Tips to help Nocturnal Mums to better sleep

When you become a parent, it suddenly becomes hard to remember what a good night’s sleep, a full eight hours, actually felt like. Feeding throughout the night, night’s full of tears, of teething, of croup, all these things mean that real sleep can feel like a thing of the past. And this doesn’t really change as they begin to get a little older and pass the baby/toddler stage. Joe is now 6, visits the toilet at least twice each night, sometimes has night terrors or just sleep walks. I find that with the exception of an odd, much needed lie-in, I never get more than 5 hours sleep per night. Despite all this, some nights I still find it hard to get to sleep. So how can you avoid being a nocturnal mommy and ensure you get the most from the sleep you get?

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Here are a few tips…

1. Make that bedroom an oasis of calm – no television, no mobile phones, definitely no social media – you really do not need to be checking Facebook and Twitter before you go to sleep. It’s a bedroom, not another extension of your office – remember that.

Not in the bedroom

Not in the bedroom!

2. Comfortable pillows are a must for me. Not too many to give me a neck ache when I wake up, but soft and fluffy enough to lull me to sleep.

3. A good mattress for both you and baby. Naturalmat,  sum this up perfectly here “Every moment spent in bed is precious and a good mattress can make all the difference to having a good nights sleep.” A good duvet of the correct tog is also important, you need to choose one that suits the season, too thick and you will be uncomfortable and too hot to sleep, too thin and you will just feel cold all night. Try to choose an anti-allergy duvet which protect your bedding against dust mites and bacteria.

The Splendid Spring mattress from Naturalmat

4. Try to unwind before bed. Have a bath with Lavender bath oils, drink a glass of warm milk, turn off that social media and maybe unwind with a chapter from a soothing, romantic book. Whatever it is that relaxes you – do it.

Lavender is a great aid to sleep - in oils, in pillows, as a bath oil - give it a try.

Lavender is a great aid to sleep – in oils, in pillows, as a bath oil – give it a try.

5. Don’t go to bed hungry. If you tummy is rumbling, you won’t get to sleep, it’s as simple as that. Have a light snack, something like toast, let it settle, and then go to bed. Avoid cheese through – it’s supposed to give you nightmares (although I’m guessing that’s an old wives tale…)

If all else fails, get up, watch a bit of TV, relax and then try again. There is no point in lying there listening to the other half snoring his way across the night, you will just become more frustrated and more tired.

What are your tips for a good nights sleep? What do you do if you are awake when you should be asleep?

Travelling With Children: Tips and Tricks

Going abroad on holiday is often an event that is looked forward to for the entire year. Jetting off to far warmer, sunnier climes is a real treat, and pretty easy to do if you’re a young couple with a lot of free time and disposable income. Once you become a parent however, things get a little more difficult. Even if you can rustle up enough dough to go away, travelling with the kids can be a real headache, fraught with all manner of difficulties. With this in mind, we thought we’d offer a few tips to help you have a wonderful holiday with your children.

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Explore

Choose your destination carefully. Spain, Greece and the Greek Islands, Portugal and the Canaries offer shortish flights, lovely sunshine and are family friendly. Make sure there is plenty for the whole family to do and try not to limit this to just pools and beaches, look for culture and heritage to do.

The Canary Islands offer volcanoes a and mountains to explore, whilst Greece has ancient ruins that are steeped in history. Both Rhodes and Crete offer stunning archaeological sites that children will enjoy just as much as adults. In Rhodes the old town is best explored on foot, but the best way to explore Crete is by car, particularly with younger children. You can get great deals at auto-huren-kreta.nl and can then explore much further afield.

Nannies

Chances are you’ll be staying in a family friendly hotel if you’re going away with the children. Family friendly resorts have better facilities, better layouts and don’t mind as much about noise compared to hotels aimed at either couples or singles, so you should definitely think about booking a room in one of these hotels. One of the draws of family friendly resorts is the ability to hire a hotel nanny during your stay. Sometimes included in the room price, these nannies will come and look after your children whilst you go out, meaning you and your spouse can enjoy an evening alone together!

Go Out

Utilising the above tip, use the late evenings to explore your surroundings and take in a little local flavour whilst you visit; you don’t want all of your memories to revolve around being by the sea or pool, after all! Enjoy a romantic dinner together at a local restaurant and sample some cuisine, or perhaps dress up glamorously and visit a local casino.

Don’t Succumb

It can be quite easy to fall into the child-led trap whilst you’re on holiday. Instead of visiting the museums, galleries, local restaurants and places of beauty, you end up almost purely frequenting water parks, beaches, play areas and western-themed restaurants, catering almost entirely for the kids. The tip here is to do a healthy mix of both types of activities. If you enjoy exploring and experiencing your destinations, then teach your kids why travelling in such a manner is so wonderful; they’ll learn a lot and you’ll be surprised by the lack of tantrums!

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Take Time

Perhaps our most important point is to simply take it easy! If you have younger children you simply must factor in the endless stoppages, toilet breaks, crying and general tedium that makes up a regular day, then multiply it by two! Trust me; rushing around an airport is no fun at the best of times, but with a young child it’s nigh impossible!

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Saving for Joe’s future

I sometimes find it hard to remember the days ‘BJ’, that is, before Joe. But one thing I do remember clearly is just how much disposable income we had, money to spend on frivolities like clothes and make-up, eating out, excessive amounts of shopping that we didn’t need, and holidays. These days it seems that every penny is accounted for and earmarked and most of it seems to be earmarked for Joe.

Earmarked for Joe? Yes, it has to be said, it costs a fortune being a mom to a football mad boy. Each month we spend around £100 on his football training and subs. He has a season ticket at West Bromwich Albion which is another £50 a year. His feet won’t stop growing, so it seems new boots are needed every couple of months, and they have to be Puma or Nike, and then there are the new football strips, wanted (new design of course) and needed (why won’t his legs stop growing – is my boy part giraffe?). Add into this the Fifa points that I seem to be buying every week, the school trips and residentials, and the fact I need to remortgage in order to do the food shop and it is clear, being a mom of a boy is very expensive, and it will only get more expensive, which is why I’m already thinking towards the future.

The dreaded Fifa

New Goals

Football with his team

We’re not wealthy by any means, so Joe can’t exactly have a trust fund, but there are ways to make sensible savings towards the future, even if it is only a small sum each month. One way where you can not only save money, but can also allow it to grow is by opening a Junior Isa Account. There are two kinds of Junior Isa’s, a Junior cash Isa and a Junior Stocks and Shares Isa. The main difference between a junior Isa and an adult Isa is that the junior Isa does belong to your child, money cannot be removed until your child reaches the age of 18, and this is what makes them perfect as a way of saving towards their first car or University costs.

The regular Junior Isa account earns interest like a savings account, and you can deposit up to £4,260 per year into the ISA, which could create a nice little nest egg by the time your child is 18. If you opt for the Junior Stocks and shares Isa, then your money is invested in financial markets with the aim of earning returns for investors that are greater than those you would get in a Junior Cash ISA. There is obviously some level of risk involved, but your returns could be much greater too, so it is definitely something to weigh up.

With university fees being so expensive, most establishments now charging the maximum amount of £9,000+, it would be good to have some money set aside to help with this, or with a deposit for a first home or a car if your child decides against university.

Do you have any savings put by for your child’s future? What are you saving for?