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Saving for your baby’s financial future

When starting a family, there are many things you will think about: What will be your baby’s gender? Which name will you choose and how are you going to decorate the nursery? But once the initial excitement is over and the idea of becoming parents has set, you will start to think about the serious things coming towards you.

How will you cope financially? Will you go back to work or will you be a stay-at-home-mum and will you be able to afford the lifestyle you had before being mummy and daddy? Although Amy was a surprise baby (I was on the pill when I fell pregnant), we were over the moon when we found out we were going to be a family of three. We instantly started discussing names and all the great things that families experience together, but we also worried about our financial future – thanks to all the scary flyers and articles you read in the magazines your get from midwives. Not having any considerable savings we had to tighten our belts and make savings where possible.

The first thing we cut back on was takeaways. They are so convenient and such a lovely treat on a Friday night, but for the cost of two meals we could easily prepare two or three home cooked meals. The next thing we did was making sure that we had the best possible deals for our mobile phones, our TV, telephone and broadband connection without having to compromise on the service we are used to and like. We simple phoned up our providers and asked, if they could do anything for us and you might be surprised, but all of them could. Vodafone reduced both our bills by at least £5 each, saving us a tenner on our mobile phone bill each month.

Our Virgin bill was reduced by a whopping £20 simply because we said we’d consider switching to Sky and when we checked with our gas and energy suppliers, we got a discount for switching to monthly direct debits and e-billing. Altogether we have reduced our monthly outgoings by around £150. I’m sure we could still do a little better than that, but when making cut-backs we also wanted to make sure that we have to give up on as little as possible. We are creatures of habit after all.

What changed drastically was our view on savings. Before, we would spend whatever we earned on nice meals out, weekend trips, clothes or holidays, we now wanted to make sure that Amy has a secured future, if something happened to either of us. Of course, my mum and dad would be there for her and make sure that she has the best possible upbringing, but we also wanted to make sure that if something should happen to us, Amy doesn’t have to worry about anything.

As we are both no experts, I met up with an old friend and her partner who worked as an independent financial advisor just after Amy’s birth, but after three hours that were meant to be an informal chat, I took my bags and ran a mile. My friend’s partner was pushy, couldn’t really explain what we really needed and what was a waste of money and I just felt, he was after a sale rather than providing us with the information we needed to make a good decision.

In the end, we decided to get life insurance for us and set up a savings account for Amy – online and after checking possible providers and their policies in peace and quiet. Finances might not be the most exciting thing to spend your well-deserved free-time on, but your family and their future make it worth it.

How do you make financial decision? Have you got a financial advisor? Do you trust your friends’ opinion or do you research on your own?

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Monday Parenting Pin It Party #73

Can you believe that the last time I hosted the Monday Parenting Pin It Party, we were talking about water play, ice-cream and summer activities and now we are in the middle of October and preparing for Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas?

It’s crazy how fast the first weeks of autumn have passed. We’re currently preparing a move, but it seems that autumn is in full swing in your houses. Last week, you all linked up fantastic autumn crafts, recipes and activities and these are my two favourites:

First up, we’ve got this adorable Halloween snack from Grace over at Eats Amazing. She’s made a Spooky Spider Snack out of a plum and some raisins and I just know that Amy would absolutely love these. It’s a fun and healthy snack – perfect for when you want to coax your little ones away from their trick or treat baskets.

Eats-Amazing-UK-Healthy-Spooky-Spider-Snack-for-Halloween

My second favourite is this adorable Halloween Rock Garden that would make a beautiful feature on your porch, in front of your house or even as a centre piece on your autumn or Halloween table. It’s a great little project for kids to get involved with and they can be as creative as they like.

Halloween Rock Garden porch display

But now it’s up to you: Link up your favourite posts, check out the others for some inspiration and share the posts you love.

You’re new and don’t know how everything works? No problem, here’s a quick recap of the rules for you:

The Monday Parenting Pin It Party is a linky that is traveling from blog to blog, giving you the chance to link up your best craft, recipe or parenting posts, so that we can share them on our collaborative Pinterest board and show them some comment love. Each host also picks, their two favourite link ups each week and awards their favourite posts their very own special badge. Cool, right? Grab the badge below to let your readers now where the party’s at and let’s get pinning…

Mummy Alarm



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2015: a year in the name of family time and happiness

I don’t know about you, but as soon as we enter the last quarter of the year, I become quite reflective and start looking back at the year that has passed and make plans for the year that lies ahead. In the past, my thought process at this time of the year went something like this “Great year, lots of fun, but yet again you haven’t managed to lose weight or exercise regularly. Don’t worry though! You’ve tried, it hasn’t worked, but there’s always next year.”

I never manage to stick to diets or get into an exercise routine, but this year I won’t be bothered by all this, because this year was different. 2014 was a year that completely threw me. If you had asked me on New Year’s Eve how I thought this year would end, I would have told you that we’d be happy and healthy, enjoying a family Christmas and making plans for the coming months. Never in a million years would I have expected my relationship of five years to end. Never in a million years could I have predicted the changes in our family life and ending up as a family of two.

family time with Amy

I won’t go into details or tell you about the reason for our break-up, but despite obvious signs and struggles over the last year, I thought we’d make it through a pretty tough year in one piece – as a family of three. There are always two sides to a story and telling you just my side wouldn’t be fair on Ben, but despite the shock over the end of our relationship, the tears, the questions in my head and the many many conversations with friends and family, I think that I have done the right thing for both me and Amy.

Being a single mum, holding down a job and looking after an entire household is not easy. If I’m being completely honest, it’s utterly draining and challenging at times, but it’s also incredibly rewarding because I now know that Amy is living in a happy household. My patience might be a little shorter than usual at times and undoubtedly, I’m not always giving Amy 100% of my attention when I should, but being responsible for her on my own and doing all the other things I have to do to keep a roof over our heads is a juggling act.

Six years ago, I move to Bristol wanting to be independent from my family, who were always there for me whenever I needed them – and even when I thought I didn’t. It was overwhelming and sometimes I just wanted to do things on my own: I wanted to make my own decisions and mistakes. I wanted to have my own household, my own responsibilities and with that I mean responsibilities that go further than cleaning my room and leaving the house on time. Now that it’s just Amy and me, I crave the nest of my family home: the warmth, the knowledge that there will always be someone there for me when I need help, support or just someone to look after Amy for 30 minutes while I get a smear test done without her investigating my nether region.

fun as a family of two

And because that sense of security is something that we both need in our lives right now, I have made the decision to go back to Germany with Amy. I’m not taking her away from her dad, she will still see him regularly and we’ll be in close contact via Skype, but being in an environment that gives us stability and love is something that will do us the world of good and I think it will help me to re-discover the girl/woman that I once was.

The last two or three years have been incredibly draining for me. I’ve lost confidence in myself and my abilities. I’ve put myself back when I should have been pushing forward and I’ve allowed other people to make decisions that didn’t make me happy.

2015 will be all about creating a new future for Amy and I and getting back to my old self: the Carolin that’s fierce and confident, the mum that provides a happy and safe environment for her child, the daughter that spends time with her family and the friend that laughs with you until you start hyperventilating. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

What will you do for yourself in 2015?

Disclosure: I was given a voucher to help plan our new future in return for writing this post.

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The best games through the years

games for young and old

Raising children can be one of the most exciting and terrifying challenges we’ll ever have to face, whether it’s looking after their health or making sure they do well in school.

Keeping them entertained, however, is a completely different kettle of fish. Many first time parents fear this the most in looking after their little ones and often turn to expensive gadgets or toys to appease the children. This doesn’t always have to be the solution however – in fact, you’d be surprised to hear many kids love playing the same games you played when you were growing up. Here are a few classics that never get old.

Hopscotch

This one is great because it’s so simple – all you need is a couple of stones and some chalk or masking tape, depending on whether you want to play it indoors or outdoors. Simply draw out your hopscotch grid on your carpet or concrete outside, then throw a stone onto square one. If you make the square, you can hop onto the next square and carry on until you reach the top. If you don’t make it though, you miss a turn. Kids love the chance to test their throwing and skipping skills here, and it’s pretty fun for adults too.

Bingo

Once considered the preserve of old ladies, bingo has gone through a lot of changes throughout the years. Whereas in years past ladies would put on their gladrags and go, now more and more of us are either playing online at home or playing kids’ versions with our very own bingo dabbers. The kids’ version is a personal favourite of mine – you can make your own bingo slips and use dabbers, giving your little ones the chance to take it in turns to call out the numbers.

Hide and Seek

This one certainly never gets old, whether you’re four or 104. Just like hopscotch, it can be played in or outdoors – perfect for the unpredictable English weather! With houses getting a bit smaller nowadays, you may have to be a little more creative when it comes to finding places to hide. This makes it all the more exciting however – if you’re not familiar with the concept, one person is the seeker and counts while the others hide. Whoever is found first becomes the next seeker – making for an amusing game which has endured the the test of time.

Are there any games that you played as a child and your children now play? Or a game you wish would make a comeback?

 

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How To Make A Blooming Flower Pot Cake And Decorate It Using Flower Paste

How To Make A Blooming Flower Pot Cake And Decorate It Using Flower Paste

Most sugar crafters spend quite a bit of time modelling flowers to add a visual flourish to their cakes. But instead of using flowers as a simple adornment why not make them the focus of the cake by creating a flower pot cake.

This cake is sure to delight any gardening enthusiast, and with practise your flower paste flowers can look so real the cake could pass for a potted plant.

It looks tricky but actually this is a deceptively simple cake to put together.

Cake Ingredients

  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 110g dark chocolate (melted in 3 tablespoons of water)
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

To make the chocolate cake all you need to do is:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Beat the sunflower oil, vanilla extract and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add in the melted chocolate.
  5. Sift in the self-raising flour, salt and cocoa.  Fold in until well combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture equally between 4, 6-inch cake tins.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.

Once the cakes are cooled you can use a sharp knife to cut around them so that they decrease slightly in size to give the tapered look of a plant pot when stacked.

To fix them together you’ll need to create a ganache filling. This is straightforward enough. You’ll need:

  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 400ml double cream

To make the ganache follow these steps:

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Bring the cream to simmering point in a pan.
  3. Add the chocolate and stir until you get a smooth, creamy mixture.
  4. Once combined putthe ganache to one side and let it set to spreading consistency.

Then it’s simply a case of spreading the ganache between the cakes to sandwich them together.

To make the clay pot you can decorate the cake using brown ready to roll icing or alternatively just use vanilla frosting dyed with a little brown food colour.

Adding Your Flower Paste Flowers

Now it’s time to make your flowers. You have two options when it comes to flower paste. You can either get a white paste and dye it the appropriate colour or simply buy ready coloured flower paste in the colours you need.

  1. Knead your flower paste until it is pliable.
  2. Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar.
  3. Roll out your flower paste to a suitable thickness. Because flower paste sets hard you can often roll it out thinner than normal fondant. 2mm is fine though.
  4. You can cut the petals by hand but it makes the job much easier to use a petal cutter.
  5. Use a ball tool and lightly run it around the edges of each flower paste petal. This will give them a ruffled and organic appearance.
  6. Stick your petals together using some cooled, boiled water.
  7. To create the centre you can roll two small balls of yellow flower paste and fix them with water.
  8. Then to create the stems roll out some green flower paste and fix it in place.
  9. Set your completed flowers to one side until they harden.
  10. Press your flower paste flowers into the top of the cake and arrange as you see fit.

Now you should have a beautiful flower pot cake adorned with gorgeous flower paste blooms. This kind of novelty cake is great for special occasions such as birthdays, and makes a welcome change from a standard birthday cake.

Renshaw Baking sells a range of flower pasteproducts in a stunning variety of colours, ideal for creating flowers of all types.

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Birds Eye’s #Afterschoolchefs Challenge

If you’ve got children, I won’t have to tell you that teatime can sometimes be a little more than hectic – especially, if you are juggling the needs of more than one child or come home later after an after-school club or class. However, I am a firm believer in eating together as a family and recent research by Columbia University also proves that having dinner together has its benefits. Children who regularly have dinner with their families are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, and are more likely to do better in school.

Nutritional scientists at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth have also found that family dinners decrease behavioural issues in children, which means that they are less likely to start fights or get suspended from school.

Now, I know that it’s not always possible to cook from scratch, especially, if you get in late at night and your kids are getting tired and hungry, but luckily Birds Eye have a great range of nutritional meals for all the family that are not only quick to make, but also affordable, tasty and versatile, which means that you spend minimum time in the kitchen and maximum time as a family.

As part of their #Afterschoolchefs campaign with BritMums, Birds Eye have also challenged mums and dads to share their tips and tricks for a smooth and stress-free teatime routine and here are our ideas:

1. Get your kids involved

Allow your children to get involved from start to finish. Let them choose some meals for the week’s meal plan, take them shopping with you and find the ingredients needed. Last, but not least, let them help you prepare the food, even if it is just switching on the oven, pouring peas into a bowl or laying the table. Being involved in preparing the food gives children confidence, teaches them new skills and makes them feel proud of their achievements. Amy loves being Mummy’s little helper and has amazing egg cracking skills for a three year old.

Birds Eye frozen food

2. Make it fun

Let your kids get creative around the dinner table. They can draw pictures of their favourite foods and drinks, seasonal celebrations and more. It’s a fun activity that gives your dinner table a personal touch and keeps the kids entertained while they wind down after school and wait for the food to be served. Another fun idea for older kids, or if you have time to help, is folding napkins to create napkin animals. How cute is this little origami crab?

3. Get creative

Get creative and pimp your plate. There are so many ways to present food in a fun and exciting way and if you have a fussy eater, creating a fun and themed meal for them is the way forward. Amy isn’t picky at all, luckily, but she loves being surprised with a fun plate of food and Birds Eye products are great, if you want lots of different colours, shapes and textures.

I created this little underwater/beach themed dinner for Amy using solely Birds Eye products and it was done in a matter of minutes. I drew some crab claws and eyes on white cardboard, cut it out and taped them onto a tooth pick before sticking them into the stuffed red pepper.

Birds Eye challenge red pepper crab with chicken nugget star fish and fish

The filling of the pepper and some of the sand on the beach/sea is Birds Eye’s Mediterranean Rice Infusion, steamed long grain rice with Mediterranean style vegetables and seasoning that can be prepared in the mircowave in just 3.5 minutes. To create the look of golden pebbles and sea weed, I used the pea and sweetcorn veg infusion with a lovely seasoned dollop of butter and of course, we wouldn’t have an underwater or beach scene without some sea creatures to accompany Mr Crab.

We had to get a little creative for this one and ended up using Birds Eye’s Chicken Space Shapes: We turned the star into a starfish and the rocket became Nemo (or any fish of your choice) by simply putting it sideways. Easy peasy!

Amy was over the moon with her underwater dinner and cleared her entire plate – not without complaining that there wasn’t a mermaid, but I guess that’s one for another day…

happy after dinner face

How do you organise dinner time and make it as stress-free as possible? Have you got a routine after school?

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page.

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Review Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope

When I uploaded the competition for the Cosatto Hootle Car Seat about two weeks ago, I promised you all to follow up with a review of the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope, the car seat that Amy was kindly sent by the lovely Cosatto team, and here we go.

cosatto scootle spectroscope review group 123

The Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is suitable for Group 1,2 and 3, which means that you can use the seat from around 9 months up to the age of 12 years or in terms of weight from 9 to 36kg, which I think is pretty impressive for a car seat that retails at £180. The price might seem a little steep at first, but if you break it down over 12 years, you only pay £15 per year or £ 0.04 per day. That’s pretty great value for money, if you ask me.

I also like that the design of the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is really timeless, although some might call it retro. It’s bold and colourful and no one will ever get bored of it, no matter if they’re 1 year or 12 years old. Amy for one is absolutely in love with it and so are her little friends and cousins, whose mummies have all commented that it’s the prettiest car seat they’ve ever seen. Amy completely agrees: She proudly calls the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope her rainbow car seat and loves sitting in it.

Amy in her Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope

Although the car seat we used before, from a different manufacturer, should have seen her through to at least next year, we really struggled to get Amy to sit in it. She didn’t enjoy it very much anymore and I think her legs were just too long for it and she ended up being uncomfortable. There are no problems like that whatsoever with her beloved Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope.

It’s spacious, padded in all the right places and most importantly adjustable according to your child’s needs. When catering for an great age range as big as the the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope, it’s important that the car seat grows with the child that uses it and when I say grows, I don’t mean get bigger or wider. No, there are small touches that make all the difference, such as an adjustable headrest or the side wing,  and the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope comes with both of them, which ensures that your child will stay comfortable on all their journeys.

The car seat is also incredibly easy to fit and suitable for all cars with standard 3 point vehicle seat belts. Explaining the fitting process would make this post even longer than it already is, but if you are interested in that side of things, have a look at the video below. It shows you exactly how to fit the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope in just a few steps:

We’ve used the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope for a few months now and couldn’t be more pleased with it. It’s lightweight to carry, easy to fit and very beautiful to look at. Most importantly though, it keeps Amy safe and comfortable on long journeys or short trips to the park or supermarket. Cosatto’s 4 year guarantee gives you extra piece of mind, but when handling the car seat it felt really sturdy and well made, so I’d be surprised, if I had to make use of the warranty within the next 4 years. Parents will also be pleased to know that you can remove all seat covers and machine wash them at 30 degrees. Very handy, if your kids are allowed to eat and drink in the car and have the habit of leaving a trail of destruction behind.

All in all, the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope is a fabulous car seat that does not only offer protection from 9 months to 12 years, but also a car seat that let’s your little and not so little ones travel in comfort and style. What’s not to like? We are seriously impressed!

Which features at do you look for when buying a new car seat?

Disclosure: We received the Cosatto Scootle Spectroscope free of charge for the purpose of this review.

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Party ideas outside the box

party ideas

A promotion, your partner’s 40th birthday, an engagement—these are just some of the reasons why we celebrate. If you will be hosting a party but can’t seem to come up with party ideas that aren’t too cliché, I have just the list for you. Check out these unique party ideas that are creative, quirky, and most of all, fun!

  • Play slots online. If casinos are not your thing but would like to let your guests try their luck at some good, old-fashioned casino fun, set up a computer, download a slot machine game, and play away! You can check out OnlineCasinoBluebook UK’s list of the best casino sites to get you started.

  • Dress up! If you are celebrating someone’s birthday, have your guests come to the party in costume, wearing the fashion of the year or decade the birthday celebrant was born in. To celebrate a promotion or a graduation, have a toga party! Prepare several bolts of plain white fabric and have your guests drape themselves with these in the style of ancient Greece.

  • Hippie or Hipster? Who says family reunions are boring? Mix up the generations and have the millennials peace out with flower headbands while parents put on their best trendy geek looks.

  • Sing for points. Before the party, download some karaoke tracks. Or rent a karaoke machine. Aside from popular songs, get or list down some songs you’ve never heard of. Set these up to be played at random. When game time comes, split the group into two teams and sing in turns. Assign people to judge the performances and set your own criteria.

  • Dance it out. If singing’s not your thing, then the next best thing is dancing. Set up a Wii console and pop in Just Dance 4, and you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can also have a party fight game with games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which each character has his/her/its own special moves.

  • Engage! An engagement party is a great way to introduce our friends to our partner’s friends. If your friends are all fun-loving and are game for anything, then it’s a good idea to have a mixer. When it’s time to eat, give the girls spoons only, while the guys only get forks. Give the guys a bowl of soup each, while the girls get pasta or some other dish that absolutely needs a fork in order to be eaten. Encourage your friends to make friends with one another and share some bites in the process.

  • Tattooed grandma. Or grandpa—if you’re planning a birthday party or wedding anniversary party for your old folks, let them have a bit of fun. Prepare some temporary tattoos for your grandma and grandpa and their friends, and let them show off their tattoos complete with tough guy-tough gal poses!

  • Personalise it. Have something special made in honour of the celebrant, or couple. You may ask a local home brewer to craft a special ale, or perhaps you’d like to create a special scent for your mother’s 50th birthday. These can be placed in small bottles and given to guests to commemorate the event.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to unique party ideas. As long as everyone enjoys the party, it’s already a success!

What’s your favourite party motto? Have you got any creative party ideas for the upcoming party season? Let me know in the comments below.

This is a promotional post with an image from Andrea Graulund

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Win a BMW Junior Bike Tricycle

It’s less than 90 days until Christmas and today I’ve got a prize for you that will make every little boy’s heart beat faster when they see it under the Christmas tree. I’m fairly sure daddies up and down the country would be pretty impressed too, but let me tell you a bit more about this week’s prize:

The winner of this week’s giveaway will receive a BMW Junior Bike Tricycle worth £75. Yes, a genuine BMW Junior Bike Tricycle like the one below:

BMW junior bike tricycle

The red and black bike is suitable for children between 3 and 5 years and was inspired by the full-size BMW R 1100 GS, making it much cooler than your average tricycle. Plus, you won’t have to pop to your local trader for your annual BMW servicing. If that’s not blessing, I don’t know what is.

The BMW Junior Bike Tricycle has big and smooth-turning wheels which make it the ideal first tricycle for little ones. It’s very easy for them to handle and makes their first cycling experience something they’ll thoroughly enjoy and remember.

Parents will appreciate that the BMW Junior Bike Tricycle can be assembled and dismantled in only a couple of steps. I don’t know about you, but to me there’s nothing more annoying than kids toys that require a degree in engineering and take ages to put together. When children receive a toy as a gift all they want to do is get up and go. They have little understanding for assembly. Luckily, they won’t need to with this ride and even luckier are you my lovely readers, because you can now win one BMW Junior Bike Tricycle – as a surprise treat for your little ones, a birthday present or maybe even a Christmas present that you can put away for December. Either way, your recipient will be absolutely thrilled with this amazing prize.

If you would like to win an original BMW Junior Bike Tricycle, all you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below following the instructions given in the form below. Please don’t cheat as all entries will be validated and incorrect entries will be deleted. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top tips for helping your child prepare for their exams

Important exams can be nerve wrecking for children and parents alike and if your family is gearing up for a GCSE year, you’ll no doubt want to do your bit to help your youngster achieve success. Here are some top tips to bear in mind.

Create the perfect study area

study area to prepare for examsPerhaps the most important thing you can do to help youngsters prepare for exams is to provide them with an effective area in which to study. It’s virtually impossible for teenagers to concentrate on their work and to absorb information if they try to do this in noisy or uncomfortable environments.

If possible, you should create a workspace away from the hubbub of your main living area where your child will be to get on with their studies in peace. You’ll also need to make sure that the area is filled with suitable furniture. For example, a comfy seat is a must and a good sized desk or table is crucial too.

Storage is another issue to consider. It’s amazing how much paperwork students can bring home with in the run-up to exams and they’ll need somewhere to keep it all, along with any extra notes they make and books they use. If they don’t have access to drawers or shelves, they can quickly find that important documents and other items get lost, putting them at a real disadvantage.

Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to buy desks, tables, drawers, shelving and other products from firms such as Calibre. When you purchase these items, bear in mind that they will come in handy for any future study too, so they can represent a great investment.

Establish a timetable

study timetable for examsTeenagers generally like to feel in control of their own study schedules, but given the number of subjects they are taking, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed. You may want to offer your services to help them create a study timetable. This can help to keep youngsters on track throughout the year.

Meanwhile, when the tests are looming large on the horizon, you can draw up a list of the exam dates for each subject and help your child work out exactly what needs to be completed and when it needs to be done by.

Don’t be tempted to distract

As a parent, the chances are you’ll want to go on plenty of trips and spend lots of quality time with your child, but during GCSE years, it’s important to resist the temptation to distract them from their work. Of course, they’ll need breaks from time to time, but you should leave your youngster plenty of time to get on with work. This is especially crucial in the immediate lead up to tests. You might also benefit from limiting the amount of time that the TV’s on in your household.

Provide reassurance

One of your most significant jobs as a parent is to provide reassurance if your child gets anxious about upcoming exams. Some level of worry is fine. In fact, it helps teenagers to focus and channel their efforts. However, too much stress is bad, both in terms of concentration and for youngsters’ general health and well-being.

Try to make sure your child doesn’t lose perspective when preparing for tests and, if he or she isn’t sleeping, you may need to seek medical advice.

Buy in some brain food

brainfood to eat during exam preparationTo help boost your child’s brainpower, it’s a good idea to buy in plenty of healthy foods. Products that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish, wheat germ and flax seeds, are known to enhance memory and focus.

Also, try to make sure your youngster is eating a balanced diet containing enough carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. This can help them to concentrate throughout the day.

What are your tips for exam preparation? Do your kids have a learning routine?

This is a promotional post with images by PB Teen as well Reach Out via Pinterest and Katy Hogben via Pinterest.