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Mamma Fairy

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Decisions You Should Make Before Investing Any Of Your Hard-Earned Money

If it were easy to make money from investing, everyone would be doing it. As it turns out, that’s not the case. In fact, a lot of retail customers can find themselves in severe trouble when they fail to observe prudent investing advice. They jump in at the deep end, hoping for the best, without really understanding how the financial world works. It’s a disaster. 

In this post, we take a look at some of the critical decisions you should make before investing any of your money. 

Mix Your Investments

stock market board

Pic Credit: Pixabay

While some investors like Warren Buffet and Peter Thiel can make a killing on a small handful of companies, they are very much the exception to the rule. They’re like the Mozarts and the Shakespeares of the financial world, able to see hidden trends that nobody else can perceive way ahead of time. 

In that regard, though, they are very much ahead of the curve. The average person simply can’t emulate their success. It would be foolish even to try. 

If you’re just a regular investor, your best bet is to build a mix of assets. That way, you’re eliminating a lot of your risk in one fell swoop. If some of the underlying assets go down, it won’t matter as much because you’ll make gains on others. 

Maintain An Emergency Fund

We all saw what happened in the markets earlier in the year. The Dow fell by over 30 percent from its peak, bottoming out around 19,000 following the dire news about COVID-19. And a lot of people lost their money. 

piggybank

Pic Credit: Pexels

Equity markets are always going to go through cycles of joy and despair. While the stock market is a rising tide that lifts all boats, there are serious problems associated with it too. You don’t want to be the person who has to pull money out of the market while it is crashing just to meet your day-to-day expenses.

The trick here is to have an emergency fund in cash that is ready to go so that you don’t have to pull your funds from the market when it is down. In other words, emergency funds let you avoid real losses. 

Use Derivatives To Your Advantage

You no longer have to buy stocks directly anymore to make money on the markets. You can also buy derivatives – financial instruments like CFD options that link to the underlying equity. 

You can often make a lot of money using these instruments, especially when the market is volatile. What’s more, you can enrich yourself regardless of whether the market is going up or down, which isn’t usually the case for direct equity ownership. 

Rebalance Your Portfolio Over Time

Even if your investment goals don’t change, the types of companies you need in your portfolio will. Remember, a lot can change in ten years. In 2010, GoPro was one of the hottest stocks on the market. Now people barely talk about it. 

Rebalancing your portfolio simply means ensuring that it continues to serve your purposes. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Features

Is My Child Ready for Nursery?

If you are trying to decide whether your child is ready to go to nursery, but you need a bit more information before you make up your mind, then hopefully this blog will help.

Some parents choose to send their child to nursery because of work commitments and some simply want their child to start developing their social and learning skills, before starting school.
Whatever your reason, deciding when is the right time to start nursery is always difficult for parents.

To help give you some guidance, here is some helpful advice from Riverside Nursery Schools

What is the right age for nursery?

walking

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most nurseries accept children from the age of three months to five years, however some pre-schools or playgroups, may require children to be over two. It is best to check the admission requirements with your local nurseries. Trust your instincts when deciding the right age. If your child has started to try things on their own, become more curious and developed an interest in other children, then these are all good signs that your child is ready to start nursery.

How do I choose a nursery?

When to begin nursery is very much down to your individual circumstances, however it is important that you make plenty of visits to find the nursery most suited to your child’s needs. Before you visit, make a list of all the things that are important to you and any questions you may have. It is also a good idea to take your child along to see how they interact in this new environment.

What questions should I ask the nursery?

To understand exactly what a typical day looks like at the nursey, be sure to ask about meal times, activities and nap times (if required). This will help you to determine if their schedule will suit your child’s current routine. You may also wish to ask questions about what is provided by the nursey, for example, will food and drink be included or will you need to provide a packed lunch? What about nappies or a potty?

What if I am still unsure?

If you are still unsure, but would like to test the waters, you could look into local parent and baby groups. These groups will provide an opportunity for your child to socialise with other children and learn through activities such as music and dance, while you are still close by.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

The Importance of Pastoral Care in Schools

Pastoral care helps to support the physical and emotional welfare of each student. This is why pastoral care is one of the most important responsibilities within a school.  Pastoral care duties are usually shared between school staff and teachers, but it should extend to the whole school.

An effective pastoral care programme ensures the success and personal development of all children, so they can thrive academically and socially. It should also encourage pupils to respect each other and celebrate diversity.

To get a better understanding of why pastoral care is so important, an independent school in London   has shared the following information…

girl reading

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Pastoral care practices are often integrated into lessons. For example, children are taught about bullying, mental health and sex education, as well as road safety and online safety. Many schools have their own Pastoral Care Manager who is in charge of monitoring and supporting children’s emotional and behavioural needs, as well as assisting with learning difficulties.

From playground injuries to sickness bugs, pastoral care covers the many procedures schools need to deal with accidents and illnesses. If your child’s school offers immunisation programmes, this would also fall under a pastoral care duty. A Pastoral Care Manager is also responsible for liaising with parents and carers to ensure that children are protected from neglect, abuse and exploitation.

Ensuring the school premises are safe and secure also comes under the pastoral care system. This is usually assigned to a caretaker to oversee. They will check all school boundaries are secure and that the fire alarm system is tested regularly. School security also ensures that everyone visiting the school is signed in and closely monitored.

Pastoral care at boarding school is supervised by the boarding staff. They need to be on-hand to provide additional support for children staying away from home. These children may need additional help with certain household duties, transport or making arrangements for cultural and religious celebrations.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Top Tips for Setting up a Home Office

This year’s pandemic, has forced many of us to work from home. We’ve had to transform our living rooms, kitchens and even bedrooms into makeshift offices, in order to continue working safely.  Although working from home has its benefits, like no long commutes and working in our pyjamas; home isn’t always the most practical workspace. A makeshift office on your dining room table may work as a temporary measure, but these working conditions can have a negative impact on your productivity and wellbeing in the long run.

To help you stay productive and comfortable when working from home, here are some top tips on how to set up the ideal home office:

Sitting comfortably

laptop

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Whether you have a desk or you are using your dining table, you need to ensure that you are sitting comfortably. Adjust the height of your screen so that it is at your correct eye level. This will help to avoid eyestrain and posture issues. You will also need a comfortable chair. This is really important because you are going to be spending many hours sitting on it. Don’t just settle for a stool or a dining room chair; invest in a proper office chair which can be adjusted to your needs.

Adding the right lighting

Think carefully about the lighting in your home office and choose a room that has a good amount of natural daylight. The right lighting allows for better productivity, so try setting up your work space near a window if possible. If you’re working late into the evening you may also wish to invest in a suitable desk lamp. This will help to reduce eyestrain and keep you focused when you are putting in those extra hours.

Having the right equipment

Have a look at some better equipment options like multi-functional devices. These are an excellent choice for home offices because they include the functionality of numerous devices in a single machine. This not only helps to decrease your carbon footprint, but it will also reduce the amount of space required for printing, scanning, and other document management tasks. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Exploring Moral Values with Your Child

Morals help children to understand the difference between right and wrong behaviour, which is why it is so important for parents to role model honesty, kindness, good manners and respect. 

Exploring morality will also help children to understand how to treat other people and allow them to develop key social and communication skills for their future.

To help you explore moral values with your child, here are some great tips from an independent girl’s school in Buckinghamshire

Setting a good example

Children learn from their parents, which is why it is so important to be a good role model.  Show kindness to others, be aware of how you talk to people and always demonstrate good manners for your child to replicate. 

Listening to others

child

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Teach your child to be polite and explain the importance of listening to others, especially when they are speaking. This is particularly important in the classroom. Help your child to understand that it is respectful to listen to their teacher and follow their instructions.

Showing kindness

Teach your children to always be kind and to value other people’s ideas and opinions. Encourage the idea of treating others as they wish to be treated and helping those in need.

Acknowledging mistakes

Give your child space to work things out alone. Disputes with friends are common at school and learning how to resolve these issues is an important life-skill. Furthermore, if you make a mistake or have a disagreement with your child, be sure to apologise. This will show that you value and respect their thoughts and feelings. By apologising to your child you will also be teaching them how to treat others and how to accept responsibility.

Valuing school

Finally, try to encourage your children to value their own learning and success. They can demonstrate this by being on time to school, working to the best of their ability, completing homework and being polite to their teachers. If your child’s school has a list of core values, it can be helpful to read this together with your child.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

How to Take Control of Family Finances

If your finances have taken a bit of a battering over recent months, you’re certainly not alone. Belt tightening has almost become a national pastime. One we hope won’t go on for too much longer.

On the positive side, it’s first class motivation for finally sitting down and sorting out your money: where’s it coming from, where’s it going, and how you can keep hold of it a bit longer.

No Complicated Tech Needed

It doesn’t come much simpler than a pen and notebook. Armed with a recent bank statement (one for each of your accounts if you have more than one bank account) you can start right now getting to grips with spending and saving. Unless you’re a whizz at mental arithmetic, a calculator might come in handy too.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you firing up the computer and opening a spreadsheet if that’s how you like getting things done. But, if you use a small notebook you can carry it around with you and jot down purchases as you make them.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll need five columns with these headers for the information they’ll contain:

  1. Date: The date the transaction took place. It might be a cash or debit card purchase or a direct debit or standing order. If you run a credit card, make a separate sheet for this, then note down the repayments to that card on this main sheet that’s tallying your main bank account.

    laptop

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  2. Item: What you bought, be it grocery shopping or coffee and cake with friends.
  3. Income: Record where income came from. Salary, for example.
  4. Cost: How much was it?
  5. Balance: At the very top of this column, write your current bank balance from your up-to-date bank statement. Now each time you make a purchase, subtract the amount from the current balance and write the new balance in the column. When you’re recording income, add it to the balance.

You can have a new page every week or create a fresh page at the start of every month. Write your bank balance from the previous month or week at the top of your balance column to get started. Don’t forget to add direct debits or it’s easy to think your running balance is bigger than it is.

 

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Home & Interiors

How to Create a Sumptuous Conservatory Interior

You will have seen on the blog our pretty epic renovation projects and they a finally dare I say it drawing to a close.  I have learned a lot of  the years as both projects were vastly different. However one thing that has been consistent has been the fact that I love a good deal and over the last couple of years I have held out for the sales like the cfs black friday sale  as good quality and lighting furniture can be a big cost so it’s worth doing your homework in advance so you are ready to grab that deal on the Black Friday 2020  – 25th November.  The very last piece of our jigsaw was our conservatory so thought it might be worthwhile setting out how we made this into a luxurious cosy space.

 Contrary to what some people think of conservatories, your conservatory doesn’t have to be to be devoid of style and with the sunlight streaming in, you can create a sumptuous, luxurious space in the conservatory. Here are some fabulous ideas that are on-trend for the coming year.

No matter what interior design style you like, in a space like a conservatory where you want to relax and enjoy the warmth and the view, sumptuousness and luxury are the key factors.

And here’s how you can achieve it…

#1 Informal, relaxed seating

When it comes to conservatory furniture you may have a fixed idea in your mind of what it would normally look like. But think outside the box and you will see that the range of conservatory furniture is much more than a boxy sofa.

As well as a deep sofa and armchairs, take a look at some more quirky ideas. From swing seats to garden rattan furniture, by using throws and scatter cushions, you can create an appealing seating area with a hint of the quirky.

#2 Consider the French look

The French look has many distinguishing characteristics, but its feminine, detailed appeal is something that many people find quaint and appealing.

Opt for a bistro style seating arrangement – a small round table with two or four chairs, usually in white metal but a wooden set would work too – and keep the walls white, using ditzy flower prints for throws, cushions and any blinds.

#3 Homely touches

For some reason, many homeowners take a very sparse approach to accessorising their conservatory, a complete contrast in some cases to the remainder of their home.  However, we are beginning to see the error of our ways. Maybe it was something to do with the strong sunlight bleaching the colour from materials and fabrics but with many conservatory furniture manufacturers taking this into account, there are now more accessories and soft furnishings to choose from.  Add homely touches such as coordinating throws with contrasting cushions. Don’t forget sculptures and silk flowers too, to soften the edges and give a luxurious feel to the conservatory room.

#4 Bring the outdoors in

The main reason behind a conservatory is to form a bridge between the interior of your home and your garden.   It makes sense to include plants in the conservatory but if you feel that an array of hothouse tropical plants and citrus fruit trees is a little too predictable, use the window dressings and a feature wall (if you have one) instead.  The large, leaf print wallpapers and materials that have been on-trend for the interior of the home for some time now and are still ‘in’ for 2018. And that means, choosing large print wallpaper and chic Roman blinds for the conservatory too.

#5 Focus on the windows

On one hand, you want the sun and daylight streaming in through the vast expanse of glazing in the conservatory but on the other, there are times when you could do with a little shade.

Ditch the vertical and horizontal blinds for this year’s must-have window dressing of Roman blinds. Individually made, they can be operated independently and give a fantastic streamlined, unfussy appearance to a conservatory.

And don’t hold back on colour or pattern as the blinds may be the only zing of colour in the space and with so much light to play with, it is hard to make the conservatory dingy.

#6 Make a style statement

The interior design of a conservatory can afford to be more relaxed. And it can also be the space that you indulge more of your style. An accent chair, for example, either in a statement colour, design or shape is an ideal addition that turns the conservatory from ordinary into extraordinary.

#7 A vibrant dining space

If you use your conservatory as a dining room, you will understand how the light plays with reflective surfaces but what about how it adds drama and depth to vibrant colours?

But colour isn’t your only friend in the conservatory, large, bold prints are too. Make the most of the dining table with a table covering in bold, vibrant coloured stripes – the on-trend colour schemes for 2020 range from understated ice cream pastels to cherry red and deep purple – with contrasting floral napkins.

No matter how big or small your conservatory, you can afford to have fun, relax the style boundaries and let your imagination go to play creating a sumptuous conservatory interior.

 

Mamma Reviews

6 Creative Projects You Can Do With Your Kids at Home

With the cold winter approaching, you and your kids are likely to be spending more time indoors. While it may be tempting to give yourself some much-needed peace and quiet and keep the kids entertained with video games or smartphones, you may want them to engage in a wider variety of hobbies. You never know, you may be able to get them involved in some family bonding time.

If you are scratching your head trying to think of projects that you can do with your kids at home, don’t worry. We have come up with a handy list of ideas!

Bake and Decorate a Cake

chocolate cookie

Pic Credit: Pixabay

It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday for you to make and decorate a cake. Not only does baking teach kids useful cooking skills, it also provides them with an opportunity to get artistic with decorating it. This project has a great pay-off too – you get to eat the cake afterwards!

What you will need: Ingredients (or pre-made cake mix), icing, food colouring, baking utensils, oven.

Face Painting

Most kids love face painting – both having their faces painted and painting the faces of others. You can go for the classic designs like tigers or butterflies, or experiment with trying to recreate your kids’ favourite cartoon characters. Make sure to use paints that are non-toxic and kind to sensitive skin.

What you will need: Face paints, brushes, water

Make Slime

Making homemade slime is one of the most popular recent trends for kids, and some YouTube channels dedicated to it have millions of subscribers! Don’t worry – slime is not messy if you make it properly, so you won’t find it stuck to the carpet years later.

What you will need: School glue, saline solution, baking soda, food colouring

Design Shoebox Dioramas

Dioramas are scaled-down models of scenes or rooms. Old, empty shoeboxes are useful for making dioramas. Why not help your kids recreate scenes from their favourite books, TV shows, or video games. You could even design Halloween-themed dioramas, or a Nativity scene at Christmas! You can even pick up some string lights from an electrical supply shop to give your scenes some sparkle!

What you will need: A shoebox, paints, arts and crafts supplies

Build a Lego City

lego

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most kids love playing with Lego, and some adults also enjoy it! Instead of buying the pre-designed Lego play sets themed around Star Wars, Harry Potter, or other franchises, why not get loads of the plain blocks and challenge your kids to design their own city from scratch?

What you will need: Lego (obviously!), plenty of space

Build a Model Railway

If you have a bit more space and a higher budget, why not go even further and design model railway layouts with your kids? Building model railways can help develop creativity and problem-solving skills and can also be used as a lesson on how electrical circuits work. If you have the space for a permanent layout, you could even design buildings and landscapes for the layout!

What you will need: Model railway track pieces, locomotives, wagons, electricity, plenty of space.

 

Note This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How Does Moving Schools Affect Your Child?

kids at school

Pic Credit: Pixabay

There are plenty of reasons why a child might have to move to a different school. They might be underperforming at their current school or being bullied by another child, or perhaps their parents have to relocate for work. Maybe they are just naturally progressing from a primary to a secondary school. Whatever the reason, the transition can often feel quite daunting for youngsters, especially if they are dealing with challenges in their personal life at the same time. I have teamed up with a prep school in Hertfordshire to explore this in further detail below so that parents can be better equipped to help their child navigate the changes.

Of course, there are lots of changes a child will have to get used to when moving to a new school. There’s the building itself, but your child will also have to adapt to new teachers who may use different methods or follow a slightly different curriculum. If your child is either behind or ahead in their classes, they may start to lose interest in their lessons. With that said, parents and new teachers should really pay close attention to how well the child is or isn’t adapting to their new environment and potentially provide extra tutoring if necessary.

If your child had close friends at their old school, they will probably be quite upset about having to leave them behind, and nervous about meeting new people. If you think that might be the case for your child, try and help them stay in touch with their old friends. If they can’t meet up in person, video calls might be a good option, or you could even encourage your child to go old school and write letters. This will help them feel less alone through the transition. If possible, and age appropriate, you could try and get the contact details of some of the parents at the new school and arrange a play date or two so that your child has an opportunity to make new friends in an environment where they feel more comfortable.

Try and use positive and optimistic language around your child when talking about the transition so that they can feed off of your uplifting energy. Talk to them about the amazing opportunities they’ll have at their new school, like the fantastic playground or amazing sports facilities. If they see that you are confident about the transition, they will adopt the same attitude.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How Schools Can Prevent the Spread of Germs

cold

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A lot of children are now back at school for the first time in months, and it’s a worrying time for parents. Not only are there the usual worries about homework and whether your child will make friends, there’s also the additional worry about the spread of germs and bacteria.

Your child’s school should be happy to speak with you about the measures that they are taking to keep your child safe. It’s also completely reasonable to ask about the measures that you would hope to see them put in place.

Distancing

When they are in the classroom, children should be seated two meters from one another to minimize the risk of spreading disease through airborne germs. 

Distancing is important not just during class time, but during lunch and break times too. If the school isn’t big enough to facilitate distancing then institutions should be implementing staggered lunch and break times to allow a smaller number of children to be on their break at the same time.

Share carefully

A way that germs can be spread is through touching the same object. Particularly with younger children, it’s not always going to be possible for them not to be touching the same things – for example, toys and games will still need to be shared by the class, as will sports equipment. 

To account for this it’s important that the school have a policy on how often the shared equipment will be disinfected and how this process will be managed.

Handwashing

Frequent hand washing is the most effective weapon against the spread of germs. Not only does it stop your child from passing any germs that they may have onto others, it means that if they inadvertently pick up germs from a surface they are less likely to infect themselves by rubbing their eyes, nose or mouth.

hand washing

Pic Credit: Pixabay

At a minimum hand washing should take place:

  • Before eating
  • After going to the bathroom
  • When coming inside from playing outdoors
  • After sneezing or coughing

Schools should also be encouraging children to routinely wash their hands outside of these times to minimize the risk of infection.

Hand sanitizer

It’s important that hand sanitizer is made readily available to children in schools to use at times when they are unable to wash their hands.

For example, you might place hand sanitizer in a prominent place in the classroom so that children may clean their hands after handling shared items, without having to disrupt the lesson by leaving to go to the bathroom.

If possible, it’s better to use a dispenser from Touch Free Hand Sanitiser as this further minimizes the spread of germs because there is no risk of transmission through a pump or lever.

Cleaning

The rooms in the school should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day, paying particular attention to bathrooms and the children’s desks.

Cleaning and disinfection are slightly different terms. According to this cleaning guide resource page, cleaning, often using a mixture of soap and water, merely removes the dirt, germs, and any other impurities on surfaces or objects. If you want to thoroughly get rid of harmful pathogens and viruses that cause disease, you need to disinfect with a disinfecting agent, often in the form of sprays or wipes.

Food preparation areas should also be cleaned thoroughly after use with hot soapy water.

Some germs can actually thrive until they are wiped away, so as well as cleaning surfaces they should be dried thoroughly with paper towels.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post