The first generation to be worse of than their parents, not if I can help it.

University fees are rising, houses are becoming unaffordable and the next generation is likely to be the first to be worse of than their parents. So what can we do,  as parents, to help our children and enable them to have opportunities in the future.

My wife and myself have decided that we want to try and build a savings pot for each of our girls. We’ve done this by opening a regular savings account with Halifax which pays 4.5% interest loans.  After a year the money is transferred into a Halifax children’s savings account paying 2%. We have standing orders in place to save into the regular saver account every month.

In addition to our regular savings contributions the girls grandparents will usually give money to add to the savings account for Christmas and birthdays. They think the children have enough and get enough toys as it is and they’d rather them have something to look forward to in the future.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the relatively low interest rate of 2% on the savings account. Now they’ve built up a decent sum of money and because we don’t want them to access it till they are in their late teens at the earliest I’m wondering whether the stock market would be a better place to put the money.

Whilst this is a more risky strategy,  the length of time we would be looking to invest should mitigate that risk. Historically over this time period the stock market performs a lot better than savings accounts. This could enable them to have a much greater savings pot in the future.

I need to do more research on the various options and discuss with my wife, but one thing is for sure, when they grow up and become independent  I want them to have the best start they could possibly have.

I’d be interested in finding out how other people are saving for their children’s future.





Going to the cinema with young children, great films at great prices.

So over the cold, wet winter months, we’ve started taking our daughters to the cinema at the weekend for special children’s screenings of big movies. Usually a few months after they first get released.

Previously we’ve always been worried that our three year old wouldn’t have the patience to sit still through an entire movie, but at £3 a ticket it was worth trying. She and her five year old sister both really enjoyed it. So far we’ve seen Despicable me 3, the re-release of frozen, with Olaf’s christmas adventure and Paddington 2. All the films were great fun and at £12 for a family it’s a cheap morning out.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the films that they are showing and how close they have been added as a kids movie to their actual release date. I believe the current film doing the rounds is Ferdinand and that was only in the cinemas just before christmas.

The children love going as it’s a different experience for them than watching a film at home and they love getting popcorn and other treat (we usually sneak them in from the supermarket).

If you want to see what children’s films are showing at your local cinema then you can use the following links. These films are usually shown at around 10am at the weekend, but they also often have showings during school holidays.

I would definitely recommend the cinema as a great day out on a cold, wet weekend morning.




Crotec Wagon review; an essential piece of equipment for a long day out.

When we booked to go to Disneyland Paris for Christmas last year we were a little worried about how the children would cope with all the walking. Especially as our hotel, the Cheyenne, was a 20 minute walk from the park entrance. A double buggy was too bulky and also wouldn’t have been used much once we got back. So after some research we decided to buy a Crotec Wagon.

This turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. Not only could the girls hop in and hop out of the wagon we were also able to store all our bags with snacks, drinks, etc in the wagon as well. It was extremely easy to pull along and didn’t take any more effort than pulling a buggy. It was also invaluable on the day that my youngest wasn’t feeling well. She was able to have a proper lie down and sleep in it which enabled the rest of us to still enjoy the park. We secured the wagon by putting a bicycle lock through the wheels.

It also folds really flat so didn’t take up much space in the car at all.

Girls enjoying the view from their Crotec Wagon

There are cheaper Wagons and carts available, but the majority don’t specify they can be used for children. I think that the quality of the Crotec is really good and it has survived the battering of a 5 and 3 year old really well. We bought ours from Amazon, but I believe it’s now also available at Argos.

Back after a long break

Looking after a 5 year old and 3 year old has been extremely hard work over the last three years. Especially as the 3 year old stopped napping at about 12 months and is like the duracell bunny. She just keeps on going, full of energy day after day. Now the eldest is at school and the youngest at pre-school three mornings a week I have a little more time. However there are so many DIY jobs that have been neglected that these are keeping me busy. Also just finding the time to do homework with the eldest is challenging when the youngest is constantly wanting to get involved.

I do feel it’s time to put some effort back into this blog though as it helps to write things down and be creative. So in the last year or two we’ve been busy doing lots of outings to Whipsnade Zoo as we have an annual pass there. We’ve also got an  Merlin annual pass which has been really great and I will probably post a separate post about the different things we have done with it so far.

As well as the normal days out we have enjoyed numerous holidays. The girls went on a plane for the first time last year to an all inclusive stay in Turkey and really enjoyed it. Another firm favourite has been Center parcs vossemeren where we must have been 4 or 5 times. This is due to the fact that my parents only live about 45 minutes from their and it is a lot more family friendly than their house. It is also a lot cheaper than a center parcs in the uk even if you include the Ferry. We usually take the ferry to Calais going there and then the night ferry to Hull from either Rotterdam or Zeebrugge coming back. This splits the journey up so it’s not two full days travelling and the girls really enjoy eating dinner and sleeping on the ferry.

We have also been lucky to have found two great deals to Disneyland Paris. One was in the the summer of 2016 and the other was just before christmas last year, both times were really magical.

I’m hoping to share some tips on these days out and holidays in separate blog posts. For now it’s just good to be back writing again after such a long break.

Get cheap nappies with the Amazon Family programme.

As every parent knows nappies are an expensive necessity. However with Amazon Family subscribe and save you can make some good savings especially if you have a prime membership.

up to 20% off monthly deliveries

With a prime membership, you save 20% when you subscribe to a monthly delivery of nappies, although you can cancel at any time so you can just get a one-0ff delivery if you want. This would also work if you do not want to pay the £79 annual cost for Amazon Prime as you can get a 30 day free trial. If you do not have a Prime Membership you can still get 5% off your nappies.

Is Amazon Prime combined with Amazon family worth it?

This all depends on your circumstances and what other benefits you are likely to use. Amazon Family is free to join and Amazon prime is £79 a year. So let’s work out how cheap this is.

A monthly pack of size 4 pampers baby dry contains 174 nappies and costs £20.23 on Amazon which equates to 11.6p per nappy. With a 20% discount this equates to £16.18 per pack  or 9.3p a nappy.

The current best supermarket price I can find is Tesco who are doing two 62 packs for £15. This equates to 12.1p per nappy. So the Amazon prime is saving you nearly 3p a nappy. If you buy one pack a month from Amazon you would get 2,088 nappies and save yourself £62.64 against the current best supermarket offer.

However, you have paid £79 for Amazon Prime so you’re actually worse off. This is the case if you don’t use any of the other prime services, but if you do then it could well be worth it. You also don’t need to keep trying to find the best deals at the supermarket and the nappies will be delivered for free.

Other Amazon Prime benefits

  • Free next day delivery on Amazon purchases with no minimum value. If you shop at Amazon a lot or are notorious for waiting till the last minute to buy presents then this could be a great benefit.
  • Unlimited streaming of 15,000 films and tv series. This service is similar to netflix so you could save quite a bit of money if you switched.
  • Free unlimited photo storage with anywhere access.
  • Borrow ebooks for free
  • If you also take the free Amazon family membership you get monthly discounts on baby and child related items. In the past they have included 20% of cot bedding and Fisher Price toys.

Would I recommend it

I  currently don’t have a prime membership as money is tight and as we have a Costco membership we can get nappies quite cheaply there. I also currently don’t have the time to watch many films, so the streaming isn’t worth it for me.

However, I have been a prime member in the past and found it really useful. It does feel strange when I now buy something on Amazon that I have to make sure that I reach £10 and even then I don’t know how long it will take to arrive.

We also used the Amazon family exclusive discounts a fair amount, but we now seem to have most things that we need and we don’t buy that many new toys/clothes or books for the children. When we do need something it’s often bought by grandparents and other family as they are often asking us for ideas of what they can get the children.

As mentioned above it’s your personal circumstances that will dictate whether this is right for you. I just wanted to make you aware that this service exists.



From bed back to cot- regression and what to do?

Bedtime has been eventful in the last week or two in our household. We took the sides of our eldest daughters cot and transformed it into a bed.

She really loved it at first and settled and fell asleep really quickly. However, she unfortunately learnt how to open doors shortly after that. Since then she has getting out of bed and out of her room constantly. She would not even stay in her bed for more than thirty seconds. We have asked her if she wanted us to put the sides back up and surprisingly she said yes.

I put them up today and so far so good. There was not too much moaning at bedtime and she settled really quickly. I’m really hoping we can take them down again soon as my wife and I did like being able to read and sing to her whilst she was snuggled up in bed. Now we have to do her bedtime routine on her rug and then lift her into the cot at the last minute. It seems like a bit of a regression.

With a bit of luck she will realise what she is missing and ask for her big girls bed back and actually stay in it to fall asleep.

Have other people dealt with regression like this before? How did you deal with it?