. When given the choice what child wouldn’t choose sweets and crisps over their healthy alternatives? Try to make snack time a chance to increase the nutrients your child gets throughout the day to keep their energy levels up. 

Stay Hydrated 

Our brains are 73% water and need proper hydration to function normally. A lack of ability to focus, sleep issues and brain fog are all intrinsically linked to a reduced intake of water. Try to encourage your child to drink 8 glasses of water a day to improve physical and mental health.

Keep Active! 

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve memory and attention; it can reduce stress and anxiety and help children and adults to learn more. Introduce a club or activity that your child enjoys as well as gets them some exercise throughout the week. 

Aim for 8 - 9 Hours’ Sleep

Sleep deprived children can find it harder to focus and learn new things. Along with this a lack of sleep can temporarily weaken the part of the brain that manages organisation, planning and problem solving leading to issues in the classroom.

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Helping your child deal with back to school blues

Helping your child deal with back to school blues

After a long sunny six weeks summer holiday returning to school can be a daunting thought. The first day back at school can trigger a whole range of emotions for both children and their parents, so how can we help them deal with their back to school blues? 

St Hilda’s Harpenden, a prep school in Hertfordshire, have put together a helpful list of ideas for us to help make the tricky time a little easier this September. 

Rehearse the routine

It can be easy to slip out of the routine of early mornings and 9 hours sleep a night throughout the summer holidays but make sure you don’t leave it till the last day to re-introduce the bedtime curfew. In the weeks coming up to the first day of school slowly start setting bedtime a little earlier every day to help your child get used to the routine. 

Be positive! 

A positive mentality and attitude towards school will help stop any negative emotions or anxieties forming. Try to get your child to look forward to school by speaking about their favourite experiences, teachers or friends that they may have missed. 

Get organised

Studying throughout the summer holidays and having all of the equipment and uniforms organised in time for September will help to make going back to school a smoother and more pleasant experience. Try not to leave everything to the last minute as this will create unnecessary stress in an already tense few weeks. 

Have things to look forward to

Just because school has started it doesn’t mean you can plan any fun for the evenings and weekends! Having something exciting to look forward to at the end of the week will make the weekday’s flyby, before you know it, it will be the next half term already!

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Back to School Checklist for Senior School

Back to School Checklist for Senior School

September is quickly approaching and so is the first day back to school! Although your children like to think that they are independent they could always benefit with some extra help when getting prepared for Senior School. An Independent School in Twickenham has pulled together a helpful checklist for all you parents with children going back to senior school in a few weeks. 

Most schools will send home letters and newsletters to update parents on all of the essential information that you need to know and equipment you need to get ready for the new term. Another place you could check is your schools website or social media channels. 

School Uniform 

Children are forever growing or staining their clothes so it is important to have a uniform check before the term starts. If you need to stock up on any school uniform try to do it as early as possible to make sure you can get the sizes and styles that you need. 

Stationary 

Pens, pencils, calculators and rulers are all on the usual stationary list for most schools. Chances are most of your child’s stationary from last year has been lost, broken or borrowed throughout the year so now is a good time to restock. Often you will find special deals and discounts in the summer holidays to help you stick to your budget. 

School Projects & Study

As important as it is to ensure your children are prepared with all of the physical things they need to go back to school it’s also essential that they have been studying throughout the summer holidays and are up to date with any homework or school projects that they may have been set. Try setting regular study periods throughout the six weeks holidays and encourage any additional reading or learning as much as you can. 

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Top 5 Tips To Help You Pay Off Your Debt

Top 5 Tips to Help you Pay off your Debt

The general aura of the term ‘debt’ gives the feel of something negative. However, this is mainly determined by how manageable a debt or the borrowed amount is. If the debt can be paid off comfortably within an agreed time period, then it can definitely be considered as something to opt for. In certain situations, however, the debt may become unaffordable and that’s what causes problems! 

Below are my top 5 tips that can greatly help in paying off your debt. 

Sell off any extra items at home - We often tend to hoard various items, either we really need something while sometimes we just like to buy stuff either because of an impulsive buying decision or the fact that it was being sold on sale or promotion. I consider myself a very sensible shopper, but even I have a few brand new items that have been lying around since a few years and are still unused. Selling these extra items won’t just clear off the space, but will also help you in making some extra money.

Recalculate your spending - Generally, when we see the list of things we buy, there are often many items that can easily be ticked off from the list. Such items include things like expensive scented candles, or the weekly trips to the salons. While you think you’re burdened under the debt, you can easily stop unnecessary spending for some time as it greatly helps in increasing the amount of money saved at the end of the month. Also, purchasing grocery items from certain stores, instead of the high end stores help in saving more than 50% of the entire monthly spend. 

Turn your hobby into money - Every individual enjoys certain activities and it’s a brilliant idea to turn this into something that can help one in earning some extra money. Either you enjoy baking, painting or writing, you can always start working on a small scale by making customised cakes for various occasions, creating portraits or personalised paintings or starting your own blog or opting for freelance writing services. This may need a bit attention and time initially, but will definitely pay off in the long term even if not immediately! 

Take help from a personal insolvency practice company - Entities such as Creditfix know how stressful not being able to repay a debt can be, and they strive to help debtors in getting back in control quickly. This is done by working out on the available options and by suggesting the right solution and a practical repayment plan. 

Use any extra money to pay for debts - Money earned from tax refunds or bonuses at work are brilliant to reduce or even pay off a debt. Instead of going on a spending splurge, it’s always a better idea to use the funds to pay off any debts. Also, you can open up a savings bank account to deposit any extra money that is earned - you can click here to read about how to open a new bank account in 4 simple steps. 

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Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

Since the festival season will soon be ending, we will be moving on to the summer holidays which is generally the time when schools close and families plan for summer fun activities. For this time of the year, it's essential to keep everyone happy and fed. Therefore, I've come up with the recipe of 'Lucknowi Lamb Pulao', a mild yet flavourful rice dish originating from Lucknow, India. The pulao is perfect for both adults and children alike and something that provides all the necessary nutrients to all ages, because of the meat content added to it. 

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb! 

Lamb is one of the most exciting ingredients that can be used to create lot of different recipes. 

Lamb Try it, Love it

The EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign has enabled people to discover the unique flavours of lamb at their convenience. The protein packed premium lamb produced by European farmers ensures the use of sustainable practices and is a praiseworthy contribution to the local economies. 

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used to prepare lots of dishes and the availability of different cuts enables us to create incredible lamb dishes that aren't just quick and easy to prepare, but the health benefits are immense too! 

Health Benefits of Lamb

Lamb contains essential nutrients and proteins as well as 7 vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and niacin that leads to a healthy lifestyle. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on the campaign and for interesting new recipes, check out lamb try it, love it.

Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

INGREDIENTS FOR LUCKNOWI LAMB PULAO:
(Serves 4)

For the curry:
1 kg lamb cubes with bones (washed well)
1 tsp salt, or as required 
2 tsp papaya paste 
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
6 tbsp cooking oil (for frying onions)
3 medium finely sliced onion (fried until golden brown) 
1/2  tsp red chilli powder
6 whole black pepper-corns
2 medium cinnamon sticks
1 large bay leaf
5 whole cloves
2 medium sized fresh green chillies
2 tbsp natural full fat yogurt 
Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

For the rice:
1/2 cups rice 
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp salt, or as required 
2 tbsp cooking oil 
2 tbsp Kewra water 
Pinch of orange food colouring
Pinch of ground nutmeg
3-4 whole mace

INSTRUCTIONS:
Add salt, papaya, ginger and garlic paste to the lamb cubes, cover and keep in the fridge for an hour.
In a pot, add oil and the marinated lamb along with chilli powder, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, bayleaf and cloves and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the chillies, 2 cups of water, and cook the lamb until tender.
Once the lamb is cooked, make sure the water content is evaporated and the sauce of the stew is thick.
Add the yogurt and cook for another 5 minutes.
In another bigger pot, add rice and wash well. 
Drain all the water after washing and then add 2 cups of hot water to it.
Add a bay leaf,  salt, oil and cook on a high flame until the water boils.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the lid and leave the rice to cook.
Once the rice is cooked, keep the lid covered, and keep on very low flame for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix orange food colouring with Kewra water and mix well. 
Turn off the flame, and add the orange mixture to the rice, with the ground nutmeg and mace. 
Mix the rice very gently, and let the rice rest for 5 minutes.
Remove half the rice from the pot and keep them aside.
Add the lamb stew curry to the remaining rice in the pot, until fully layered.
Add the remaining rice on the top of the previous layer of the meat.
Turn on the flame on very low heat, put a kitchen heat diffuser or simmer ring on the flame and keep the pot of rice on it for 5 minutes. 

Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

TIP:
For the raita dip, add salt, red chilli powder, dry mixed herbs, chaat masala and mix well.

Lucknowi Lamb Pulao Recipe

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 mins
Serves: 4

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5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

Christmas is the most wonderful holiday of the year! The snow is falling, everyone is wrapped up their fluffy scarves and mittens, drinking tea and enjoying the view. Everything seems to be more magical under the wonderful white snow. 

If you are planning on changing your Christmas celebration this year, there are many wonderful things you can do and so many lovely places you can see. Every festivity on this list has something special it can offer to you. Depending on the type of Christmas you are planning to celebrate we selected some great destinations you will surely enjoy!

Christmas Party at Wolverhampton

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

All you need is four words for a fantastic shared Christmas party! Christmas work party Wolverhampton. Ending the year with your colleagues can be a pretty fun experience. You’ll get to know them a little better and maybe even create some new bonds. The Christmas spirit will take you over in a wonderful festive atmosphere! Shared Christmas parties can have a lot of benefits. 

You won’t have to worry about all of those big festive preparations. Like cooking massive meals or baking cookies for hours. 

Everything will be set for you! The only thing you will have to do is have fun! Wolverhampton has an annual Christmas vintage craft&gift fair where they will take you back in time with its magical atmosphere! This wonderful cozy city was named after Lady Wulfruna who founded the town in 985AD. The name Wolverhampton derives from 'Wulfruna's town on the hill'. 

Mousehole Harbour Christmas Lights

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

The small village of Mousehole has a tradition of lighting up delightful Christmas lights, making the town look absolutely magical! This small cozy village will absolutely win you over with its granite houses and its harbour which is the place where the light show happens. 

There are plenty of wonderful gift shops, galleries, restaurants and the local favourite Ships Inn where you can watch the boats sail off while munching on fish and chips. They also feature a beautiful Christmas special choir the Carolaire Choir. The light displays are free of charge and will hopefully stay that way in the future. 

Winchester Christmas Market

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

Christmas markets, wherever you go, just have that special Christmas spirit surrounding them. Those small beautifully decorated wooden chalets with the scent of mulled wine in the air bring those cozy feelings we all love. Everyone is joyful and there are crowds of people enjoying their holiday and having the time of their lives! 

The Winchester Christmas Market is one of the most visited in Europe for several reasons. This festivity was inspired by traditional German Christmas markets with a touch of the bustling British atmosphere making it absolutely unique. It’s held in front of the Winchester Cathedral. You will find wonderful exhibitions, Christmas gifts, British craftsman and all the festive foods and drinks you can imagine! 

St Nicholas Fair

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

If you want to feel like you’ve stepped into a Charles Dickens book, then York during the winter holidays is the perfect place for you to be! York is really a town that embodies all those from Georgian and Tudor architecture to all the beautiful Inns and crocked shop windows. You’ll most certainly feel the old world Dickens charm that surrounds York. 

St Nicholas Fair is the heart of Christmas festivities in York. Each year there are more and more tourists joining in the celebration of the most wonderful holiday there is. You’ll be able to experience over one hundred wonderful traditional style chalets with twinkling fairly light all over the major streets in York! How lovely! 

Norwich's Tunnel of Light

5 Festive Places for a Joyful Christmas Break

If you want to snap a perfect Instagram photo and be swept away by the beauty of lights, then you should head straight to Norwich! This has become an annual tradition besides the classic Christmas market offering mulled wine, gingerbread and all sorts of arts and crafts. 

This marvellous tunnel has more than 57000 LED lights! Strolling through this magical tunnel will surely get you in the right Christmas mood. When you are finished taking your perfect photos, visit the traditional Christmas market and soak in the magical Christmas atmosphere. Cheerful Christmas tunes, lovely decorated wooden chalets, and the smell of mouth-watering food and drinks will surely make you merry. 

Conclusion

Wherever you choose to go remember that Christmas is a time to be with friends, family, colleagues and all the people that matter to you the most. It’s a holiday of sharing, joyful laughter, and cozy fires. Share with all the people that matter to you your love, caring, and respect. There’s not a more lovely gift for Christmas than a gift of love! But surely some of those hand made traditional crafts you pick up during your visits to Christmas Markets will find their way to the people that matter to you. 

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