If you have kids, you will know all about the responsibilities that are ahead of you. You will also know that it is a job that never really ends and you will be thinking about them for the rest of your life. There are so many different things that you have to take care of and so many ways things can go wrong. You have to think about the present but also have to consider how the future will pan out. 

Every single person on this planet wants a healthy life for themselves and their family. In order to do this, you have to safeguard the here and now – but also consider how things are going to be years from now. When it comes to your kids, you really do have to think about how things will pan out for them in the years to come. You must think about a couple of years ahead but also think about how they will be in a few decades, too. It’s how you treat them and how you educate them. If you are curious, here are a few ways you can secure and safeguard their future: 

Delve Into Some Financial Planning

Money rolls over everything – whether we like it or not. We have to make sure that we are doing okay financially and that our kids are set up. You can do this by starting up with a college friend or a trust fund in order to cover certain expenses. It’s always good to have a safety net for when things go a little wrong. This can be made much easier if you get in touch with a financial advisor as they will be able to create a plan and talk you through most things. 

Have A Strong Educational Foundation

You have to ensure that you are investing in their education as this is a huge part of their future. If somebody has the intellect and Intelligence to make the right decisions, they will typically have a much better life. It’s up to you to instill this in them from a young age. You don’t have to watch over everything they do regarding their education, but it’s good to be involved whenever you can.

Always Check On Their Health And Well-Being 

It goes without saying that you should look after their health, but a lot of people don’t think about their mental health until it’s too late. Always make decisions that will positively affect them. Ensure they have the right access to quality health care and that they have a balanced diet. Also, be sure to keep them on the move so that they avoid a lazy lifestyle. If you are a positive person with the right attitude, this kind of thing will happen very easily. 

Consider Estate Planning And Inherence Matters 

This is something that you will probably think about for a very long time. You have to craft a well-thought-out estate plan if you want to protect your children’s future in many ways. The good thing is that you can get family law advice from a professional if you don’t exactly know which way to turn. Your will and certain designated guardianship arrangements need to be handled in case anything bad happens. 

Ensure That The Home Is A Safe Environment

You never know what might happen in your home. There are many hazards that can become present if you aren’t paying enough attention. Many parents accidentally cause problems for their kids because they do not double-check everything. You also have to make sure that you prioritize a loving and supportive structure that has open communication. 

Educate Them On Financial Responsibility In The Future

This obviously will not need to happen until they are much older, but it’s certainly something that you should consider once they start hitting the right age. When they begin learning about money, it’s worth going into detail about certain aspects and responsibilities that come with it. It might seem a little dramatic at this stage, but there are so many different instances where children have made financial mistakes or thrown money away stupidly. When you teach them the value of saving and budgeting, they will naturally be more inclined to make sensible financial decisions. This could then stick with them for many years ahead. 

Talk To Them About Work And How Careers Work 

Again, this is something that would be more important once they hit a certain age. At some point, they will have to work in order to earn a living. They will have to accept this and realize that they should use something they care about. Help them to explore certain interests and let them know what is available. This kind of guidance can help them and make them feel more comfortable as they work towards the dreams they have or the goals they look to achieve. 

Educate Them On Social Skills And Emotional Intelligence

Social skills are so important because we are living in a time when anxiety is growing. A lot of people stay indoors and stay glued to their smartphones, and people do not socialize as much as they once did. Emotional intelligence and social skills are both very important as they can help them foster healthy relationships both personally and professionally. 

Online Safety And Computer Skills

The online world can be very dangerous if you are not careful. You must ensure that your kids are safe when browsing the web and that they aren’t getting into anything that could leave them in a nasty position. Teach them about certain privacy settings and cyberbullying. Something as basic as this could save their immediate future and their long-term future. 

Encourage Social Responsibility 

This idea is similar to the idea of teaching them social skills but it’s on a much larger scale. Teach them about giving back to the community and thinking about the community as a whole. It stops them from being more selfish and gives them a much better perspective on life. 



Is the country of the divorce proceeding important?

Where your divorce proceedings occur can greatly influence your financial outcome. Every jurisdiction employs unique financial rules upon divorce, and outcomes might diverge considerably depending on the location of your divorce initiation. The duration and expenditure tied to a divorce also vary among jurisdictions. Careful advice is essential to ensure your divorce takes place where it is most favourable for you. Often, England and Wales might be the most beneficial for the financially lesser spouse; in contrast with other jurisdictions, courts here are mandated to prioritise fairness, ensuring both parties’ needs are addressed post-divorce, granting broad authority for spousal maintenance provisions. Spousal maintenance refers to the funds one ex-spouse provides to the other for a set duration or possibly for life after divorce. In some nations, the entitlement to spousal maintenance may not be recognised, or it might be limited in scope or time.

I reside abroad – Is initiating divorce in England and Wales possible?

Even if you reside abroad or don’t possess a British passport, in specific situations, you might still be eligible to apply for a divorce in England and Wales. Yet, certain criteria, detailed below, must be met for the proceedings to be initiated.

Which criteria should I meet?

For those outside of the jurisdiction, your ability to initiate divorce proceedings hinges on the legal notions of ‘habitual residence’ and ‘domicile’. Demonstrating a strong connection to England and Wales is crucial. Therefore, the courts here can address your divorce if any of the following conditions hold true:

  • Both you and your spouse are habitually residing in England and Wales.
  • Both you and your spouse last resided habitually in England and Wales, and one remains there.
  • Your spouse currently resides habitually in England and Wales.
  • If you are habitually residing in England and Wales and have stayed for at least the past year prior to the application.
  • If your domicile and habitual residence are in England and Wales, and you’ve been there for at least the past six months before the application.
  • Both you and your spouse have their domicile in England and Wales.
  • Either you or your spouse have a domicile in England or Wales.

What does ‘habitual residence’ mean?

Being habitually resident in England and Wales implies you’ve set your enduring focal point here. This typically means living or spending a majority of your time in this region. Only one habitual residence can be held at a time. Proving habitual residence requires illustrating your domestic, monetary, business, health, and banking arrangements within England and Wales. Essentially, if relocating from abroad, you should prove your intention to settle in England and Wales, shifting your life’s core here. The key is to manifest a commitment to rooting your life in England or Wales, ensuring a consistent presence in the UK.

What is meant by ‘domicile’?

Your domicile represents the nation you regard as your lasting abode. It might not always match your nationality or current residence. A single domicile is maintained at any given time, but it can evolve with changing situations. Within the divorce context, two kinds of domicile are pertinent:

  1. Domicile of origin

This refers to your domicile at birth. For those born to married parents, it’s the father’s domicile. If they weren’t married or if the father passed away before birth, it becomes the mother’s domicile. Birthplace doesn’t play a role. While a domicile of origin doesn’t vanish permanently, it can be superseded by a domicile of choice or dependency. If the latter two are lost, the original domicile is reinstated.

  1. Domicile of choice

Acquiring a domicile of choice happens when you reside in England and Wales with the intention of permanent, indefinite stay.

When should I initiate divorce proceedings in England and Wales?

Before Brexit, a policy was in place dictating that the first country to receive the divorce application was in charge of the divorce. Consequently, spouses often hurried to begin proceedings in the jurisdiction most beneficial to them. This policy is no longer in effect. Instead, the jurisdiction most closely associated with the couple addresses the divorce. There might be a need for an initial hearing to ascertain the most connected country for ongoing proceedings. Thus, promptness in initiating divorce remains pivotal. Immediate counsel is recommended to safeguard your stance in England and Wales, especially since the initial location for divorce proceedings can be crucial in identifying the more connected country.



Every parent wants the very best for their baby, especially regarding nutrition. While breast milk is often the first choice, circumstances may lead some parents to opt for high-quality infant formulas. HiPP, a trusted name in infant nutrition, offers a Cow’s Milk Baby Formula that has gained recognition for its exceptional quality and commitment to providing essential nutrients for your baby’s growth and development.

This article will explore the HiPP Cow’s Milk Baby Formula world, highlighting what makes it a popular choice among parents seeking a reliable and nutritious alternative to breast milk.

The Core Ingredients

HiPP Formula has a long-standing reputation for producing top-notch organic baby formulas. Their Cow’s Milk Baby Formula is no exception. One of its key features is its use of high-quality cow’s milk as the primary ingredient, providing numerous benefits for your baby’s well-being.

Nutrient-Rich: Cow’s milk is naturally rich in essential nutrients, making it a suitable foundation for infant formula. HiPP takes excellent care to ensure their formula is nutritionally balanced, meeting your baby’s developmental needs from birth through the first stages of life.

Vitamins and Minerals: HiPP Cow’s Milk Formula contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial for bone development. It also contains iron to support healthy brain and blood development.

Fatty Acids: The formula includes essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which are necessary for cognitive development and immune system support.

Organic Excellence

HiPP’s dedication to organic farming practices sets them apart in the world of infant nutrition. Their Cow’s Milk Baby Formula is crafted from milk sourced from organically raised cows. This ensures that the milk is free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), giving you peace of mind about the quality of ingredients your baby consumes.

Additionally, HiPP strongly emphasizes ethical farming practices, guaranteeing that the cows are treated humanely and live in optimal conditions. You support organic farming and animal welfare by choosing HiPP Cow’s Milk Formula.

Scientifically Formulated

HiPP understands that every baby is unique, and their nutritional requirements vary as they grow. That’s why HiPP Cow’s Milk Baby Formula is available in different stages, each designed to cater to your child’s evolving needs. From Stage 1 for newborns to Stage 3 for older infants, HiPP offers a comprehensive range of formulas to support your baby’s development.

HiPP incorporates prebiotics and probiotics into their formulas, promoting a healthy gut microbiome. This is essential for digestion, absorption of nutrients, and overall well-being. These added ingredients can help minimize common digestive issues in infants, such as colic and gas.

Environmentally Conscious

Selecting HiPP Cow’s Milk Baby Formula also aligns with a commitment to environmental responsibility. HiPP continuously strives to reduce its environmental footprint through sustainable practices. By choosing their products, you’re supporting a brand that values sustainability and the future of our planet.


In providing the best organic formula for your baby, HiPP Cow’s Milk Baby Formula stands as a trusted choice. Its core ingredients, organic commitment, scientific formulation, and dedication to environmental responsibility offer a comprehensive solution for parents seeking a reliable and nutritious alternative to breast milk. Remember that every child’s nutritional needs are unique, so consult your pediatrician before making formula choices. Nevertheless, HiPP Cow’s Milk Baby Formula is a top contender for parents looking to provide their little ones with the best possible start in life.


Located in the heart of Texas and serving as the seat of Gillespie County, Fredericksburg is a small but wondrous town. The city has a rich mix of American and German heritage, seeing that it is named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Over the years, it has been featured on a lot of lists, ranking as a popular tourist destination for one reason or another. One of the most notable mentions included the location being named the “Prettiest Town in Texas” by Architectural Digest back in 2018.

Housing more than 60 wineries that feature scenic vineyards and tasting rooms, the town and its residents celebrate local produce in a wide variety of ways. Famous music events and restaurants that pair local wines with delicious local cuisines are some of the biggest attractions in the city. However, that is not all that this city has to offer.

Here are some of the things that you can do in Fredericksburg, Texas, to make the most of your trip:

1.     Book a Luxurious Accommodation

Booking a luxurious accommodation can greatly enhance your vacation experience in Fredericksburg. When seeking a resort that offers true luxury, it is worth considering places like Firefly Resort, where your stay can be elevated to a truly exceptional level. Whether you prefer a lavish stay in a luxury tiny home or the indulgence of an RV, this resort caters to your preferences. They pay attention to detail, ensuring all your needs are met. From stunning views to a calendar filled with engaging community events, you can relax in style.

2.     Attend Music Events in the City

Fredericksburg is a happening town year-round. With numerous festivals and events taking place in almost every season, the city has a lot to offer to visitors. You can look up Fredericksburg TX events to see which ones coincide with your date of visit. If you are seeking a truly relaxing experience, book a stay at a resort that offers live music and delicious food. This way, you can enjoy comfort and entertainment all in one place!

3.     Don’t Miss the Winery Tours and Tastings

Much has already been said about the stunning vineyards in Fredericksburg, but all the praise in the world is insignificant unless you witness them yourself. Spread across the countryside, these plantations are among the best and most relaxing spots you can visit in town.

You will have various options for getting around, including biking, walking, and driving. You can select one based on your personal preference and convenience.

Choose any of the vineyards that pique your interest and plan your day accordingly. You will also find a plethora of tasting rooms offering fresh samples of the finest wines produced locally. So, whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, or with a group of friends, you will find plenty to do at these vineyards.

4.     Hike to the Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is a mountain of pink granite that has formed over hundreds of years due to erosion and natural processes. Officially known as the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, this attraction near Fredericksburg is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the town.

There is a wide range of activities to enjoy there, with most of them offering a relaxing experience. You can camp at designated areas, have a picnic, and stargaze at night. Additionally, you have the opportunity to explore the 8.4 miles of hiking trails that lead you through this beautiful natural wonder. The area also features cave exploration, wildlife observation, rock climbing, and exhibits, as well as a park store where you can purchase souvenirs.

5.     Visit the Museums

This activity can be both relaxing and exciting for those interested in exploring history and learning about different cultures. Fredericksburg, founded in 1846, naturally boasts almost two centuries’ worth of history that is lovingly preserved and displayed for visitors to explore.

From the Pioneer Museum, which narrates the story of the first German immigrants in the town, to the National Museum of the Pacific War, showcasing the significant contributions of Chester Nimitz in World War II, the selection of museums is extensive and offers a wide variety of historical experiences for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

6.     End the Trip with Some Retail Therapy

Who doesn’t love indulging in a bit of shopping while on a trip? Every new place you explore has something unique to offer, and Fredericksburg is certainly no exception. Its iconic and historically rich Main Street is home to a wide range of shops, each offering an exciting collection of goods waiting to be discovered. These items can either serve as keepsakes to remind you of your journey or make thoughtful gifts for loved ones back home.

Main Street boasts an impressive lineup of over 150 locally-owned stores, ensuring that almost anything you desire can be found. From handcrafted jewelry to one-of-a-kind gifts, antique treasures, captivating artwork, stylish home décor, and the latest in women’s fashion accessories, this charming street has it all. Over the years, Main Street has garnered numerous prestigious awards, solidifying its reputation as a premier shopping destination that promises a delightful and unforgettable experience.


Fredericksburg, Texas, is a stunning vacation spot that promises relaxation and enjoyment for all types of travelers. Whether you are seeking music festivals, luxurious accommodations, fun winery tours, outdoor adventures, or a dose of history in its museums, this charming town has it all. And, of course, no trip is complete without a little retail therapy, where a one-of-a-kind shopping experience awaits.

Fredericksburg’s rich heritage, natural beauty, and diverse attractions make it a must-visit destination that caters to everyone’s idea of rest and relaxation.


Belle and I have got into the habit of mocking the trend in dupe videos. You know how supermarkets or budget brands bring out versions of more expensive products and call them dupes? Our habit started though because Belle saw a video of someone making a recipe for what they SAID was a dupe, but it was actually just a recipe. I can’t even remember what it was, but it was along the lines of ‘SPONGE CAKE DUPE!’ but then was just an actual sponge cake recipe.

To really get into it, you also have to say ‘dupe’ as DOOP! Loudly and in a high pitched voice. Imagine me picking an apple from a tree and holding it aloft and shouting ‘Tesco bag of apples DOOP!’

You get the picture. We are very funny etc etc.

I recently made my own DOOP, which was very exciting and made me feel like a Millenial. It was a DOOP for an amazing Black Forest pastry I got from Lidl a couple of weeks ago when I was having one of those weeks where you feel like pastries are the answer. Cherry and chocolate is one of my favourite combinations, and the Lidl pastries are excellent, so this was a 10/10 for me.

This is the Lidl version:

Lidl pastires

To make my DOOP I bought a roll of ready made puff pastry, cut it into squares, blobbed on some Bonne Maman cherry jam and folded over the corners. Pop them in the oven at about 200 degrees and pace about a bit while you wait. About five minutes before they were cooked I chucked in a couple of squares of basic dark chocolate, so there was time for it to melt but not long enough for it to burn. You can watch the process in a short Instagram video I made.

And here it is, my Lidl pastry DOOP! Obviously it looks better as I styled the picture to make it look FANCY and didn’t just dump it onto one of my rusty old baking trays, but even so, I was pretty pleased with it.

You are very welcome.

Cherry and chocolate pastry





In recent years, Kratom has been the subject of intense media scrutiny. From sensational headlines that paint it as a dangerous drug to glowing endorsements from users, there are myriad ways in which the public perceives Kratom and its effects on health and well-being.

In this article, we will explore these contrasting depictions by delving into the extensive coverage surrounding this herbal supplement over recent decades and examining the reactions they have prompted among audiences. By analyzing both mainstream media portrayals of Kratom and smaller-scale independent reports, we aim to gain an accurate understanding of how this particular substance is shaping public perception today.

Introducing Kratom – What is it and Where Did it Come From

Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Its leaves have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, with local communities using it as a stimulant, pain reliever, and treatment for various ailments. The active ingredient in the leaves is mitragynine, responsible for the plant’s therapeutic effects.

In recent years, Kratom has gained popularity in the Western world as a natural alternative to prescription drugs, particularly for pain management and anxiety. However, its legality is still a grey area in some countries, and debates continue to arise over its safety and potential for addiction. Nonetheless, Kratom’s widespread use and rich cultural history make it a fascinating topic of study. Thai maeng da kratom, for instance, is thought to be the most vital available type, making it highly sought-after in some circles.

Examining Media Portrayals of Kratom – Balancing Fact and Fiction

The media’s portrayal of Kratom is often divided between those who demonize it as a dangerous substance and those who put forth its benefits. For instance, in the United States, newspaper reports have described Kratom usage as analogous to “legalized heroin”. On the other hand, many online articles cite the herbal supplement’s medicinal potential.

It is important to note that the accuracy of these claims varies greatly depending on the source, and those in favour or against Kratom should have an open mind when evaluating media accounts. For example, a 2018 report from The New York Times referred to Kratom as “highly addictive”, while other outlets such as WebMD and Harvard Health Publications have noted insufficient evidence to support these claims.

In addition, it is essential to note that both sides of the debate often exaggerate the effects of Kratom. Some may portray its benefits as a “miracle cure”, while opponents will decry it as having potentially fatal consequences. In reality, the truth lies somewhere in between, and much more research is needed to learn the full extent of Kratom’s effects on health.

Public Perception of Kratom – Misinformation, Myths, and Stigmas

Unsurprisingly, with so much conflicting information out there, public perception of Kratom can be confusing and often misguided. It is compounded by the fact that the substance is still largely unregulated in most countries, meaning it has yet to receive the kind of extensive research and review from health authorities that other medicinal herbs have enjoyed in recent years.

As a result, many of the misconceptions surrounding Kratom stem from urban legends and personal anecdotes rather than concrete evidence. For instance, some people believe its use can lead to severe addiction or even death, while some users report only positive effects such as improved mood and energy levels.

To dispel these myths and misunderstandings, it is essential to remember that Kratom is still an herbal remedy and should be treated with caution. Anyone considering using it should research, consult a medical professional, and understand the risks before making any decisions.

The Benefits of Kratom – A Closer Look at the Potential Health Benefits

While the potential dangers of Kratom remain largely unknown, it is essential to remember that the substance has a long history of use in traditional medicine and can be beneficial for specific conditions. In addition, more recent studies have identified some potential health benefits associated with its consumption, such as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, improved cognitive performance and focus, and even enhanced sexual arousal.

Furthermore, some preliminary research suggests that Kratom may reduce pain perception in some instances and help wean users off opioid drugs safely and effectively. While these findings are still inconclusive, they suggest a promising future for this controversial herb.

The Regulatory Environment Surrounding Kratom – FDA Regulation and Enforcement

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has restricted the sale of Kratom since 2016. Vendors must register with the FDA to sell and distribute it. Although this is seen as a positive step towards greater regulation of Kratom, many advocates are concerned about how these restrictions may hinder access to the substance for those who need it.

Kratom sales are also regulated in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe. In some cases, it is banned entirely; in others, it can be obtained with a prescription from a medical professional. As these regulations evolve, Kratom users and advocates must stay informed about the latest developments.


Ultimately, the public perception of Kratom remains divided, and users need to weigh the potential risks versus rewards when considering its use. More research needs to be done to fully understand the effects of this herbal supplement on health and well-being. A more balanced approach to understanding the substance is needed to effectively assess its safety and therapeutic potential.


Stack up your vacation fund while making the most of the fall season this year

As we bid farewell to summer and welcome the crisp, colorful days of fall, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy the season. From hay rides to haunted houses, you want to do it all. But, if you have a vacation—or, really any big purchase—you’ve been saving up for, the season’s to-dos may distract you from your larger goals. Let’s talk about some ways that you can make the most of your fall while strategically saving for your upcoming adventure.

Embrace The Fall Cooking Crazes

Fall brings with it a cornucopia of seasonal ingredients and produce—pumpkin, squash, cranberry, and so much more. What better way to save money than by embracing your inner chef and cooking at home this fall? 

Cooking at home saves you a bundle compared to going out, but it also gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment with delicious fall flavors. Whip up some hearty soups, pumpkin sweets, apple-inspired dishes, and anything else you can think up. Use this season’s harvest to get creative with your meals. Your taste buds and your wallet will thank you.

Declutter And Sell Your Stuff

Just as the fall leaves change, your needs do, too. Take some time this fall to declutter and get rid of some of the stuff you don’t use or need. Here are some of the areas around your house that could probably use some decluttering:

  • Pantry
  • Your wardrobe
  • Linen closets
  • Kids bedrooms
  • Your bedroom
  • Storage areas
  • Office
  • Craft rooms

Go through these areas and gather any items you no longer need. If you have any items that you may be able to resell, list those items online. Or, if you think you have enough, host a garage sale to see if you can make any extra cash. Anything you make can go directly to your vacation fund. 

Be sure to donate any usable items you aren’t able to sell, and safely dispose of anything that can’t be donated. 

Review And Adjust Your Budget

It’s difficult to save money if you don’t know where you’re spending your money to begin with. As you welcome a new season and look ahead to your dream vacation, you need to take a look at your budget and identify the changes you need to make to find a bit of breathing room in your finances. 

Review your monthly expenses and note any areas where you and your family can cut back. After you’ve thoroughly reviewed your budget, create a revised budget that reflects your financial priorities. Contribute any additional savings toward your vacation fund and watch it thrive!

Open A Savings Account

One of the best ways to make saving for your summer vacation effortless is to open a dedicated savings account intended to only hold the money for your upcoming trip. This helps you separate your vacation fund from your everyday expenses. You’ll be able to review it—and watch it grow—much easier in a separate account, and it’ll help you resist the urge to spend it. 

You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account so that you are regularly contributing to your vacation fund. Or, just simply make a manual one-off transfer or deposit when you’re ready. 

Find The Best Rates For Your Services

As you try to make the most of your fall savings, don’t forget to look into your rates for some of your bills and expenses, like your cell phone bill, car insurance, and other essentials you need. In some cases, you can negotiate your rates with your service providers, and in others, you may need to shop around. Here are some expenses you should explore:

  • Cell phone and internet bills – Review your cell phone and internet plans to see if you are getting the best value for your money. Look for plans from your provider’s competitors or promotions your current provider is offering that may fit your needs. Talk to a customer service representative and see if you can use these other plans and promotions to get a better rate.
  • Car insurance – You should shop around for car insurance at least once a year to make sure you are getting the best rates possible. Shop around and get some rates from a few different insurance companies. See if you can save more through a special discount that a company may offer, like discounts for safe driving, or by bundling multiple policies together. 
  • Life insurance – Life insurance is a great investment to make to protect your family’s financial security, but you shouldn’t have to overpay for that protection. Use comparison tools online to get a better idea of different policies that may work for you and prices you may expect to pay. Some companies even offer a type of instant policy that lets you skip over the typical medical exam to give you an affordable life insurance rate without the hassle. Get quotes from a few different providers to find the best policy for the best rate that fits within your budget.
  • Credit card interest rates – Credit card debt can be a huge challenge to overcome if you have a high interest rate. Talk to your credit card company to see if they can lock in a lower interest rate for you. This will reduce the amount of interest you will have to pay, which can help you pay down your debt drastically faster. 

By paying a bit of attention to the rates of your essential bills and services, you’ll be sure you aren’t overpaying for what you need. With lowered monthly expenses, you can free up more to put toward your dream vacation. 

Streamline Your Subscription Services

With how easy it is to trial a subscription, or even just start one, it’s no wonder how we can easily end up with more than we even realize. Use this fall as an opportunity to really sit down to review your subscriptions—whether that’s streaming services, subscription boxes, or gym memberships—and think about whether or not you really need them. Cut back or cancel subscriptions that you no longer really use or need and funnel those savings into your vacation fund instead.

Plan Budget-Friendly Fall Activities

Fall brings about some of the most enjoyable weather out of all the seasons, and, of course, you and your family want to make the most of it while still staying on track for your dream vacation. Luckily, there are so many budget-friendly fall activities you and your family can do to enjoy the season without breaking the bank. 

Try hiking to enjoy the fall foliage or visit a local pumpkin patch. Check with your city, your local library, or other businesses around to see if your community has any budget- and family-friendly events happening near you.

Fall is a season of transformation and change. As the world around us changes, we can embrace change, too! By making some savvy financial choices and opting for more budget-friendly activities, you can make the most of your fall while investing in your family’s dream vacation. 


This may come across as an outrageous request: You already have your business to run and employees to pay – now someone’s telling you to spend even more money! Before throwing caution to the wind and tossing money around recklessly, let us be clear: this discussion involves strategic investments rather than reckless spending sprees.

The Fine Balance between Pennies and Productivity 

A happy employee is often more productive. But to reap their smiles that convert to pounds doesn’t require breaking the bank. Reaching that delicate equilibrium between productivity and budget requires finding a winning formula, where every pound spent returns excellent returns on investment. Investing in your employees doesn’t mean spending unwisely – rather, it should involve making smart purchases that will boost morale, motivate team members and promote an enjoyable work environment. At the end of the day, you’ll realise it’s not simply about not losing more money; it’s about making an investment with long-term benefits that pay dividends in terms of loyalty, talent retention and creating a sense of community – things which you cannot put a price tag on. View Post


untold stories slummy single mummy
Today’s Untold Story is a contribution from a woman who years later, still feels a crushing guilt at having ended her marriage. Guilt is something that we all carry so much of, especially as parents, that I’m sure her story will resonate with a lot of people. Please leave a comment if you’d like to share your experiences of guilt and please get in touch if you have your own untold story you’d like to share – they can be published anonymously.

I’ve decided to write a blog post on guilt because it’s something I have struggled with terribly and something I imagine a lot of you have struggled with also.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the definition of guilt is a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person.

Now the difficulty here I found was that there is guilt where you have genuinely done something wrong, or guilt where you perceive you’ve done something wrong but you know deep down you haven’t or there are extenuating circumstances.

Ever since leaving my husband I have suffered with guilt.  The marriage had been failing for a long time for many reasons which I won’t get into here.   And every argument has two sides.  My justification and reasons for the breakdown of our marriage could be the complete opposite of my husband’s.  Because it was me who left, I shouldered all the guilt and blame.  The marriage ended because I left.  It was my fault.  If I’d stayed, maybe we could have worked it out.

I knew deep down those thoughts were unfair to myself and I knew deep down I’d made the right decision but I couldn’t make them stop.

Our marriage had been toxic in later years and I couldn’t have my children growing up in that environment.  Surrounded by so much negativity, despair, pain and anguish.  I didn’t want them to grow up thinking that was a normal relationship.  That was how a man and a woman or any couple should love each other.  I didn’t want them setting their own bar so low.  Their own expectations of love and marriage.  I felt it was my responsibility to free them from those experiences and hopefully show them one day what love could be.

For the first couple of months I felt so much guilt it was like a physical weight crushing my chest.  Have I done the right thing, for the kids, for me, even for him.  Could we have made this work?   I would look at the house we’d bought together and the garden.  The home we’d bought for our children to grow up in.  All the plans we’d made.  We’d even had architect plans drawn up for a big extension project.  It now all felt as though it had been for nothing.  13 years of my life had led to this point.  

Towards the end of our marriage, the last couple of years or so, I yoyo’d back and forth between anger and hatred and complete indifference.   I was on antidepressants which helped to take the edge off.  I see now that despite the way he treated me, this wasn’t fair to him.  I was a shell of myself.  I had shut down.  I had stopped engaging with him in any way but I also didn’t have the courage to move on.  I was just drifting through the days.  Existing for the sake of the kids.  I felt completely trapped and joyless.  Like I was in a downward spiral where I could neither see the top nor the bottom.  

One day it all came to a head and the marriage ended just like that.  My very first feeling was devastation and crushing guilt as I saw my future, unhappy though it likely would have been, come crashing down.  At least a miserable future is a future.  Now I just saw nothing.  A single woman with two young kids, no job as I’d moved to the other side of the country and I was living with my parents.  But after a week or so relief set in.  I was free.  It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see a future because the future was now mine and it was mine to control and shape as I wanted.  The future could wait.  I was just taking it a day at a time.  

But eventually the relief, whilst still there, was displaced by the guilt which came back with a vengeance as I started to fully process what I had done and what it would mean.  The phone calls from my ex husband asking to come back, the horrendous tantrums from my older daughter as she wondered where her dad had gone and standing firm in the face of all of that whilst feeling like I was falling to bits piece by piece.  There are two years which I can say are the worst of my life and the year I was on my own was one of them.

This is not because I was on my own in itself.  Being on my own was liberating.  Yes I was managing two kids, a house and a full time job but I did so with no external factors.  I didn’t have to worry about abusive arguments or fists through walls anymore.  It was horrendous because I had a new job and my boss was a narcissistic bully.  I’ve never worked for such a volatile, unpleasant person.  I was also navigating the practicalities with my ex husband.  Money, housing, the kids.  To begin with, this was not done on amicable terms and it was an absolute minefield.  But whilst I absorbed the abuse and the threats I knew this wasn’t my life anymore and I could just walk away.

Three years have now gone by and the guilt is still there.  It is much weaker than in the early days but I don’t think it will ever fully leave.  It will still hit me from nowhere.  A memory, photos flashing up on my phone of when the four of us were a family, wedding paraphernalia, holidays, films we used to like, sayings and phrases which were in jokes.  But mostly my children are a daily reminder of the decisions I made.  Marrying the wrong man and making my children pay for my mistakes.  Even though I know leaving was the right decision for me and for them, there is always an alternate reality where my children do not have to split themselves in two.  Where I married a different someone and we lived happily ever after.  

My ex husband is now living with another partner and they have a baby girl together.  I live with a new partner who is a truly wonderful man and who I’ve been with for just under two years.   But every time my life moves on, the guilt is re-triggered.  The first time I was intimate with someone other than my ex husband.  For the first time in 13 years.  This was with my current partner and it took me a long time to fully embrace a new relationship and let go of the last.  When my partner moved into the house I bought with my ex husband this was another trigger. 

My ex husband now lives at the end of the road and his partner’s daughter is the same age and is in the same school as my older daughter.   My younger daughter is the same age as my partner’s son and he will be attending a school in the same area.  We all attend school events together and are on friendly terms as a group.  My ex husband respects and happily chats to my partner and I to his.  But it has taken nearly three years to get to this point.

As for me, I believe I can now show my children what true love is and can be.  I don’t believe the guilt will ever fully leave me because no matter how happy I am now, my children will always have to split themselves between me and their father and find their place in two separate families.  This will have repercussions.  Maybe my happiness and feelings of guilt are interlinked.  After leaving my husband, do I deserve to be happy?  Is my happiness at the expense of other people’s?  Does everyone deserve to be happy?

But regardless of this, I do believe I’ve finally found my happily ever after and I hope against hope my children will find the love and respect first time around that it took me a second chance to achieve.  

For other blogs and my journey from before the separation and divorce to the present day, please see my blog Single Mummy’s Voice.

Guilt over divorce
Photo from Unsplash


When it comes to picking the perfect footwear, one brand tends to stand out from the rest: Clarks. Established in 1825, this British institution has been making strides in the world of shoes for nearly two centuries. But what makes Clarks the go-to choice for so many families? Let’s delve into the reasons that make this brand a household name across generations.

A Legacy of Craftsmanship

A pair of shoes is more than just a piece of fashion; it’s a work of art. Clarks has been marrying functionality with aesthetics since its inception. Each shoe is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, offering an unparalleled level of quality that has become synonymous with the brand. With a wide array of designs and materials to choose from, you’ll find a pair that embodies the essence of your personal style.

Clarks offers an artisan touch that elevates the shoe experience to a whole new level. Whether it’s robust leather, plush suede, or lightweight fabric, the materials used are top-notch and carefully selected. Over decades, Clarks has honed its craft to create shoes that are not just elegant but built to last.

A Range of Choices for Everyone

Diversity is key when it comes to family shoe shopping. Mums want stylish yet practical options, dads need something rugged and comfy, and the little ones desire shoes that are playful and snug. Clarks offers an expansive range of shoes tailored for everyone’s needs.

With selections ranging from classic brogues and Oxford shoes for the discerning gentleman, to strappy sandals and court shoes for the modern woman, and an entire lineup for kids that include both school shoes and casuals—Clarks has got it all. Its diverse portfolio ensures that no matter your preference, you’ll find the right fit.

The Height of Comfort

Fashion is all well and good, but what’s the point if you can’t walk five steps without wincing in pain? Clarks has always prioritised comfort, understanding that a comfortable shoe contributes to overall wellbeing. Each pair is designed with ergonomic principles in mind, assuring proper foot health and preventing common issues like arch pain and blisters.

You’ll find cushioning in all the right places, breathable fabrics that adjust to your feet, and soles designed to accommodate natural walking patterns. These details translate to a level of comfort that becomes palpable from the first step. Your feet will thank you, and so will the rest of your body.

Special Offers and Seasonal Sales

Don’t let the price tag deter you; quality comes at a cost, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Keep an eye out for any sales, which occur periodically throughout the year. You can also take advantage of websites like SuperSales that collate the best deals across multiple brands, including Clarks – they have a Clarks sale on currently. Such platforms allow you to compare prices and select the most advantageous offers, making your shopping experience both budget-friendly and fulfilling.

Attention to Detail and Innovation

What sets Clarks apart is its relentless pursuit of innovation. The brand invests in research and development to create shoes with groundbreaking technologies. Whether it’s the use of Gore-Tex for waterproofing or integrating the Active Air system for enhanced ventilation, Clarks stays ahead of the curve.

These technological advancements make each pair of Clarks more than just a shoe. They become innovative solutions that tackle specific challenges, be it extreme weather conditions or the need for additional support during long hours of wear.

Sustainability at Its Core

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Clarks takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. From eco-friendly manufacturing processes to the use of sustainable materials like organic cotton and responsibly-sourced leather, the brand is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

Clarks has initiated recycling programs and partnered with charities to donate unsold and gently-used shoes. These endeavours reflect the brand’s conscientious approach to not just shoe-making but global citizenship as well.

Personalised Fittings for the Perfect Fit

One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to shoes. Clarks understands the unique needs of each foot and offers personalised fittings to ensure you get the best match. With the assistance of trained professionals in their retail outlets, you’ll find the right shoe that not only complements your style but also provides optimum comfort.

Children’s feet grow rapidly, and a proper fit is crucial for their overall development. Clarks provides a dedicated fitting service for kids, complete with foot measuring and consultations. This ensures that your little ones get the ideal size for their ever-changing feet, keeping them comfortable and supporting their growth.

Wrapping Up

Clarks brings together an extraordinary blend of style, comfort, innovation, and sustainability, making it an excellent choice for families. Its enduring legacy of craftsmanship, extensive range of options, and commitment to both quality and the environment ensure that you’re making an investment that pays off in the long run. If you’re in search of a reliable shoe brand that caters to the whole family, Clarks clearly steps up to the mark.


Deck the halls with boughs of pumpkins, fa-la-la-la-la etc etc!

I am feeling especially seasonal today as I wore an ACTUAL JUMPER walking the dog this morning at about 7.30am and my hands were even a tiny bit cold! Can you imagine? It was lovely. What with that and having my first pumpkin spice latte of the year, it’s all very jolly and cosy and the perfect opportunity for an autumn themed episode of It’s Five O’clock Somewhere. (My podcast. Ooh!)

In every episode of the podcast, my cohost Gill and I drink a cocktail and to annoy Gill, who is convinced there is a Big Cinnamon conspiracy, I decided to make a pumpkin spice martini.

By pumpkin spice martini I don’t just mean slugging a bit of vodka into a Starbucks latte, which I have been known to do for the podcast before, I mean an actual fancy drink in a martini glass and everything. The recipe, if you can call it that, is very simple indeed. It’s half vodka and half this Mozart pumpkin spice cream liqueur. Shake it all up with some ice, pour into a nice glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick if you have one. To be honest, Belle said my cinnamon stick just looked like an old twig, so I’m not sure it really adds anything.

Take a look and see what you think for yourself.

pumpkin spice martini

It does look quite like a stick.

Ah well.

It tastes EXCELLENT and I can guarantee that it gets you drunk nice and quickly too. I can testify to this because after I made this one for the photo, I saved it to drink before I went out for dinner with friends later that evening. Unfortunately I forgot about it until I was leaving and had to knock it back in one go. I say ‘had to’.. food waste and all that.

It was the responsible thing to do.


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When Belle was little there was one very important criterion when it came to choosing her bed – would alligators be able to get into it? Alligators and crocodiles were one of her biggest fears (literally and figuratively) and so it was very important that her bed was sufficiently off the ground to deter reptilian visitors during the night. This is the bed she had for a long time. Nice and safe, although potentially a crocodile could nest underneath behind the curtain.

Your children may have less specific needs, so how do you go about choosing a bed for kids if they aren’t fussy about accessibility for escaped crocodiles? Here are a few tips to help you choose:

Ask your child

Well DUR you might think, but you’d be surprised at how many parents buy furniture for their children’s bedrooms without really asking them what they want. If your child has any imagination they’re likely to ask for something ridiculous like a bunk bed with a slide into a paddling pool, but who wouldn’t want that honestly – good for them for aiming high. If they’re not sure, try looking at pictures or browsing the kids’ beds at Better Bed Company for ideas.

How much space do you have?

It’s not always a question of the bigger the bedroom, the bigger the kids’ bed – you need to think about it more in terms of maximising space. In a very small room for example, you might be tempted to get a cabin bed or bunk beds to use height instead but a tall bed can feel overwhelming in a small bedroom and you might find it’s better to go with a very low bed. You could think about a toddler bed for a very small child, which wouldn’t be as long and so wouldn’t take up as much space.

Does it match the decor?

Kids might not be as fussy about having a scheme as such, but you still have to look at it, so you want the kids’ bed you choose to at least not look out of place. You don’t want to have to launch into an unplanned bedroom makeover just to make it fit. Consider the type of materials – wood, metal etc – as well as the colour and style. Keep it plain if you can and use bedding a cushions to add colour and pattern as these are much easier to update as tastes change.  Exploring a collection of kids beds with versatile styles can help you find a bed that harmonizes with the room’s aesthetics and offers adaptability as your child’s preferences evolve.

How long do you need the bed to last?

Not everyone thinks of this, but beds actually last a pretty long time, and the bed for a nine-year-old that you’re buying now will quickly become a bed for a teenager and said teenager might quite enjoy a double bed thank you and not a pink fairy bed complete with sparkles. If you want to be practical, choose a neutral bed that isn’t going to date quickly and invest in a double if you have the space. They’ll thank you later and you’ll thank yourself when you’re getting into it at 3am to comfort them after a crocodile-related nightmare.

kids beds

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